I had stayed at the Billiard Palacade 30 minutes longer than intended. The chocolate factory tour on Pier 17 was scheduled to start at 2:00. I looked at my watch. 1:30. Considering the estimated travel time was about 30 minutes, I needed to hurry. I stepped on the gas. Traffic on the Embarcadero was horrendous, but somehow I managed to get a parking spot right in front of Pier 17 at 2:01pm. Clean living I guess!
I walked through the front door at 2:03 and the tour was just starting. Monica provided some history of the company, how they work with the farmers who plant and harvest the cocoa beans, the drying, roasting, grinding, conching, and other manufacturing processes. If you’re a chocolate aficionado, you’ve got to try Tcho chocolate. They don’t use any flavorings or additives. All of the flavors are coaxed from the bean by finely controlling every aspect of the sourcing and manufacturing processes. Really amazing stuff!
After touring the facility we got several free chocolate samples. Wahoo! I even got a 10% discount card for any purchases at the company store. Whata bargin! (what a sucker!). The company store was wall to wall chocolate. If you visit, you’ve gotta try the “chocolate shot.” They take some of their drinking chocolate powder, heat it up, then hit it with a very small amount of very hot water or steam to liquefy it. Heaven in a shot glass! It was unbelievable!! The hot chocolate was pretty good too. Yeah, they got me. I left with a bag full of chocolate. They somehow even managed to wrestle my email address from me. Humph!
After Tcho, I headed to the Ferry Building to search for another famous chocolate destination: Recchiuti Confections. Michael Recchiuti’s chocolates have won numerous awards. His S’mores kits are carried by the Ritz Carlton and his burnt caramels are always in high demand. Again, I’m a sucker for chocolate, so I couldn’t leave without a hand-picked variety box filled with S’mores, burnt caramels, candied orange peel, peanut butter pucks, honeycomb malts, and fleur de sels. Here’s a view of their storefront:
After Recchiuti, I headed for my final chocolate destination, Fog City News. I had read about Fog City in a chocolate blog several months ago, and figured it was worth a visit. I wasn’t disappointed. They carried an eclectic selection of chocolates from several boutique makers. I grabbed a couple handmade bars, then headed back to my car. I was getting hungry from walking all over the city and was ready for more pool. Now, on to Family Billiards and the pub next door to it, The Pig & Whistle….
Is there such a thing? 😉
TCHO is great chocolate and I think their product is really smart…basically teaching people about the different qualities of chocolate so they can figure out what they like. I think citrus and nutty are my favorites.
Yay! A TCHO fan! 😉 The traditional measure of cocoa mass (35%, 66%, 72%) that most people are familiar with doesn’t really tell you what the chocolate will taste like. I like TCHO’s approach – everything is ‘dark’, but the difference in taste between their products is unbelievable. They do such a great job of bringing out the flavor of the beans…something you never get from the mass produced chocolate bars that most people eat (a.k.a. Junk!). There’s no bitterness in TCHO, just the taste of chocolate with notes of other flavors, depending on which product you are enjoying. My favorite product by far is citrus. That yellow wrapper makes me sooooo happy! 😉 My next favorite is nutty (hey, we agree!) followed closely by fruity. Chocolatey is my least favorite, but hey, it’s still really good! Thanks for the comment!
No TCHO in Nevada according to their website, which seems odd because we do have Whole Foods and that is listed as a retailer in other states. WTF?
I don’t get to Whole Foods a lot, but I’ll try to remember to take a peek next time I’m there. In any case, this is the first time I recall seeing mention of TCHO (makes me think I’m sneezing every time I see that). I know Ghirardelli of course (grew up on that) and Scharffen Berger, but no TCHO.
Fear not my friend, I’ll be in Vegas in a couple weeks and I’ll bring you some! 😉
We can hit the Ethel-M factory too.