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TCHO New American Chocolate

TCHO Your Pride!

The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Celebration, simply known around the City as “Pride” is an annual parade and accompanying festival unlike anything one has ever experienced. From booths and dance stages to a Sunday morning parade, this celebration spanning the entire month of June commemorates the LGBT community and its allies, and made its way into the San Francisco community in 1970 and has become an integral part of the City’s culture.

As a San Francisco-based company, we decided a design inspired by the creativity and self expression of San Francisco’s Pride was a must! Our inspiration: the colors, livelihood and eccentricities of the SF LGBT community, which can be found in nearly every nook and cranny of San Francisco.

The original TCHO Lips design that debuted for Valentine’s Day, with its straightforward oh-so-sexy appeal, but also the slightest subtleness, seemed most appropriate. But in the spirit of Pride, our design team decided to mix things up in its color scheme. The colors — bright pinks, purples and more were chosen, because love is not a single color but made up of a spectrum of hues woven together.

Celebrating its 43rd anniversary this weekend, Pride is described as the “largest fathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation”. Proudly a member of the SF community and supporter of free love, won’t you join us as we celebrate the many colors of love in this weekend’s Pride festival?

For more information on the history of Pride and a schedule of events for this weekend’s festivities can be found here.

TCHO your Pride, and pick out your colorful assortment of TCHO here!


A Home Brewers’ Inspired Confection

“Bright” + Willamette Hops Handmade Confection

 The concept for this confection piece came, like many brilliant ideas, while I was brewing a batch of beer at home.  As an avid home brewer for several years now, I suddenly had the thought — why not combine my work and play, and share with the rest of the world? After all, there are many great confections featuring beer, but I had yet to find one using the components of beer before it is fermented.

Many rounds of beta testing ensued in the TCHO office before the final formulation was determined for this confection!

After ten or so rounds of various hop and barley combinations, there was consensus towards one in particular — Willamette hops paired with organic malt, highlighting the complexity of our “Bright” chocolate from Madagascar.  Light and refreshing, just like an American Pale Ale on a hot summer day.

That’s me, Ryan, at a truffle-making demonstration in Napa, California.

TCHO Artisan Confections are made by hand (by yours truly) and are sold exclusively online and at our flagship store, at Pier 17.


Man Up! Chocolate Pairing Celebration for Dads and Dudes

Last Thursday night TCHO became the place to celebrate dad and all our favorite dudes with fine finger foods and delectable drinks. We gathered a few of our favorite purveyors, prepared perfect chocolate pairings, and swung open our Pier 17 doors to let the pre-Father’s Day festivities begin!

And what a grand celebration Man Up! was. Samuel Adams poured four brilliant brews, Field Trip Gourmet Jerky proved meat and chocolate really are a match made in heaven, Kettle Brand Chips’ insanely addicting salty crisps created a heavenly couple with creamy, caramelly SeriousMilk™, always classic Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch shone when matched with a bite of TCHO, and the Bay Club made sure we burned off all those pre-dinner guilt calories with their innovative out-of-water surfboard.

Missed the festivities? Or just want to commemorate June 13, 2013? You’re in luck! Our Man Up! Pairing Menu is below. So go ahead, taste away! Just be sure you have enough TCHO first.

PS Did we mention the Ben & Jerry’s City Churned truck popped by to hand out dish after dish of their delicious ice cream? And TCHO is one of the ingredients you can vote on to be a part of their once-in-a-lifetime San Francisco flavor? Because they did. And we are. And you should most definitely vote for TCHO – and all your favorite flavors – at the City Churned San Francisco website. Cheers!


TCHO’s Beta Drinks of the Past

A walk down memory lane through TCHO‘s Pier 17 store would be filled with past Beta Drinks of all shapes, sizes and crazy delicious concoctions! In honor of kicking off our Drinking Chocolate Contest, we thought we’d share with you a few of our favorites.

Meet The Femme Fatale, a seductive mix of our dangerously delicious drinking chocolate, Blue Bottle espresso, and your choice of milk … a short, condensed in-your-face TCHOmocha.

And debuting TCHO’s SuperBerry Drinking Chocolate, this beta drink had the intense flavor of raspberry, acai and black currant combined with the dark richness of TCHO drinking chocolate, the perfect combination. And the homemade raspberry sauce on top was to top, yes please!

… Is your mouth watering yet? Swing by our store in San Francisco to try out the latest beta drink (changes monthly), and maybe even pick up a spiffy new cannister of drinking chocolate! Sip a TCHOshot to get the creativity flowing, put on your thinking cap, and test out your mixologist skills — enter your recipe here, now through July 7th!


