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 Holiday Gift Guide for Luxury Travelers

Photo Essay: California's Chocolates Through the Lens

Photo Essay: California’s Chocolates Through the Lens

America may not be known for churning out the finest in chocolate, but it still has its share of chocolatiers and artisan brands that are worth exploring. And two of those brands hail from California! That’s a proud moment for this native Californian. ­čÖé

If you’re in Northern California, sample the creamy, luscious flavors of Ghirardelli chocolate. If in San Francisco, head over to Ghirardelli Square and visit the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Manufactory, where you can view the original chocolate manufacturing equipment, indulge in Hot Fudge Sundaes (the best part!), and sample one of the many flavored varieties. Though the Swiss chocolate conglomerate Lindt and Spr├╝ngli acquired Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in 1998, it’s still one of the few American chocolate companies that control the entire manufacturing process locally, from cocoa bean to finished product.

Though there aren’t any factory tours available anymore, there are free guided walking history tours of Ghirardelli Square every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9:30am.

Some of the flavors available:

  • Milk chocolate
  • Milk chocolate with┬ácaramel┬áfilling
  • Milk chocolate with caramelized almonds
  • Milk chocolate with┬ápeanut butter
  • 60%┬ácacao┬ádark chocolate┬á(Evening Dream)
  • 60% cacao dark chocolate with caramel filling
  • 60% cacao dark chocolate with espresso
  • 72% cacao (Twilight Delight)
  • 80% cacao dark chocolate
  • 86% cacao (Midnight Reverie)
  • Dark chocolate with salt and almonds
  • Dark chocolate with mint filling
  • Dark chocolate with raspberry filling
  • White chocolate with vanilla bean
  • Peppermint bark, layered white and milk chocolate with candy cane pieces (holiday exclusive)
  • Peppermint bark with Dark Chocolate, same as above except dark chocolate replaces milk chocolate (holiday exclusive)
  • Cinnamon-spiced almond (holiday exclusive)
  • Egg nog (holiday exclusive)
  • Pecan pie (holiday exclusive)
  • Milk chocolate with pumpkin spice caramel filling (holiday exclusive)

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Moving on to Southern California, See’s Candies is the crowning glory, ever since it was founded in Los Angeles back in 1921 by Charles and Mary See. Since then, it’s expanded its empire all across the West Coast of the United States, with one factory in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles.

Some of the flavors available:

  • Bordeaux (my absolute favorite-pictured below in the 4th picture)
  • Milk Buttercream
  • California Brittle
  • Pumpkin Pie Truffles
  • Pecan Buds
  • Peanut Butter Patties
  • Scotchmallow
  • Vanilla Walnut Fudge
  • Raspberry Cream
  • Dark Peppermints

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