After our epic wine country day trip in July 2019 in Sonoma county, we did a chocolateering trip through the Napa Valley in February 2020. We’ve visited some of Napa Valley’s chocolatiers before, but it’s always good to find more and catch up with the others.
Chocolateering in wine country is like orienteering: Navigating through diverse, unfamiliar terrain. But it’s better than orienteering because it includes chocolate rewards throughout the game.
The Napa Valley Trail is easy peasy:
- Basically Route 29 N from Napa through Yountville to St. Helena
The Sonoma Chocolate Trail (covered in previous article):
- Route 101 N to Petaluma and beyond
- Route 12 W to Sebastopol
- Route 12 E to Glen Ellen and Sonoma
Napa Valley DIY tour
First destination: Anette’s Chocolates flagship store
Anette’s Chocolates is a longtime Napa chocolatier making European style truffles, single origin bars, brittles, chocolate sauces, and just about every sweet treat imaginable, all in house. We’ve visited twice now and have been unable to leave empty handed.
Second destination: Vintage Sweet Shoppe
Vintage Sweet Shoppe is the only chocolatier in the Napa Valley that also makes their own wines. They offer chocolate and wine tastings featuring their wares. Plus they sell chocolate covered bottles of other Napa Valley wines, along with a full line of truffles and other chocolates and confections. They also offer ice cream, baked goods, and coffee drinks. In short, they offer most every non-living thing that could get your heart racing.
Third destination: Oxbow Public Market
Oxbow Public Market houses upscale food stalls, foodie boutiques, a green grocer that stocks a lot of artisan chocolate, and the second location of veteran Napa chocolatier, Anette’s Chocolates.
We checked out Hudson Greens & Goods and walked away mighty impressed with their chocolate selection (and with a few things to try).
Sidetrack: The Store at CIA Copia
When we parked at the Oxbow Public Market, we noticed the CIA at Copia building next door, which is a big multi-use complex dedicated to all things foodie. We decided to check out their store and found local Napa chocolate by Kollar Chocolates and K+M Extravirgin Chocolate for sale there.
Fourth destination: La Forêt
Like walking into a chocolatier’s shop in France, La Forêt Chocolate & Confections was the best kind of find on our chocolateering trip. Cute shop, interesting chocolatier, beautiful wares, and lots of delicious interesting chocolate. And you don’t have to travel all the way to France to enjoy it.
Fifth destination: Kollar Chocolates
One of our recommended chocolatiers, Kollar Chocolates is a must-visit for both elegant and irreverent chocolate. Their truffles are stunning, and the poprock barks and chocolate owl maracas are pretty fun.
In January 2020, Kollar’s founder and head chocolatier, Chris Kollar, was named Chopped Champion on Food Network’s Chopped (season 44, episode 8), and his winning white miso truffle is available in the store.
We’ve visited Kollar twice: In 2014, we were awed by it all. This time, we got to see the fun there.
Sixth destination: Finesse, The Store
Finesse, The Store is world famous, Michelin-starred Napa Valley Chef Thomas Keller’s lifestyle store where you can buy his entire line of K+M Extravirgin Chocolate bars. which contain minimally processed cacao and olive oil substituting for cocoa butter.
Unfortunately, it was closed the day we visited (a Tuesday), so we could only peek in the windows at its simple, almost bare, elegance.
Seventh destination: Woodhouse Chocolate
Woodhouse Chocolate’s retail space looks very high end with crystal chandeliers and wall tapestries, but it includes a very kid friendly lineup of fun molded chocolates (elephants and troll dolls), sparkly “unicorn bark,” and cereal inspired bars, along with their more dignified truffles.
We first visited Woodhouse in 2014 and tried their truffles and other confections. This time, we went for the bars, and found some very on-trend items.
Napa Valley bonus
In addition to chocolatier Vintage Sweet Shoppe’s chocolate & wine tastings, there are several wineries in Napa Valley that offer chocolate & wine tastings featuring local chocolate.
For more information on chocolate destinations — including wineries that offer chocolate & wine tastings — in Napa Valley, visit the Napa Valley DIY Tour page.
For articles about SFBA’s other wine country destination, check out the Sonoma County chocolateering section.