Hey Howdy Hey Ya’ll! Hannah here. Now I’m no Sour Patch Kid (although JoshuaEvo may disagree) but I am here with some sweet and sour updates. The sour is twofold: The Undertaker’s winning Wrestlemania streak was broken this past Sunday and the Ultimate Warrior died Monday after being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. I just can’t explain how much these men mean to the wrestling world and what a staggering impact both events had on me as a fan. I JUST CAN’T OKAY. So to take my mind off these bitter, bitter pills, I bring you another review. And this one is oh so sweet: Great Tours – Chocolate Tour of San Francisco. Now, considering how much I hate San Francisco, it was incredibly surprising how much I enjoyed walking around for three hours in the city that earthquakes and fire failed to destroy. Our tour guide Derek was a huge part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. He was energetic, upbeat, and knowledgeable as he took us from chocolatier to chocolatier and gave us a brief history of chocolate as well as San Fran itself. Plus he had a nose ring. Seriously, that is cool.
We started at Fog City News, which unfortunately was closed since we took the tour on a Sunday. No worries, however, it was Derek to the rescue! He had procured samples from Fog City in advance, and gave them to us while he described the history of the shop. Apparently high-society French ladies at the turn of the century used to come to the shop to buy newspapers and harangued the owners enough that they started to import their favorite confections. These days, Fog City News carries around 150 varieties of the finest chocolates from around the world, constantly changing types according to taste tests and customer demand. Derek then informed us of the methodology to chocolate tasting as we unwrapped our treasures. The experience can be as sophisticated (read: snooty) as wine-tasting. Break the chocolate to hear it snap, smell deeply, put a small piece on your tongue and move it around to hit all the taste buds, inhale to incorporate a new element to the taste, and finally swallow and enjoy that juicy richness running down your throat. What? That’s not suggestive at all, it’s just informative.
Next we hit up See’s Candies,which anyone in the San Francisco Bay area knows about – some love it and some hate it. I would rather have not visited Sees on the tour personally, because there’s one about two miles from my house that I never go to for a reason: it’s just not that fabulous. Plus the crabby shop-lady told me I couldn’t take pictures. Your candy isn’t that beautiful or delicate that a flash is going to hurt it, I promise. But hey, free chocolate is free chocolate, right?
Next we sauntered a few blocks down to Spicely Organic Spices, which was just plain lovely. We had tea tastings, chocolate tastings, and a beautiful, calming atmosphere to soothe our Sees-rattled jimmies. The shop-girls were friendly and well-informed, suggesting just the right blend of flavors to satiate the palate. Spicely definitely had the highest sales from the tour due to their appeal and variety, and even JoshuaEvo pried open his Godzilla wallet and paid about $50 for some tea, chocolate, and a (free with purchase!) spice. Derek led us outside the shop and treated us to a quick rundown of cocoa bean-ology, including the origins of, the manufacturing processes of, and the difference between white, milk, and dark chocolate. Don’t ask me what it is because I won’t tell you. Go on the tour. Do it.
Aaaaand now we come to another slightly low point: Ghirardelli. I say it was a low point since they gave everyone only a pre-wrapped Easter chocolate; it was also a bit disappointing because we stopped at the Montgomery Street Ghirardelli instead of the Ghirardelli square Ghirardelli, which Joshua and I visited together last year…Ghirardelli. But the shop has a bathroom and seating, which was quite convenient because we were nearing our midway point and had been walking around for over an hour and there were children in the group with tiny little bladders. *cough Evo cough*
Now we reach Minamoto Kitchoan, which was beautiful and unique to this tour as it is a Japanese-style confectionary specializing in wagashi. Any weeaboos out there should definitely hit Market Street and give it a try, I promise you’ll love it. We ate the equivalent of a chocolate moon-pie and looked at pretty flowers for a while, then moseyed on along our way.
Teusher Chocolates was next after a few more blocks of walking, and it was definitely worth the wait. I can now say that I have eaten a Dom Perignon truffle. That “free” truffle alone was a $20 value, which was awesome because we got this tour for two for $45 off Amazon Local, which I gladly plug because the deals are always sweet (huehuehue). We bought some expensifancy truffles from the varied and delicious selection and enjoyed the smells and unique gift boxes on the walls until it was time to depart.
Second to last was Chocolatier Blue, which tried to kill me. No really. I made it through nearly a whole chocolate tour (and three blog reviews) without mentioning my kryptonite: cinnamon. They passed out cinnamon-bun flavored chocolates at Blue which Joshua assured me were delicious. We didn’t get to go inside due to time restrictions and a space crunch, but I plan on returning when I next force myself into the city. The founder of Chocolatier Blue was a farm boy with big dreams, and now his partner creates the design aesthetic for the recipes he perfects, which is a pretty wining combo.
Last but CERTAINLY not least was CocoaBella, a shop that I cannot say enough lovely things about. They are located in the Westfield Mall, in a large open corner that displays their stunning glass cases and walls of box collections of chocolates to breathtaking advantage. The artistry of their confections is surpassed only by the taste. We immediately knew we would purchase a mixed box, and a helpful clerk asked questions and gave suggestions to help us fill our six-piece collection. I have to stop thinking about all the lovelies there or I will start salivating on my keyboard.
Thus concludes our chocolatey adventure in SF a couple of weekends ago. It was an awesome experience, and I highly recommend the tour to locals and any visiting tourists alike. Derek is a BAMF, and you can read his reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor if you don’t want to take my word for it. Then again, why wouldn’t you trust me – you read this all the way to the end, didn’t you?
HSLAMMA WILL RESPAWN IN THREE… TWO… ONE…