From handmade truffles to rich and creamy mochas, San Diego's chocolatiers really do raise the bar when it comes to cacao. Whether you're a purist seeking single-origin "bean to bar" dark chocolate, or treating a loved one to a box of handcrafted and exotically flavored confections, to help kick off Eater Sweets Week we've rounded up ten chocolate shops around town where you can indulge your sweet tooth.Read More
Where to Eat Chocolate in San Diego
Raising the bar when it comes to cacao
1. David Bacco Chocolatier
David Bacco’s modernist looking creations run between $9.99 (4 pieces) to $89.99 (36 pieces) for either a pre-assorted or custom truffle box. Exotic flavor profiles include Sri Lankan cinnamon, Southwest Indian cardamom and Caribbean spice. There are single origin bars too – Venezuelan white, jade ‘fleur de sel’ with smoked sea salt and 64% Madagascan with hazelnuts – plus a spicy ‘Aztec’ drinking chocolate.
2. The Elegant Truffle
For hand made chocolates and Belgian truffles this artisan chocolatier in Shelter Island/Point Loma is real a hidden gem. Owner chef Jen “the truffle temptress” uses her grandmother's original copper pot (and recipe) to make caramels, while her truffles are delicious and come in variety of flavors like margarita, dark chocolate and espresso.
3. Chi Chocolat
An extension of the Banyan Kitchen catering business, you’ll find everything from artisan truffles and bonbons to chunky slabs of premium chocolate at this Liberty Station sweet shop. Chi Chocolat’s mocha game is also strong (some say the best in town!) - hazelnut, caramel, vanilla and raspberry variations gracing the menu - in addition to “real” hot or iced blended chocolate in regular, spiced and Mexican.
Whether you need a box for a birthday or just because, this boutique outlet specializes in creating artisan chocolates in exquisite flavors (rosewater caramel, spicy passion, lemongrass/mint), exotic and traditional chocolate bars, and famed Austrian specialty, Mozartkugel - a fine blend of hazelnut nougat and pistachio marzipan covered with bittersweet couverture. You can sign up for a paired tasting ($35), take the Chocolate 101 class ($25) or learn how to temper, prepare and fill your own confections at one of Dallmann’s chocolate making classes here too.
5. The Chocolate Lush
Working from a small industrial kitchen in La Mesa, Ashley Drake aka ‘The Chocolate Lush’ makes custom-order truffles and chocolates for discerning cacao lovers across San Diego. Some recent featured flavors include cold smoked cherry and vanilla bean, red wine caramels, peanut butter milk stout, strawberry balsamic, raspberry chipotle, lavender honey, blackberry thyme, and chai tea. Prices vary but during the holidays you can snag variety boxes with 22-24 pieces for $40 or 18-20 pieces for $30.
6. Chuao Chocolatier Café
Somewhat of a go-to chocolatier in San Diego CHUAO boasts two locations - one in Encinitas and one in Del Mar. At both you’ll find a wide selection of gourmet handcrafted chocolate truffles including eclectic flavor options like bacon and chipotle caramel fudge with popping candy. You’ll also find chocolate bars and gelato - must tries are the blackberry cabernet chocolate chip and spicy Maya. Spoil someone special with a wine, beer or whiskey paired gourmet gift box, which range in price from $31.95 to $75.95.
7. Sweet Petite Confections
For handmade bonbons, barks and truffles with interesting flavor combinations head to this boutique chocolatier in Clairemont. Taste profiles include everything from milk chocolate and yuzu blend the ‘Bam! Bang! Pow!’ to lavender with rice crispies and a seasonal ‘Falling Leaves’ collection with pumpkin, maple and apple cider. There are chocolate making class here too where you can create your own bark, molded chocolates and more.
8. Eclipse Chocolate Bar
Made with Fair Trade certified couverture chocolate, South Park’s resident confectioner handcrafts caramels, chocolate bars and truffles, in addition to drinking and baking chocolates. Chocolate lovers won't want to miss the monthly brewery tasting series called ‘Chocolate Threeway’ - held one Thursday each month enjoy an hour-long guided tasting with three exotic truffles and three artisan cheeses paired with three craft beers for $20.
9. Nibble Chocolates
Handcrafted in small batches using single origin cocoa beans - sourced from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Peru - Nibble Chocolate is a homegrown San Diego company specializing in ethical chocolate with no artificial flavors. Made with cane sugar, bars range from 72% to 85% cacao and are all vegan-friendly. A single will set you back $6, a ‘Four Bar Flight’ costs $24 while a ‘Chocolate Journey’ – an assortment of 12 bars from four different origins – comes in at $72.
10. Chocolate Haus
Chocolatier Pete Close has been creating his handmade chocolates and confections at his Pacific Beach shop since 2004. Load up on individual truffles from his essential collection of old favorites or newly inspired delights, varieties include a caramel Bailey’s, Grand Marnier, ‘lavenberry’, lemon truffle and salted chai latte. There are confections too - chocolate ‘turtles’ with Texas pecans and brittles like coconut dipped in white chocolate.