SAN FRANCISCO -- Award-winning chocolatier, Wendy Lieu is the owner of Vietnamese chocolate shop, Socola Chocolatier - a San Francisco sweet spot for chocolate artistry.
"I've had this love for chocolate for over 22 years. I actually started making truffles when I was just 19 years old in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County," recalled Lieu. "How I got started is our parents had a nail salon, and so I walked by a chocolate shop every day and ate a sample. And so that began my love affair with chocolate."
The word "Socola'' means chocolate in Vietnamese. The shop handcrafts artisanal chocolates and confections with heritage and artistry infused into every bite.
"Instead of having mocha chocolate, we have a Vietnamese coffee or Ca Phe Sua. We have a durian truffle, a sriracha truffle instead of a spicy chocolate," described Lieu. "And we just try to embrace our heritage and find different desserts and things that we grew up with that we enjoy and put it into the chocolate."
She added, "We always try to push ourselves in terms of creativity to come up with something new."
One of the special offerings is a 4-course, Vietnamese meal-inspired box of chocolates, with Jasmine tea, Vietnamese coffee, pho, sriracha flavors and more!
"It was kind of a journey that I set out on my own," said Lieu of her chocolate making career. "The curiosity then was like, 'how come there aren't any Vietnamese flavors in the chocolate.' And so, I had to experiment and tinker on my own with new recipes to reflect my heritage, and that's brought me the most joy."
For AAPI heritage month, Socola launched their heritage bar collection, with culturally infused flavors like durian, turon, jasmine tea, matcha, and more.
"I think we should celebrate all the time, but it's a very special time because we all get to see other cultures and uplift each other," said Lieu.
For more information, visit here and follow @socolachocs on Instagram.