TCHO Drinking Chocolate Contest: Official Rules and Details

Yahoo! You’re one step closer to becoming the winner of TCHO’s Beta Drink Contest!

Beta programs have been integral in TCHO’s chocolates. This co-creation method invites chocolate enthusiasts to create, taste and give feedback on the product, resulting in thousands of recipe iterations over the years and extraordinary chocolate.

Now, for the first time ever, we are extending our Beta Program to include drinking chocolate. Thats right, co-creationism in liquid form — and the winning Beta drink recipe will be featured in our San Francisco flagship store for an entire month. You, and your delicious chocolatey beverage creation could be famous! So … what’s next?

A few tips & tricks to keep in mind:

  • The winning Beta Drink will knock your (and our!) socks off with amazing flavor combinations
  • When it comes to ingredients used, less is more!  The winning drink will be re-created each and every time someone orders your drink in our Pier 17 store, so keep it simple and delicious! (We suggest 4-6 ingredients total)
  • No booze allowed — as much as we love our TCHOtini’s, and the endless adult beverage possibilities with TCHO, this drink will be sold in our Pier 17 Store, and must be appropriate to chocolate-lovers of all ages

Judging Criteria:

*This is where any extra pizazz or ‘wow’-factor can be rewarded, let that creativity flow!

Additional Contest Details:

  • Your have 4 weeks to submit your recipe! You have from June 6th- 11:59pm on July 7th, to submit your delicious drink recipe through our Facebook page.
  • TCHO’s Bean Team will re-create your recipes and host a judging panel for 5 days.
  • After identifying the top 4 drink recipes, we’ll turn it back over to you and let you decide the winner! A poll will be held on our Facebook page for one week only: July 15th – 21st
  • The official winner be announced on July 23rd!

Upon submitting your recipe, you are accepting all of the below terms set forth by TCHO Ventures, Inc.:

  • This contest is open to those 18 years or older as of June 5, 2013, or with the consent of a parent/guardian
  • All entrants are responsible for purchasing their own supply of Drinking Chocolate, and any other ingredients used
  • TCHO Ventures, Inc. reserves the right to exclude any recipes containing impractical ingredients
  • Should your recipe be selected, all rights will be transferred to TCHO Ventures, Inc.
  • TCHO Ventures, Inc. reserves the right to change the original name of the drink
  • The winning Beta Drink recipe will be featured in the TCHO Store for 30 days, with no monetary transfer involved
  • The winner’s name will be mentioned as creator of the recipe
  • Recipes submitted may also be included on the website:
  • Contestant responsible for submitting the winning Beta Drink recipe will be handsomely rewarded the grand prize!

Saving the best for last, the Grand Prize breakdown:

Total retail value: $219.27


Simply Smitten!

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon, Portraits To The People

In nearly record-breaking temperatures, I was forced to visit Smitten Ice Cream. This is the place that is changing the way people make and think about ice cream. These are the folks that use patented technology to make their ice cream. Smitten is “reimagining the ice cream experience by making new, old-fashioned ice cream”. Similarly based to TCHO’s philosophy, I was looking forward to seeing how technology could be applied to making ice cream. And boy, are they onto something delicious!

Not so long ago, while finishing up a marketing degree at Stanford, Smitten founder, Robyn Sue, started tinkering and building a new piece of machinery in a garage that ended up drastically changing the way ice cream was being made. Still in its early stage of development, Robyn took this machine out to local events, and San Francisco parks via red Radioflyer wagon, to test out the technology and market. Met with an overwhelming success, she patented the technology and nestled Smitten in a retrofitted cargo shipper in the quaint Hayes Valley of San Francisco.

Photo Credit: David Lebovitz

The machine responsible for the wildly organic success and borderline cult following of Smitten, now named “Brrr”, is something you have to see to believe — liquid nitrogen is dosed out in a specific amount, creating such a cold environment that the crystals of the ice cream freeze at a smaller size; looking something similar to your 5th grade steaming volcano science experiment. Using the “simplest, freshest and purest” ingredients possible, the resulting scoop is the smoothest, invigorating ice cream I have ever had! When it came to deciding on a chocolate to use in Smitten’s staple Chocolate flavor, TCHO’s equally as obsessed approach to flavor and sourcing created a beautiful partnership.

“We chose TCHO because we love the flavor profile of their chocolate–the 60.5% works perfectly in our chocolate ice cream. We also highly support working with local businesses and felt extremely lucky to find a company with such an amazing product and similar values right here in San Francisco!”

