Are you as excited as we are about Dandelion Chocolate opening a factory right around the corner from our Market?? We asked Alice from Dandelion to tell us more about their craft and luscious final product…just in time for Valentine’s Day! Here’s what she had to say:
My name is Alice, and I help run the community and cultural pieces of Dandelion Chocolate. I began working here a little more than two years ago, in a garage, learning how to make chocolate.
At Dandelion, we make chocolate bars from the bean. We roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. Our whole process is about the bean — we work hard to source great beans from around the world, and then we get out of the way. We want the flavor in our bars to be bold, distinct with each new bean, and unadulterated. We don’t add any additional flavorings or ingredients to our bars, just cocoa beans and cane sugar.
We recently moved into our factory + cafe space at 740 Valencia Street. It’s been such an exciting move, and a long time in the making. Dandelion’s two co-founders, Todd and Cam, found the space almost three years ago. Permits and construction took quite a while, but we’re finally into our space, and the reward is huge! It’s been so exciting to open our doors. Guests can come in, order a hot chocolate, mocha, or a pastry, and watch our production team in action. Soon, we’ll have tastings, classes, and tours as well. A lot like Bi-Rite and 18 Reasons, we want our customers to be able to learn about what they’re eating. Seeing chocolate-making in action is pretty rare and we hope that it’s a treat for guests.
Our next big holiday is Valentine’s Day, and we hope it’s a chocolatey one! We’re starting the celebration early, on February 7th, by selling our bars at the Mission Community Market. Then, we hope to have a few special offerings in our cafe on February 14th. We’ll also have Pam of Shotwell Paper Mill outside our cafe from 12 PM – 5 PM making letterpress cards for guests to take home to their loved ones.
Then, in the next few months, I’ll be focusing on settling us into the neighborhood. I hope our space becomes a place where people love to spend a day lingering and learning. I’ll be working on all sorts of programs that connect the cafe and factory. Overall, we hope to inspire curiosity in our guests and to give them plenty of answers about how to make chocolate. It’s an exciting time and we have big goals!