Not everybody loves chocolate, but those who do, really ♥ chocolate. So when I learned of a local artisan chocolatiers tour in San Francisco, I practically ran there. The event was hosted by Epicuring and featured three chocolatiers: Au Coeur des Chocolats, Tell Tale Preserves, and Poco Dolce. All morning we were treated to different hand-made creations and I noticed some similarities and many differences that made each chocolatier unique.
First, each chocolate “factory” was fairly small, in footprint and staff. Also, each chocolate was made by hand in small batches and the founders were very much involved in the entire process, from design to production. I also got the sense that they experimented quite a bit with different ingredients, flavors, and textures to see what worked well.
Au Coeur des Chocolats was very traditional and they had some antique equipment from France in their factory. They also used a special technique to paint their chocolates with patterns and colors. Tell Tale Preserves had more modern equipment, and their chocolates and pastry had more variety in color and texture. Poco Dolce was definitely the minimalist of the three, all their chocolate tiles are precisely identical, with very little hint of the secret flavors they hide inside.
Though I enjoyed just about everything I tasted, my favorite part of the tour was learning about the chocolatiers themselves. It was wonderful to see their background and personalities come through in their creative chocolate creations. Now, they must really ♥ chocolate.