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Monday, June 8, 2015

Nuubia Could Be the Zenith of Artisanal Chocolate

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge NUUBIA
  • Nuubia

Chocolate seems to be on a trajectory of ever-escalating quality. For instance, it was once considered socially acceptable to give Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews as Halloween candy without the risk of taking it to the jaw with a sock-ful of doorknobs. Later Godiva was regarded as the apex of Belgian culture and a discriminating palate. But now it’s just another litigious corporation with locations in every other mall, next to the T-Mobile kiosk, because now there is Nuubia SF.

click to enlarge NUUBIA
  • Nuubia
click to enlarge NUUBIA
  • Nuubia
This artisan chocolatier hand-makes specialty confections from humanely sourced ingredients, without using either palm oil or GMOs. Founder Alexandra Saunders was born on Java and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in forestry, and her emphasis on conservation undergirds Master Chocolatier Chef Lionel Clement’s creations. (Cultivating palms for their oil is highly destructive of the environment.)

But however nice biodegradable soy ink is, nobody’s tasting it. Instead, there are champagne truffles (ganache infused with Cognac, “enrobed” in dark chocolate, and dusted with icing sugar), sea salt caramels, pates de fruit gelees (prepared in the classical French way, but with seasonal fruits), and an “OMG Bar,” crispy hazelnut praline and sea salt caramel with caramelized rice crispy and 64 percent dark chocolate. For $5, you certainly get what you pay for, especially as it’s $99,995 cheaper than its mass-market competitor, the 100 Grand Bar.

For people who love excitedly wiggling their fingers above a box of chocolates as they deliberate over which one to choose at random, there is nothing better than assortments of ganaches, pralines, and button-like half sphere bonbons. For the ganaches alone, a box of nine contains passion fruit, caramel, raspberry jasmine tea, coconut, Bolivia single origin, calamansi basil, and coffee whiskey. Pop into the physical location in Mid-Market, and all these can be yours — along with coffee, ice cream, and macarons. A far cry from the days of eating faintly chocolatey wax from a certain tourist trap near Aquatic Park.

Nuubia San Francisco, inside the Market on Market, 1355 Market St., 415-660-2030.

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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