Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so if you’re stumped about a gift and don’t want to be left out in the dog house by your lover, try an old classic: chocolate. Nothing warms up your Valentine like a sweet treat. Here are some great shops in San Francisco that boast the Bay Area’s best chocolate.
Hours: Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun Noon-6 p.m.
Price: $32 – $75 per box
Cocoabella houses a vast selection of domestic and international chocolates from countries like Switzerland, Italy, France and Belgium. Whether your lover likes dark chocolate, milk chocolate or chocolate infused with liqueurs, Cocoabella is sure to meet your needs. Special Valentine’s Day assortments roll out this time of year so be on the lookout. Last year, Cocoabella offered decadent heart-shaped chocolates dawned in a velvet heart-shaped package. Cocoabella has another location on Market Street between 4th and 5th streets.
Hours: Mon to Sat 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m-6 p.m.
Price: $8 – $180
Imported directly from the kitchens in Zürich, Switzerland, confections from Teuscher contain no chemicals or preservatives. This family company has kept its recipes for over a generation and have expanded their store operations to the United States, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. This Valentine’s Day Teuscher invites you to select your own chocolate and package them in their “Fantasy” boxes. Chose either a friendly, clown-shaped box or a romantic, flower-shaped box along with special wrapping paper to please your lover this Valentine’s Day.
Hours: Mon to Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Founded in Los Angeles but headquartered in South San Francisco, Bay Area residents searching for chocolate for Valentine’s Day don’t have to look much further than See’s. With four shops located in San Francisco and dozens more in the greater Bay Area, See’s is hard to miss. See’s is rolling out special Valentine’s Day goodies including heart-shaped confections and a mouth-watering strawberry truffle.
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Hours: Mon to Sat Noon-9 p.m., Sun Noon-7 p.m.
Price: $30 to $70 per box
For San Franciscans searching for the perfect chocolate for their lovers, a quick hop across the Bay is a trip worth taking. Michael Mischer is a German immigrant and apprentice to master Swiss pastry chef, Andreas Haertle. He has traveled the world to find his favorite cocoa bean (the South American Criollo bean) and his passion for sculpting and design makes his chocolate confections tantalizing to the eye as well as the taste buds. He opened his Oakland shop in 2004 and has offered delicious, reasonably priced chocolates ever since. Grab your sweet heart some creative chocolates including the Gingerbread, Lavender and Honey, Kentucky Bourbon or the Chipotle.
Hours: Tues-Sat Noon-7:30 p.m.; Sun-Mon Noon-6 p.m.
Price: $10 – $75
The Kansas City native whose culinary experience includes working with famed chefs Emeril Lagasse and Jean Joho, Christopher Elbow has since focused his expertise on creating tasty chocolate confections that are as pleasing to see as they are to taste. In 2008 Elbow opened a boutique at 401 Hayes St. bringing his creative chocolates to the Bay Area. Keeping with their Valentine’s Day tradition, Christopher Elbow Chocolates will be selling a five piece heart collection box containing chocolates filled with passion fruit caramel, raspberry caramel and red wine caramel. In addition, a 20-piece heart-shaped box will be offered and customers can mix and match chocolates from Elbow’s current collection.
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Nicolette Glade is a freelance writer and photographer, food nut, dive bar hound, and has travelled from South America to Asia searching for her foodie fix. A Jersey native, she now calls the Bay Area her home and has found plenty of gastronomic toys to play with right in her own backyard. You can read more of her culinary adventures on Examiner.com.