Chocolates—especially fancy chocolates—are nearly always a great choice for a gift. Whether for Valentine's Day, birthday, graduation, wedding, retirement, housewarming, or just-because treat-yourself present, a box of high-end confections is ideal. The problem is there are just so many choices, with artisanal chocolatiers big and small, all over the country (and world) selling their creations online.
Below, we've rounded up a wide-ranging selection of our picks for the best gourmet chocolates available today. Any of these is a gift almost anyone would enjoy eating—and if you're lucky, they might share.
Harry & David Dark Chocolate-Covered Luxury Collection
From the guys who practically invented gourmet-food gifting, Harry & David's dark-chocolate truffles are traditional, delicious, and packed to ship perfectly. This box includes 24 truffles filled with flavored ganache, four each in blueberry, raspberry, cherry, espresso, chocolate decadence, and extra-dark chocolate. The truffles come in a pretty box tied up with a satin bow for an elegant presentation.
Price at time of publish: $45
Includes: 24 total truffles in 6 varieties
andSons Chocolatiers Signature Collection
Have you ever seen prettier chocolates in your life? The Signature Collection from Beverly Hills-based andSons Chocolatiers is a set of hand-painted chocolate shells filled with flavored ganaches that are almost too lovely to eat—but they're too delicious not to. Creative flavor possibilities include yuzu caramel, hazelnut Pop Rocks, and pecan pie, though the exact assortment you'll get depends on the season. The gorgeous bites are available in boxes of 6, 12, 24, 36, 54, and 84 pieces.
Price at time of publish: $23.00 - $225.00
Includes: 6-84 assorted chocolates
Uncommon Goods Broken Heart Chocolate Pizza
Could there be a better Valentine's Day present than a giant chocolate heart you get to smash up and devour? From Pennsylvania confectioner Neil Edley, this huge milk-chocolate "pizza crust" base is topped with crushed pretzels, cookies, potato chips, and chocolate gems, then drizzled with white chocolate to make an incredibly decadent treat. But half the fun is the way you eat this pizza! It comes with a cheeky little wooden mallet for breaking the heart into bite-size pieces.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 9x9x3 inches | Weight: 12 ounces
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate Chef's Collection
New York City restaurant Gabriel Kreuther has two Michelin stars and an attached sweets shop, where the kitchen's illustrious crew of pastry chefs and chocolatiers run wild with creative ideas. The menu changes frequently, but the bonbons and truffles on offer might include gingerbread, salted butter caramel, honey saffron, bananas Foster, carrot cake, peanut beer pretzel, Mexican hot chocolate, and lots more. This assortment includes two dozen pieces of the shop's latest creations and varies depending on when you order it.
Price at time of publish: $100
Includes: 24 assorted chocolates
Godiva Assorted White Chocolate Gold Gift Box
For nearly a century, the chocolates from Belgian brand Godiva have been known as an elegant and delicious gift for any occasion, and this box of the brand's white chocolates is a dream. With 22 pieces, the variety is incredible. Fillings include raspberry, praline, hazelnut, dark chocolate ganache, cashew, and caramel, in different combinations and gorgeous shapes, all packaged up in a luxe gold and white gift box.
Price at time of publish: $43
Includes: 22 total chocolates in 7 varieties
See's Candies Create Your Custom Mix Chocolates
Los Angeles favorite See's Candies turned 100 in 2021, and its old-fashioned treats are still beloved by locals and visitors. You don't have to go into a store to create a custom box of chocolates, though. The See's website lets you build your own package of between 1 and 5 pounds, selecting from a menu of 70 different chocolates to fill it. There are ganache truffles, fruit creams, chocolate-covered nuts, and more, all with lists of ingredients so you can avoid allergens (or dislikes). The standard box is See's iconic logo on a white rectangle, but there's also a red heart option for Valentine's or other romantic gifts.
Price at time of publish: $33-$160
Includes: Up to 26 assorted chocolates per pound (up to 130 for the 5-pound box)
Jacques Torres Chocolate Valentine's Day Heart Truffle Box
Between his frequent appearances on TV cooking shows and his internationally famous shop in New York, Jacques Torres is probably the world's most famous chocolatier. He's definitely earned his nickname of "Mr. Chocolate." So to pull out all the stops with a classic heart-shaped box for Valentine's Day, we say get this gift from the master himself. The seven bonbons within are in three gourmet flavors: white chocolate-orange, milk chocolate-raspberry, and pure dark chocolate ganache.
