After Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring co-founded Plaxo, the online social address book, then sold it for a gazillion bucks, what was left for them to do?
Travel the world?
Catch up on lost sleep?
Compete in triathlons?
How about start a chocolate factory?
Yup, they did exactly the latter in 2010 when they founded Dandelion Chocolate, which moved its factory only last year to San Francisco’s Mission District.
A true bean-to-bar endeavor, it had its beginnings in a Silicon Valley garage, appropriately enough, before moving to its present location, a much larger garage on Valencia Street, the former Excellent Automotive Service and Repair.
It’s the only bean-to-bar chocolate company in San Francisco besides TCHO, which is located on Pier 17.
Masonis and Ring source the beans from Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Madagascar to create their hand-crafted, single-origin $8 chocolate bars. Local food artisans also make use of their chocolate to create other confections.
My brother Alan, knowing my fondness for chocolate, paid a visit there over the holidays to snag some Dandelion treats for me as a gift.
Kika’s Treats of San Francisco enrobes buttery, crumbly rounds of shortbread with Dandelion’s Rio Caribe dark chocolate, which Masonis has likened to having the taste of “brownie batter.” The chocolate coating was indeed very smooth and deeply fudgy tasting. If like me you love orange together with chocolate, you’ll appreciate the specks of candied orange in the cookies even more.
Feve Artisan Chocolatier of San Francisco also uses the Rio Caribe to coat Madagascar cocoa nibs. They’re crunchy tiny nuggets with a roasty quality and an edge of bitterness. They’re so good you can eat them out of hand. But they’d be fabulous sprinkled over ice cream or even topping your bowl of morning oatmeal.
There’s a new chocolate in town. And it’s about time you got to know it.