It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while there’s no shortage of chocolates from name-brand companies dotting the aisles of local grocery store chains, the Peninsula is home to a number of small businesses focused on the craft of making chocolate. Here are 10 chocolatiers around the region where you can find Valentine’s Day gifts for a special someone or satisfy your sweet tooth anytime of year.
Alegio Chocolate, Palo Alto
Palo Alto's Alegio Chocolate distinguishes itself for its global flavors, drawing on founder Claudio Corallo's background in coffee cultivation in Africa and Latin America. Many options available online come in bars with unique flavor combinations, like 70% chocolate with crystallized orange peels or crystallized ginger, or grapes in pear distillate.
Fleur de Cocoa, Los Gatos
Fleur de Cocoa, a French patisserie and chocolate maker, offers handcrafted chocolates made in small batches, so flavors may vary from week to week. Among the chocolates served are the "Monkey Barr" made with dark chocolate and banana; "Chloe" made with white chocolate, violet and blackcurrant ganache; and "Paris," dark chocolate with a signature tea ganache.
Go to Chocolate, San Carlos
San Carlos-based wholesale chocolatier Go to Chocolate has a wide selection of unique chocolate products, including a collection of vegan chocolate offerings and fruit and flower-based gel and ganache fillings. These include: apricot truffles in dark chocolate, agave truffles, white chocolate truffles with lemon zest and cinnamon infused cream, rose petal gel in dark chocolate and an avocado mint meltaway. They don't have a storefront you can visit, so the best way to pick up their goods is to place an online order or catch them at the College of San Mateo farmers market held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lula’s Chocolates, Santa Clara
Formerly Mrs. Lund’s, this chocolatier rebranded in 2006 and moved from Salt Lake City to Monterey, where they have a factory available for tours now. Santa Clara visitors are offered samples upon entry. Valentine's Day specials include solid chocolate hearts, heart-shaped marshmallow treats and wine truffles.
Shekoh Confections, Palo Alto
Shekoh Moossavi of Shekoh Chocolates in Palo Alto trained at l’École Valrhona and adds global flavors to her chocolate craft. Visitors can customize their boxes in person or online. Chocolates come in brightly colored mirror glazes and include flavors like Grand Marnier, saffron, mezcal, orange blossom, bergamot and yuzu in addition to dessert-inspired combos like s'mores and milk 'n cookies.
Snake & Butterfly, Campbell
Campbell’s Snake & Butterfly is an organic chocolatier specializing in caramels and truffles in innovative flavors and bright colors, along with single-origin chocolate bars. Flavors include bacon caramels, Mexican coffee truffles, blueberry balsamic truffles and salted bourbon caramels. They also sell treats like peanut butter cups and mixed nut turtles.
SWEET55, Half Moon Bay and Palo Alto
Swiss chocolatier SWEET55 offers intricately decorated chocolates at their two shops in Half Moon Bay and Palo Alto, including specialty confections highlighting chocolates from different parts of the world like the African Nights chocolate, which comes with a mocha ganache made with Sao Tome 75% chocolate, caramel and a dark shell, while the California Republic chocolate is made up of dark ganache, olive oil, Meyer lemon and rosemary flavors. While the original chocolate shop is in Half Moon Bay, last year owner Ursula Schnyder opened a shop at Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village to serve more customers.
Sweet Shop, Los Altos
For more kid-friendly fare, consider the candy store Sweet Shop, tucked away in a residential corner of Los Altos offering bulk gummy and sour candies alongside chocolate items like malt balls. As an added bonus, 5% of proceeds go to local schools.
Timothy Adams Chocolates, Palo Alto
Bursting with vivid pinks and blues and a signature running rabbit logo, Timothy Adams Chocolates has chocolates adorned with beautiful decorations and packed with flavor. Many chocolates are single-origin and come with unique flavors like a sour cherry marzipan, absinthe and cognac. The chocolate shop offers chocolate and champagne tastings, boxes to go and chocolate workshops teaching visitors how to make chocolate bonbons.
tinyB Chocolate, South San Francisco
Chocolatier Renata Stoica is offering Brazilian brigadeiros – bite-size fudgy truffle balls – made with sweetened condensed milk, semisweet chocolate, butter and cocoa powder and with flavor blends including pistachios, almonds and coconut. The chocolate shop is also selling Valentine's Day kits to make your own brigadeiros.