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The Best Chocolate Shops Across the US

The Best Chocolate Shops Across the US

Chocolate is often associated with various holidays, from Valentine’s Day and Halloween to Easter and Hannukah, but it is such a beloved treat, that people have been partaking in the sweet indulgence on a regular basis. Since its humble beginnings more than 5,000 years ago, originally harvested by the Mayo-Chinchipe culture in what is now Ecuador, this tasty delight has become a favorite of people throughout the world.

In the United States alone, almost three billion pounds of this confection are consumed every year. Mass-market companies like industry giants like Hershey’s, Lindt, and Ferraro, and even smaller companies like Whitman’s and See’s Candies, all have a hand in the almost 21 billion dollars in annual sales. People often purchase their chocolate in grocery and convenience stores, and while many of these wares are palatable, the chocolate-eating experience can be elevated even more when you visit a shop dedicated to perfecting this delectable dessert.

Most cities and towns in the U.S. have at least one chocolate shop. It is estimated that there are around 7,000 and some cities have more than others – a quick check reveals that there are at least 80 currently operating in New York City, and more than 30 in Los Angeles – and while most towns won’t have this many, you only need one great store to fulfill your chocolate needs. Many purveyors of fine chocolate double as pastry or gift shops, ice cream parlors, or gourmet markets which makes it hard to accurately count the total number. (Here’s a list of the best ice cream parlors in every state)

To identify the top chocolate shops across the United States, 24/7 Tempo reviewed listings and rankings on sites including Food & Wine, Simply Chocolate, and Eater, as well as numerous local and regional sources, then used editorial discretion to make our final choice. Needless to say, there are scores and scores of other top-notch chocolate shops around the country, all worth considering too. (To look at another excellent cocoa, check out Coco Gauff who will be representing the Team USA tennis team at the Paris Olympics this summer)

Here are the top chocolate shops around the United States:

Texas: Cacao & Cardamom Chocolatier, Houston

Cacao & Cardamom Chocolatier, Houston
Source: Courtesy of Iris T. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Iris T. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2014
  • Owned by: Annie Rupani
  • Specialty offerings: Chocolate made with garam masala, fennel, cinnamon, black sesame, and cardamom

Well-traveled chocolatier Rupani worked for her family’s nonprofit development foundation in Pakistan, attended Boston University classes in London and Amman, studied chocolate-making in Kuala Lumpur, and has logged time in Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, and China. She took a detour from her planned legal studies to craft chocolate full-time, and her offerings combine top-quality ingredients.

Florida: Castronovo Chocolate, Stuart

Castronovo Chocolate, Stuart, Florida
Source: Courtesy of James C. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of James C. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2012
  • Owned by: Denise and Jim Castronovo
  • Specialty ingredients: Honduras Dark Milk with Fleur de Sel (60%) and Sierra Nevada Colombia Dark Milk (63%)

Co-founder Denise Castronovo styles herself as an “Ecopreneur, Chocolate Maker & Ecologist,” and not only produces superb chocolate with cacao sources from Central and South America but seeks out wild and heirloom varieties and ensures that they are harvested and processed in ways that “enable protection of the rainforest and indigenous cultures.” 

Alabama: Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier, Birmingham

Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier, Birmingham, Alabama
Source: Courtesy of LaQuin T. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of LaQuin T. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2017
  • Owned by: Kathy d’Agostino
  • Specialty offerings: Soma bar (Ecuadorian white chocolate flavored with turmeric, ginger, and other spices)

The Chocolatá founder’s first job as a youngster was helping a chocolate maker near her family’s home, and she has never looked back. Today, using 100% ethically sourced single-origin chocolate from Latin America, she produces such creations as chocolate-enhanced popcorn and granola, and a range of bonbons in unusual shapes.

Iowa: Chocolate Manor, Davenport

Chocolate Manor, Davenport, Iowa
Source: Courtesy of Kinjal P. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Kinjal P. via Yelp
  • Founded: 20+ years ago
  • Owned by: The Mohr family
  • Specialty offerings: Make your own chocolate

This Quad Cities chocolate shop produces an array of truffles, caramels, toffees, turtles, and more. The shop also offers tours (reserve a week in advance), which include a chance to watch the production process and sample the family’s wares.

