Updated: Jun 17
I don't receive any commissions from the retailers mentioned in this post.
Nothing keeps me away from chocolate, and when I was a child I had the hives to prove it. Yes like star-crossed love those sweet, tiny chocolate morsels I so adored did not exactly love me back. My pediatrician gave me the worst news any young chocolate lover could hear: Chocolate was one of the many foods to which I was allergic and should avoid. I sadly accepted the news and later consoled myself with a dozen chocolate Hershey’s Kisses™ washed down with nice tall glass of Benadryl ™. By the time I became a teen my voracious appetite became age-appropriate and, miraculously, all of my food allergies disappeared.
My friends jokingly refer to me as the chocolate connoisseur of the group. The reality is my palette continues to evolve. And while I light up when sampling beautiful bonbons and tasty truffles from chocolatiers across the U.S, I also enjoy the nostalgia of delighting in a bag of plain M&Ms as well as artisanal recreations of brand-named chocolates. I relish the opportunity of taste testing new and unique chocolates. This post is the first of many to explore the best the world has to offer. I start with reviewing 5 top-notch U.S. chocolatiers. All of these confection shops provide nationwide shipping (check their website for specific shipping information).
The following chocolatiers hail from both the East to West coasts. They’re in no particular order, but I do have my favorite. Any guesses? Looks like you’ll have to try each one and judge for yourself. Drop a comment below and leave your top chocolate picks from this list suggest a chocolatier for me to review. Out of the many dozens of chocolatiers I’ve visited, here are 5 of the best. Happy tastings!
Located in the Nolita section of downtown Manhattan, New York, the handcrafted bonbons created in this tiny confection shop dazzles the eyes with their exquisite artistic detail and whets ones appetite with their mouth-watering flavor combinations. Every time my husband and I travel to Manhattan, we pick up a 24-piece custom assorted box of their white, milk and dark chocolate bonbons, along with a handful of their mini candy bars. The ultra friendly staff quickly learned our names and make spot on recommendations based on our flavor preferences. In addition to their amazing taste and first-rate customer service, the presentation of the bonbons in storybook keepsake boxes is yet another one of a kind touch that sets this outstanding chocolatier apart from other Manhattan chocolatiers.
Located in the Old City section of Philadelphia, PA, this sweet gem is actually America’s oldest candy shop. Stepping into Shane Confectionery is like time-traveling to the 1850s, from employees dressed in attire from that time period to the ornate décor of the shop. In addition, their vast selection of sweet and salty confections will leave you in awe. You can easily spend an hour or so here alone, but carve out some time to check out the Chocolate Café, an extension of the candy shop that features an array of sipping chocolates. They also offer private and tours and chocolate tastings.
Another unique and tasty find in the City of Brotherly Love is located a block away from the historic Liberty Bell, this outstanding chocolatier has a homey feel and warm vibe. Lore’s is a family owned business that knows a thing or two about crafting an array of fine chocolates, local seasonal favorites such as Irish Potatoes, chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels and so much more. This shop has delighted chocolate lovers since1967 and is just a few short blocks of Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross house, and the Benjamin Franklin museum to name just a few of the landmarks and must visit museums nearby. Another fun fact: Lore’s Chocolates are created in the original, historic Goldenberg Peanut Chews factory.
I came across this delectable establishment located in Verona and Madison, Wisconsin, after reading a Consumer Reports article some years ago noting Candinas as a top CR pick. I have yet to visit Wisconsin, but they happily accept phone and online orders, and this is the go-to chocolatier my husband and I order from to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Their handmade chocolates are out of this world delicious and have consistently been so over the ten or more years we’ve been ordering from them. All of their flavor offerings are phenomenal and every time the FedEx delivery person promptly appears at our doorstep with the Candinas box in tow, hubby and I play tug of war to see who dips into the box first.
Seattle, WA is on my bucket list of places to travel to and one sweet destination that’s definitely bookmarked on my itinerary is Fran’s Chocolates. Also a family owned establishment, Fran Bigelow is credited as being a master chocolatier and has been creating French pastries and artisanal chocolates since 1982. Menu offerings are quite extensive and I highly recommend the dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups and the dark and milk chocolate salted caramels. If you really want to treat yourself, the assortment of truffles and variety of gold bars definitely fit the bill. I was especially impressed by their lightening fast shipping service during this past holiday season and the packaging of all of their items added to the already indulgent experience.
Located in my hometown of Miami, FL, this little gem offers gourmet handmade truffles, chocolate bars and other sophisticated sweet treats. María Alejandra Pérez-Mendoza, found herself missing the quality Venezuelan chocolate of her childhood. So, in 1996 she decided to create Romanicos Chocolate. Today, Romanicos is considered the best chocolate shop in Miami. They've been featured in Food Network, PBS, and CBS and in the Miami edition of the Louis Vuitton City Guide. Romanicos is also the official chocolatier of several prestigious brands, including Escada, HBO, and Doral Lincoln.
