The Best Craft Chocolate in America ~ these bean to bar chocolatiers are flourishing in cities all over the US using ethically sourced, single origin, organic cacao to make the most amazing small batch chocolate. You’ll find everything from cocoa powder and nibs to unique bars and truffles ~ bravo!
Used to be you had to go to Europe for fine chocolates…not anymore. Artisan craft chocolate has come a long way in America in the last couple of decades, and now there are more choices than ever when it comes to truly luxurious, unique, and ethical sources for small-batch chocolate for eating, pairing, cooking, and baking. Here are some great examples, and, good news, you still have time to ship some to yourself, or your sweetie, in time for Valentine’s Day!
Of course here in the Great Island kitchen we usually make our own ‘bespoke’ candy, and if you like you can use amazing single origin bar chocolate from any of these fine companies to make your own chocolate candies:
XOCOLATL ~ Atlanta Georgia
What makes it special ~ Xocolatl’s single-origin chocolate bars are made with just TWO ingredients – cacao and organic sugar. That’s about as pure as it gets, and also means that their single-origin bars are naturally vegan and gluten free. They also sell uniquely flavored versions using a variety of ingredients from blood oranges and olive oil to apple pie spices.
Xocolatl makes cacao herbal teas ~ made with the roasted cacao husks and nibs, how cool.
Buy it ~ you can find XOCOLATL Chocolate products here.
Vosges Chocolate ~ Chicago Illinois
What makes it special ~ Vosges Chocolate in Chicago Illinois has some of the most unique flavors and most beautiful packaging I’ve come across. “Smoke and Salt” and “Manchego and Cherry” are some of the flavors I’m dying to try. They’re also known for their exquisite truffles and truly decadent gift collections.
Buy it ~ you can buy Vosges Chocolate products here.
Ragged Coast Chocolates ~ Isle au Haut Maine
What makes it special ~ Ragged Coast specializes in combining their high quality chocolate with the flavors of Maine ~ cream and butter from local farms, sea salt, rye whiskey, black currants, and other classic New England flavors make their way into their chocolate bars and candies. Their truffle boxes, like the “Maine Farmer’s Market” collection pictured above, make a fantastic gift.
Askinosie Chocolate ~ Springfield Missouri
What makes it special ~ Askinosie Chocolate was an early pioneer of fair trade practices and traceability in their craft chocolate production. They even provide a transparency report on their website with details of their contracts with trade partners and farmers in Ecuador, Tanzania, and the Philippines.
In addition to their high quality chocolate bars (dark chocolate with avocado and rosemary anyone?) Askinosie also sells bulk cocoa powder, nibs, and chocolate for the baker or cook who appreciates top notch chocolate.
Buy it ~ you can buy Askinosie Chocolate products here.
Dandelion Chocolate ~ San Francisco California
What makes it special ~ Dandelion Chocolate also has a location in Tokyo, Japan. You can buy products from both locations on their website, including a special collection of bars made from the same beans but in the two locations, allowing you to compare the two results, how cool is that?
Dandelion Chocolate also sells bulk materials for making your very own chocolate at home. Intrigued, but not exactly sure how to turn a bag of roasted beans into the ultimate bar? Don’t worry, they’ve written the book.
Buy it ~ you can buy Dandelion Chocolate products here.
Fran’s Chocolates ~ Seattle Washington
What makes it special ~ Fran Bigelow is the grand dame of fair trade chocolate, and has been credited for igniting the artisan craft chocolate renaissance in the US. Fran is famous for her salted caramels, and counts Ina Garten and the Obamas among her many fans. (Her packaging is gorgeous!)
Buy it ~ you can buy Fran’s Chocolates products here.
Taza Chocolate ~ Somerville Massachusetts
What makes it special ~ If you’ve ever had a bar of Taza chocolate, you already know that the texture is unlike almost anything else out there. That’s because Taza chocolate is stone ground, like the traditional Mexican chocolate that inspired it. Less processing allows the flavors of the organic cacao to truly shine, and results in a slightly sandy texture that is almost like a cross between a chocolate bar and a shortbread cookie. Truly delicious!
Buy it ~ you can buy Taza Chocolate products here. They are also available in many stores across the US.
Kakawa Chocolate ~ Santa Fe New Mexico
What makes it special ~ Kakawa is known for its unique drinking chocolate elixers based on traditional Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan and Aztec drinking chocolates. Their chocolates and truffles reflect the flavors of the region, like agave, mezcal, prickly pear, green and red chili, and piñon. They even dip roasted New Mexico arbol chilis in agave caramel and their 80% house blend dark chocolate.
Buy it ~ you can find Kakawa craft chocolate here.
Garcia Nevett ~ Miami Florida
What makes it special ~ The brainchild of a pair of Venezuelan sisters now living in Miami, Garcia Nevett uses 100% single origin fair trade Venezuelan chocolate to make craft chocolate flavors like dulce de leche, Florida Keys sea salt, and passion fruit, with a truly tropical vibe. Garcia Nevett offers nationwide shipping – Next Day or 2 Day delivery from “steamy Miami” 🙂
Buy it ~ you can buy Garcia Nevett craft chocolate here.