Price at time of publish: $35
Includes: 7 total chocolates, in 3 flavors
Jcoco Bar 5 Milk + White Chocolate Bars
The Seattle Chocolate Company created the Jcoco brand to highlight its fine Peruvian-sourced chocolate with unusual but delicious flavors. This "bookcase" includes four 47-percent-cacao milk chocolate bars and one white chocolate bar with mango plantain, Himalayan sea salt and toffee, edamame sea salt and crisp quinoa sesame, and cayenne Veracruz orange. The unusual gourmet combinations are delicious, and the bars also help fight food insecurity: For every item sold, Jcoco donates meals to food banks in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. Since 2012, the brand has provided almost four million servings of food for hungry people.
Price at time of publish: $20
Includes: 5 (1-ounce) bars
Compartés Treasures of the Orchard Chocolate Fruit Gift Box
Move over, chocolate-covered strawberries. This gift box from artisan chocolatier Compartés includes an impressive selection of chocolate-covered California-grown fruit that goes beyond the basics. You'll get to snack on apricot, pineapple, orange, peach, pears, dates, and more, all covered in either milk or dark chocolate, and the pieces are all hand-dipped right before shipping for optimal freshness. Gift-giving icon Oprah Winfrey gave this beautiful box her "Oprah's Favorite Things" stamp for 2022, so you know it's one of the best.
Price at time of publish: $60
Includes: 18 assorted fruit pieces
Vosges Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection
Horseradish, lemon zest, hazelnut, and chocolate. Absinthe, star anise, fennel, and chocolate. Ginger, wasabi, matcha, and chocolate. They're not exactly classic combinations, but they are amazing. Chicago's Vosges Haut-Chocolat specializes in truffles filled with unexpected flavors, and this 16-piece box offers a nice overview of the chocolatier's creations. Other ingredients you'll find in the adventurous collection include balsamic vinegar, paprika, ancho and guajillo peppers, and fennel pollen. (Those aren't all in the same truffle, of course!) It's a one-of-a-kind tasting experience.
One of our editors, Taylor, taste-tested these for our best gift baskets roundup and said, "These chocolates were the fanciest chocolates I've ever received. They're almost too pretty to eat."
Price at time of publish: $50
Includes: 16 total dark-chocolate truffles in 11 varieties
"They were really chic, each with a vibrant peppering of flavor on top: matcha, paprika, coconut ash, and more. If I had to pick just one way to describe them, it would be that they look expensive." — Taylor Rock, Editor
Sugarfina Cold Brew Cordials
Coffee lovers can now celebrate by having their cold brew and chocolate all at once. Bite into one of these spheres of dark chocolate and you'll get a splash of liquid coffee inside. Sugarfina is a relative newcomer to the candy/chocolate market, but it's doing something different: taking favorite childhood candies and turning them into new and improved treats for grownups.
This includes great packaging and design and sophisticated flavor combinations. Each candy comes in small cubes (there are about a dozen cold brew cordials to the cube), which you can purchase on their own or collect into a custom "candy bento box." There are an array of other fun Sugarfina options, including chocolate-coated peanut butter cookie dough, bourbon caramels, and gummies flavored with real pineapple, tequila, Champagne, and lots more.
Price at time of publish: $9
Size: 3-4 ounces
Ethel M Chocolates Cherry Cordial Collection
The gourmet-chocolate arm of the multinational company behind M&Ms, Ethel M makes small batches of complex creations by hand in a factory just outside Las Vegas. Its cordials use Italian marasca cherries, a deeply flavored sour variety that's great in sweets, along with aged brandy, coating both in dark chocolate. A layer of red cocoa butter on top completes the gorgeous look.
Price at time of publish: $30
Includes: 12 cordials
Fortnum & Mason Chocolate Nut Selection
Anyone who's nuts for nuts will love Fortnum's Chocolate Nut Selection. The box includes both milk and dark chocolate treats with a mixture of marzipan, Brazil nuts, almonds, and hazelnuts inside, and some of the confections you can look forward to include a Milk Chocolate Almond Cluster, Dark Orange Marzipan and Milk Chocolate Coconut Roche. Fortnum & Mason offers international shipping, but just be sure to place your order a little early, as the brand is based in London.