– Robyn Lenzi, our Head Pastry Chef here at Smitten

Applying new age technology to a beloved past time favorite — sounds strikingly similar to the TCHO Philosophy, and the Smitten’s chocolate ice cream is only the beginning. Also available are a handful of seasonal flavors, like fresh mint + TCHO Chocolate chips and Strawberry White Balsamic, all crafted with the same meticulous approach and made right in front of your eyes. And although the fog of the liquid nitrogen may cloud your vision momentarily, the flavor of their devour-worthy ice cream is something to talk about, but we’ll just let the results of this science experiment speak for itself.

Where you can find it: Hayes Valley, San Francisco

What to order: TCHOChocolate + Smitten’s homemade spicy syrup


TCHO Chocolate: Fueling Your Active Lifestyle!

Recently, TCHO Chocolate was included in the March Kona Kase. Designed to “fuel your active lifestyle” these colorful boxes are delivered to your doorstep on a monthly basis and are filled with goodies like energy bars, power gels and locally made healthy snacks. In between his ever active lifestyle and running a new company, I spoke with Kona Kase co-founder, John Franklin, and learned about his inspiration, workout regime and love for chocolate!

Photo Credit: Kona Kase

Tell us a little about Kona Kase — what inspired you to create it?

In May 2012, I was running a lengthy team Relay and we found ourselves eating tortilla chips and slices of cheese to fuel up before the race. We were tired of eating the same old boring energy bars, but finding similarly healthy alternatives wasn’t easy. We wanted to create a platform where fitness aficionados could sample different brands from around the country to find what works best for them. And so, Kona Kase was born.

John on a cross country biking trip, 2009.


What is it about chocolate that you love most?

… I have a memory of being a kid, taking a handful of chocolate chip cookies to the basketball hoop on my driveway, and just enjoying the moment. One hand dribbling and shooting, the other hand putting cookies into my mouth. I guess chocolate takes me back to a simpler time.

Following a good workout, what do you snack on to recharge?

Chocolate milk is the best recovery drink. I did a cross country bike trip a couple years ago and probably had 40 chocolate milks over 49 days.



How do you feel about chocolate in the middle of your workout?

Chocolate isn’t just for desert anymore. A little square of dark chocolate is a great mid workout pick-me-up. Next time you go on a run/bike/ski/whatever, bring a couple TCHO squares for your buds, you will be memorialized in their minds forever as a great friend. (Sidenote: I’ve never done it because I’m unwilling to share)

Favorite kind of TCHO chocolate: TCHOIntense Dark 99%, for sure

Craziest thing ever done with TCHO: “Ask Paris Hilton.”

John, a true fitness junky, is currently training for a 200 mile team relay and a half Ironman. When not training or mingling with Paris Hilton, he enjoys spending time with family and thinking about what life would be like if we coexisted with dinosaurs.


“TCHO-kolade”, A German’s Review of TCHO Chocolate

When pronounced phonetically, the word “TCHO” is used around world – ‘good bye’ in Portuguese, or even to accentuate emotion in Japanese slang (超). But in America, and now also in Germany, TCHO has only one translation: delicious, devour-worthy chocolate! (And did I mention it’s award winning?)

Below is a recent review of TCHO Chocolate’s SeriousMilk™ “Cacao”, from a leading chocolate review site in Germany, edited & translated to English:

‘Web startup’ is the attitude of Californian chocolate label TCHO: its name alludes to “technology” and “chocolate”. A futuristic brand statement, elaborate packaging, a product approach oriented towards easy to navigate basic tastes (“fruit”, “nutty”, “citrusy”, “chocolatey”). Following the West Coast code of honour, all ingredients are being sourced according to certified organic and fairtrade standards.

Similar to TCHO’s 39% milk chocolate we already reviewed, the 53% “Cacao” chocolate comes in a little paper box, covered with psychedelic mirror patterns. There is an aroma of dark pure cocoa, fruit, raisins.

In the mouth, the chocolate comes through as immediately intensive, a mild sweetness and a generous portion of malt: a satisfying chocolatey base note. Caramel, coffee, mild honey; all that much more diverse than virtually any other milk chocolate. The acidity hinted in the aroma remains well balanced and is distributed generously by the very creamy melt. In the aftertaste: caramel, coffee, honey. Nothing disturbs the great impression, this is a dark milk chocolate as it should be, a great West Coast souvenir.


What an honor to receive this stellar review for “Cacao”! This is one of the first European reviews to be published on TCHO. It’s appropriate that it comes out of Germany, since our original design was created by Berlin-based Edenspiekermann, and designer Susana Dulkinys. We are thrilled to be expanding our chocolate community to Europe. is Germany’s leading chocolate review site. Founded by chocolate blogger Peter Berger in 2012, the site publishes product tests and articles covering all levels of chocolate quality.


