When strolling in North Beach you may be lured into this spot by the sign promising free fudge samples, but by the time you’re in the door and get a whiff of the warm caramel corn, you’re hooked. Local favorite Z. Cioccolato (pronounced choc-o-lato) is most famous for its fudge — it was even highlighted on the Food Channel. On any day, there are 40 different types being dreamt up by the chocolate mastermind in the back of the shop — including wacky ones, like rainbow sherbet and key-lime pie. But if you’re looking for fruit flavor, we say stick to the barrels of salt-water taffy. If fudge, caramel corn, or taffy isn’t your sweet spot, you can settle for a candy bra, G-string, or garter. Hey, whatever floats your boat.
What to get: Fudge! We like Maple, Black Panther (milk and dark chocolate, sea-salt caramel, and peanut butter), Mocha Swirl, almond and chocolate, and Oreo bark. Also, the salt-water taffy.
Z.Cioccolato, 474 Columbus Avenue (between Vallejo and Stockton streets), San Francisco; 415-395-9116.