Since Halloween is just around the corner, and rolling in right after that is the holiday season, we thought it only appropriate to explore the very important topic of sweets! We have chocolate and candies on the brain here in Union Square, and there is a whole slew of shops where you can procure these delectable items. From classic chocolates to specialty European candies to elegant, high-end indulgences, we’ve got something to satisfy every sweet tooth.
Any San Francisco sweet hunt must begin and possibly end with Ghirardelli. The renowned chocolate makers have been in business in San Francisco since the 1850’s when they capitalized upon gold miners’ desires for luxury goods. Of course, these days you see their eminently snackable chocolate squares all over the City, but for the full variety of flavors and packages, you must stop by one of their shops. While we always enjoy a trip out the Ghirardelli Square across town, we also boast a flagship shop right here in Union Square stocked to the brim with different flavors and gift packs of their delicious chocolates. For the holidays, they’re currently selling a pumpkin caramel variety that is absolutely to-die-for. They also have red and white striped packages filled with their peppermint variety, which is great as a holiday gift. Ghirardelli actually controls the whole process of creating these little confections from beans to bars, so you know that you’re getting a high-quality chocolate no matter what flavor you prefer. Just a few blocks away on Sutter Street is an adorable little confectioner called Fiona’s Sweet Shop. Opened by a British doctor on hiatus, this tiny shop packs a large variety of hard and soft candies from all over Europe, as well as a few English favorites like Cadbury chocolates. We’re particularly intrigued by the coconut mushrooms and gobstopping gingers. Also on Sutter Street is the high-end Swiss chocolate shop Teuscher. Their house specialty is a delicate Champagne Truffle made with cream, butter, chocolate and Dom Perignon. We’re sure it will please wine and chocolate lovers alike. They also carry a number of whimsical gift boxes, including cute kid-friendly animals and wedding varieties.
If you want chocolates that are as beautiful and unique as tiny works of art, you’ll need to head south to the Westfield San Francisco Centre. There you will find a lovely little chocolaterie called Cocoa Bella and an outpost of the classic Belgian chocolatiers Godiva. CocoaBella is a local company that has taken their chocolate shop to the next level by offering a wide assortment of gourmet chocolates from around Europe and North America alongside hot chocolate blends, chocolate flavored coffees and chocolate sauces. Since they have chocolates from all over the world they can offer assortments of international delights, as well as exotic spicy and savory flavored chocolates like banana curry and cinnamon black tea. You can mix and match whichever chocolate pieces look most exciting to you to make a custom treat for yourself or a friend. If you’re more of a traditionalist, you may want to stop by the Godiva boutique, also in the mall. Godiva first sold their chocolates in Belgium in 1926, and they have since become a global retailer of high-end, impeccable truffles and confections. They carry a wide array of rich, classic Belgian truffles along with chocolate bars and seasonal gift assortments. They also carry a newer line of Godiva Gems – little individually wrapped chocolate bites, perfect for a gift or to put out in a candy dish. Of course, right now they’re stocked with pumpkin-themed truffles and lollipops, and soon we’ll surely see other holiday flavors and shapes. It’s really difficult to go wrong whether you choose something seasonal or a simple dark or milk chocolate truffle box, since all of them are delightful, velvety chocolate heaven!
True chocolate fanatics may want even more choices, though, and that’s OK with us. If you’re willing to venture east toward the financial district you’ll be rewarded with two very different candy shops – one, possibly a warm memory from childhood and the other a fine Belgian chocolate importer nestled in the Crocker Galleria. The first is See’s Candies on Market Street. No matter how much variety we have in this city, there’s nothing quite like See’s. Certain candies just seem to evoke the holidays such as their butterscotch lollipops. At See’s you can buy anything from single chocolates to gift boxes, baskets and tins, and they also offer kosher and sugar-free varieties. If you’re shopping for a serious chocolate connoisseur, you may want to check out Leonida’s Chocolates in the Crocker Galleria. Their elegant chocolate shop offers a variety of butter creams, caramels and milk and dark chocolates brought in weekly from Belgium. We suggest the Manon Café (coffee butter cream, hazelnuts and white chocolate) or their Orange Ganache truffle. Those wishing to impress a chocolate-loving partner might want to consider their silk Jewelry Boxes filled with 30 truffles. It is sure to impress.
Do you have a toothache yet, or are you ready for more sugar? There is a chocolate or candy in Union Square for every type of sweet tooth, but don’t keep them all to yourself. We think sweets make a lovely gift for the holidays, and you know these assortments will not go to waste. Sugar enthusiasts can stay tuned for a future post on baked goods and ice cream in Union Square!