Sonoma County is home to an emerging group of artisan chocolatiers who are making small-batch chocolates with a Wine Country flair. Many of them are housed in an industrial area of Windsor, which they call “The Windsor Chocolate Block.” More than just candy bars, their creations are delicious works of art that are as lovely to look at as they are to eat. Click through the above gallery for the sweet deets.
You’ll find most Sonoma County chocolates in specialty grocers like Oliver’s, Fircrest, or Pacific Market unless otherwise noted.
Fleur Sauvage: Run by husband-and-wife team Robert and Tara Nieto, Fleur Sauvage specializes in artistic artisan chocolates. The couple recently opened a new storefront in Windsor. Robert, who previously worked as pastry chef at Madrona Manor, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro and Jackson Family Wines, crafts the chocolates, while Tara runs the front of the store, where you can order espressos, lattes and hot chocolate to warm up on cold winter days. 370 Windsor River Rd., Windsor, fleursauvagechocolates.com.
Volo Chocolate: Jeff and Susan Mall of Volo Chocolate discovered their passion for chocolate while living and working as chefs in Mexico. They started experimenting with flavors, created a "bean-to-bar" craft chocolate recipe and, when they returned to Sonoma County, launched their own chocolate business. They use sustainable chocolate from farmers in Guatemala and Haiti for their handmade chocolate bars. Find their chocolates in a variety of local stores and online at volochocolate.com.
Wine Country Chocolates: Run by mother-and-daughter team Betty and Caroline Kelly, Wine Country Chocolates create truffles and other chocolates made with local wines (Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Port) and local fruit. Fan favorites include Cappuccino-Tiramisu, Fresh Orange and Dulce de Leche. 414 First St. E., Sonoma, 707-996-1010, winecountrychocolates.com.
Sjaaks Organic Chocolates: A family-owned business in Petaluma founded by a chocolatier from Holland, Sjaaks creates award-winning vegan chocolates. Their "Cupid's Kisses" was named one of top 8 vegan chocolate boxes in the U.S. by PETA. Find chocolate assortment boxes, drinking chocolate, chocolate bars and more online at sjaaks.com/shop.
Farm Chocolate: Patty Doyle of Farm Chocolate employs traditional chocolate-making methods and uses "the finest sustainably sourced ingredients she can find" to craft her chocolates. Her creations include chocolate-dipped cognac figs, sea salt caramel, chocolate-covered rose marshmallows and orange-walnut toffee. Order online at farmchocolate.com.
Eye Candy Chocolatier: Eye Candy's chocolates are made by local ophthalmologist and master chocolatier Sonja Schluter, who launched her chocolate business in 2016, after years of making chocolate for friends and colleagues. She received her culinary training from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Ecole Chocolate in San Francisco and Callebaut Chocolate Academy. Find her caramels and assorted truffles at eyecandychocolatier.com or at her Sebastopol store at 6761 Sebastopol Avenue.
Ora Cacao: Formerly Firefly Chocolate, Ora Cacao sources cacao from farmers around the world to create ceremonial cacao (or drinking chocolate) based on ancient traditions. The company, based in Graton, offers a variety of 100% cacao, with names like Boundless Belize and Glowing Guatemala, and cacao enhanced with spices and mushrooms such as reishi, chaga, cordyceps, maitake and shiitake. The drinks can be mixed with nut milks and consumed as part of a ritualized community gathering. Find out more at ceremonial-cacao.com.
Sonoma Chocolatiers: David Gambill and Susan McCarn, founders of Sebastopol’s Sonoma Chocolatiers, focus strictly on dark chocolates. "Taste the Dark Side" is the company slogan and they offer more than 140 flavors of decadent truffles, soft caramels and chocolates in traditional and unexpected flavors, such as cinnamon rose, honey saffron caramel, bourbon black walnut and ginger turmeric currant coconut. 6988 McKinley St., Sebastopol, sonomachocolatiers.com.
Baci Chocolatier: Another artisan chocolate business based in Windsor, Baci Chocolatier crafts truffles, chocolate bars and chocolate sauces in small batches made fresh to order. The company has won several awards, including the Good Food Award, and has been a finalist in The Press Democrat's Best of Sonoma County competition. Online at bacichocolatier.com.
The Chocolate Cow: A family-run business in the town of Sonoma, The Chocolate Cow has served homemade truffles, fudge, ice cream and other sweet treats for more than 30 years. Mercado Shopping Plaza, 452 1st St E, Sonoma. Online at thechocolatecowsonoma.com.
Rainy Day Chocolate: In Santa Rosa, Rainy Day Chocolate makes award-winning nib-to-bar chocolate. Find them online at rainydaychocolate.com.
Oliver's Market: The Sonoma County grocery chain has its own brand of chocolates — pictured here, strawberry champagne. oliversmarket.com.
See's Candies: A Bay Area favorite for chocolate-lovers for nearly 100 years, you can find local See's Candies stores at Montgomery Village and Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa and Washington Square Center in Petaluma.
Amy's Kitchen: Healthy frozen meal purveyor and local drive-thru restaurant owner Amy's makes its own vegan and gluten-free candy bars. Pictured here, the Creamy Candy Bar made with caramel, chocolate and vanilla. amys.com.
Written by Sonoma Magazine Staff