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Dandelion Opens Expansive Mission District Chocolate Factory, Tasting Room

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Hours before an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with San Francisco mayor London Breed on Saturday, KPIX got a sneak peek and private tour of Dandelion Chocolate's new factory, tasting room and store in the Mission District.

The new facility represents a massive expansion for the boutique chocolatier.

"We are working on scaling up our production process by ten times so that means ten times the amount of chocolate that we're making at our Valencia Street location," Dandelion chief of staff Annie Kamin said.

The new location features an open factory design where customers can watch as the cocoa beans are baked, ground and refined into the chocolate we've come to know and love.

"I think it's always interesting to see how things are really made. If you just go to the supermarket to buy a finished product, you don't really know where it's coming from," said Mark Jen, one of many opening-day customers.

In addition to the factory floor, the building, which once housed a printing shop, has an upscale tasting room and a store.

"Opening these doors and really inviting the public in is what we're here for -- to get people to be excited about chocolate," Dandelion general manager Amie Bailey said.

Dandelion Chocolate has a back story with echoes of its Silicon Valley roots.

"It was actually started in a garage in Palo Alto and, as you can see, it's scaled quite a bit from those years," Kamin noted.

As it grows bigger with the new factory, the challenge will be to maintain the quality of its small-batch chocolate.

Dandelion is looking to build upon its success. The company currently has a pop-up store in southern California and is eyeing a potential expansion there.

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