Slideshow SLIDESHOW: First Look: Charles Chocolates, San Francisco

[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.

Panning: one of the oldest candy-making techniques in which melted chocolate is drizzled over nuts tumbling in a pan until they become uniformly coated with the topping. Panning: just one of the candy making processes you can watch at the newly opened Charles Chocolates.

Owner Charles Siegel is a chocolatier rather than a chocolate maker, and an experienced one at that. He's been turning chocolate into chocolate confections since the age of 25. His new eponymous shop on Florida Street is a showcase for his bars, chocolate covered almonds, and filled chocolate bon bons, as well as a cafe.

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By showcase I really mean showcase: the shop has floor to ceiling glass windows which let you watch the candy-making process. On any given day you might see his staff filling chocolate butterflies with a Tupelo honey ganache, panning almonds, or mixing an extraordinary amount of add-ins to his signature chunky bars of chocolate.

"My bars are different than most," Charles explained. "I was inspired by mediants, which are a classic French confection featuring two pieces of candied fruit and two nuts on a piece of chocolate. I was frustrated that I could never get the whole thing in my mouth. Most 100 gram bars are long and thin. Ours are much more thick. I want you to get some of every flavor in each bite."

In addition to the chocolates, there will be a rotating selection of baked goods including a chocolate chip cookie, brownie, tart, and cake. All are oversized and super chocolatey; a chocoholic's dream. Click through the slideshow to see more of what to watch and eat at Charles Chocolates.

Charles Chocolates

535 Florida St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (map)
(415) 659-8770; charleschocolates.com

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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