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buying guide

box of chocolates

Recchiuti Confections
The chocolates from Michael Recchiuti's (reh-KYOO-tee) storefront in the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace are an across the board favorite with chocophiles. He's known for adorning his chocolates with edible etchings from local San Francisco artists.

La Maison du Chocolat
Along with Christian Constant, Pierre Herme, Michel Chaudun and Jean-Paul Hevin, Robert Linxe's La Maison du Chocolat is one of France's finest chocolatiers. And now that La Maison du Chocolat has two NYC locations at Rockefeller Center and on Madison Ave, these renowned Parisian truffles and chocolates can be enjoyed stateside. This is the place to go for something impressively elegant. Very pricey.
Shipping: USA & International

L.A. Burdick
A small town New Hampshire company that's amongst America's best chocolatiers. Famous for their signature chocolates shaped like little mice and penguins. Their hot chocolate is also tops.

Richard Donnelly Chocolates
After studying with master chocolatiers (including a brief apprenticeship with La Maison du Chocolat's Robert Linxe) in Paris and Brussels, Richard Donnelly set up his own kitchen in Santa Cruz and he has since become one of this country's own top chocolatiers. Known for his bestselling saffron-cardamom chocolates.

Garrison Confections
Former pastry chef Andrew Shotts changes his offerings every season at his Rhode Island shop. He won the 2007 Food Network's "Hot Chocolate" Award for the top artisanal chocolatier.

Gearharts Chocolates
It is listed by Chocolatier magazine as one of America's top 20 artisanal chocolatiers, and it is also my own local chocolate store here in Virginia. I love the fact that their website allows you to fill your own box with the flavors you want in the quantities you want.

european chocolates

Michel Cluizel - This renowned French artisanal chocolatier uses pesticide-free cacao and is one of the very few to ban the use of the additive soy lecithin in all his products. His only store outside Paris is at the legendary ABC Carpet & Home store in NYC.

Pierre Marcolini - Known for pralines. Along with Wittamer, Le Chocolatier Manon and Mary Chocolatier, some of Belgium's best.

Debauve & Gallais - Still makes Napoleon's favorite croquemandes and truffles favored by Marcel Proust.

Richart - Stunning French artisanal chocolates with 80 different inventive fillings.

american artisanal chocolates

John & Kira's - Believers in using fresh, local produce. Known for their mint chocolates.

BT McElrath - A Midwestern stand-out. Their passion fruit truffle won the Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal Award for the Outstanding Confectionery Good of 2007.

Chuao Chocolatier - Pronounced chew-wow. Highly regarded San Diego chocolatier.

Jacques Torres - Food Network celeb chef has his own waterfront chocolate factory in Brooklyn.

Charles Chocolates - California artisanal chocolatier uses organic cream and butter. The packaging is simple and modern -- not your grandma's box of chocolates.

Knipschildt - Danish-born, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Fritz Knipschildt was rated one of the world's three top chocolatiers by Gourmet Magazine.


Candinas - Widely acclaimed, well-priced hard-shell truffles handmade in Wisconsin, but their online store lacks any helpful descriptions.

Knipschildt - Danish-born, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Fritz Knipschildt was rated one of the world's three top chocolatiers by Gourmet Magazine. Makes classic 71% dark chocolate truffles, as well as flavored varieties.

Chocolate Garden - These handrolled, soft shell truffles have been featured on the Food Network's Food Finds.

Fran's Chocolates - Truffles made in Seattle by one of our country's very first artisanal chocolatiers.

Vosges Haut Chocolat - Katrina Markoff is well-known for her ultra-exotic truffle flavors such as Quandong fruit, Australian wattleseed and sweet indian curry.

Bridgewater Chocolate - Classic dark and flavored truffle collections.

fill your own box

Gearharts Chocolates - An excellent Charlottesville, VA chocolatier. Offers custom assortments - you choose the flavors and quantities of each.

Richard Donnelly Chocolates - Pricey, but very, very elegant chocolates from Santa Cruz, California. Allows for some custom options -- dark/milk, alcohol/no alcohol, spicy/no spicy, nuts/no nuts.

Chuao Chocolatier - Pronounced chew-wow. Highly regarded San Diego chocolatier. Customize your own box.

John & Kira's - Choose up to 4 flavors in their "As You Like It" box. They also carry one flavor boxes.

chocolate art

Christopher Elbow - Visually stunning chocolates from Kansas City.

Christopher Norman Chocolates - His "hand-painted" collections look like they belong in a gallery.

Norman Love - Hand-painted confections from a former Ritz-Carlton executive pastry chef in Florida.

classic flavors

Bridgewater Chocolate - It's located in an unassuming shop in a Connecticut strip mall, but it makes some of the country's best chocolates. This company has taken a pass on the current trend towards gimmicky flavors, and instead offers traditional fillings - caramel, nuts, peanut butter, toffee, coconut -- plus plain, old-fashioned chocolate truffles.

Sweet on Vermont - Classic, back-to-basics chocolates. Her peanut butter pigouts are like super-premium Reese's. Moonlight in Vermont bars were featured on the Rachael Ray Show (Jan 08).

Enstrom's - Grand Junction, CO company famous for their almond toffee, which Sunset Magazine calls "peerlessly crisp." Made with sweet butter, sugar, and toasted almonds and enrobed in Guittard chocolate. Also makes classic nuts & chews chocolate assortments.

trendy & hip

MarieBelle - This NYC store carries funky, girlishly fun designs silkscreened on chocolates made by Jacques Torres.

Vosges Haut Chocolat - Chicago's Katrina Markoff is well-known for her ultra-exotic flavors such as Quandong fruit, Australian wattleseed and sweet indian curry.

Jin Patisserie - Modern chocolates from Kristy Choo's zen-chic cafe in Venice Beach, California. She uses Asian-inspired flavors like yuzu, chrysanthemum, lemongrass and tea.

Chocolate Box Cafe - This LA-based cafe sells extremely giftable chocolates imported from Belgium and packaged in boxes designed by the same company that makes Bulgaris' boxes. The store has won raves from Sunset Magazine for its "beautiful, velvety-centered chocolate ganaches and its sleek fruit- and nut-topped wafers."

NOKA - Super pricey. This Dallas-based boutique specializes in single-origin dark chocolate truffles and chocolates sourced from Venezuela, Ecuador, Trinidad and Côte d'Ivoire. Packaged in your choice of sleek stainless steel or cool, textured, matte-black paper boxes.