We love chocolate and so tend to have it around. Both of us tend towards dark chocolate with milk chocolate as a back up. We rarely eat white "chocolate" which isn't really chocolate at all. Some of the chocolate we consume doesn't last too long. That's a good sign and those are the ones that you'll find here. – Joanne
Jin Patisserie This Santa Monica pastry and chocolate shop was on our list on our last Los Angeles visit. The flavors are subtle and the chocolates well-made, resulting in a lightness which works with the subtlety. We'll be back.Scharffen Berger Kumasi Sambirano 63% Cacao
So good Jack has been on constant lookout for it, but alas, the regulatory forces at work are going to make it an unlikely find (milk wasn't listed as an ingredient and it was recalled). It's no longer in production as of July 2007. But please, Scharffen Berger, make it again! Oriol Balaguer's Bola Bola If your hand is close to touching a box, don't hesitate. This Spanish dark chocolate puffed rice is called Bola Bola and was memorable. The chocolate is very high quality and the result is delicious. Watch for it. It's imported by Matiz Espana. Flyer Chocolate Dark Chocolate with A Touch of Milk Imported Swiss chocolate - not the highest quality but a good, pleasant bar with the smoothness of the milk showing. We've enjoyed two so far. It's nice paired with something. I'm not out searching for it but I would buy it again. Buy Flyer Chocolate Bars
Madame Chocolat of Beverly Hills Gorgeous packaging (chocolates come in a magnetic closure quilted box) but the chocolate itself was heavy and the flavors flat. It did not excite us.Cocoa Designs Cocoa Nuts Bar Orange We wanted to like this bar from the San Francisco based Cocoa Designs, especially as Orange and chocolate is a one of our favorite pairings. The peel and nut nuggets were hard and annoyed us. We'll try again with another flavor but this bar did nothing for us. Cosmic Chocolate This Oakland Chocolatier crafts interesting flavors using tea and herbs. We liked some flavors a lot but identification is challenging, as the flavors are subtle and the multicolored tops can have color variation. We would buy their chocoalte again and we would look for it but not seek it out. John & Kira's It's been too long since we ordered from John & Kira's in Philadelphia, so Easter was a great excuse. I had forgotten that their Garden Mint has the delicacy of chewing fresh mint leaves. The flavors are fresh and vibrant without being overwhelming and are sourced from small family farms. The Chocolate is balanced nicely with the flavor and the shell/ganache ration is just right. By far the hit of the order were the chocolate ladybugs. These were filled with Glenn's Raspberry ganache and handpainted. They seem to fly away much like ladybugs do. Xocolatl de David
David Briggs of Xocolatl de David in Portland, OR crafts finely made chocolate out of interesting ingredients (including varieties of sea salts). What stole our hearts was his Year of the Boar (Chinese New Year) offering of Bacon Chocolate with little pieces of bacon as a garnish. Second favorites were the fleur de sel caramel and the coconut lemongrass. The chocolates taste very fresh, hand-made with a thick shell of really great-quality dark chocolate. With his Lab Tech Initiative, he experiments with some esoteric marriages with chocolate like Sweet Sticky Rice, Camembert, Chocolate Futomaki, Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Robiola! I discovered him through Foster & Dobbs in Portland (who sometimes offer classes with him) but I ordered from his website (through email) and had a package shipped directly. Brown Paper Chocolates Feb. 2007 Update:Brown Paper sent us their new flavors for Valentine's Day: Dark Chocolate with Framboise, fresh berries and toasted macadamias and White Chocolate with strawberries, mint and balsamic syrup. The dark chocolate just barely beat the white in our tasting. Both were extremely delicious. Brown Paper's white chocolate is made from pure cocoa butter and it really makes a difference. It converted a non-white chocolate eater. We also got to try the Dark Chocolate and candied pumpkin and ginger, crunchy pumpkin seeds and fall spices. Of the three this one was the favorite with a solid tie for second being the Valentine's flavors.