Price at time of publish: $48
Includes: Milk chocolate almond cluster, dark orange marzipan, milk chocolate coconut roche (230 grams)
La Maison du Chocolat Coffret Maison Dark Chocolate 24-Piece Box
Higher in cacao content, dark chocolate is complex, with roasty-toasty coffee flavors that are often drowned out in milk chocolate. The Parisian chocolatiers at La Maison du Chocolat highlight dark chocolate with this assortment: two pieces each of a dozen different pralines and ganache–filled truffles. Flavors include intense 100-percent-cacao chocolate, Ethiopian coffee beans, lemon cream, passionfruit, hazelnut, and more. The Coffret Maison box is also available in sizes up to 84 pieces, which add a couple extra flavors.
Price at time of publish: $75
Includes: 24 total chocolates in 12 varieties
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen Chocolate Turtle Gopher Assortment
It's hard to conceive of a better treat than pecans and caramel dipped in chocolate, and Southern shop Savannah's Candy Kitchen makes one of our favorite versions of the chocolate turtle. It's an enormous confection—weighing in at more than an ounce—that the company calls a turtle gopher.
For more than 40 years, Savannah's Candy Kitchen has been making turtles, pralines, and other favorites from its shop in the eponymous Georgia city, and you can get its signature red-and-white-striped gift box shipped nationwide. This sampler includes eight each of milk-, dark-, and white-chocolate-topped turtle gophers, but lots of other sizes and combinations are available.
Price at time of publish: $70
Includes: 24 total turtles in 3 varieties
François Pralus Chocolatier Pistachio Infernal Bar
First created in 2005, the Infernal Bar gets its name because it is devilishly delicious. The chocolate-coated pistachio praline was devised by François Pralus, who's been in the chocolate business since birth: His parents first opened the family patisserie outside of Lyon, France, in 1948. The bar's exquisitely smooth pistachio praline has whole pistachios folded in—it’s easy to imagine, but difficult to find anywhere except in this bar. That's then coated with 75-percent-cacao dark chocolate made from beans grown on a Pralus-owned farm in Madagascar. It's many steps above your standard candy bar.
Price at time of publish: $31
Size: 160 grams (about 5.6 ounces)
To'ak Bourbon Cask Aged Dark Chocolate Bar
Made in Ecuador from an ancient cacao variety whose population was once reduced to just nine trees, the vintage chocolate from To'ak is consistently ranked among the finest—not to mention the most expensive—in the world. This bar is made from the company's 2017 edition Rain Harvest chocolate that's spent two years in a former Woodford Reserve barrel. The oak-aging lends woody and honey notes like those you'd find in bourbon, and the company recommends tasting the chocolate alongside any kind of barrel-aged spirit, whether whiskey, cognac, or even tequila.
Price at time of publish: $205
Includes: 50-gram (about 1.8-ounce) bar, wooden box, tasting tongs
John & Kira's Enchanted Forest Gift Tower
The husband-and-wife chocolatiers behind Philadelphia's John & Kira's specialize in adorable truffles that look like they came from, well, an enchanted forest. The whimsical plants and animals in this collection are filled with sophisticated flavors like mint, honey lavender, caramel, and white tea with rose. (And the hand-painted bees, appropriately, taste like salted honey caramel.) This collection comes with 29 pieces in total, with 16 ladybugs, four bees, and three each of mushrooms, wildflowers, and butterflies.
Price at time of publish: $105
Includes: 29 assorted chocolates
Phillip Ashley Chocolates 4 Piece Bourbon Salted Caramel Hearts
Memphis confectioner Phillip Ashley makes chocolates that are as much edible art as they are delicious dessert, with wild flavors like blue cheese and Thai cashew curry in his signature series truffles. This Valentine's Day gift is just as pretty, with a bit more traditional but still complex filling of salted bourbon caramel. (The shop may be in Tennessee, but it uses Kentucky-made Blanton's Bourbon for these sweet hearts.)
