Notes on top chocolates from around the world
Responsible for some of the best local chocolates I've had from Los Angeles, Compartes creates dark chocolate truffles and bars, including the apricot and shichimi seven-spice chocolate bar ($8), and various truffles. Some of my favorites of these include smoked salt, peanut butter, and the pink peppercorn and Raspberry.
Fine & Raw is a Brooklyn-based raw chocolatier that creates treats with high dark chocolate content and cacao butter, managing to maintain creamy texture and flavor all the while. Its most interesting bars are its cacao and coconut, along with the lucuma and vanilla. Buy it in town at Buyer's Best Friend.
Though I fear the healthy superfood label when it comes to pleasures like chocolate, Boise, Idaho-based Good Cacao creates "lemon ginger immunity" and coconut omega-3 bars that taste like a tropical vacation. Find it at Buyer's Best Friend.
MarieBelle's elegant banana chocolate bar shines. The company is a New York favorite, with a Soho tea salon and cacao bar.
Dublin's Cocoa Atelier makes the best chocolate I had in Ireland. It's a chic outpost stocking drinking chocolate and elegant truffles that creates its delicacies using local specialties like pot still Irish whiskey.
Coco Chocolate is my Edinburgh favorite, a darling shop focusing on handmade bars like its rose and black pepper, pink peppercorn and nutmeg, and a tropical-inflected lime and coconut. Coco creates invigorating flavors, embedded in dark chocolate.
Kopali Organics is marketed as vegan health food made by passionate founders who live off the grid in Costa Rica. Its fair trade dark chocolate-covered banana bites taste vivid and fresh, nothing at all like some dried, chocolate-covered fruits. Find it in San Francisco at Buyer's Best Friend.
When in Bordeaux, don't miss charming La Maison Darricau. The romantic shop sells chocolate and creative truffles made fresh daily, infused with flavors like wine-filled Médoc, basil, Szechuan pepper, curry-date, and an excellent blend of prune, almond paste, and Armagnac.
In London's Borough Market, Rabot Estate is a rustic-hip shop with staff pouring cups of free dark hot chocolate and bars like chili with a lush Santa Lucia-grown dark chocolate.