What comes to mind when you think of chocolate? In popular culture, chocolate is defined by Hershey’s with its classic logo-embossed milk chocolate bar. Unless you live in San Diego. Our local confectionary geniuses are infusing truffles with spices, bringing new meaning to potato chips and cacao, and sourcing local sea salt from the Pacific Ocean to sprinkle onto caramel. Chocolate is so much more than a simple bar when you let a chocolatier do their magic. Whether you are looking for a gift or merely in need of satisfying your sweet tooth, these artisans are bound to have the perfect type of chocolate you’re looking for.

Photo Cred: Chi Chocolat

Chi Chocolat 

Pronounced shoh/koh/lah (like the movie) and located next door to sister Banyan Kitchen, Chi Chocolat produces fresh artisan chocolate for the individual consumer or in larger quantities for events, weddings, and gifts. From exquisite bon bons to slabs of pure chocolate, this chocolatier does not disappoint.

Photo cred: Chuao Chocolatier
Photo cred: David Bacco
Photo cred: Chuao Chocolatier
Photo cred: David Bacco

Chocolate Haus 

Stepping into Chocolate Haus on Turquoise Street is reminiscent of being in a small town neighborhood confectionary. This north Pacific Beach shop creates rich, decadent chocolate with a true homestyle touch. They also serve candy and ice cream.

Chuao Chocolatier

Perhaps the most well-known chocolate producer in San Diego, Chuao is famous for their incredibly creative chocolate bar editions, from bacon to kettle potato chip. Make sure to grab their holiday sampler that contains infusions of gingerbread, cookies, peppermint, and smores— plus an “exploding bar of coal.” Perfect for the stocking.

Photo cred: Deux Cranes Chocolate by Laila Said

David Bacco

These show-stopping truffles are the perfect gift for someone special. With 24 different selections, you can choose from spice-infused ganache truffles like Toscano, a fusion of basil and lemon, or more traditional fillings like roasted nuts and salted caramel.

Dallmann Fine Chocolates

Chocolate runs in the family at this confectionary. Owner Isabella Knack’s father ran a chocolate shop in their quaint hometown outside of Salzburg, Austria. Inspired by his appreciation for the craft, Isabella now owns and operates Dallmans in San Diego, which offers an amazing variety of confections from gift sets to limited holiday collections. Eggnog truffles, here we come.

Photo cred: Mission Heights

Deux Cranes

Owner Michiko, a fourth generation Japanese-American, creates adventurous combinations which go far beyond the traditional chocolate bar. She creates unique caramels, like this one crafted with miso and Japanese pepper. There are a handful of vegan options as well, such as the popular and decadent matcha almond with yuzu bar. We guarantee you will be drooling after a look at the full collection.

Eclipse Chocolate

The pandemic may have put Eclipse’s popular Build-a-Bar nights on hold, but you can still create your own infusions online. Don’t forget to try the menu from their cafe, where every dish is made with a sweet infusion. Think mascarpone stuffed meatballs with a vanilla salted crostini and avocado benedict with chile burnt caramel hollandaise.

Mission Heights Chocolate

This boutique factory run by husband and wife team, Dan and Camille McKenna, produces fairtrade, sustainable chocolate. Their hand-churned caramel contains salt harvested directly from the Pacific Ocean here in San Diego. Now that is local! Be sure to grab one of their holiday collections while it lasts.

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