Places To Buy Chocolate
There's no doubt that good chocolate brings joy, conveys love, heals heartache, and forges connections. I'm lucky enough to say that my career revolves around chocolate. I trained at the Culinary Institute of America, pursued further training at the Chocolate Academy, Chicago, and currently work at EHChocolatier, a small-batch artisanal chocolate producer in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
places to buy chocolate
To find the best chocolates, I researched countless high-quality brands with stellar reputations in the chocolate industry. Based on consumer reviews and professional writings, I narrowed the list of brands to test to 13 different producers. I sampled more than 30 chocolate products from the 13 top contenders, testing for appearance, flavor, and texture of the chocolate. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches products.
We've all been there: in a pinch for the perfect gift but can't find something quite right. Chocolate is always the answer but the ideal gift needs to offer a variety to account for different preferences. The packaging also needs to feel ultra-special. Opening presents is half the fun and this holds true when it comes to chocolates. When considering options for this category, I looked not only at the quality of chocolates, but for assortments that cater to different occasions, relationships, and personality types.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat offers gift options for anyone, all occasions, and at a wide price range. There's the "safe bet" gift of hand-formed Milk Chocolate Truffles in an ornate purple box. Or opt for a too-easy-to-enjoy Comfort Food Tower. For someone experiencing a new stage of life, Vosges offers Ritual Collections that pair chocolate with small gifts (like crystals, a journal, and a smudge stick in the "New Beginnings" ritual box).
Regardless of which specific chocolate gift is right for the occasion or person, each box comes with an undeniable wow-factor before the recipient has even lifted the lid. The excitement doesn't end once the gift is unwrapped either. All Vosges chocolates are stunning. This chocolatier's use of shapes, layered components, textures, and variety within one box will be universally pleasing.
While many Vosges chocolates feature uncommon ingredients in unexpected combinations, they are in reality very approachable to eat. For instance, I'll admit that a truffle of Reishi mushrooms and Italian hazelnuts was a bit intimidating to bite into, but it translated into a luscious, umami milk chocolate ganache with an underlying nuttiness that lingered, leaving me wanting more. Each Vosges Haut-Chocolat morsel is truly exciting to bite into, like unwrapping yet another surprise: the gift that keeps giving.
Ganache. You've seen the word countless times on menus describing chocolate desserts. Ganache is the decadent combination of cream and chocolate, used to frost cakes, glaze donuts, and fill truffles. A traditional truffle is round with a simple chocolate shell or coating of cocoa powder, nuts, or coconut. But the world of ganache-filled bonbons need not end there. Our favorite producer of truffles and ganaches, Bon Bon Bon, is unconventional in its truffles' shape, use of flavors and textures, and packaging.
When selecting a good truffle, there are a few key qualities to look for: first, it should have a uniform, thin shell enrobing the ganache filling. An overly thick coating of chocolate cracks and smashes the delicate ganache when bitten into. Secondly, it should have a shiny exterior (unless coated in cocoa powder, etc), free of blemishes or white "bloom" (a sign that the chocolate was not treated properly during production or storage). Lastly, inside the truffle should be a silky smooth ganache. Bon Bon Bon, a hip and cheeky producer out of Detroit, hits the mark on all of these and then some. Each truffle is a two-bite masterpiece, delivered in a thin rectangular chocolate shell.
Caramels come in all shapes and sizes, firmnesses, colors, degrees of bitterness and butteriness, and with all types of garnishes. Setting out to name the best caramel chocolate was no easy task, but I was up to the challenge. Fran's Chocolates caramels offer the "pull," deliberate chew, and strategic salting that a great caramel should possess.
Fran Bigelow, founder of Fran's Chocolates, was inspired by a trip to Paris and has since been dedicated to sharing the joie de vivre philosophy through exceptional confections. This Seattle-based candy producer features Fair Trade certified chocolate to complement, not overshadow, the caramel's delicate yet luxurious buttery flavor. The uniformity of each morsel and consistency in salting means that each bite will be just as perfect as the last. While you can find chocolate caramels in all sorts of variety boxes, Fran's Chocolates offers box options totally committed to caramels, revealing its devotion to the craft of caramel chocolates. With your choice of milk or dark chocolate coating, grey salt, smoked salt, or a classic exterior sans salt, the truest of caramel lovers will undoubtedly find what they need.
