Sure, we know the Bay bakes up some mean sourdough and that the Dungeness crab is a local specialty, but did you realize that the Bay Area is also home to more than a dozen local chocolate companies? This Valentine’s Day, skip the Snickers in favor of some local cocoa treats. We list a few of our favorites below!

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Dandelion Chocolate
Wondering what the bar-to-bean craze is all about? Drop into the Dandelion Chocolate factory in the Mission district to get not only a taste of the good stuff, but some serious education on the art of chocolate making. The folks at Dandelion roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans before molding and packaging each bar by hand. Don’t come looking for caramel fillings or nougat—these bars are all chocolate and are differentiated by bean origin or cacao percentage. Kids can get a top-notch chocolate education by signing up for on of their free behind-the-scenes tours.

740 Valencia St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-349-0942
Online: dandelionchocolate.com

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The San Francisco Chocolate Factory
You can spot this little chocolate shop by looking for its whimsical chocolate-themed mural. While there is no factory here anymore, there is a sweet little boutique specializing in locally made chocolate served up in pretty tins and wrappers perfect for gifting. Their tiny tasting discs are ideal for little chocolate lovers who might not know when to say when. For a real treat, slip one of their Milk Lover’s flavored straws into your kiddos lunch for a sweet treat they won’t forget.

286 12th St.
San Francisco, Ca
888-732-4626
Online: bridgebrandschocolate.com

tcho

Tcho
This modern chocolate company is so San Francisco, and describes itself as a Silicon Valley start up meets San Francisco food culture. They “chocolate engineers” at Tcho are all about innovation, obsessed with quality, and of course are creating the coolest wrapper designs in the local chocolate game—these bars are sure to be a hot with budding foodies.  Originally based along SF’s Embarcadero (where they hosted their popular factory tours), Tcho has since moved to Berkeley and promises that new factory tours will be up and running soon. In the meantime, get your Tcho chocolate fix at their kiosk in Westfield Center.

865 Market St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-495-5656
Online: tcho.com

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Ghirardelli
The big guy in town, Ghirardelli has been making chocolate for 160 years, making it the oldest continuously operating chocolate company in the US (take that, Hershey, PA!). And all those bars sporting cacao content percentages? You can thank Ghirardelli, who claims to have started the trend more than a decade ago. Sure, you can pick up the famous confections at most any grocery or drug stores, but why not go for the full Ghirardelli experience: follow the larger-than-life lighted sign to the Bay, pull up a stool, and order a monstrous ice cream sundae dripping with Ghirardelli fudge at the flagship factory.

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point St. #52
San Francisco, CA
415-447-2846
Online: ghirardelli.com

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The Guittard Chocolate Co. 
Coming in hot on Ghirardelli’s tale is The Guittard Chocolate Company, which has been locally crafting chocolate in the Bay Area for 145 years. The company started with a little factory on Sansome Street and has since grown into new, sizable digs in Burlingame. Today the fifth generation of the Guittard family is at the helm, and their specialty is still bean-to-bar chocolates of the highest quality. Switch it up and let the kids drink their dessert instead—their drinking chocolate for a truly indulgent way to consume your cocoa.

10 Guittard Rd.
Burlingame, Ca
650-697-4427
Online: guittard.com

ocho choclate

Ocho Candy 
While other bean-to-bar chocolatiers are focused on pure chocolate, Ocho has been busy elevating the classic candy bar to locavore status. The Oakland candy company specializes in addictive chocolate bars in flavors such as caramel and peanut, coconut, peanut butter and mocha, all with no preservatives, additives or artificial flavors. Their new mini bars have debuted just in time, and to make your Valentine gifting easy as pie (coconut chocolate pie that is) just print out these customizable Valentine’s to wrap around your min Ochos and make your sweeties day! (Also the perfect and fun solution for the mega class Valentine’s project).

P.O. Box 934
Lafayette, Ca
Online: ochocandy.com

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Recchiuti Confections 
For chocolate as art, look no further than Recchiuti. The company has elevated the chocolate sampler box to its highest form, with flavors such as sesame nougat, sur de lago, and star anise and pink peppercorn. Back when he was just starting out, Michael Recchiuti would visit the San Francisco farmers’ market for bundles of fresh lavender, tarragon and lemon verbena, which he’d dry for use in his signature infusions. Using traditional European techniques and equipment, he created his confections—truffles of the highest order, each shaped or painted into something almost too pretty to eat. While the kids may not dig on the more wild flavors, they will love treasure hunting through the pretty box looking for their favorites, Today you can pick up his treats for the senses at the Recchiuti outpost in the Ferry Building or their Little Nib shop in Dogpatch.

Ferry Building Marketplace
San Francisco, Ca
415-834-9494

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Little Nib
807 22nd St
San Francisco, Ca
415-489-2882

Online: recchiuti.com

Do you have a favorite local chocolate maker that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

—Erin Feher