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Every day, hundreds of amazing chocolatiers create delicious and unique treats from coast to coast. These are our top picks for the best chocolate in America.
The Best Chocolate GiftsVosges Haut-Chocolat
Katrina Markoff, owner and chocolate visionary, flavors chocolates with unusual ingredients (curry powder and bee pollen), and packs them in boldly crafted boxes. Markoff was also an innovator in the bacon-and-chocolate trend. He now has boutiques in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago. From $50 at vosgeschocolates.com
K+M Extravirgin Chocolate
Thomas Keller, a chef, and Armando Manni, an olive oil icon, are creating chocolate using the same “live” principles Manni developed for his olive oils. This method was created with the University of Florence in order to reduce heat exposure and preserve antioxidants during processing. To create the blockbuster bars, the two sought out Chi Bui, a former pastry chef (Daniel and Le Bernardin), who was also a well-known Manni oil expert. Three bars were released from Madagascar, Peru, and Ecuador. The Ecuadorian version is our favorite, as it has a unique, floral texture. Starting at $45 on Food52.com
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
After being recognized for his cute almond-eared chocolate mouse that he gave to New York City’s Le Cirque and Bouley, in the 1990s, L.A. Burdick opened a bright yellow cafe in Walpole, New Hampshire. L.A. Burdick has three locations today in New York City, Boston, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. They serve his delicious handmade chocolate candies.
Fran Bigelow, a Seattle-based candy entrepreneur, has been setting the trends for over 30 years. She was selling tiny chocolate bars and exquisite truffles long before they were commonplace. The owner of Seattle-based Fran Bigelow has been setting candy trends for over 30 years. She was selling miniature chocolate bars and elegant truffles long before they became popular.
Godiva Cake Truffles
The patisserie dessert truffles from the chocolatier include chocolate lava cake, tiramisu and creme brûlée. You can find it at Godiva.com
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates
Christopher Elbow, a pastry chef, worked at the American Restaurant in Kansas City until he realized the popularity of his chocolate petits fours and decided to start his own candy company in 2003. These hand-painted chocolates are available in a variety of creative flavors, including bananas Foster and caramel apples. Elbow also produces fantastic chocolate bars, including No. 6 Dark Rocks are made with dark chocolate and popping candies. Get it at elbowchocolates.com
Michael Recchiuti, a San Francisco chocolatier, creates market-driven confections such as chocolate-dipped pear slices flavored with Key lime juice and homey chocolate desserts like Quadruple Chocolate Brownies. Recchiuti’s dark-chocolate-covered caramel almonds with peppermint patties and seasonal peppermint patties are also favorites. You can find it at Recchiuti.com
Check out these candies
This iconic American chocolate company’s flagship store opened in Los Angeles in 1921. There are over 200 locations offering chocolate candies with nougat, nuts, and marzipan in the United States. We are nostalgic for See’s Milk Bordeaux ($32), a candy made with brown sugar cream and topped with crispy chocolate puffed Rice. More information at Sees.com
Francois Payard, a third-generation chocolatier, and genius pastry chef create exquisite homemade chocolate confections, fluffy macarons, and beautiful cakes at his elegant bakery in New York City and Las Vegas. It can be found at Payard. co
Valerie Gordon, a Los Angeles chocolatier, began creating small-batch chocolates made from hand-made ingredients. She also created crispy chocolate-covered toffees with almonds, fleur du sel, or candied fruits. The caramel squares and milk chocolate-dipped nougat are favorites. Gordon developed a new line of tea blends, cookies, and petit fours in 2011.
Chocolatier Kee Ling Tong, a combination chocolate and flower shop, opened her flagship store in New York City in Soho in 2002. She now has three locations that offer exquisite handmade chocolates in 40 flavors.
Pastry chef Jacques Torres moved from Manhattan’s Le Cirque to start his own chocolate factory in 2000. Torres is now the owner of a chocolate empire, which includes two production plants, several NYC outposts, and one in Atlantic City. Our favorite snacks are Torres’ milk chocolate-covered Cheerios ($14.50), and his caramel chocolate popcorn, which is addictively sweet.
The Excellence line, a 170-year-old Swiss chocolate manufacturer, includes bars such as silky dark chocolate with caramel pieces and Fleur de Sel ($17).
Xocolatti’s internationally-inspired truffles, slates ($12), are very thin versions of Chocolate Bark with layers that recall slate rocks. They come in seven flavors such as mango and paprika with melted white chocolate. Shaineal Shah, the founder, says that Indians love to eat fruits with spices. One of our most loved combinations is mangos with paprika.
Hudson Valley Chocolates
Stephanie Glaisek’s bonbon box pieces include pieces filled with almond butter, candied lemon tangerine, or peppermint tea.
Kristen Hard, the owner of her beautiful Atlanta shop refuses to use any other chocolate in her delicious bean-to-bar chocolates. She also makes playful desserts like a chocolate faux salami with biscotti. She claims that she slowly increased the cacao percentage to win over milk chocolate fans. Hard, unlike many chocolate artisans who spend years studying with masters in the art of making chocolate, is almost entirely self-taught. She says, “It used to make me feel insecure.” It’s why I’m different. She spends six weeks each year abroad sourcing beans direct from farmers. This allows her to create exceptional bars such as one with raw sugar and Venezuelan cacao.
Theo Chocolate, a Seattle-based chocolate company, was founded in 2006. It was the first American chocolate producer to be 100 percent organic and fair trade. Theo’s thoughtful chocolates are rich and delicious, with a unique flavor that is reminiscent of dark single-origin chocolates from countries like Madagascar and Ghana. Joseph Whinney, the founder of Theo, is so passionately involved in chocolate that he hired an expert to genetically map Theo’s beans. Theo’s efforts are not all serious. Phinney bars come in humorous flavors such as salty-sweet bread and chocolate. These bars contain dark chocolate and bread crumbs and go well with afternoon coffee.