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The Oakland Chocolate Company

10/16/09 | by slowfoodsf | The Bay

"Our Chocolate Story" Oakland Chocolate Company, 2009.

"Our Chocolate Story" Oakland Chocolate Company, 2009.

On Saturday October 10, Nancy Nadel opened up the doors of her Oakland chocolate factory to give some Slow Food SF members a tour and a taste. Nancy works with the bean from nib to bar/truffle/bon bon. And it isn’t only the process that receives her full attention but also the harvesting and production. She works specifically with Jamaican farmers, which can provide some interesting political situations. Part of her choice to work there centered on her desire to help support a diversification of crops within Jamaica. But the taste doesn’t hurt.

While there, we sampled nibs (delicious on top of ice cream), truffles, bars, and a variety of filled chocolates. Nancy is constantly experimenting with fillings and even those, when she can, come from Jamaica. On her website (www.theoaklandchocolateco.com), you can find the full listing of all her experimentation. A particularly delicious one was the pumpkin filling inside a dark chocolate shell. Others were tempted by the chipotle, blue corn truffle. Need a treat to take to a community potluck this fall? Here’s your answer.

But what makes this chocolate factory special, aside from it not being owned by one of the few chocolate megacompanies, is the depth of involvement of Nancy Nadel. She will answer all your questions about the organic methods and the financial burdens her farmers face trying to pay for certification. She will talk to you about the subtle flavors of a nutty chocolate and the best beverage pairings for your chocolates. And she’ll probably entertain those crazy flavor combinations you’ve always wanted to try.

We hope to see a lot more of Nancy’s chocolates as she continues to experiment and perfect an always satisfying treat.