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When you just don’t know what to get someone, chocolate is often a safe bet for any occasion, no matter the age or gender of the recipient. And when picking out a present for someone who you know has a sweet tooth, you really can’t go wrong with high-quality chocolates. Plus, the options are nearly endless, with tempting choices available from around the globe, and there’s no need to limit yourself to the classic "box of chocolates" either.
So for that hard-to-buy-for person or the chocoholic in your life, here are our picks for the year’s best chocolate gifts.
Oregon-based Harry & David has been offering fresh fruit gifts since 1934, later adding its signature blend of gourmet chocolate. This gift box offers the best of both and a way to enjoy summer fruits year-round.
The colorful assortment features dried cherries covered in both milk and dark chocolate as well as milk-chocolate coated dried blueberries and apricots. The box holds about a 1/4-pound of each.
Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat is known for unusual flavor combinations and this exotic truffle collection is their signature offering. It would make a great gift for someone who loves traveling, international cuisines, and bold flavor pairings.
Inspired by founder Katrina Markoff’s travels around the world, this whimsical collection of truffles incorporates unexpected international ingredients such as Hungarian paprika, Chinese star anise, wasabi, Tuscan olive oil, and Mexican chilies into artisan white, milk, and dark chocolates ranging from 45 to 72 percent cacao.
Do you know someone who likes to dip just about everything in chocolate? This might just be the perfect gift for that person. In this gift box, Mouth, a website specializing in curated gourmet gift packages, has packed artisan chocolate-covered malt balls, graham crackers, animal crackers, sea-salt caramels, Jacques Torres milk chocolate-covered Cheerios, and even chocolate-covered quinoa bites.
The box comes with a stylish Mouth cotton tote bag and it can be upgraded to a birthday gift with the addition of birthday marshmallows and glittery candles.
These gorgeous, hand-painted chocolates from Florida-based chocolatier Norman Love are almost too pretty to eat. Packaged in a stylish, lime-green box tied with a bronze ribbon, the 15 glossy, jewel-like confections are a sampling of Norman Love’s signature flavors, ranging from the exotic (Yuzu Mango, Passion Panna Cotta, Tahitian Caramel) to the all-American (New York Cheesecake, Key Lime, Peanut Butter & Jelly).
What is extra-virgin chocolate? These are innovative single-origin bars, born from a collaboration between esteemed chef Thomas Keller (owner of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, California) and a Tuscan producer of organic, extra-virgin olive oil, Armando Manni. They’ve replaced some of the cocoa butter in these bars with EVOO, giving them a signature silky texture and boosting the chocolate’s antioxidant properties.
This elegantly packaged sampler gift box includes one 75 percent dark chocolate bar, one “dark milk” bar, one milk chocolate bar, and a milk “coffee and sea salt” bar with crunchy coffee nibs.
These stylish, contemporary gift boxes hold either three or eight bars of small-batch Raaka chocolate bars, made with organic, unroasted cocoa beans for a complex and fruity taste. The unique flavors include Cask-Aged Bourbon (82 percent cacao), Pink Sea Salt (71 percent cacao), Maple & Nibs (75 percent cacao), and Bananas Foster (68 percent cacao).
All of the bean-to-bar chocolates made by Brooklyn-based craft chocolate maker Raaka (“raw” in Finnish) are dairy-, soy- and gluten-free, making them a great choice for vegans or those with dietary restrictions.
If you’re looking for something more lasting than a one-time gift, Raaka also offers three-month, six-month, or year-long chocolate subscriptions with monthly deliveries.
Charbonnel et Walker is a venerable London chocolate maker—one of Britain’s earliest—founded in 1875. They are perhaps best known for their luxurious pink champagne truffles, but this version features milk- and white-chocolate truffles infused with bergamot oil, recalling the quintessentially English taste of Earl Grey tea.
The round, turquoise box with gold trim would make a distinguished gift for someone who loves both afternoon tea and chocolate.
A classic campfire favorite gets a gourmet upgrade in these handmade treats from Williams Sonoma: bite-sized honey graham crackers are topped with pillowy vanilla marshmallow, enrobed in smooth Guittard dark chocolate, and topped with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.