From New York to Peru: Per Se Chef Visits Chocolate at the Source


Pastry Chef Elaine Smyth, of New York’s famous restaurant Per Se, recently joined TCHO’s sourcing team on a trip to investigate the origins of chocolate. Usually she can be found creating chocolate-inspired culinary masterpieces, but when an opportunity to explore her interests in chocolate through the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group experiential scholarship, she knew there was no better way to learn then seeing where it all begins, enter TCHOSource. I had the chance to learn about Elaine’s adventures while in Peru. Between visiting cacao farms, spending time with co-op leaders and even leading a truffle making class with fresh chocolate – it sounds like she had quite the learning adventure!

While many talented professionals incorporate chocolate into their creations, seldom do they take an interest in learning where the chocolate actually comes from. What inspired you to learn more?

For as long as I can recall I have had a fascination with chocolate from baking chocolate cakes with my mother as a little girl to the first time I tempered chocolate. I have always wanted to explore it further, to know more. I was eager to explore the journey from the cocoa farm to our kitchen by investigating the various links in its supply chain.


TCHO as company interested me because of their focus on growing the best beans possible through partnering with farmers. I admire the way the company strives to make the world a better place while making the best possible chocolate. With its distinctive focus on flavor profiles, true innovation and TCHOSource program, TCHO seemed like the ideal partner- a chocolate company as obsessed with chocolate as me.

Tell us about an experience that left a lasting impression!

Meeting the farmers and visiting their farms was particularly special- listening to their stories, seeing the fruits of their hard work and sharing the baba fruit right off their trees was the opportunity of a lifetime. I think one of my favorite moments was during the truffle class held at Oro Verde’s chocolate lab. The General Manager of the cooperative who had excitedly participated in the class said to me that he felt he understood so much better how to move forward and improve their cocoa beans now that he saw the end product and how we were using it. Likewise for me I now have a much greater appreciation and understanding of the chocolate and how to use it because I have seen where it comes from. Now I have experienced each step in the process and the hard work of those who make it all possible.


Elaine grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and has worked for Gordon Ramsay and Michelin star restaurants in London and Paris. She is currently responsible for the production of all chocolates at Per Se. When not playing with chocolate, she takes full advantage of living in The Big Apple: exploring new neighborhoods, restaurants and its many museums.


Come Over to the (Really) Dark Side — Introducing 99% TCHOIntense

The concept for 99% started with a simple quest: to make a chocolate bar without sugar that didn’t taste like all the other chocolates without sugar — namely like dirt. But that instead tasted like what we imagined it could — like the purest essence of cacao.

We packaged our first release on an extremely small scale, literally! The Limited Edition 99%, introduced nearly a year ago, was a mere 15 grams, because we had no idea how you’d react. We soon came to realize, however, that even though a little goes a long, long way, you wanted more!

Enter 99% TCHOIntense. A full 58 grams (2 ounces) of insanely rich, not bitter, completely unsweetened chocolate. With no added sugar, our 99% blend is an intense, bold expression of pure cacao. Like a fine espresso is to coffee, this is the purest expression of the bean itself.

Creating a chocolate this good with no added sugar is no small feat; the cacao beans have to be the best and the processing perfect.

The result, we have discovered, is surprisingly addictive. In this dark, dark, dark chocolate, you will discover pleasingly deep fudgy and roasty notes, balanced by hints of berry and cherry that linger through a long finish.

The cacao for this chocolate is a complex and complementary blend from two separate origins. Cacao from an organic, fair trade cooperative in the Amazonian rainforests of Peru (Pucacaca, pictured at left) contributes the bright, fruity notes. Deep chocolatey and roasty notes derive from an organic, fair trade cooperative in the coastal region of northwest Ecuador.

The cooperatives behind this blend are part of our TCHOSource Program. Investing directly with these growers, we have installed solar-powered data arrays, a Flavor Lab (allowing farmers to make chocolate with their own cacao), and advanced solar drying systems.

We have also performed technical sensory training to educate growers on how best to optimize specific flavor notes through careful attention to fermentation and drying practices.

And then we have connected them to our chocolate makers back in San Francisco so that we can synchronize our palates.

Unlike many other unsweetened bars on the market, our 99% bar is notable for its rich flavor, smooth mouth feel, and marked lack of bitterness.

Come over to the (really) dark side. Taste the latest New American Chocolate for yourself! Get your very own 99% TCHOIntense bar now at


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