From clusters to pralines, turtles to barks, nuts are no strangers to chocolate. A real nut lover, however, lusts for a chocolate that celebrates the nut, not just accompanies it. The sweet and savory flavors developed from roasting cacao beans make chocolate the ideal "plus one" to any toasted nut. A coating of good chocolate draws out the natural sweetness of almonds, pistachios, and pecans; coaxes the fatty richness of cashews, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts; and embraces the slight bitterness of walnuts and pine nuts.
See's Candies, founded in 1921, has a vintage, old-timey feel with black and white checkered packaging and classic confections included in its arrangements, such as Dark Scotchmallows, and it has an entire collection of "Nuts & Chews" for those devoted to nut-bejeweled chocolates. Toffee-ettes, sold in black and white coffee canisters, are small nuggets of Danish butter toffee and roasted almonds coated in milk chocolate and rolled in more crunchy almonds.
See's also offers less conventional options for the more daring nut enthusiasts that you can put together in your own custom arrangement. Consider the CA Crunch, a flakey brittle center with peanuts and peanut butter enrobed in white chocolate and covered with chopped English walnuts. For the sweet tooth, go for the non-traditional white chocolate-covered Cashew Brittle. Looking for something a little more playful and funky? Try the Milk Mayfair, a soft pink-hued center of walnuts, cherries, and vanilla, coated with creamy milk chocolate. With a vast assortment of nut-celebrating confections, See's Candies are the one-stop-shop for any nut lover with a chocolate craving.
"Bean-to-bar" chocolates are progressively popular among chocophiles; they're made by small-batch craft producers that manage everything from sourcing the cacao beans to the final touches of processing and flavoring.
San Francisco-based Dandelion Chocolate Factory approaches its processing like a wine maker approaches the production of fine wine. It crafts single-origin chocolate bars, which are made from cacao beans of one variety from one location. Just as soil and climate impact grapes for winemaking, regional terroirs influence the flavors of cacao beans. Dandelion Chocolate's bars highlight the different beans' distinctive characteristics.
Not only do Dandelion Chocolate's bars showcase the nuances of single-origin beans, but they richly represent the art of roasting by offering bars made from cacao of the same harvest but with different roasting profiles. For example, you can purchase a pack of bars made from the same beans, but processed by Dandelion's Tokyo and San Francisco chocolatiers. Imagine two wines made from the same exact grapes, fermented by two different winemakers. Offering these chocolate bars opens a window of insight to the choco-connoisseur that few producers do.
Each and every chocolate bar from Dandelion Chocolate feels deluxe, wrapped in gold-accented paper with tasting notes. As for the chocolates themselves, Dandelion Chocolate's bars are superb. When seeking chocolate to savor on its own, I look for a rich and complex taste with a pleasant bitterness and melt-in-your mouth smoothness, lacking any waxy residue. So many chocolate producers that make high-cacao dark chocolate that is too harsh. However, even at 70% cacao and beyond, Dandelion Chocolate's bars are balanced and approachable.
If you're interested in baking, also check out Dandelion's specially-engineered chocolate chips. Crafted by a Tesla designer, the chips are purportedly the perfect shape and size to create a delicate balance of snap and melt in chocolate chip cookies.
Vegan chocolate bars are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, since dark chocolate is innately vegan. But achieving a rich, "creamy" truffle minus the dairy is a whole other feat. Ganache by definition contains cream. Many vegan truffle options rely on heavy nut butters for creaminess, which can leave a greasy film in your mouth. Others have a thin or gritty texture, or taste lackluster even with the use of fancy, flavorful olive oils.
Full disclosure: I work at EHChocolatier but I also tested and considered five other vegan chocolates for this guide and have sampled many more in my work. None have compared to the Meltaway Collection by EHChocolatier. EH is not afraid to use flavor, so you'll never miss the dairy. The vibrant Passionfruit bonbon sends you to a juicy tropical oasis in one bite; the jade-toned Matcha chocolate is toasty, grassy, and silky smooth; the Belgian-style Hazelnut Praline meltaway, with bits of caramelized sugar and toasted nuts, is so rich you'll swear it's laden with butter. All of the fillings are balanced with the thin veil of bittersweet dark chocolate that enrobes them. The bonbons are decorated with vividly-colored cocoa butter to match the exciting flavors; pink zebra print is paired with juicy raspberry ganache, while psychedelic blue swirls top a rich dark chocolate center. 041b061a72