Hawai’i: Choco le’a, Honolulu

Choco le'a, Honolulu
Source: Courtesy of Crystal R. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Crystal R. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2014
  • Owned by: Erin Kanno Uehara
  • Specialty offerings: Truffles (including a mochi variety), chocolate animal crackers

Hawaiian-born Uehara is the owner and CCO (Chocolate Connections Officer ) who quickly expanded after opening up shop (the shop also has a team of CEOs, meaning Chocolate Everything Officers). As a result of the pandemic, however, she scaled back and now concentrates on her original store — which turns out a range of excellent truffles, chocolate-dipped fruit, Chinese-style good look tokens made of chocolate, and other specialties.

New Mexico: Chokolá, Taos

Chokolá, Taos, New Mexico
Source: Courtesy of Diya L. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Diya L. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2015
  • Owned by: Deborah Vincent and Javier Abad
  • Specialty offerings: Small batches of bars made with single-origin chocolate sourced sustainably

The founders met in Venezuela a couple of decades ago and ended up going into the chocolate business there before moving to Taos, where Vincent had family. They then opened Chokolá, using chocolate sourced sustainably from Belize, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, and other Central and South American countries, with packaging featuring the work of local artists, of which Taos has plenty.

Kansas: Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates, Wichita

Source: Courtesy of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates via Yelp
  • Founded: 2005
  • Owned by: Birds Eye Holdings (founded by Beth Tully)
  • Specialty offerings: Bars, “bites,” chocolate-covered nuts, brownies, cookies, macarons

After enjoying immediate success with the opening of her first store, Tully opened a second store in Overland Park, but when it underperformed, she sold the operation to a Wichita-based private equity firm, Birds Eye Holdings. Firm principal Ben Voegeli’s family now runs it. The output includes a variety of items.

Oregon: Creo Chocolate, Portland

Creo Chocolate, Portland, Oregon
Source: Courtesy of Olivia S. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Olivia S. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2014
  • Owned by: Tim Straub and family
  • Specialty offerings: Chocolate bars made from 100% cacao and vegan options

The Straub family were small-scale farmers before opening Creo, and they felt a kinship with their counterparts growing cacao beans around the world, so developed initiatives to work closely with them. Creo’s substantial repertoire includes truffles, caramels, chocolate-covered fruit and nuts, and cacao and chocolate powders for hot drinks.

New Hampshire: Dancing Lion Chocolate, Manchester

Dancing Lion Chocolate, Manchester, New Hampshire
Source: Courtesy of Gabriel C. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Gabriel C. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2007
  • Owned by: Richard Tango-Lowy
  • Specialty offerings: Special order of chocolate bonsai tree and edible raku teacups

Richard Tango-Lowy was trained as a physicist, but fell under the spell of chocolate-making, and went on to the craft in Paris, Vancouver, and Belize, opening Dancing Lion in 2007. His bars and truffles are, he has said, “limited edition works of art.” He makes each one in small quantities and never repeats a recipe. He also fashions spectacular artifacts, available by special order, like a chocolate bonsai tree and edible raku teacups.

Washington: Fran’s Chocolates, Seattle

Fran's Chocolates, Seattle
Source: Courtesy of Fran's Chocolates via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Fran’s Chocolates via Yelp
  • Founded: 1982
  • Owned by: Fran Bigelow
  • Specialty offerings: Bonbons, bars, peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered candied citrus, luxurious drinking chocolate, sea salt caramels

Former accountant Bigelow’s shop has become one of the nation’s best-known and well-reviewed chocolate shops — and is the one that introduced America to chocolate caramels enhanced with sea salt (France’s esteemed fleur de sel, to be precise). There are now four Fran’s locations in the Seattle area, plus two in Japan. The choice of chocolate indulgences is immense.

California: Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Sacramento

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Sacramento, California
Source: Courtesy of Rescue A. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Rescue A. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2005
  • Owned by: Ginger Elizabeth Hahn
  • Specialty offerings: Bar with caramelized oats, pecans, and California Bing cherries

Native Californian Hahn trained as a pastry chef under New York City’s famous Jacques Torres (see below) and award-winning Chicago patissier En-Ming Hsu. Back in her home state, after a stint making desserts at a restaurant, she opened a wholesale chocolate operation, pivoting to retail in 2008. Her chocolate boxes are high in demand. She is also known for her macarons.