It's true that nice things can come in plain brown paper packages or boxes. These cubes of fudgey chocolate from Texas are a really fun treat mid-afternoon. We sliced them (easily done as they are not hard or crumbly). A cross between fudge and chocolate, the "chocolate" base has a creamy and almost slightly chewy consistency. They are studded throughout with nuts and fruit. We tried two varieties: Dark Chocolate with pistachios, orange peel, dried cherries and Cointreau, and Milk chocolate with caramel, cashews, Jack Daniel's and fleur de sel. I think we're slightly siding with the milk chocolate. They make a seasonal walnut with candied beet and brandy cube I'd love to try sometime... CocoaBella Chocolates San Francisco While not a chocolate maker this chocolate lover's heaven is worth a trip. The store stocks chocolate from some of the best chocolate-makers around the world. Selections from Marquise de Sevigne, Amedei, Michel Cluizel Christopher Elbow, Laderach, Knipschildt, Pralineur van Coillie and more are available by the piece, to make a custom box. As well they offer pre-made boxes, bars and novelites. The box assortment shown was a gift from a special friend. Yum! Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate A nice balance of dark chocolate from Belgium and orange makes Jack's grade. Chocolove is based in Boulder, CO and Whole Foods stocks it so it's easy to find. Their Dark Chocolate with Raspberry is also good choice. Vosges Chocolate Bars September. 2007 Update:The newest flavor isthe Bacon & Chocolate Bar which if you can imagine salt and bacon bits embedded in chocolate... Very nice!. OtherNew flavors of bars were all hits with us: Macha Tea Bar - Japanese Macha Green Tea and Dark Milk Chocolate. Makes Jack's grade we've just found it at igourmet.com! This evaporates upon opening. Goji Bar - Tibetan goji berries + pink Himalayan salt + deep milk chocolate. A great mix! Calindia Bar - Indian green cardamom + organic California walnuts + dried plums + Venezuelan dark chocolate. A bit chewy for my taste but good flavor. Buy Vosges Chocolate Bars
We usually choose dark chocolate but these are both milk chocolate bars that but we are like a lot.
They are from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. I know we like them as we've bought them more than twice. They seem to have a very short life in our house. The Barcelona bar pairs dark milk chocolate with grey salt and hickory smoked almonds. Yum! I think this one beats the Woolloomooloo! The Woolloomooloopairs macadamia nuts and indonesian coconut, hemp seed with dark milk chocolate.
We've also tried the newer Oxaca bar - but chilies just aren't our style. There is also a Creole Bar with chicory and espresso that is made with bittersweet chocolate. Charles Chocolates Triple Coated
Chocolate Almonds Another Charles Chocolate product which has me swooning. These triple-coated Chocolate almonds are downright addictive. Beware. Endangered Species Chocolate Company - Dark Chocolate with Raspberries These keep disappearing so the Grizzly Bears won't - which is a good sign on both sides. The chocolate is ethically traded. The Dark Chocolate is slightly bitter so the raspberry gives it a zing. Jack likes, but prefers too many others more than this one. Kee's Chocolates With a practically perfect Zagat Marketplace rating of 29, we were skeptical. But easily won over by these beautiful, handmade, fresh and wonderful chocolates made by Kee Ling Tong. Flavors vary seasonally, so if you are lucky you'll get to sample the Yuzu, Honey Kumquat or Pineapple Lychee. Joanne's favorite was the Cherry Cordial, Jack's was the Balsamic. They are only available at 80 Thompson St, in NYC. 212-334-3284.
MarieBelle Chocolates Chocolates silk-screened with little works of art and carefully crafted flavors give MarieBelle status as a world-class chocolatier. The elegant chocolates have a subtlety in their delivery and presentation is exquisite down to the handful of silk rose petals they toss into the bag. We visited the location on Broome St, NYC, with it's tea/cacao parlor and antique store fixtures, but MarieBelle's signature blue and brown boxes can be had at selected stores nationwide - or from their website.
Coffee has moved here. Chocolate Index 21 Chocolate Makers
KSHOCOLAT Honeycomb & Vanilla Milk Chocolat We're usually not milk chocolate fans but this bar from the Glasgow Chocolatier has won Joanne's heart. An elegant scattering of small toffee honeycomb nuggets (think Cadbury's Crunchie) and really creamy chocolate make it a complete winner. We bought this bar at Murray's Cheese Shop in NYC.Ludomar turron de Chocolate con Avellanas
This Barcelona Chocolatier has entranced Joanne with their offering of a dark chocolate bar with Hazelnuts. We've tried a few other Ludomar dark chocolate varieties (truffle, coffee) but none have compared to this one.
