What is it about San Francisco that produces such great chocolate? The city by the Bay is also a city known for delicious treats. Poco Dolce, a chocolate shop now producing artisan delights, got its start as a bakery. The name Poco Dolce translates to “a little sweet” and reflects owner Kathy Wiley’s preference for flavors that are rich and intriguing rather than simply a sugar blast.
Wiley is known for having a deft hand for creating sweets with nuanced combinations. Her chocolate tiles in flavors such as Burnt Caramel and Aztec Chile are sold in boutique gourmet shops around the country and her popcorn toffee, a mix of popcorn and toffee cloaked in bittersweet chocolate is the stuff of legend.
For those who are lactose intolerant or trying to steer clear of dairy, Poco Dolce has a line of Olive Oil chocolate bars that will appeal to anyone looking for something a bit apart from the usual options. We caught up with Wiley to ask her a few questions about the Poco Dolce line.
I have always wanted to run my own business like my father and brother before me. That combined with my love of food led me to chocolate. Chocolate in particular was appealing in that it’s both creative and has a science to it. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy cooking, so it was natural to incorporate savory spices and flavors. Artisan chocolate as my first business fit perfectly.
How does the process of creating dairy-free chocolate differ from regular chocolate production?
It’s very important to keep both processes separate to keep the chocolate dairy free. We use a separate kitchen area for our dairy free bittersweet bar line.
What’s your strangest chocolate pairing?
That would be our Bittersweet Five Spice Bar. It combines Chinese five spice blend (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Szechuan pepper) with our bittersweet chocolate. It has a very layered affect as the tastes of each spice comes to the palate.
We’ve seen sea salt and chile, what’s the next trend in chocolate flavoring?
The next trend seems to be adding healthy grains and fruit.
What is your process for sourcing chocolate and what social/ethical considerations do you adhere to?
We work very closely with our chocolate supplier which is a family run business that has been going strong locally for over a hundred years. They have close relationships with their cacao providers, paying a fair price that allows the sustainability of the cacao crop and livelihood.
Deidre Woollard served as the lead editor on Luxist.com for six years writing about real estate, auctions, jewelry and luxury goods. Her love for luxury real estate led her to work at realtor.com and two of the top real estate brokerages in Los Angeles as well as doing publicity for properties around the world.