EnlargeCredit: Dandelion Chocolate
At Dandelion Chocolate, cocoa is serious stuff. Based in San Francisco, the makers regard the humble bean with the same respect and consideration as vintners do their grapes. Founded by two self-taught, life-long chocolate lovers, Dandelion completely strips down the production process: beans are roasted, cracked, and winnowed in small batches by hand, with beautiful results. Their chocolate is uniquely concentrated in flavor, at 70% pure cocoa bean with sugar as the only added ingredient. The three single varietal bars they currently make each have an incredibly distinct taste—my favourite is Elvesia, the Dominican Republic bar, which has strong fruity and tannic flavors. Currently available online and at select retailers and markets in San Francisco, the team is set to open a brand new café and chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco later this year.