Stay Chocolatey, San Diego
City Tour, 12 miles
Did you know that the Aztecs used the cacao seed as currency? Today, chocolate is still taken seriously worldwide including in San Diego where you’ll find gifted chocolatiers who share their exquisite masterpieces in shops, farmer’s markets or by special order. You may be visiting San Diego for its miles and miles of beaches and year-round perfect weather but take it from a local, you’ll want to satisfy your sweet tooth with local, handmade chocolates.
Whether you prefer your chocolate as a truffle, bar, in a dessert or on your salad (who doesn’t?!) your tastebuds will hanker for one or all of these pit stops on your tour of these San Diego neighborhoods. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in America’s Finest City for a special tasting offered by some of the chocolatiers that include wine, beer, cheese and other pairings. Stay in Downtown for a short route and you won’t be disappointed with fine chocolates from Dallmann. But if you need a substantial meal to get you up the hills, Eclipse Chocolate has found a way to add a hint of chocolate to your dinner (or breakfast) plate, including vegan options.
Map & Logistics
Ride with GPS (voice navigation)
- Holland Bicycles (Coronado) - $25+ daily for cruiser, city, fixie, hybrid, fat tire, long tail, electric, road, tandem, kid's, bike trailer, kids's seat
- Metrocyclery - $25 daily for cruiser
- Stay Classy Bikes - $25+ daily for commuter, road and kids' bikes
- The Bike Revolution - $20+ daily for city, cruiser, mountain, road, tandem, kids' bikes; trailer, kids' seat
Start & End of route - Seaport Village (Green Line)
What to Bring?
Bigger eyes than your stomach and money to buy desserts with...and maybe a sweetheart or friend to share in the sweet toothery.
A. Frost Me Cupcakes 859 West Harbor Dr. Suite B | www.frostmegourmet.com | 858-598-4505
Food Network viewers might recognize Frost Me Gourmet as the champion of season 9 of Cupcake Wars. The customer favorite is its winning apple oats cupcake but the chocolate ganache cupcake isn’t far behind. The chefs dabble in chocolate truffles as well selling a box of four chocolates in both dark and white. M-Th 8:30am-8pm / F-Sa 8:30am-9pm / Su 11am-4pm
B. Dallmann 789 W Harbor Dr #122 | www.dallmannconfections.com | 619-238-0045
Isabella Valencia specializes in artisan chocolates that look like jewels but melt in your mouth. It’s no wonder that her chocolates have found their way into world class hotels, restaurants and gourmet shops. Dallmann Fine Chocolates offers hands-on chocolate classes and in-store chocolate tastings with wine, scotch or cheese for the serious chocolate aficionado.
The fluer de sel caramel has a dark chocolate and sea salt exterior and smooth caramel which explains why it’s a customer favorite. But come back next week and the $10 assorted truffle set will have five different truffles. If luck is on your side it’ll include the caramel latte.7 days 10am-9pm
C. Gelato Paradiso 789 W Harbor Dr #117 | gelatoparadiso-hub.com | 619-238-0307
San Diego boasts an average annual temperature of 70F so there’s rarely a bad day for authentic Italian gelato or sorbetto made fresh in-house daily at Gelato Paradiso. My favorite? Dark chocolate hazelnut, of course. Do not call this frozen Nutella (don’t get me wrong--I love the stuff--but this is something much more delicious). They also offer gelappe (gelato blended with espresso and milk) and affogato (gelato drenched in espresso). Su-Th 11am-9pm / F-Sa 11am-10pm
D. Chocolat Cremerie 509 5th Ave | www.chocolatsandiego.com | 619-238-9400
Walk in and you feel like you’ve arrived at a comfy cafe and not the home of tasty chocolates. Chocolat Cremerie offers salads, cheese plates, paninis and more, but let’s focus and get to the handmade chocolates, where hopefully you’ll find the champagne or amaretto truffles. Pure perfection. My only beef is with the city: no bike parking on this block. Su-Th 9-12am / F-Sa 9-1am
E. Eclipse Chocolate 2145 Fern St | www.eclipsechocolate.com | 619-578-2984
If there’s one place you shouldn’t miss it’s this chocolate bistro. Locally owned and operated, the chocolatier makes magic with cocoa and other fresh ingredients to create an experience unlike any other. Here you’ll find chocolate nibs in your salad but just enough to taste it without overpowering the other flavors. My favorite meal is the quinoa and corn fritter set on top of polenta and flavored with roasted tomato and cocoa mole. Pair it with a selection of craft beers or wine and you won’t be sorry.
But of course the hand-made chocolate caramels, truffles and bars are the real champions. Made from quality sustainable ingredients, chocolatier William Gustwiller isn’t afraid to use unique ingredients that make your palate sing with joy. Don’t hesitate to try the drinking chocolate too. The chocolate here will keep you talking about this place. Check the calendar for wine or beer pairings or one of many other events that makes Eclipse Chocolate a repeat experience. M-Th 9am-10pm / F-Sa 9am-11pm / Su 9am-4pm
F. Heaven Sent Desserts 3011 University Ave | www.heavensentdesserts.com | 619-793-4758
Nestled between a beer shop and restaurants, Heaven Sent Desserts is the place for...well, tempting pastries. Brownie in a jar? Yup. Lightly sweet but very favorable. Pair it with a Mexican hot chocolate and you have a winning combination. The flourless chocolate truffle is another great choice if you’re craving intense flavor. Su-M 11am-10pm / Tu-Th 11am-11pm / F-Sa 11-12am
G. Extraordinary Desserts 2929 5th Ave | www.extraordinarydesserts.com | 619-294-2132
The name says it all. Customers come in to sip coffee or tea and enjoy orange scones or something more to my taste, such as the cheesecake brownie. Sometimes patrons walk away with entire cakes that are as exquisitely decorated as a wedding cake, but taste so much better! Oh, and they sell some pretty darn good chocolate bars too. Try the German chocolate bar with caramelized pecans and toasted coconut. Su-Th 8:30am-11pm / F 8:30-12am / Sa-Su 10-12am
1. Seaport Village
Seaport Village is a one stop shop for three tantalizing options set among more than 50 shops with ocean views. You can purchase souvenirs, toys, art and even ride a carousel.
2. Gaslamp Quarter
Home to more than 100 restaurants, bars, clubs and storefronts, the Gaslamp is the place for both nightlife and daytime walks among the Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers. It’s a place where locals live, work and play. Although it’s home to a really fun Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop you’ll want to walk a block past it and taste the locally made stuff.
3. South Park
Ride a few miles with what I call bumps in the road and you’ll arrive in one of San Diego’s historic neighborhoods, lined with Craftsman homes and an eclectic mix of boutiques, cafes, and taverns. South Park is definitely a bike friendly neighborhood.
4. North Park
A hipster neighborhood, North Park is a hodgepodge of historic homes and modern buildings. The area seems to always have a new restaurant or bar. Its laid back nature is great for bike enthusiasts.
5. Bankers Hill
The neighborhood west of Balboa Park is home to quality restaurants and incredible views. Mister A’s has one of the most stunning bay and skyline views imaginable. Riding your bike here is as easy as driving, except for the hills.