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Best French: Richart Chocolates
Unique, complex flavors
Wide variety of flavors
Other offerings besides chocolate
Richart is a chocolate company in Lyon, France with a long tradition. The perfect sampler might be one of the Rendez-Vous collections. They were created as a tribute to the original Maison Richart, founded in 1925 by Joseph Richart.
Chocolates with a more modern approach are the Infuzzz collections. These morsels have a dark chocolate shell, a ganache filling, and a bubble of infusion trapped inside the ganache. The flavor, it's said, “will startle even the most seasoned tasters.”
Of course, there are less exotic choices, including hearts filled with salted butter caramel, dark chocolate ganache, or praline. Or, you can choose dark chocolate bars or the petit Richart bars, which are not bars at all. For those who don’t care for chocolate, there are pates de fruits and macarons, as well.
Best Boxes: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chocolates
Variety of unique products
Gift box options
Hot chocolate prep may take some time
There’s a reason Jacques Torres is called Mr. Chocolate, and you’ll see why when browsing his website. There’s much more than just boxed chocolates and bars, although those are plentiful, too.
Chocolate chip cookies are sure to please, but if you prefer to bake your own, there is a chocolate chip cookie baking mix, so you can serve them warm from the oven. Chocolate baking discs are ideal for all of your own chocolate recipes, and the hot chocolate mix is ready and waiting for a mug. The latter, which also comes in a "wicked" spicy flavor, is a standout among some reviewers, who say it's both flavorful and a great way to warm up during colder seasons. One did note, though, that it can be time-consuming to prepare.
For something truly unique, there are chocolate potato chips, a heart puzzle made from chocolate, and chocolate-coated pretzels. And that’s just the tip of the chocolate iceberg.
For the undecided or for the perfect chocolate-indulgent gift, there are gift boxes with a selection of different products. There’s probably one that’s perfect for anyone on your list.
Best Shapes: L.A. Burdick Chocolates
Creative chocolate shapes
Drinking chocolate is a standout
Dark hot chocolate may be too bitter for some
Who wouldn’t love a box full of mice? Let's rephrase that: Who wouldn’t love a box full of adorable chocolate mice? You’ll find them, and penguins, too, at L.A. Burdick.
In business since 1987, the mice have become a signature item, and their cuteness makes that no surprise. The founder, Larry Burdick, had a vision to “combine Swiss know-how, French gastronomic thoughtfulness, and American imagination,” and it seems he’s worked that out.
For those who prefer classic over whimsical, there are bonbons, caramels, and chocolate cigars. The everyday assortments and signature assortments offer a variety of flavors and include at least one of the chocolate mice, depending on the assortment size.
Oh, but that’s not all. Drinking chocolate—the high-end cousin of everyday hot chocolate, and a highlight for many reviewers—is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face on a cool evening or just about any day when you need a little comfort. Some reviewers note, however, that they prefer the milk drinking chocolate to the dark, which they say is on the bitter side.
Best Spirit-Infused: Moonstruck Chocolate Co. Chocolates
Whimsical chocolate shapes
Wide variety of flavors
Truffles are a standout
May be too sweet for some
If you need proof that chocolate isn’t just for kids, the Distillers Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate Co. will convince you.
These can only be sold to people 21 or older, and a signature is required upon delivery. The nine-piece set features chocolate infused with distilled spirits from craft distilleries in Oregon. If that spirit doesn’t move you, there’s also a brewers collection that’s less potent but just as intriguing.
Moonstruck isn’t all about the liquor, though. You’ll find caramels, toffee, bars, and truffles in a wide variety of flavors from espresso to orange. The truffles, in particular, are praised by many reviewers, with several of them saying the truffles make perfect gifts. A couple of the reviewers point out, however, that the flavor is too sweet for their taste. There are also whimsical shapes like black cats, ladybugs, and lambs as well as classic shapes and designs. If that’s not enough, there are a variety of hot chocolate mixes as well to tickle your palate and warm your heart.
Best Variety: Christopher Norman Chocolates Chocolates
Flavors are smooth and well-balanced
Selection not as broad as some others
While the selections at Christopher Norman Chocolates aren’t quite as broad, it’s hard to say no to a chocolate Oxford spotted pig that has little chocolate piggies inside. It’s a whimsical, wonderful, and unique gift that won’t be easily forgotten. Plus, reviewers love the quality of the chocolates themselves, saying that the flavor and texture were well balanced.
A more classic gift is the box of nine chocolates, all ready to be wrapped, but if the chocolate is just for you, you might want to choose one of the bar assortments. What's unique about these bars is that you can choose your flavors. Go with all of them in one flavor or pick up to five flavors, depending on the size of the assortment.
