On a beautifully sunny and crisp San Francisco January day, (the kind of day that makes me wonder why I moved away...even if I do know that it is only a brief moment of peace between the usual rain and fog).... I finally made it to TCHO. The new(ish) chocolate company on the SF Embarcadero. I must say that I was really impressed. The whole operation is done right there on pier 17! While working in San Francisco, I would take my daily lunchtime walk from Pier 39 all the way down to Pier 1 and back. I moved away from San Francisco just before this place opened. So unfair. I would have loved to stop off at TCHO every once and a while for a few tastes of their newest experiment.
TCHO makes an exquisite, delicious, smooth product, made from perfectly chosen cocoa beans that express the specific flavors that are meant to shine. They are currently producing dark chocolate squares in beautiful colorful wrappers ... Citrus, Nutty, Fruity, and Chocolatey. Their products are all natural with no additives. All of the flavor comes directly from the cocoa plants....just like wine, from the grapes. AND, it is all ethically sourced. You can read all about it on their website, and that alone will make you want to buy their products.
I first had TCHO chocolate, when I bought a bar of the Nutty at my local Whole Foods in Cleveland, Ohio. I bought it because it was new, the packaging was interesting, and because it was from San Francisco (my hometown). Now, I must admit that this chocolate is not cheap, but it is wonderful. With all of the junk that is being sold these days, I am willing to pay a little more for a great product, rather than pay a little less for a terrible product. The chocolate was smooth, dark and perfect. It melts in your mouth. There were rich nutty notes, and nothing sweet or sugary. While at the TCHO factory in SF, I was able to try all of the others as well. All had the same smoothness, while each had their own specific uniqueness. There is a lovely cafe/store there as well, so I had to make a few small purchases. I decided on one of their gift packs (for a friend) in which you can sample all of their flavors, and also (for a little something different) a small tin of dark chocolate-covered mango bites. I eat a few every night, before going to bed.
In addition to their incredible quality of products, TCHO is situated for success with its perfect blend of business expertise and passion for chocolate. As an MBA, I get very excited about businesses like these. It began with the space shuttle engineer with a passion for great chocolate. He took his idea and teamed up with a German chocolate maker veteran, with 40 years of experience setting up chocolate companies. Then they added the two Silicon Valley Wired Magazine executives....and Voila! A masterpiece of a well oiled, technologically savvy, modern chocolate company with a fabulous product. So smart...and so well done.