The Chocolate Conspiracy ~ Salt Lake City Utah
What makes it special ~ The Chocolate Conspiracy is part of a thriving craft chocolate scene in Utah, and they source their cacao from a single farm in Central Peru. All their chocolate is raw: unprocessed and un-roasted. They sweeten only with raw honey, absolutely no processed sugar, and feature flavors like Chipotle Orange, Blackberry Ginger, and Gingerbread Roobios. They blend culinary and medicinal herbs for their unique Wild Spice Bar.
Buy it ~ you can buy The Chocolate Conspiracy chocolate here.
Manoa Chocolate ~ Oahu Hawaii
What makes it special ~ Hawaii is the only place in the US where cacao grows, in fact Hawaii is the northernmost location it can grow anywhere in the world. Manoa is an important part of Hawaii’s emerging craft chocolate industry, it sources local farms and makes use of the unique terroir of the Hawaiian islands. They liken craft chocolate production to wine making (although chocolate has over 600 flavor components, while wine only has 200.) To educate people about the subject, they’ve launched Craft Chocolate TV.
Buy it ~ you can purchase Manoa chocolate here.
Note: many of these bespoke craft chocolate companies offer tasting tours of their facilities, if you live in the area, check their websites for details.
Questions and Reviews
Schmilk from Chocolate Hollow in Vermont is the best non-dairy milk chocolate I’ve had. Dark chocolate is naturally vegan but developing good flavor in a plant-based milk chocolate is difficult.
I’m sad that you didn’t include Bon Bon Bon Chocolates in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. Their candies are simply divine, their flavors unique and delicious. Really the best chocolates I’ve ever had.
I’ll look into it!
I have to say, my favorite chocolate bar of all time is Dick & Taylor’s Belize Toledo bar. I haven’t yet found its equal. I also order regularly from Dandelion and Recchiuti. A newer one I discovered at a craft market is Deux Cranes, in San Diego, which has some really interesting flavors. Highly recommend.
It’s so hard to make a single list that includes chocolate makers and chocolatiers. Vosges is a perfect example of why – their confections / truffles are very good, but their bars of chocolate are pretty poor. They are two very different arts, and being good at one doesn’t necessarily translate to the other.
I’m not all that versed in chocolatiers beyond a few local ones, I typically prefer bars of pure single-origin chocolate. It’s so hard to narrow it down these days as there are SOOO MANY amazing makers. Even if you limit it to the US, there’s Goodnow Farms, Ritual. Fresco, Fruition, Maverick, Raaka, Wm Chocolate, French Broad, Dick Taylor, Castronovo, Acalli, Crow and Moss, Escazu, Amano, Letterpress, Map, Patric, Solstice, Rogue, Woodblock. I’m sure I’ve missed some still. Of the bunch, I think my favorite (in terms of consistently exceptional quality) has been Goodnow Farms.
Also, Taza is interesting, but right up the road in the same neighborhood is Somerville Chocolates, which is a much smaller but (in my opinion) much better chocolate maker.
Thanks for the list. I always love finding out about makers I’m not familiar with, and now I know a few good chocolatiers to look out for when travelling.
It’s great to hear we’re one of your favorite chocolate makers – thanks for the shout out!
I love Rechutti in San Francisco. If I’m buying the best as a gift or for special occasions I order from them. I went on a Chocolate tour many years ago and we went to 7 different chocolate brands and stores. That’s where I found Rechutti. 7 shops are too much chocolate regardless less of how much town you cover walking !
holl’s chocolates from west virginia. i received some as a christmas gift. they were divine.
I second this vote for Holl’s. Their chocolate’s can be ordered on the internet.
You should try Nuance in Fort Collins, CO. They have this amazing drink called Theo brew which is made similar to coffee, but with cacao beans instead. Everything is single origin, bean-to-bar and they also offer chocolate tasting flights with notes on the different origins and profiles. It’s like stepping off the street into a European cafe and it smells wonderful!
I’m fascinated by the chocolate brew, I need to experiment with that.
Our local choclatier, Raphio Chocolate in Fresno, Ca, is pretty terrific & has won awards.
It’s nice to see the chocolate industry being appreciated 🙂
My most favorite chocolate shop, ever!! My husband practically had to drag me out of the place…the smell was beyond belief! I thought I had gone to heaven when I first tasted their frozen hot chocolate at the Findley Market location. They have since opened a second location. If you ever get to Cincinnati, this is a not-to-miss stop!
Second vote for this one, I’ve got to go 🙂
Third – I’ve sampled tons of craft makers from all over and still find this local shop can hold its own with the best of them. They first turned me onto craft chocolate a couple years ago and it has been legitimately life changing!