Best Ganache Collection: MarieBelle Chocolates
Wide variety of offerings
Hot chocolate is velvety
Ganache is the signature item from MarieBelle, and the ganache collections are almost too pretty to eat. But, hey, it’s chocolate, so you will eat them, one lovely piece at a time.
While ganache-filled chocolates are featured prominently, there are other tasty treats as well. Clusters are French croquette cookies rolled in chocolate that look rustic and crunchy. River rocks and olive candies are pretty and quirky, too. And then there are bars, sold singly or in boxed collections.
If that’s not quite what you’re looking for, there are also truffles, caramels, and hot chocolate mixes to explore. Many reviewers love that the hot chocolate is made with real chocolate shavings, and that the resulting drink is creamy in texture and not overly sweet.
Best American: Lake Champlain Chocolates Chocolates
100% fair trade
Rich, natural flavor
Seasonal and holiday offerings
If you can’t find something you like at this Vermont chocolate company’s site, perhaps you haven’t browsed enough. Seasonal and holiday collections will keep you coming back to see what’s new at Lake Champlain Chocolates, while boxes of truffles could easily become favorites.
Assortments include gift boxes, baskets, and samplers, or you could order a chocolate of the month collection for a gift that lasts. Their blue bandana chocolate bars are made from beans sourced directly from the farmers, while the five-star bars are filled with nuts, caramel, fruit, or granola, with the hazelnut-flavored five-star bar being a hit among many reviewers. And that’s just the beginning bars of this chocolate serenade.
You’ll also find hot chocolate, baking chocolate, and cocoa. The individually-wrapped small chocolates are sold in bulk and these would be the perfect party favor for any occasion.
Best Truffles: Vosges Chocolate Chocolates
Inventive flavors available
You might know the Vosges name from the chocolate bars that are sold in stores. However, you need to take a peek at their beautiful, elegant truffles in the truffle collections. You can choose exotic, dark, milk, or Italian truffles, in boxes of several sizes. There are even collections that include a bottle of wine—for adults only, of course.
While the truffles are featured, the gift collections include much, much more. You’ll ogle salted caramels, dream of peanut butter bonbons, and do a happy dance over the chocolate covered marshmallows.
And of course, there are the bars, sold singly or in collections. If you know exactly which bars you love best, the mix ‘n’ match chocolate bar collection lets you choose the flavors of the six bars you’ll receive.
Many reviewers also love the more inventive flavors on offer, such as curry, paprika, and bacon. And while some say the products are quite pricey, they note that they're worth every cent due to the quality of the chocolate.
Best Kits: Recchiuti Confections Chocolates
Large selection of gift boxes
Rich, dark chocolate
May not be for those who prefer sweeter milk chocolate
Recchiuti Confections has it all, from boxed chocolates to chocolate sauces. It also ventures a bit beyond into marshmallows, brownies, and s’mores kits, as well as pate de fruits.
Gift boxes aren’t limited to boxed chocolate either, they can include sauces and bars as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a box of chocolates—there is a wide variety, with themes ranging from classic to contemporary and from burnt caramel to whisky pairing. The caramels are there, too, for those who love that classic combination.
In the just plain fun category are malted milk balls, peppermint thins, and peanut butter pearls. The hot chocolate is particularly interesting since it’s not the typical powdery substance. Instead, these are small round chocolate discs that melt into the hot milk to create a smooth, rich chocolate drink.
If that’s not enough chocolate in your life, there are recipes for using some of the chocolates in baked goods, hot drinks, and even a chocolate martini.
Richart is our top pick because of the wide variety of unique flavors the French chocolate company offers. For a slightly more affordable option, we recommend Christopher Norman Chocolates. While it doesn't offer as broad a selection, the chocolates' flavors are well balanced and smooth, according to many reviewers.
Why Trust the Spruce Eats?
Cookbook author Donna Currie tests products and writes roundups for The Spruce Eats. While she hasn't tried every type of chocolate out there, she's sampled and enjoyed quite a vast variety of them—and looks forward to savoring even more. In addition to this roundup, she's also compiled the best dark chocolate bars and best hot chocolate mixes of 2020.
What to Look for in Gourmet Chocolates
Familiarity: Do you want to try the trendy chocolate that everyone’s talking about, or do you want the be the adventurous person who tells your friends about a super-special boutique chocolate company they don't know yet? Think about if you prefer a well-known brand or you want to try something new.
Flavors: Chocolates come in all sorts of flavors—from traditional nuts, creams, caramels, and fruits to more exotic variations. No matter what you prefer, there are chocolates and that'll suit you perfectly.
Additional products: Sure, you might be shopping for that perfect box of chocolates for yourself or someone else, but while you’re there, you may want to shop around a bit. Would you like to see a whole collection of chocolates, sauces, and other treats, or would you prefer to work with a company that specializes in just a few select products?