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When you step into Humboldt Chocolate, tucked behind the gazebo in Old Town Eureka, breathe deeply. The air is heavy and sweet in the little shop. That's because chocolatiers are hand-making each molded, cream-filled, foil-wrapped piece right on the premises.

Peek through the window into the kitchen — you may glimpse Ken Buntin at the mesmerizing tempering wheel, testing ribbons of the melted chocolate with a spatula. When owner Jonah Ginsburg bought the business in 2013, renaming it and shifting to non-GMO ingredients, Buntin had already been rolling truffles and pouring bars there for two decades. The old-fashioned recipes are mostly in Buntin's head, and he and 11-year veteran Selfida Paz-Ponce make everything in house — that totals up to some 20,000 pounds of chocolate so far this year.

Take your time and browse the dozens and dozens of truffles, French creams, nut clusters, caramels and solid chocolates sold by the piece or by weight. You're a caramel cluster's throw from Humboldt Bay, so of course there are marine life shapes, like hand-sized shells filled with little seahorses and dolphins, or the hefty, sea salt-sprinkled dark chocolate crab. The shop also does a brisk business in yellow banana slugs — those beloved, humble mascots of our forests.

Overwhelmed? There are eight-packs of assorted bars — including ones made with Humboldt Bay Coffee, caramel, almonds and fiery chili — to toss in your suitcase for everybody back home.

Photos By Drew Hyland • Styling by Lynn Leishman

Humboldt Chocolate

425 Snug Alley, Eureka

445-8015

Monday through Saturday

10 am - 5:30 pm

Sunday noon - 4 pm

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