Last month, I embarked on a chocolate tasting adventure. Why, you ask? Well, I was looking for the most exceptional chocolates in San Francisco to offer in a Valentine’s Day gift pack Winelandia is putting together. We have a strong dedication to the finest quality, locally-made products, and so I set out to find chocolates that fit this model.
It started with lots of Googling, Yelping, and asking around. I was already familiar with Poco Dolce, a chocolate maker in the Dogpatch that features hand-made dark chocolate tiles that will blow your mind. Poco Dolce is a household name in San Francisco, and their chocolates proliferate every speciality market in the city (for good reason). While I love these chocolates, I wanted to find something a little different.
I kept looking, and eventually caught wind of a local truffle-maker by the name of Neo Cocoa. After a little investigation, I learned that it was not only woman owned-and-operated, but that the owner got started in the La Cocina kitchen incubator program. La Cocina is an SF-based non-profit organization that helps low-income food entrepreneurs realize their goals through educational programs, use of a shared commercial kitchen, and by providing market opportunities. They are doing a really amazing thing for our local food community and I was pleased to find that Neo Cocoa got started this way.
I had the opportunity to taste samples of Neo Cocoa truffles when I paid a visit to the Crocker Galleria Gift Alley, an annual market during the holidays that features local food companies. It was a chocolate epiphany – you see, normally truffles are sugary, gooey messes on the inside with hard, glossy chocolate on the outside. The Neo Cocoa chocolates were totally different – they are the “hearts” of the truffle – pure ganache. They come in an array of inventive, unique, perfectly balanced flavors such as lime zest (my favorite), almond butter & smoked sea salt, toasted coconut, mocha cinnamon, and crushed cacao nib. They also make exquisite salted caramels (shown above), and a variety of seasonal flavors.
I knew instantly after my first taste that I had found my chocolates. They are truly exquisite and encompass everything I love about artisinal foods. High-quality, locally sourced ingredients combined with pure passion from the producer come together to create a product that can’t be described in words. The only way to experience this for yourself is to get some of these chocolates and put them in your face.
Winelandia will be featuring a 10-piece sampler box of Neo Cocoa Truffles for our Valentine’s Day gift pack, which will also include a bottle of Champagne (the real deal, from Champagne) and a personalized card that you can send to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Your very own Cupid (that’s me) will be delivering these amazing chocolates, delicious Champagne, and thoughtful card to your Valentine’s home or office on February 14th. To get in on the offer, keep your eyes peeled for our formal announcement which will include a way to purchase one of these for your honey.
Support small, local businesses! By purchasing goods that are made locally, you keep more money in your community and provide people with the means they need to operate their businesses and live their lives.