Happy 10th birthday, Poco Dolce. This artisan chocolate and confection business is the brainchild of San Francisco resident Kathy Wiley, who makes bittersweet chocolate tiles, bars, brittle, toffees and other delights – while definitely living up to the company mission of being on “the savory side of sweet.” Poco Dolce’s product line stands out each year at the ginormous NASFT Fancy Food Show, and Wiley’s creations are among my favorite things to give or receive. Peter Perez, Associate Marketing Director, Food & Drink / Art Publishing of Chronicle Books, is a friend of Wiley’s and “addicted fanboy of her tiles.” The two met at the Poco Dolce booth at the Fancy Food show in 2006, and realized they are both alums of Williams-Sonoma corporate. Perez, an avowed choco-obsessive (who reportedly has a collection of fine chocolate bar wrappers in his office), ably described the local chocolate scene for me:
“What the Bay Area does have at this stage is one of the largest concentrations of bean-to-bar and confection makers of the highest order, so for obsessive groupies like me, it’s a golden age to be in the midst of Poco Dolce, Dandelion, Recchiuti, Kika’s Treats, Cocoa Delice, NeoCocoa, along with grandparent Guittard.”
Considering Poco Dolce's place in the chocolate scene, I caught up with Wiley to see what business is like, as well as what her holiday faves are. Her comments have been edited for clarity.
Bay Area Bites: What are your suggestions for celebrating the holidays? How will you celebrate?
Wiley: We’ll be doing a couple of new baskets, with an assortment of gifts, which is fun. For parties, I love the chocolate pumpkin ($12) and turkey ($40). I will one hundred percent have the chocolate turkey on the table. I’m trying to figure out how to get the turkey in my suitcase to bring to Chicago for Thanksgiving.
At the end of the holiday meal, I like to have double shot espresso tiles, which are like an instant Irish coffee. We originally made bonbons with Irish cream, whiskey and a stout. Those became so popular, and we were asked to participate in two whiskey shows here in San Francisco. So now we have an assorted whiskey box; we used a smoky whiskey, a peaty one and threw in Bourbon.