Monday, June 21, 2010

Perfect Afternoon in the Haight

1. Denim shopping at Villains Vault
2. Summer Sale at Behind the Post Office
3. Dinner and a cocktail at the Alembic
4. Chocolate and wine pairings at Coco-luxe

Let’s talk about #4…my tour guides and I gathered at Coco-luxe last Thursday to sample their chocolate pairings with 122 West Wines. San Francisco industry folks may wonder - how can a chocolate shop serve wine? It involved some crafty maneuvering. Stephanie Marcon, chief chocolatier behind Coco-luxe, married Stan Bradbury, who decided to create a winery. The two worked the funky San Francisco system to get approved for a Tasting Room license in the Haight. The result is delightful, and something that no other chocolate shop can offer right now!

Longitude 122 West marks the home of Napa and Sonoma counties, where all the wine’s grapes are sourced. 122 West currently bottles 5 different wines, all available at Coco-luxe for tasting. We began with a light Napa sangiovese, followed by a food-friendly Napa zinfandel. We then sampled a Russian River syrah and a durif, and finished with a Sonoma port style wine.

Each taste of wine is accompanied by a small piece of dark chocolate and a truffle. The truffles are trademark Coco-luxe, inspired by Stephanie’s nostalgic desserts from childhood: german chocolate, malted milk, devil’s food, shoo-fly caramel and gingerbread. A favorite was the shoo-fly caramel. We taste salted caramels at least once a week on our tours (poor Gourmet Walks tour guides!), so the addition of molasses for the shoo-fly flavor is a refreshing change. The double cherry with the syrah was another excellent pairing, with the cherry truffle flavors drawing out the black cherry and cassis notes in the wine.

The Haight may not be at the top of a foodie's list for gourmet experiences, but the Coco-luxe boutique is a chic but warm haven away from the panhandlers and the fog. Bright orange sherbert walls, shiny white countertops, the smell of drinking chocolate and wine. It’s the perfect end to a well planned afternoon in the Haight. We’re happy to include the Coco-luxe wine tasting experience on our Limo Tours and private events. Please contact us to learn more at

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