I came down from the Djerassi mountain to spend a day in civilization with the folks at Dandelion Chocolate in Palo Alto. One thing I liked best about this trip was that it confirmed the legend that the revolutionary companies of Silicon Valley all really do start in a garage.
Cameron Ring and Todd Masonis, founders of Dandelion, have been running their chocolate taste-tests out of a garage now for a couple of years and, true to the Valley's reputation for start-up brilliance, are making extraordinary chocolate. It's some of the best I have ever eaten -- especially their Madagascar bar, which made me feel as if the cocoa beans themselves were melting in my mouth. There was nothing at all -- no lecithin, no vanilla, no added cocoa butter -- standing between me and that sunshiney, almost lime-flavored Madagascar bean.
If you live in San Francisco, you can find Dandelion Chocolate on Thursdays at the Mission Community Market. Their factory and cafe will open soon in the Mission, at 740 Valencia St. Go there and eat their chocolate -- it will be the happiest part of your day.
|Todd sorting through Madagascar and Venezuela cocoa beans|
|Alice sampling Madagascar chocolate as she |
measures the size of cocoa particles with a micrometer
|Mmmmmmm . . . fresh garage chocolate|
|The team (l-r): Todd, Cameron, Alice,|
and (almost Dr.) Chiann, aka the Wrapping Ninja