(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
There is something about chocolate that is both seductive and playful at the same time. The search for the ultimate chocolate continues as chocolate lovers happily pursue their quest with no complaints. Continue your search for bonbon heaven at these five East Bay chocolate purveyors.
1511 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Alegio Chocolate does not produce its own chocolate line – instead Alegio travels the world for the finest chocolates imaginable and brings in the very best to satisfy its customers, dreamers of the world’s finest chocolates. Alegio offers an optimal chocolate selection gathered from its travels and exploration. The quality of the chocolate, butter, spices, purees, nuts and flavors available here is unequalled by most chocolate purveyors. The names of the chocolate makers who create the tastes available at Alegio read like the world’s finest chefs and vintners; Enric Rovira and Claudio Corallo are two chocolatiers highlighted here. Come into the shop or order online. Indulge in the Alegio Chocolate of the Month Club and receive a new chocolate selection from Alegio’s Most Exclusive Collection delivered to your door each month, plus additional perks. Find out more at the website.
5427 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618
With three Bittersweet Cafes in Oakland and Berkeley, you are never far from luscious hot chocolate. The folks at Bittersweet Café strive to bring customers the highest quality café products, including hand-crafted coffees, bean-to-bar chocolate, hand-ground hot chocolate, house-made yogurt and granola, house-baked pastries, sandwich bread, soups and quiches. It all works deliciously together. There are so many chocolate drinks here, including a nontraditional hot chocolate that is more like a European drinking chocolate – rich and velvety. Try the salted caramel hot chocolate, the spicy or peppermint hot chocolate or any one of several other hot chocolate drinks. The house-made breakfast pastries, tea time snacks and mostly chocolate desserts have names that say it all. Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Cake, Enrobed Brownie Bites and Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pudding may entice you to come in, just in case you need further encouragement. Visit the website for additional locations.
1397 N. Main St.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
A sweet shop, “Café Leonidas is a unique place where the old world meets the new,” according to the Café Leonidas website. And the shop’s many fans agree. Here is a chocolate shop where fresh Belgian chocolates are flown in from Brussels each week — a great start to the pleasures customers can expect here. There are so many Belgian chocolate shapes, flavors and types that the website offers a pull-down menu. Take in the long list of coffee choices and then the visit “European Delights” section that includes lip balms made with real Scharffen Berger chocolate, just in case your life lacks those little gems. Check the website for full details.
1709 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707
With a name as exotic looking as the chocolates created here, yet easily pronounced like chocolate but with a soft “sh” instead of “ch,” The Xocolate Bar makes exceptional, artistic chocolates. Using only organic, local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, The Xocolate Bar creates new flavors every week. There are no artifical flavors, high-fructose corn syrup or any other nasty things in the chocolates here, plus plenty of vegan options are available everyday. The range of the chocolate selection is pretty impressive: bonbons, bars, sipping chocolate and even edible art. Artists turned chocolatiers Malena Lopez-Maggi and Clive Brown are the passionate duo behind The Xocolate Bar, which opened in 2006. Explore the website for chocolates, art and class offerings, plus watch a bit of Chocolate Televison where Malena discusses the duo’s creative chocolate vision.
175 East Prospect Ave.
Danville, CA 94526
This specialty chocolate shop in downtown Danville is open every day of the week, as its chocolatiers work continuously creating new treats. Owner and operator Terri Vollmer opened Danville Chocolates after 25 years in the confectionary industry. Her passion for chocolates and customer service combined with her design talents when she opened Danville Chocolates in 2009, after several years of retirement. Terri felt inspired to return to work and open a chocolate shop near her Danville home. Danville Chocolates invites you to stop by and indulge in the large assortment of quality chocolates, truffles, dipped fruits, caramel apples, chocolate barks, dipped cookies and pretzels and much more. Visit the shop or website to learn about special occasion chocolates for holidays, celebrations, parties and events, with gift boxes and baskets too. Become a Danville Chocolates member for exclusive “Members Only” deals; sign up at the website.
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.