San Francisco’s International Chocolate Salon provides sampling of the world

Since childhood, I have dreamed of sampling the chocolates of the world. As I grew older I realized that traveling the globe to eat chocolate was not likely a part of my future. Alas, I was tempted to give up my dream.

Little did I know that last Saturday my dream would become a reality. The International Chocolate Salon, held just a BART ride away in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, allowed me to fulfill my long held aspiration.

After an hour of meandering the 55,000 square-foot warehouse filled with artisan chocolatiers offering samples of their product I was so full of chocolate that the thought of buying a box sickened me. Here’s what I’m wishing I bought.

Because it looked good:

Oakland-based artisan chocolatier, Flying Noir, undoubtedly presented the most beautiful chocolates. True works of art, the sparkling, hand-rolled, hand-painted chocolates infused with flavors such as ghost chili, cara cara oranges, cardamom, Tahitian vanilla and guava tasted as good as they looked.

Because it was the best:

I may or may not have walked by La Chatelaine Chocolat Company’s booth six times to snag a sample of their sea salt chocolate caramels. With a rich and creamy texture these fancy but not obnoxiously complex chocolates feature flavors like chai, praline, curry and huckleberry.

Because buying Kosher, Organic, Gluten-Free, Anti-GMO, Vegan caramels would make me feel better about eating chocolate caramels:

Instead of butter and sugar, the usual foundation for caramel, Amella Caramels creates the world’s first cocoa butter based caramels, velvety smooth with a unique vanilla flavor. And if you aren’t sold on their delicious taste, both Amella’s vegan salted caramels made with raw agave nectar and coconut milk vegan caramel sauce are handmade, organic, gluten-free, kosher and Non GMO Project Certified, of course.

Because I also like toffee:

If reading this has made you want chocolate as much as writing it has made me want chocolate, you can order a box, or two … or five of the best of the International Chocolate Salon online. I won’t tell I promise. And if you feel guilty, go for the vegan.

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