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10 San Francisco Startups Shaking Up the World of Food

The following ten startups are all, in one way or another, transforming the way we relate to food here in the city, and beyond. This is not a ranking, but a list, alphabetically by company name:

Wantful Aims to Bring the Pleasure Back to Gift-Giving

Inside a bustling Victorian flat on Haight Street, a team of merchandisers led by serial entrepreneur John Poisson has just launched a service to “help solve your gift-giving dilemmas.”

Didn't think you had any such dilemmas? Think again.

Croissant, Dethroned; All Hail Kouign-Amann

Almost every Sunday someone approaches the Starter Bakery stand at the Temescal Farmers' Market, frantically scanning the selection of baked goods for something, something they can't quite identify. Brian Wood knows what it is. His kouign-amann launched Starter into existence about a year ago, and its popularity spread so quickly through the East Bay (where the bakery is headquartered) that people started seeking out the pastry with the name they couldn't pronounce, solely based on the buzz on the street. [For the record, the first word "kouign" is pronounced "queen," and the second part, "amann," is prounced like the capital of Jordan, Amman.]

Now San Franciscans can find the rare treat at several cafes around town, and Wood has had to put a hold on new accounts because his little bakery can't keep up with the demand. So what the heck is kouign-amann, you ask? Let's start by saying your morning croissant is about to get upstaged in the pastry case.  

Hello, School Field Trips! Now You Can Take Tours of TCHO

Our love for TCHO, SF's own high-tech Willy Wonka operation that goes down on Pier 17, is certainly no secret. We've blogged about their sustainable sourcing practices, their Bay Area technology roots (its founders are Wired pioneers Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe) and even their hot chocolate recipe.

Secret Recipe: Hot Chocolate from TCHO

On cold days like these, nothing warms me over more than a mug of rich hot chocolate. The cuppa cocoa from TCHO's Pier 17 cafe is made with three varieties of sustainable chocolate to be stirred, not shaken.

Makes 1

3-4 tablespoons TCHO crumbles

3/4 cup steamed milk, divided

1. Mix the chocolate in with half of the steaming milk. Stir briskly until the crumbles melt.

2. Stir in the remaining milk, and enjoy!


From 'Wired' to Willy Wonka: TCHO Uses Technology and Ethical Sourcing to Make Great Chocolate

All along the waterfront in modern San Francisco, businesses catering to tourists occupy the wharves where longshoremen used to work.

But down at Pier 17, there also is an industrial enterprise -- a chocolate factory, owned and operated by none other than the team of Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, the visionaries who launched Wired magazine in SoMa back in 1993.

They are still innovators in technology, though no longer in the publishing industry. Instead they manufacture and sell premium chocolate with their company TCHO, which in its own way may prove to be as disruptive in the global chocolate industry as Wired was in publishing.

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