LIMITED EDITION

A Celebration of Bay Area Liquor and Craft

A special collection created with Michael’s Chocolates, featuring locally made liquors: bourbon, rye whiskey, framboise, and barrel-aged rum

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Spirit & Craft Collection

Dandelion Chocolate

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MICHAEL’S CHOCOLATES IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Crafted in collaboration with master confectioner — and former Certified Sommelier — Michael Benner of Oakland’s Michael’s Chocolates, our Spirit & Craft Collection celebrates the pairing of locally made, small-batch, barrel-aged spirits and dark chocolate, with four distinctive bonbon flavors.

While working in fine-dining restaurants, Michael's passion lay in harmonizing foods with his favorite wines, layering intriguing flavors and textures in each bite — a talent that has carried over to his award-winning confections. On his approach to pairing classic spirits with our dynamic chocolate, Michael shares that he relishes balance: “When the flavor is so amazingly silky-smooth, I don’t want texture to distract from the silkiness; while with other components, I want to highlight some texture. Like the Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bonbon — it’s all those things I just love: toasty pecans, toasty (aroma) after the caramel, and a salt finish. It’s sweet, smoky, and buttery … like a roller coaster.”

The carefully selected small-batch craft liquors featured in this collection are combined with locally sourced ingredients, and showcased in flavorful caramels, crunchy pralines, bright fruit, and smooth ganaches. Each complex pairing is anchored by the bold, deeply chocolatey flavor notes of our 70% Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate.

This spirits flight includes four confection varieties:

3 Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bonbons
3 Rye Whiskey Truffles
3 Hazelnut Espresso Pralines with Rum
3 Framboise Bonbons

Ingredients & Allergens
Ingredients: Dandelion 70% chocolate (cocoa beans from Camino Verde, Ecuador, organic cane sugar), organic butter, blonde chocolate (cocoa butter, sugar, whole-milk powder, dried skim milk, whey, butter, sunflower lecithin, vanilla), organic cane sugar, organic cream, pecans, raspberry purée, Lost Republic bourbon, Old Potrero single-malt rye whiskey, Wright & Brown rum, St. George Spirits framboise, hazelnut praline (hazelnuts, milk chocolate [cocoa butter, sugar, whole-milk powder, sunflower lecithin, vanilla], butter, espresso beans, cocoa butter, glucose, dextrose, vanilla bean, sea salt), FD&C and Lake colors: Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and titanium dioxide, mica

Contains: milk, tree nuts (pecans and hazelnuts) and less than 5% alcohol

Made in a facility that processes dairy, tree nuts (pecans, almonds, coconuts), soy, eggs, wheat, and peanuts.
Weight
4 oz (113 g)
Learn More
Learn more about our cocoa beans and sugar — the region, the farms, and the producers.

Collab

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Bay Area-Crafted Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Framboise, and Barrel-Aged Rum

paired with caramel, pecans, ganache,
raspberries, hazelnut, and espresso
 

Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Framboise, and Barrel-Aged Rum

paired with caramel, pecans, ganache,
raspberries, hazelnut, and espresso
 

Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bonbon

featuring Lost Republic Bourbon from
Healdsburg, California

Inspired by old-fashioned chocolate “turtles,” Michael layers buttery, fruity bourbon-infused caramel with creamy pecan gianduja, and enrobes the whole in our fudgy 70% Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate. Lost Republic’s straight bourbon whiskey, locally made in Healdsburg, California, features light, barrel-produced crème brulée flavors which beautifully complement the toasty gianduja (made of slow-roasted Georgia pecans, blonde chocolate, and Maldon sea salt), for a perfectly sweet-salty bonbon.

Old Potrero Rye Whiskey Truffle

featuring Old Potrero Rye Whiskey from
San Francisco, California

After a blind tasting, Michael selected Old Potrero’s San Francisco-crafted single-malt straight rye whiskey, lush with vanilla notes and hints of spice, for this French-style truffle. Simple, smooth ganache highlights the rye’s subtle aromas of smoked clove, cinnamon, and cardamom, enhanced by our Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate’s classically chocolatey flavors.

