US Artisan Chocolate

Recommendations for U.S. Artisan Chocolatiers

 

I’m always on the hunt for great chocolate. In fact, readers have helped by sending in some of their recommendations. You can find some of the original suggestions from The Great Chocolate Hunt here. But this was so much fun that I’ve decided we need a permanent web page for recommendations. See some of mine to start, and then those from readers, and don’t forget to add your own recommendations if you have any! Or your impressions of any of these you’ve tried.

MIEL BON BONS 

Ferrandi- and LeNôtre-trained chocolatier Bonnie Lau works out of her tiny jewel-box of a shop in Durham, North Carolina. (Note, she used to be in Carrboro but has just moved.) In the past, I’ve described Bonnie’s chocolates as “fanciful, warm, adventurous, and reassuring.” Rich, dark ganaches pair with whimsical and sophisticated flavors, and Bonnie’s passion for chocolate and what it can do is palpable. My favorite quote from her: “I’ve saved so many marriages in this shop.” You can see more about Miel Bonbons in this post I did on my blog.

CHOCOLATS DU CALIBRESSAN 

My first discovery of Jean-Michel Carré’s chocolates was a red-painted caramel-filled chocolate Buddha that, as a surprise gift, had been sitting on my doorstep in mid-July in North Carolina, rising to a melty soft temperature that made it one of the most exquisite flavor-texture combinations I have ever bitten into. I’ve had an addiction to those Buddhas ever since, and to all the other gorgeous and sumptuously delicious hand-painted chocolates Jean-Michel makes from his place in Carpinteria, California.

 CHRISTOPHE ARTISAN CHOCOLATIER

My family was excessively tolerant of my dragging them through Charleston searching for this chocolatier instead of visiting gardens . . . until they stepped inside. Then they realized it was all worth it. Third-generation French chocolatier Christophe Paume makes his hand-painted chocolates in the heart of historic Charleston, luscious ganaches flavored with everything from tomato-basil to a classic vanilla to . . . gasp . . . peanuts. Check out also his salted caramel chocolate bars, which, out of all the salted caramel chocolate bars I’ve ever tasted, remain my standout favorite.

ESCAZU 

A bean-to-bar microbatch producer that was one of the earliest of its kind to launch in the United States, going full-scale bean-to-bar in 2009. Chef Hallot Parson got pulled into chocolate on a trip to Costa Rica, helping friends track down a cacao farm. He now maintains personal relationships with that same farmer, flying down once a year, as well as with another in Venezuela, and his passion for and investment in every stage of the process shows in the final results: delicious bars with unique notes to their chocolate, for those as passionate about their chocolate as an oenophile is about his wines. This exceptionally good chocolate also gets used for the truffles and confections chocolatier Danielle Centeno makes on the premises, making for an unusually fine texture and flavor. If on the premises, check out also their varieties of hot chocolate, everything from adaptations of half a dozen recipes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to contemporary versions.

 JOHN AND KIRA’S

One word: FIGS! The “drunken” figs from John and Kira’s are worth a trip in and of themselves. They had the inspiration to stuff delicate dried figs, imported from Spain, with a rich ganache just faintly infused with whiskey, then dip the whole in chocolate again, and the rest is history. For me, anyway. I am now addicted to these figs. Those living in Philadelphia can find John and Kira’s chocolates frequently at the small farmer’s markets, but they also have an efficient catalog service, having grown from two people to a team of close to a dozen, still continuing to make all their chocolate by hand. And they have a wide variety of other chocolates to taste as well, including adorable ladybugs and bees. Many thanks to Mina de Caro of the blog Mina’s Bookshelf  for pointing me in their direction.

READERS ALSO RECOMMEND

Readers have joined a chocolate hunt to help me find even more top U.S. artisan chocolates, resulting in more recommendations than even I have yet had time to taste.

In San Francisco, Linda recommends Recchiuti and Xocolate Bar. I’ve had Recchiuti’s and will concur: Linda knows her chocolate.

In Atlanta, Chanpreet recommends diAmano. I’m often in Atlanta, so these are next on my list. Besides, I like their confidence in buying the web domain “atlantasbestchocolate.”

In Texas, my own sister Anna recommends Wiseman House Chocolates. Their hot chocolate (or sipping chocolate or drinking chocolate as artisan chocolatiers often prefer to call it in the U.S.) is delicious. A rich, full, rounded flavor, just perfect for the whole family on a winter’s evening, from only-eats-plain-pasta small child to her no-flavors-just-chocolate father to her gourmet chocolate snob mother.

What about you? Post your recommendations in the comments on this page! We’re always looking for more good chocolate, no matter how far.

6 Comments
  • Julie Darby
    Reply

    In San Francisco, Poco Dolce Chocolates, are exemplary. http://pocodolce.com/

    October 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm
    • Oh, this is a new one for me in SF! I will have to check them out.

      May 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm
  • Dawn Catteau
    Reply

    Éclat Chocolates (in West Chester, PA) are available locally and through Dean & Deluca. They’re delightful.
    http://eclatchocolate.com/

    April 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm
    • These look delicious! Thanks for the recommendation!

      May 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm
  • Lyn Morton
    Reply

    What more perfect name could there be for a chocolatier than Love? When in Naples, FL, you must visit Norman Love Confections for his chocolate, of course, but also exquisite pastries and artisan gelato. http://www.normanloveconfections.com

    May 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm
    • Oh, this chocolatier is familiar! I wonder if you mentioned him once before, or someone else did? When we changed the website last year, a lot of comments got lost that had some great recommendations. To my great sorrow! Now I have to get down to Naples. 🙂

      May 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm

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