Stepping into this charming chocolate shop in Savannah, GA, felt as if I had been transported into the Mad Hatter's dining room from Alice in Wonderland. They've aptly named this location the Chocolate Dining Room as there are several delectable packaged selections to choose from on the dining table with an array of seasonal selections located in the adjacent China cabinet and display case. Some of the seasonal chocolate pieces I selected were of a fall/Halloween theme (bottom right photo) and I'm looking forward to return visits as they have two other locations - with their second location also in Savannah known as the Chocolate Library, where the chocolate truffles are catalogued in bookcases among encyclopedias, novels, & gallery walls of art. The third shop is located in Charleston, SC, which features a magical orangerie, immersed in a world of treillage and greenery.
Located in La Cosecha, a Latin American gastronomic hub in the heart of D.C.'s Union Market District, this chocolate studio features handmade bonbons, bars and other confections that are created in small batches. Each bonbon is a mini piece of artwork which makes for a stunning gift as they're packaged to dazzle the lucky recipient. They offer unique flavors such as: Blackberry Cardamom, Tamarind and Ponche Crema to name a few.
This chocolatier stands out with its diverse selection of chocolates from around the world. Located in the Dupont Circle section of Washington, D.C., their mission is to "promote fine quality and sustainable chocolate and confections and maintain a place where everyone can learn about, taste and enjoy some of the world’s best chocolate". In addition to all sorts of chocolates, they carry a lovely selection of mugs, books, greeting cards, which makes this a one stop shop for the chocolate lover in your life. At my last visit, I picked up a box of ten truffles and appreciated the hand written menu card labeling each piece. On my way out I noticed their small case of ice cream cookie sandwiches, which gave me yet another reason for a return trip.
This lovely gem is in located in the heart of the Beacon Hill section of Boston, MA and specializes in small batch handcrafted chocolates from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and the United States. They also carry artisan gelato, can arrange for private tastings and have a variety of custom gift selections ranging from unique packaging as seen in the array of themed boxes confections can be packaged in.
Another fabulous chocolatier in Boston, MS, this shop is located in the Back Bay area among several high end retailers and restaurants. Teuscher is known for their signature Champagne Truffle which has a dark chocolate ganache center that is enriched by a creamy infusion containing the finest Dom Perignon Champagne. They also carry additional flavors of truffles and a wide assortment of pralines, chocolate bars and seasonal gifts. If you're not planning on visiting Boston any time soon, Teuscher has additional locations in the US and across Europe and Asia.
ROYCE' has been making exquisite, world class confections in Hokkaido (the northernmost island of Japan) which they ship to the US. So I took the opportunity to check them out and visited the shop located at Bryant Park in New York City, NY; however, they have quite a few locations in major US cities. This brand offers unique confections such as: Baton Cookies, Potatochip Chocolate, Chocolate Wafers and one of my favorites, Nama Chocolate. If you sample the latter, I highly recommend the Au Lait flavor which is a confection made with a rich and smooth blend of premium milk chocolate and fresh cream with a slight hint of cherry liqueur and orange liqueur.
I was thrilled to discover this chocolate shop in downtown Asheville, NC, which at the time of my visit had been owned and operated by a husband-&-wife team known as Bill & Sue, where handcrafted, small batches of chocolate confections had been deliciously whipped up. There's a lot of tasty chocolaty delights to choose from ranging from truffles, rounds (similar to bark), candied fruit and high heels, yes you read that correctly. They have a range of designs you can choose from and each chocolate high heeled shoe weighs almost one pound and is approximately the equivalent of a size five in women's shoes.
I discovered this chocolatier on a recent trip to New York City and I'm so happy I did. Located in SoHo, Thierry Atlan, is recognized for making exceptional French macarons and chocolates. While most of their products are available for shipping, they have an assortment of homemade ice cream flavors and an even longer list of coffees, signature lattes and hot chocolates to choose from. The service was outstanding as the attendant went a step above to label each of the customized boxes of chocolates and macarons I ordered (as some were gifts) and she also took her time to help me select flavors based on each individuals preferences. The shop has a simple yet sophisticated aesthetic and even though it's located in a bustling section of NYC, I was in my own orbit being surrounded by all of the delicious decadence.
I purposely left this chocolatier as the proverbial best for last as they are world-class in every area. For starters, the customer service is exceptional as each staff takes their time with patrons in providing descriptions of their wide range of chocolates and other confections. They also give generous samples of their encased chocolate barks, truffles and other chocolate pieces, which I have yet to experience from any other chocolatier.
On one (of many) visits with our nieces and nephews, we received an impromptu tour from the chocolatier of one of the chocolate fountains in the confection making area, and yes, we received spoonfuls of mouthwatering chocolate, along with a detailed history of the origins of the chocolate they use and how their confections are crafted and delivered to their shops from Switzerland. They have two locations in NYC, the photos below are of the shop located on fifth avenue.
So, fellow chocolate eater, get to indulging. You too will be more than satisfied. You’ll be in love. If you sampled any of the places mentioned in this post and/or have suggestions for other chocolatiers, share your feedback in the comments below. Have a sweet day! ~Xina