They come in a 14-ounce (about 20 pieces) metal box, which makes a nice gift with its elegant, nostalgic font and design.
Solve that age-old dilemma of “chocolate or flowers?” with this two-in-one gift. This fully customizable bouquet tied with bright ribbons is made up of 6-12 Belgian milk chocolate roses, each wrapped in foil and delivered in a cellophane wrapper, just like a real rose. You can choose from 12 different colors, for a multicolored rainbow bouquet or one that’s made up only of the recipient’s favorite shades.
Godiva is one of Belgium’s best-known chocolate brands in the United States, but for an elegant and refreshing change of pace from their hazelnut truffles, try their juicy chocolate-covered strawberries. They’re available dipped in either milk or dark chocolate (or a mix of both) and as either a half-dozen or a full dozen. All come packaged in Godiva’s iconic gold box and are shipped overnight to make sure they arrive fresh and intact.
Anyone who grew up on the West Coast has a soft spot for See’s Candies, a California favorite since its founding in 1921. Their old-fashioned chocolates, featuring crunchy nut or brittle, chewy caramel or nougat, and soft buttercream fillings, are available in milk or dark chocolate coatings. This gift box, a great option for chocolate traditionalists, features a mix of both, including the brand’s signature Scotchmallow (chocolate-covered layers of caramel and honey marshmallow) and Molasses Chip confections.
The assortment is available as a 1-pound, 2-pound, 3-pound, or 5-pound box in a classic, nostalgic white box, with optional gift wrap.
Chocolate fondue is a decadent, indulgent treat, but it usually requires carefully melting chocolate over a bain-marie and serving it in a special fondue pot to keep it warm and melty. With this clever innovation from PG Fondues, all that fuss and mess has been eliminated. Their quick-and-easy Belgian chocolate fondues are sold in stylish ceramic pots. Simply pop one directly in the microwave for a few minutes on low power and serve it directly in the pot for dipping fresh fruit, cake, marshmallows, or whatever your heart desires. The stoneware pot keeps the chocolate warm and melted for up to an hour and any leftovers can be sealed with the bamboo lid, stored in the refrigerator, and reheated later.
The 8-ounce fondue pots are available in three flavors: espresso, raspberry, or fleur de sel (a thin, delicate French sea salt).
Do you want to thank someone for something? There’s no better way than with a box of gourmet chocolates from Jacques Torres, “Mr. Chocolate” himself. The award-winning pastry chef, originally from the South of France, has established a chocolate empire in New York that has gained international acclaim since its founding in 2000.
This selection of his white, milk, and dark chocolate bonbons in a signature orange-colored box comes with a sleeve reading “Thank you” in multiple languages. It’s available in either a 25-piece or 50-piece assortment.
Venchi is an esteemed Italian chocolate maker founded in Turin in 1878. They’re primarily known for their lines of classic chocolates made with hazelnuts from the Piedmont region. These charming gift boxes in the shape of books are decorated with vintage-style illustrations and contain either a 15- or 35-piece assortment of some of Venchi’s most popular milk and dark chocolates. They’d make a lovely gift for a chocolate-loving bookworm.
Family-owned Swiss chocolate maker Teuscher (pronounced “toy-shur”), based in Zurich, is known as one of the world’s best. This elegant gold gift box, available in small, medium, or large sizes, is decorated with a colorful painted scene of Lake Zurich and contains a refined selection of chocolate-covered truffles, pralines, marzipan, and fruits.
Fashionable Compartés, founded as an artisan chocolate shop in Los Angeles in 1950, has fused tradition and heritage with contemporary art and style. This eight-bar gift set is a perfect expression of that blend, featuring bright, bold graphic packaging and gourmet milk and white chocolate bars in comforting, nostalgic flavors like “donuts and coffee,” “peanut butter and jelly,” breakfast cereal, and “chocolate chip cookies.”
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This article was written by Danette St. Onge, a food writer and former features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine. She’s also contributed to SAVEUR magazine, the Food Network, and FoodBeast. She’s sampled chocolates around the world and spent many hours making chocolate truffles to give as gifts, enough to realize in the end that sometimes it’s better to let someone else do all that work!