We know it’s something of a Hallmark holiday, but, if you haven’t yet dissolved into a puddle of cynicism in the past eleven months, this is the Valentine’s Day chocolate gift guide for you. Save your Godiva or Lindt-shopping spree for after Feb. 14, when the brand names go on sale at Target, and opt to shop small and local when buying a special gift for your loved ones. Or, in the immortal words of Parks & Recreation and self-care-themed Etsy candles, treat yourself!
535 Folsom St.
Founded and owned by sisters Wendy and Susan Lieu, Socola Chocolatier incorporates “unique, cosmopolitan flavors” in its sweets. Some standouts include: the raspberry pop rocks chocolate bar ($9.95); the Little Saigon Box ($38.95 for 12 pieces), which features lychee, sriracha, and spices commonly found in pho (“beef and noodles not included”); and the tea collection ($38.95 for 12 pieces).
2222 Palou Ave.
Feve’s nine-piece dome collection ($25) is a fan favorite, thanks to its colorful, glossy exteriors and exciting seasonal flavors. At press time, its rotating flavor guide sported raspberry lemon coconut, salted caramel, and gin and tonic.
1 Ferry Building, Shop #30
Recchiuti Confections has plenty of Valentine’s boxes to choose from, with themed ganache to match. Red and white beakers decorate its Chemistry of Love ($28) burnt caramel truffles, doves for its Love Birds box ($48), and heart-holding hand for its (yes, you guessed it) Heart in Hand chocolates ($88). Valentine’s Day is probably the most corny calendar day, so you might as well go all out.
9th and Larkin
This engineer-run shop boasts small batch, bean-to-bar chocolate, and a monthly chocolate club subscription ($32.99) for the gift that keeps on giving (or, automatically renewing every 30-ish days). This gift will arrive after Feb. 14, but a belated present might be worth it if it’s recurring.
The founder of BrigadeiroSprinkles, Zeila, used to make brigadeiros, a condensed milk and cocoa-based Brazilian dessert, in her hometown of São Paulo. Now, she does this at her shop in San Francisco. The Valentine’s Day sets ($45 for 12 pieces, $60 for 24) include rosewater and champagne-infused treats, along with other classic flavors like coffee or bourbon.
3901 18th St.
Kokak definitely follows through on the saying, “the more the merrier,” with its five-box chocolate love tower ($96.95) featuring truffles from its pies, coffee and tea, Castro pride, and happy hour collections. It also comes with a palette-shaped dark chocolate bar, but if you want to opt for something a little more traditional, order one of their five-piece Valentine’s bouquets ($19.95), complete with heart-shaped chocolates and gold floral designs.
754 Columbus Ave.
Truffle maker Jean-Marc Gorce grew up gifting and eating homemade chocolate for the holidays. Honoring that history, he’s taken a family recipe for French-style truffles to San Francisco, where he makes these sweets with his own style in North Beach. Each 20-piece truffle set ($15) comes in a variety of boozy flavors, like honey vodka or spicy cayenne tequila. There are also fruit and tea-based, non-liqueured flavors and vegan options. You can even buy a whole pound of them ($60) — that’s 80 pieces.
If you’re looking for a date idea that’s safe and indoors, why not try making chocolate yourself? TinyB Chocolate, an online brigadeiro shop made in San Francisco, sells DIY kits ($44-$64) stocked with eight toppings, three truffle fillings, and a jar of brigadeiro spread. No cooking is required with tinyB’s pre-made kit.
474 Columbus Ave.
The reviews for Z. Cioccolato’s Fudge of Month club are glowing with adjectives like “tasty,” “rich,” and “yummi scrumptious delicious,” so it seems like a subscription isn’t too bad of an idea. Every month for $25, you can get four new flavors shipped right to your doorstep. There are 50 different choices, from raspberry chocolate swirl to heath English toffee.