The Mission's new bean-to-bar chocolate factory, Dandelion Chocolate (740 Valencia), opened its café component last week. Included on the menu of hot chocolates (served by the cup or pot) and European drinking chocolate is an extra unusual item: cacao fruit smoothies.
This is a rare opportunity to taste the flavor of cacao fruit pulp, which Dandelion likens to lychee (we think it is slightly more tart). If you have traveled to South America or Africa, maybe you've had this fruit, but the only time we've previously spotted it in San Francisco was at one of TasteTV's Chocolate Salons, when sample tastes of fruit flown in from South Africa were offered.
See Also: Dandelion Chocolate: Now Open!
Dandelion's smoothie is a pretty marvelous accompaniment to (and palate cleanser for) the small cups of the extra thick and rich European drinking chocolate. We ordered ours to go so it wasn't plated with the tiny madeleine cookie that accompanies in-house orders, but they thoughtfully gave us a bag with one to enjoy with it.
At $7, this smoothie is not cheap; cacao pulp is not readily available here. Still, it's worth ordering at least once, and we're already thinking about our next one.