The combination of shorter days and sheltering has many clamoring for comfort. And few things are more comforting than chocolate. San Francisco’s new Kokak Chocolates answers the call for those craving an unapologetic and sugary escape. Located in San Francisco’s Castro District, Kokak opened in the midst of the pandemic, ready to supply Bay Area residents with its deeply soothing signature items such as Cacao Porridge ($6.50), the colorful Artist Palette Bar ($12) with a 70 percent light roast, single origin dark chocolate meant to tickle the senses and delight, and the best-selling Sweet Sixteen Box ($39.95) showcasing Kokak’s premium single origin truffles in a ribbon-tied, reusable gift box.
Kokak was founded by Irish-Filipino immigrant Carol Gancia who was raised in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to San Francisco in 2004 where she started her video production company, Ripplemakers, Inc. She served as a producer on KQED’s Check Please! Bay Area and Jacque Pépin: More Fast Food My Way. She started experimenting with chocolates and professionally studied with admirable female industry mentors like chocolatier Melissa Coppel in Las Vegas and veteran pastry chef Stacy Radin at the International Culinary Center in California. Kokak Chocolates was then conceptualized to offer premium, unique flavors crafted in colorful, tropical-inspired designs echoing Gancia’s cultural roots. Handmade flavors include Kalamansi (a Philippine lime), Mango Lemongrass, Banana Caramel, Passion Fruit, Gianduja (Hazelnut), Earl Grey, Macadamia Praline, and more.
Kokak, which means “ribbit” in Filipino, is inspired by Gancia’s Asian heritage. She spearheads the creative process in designing each chocolate, where some are hand painted and others are digitally printed using edible ink. She aims to transport customers via a visual and tasteful adventure to tropical pond life in Asia where lush lilies, bamboos, plants, and animal life thrive. With an artisan mindset focused on custom truffles, bars, pastries, and liquid chocolate beverages, she creates approachable chocolates that are luscious, umami, and fun.
“We owe our gratitude to the local community who have embraced us and chosen Kokak Chocolates as their weekly meet-up place or official stop during long walks to get out of their homes,” said Gancia. “Our mission is to take our customers back to a fond memory or journey that pleases the different senses even just for a few moments -- we hope that it is memorable not just in taste but design.”
Kokak Chocolates is located at 3901 18th Street in San Francisco and open from 11am-6pm, Tuesday - Sunday. Custom orders and bulk care packages are available to ship within the Bay Area and across the U.S. For more information and orders, visit www.kokakchocolates.com, call 415.757.0409, or follow on Instagram and Facebook.