New York: Harlem Chocolate Factory, New York City

Harlem Chocolate Factory, New York City
Source: Courtesy of Gira P. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Gira P. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2015
  • Owned by: Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon
  • Specialty offerings: Brownstone Bars, imprinted with images of brownstone façades

The owners of Harlem’s only chocolate shop originally sold their hand-made chocolates at local markets, but in 2018, launched a production kitchen and retail store on Strivers’ Row. They make small-batch truffles and bonbons, and their chocolates were called out as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020.

Utah: Hatch Family Chocolates, Salt Lake City

Hatch Family Chocolates, Salt Lake City
Source: Courtesy of Anna S. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Anna S. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2003
  • Owned by: Steve Hatch and his wife, Katie Masterson
  • Specialty offerings: Hand-dipped chocolate confections, chocolate-covered Oreos, dried fruits, and pretzel sticks

Billing themselves as the Utah capital’s “favorite indulgence since 2003,” Hatch Family Chocolates also makes a few varieties of ice cream in addition to their chocolate lineup. The proprietors gained some measure of renown in early 2010 when they were the focus of a TLC reality show called “Little Chocolatiers” — in the course of which they constructed a chocolate pool table, fireplace, dollhouse, and more.

New York: Jacques Torres Chocolate, New York City and Brooklyn

Jacques Torres Chocolate, New York City and Brooklyn
Source: Courtesy of Joylene Yee H. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Joylene Yee H. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2000
  • Owned by: Jacques Torres
  • Specialty offerings: Bonbons, truffles, bars, brittle, chocolate chip cookies, heart-shaped Valentine’s Day boxes

Numerous chocolatiers source their cocoa beans from sustainable operations, often establishing relationships with farmers and paying fair-trade prices. Famed pastry chef Jacques Torres, however, goes one step further. Working with the Mexican-based NGO called Cacao-Trace, he promises “a commitment to premium quality cacao beans, an ethical supply chain, sustainable farming and agroforestry practices, and long-term commitment to improved revenue and living conditions of farmers.”

He also pays farmers a premium and bonus, amounting to two to five months’ worth of additional income for them. The results are a treasury of great chocolate.

California: John Kelly Chocolates, Hollywood and Santa Monica

John Kelly Chocolates, Hollywood and Santa Monica
Source: Courtesy of John Kelly Chocolates via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of John Kelly Chocolates via Yelp
  • Founded: 2004
  • Owned by:  Partnership between John Kelson and Kelly Green
  • Specialty offerings: Extravagantly rich truffle fudge bars.

The shop began as a wholesale chocolate factory in Hollywood then opened first a Hollywood boutique, which earned a celebrity clientele, and later a Santa Monica location.

Multiple locations: L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates
Source: Courtesy of Gab G. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Gab G. via Yelp
  • Founded: 1987
  • Owned by: Larry Burdick
  • Specialty offerings: A signature collection of tiny hand-crafted chocolate mice and penguins

Burdick studied chocolate-making in Switzerland then returned to the U.S. and opened his first shop, in New York City, determined to make artisanal European-style chocolates at a time when they were mostly unknown here. There’s also a wide choice of bars, bonbon assortments, drinking chocolate, and other forms of chocolate. Find them in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts; Chicago; Walpole, New Hampshire; New York City; and Washington, D.C.

Montana: La Châtelaine Chocolat Co., Bozeman

La Châtelaine Chocolat Co., Bozeman, Montana
Source: Courtesy of Lacey T. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Lacey T. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2006
  • Owned by: Wlady and Shannon Hughes Grochowski
  • Specialty offerings: Dark chocolate with absinthe dust, milk chocolate with English pudding flavors, and white chocolate with lemon and Provençal lavender

With two shops in Bozeman (one in the lobby of the Baxter Hotel), an assortment of imaginatively decorated individual chocolates is created in various shapes.

Vermont: Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Stowe, and Waterbury Center

Lake Champlain Chocolates, Vermont
Source: Courtesy of Mariko M. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Mariko M. via Yelp
  • Founded: 1983
  • Owned by: Jim Lampman
  • Specialty offerings: Truffles, bars, squares, coins, peanut butter treats, caramels, and English toffee.

This company’s proprietor started making truffles for the staff of his Ice House Restaurant in Burlington in 1983, then transitioned into full-time chocolate-making. Today, he and his family run a factory store and two offshoots, sourcing fair-trade certified non-GMO cocoa and other ingredients from around the world. There are a wide range of specialties.

