La Foret's Handmade Chocolates | San Francisco

Get a sugar high at Napa's La Forêt

Valentine's Day is a handy excuse, but the sweets from La Forêt's tiny Napa shop should be enjoyed the other 364 days of the year too.

Wendy Sherwood, a pastry chef who has worked at The French Laundry and with some of Europe's finest chocolatiers, makes all of the items by hand, including Mallomars with homemade graham crackers and marshmallow; peanut butter-and-gianduja filled chocolate bars; and gooey chocolate turtles, chockablock with caramel and nuts. Sherwood's exacting standards mean that the goods are limited–the aforementioned candy is available only at the shop, and the chocolates through an innovative allocation program.

The allocation program works like a CSA. You add your name to the list, and four times a year you'll be invited to purchase a box of seasonal chocolates, with flavors such as black-walnut Nocino, and Tahitian vanilla and chestnut. The list will be capped when it reaches 200 people; it's exclusivity at its most delicious.

Sherwood also makes a weekly delivery of bonbons to her former colleague, Benu chef Corey Lee, who serves them as part of the dessert service.

But for true candy lovers, a pilgrimage to the shop is a must.

La Forêt, 3261 Browns Valley Rd., Napa; 707-255-1787 or