Dallmann Chocolates: Exquisitely Fine Chocolates
 The most delicious vegan gift.
It’s always a pleasure to discover an exciting producer of artisan foods. In the case of our Top Pick Of The Week, Dallmann Fine Chocolates of California, in the lovely town of San Marcos in San Diego County*.
Dallmann founder Isabella Knack is a third-generation confectioner. She grew up in a small town outside of Salzburg, Austria. Her family’s business was a pastry shop, begun in 1954 by her grandfather, Guenther Dallmann.
The shop was extremely popular among the locals. Guenther’s daughter Sylvia and her husband Franz continued his efforts, turning Dallmann’s into a world-renowned business.
One of her parents’ specialties was Mozartkugel, an irresistible nougat ball covered in chocolate, that was born in 1890 in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. (Readers who enjoy name disputes and copyright law will enjoy the details here.)
There’s more about the MozartKugel below.
Sylvia and Franz’s daughter Isabella grew up in her family’s pastry shop, learning the trade. When she had the opportunity to move to San Diego, she “jumped on it with the vision of keeping the family traditions and business alive.”
She headed to the West Coast, bringing the family’s artisan version of Mozartkugel to America in 2006. And from there, an exquisite chocolate shop was born, opening in 2011.
Isabella follows her grandfather’s practice of using only the finest ingredients and craftsmanship while adding modern flavor and artistic touches to her beautiful chocolate bonbons and bars.
And she says that her children are already getting involved with chocolate making. Welcome the fourth generation of chocolatiers!
> Chocolate terminology: a glossary.
> The origin of chocolate truffles.
> “Chocolate” vs. “chocolates.”
> Pralines vs. bonbons.
What makes a great piece of chocolate? To start with, the couverture. Dallmann uses the best Swiss brand, Felchlin, a brand not well-known among American consumers but highly regarded by artisan chocolatiers.
Then, the centers: caramels, fruits, ganache, nuts, and seasonings (herbs, spices, spirits). The best of everything—no skimping.
Finally, the artisan touches that make each piece of chocolate so alluring, like the beautiful hand-painting.
The truffles (i.e., individual pieces of chocolate—we call them bonbons) are the main event.
There are pre-set and custom boxes of chocolate. Pre-set boxes include Bella’s Favorites, Vegan Chocolates, Exotic Chocolates, Wine Pairing Chocolates, Sugar-Free Chocolates (the latter are all dark chocolate ganache).
If you have a passion for some flavors over others, you can build a box with whatever you like!
Most flavors are available year-round, some flavors are seasonal. Currently, the flavors include:
If you like marzipan, you must! must! must! order Dallmann’s Mozartkugeln. They are the best!
The original recipe for Mozartkugel (meaning “Mozart ball,” plural -kugeln) starts with a ball of pistachio marzipan covered in a layer of nougat and coated in dark chocolate. It was wrapped in silver foil with an image of Mozart.
The originals were made by Paul Fürst, a Salzburg confectioner. They shot to popularity and were awarded a gold medal at a world trade fair in Paris in 1905.
Over time, copycat versions appeared, some with slight variations, some also claiming to be the “original.”
In 1996, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that only Furst had the right to the name “original” Mozartkugel. If someone else makes a similar product, they may call it Mozartkugeln, but not “original.”
Americans may be most familiar with mass-produced versions like Victor Schmidt’s, which are often found in piled into containers next to the cash register at sweet shops, wrapped in four-color gold foil with Mozart’s image.
Dallmann’s Mozartkugeln is a ball of the most delectable pistachio marzipan under a layer of nougat made with pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds and dipped in dark chocolate. The end result is so wonderful, we had to restrain ourselves from eating the whole box at once.
These wonderfully luxurious chocolate bars complete the “menu” at Dallmann: