Just in time for Valentine’s Day, San Francisco’s TCHO chocolate factory has come up with some goodies sure to make any chocoholic swoon.
The company, which sources, roasts and makes its own chocolate, is famous for its distinctive bars that highlight various flavor notes inherent in chocolate: “Fruity,” “Nutty,” “Citrus” and “Chocolatey,” for instance.
But TCHO also makes chocolate confections. Its Artisan Confections are chocolate bonbons that come packaged in boxes of four ($12.95), 16 ($44.95) and 25 ($64.95) pieces.
Recently, I had a chance to try some samples.
The charcoal-colored box held four pieces. There was a dark angular dome filled with wild Morello cherries in liqueur, made appropriately enough with TCHO’s “Fruity” dark chocolate, which enhanced the berry notes of the filling. The company’s “Serious Milk Chocolate,” which tastes much more intensely chocolatey than most other milk chocolates enrobed another bonbon with a center of ground Piedmont hazelnuts. The filling was smooth, but still held little flecks of ground nuts for a nice mix of textures. The company’s “Citrus” chocolate, which does have a more acidic edge, married with a filling of bright blood orange. The Marshall Farm’s Bay Area honey caramel, covered in 68 percent dark chocolate, was amazingly buttery tasting.
TCHO likes to use local ingredients in its products. A shining example is its Mokaccino bar ($12.95 for two 58g bars), which is made with freshly brewed Blue Bottle Coffee. The caramel notes in its SeriousMilk chocolate are heightened by the smooth, roasty, malty flavors of the coffee. If you put a square in your mouth and close your eyes, you’d be hard pressed to not think you were sipping a mug of strong mocha. It’s a bar that’s definitely hard to stop eating, especially if you are a coffee lover.
The “TCHOIntense” ($12.95 for two 58g bars) is for those who like their chocolate as dark as the bewitching hour. There’s no real sweetness in this bar, which is 99 percent cacao. That being said, there’s also very little bitterness. If you like your chocolate extremely earthy and pure with a finish that goes on and on, this one’s for you.