754 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Monday – Saturday: 9am to 6pm
Sunday : 10:30am to 6pm
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the best chocolatiers in the country. XOX Truffles is rated one of the greatest chocolate’s in America by Chocolatier Magazine. Little did I know that it was right in my own backyard. Located on the edge of the North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco on Columbus Ave, between Filbert and Greenwich, it is a common destination for locals and tourists alike. Easy to get to by bus, on foot, or if you are up for the San Francisco experience, the cable car. XOX Truffles is one of the places that makes San Francisco what it is; a city with an international reputation as a center for art and culture. In this case XOX Truffles is literally, a taste of local flavor.
Jean-Marc and Casimira Gorce founded XOX Truffles in 1997. With Jean-Marc as the creative talent and Casimira, his wife, as the business sense, XOX soon took off as part of the chocolate community of San Francisco. Jean-Marc was inspired to make truffles in response to a heart attack which threatened his life, so these beautiful confections really are a celebration of life and how sweet it can be. A sweetness that he shares with his patrons every day, in flavors such as cognac, his favorite,
Casimira’s favorite, white chocolate enrobed in white chocolate, spicy cayenne tequila, a l’Orange, one of my favorites, and many more. You can check out their website or take a trip to the shop to see a full list. He will also take suggestions and is very accessible. You may just be a part of the next truffle revolution. Each truffle will saturate your senses with its title flavor, brought out by the smooth, chocolatey ganache that provides a base for all of them. The cozy shop has a counter at the window where you can sit while waiting for a cappuccino, or if you decide to have a chat, or watch the truffle making process.
During our discussion, Jean-Marc informed me that chocolatiers are disappearing from San Francisco at an amazing rate. Some due to the recession, others have tried to expand to quickly, and several, such as the Scharffen Berger Chocolate have been bought by Hershey. There is something so wonderful about stepping into this shop and seeing the owner creating these delicious gems right before your eyes. You can’t mass market this feeling. Jean-Marc told me that he has managed to keep the business alive by keeping it small. XOX Truffles has some wholesale accounts managed by Casimira and Jean-Marc maintains a single store front and kitchen with the assistance of one employee, Kirby. She is a student at the San Francisco Institute of Art and assists him in the creation of these one of a kind truffles. Her favorite truffle is the matcha green tea. I was able to see them in action.
The cocoa powder. Root of all chocolate truffles.
Once the filling is made it is piled into in a pastry bag.
The filling is then applied to the tray for cooling
Not a bit of chocolate or space wasted. So beautiful. I would eat them just like this.
Once cooled, they are enrobed in cocoa powder, a chocolate shell or chopped nuts, such as the noisette. Another one of my favorites.
Once complete they are each as individual as a snowflake.
Then, into the case they go, for your viewing pleasure. Soon to be consumed by ravenous chocolate lovers.
And, if you want someone to love you forever XOX is here to help you seal the deal.
And, if you are very lucky, you may meet regulars, Wednesday and Morticia. They come to XOX Truffles everyday. They give hi-5’s for treats!
You will find the store adorned with some of the many endorsements XOX Truffles has received from numerous publications,
A salute to cocoa in all of its may forms,
and photos of France where Jean-Marc had his apprenticeship.
XOX Truffles is a great place to come, not just to treat yourself or buy a gift, but on a nice day you can get a coffee and a free truffle and just sit in front of the shop and watch the world go by. That is exactly what I did yesterday. Of course I also bought 20 truffles for my tasting enjoyment. As a chocolate lover an exercise regime is a must. In addition to the truffles I have mentioned previously, the earl grey truffle is phenomenal.
Getting there can be quite an adventure in itself. If you go through China Town on a Saturday (Shopping day) and there is a festival going on. There is always a festival somewhere in San Francisco on any given weekend. If you are on the tourist circuit this is perfect. Or if you are in North Beach for lunch, walk over to XOX Truffles for a decadent dessert. It is impossible not to be impressed.
Once you arrive XOX Truffles is close enough to the center of North Beach to be accessible, but far enough that it is a nice quiet place to sit and enjoy San Francisco in one of its many manifestations.
Keep the art of chocolate alive!