Hawai’i: Mānoa Chocolate Hawaii, Kailua

Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, Kailua
Source: Photo by Leland S. via Yelp

Source: Photo by Leland S. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2010
  • Owned by: Kailua-born Dylan Butterbaugh
  • Specialty offerings: Items made with cocoa grown on both Oahu and the Big Island of Hawai’i

Hawai’i is the only U.S. state with a climate suitable for growing cacao commercially, and Mānoa, opened in 2010 by Kailua-born Dylan Butterbaugh, uses as much of the locally grown product as possible for its bean-to-bar specialties. Hawai’ian liliko’i (passion fruit), sea salt, and coffee are also incorporated into some products.

Louisiana: Piety and Desire Chocolate, New Orleans

Piety and Desire Chocolate, New Orleans
Source: Courtesy of Piety and Desire Chocolate via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Piety and Desire Chocolate via Yelp
  • Founded: 2017
  • Owned by: Chris Nobles
  • Specialty offerings: Chocolate sourced from Tanzania, Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere

“We strive to strike the perfect harmony between reverence and passion,” reads the mission statement on this innovative Magazine Street chocolate shop’s website. Nobles was a restaurant cook who fell in love with the lore of chocolate-making. His bean-to-bar offerings are made with unrefined Louisiana cane sugar, giving them a unique local character.

Maine: Ragged Coast Chocolates, Westbrook

Ragged Coast Chocolates, Westbrook, Maine
Source: Courtesy of Ericka B. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of Ericka B. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2007
  • Owned by: Kate and Steve Shaffer
  • Specialty offerings: Chocolate truffles and chocolate caramels

Originally founded as Black Dinah Chocolatiers on Maine’s Isle au Haut, this artisanal chocolate company moved to Westbrook, near Portland, in 2015 and changed its name to Ragged Coast five years later. (Black Dinah is the name of a mountain on the Isle au Haut, but they renamed their enterprise after learning that the phrase was also a term for enslaved women.)

California: Recchiuti Confections, San Francisco

Source: Photo by Andy B. via Yelp

Source: Photo by Andy B. via Yelp
  • Founded: 1997
  • Owned by: Michael Recchiuti and his wife, Jacky
  • Specialty offerings: Apple slices soaked in Key lime juice and then dipped in chocolate

Chocolates are produced in small batches, using traditional European methods, and in addition to bonbons and bars, Recchiuti offers such original creations as a box of chocolates designed to pair with red wine, and another to pair with whiskey. There’s also a Creativity Explored box, sold to help support a non-profit visual arts center of that name, which helps artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art.

North Carolina: The Secret Chocolatier, Charlotte

The Secret Chocolatier, Charlotte, North Carolina
Source: Photo by Nikki W. via Yelp

Source: Photo by Nikki W. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2011
  • Owned by: The Dietz and Ciordia families
  • Specialty offerings: Barks (a blueberry chili confection)

After three years of hand-crafting chocolates and selling them at local farmers markets and retail shops, these families opened their own shop, which didn’t remain a secret for long. The product list here includes bonbons, caramels, toffee, cookies, brownie pops, and more.

Texas: Tejas Chocolate Craftory, Tomball

Tejas Chocolate Craftory, Tomball, Texas
Source: Courtesy of FoodWanderer A. via Yelp

Source: Courtesy of FoodWanderer A. via Yelp
  • Founded: 2015
  • Owned by: Scott Moore Jr., Greg Moore, and Michelle Holland
  • Specialty offerings: Single-origin tasting squares, chocolate bars, and truffles

Tejas started as a chocolate shop, buying premium cacao beans from around the world and slow-roasting them in a custom-built brick oven. Then, realizing that this city near Houston could use a barbecue joint, the owners added serious smoked meats to their operation.

Illinois: Vosges Haut Chocolat, Chicago

Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Chicago, IL
Source: Photo by Aggie C. via Yelp

Source: Photo by Aggie C. via Yelp
  • Founded: 1998
  • Owned by: Katrina Markoff
  • Specialty offerings: Pairing boxes packaged with blue-chip wines like Ceretto Barolo and Prima Materia Zinfandel; nine-piece collection infused with The Dalmore single malt Scotch

Vosges chocolatier and “alchemist” Markoff was a kitchen apprentice under the game-changing Catalan chefs Ferran and Albert Adrià at the legendary el Bulli, then took their inspiration out of the savory kitchen and learned how to craft exquisite truffles, bars, caramels, and other sweets. Her truffles are particularly beautiful to look at, and of course delicious. (These are the 20 most popular whiskey brands in America.)

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