Candy Crush: Sweet Updates From 6 Californian Haute Chocolate Makers

Introducing some of the best chocolatiers and confectioners in The Golden State — and the elevated creations they’re stirring up right now

Words by BROOKE PORTER KATZ and ANUSH J. BENLIYAN

 

Guittard Chocolate
This family-owned chocolatier began 150 years ago in San Francisco — and today, fifth-generation Guittards carry on the tradition. They source single-origin cocoa beans from small farms around the world to create bars (from 91-percent extra dark to 38-percent milk chocolate), cocoa powder and chocolate chips for baking.
Don’t Miss: The Eureka Works bar, which debuted last year to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary. The 62-percent chocolate honors the company’s original sourcing locations, blending cocoa from Indonesia, Hawaii, Ecuador and Brazil.

 

Dandelion Chocolate
Two former tech entrepreneurs turned their passion for chocolate into this cult-favorite bean-to-bar brand, which debuted in San Francisco in 2010. Rather than add ingredients like cocoa butter and vanilla, their small-batch bars — simply named for the farms the beans come from — are made with just cacao and cane sugar.
Don’t Miss: A visit to the 28,000-square-foot factory in the Mission District, which opened in April and features custom-made machines that guests can watch hard at work during daily tours. It’s also home to an all-day café and Bloom, which serves breakfast and afternoon tea/chocolate service. 2600 16th St., S.F., 415-349-0942. Multiple locations.

 

Milla Chocolates
One glimpse at the sweet creations by Christina Sull Sarioz, and it’s clear the chocolatier has a background in fine arts. She turns mostly organic and single-origin cacao from the Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela into geometric treats. Her first brick-and-mortar — an impeccably designed space that displays bonbons and bars as if they were precious jewels — debuted last year in Culver City.
Don’t miss: The hazelnut praline bar, made with both milk and dark chocolates. The bon bons are also a hit, in flavors ranging from pistachio and coffee to Champagne. 9414 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 323-515-2346. Multiple locations.

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor — bandmates and friends with backgrounds in woodworking and boat building — launched this small-batch, bean-to-bar company in Eureka almost a decade ago. They taught themselves how to transform cacao from places like Madagascar, the Solomon Islands and Belize into products like the new 70-percent dark chocolate bar with bee pollen and fennel and an orange bourbon pecan bar made with 65-percent dark chocolate, which hits shelves in October. Tours and tastings are also available at their factory.
Don’t miss: The black fig bar — made with organic 72-percent Madagascar chocolate, cane sugar and California black mission figs — has been a top seller since it was created in 2013. 4 W. Fourth St., Eureka, 707-798-6010.

 

Compartés
This buzzy Los Angeles-based company with boutiques in Brentwood and Century City is perhaps known as much for its artistic packaging as it is for its whimsically flavored bars made with locally sourced ingredients — think Donuts & Coffee Milk Chocolate, Cereal Bowl White Chocolate, and Campfire S’Mores Dark Chocolate. (They even released an Avocado & Chips for National Avocado Day in July.) Stay tuned for a 5,000-square-foot space opening on La Brea this fall.
Don’t miss: The California Love bar, made with dark chocolate, crushed San Francisco sourdough pretzels and sea salt — all wrapped in colorful packaging that features palm trees and the sunset. 912 S. Barrington Ave., L.A.; 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., #1625, L.A.

 

andSons Chocolatiers
In the same Beverly Hills space where their mother ran the Teuscher chocolate shop for 35 years, brothers Marc and Phil Covitz are reimagining the classic bonbon at andSons Chocolatiers. With the help of pastry chef and head chocolatier Kriss Harvey (formerly of The Bazaar by José Andrés), the trio integrates fine chocolates with such memorable ingredients as lemongrass, cinnamon cookie praline and Counter Culture coffee. Epicures can even have a private tasting with Harvey to develop a bespoke confection flavor and design for well-curated welcome boxes and party favors.
Don’t miss: The limited-edition, hand-numbered Chef Boxes — which sell out like hotcakes — featuring unique, inspired flavors like Provençal almond rum (almond paste from Provence paired with a warm Austrian rum and Tahitian vanilla beans). 9548 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, 310-276-2776.

 

Feature image: An assortment of ANDSONS CHOCOLATIERS signature bonbons, from $37/box of 12. Photo by Ed Rudolph.

 

Aug. 5, 2019

 

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