Framboise Bonbon

featuring St. George Framboise from
Alameda, California

San Francisco Bay Area master distillers St. George Spirits create a small-batch version of the classic Loire Valley raspberry liqueur, infusing intense, aromatic brandy with fresh, ripe raspberries. Here, the liquor’s sweet-tart berry notes accent tangy raspberry pâte de fruit and smooth, fudgy Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate ganache, encased in a 70% Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate shell. Each bite yields a bright raspberry burst, followed by a velvety chocolate finish.

Hazelnut Espresso Praline

featuring Wright & Brown Barrel-Aged Rum from
Oakland, California

We believe rum and chocolate belong together. Locally made Wright & Brown rum starts fresh and floral off the still. After two years in the barrel, it develops warm notes of hazelnut and coffee, which harmonize with our chocolatey 70% Camino Verde, Ecuador chocolate in a rich espresso-and-rum ganache, which is layered with creamy, house-made hazelnut praline.This chocolate pairing is beloved for a reason.

Michael Benner

Oakland, CA

Michael Benner

Oakland, CA

 

Michael didn't always work with chocolate. He had been a chef and sommelier for over 30 years when one afternoon while walking down the street, he told his husband Curtis Wallis, "I think in my next life I want to work with chocolate." That same year on Christmas, Curtis gifted Michael with three excellent books on confections, and Michael began learning and experimenting with chocolate. With his long experience in fine dining and as a Certified Sommelier, he began testing his confections at food fairs and events. The informal experiments didn't last long, as he couldn't keep up with demand. It was through a farmers’ market and his Good Food Awards that we met Michael and began working together on a confection for Dandelion’s Advent Calendar, one of our most cherished annual projects.

Over the years Michael has continued to win awards, including a 2018 Good Food Award for his Lemon Burst Bonbon, and a 2021–2022 Americas International Chocolate Awards bronze medal for his Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bonbon. In 2021, after tirelessly seeking just the right location, Michael’s Chocolates opened their first brick-and-mortar shop on Grand Avenue in Oakland, in a space previously owned by a retiring chocolatier. Here, amidst the bustle of Oakland’s historic Grand Lake neighborhood, Michael, Curtis, and team make all of their bonbons and truffles by hand.

Michael didn't always work with chocolate. He had been a chef and sommelier for over 30 years when one afternoon while walking down the street, he told his husband Curtis Wallis, "I think in my next life I want to work with chocolate." That same year on Christmas, Curtis gifted Michael with three excellent books on confections, and Michael began learning and experimenting with chocolate. With his long experience in fine dining and as a Certified Sommelier, he began testing his confections at food fairs and events. The informal experiments didn't last long, as he couldn't keep up with demand. It was through a farmers’ market and his Good Food Awards that we met Michael and began working together on a confection for Dandelion’s Advent Calendar, one of our most cherished annual projects.

Over the years Michael has continued to win awards, including a 2018 Good Food Award for his Lemon Burst Bonbon, and a 2021–2022 Americas International Chocolate Awards bronze medal for his Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bonbon. In 2021, after tirelessly seeking just the right location, Michael’s Chocolates opened their first brick-and-mortar shop on Grand Avenue in Oakland, in a space previously owned by a retiring chocolatier. Here, amidst the bustle of Oakland’s historic Grand Lake neighborhood, Michael, Curtis, and team make all of their bonbons and truffles by hand.

Chocolate Makers & Chocolatiers

What’s the difference and how do we partner together?

While chocolate makers make chocolate from the bean, chocolatiers use finished chocolate to create truffles, bonbons, and confections.

Many of our chocolatier partners have collaborated with us since our earliest days, back when we were at the Noe Valley and Mission farmer’s markets. When we first started, we turned to this food community for advice. We’ve shared workspaces, taste-tested recipes, traded equipment tips, and commiserated over the City’s crazy permitting process.

It’s an exciting time for the craft chocolate community, and it wouldn’t be nearly as special without chocolate-maker-and-chocolatier collaboration and special relationships.

Since we don’t add emulsifiers or additional cocoa butter, our chocolate is tricky to work with. As a result, making truffles or chocolate-covered confections can be especially challenging. Still, our collaborators remain undaunted, inventing new recipes and chocolate collections each year. We celebrate their talents and are thrilled to share their treats with you.