Like a babe in an urban meadow, I serendipitously stumbled upon Alice and Todd just outside my door at San Francisco’s Mission District Farmer’s Market, plucking my very first Dandelions in the summer of 2011. Just a year prior, Todd and Cam had planted the seeds of the most delectable Dandelions I, and so many others, have ever tasted. Dandelion Chocolate‘s evolving line of small-batch single-origin chocolates usually includes ever-popular Venezuelan and Madagascan origins, as well as a third origin, from, say, Costa Rica, Colombia or the Dominican Republic, to mix things up. Each bar’s flavors are distinctive and beautiful. Don’t take my word for it: Dandelion won a Good Food Award right out of the gate for its Costa Rica bar in 2012 and another in 2013 for the Madagascar.
Sweet 2012 Dandelion bouquet
Since that sunny afternoon, I’ve discovered that the main likeness of these Dandelions to their downtrodden namesake lies in their ability to thrive. In fact, it’s demand that’s been quickly spreading like a weed, with Dandelion lovingly monitoring growth and production. Almost immediately I noticed Dandelions in all my favorite San Francisco chocolate shops, like Chocolate Covered, Bi-Rite and Fog City News, and a year later they even graced my Mission: Craft Chocolate LA with their presence until the overwhelming success of the new cafe and chocolate factory on Valencia Street prevented Dandelion from taking on additional wholesale customers. (Two savvy LA shops snapped up the Dandelions before it was too late: Farmshop and Vicente Foods. Go get ’em!) Interest is such that locally the Dandelions often sell out before day’s end at the cafe, and farther afield they’ve been lauded by publications from Zagat to the Wall Street Journal. Wherever you may be, you can pick a bunch at Dandelion’s online store.
Dandelion welcomes the craft chocolate community for brunch, January 2013
Rest easy, though, that success hasn’t stomped on Dandelion’s accessible, humble nature. Apparently employees that play together stay together, and the Dandelion family has been having a collective blast moving into its new digs, collaborating with neighbors, traveling to cacao origins, testing hands at chocolate making and just plain playing. Literally. Like, even the banjo.
Here’s to Dandelions sprouting up in happy fields near and far for many a year to come!