{San Francisco trip: 3 hour Gourmet Chocolate Tour and Dinner at Zuni Cafe}

Hey everyone, 

Changing it up again and jumping back to recap the rest of my trip to San Fran this past October.  I woke up bright and early to walk over to the Ferry Market Building for an early breakie.

To satisfy my new-found addiction…Made to order Blue Bottle Coffee Waffles. Warm, perfectly crisp and coated in crunchy sugar crust…Best.Waffle.Ever.

Alongside a steaming cup of Cafe Mocha melted with locally made Tcho dark chocolate. Oh boy…San Fran really knows how to make a good coffee, SO worth the 20 minute wait.

*Fact about me: I never drink coffee at home, only on vacation.

The three hour gourmet chocolate tour met about a block away at Justin Herman Plaza and started off in the Ferry Market Building.

Fact: Did you know San Francisco is the center of a new wave of artisan chocolatiers and gourmet chocolate boutiques.

Our first stop…Scharffen Berger.

We sampled a variety of squares including a single origin chocolate from Vietnam, espresso infused chocolate, 70% dark and a 62% chocolate. I picked up a bag of chocolate nibs that intrigued me.

Cacao Nibs are perfectly roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. They are the essence of chocolate. Nibs add crunchiness and subtle chocolate flavor to baked goods and savory dishes. They make a great substitute for roasted nuts or chocolate chips, without added sweetness.

As well as a sleeve of their 70% bittersweet dark chocolate squares wrapped into individual servings. The perfect post lunch treat.

Next stop was a few doors down to Michael Recchiuti’s Confections.

We sampled a spoonful of their burnt caramel saucetheir signature sauce has an intense, smoky flavor with a lingering, buttery finish. Serve over fresh fruit, poached fruit or pie and ice cream. Which I loved so much, I brought a jar home with me.

As well as their extra bitter chocolate sauce made with Michael’s smoky custom blend of 64% dark chocolate creating an extra thick consistency, finished with vanilla and cocoa powder to enhance the roasted cacao profile.

Next came the chocolates…

We each got to three pieces, starting from the left:

Recciuti Signature Burnt Caramel Propagated by our propensity to smoky, whisky-like characteristics the Burnt Caramel profile has become synonymous to the Recchiuti name

Next was the floral (and my fave) the Lavender Vanilla.

And last was the Burnt Caramel Almondwhole toasted almond coated in dark chocolate with a hint of burnt caramel and finished with a light dusting of cocoa powder

I could see why this one was their best seller, that smokiness really complimented the sweet chewy caramel interior.

Afterwards, we had some time to browse their yummy selections and try out more samples. I took advantage of our 10% off discount with a few purchases..

Like this box of their best seller..

Fleur de sel caramelsburnt caramel flecked with sea salt enrobed in a thick layer of bittersweet chocolate.

Caramel + salt + chocolate = happiness

And I could not resist these unique bittersweet chocolate covered key lime apples.

Crisp slightly tart apple chips…

Sliced wafer thin and draped in a smooth chocolate shell.

Next stop was the world reknowned Teuscher where we were welcomed with a beautifully festive window front..

Here we got to sample a white chocolate pistachio covered truffle and one of Oprah’s favourite things, their Champagne Truffle. Their signature creation made from a delicate blend of the fresh cream, butter and chocolate with Dom Perignon champagne cream center, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

They also had miniature bars in a variety of interesting flavours like rose, coffee and mandarin.

We passed by several of these bronze medallions along our walking tour. This is one of approximately 180 embedded in the sidewalks designating a path that connects 20 historic sites and local history museums in San Francisco.

Next stop, was the well-known Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Here we tried their seasonal milk chocolate covered pumpkin spice caramels. Yum.. I picked up a bag full of squares in a variety of flavours like sea salt dark chocolate, mint chocolate and raspberry filled dark chocolate to take home as gifts.

Our last stop was Cocoa Bella, they search world-wide for small, family owned and operated artisan chocolatiers. Their current assortment features chocolates from makers in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Canada and the United States.

Their box sets looked like little works of art! Each filled with unique and unusual ganaches.

The detail in each piece is something to be admired.

We were given a few different artisan chocolates to try, my favourite was this Christopher Elbow Rosemary Caramel. I picked up a small box of exotic flavoured chocolate for my friend and called it a day.  I was officially in a blissful chocolate coma.

Overall, I really enjoyed the tour, I had more than enough chocolate I could handle in one day (that’s saying a lot for a chocoholic like me). Thankfully they gave us each a paper bag to keep our extra samples. Our tour guide went over the history of chocolate, what goes into making fine chocolate and led us through a blind tasting. If you’re in the area and love chocolate, be sure to check them out here.

—————-

Later on that night, I met up with the boy for our dinner date at the famous Zuni Cafe.

The interior is warm and inviting and was buzzing with hungry patrons.

We scanned the menu, but I knew we HAD to get their famous chicken for two – roasted in the brick oven; warm bread salad with red mustard greens, scallions, currants, and pine nuts.

The menu stated that it would take approximately an hour, so we satisfied our hunger by nibbling on bread and butter and shared their calamari. Perfectly seasoned and coated in a lovely crisp golden batter.

Just as we were about ready to gnaw our arms off…it arrived. And let me tell you.. it was DEFINITELY worth the wait. So incredibly juicy, tender, moist and surrounded by a thin crisp golden skin. Each piece was intertwined between lightly dressed leaves of spiced greens and torn pieces of bread soaked in savoury chicken juices. This was by far the best chicken I have ever had and one of our most memorable dinners to date. Pure, simple, comforting and crave worthy.

The perfect end to an indulgently delicious day.
Comments
6 Responses to “{San Francisco trip: 3 hour Gourmet Chocolate Tour and Dinner at Zuni Cafe}”
  1. Vincci says:

    Yum! Must try both if I ever make it down to San Fran! We just missed Vosges and a couple other chocolate shops on our recent trip to NYC – so sad!

  2. Mallory says:

    That chocolate tour looks like heaven. Salted chocolate caramels are where it’s at!

  3. Tatiana says:

    Mmmm Zuni Cafe! I have the cookbook and have made that recipe, but I have not been to the restaurant. Sounds fabulous.

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