If the packaging doesn't win you over, what's inside may put you into a swoon. The Andersons (of S. Anderson Wines) offer flavors like cinnamon toast, bananas foster, wild cherries and fiori di sicilia. They have a very thin wall around them which makes the filling really stand out – and they taste divine.
Their Saint Helena shop often has a chocolate "art" display in the window – right now it's an underwater seascape with chocolate coral and chocolate shells. Highly Recommended.
Thin twigs of dark chocolate flavored with orange from the Medoc region of France. Beautifully and elegantly presented. I can imagine one perched on a coffee cup after dinner. They taste divine with little pearls of chocolate attached to the edge. Quite popular in our household! LA Burdick Beautifully presented these chocolate assortments contain tiny chocolates and at least one chocolate mouse with a silk tail. The artisan handmade chocolates from New Hampshire are well-crafted and delicious. I've also given them as gifts. The chocolate mice and penguins are a huge hit with little people. Jacques Torres Chocolate Maltballs These are hands down the best chocolate malt balls I’ve ever had. They are the “truffles” of chocolate malt balls. It was really really hard to stop eating them. Unfortunately they may be a seasonal thing, as I didn’t notice them currently on their website. I would email and ask. Highly recommended. Hachez Cocoa D'Arriba - Orange 77% While definitely on the bittersweet side, the orange sings through, making it a really pleasant experience. Jack's latest thumbs up!
Poco Dolce Update: February, 2006 Our new love is their Rocher, a mix of almonds, coconut and Dark Chocolate. I had to buy a second box just to get a photo - and low and behold as soon as the picture was taken they once again have disappeared.
Fortunately I also purchased a box of their dark chocolate covered burnt caramel toffee (below). The toffee is well described as the flavor is definitely on the burnt caramel side but the bittersweet chocolate is divine with it. Poco Dolce We had these at a recent dinner party with coffee and they were really fantastic. The grey salt on top is crunchy and enhances the chocolate flavor. The chocolate is great and the packaging innovative – each tile of chocolate comes in its own envelope.
I didn't even get to taste it. With 70% cocoa content, it's even good for you! Instructions from Jack: Find some. Horde. Devour. Repeat. Keep secret - who knows how much of this stuff exists? January 2007 Update:Vivani offer a number of new flavors of whic we like the Dark Chocolate with Lemon Flavour wiDark Chocolate the best. Seek it out. Art Bar - Dark Chocolate with Coconut - from Ithaca Fine Chocolates Run to your local store. We inhaled dark chocolate with coconut. A treat!
Charles Chocolates So far we have eaten two types of his chocolate bars: Hazelnut & Candied Orange Peel in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate and Caramelized Rice Krispies in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate. Jack prefers the Rice Krispie bar. We keep buying them and they keep disappearing.
The thing about these chocolate bars is they are not too sweet.The chocolate is the star – the flavoring acts as the sweetening touch. From what I’ve read on the website the use of natural and organic is emphasized. You’ll hear more I’m sure! XOX Truffles Ohmigahd these are so good! They taste fresh! You have to keep them in the refrigerator. We tested the Dark Truffles which are like cheese curd shaped pieces of heaven rolled in cocoa powder. Yum! I've now also had the Earl Grey and much prefer the regular Dark Truffles. I sought them out the second time - so you know they must be good. New Tree Chocolate You pretty well have to love a company who’s mission is “to develop products to maximize the health benefits of chocolate”. The chocolate comes in different formats but we like the little bars which are three to a box. We’ve sampled two flavors – the Pleasure and the Renew - which gets Jack's thumbs up. They are very good. I love the packaging. It makes you feel indulgent to eat a “little chocolate bar” – besides the fact that they cost $3.75 for three 2g bars at Dean & DeLuca. Trent loves the little bars too! Cuba Venchi 56% Jack ate it. He didn't rave. It was okay. We don't need to buy this one again.