Price at time of publish: $25
Includes: 4 pieces
What to Look for in Gourmet Chocolates
The chocolate itself is the most important part of any bar, truffle, or bonbon, and you can generally identify high-quality chocolate by a short ingredients list. If you see a lot of additives or preservatives, it's not "gourmet" chocolate. Lots of chocolatiers call themselves "handmade" and "bean-to-bar," but look for concrete signs that a maker cares about where its chocolate comes from, like listing the cacao percentage and country/region of origin, along with organic, fair-trade, and environmental certifications. The same applies to flavors, fillings, and anything else that isn't chocolate: The fewer ingredients and the more information given about where they come from, the better.
Artistry and Appearance
We eat with our eyes first, and in the world of gourmet chocolate, this concept is taken seriously. Especially if you're giving chocolate as a gift, a luxe ribbon-tied box full of colorful pieces in a variety of shapes will be more appealing than a plastic tray of identical squares. The appearance of the chocolate itself can also tell you a lot about its quality. Chocolate should have a smooth, shiny surface; any cloudy discoloration is a sign of "bloom," which means the chocolate was stored improperly. (Bloomed chocolate is generally still safe to eat, but the taste won't be at its peak.)
Packaging and Shipping
Chocolate is not the most perishable food in the world, but freshness is still important—especially for high-end artisanal chocolate and if fillings and toppings contain fresh fruit or fresh dairy. Many gourmet chocolates must be sent overnight or via expedited shipping, which increases cost. Chocolate bars and bonbons are fragile and prone to cracking, but online retailers that ship chocolate around the country generally have packaging equipped to protect the delicate goodies inside, and breakage doesn't seem to be a very common problem with any of the brands featured above. One other thing to keep in mind is that chocolates containing alcohol, like whiskey- or liqueur-filled cordials, might not be shippable to every state. The rules vary based on the exact alcohol content, where it's going, and where it's coming from, so you'll have to check the chocolate you're interested in individually.
What is gourmet chocolate?
There's no specific definition for "gourmet," but high-end chocolate can be high-end in many different ways. It's a lot like coffee: There are many different types of beans grown in many places around the world, which can be processed, roasted, and prepared in various different ways. What that comes down to is that there's a dizzying array of chocolates out there. And that doesn't even include all the ways all those types of chocolate can be turned into truffles and other candies, or poured over fruits and nuts. Really, what it comes down to is attention to ingredients: Gourmet chocolate uses better, more special versions of all of them, and it's often made in smaller batches by smaller groups of people—sometimes by the head chocolatier themself.
What is dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate has three main ingredients: ground roasted cocoa beans, cocoa butter (which is the fat pressed from cocoa beans), and sugar. Dark chocolate is often classified by percentage of cacao, which refers to the proportion of ingredients made up by cocoa beans and butter. A 100-percent-cacao chocolate has only cocoa beans and butter, with no sugar at all. The higher the percentage, the more bitter and intense the chocolate flavor is.
What is milk chocolate?
Like dark chocolate, milk chocolate includes cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and sugar, along with (surprise!) milk. The added dairy gives the chocolate a velvety texture, creamy taste, and lighter color, though the cacao percentage tends to be lower than dark chocolate for a less intensely chocolaty flavor.
What is white chocolate?
White chocolate contains cocoa butter and sugar, but it doesn't have any ground cocoa beans, the source of dark and milk chocolate's reddish-brown color. (White chocolate usually also includes milk, though dairy-free versions exist.) It's sweet and has a rich texture, with a mild flavor that pairs with all sorts of ingredients. Because it its high fat content, white chocolate also melts beautifully, making it good for dipping and coating.
How long does chocolate last?
Gourmet chocolate always tastes best eaten as soon as possible. That said, if packaged properly, a bar of plain chocolate can last for a year or more at room temperature. However, its flavor will fade over that time, especially with exposure to air and light.
The rules are different with chocolate candies, especially truffles filled with cream-based ganache. These will generally last two or three weeks at room temperature or a few months in the fridge—though refrigeration negatively affects chocolate's flavor. (These are general guidelines; read the storage instructions for anything you buy to make sure it doesn't have special rules.)
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Paris, Budapest, and Kyiv, Ukraine, during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends her free time baking at home and recommends quality ingredients within your given budget.
Allison Wignall, who updated this roundup, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. During her globetrotting, she has tasted some of the sweetest confections, from macarons in Paris to fresh gourmet chocolates in Ecuador. Her work has been featured in publications including, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn further updated this story. He's spent more than 15 years writing about food and drinks, and every time he thinks he's found a favorite chocolate, he tastes one he likes better,