With about a dozen banquette seats sandwiched between flame-red walls, and with just as many hot chocolate flavors (American-style dark chocolate, Venezuelan chile spice, coconut curry, Chinese five-spice, passion fruit, raspberry, citrus, peanut butter, hazelnut, mint, mocha, and espresso), the new Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate shop is open for business in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. Christopher Elbow flew in from his home base in Kansas City, Missouri, to open the doors just nine days before Valentine's Day, with a lineup featuring his signature Peanut Praline with Pop Rocks bon bon and a special-edition Absinthe Ganache candy, named for the restaurant across the street.
There have been a few shouts and murmurs online, but Elbow hasn't yet updated his own site to include info on the West Coast location, and the opening party for Bay Area glitterati won't come until March.
A lesser chocolatier might have been nervous about coming to America's cosmopolitan chocolate capital from one of the states in the middle of the country, but Elbow has two wins at New York's Next Generation Chocolatier competition behind him. He also has a loyal San Francisco following, since local chocolate boutique CocoaBella has carried the Christopher Elbow brand for several years. Even Michael Recchiuti and his wife, Jacky, took a break from their chocolate factory in San Francisco's revitalized Dogpatch neighborhood to welcome the new arrival.
"What a nice shop," Recchiuti said. "And Christopher and his wife/partner, Jennifer, are super gracious folks. We brought over a bottle of Champagne to toast their opening, and then we all went out for a bite to eat at Canteen."
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