Super Strict Score [understand my S3]: 7
Nibby horchata chocolate drink: 9
European drinking chocolate: 8
Mission hot chocolate: 7.5
Praliné mousse: 6
Single origin chocolates Belize/Dominican Republic/Liberia/Madagascar: 6/6/6/6
In 1 word: good things come in small batch packages
Assortment: bean-to-bar chocolates | chocolate drinks | pastries ~10
As fine chocolate reviewing blogs have been shrooming, I am sure Dandelion Chocolate bean-to-bar chocolates have received ample coverage. But what about their pâtisserie & café? Of course, wattwurmnashi does what wattwurmnashi does which is just that.
Dandelion Chocolate have forayed from their native California into a multitude of other US states as well as overseas but they as of yet only operate one single café which is housed on the same premises as their chocolate factory. Does that still count as single origin?
The location is just a few doors down from recently reviewed pâtisserie Craftsman & Wolves in the Mission district of San Francisco – obviously a wattwurmnashi kind of area! The café has an industrial charm about it, after all, it’s more like a factory + café. Lighting is well thought out [no editing on the photos] & seating is chocolate reminiscent in a classic & subdued manner, if not very comfortable for very skinny people like wattwurmnashi – cushions/-s+ing anyone??
Service is delightful: friendly, knowledgeable, not rushing decisions. The chocolate beverage menu is substantial = wattwurmnashi heaven but for hopeless cases, coffee drinks from local San Francisco roaster Four Barrel are also available, commendably most notably in the form of 4 Dandelion Chocolate × Four Barrel mochas. The pastry selection, headed by pastry chef Lisa Vega while not exactly excessive covers a surprisingly wide range from muffins over S’more pastries to tarts – all items boasting Dandelion Chocolate products, of course.
With some help from the lovely staff, I manage to make up my mind for:
- Mission hot chocolate
Hot chocolate, almond meal, chili
The Mission hot chocolate is quite spicy which pleasantly enhances the bitterness of the chocolate. Almond meal adds a slight spin to its consistency without really giving it any texture. It is not a thick chocolate at all, in fact, it is sort of runny, very drinkable & the perfect chocolate beverage to get when you don’t want to drink a filling hot chocolate or when you want to drink lots as it can be ordered by pot. People who expect an in-your-face bitterish, pure chocolate taste from their hot chocolate would be better advised with the European drinking chocolate [see below]. The complimentary cookie is a nice & buttery touch.
- Praliné mousse
Half frozen hazelnut praliné mousse, caramelized hazelnut praliné nib crunch, Camino Verde chocolate
The mousse itself has good texture & temperature. However, it tastes more like raw hazelnut mousse rather than praliné mousse. The chocolate sauce is somewhat lacking in the texture department & leans towards being chewy although it is quite pleasant in taste. Even though it appears a 100% chocolate is used its taste doesn’t dominate the itself rather subtle praliné mousse.
I am absolutely bummed I can’t try more stuff – especially the S’more cake has caught my eye [read vittlemonster’s micro review here] – but I am going somewhere food-else straight after. I do however liberally peruse the samples of chocolates made with beans from Belize, the Dominican Republic, Liberia & Madagascar. The characteristics of the different beans are evident in the distinct tastes. However, all chocolates exhibit a hitherto unencountered weird, dryish, for lack of a better word the-opposite-of-smooth consistency that ruins the otherwise pretty clear & delicious flavors for me.
In true wattwurmnashi fashion I also manage to materialize take away versions of the Dandelion Chocolate European drinking chocolate & nibby horchata drink at Dandelion Chocolate’s San Francisco Ferry Building outlet although according to their website, such things are supposedly not available at this location:
- European drinking chocolate
Hot chocolate, house made marshmallow
As opposed to the Mission hot chocolate the European drinking chocolate is very rich, strong & thickish. It has a full-on cacao, slightly bitter taste.
- Nibby horchata
Cold chocolate, almond, hazelnut, cinnamon, cacao nibs, rice
Tastes a bit like milk chocolatey rice pudding or puffed rice halfway through a transformation into a drinking chocolate. The underlying base texture is thick & creamy although as it is not blended or at least not completely it offers a bit of a bite. I actually love it so much I’ve come back for it several times. Not available, nice try…
Dandelion Chocolate’s excellent website could well be considered another, virtual location of theirs: http://www.dandelionchocolate.com/ even in the unlikely case that this mouthwatering wattwurmnashi article hasn’t awakened any Dandelion Chocolate specific interest in you, I would highly recommend checking out their website as it is very educational with among other things a great walk-through of the bean-to-bar process. Dandelion Chocolate’s enthusiasm about making chocolate from scratch is evident everywhere on their website but it doesn’t end with their products – they also try to spread the love & word by offering free [!] guided tours of their factory, more in-depth chocolate seminars for the caught-ons, & even chocolate making classes for the truly chocolate bug bitten [info on all 3].
For those of you who want to get their hands on Dandelion Chocolates though, their online store ships worldwide.
Factory + Café
740 Valencia St (at 18th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ferry Building store
One Ferry Building,
San Francisco, CA 94111