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The Ancient Mayans who first discovered chocolate believed it was a gift from the gods, and ever since then, chocolate—and gourmet chocolates in particular—have earned a reputation as one of the best gifts you can give another person. The sheer variety of chocolate available today is nearly endless, but if you're shopping for a gift, skip the grocery store candy bars and opt for confections that are crafted by the finest chocolatiers around the world.
Here, we've rounded up a wide-ranging selection of the best gourmet chocolates available—there’s sure to be something you’ll love.
Best Truffles: Harry & David Signature Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate traditionalists will melt for the signature truffles from Harry & David, which are made using the brand's tried and true recipe. The box of 24 truffles offers up six decadent flavors (four of each) including dark chocolate, dark chocolate cherry, dark chocolate raspberry, milk chocolate, milk chocolate almond, and white chocolate coffee. The chocolates are even packaged in a pretty box that’s tied up with a cream satin bow for an elegant presentation.
Best Handcrafted Chocolate: Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate Chef's Collection
Crafted daily in a New York City shop connected to Chef Gabriel Kreuther’s two-Michelin star restaurant in the Grace Building across from Bryant Park, these chocolates are seasonally designed and created by the restaurant’s pastry chef, Marc Aumont. Chef Aumont began his life as a chocolatier as a young apprentice in his father’s shop in Chamonix, France followed progressively by positions at award-winning restaurants around the world.
He’s said that the ideas for his bonbons come from the city itself, and in a conversation I had with him when the Kreuger Handcrafted Chocolate shop first opened, he noted that music can also be an inspiration for him to create chocolates that "tell a story." Each one is truly a very special treat. Flavors can include Tahitian vanilla, gingerbread, salted butter caramel, mint, honey saffron, kumaru, banana peanut, Mexican hot chocolate, oatmeal cookie, and Cherry Cola vanilla. This is an unforgettable collection of 24 pieces.
Best White Chocolate: Godiva Assorted White Chocolate Gold Gift Box
For decades, Godiva chocolates have been known as an elegant and delicious gift for any occasion, and this box of white chocolates is a dream. With 22 pieces, the variety is incredible. The fillings include raspberry, praline, hazelnut, dark chocolate ganache, cashew, and caramel, and they all come in different combinations and gorgeous shapes all packaged up in a luxe gold and white gift box. Named after Lady Godiva, the Belgian company began in 1926 and was appointed as an official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium in 1968. Godiva entered into the international market in 1972 with the boutiques we now see in many countries around the world.
Best Chocolate Turtles: Savannah’s Candy Kitchen Milk Chocolate Turtle Gophers
Pecans and caramel dipped in chocolate: This is what Turtles are all about. The only bad thing about chocolate Turtles is that it’s almost impossible to eat just one. There are 24 Turtles in this old-fashioned red and white striped gift box from Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, which has specialized in down-home Southern delights since its inception in 1990 in Historic Savannah, Georgia. These candies are freshly prepared and they’re not tiny little things, either—each Turtle weighs in at a nicely sized 1.3 ounces!
Best Pistachio Chocolate: Francois Pralus Chocolatier Pistachio Infernal Bar
This isn't your average chocolate bar. It's an exquisitely smooth pistachio praline with whole pistachios folded in, then covered with dark chocolate. It’s easy to imagine, but difficult to find anywhere but in this bar. Francois Pralus is one of the three maître chocolatiers (in other words, a chocolate master) in all of France and his chocolate is exceptional. He sources and blends his own cacao beans from all over the world and is the son of August Pralus, who was awarded the prestigious Award of National Merit.
Francois follows in his father’s footsteps of being a creator of new ideas in pastry and chocolate: August was famous for his Praluline—a very special pink bread—and Francois continues the traditions by making chocolates that are farm-to-table and by creating innovative treats like this Infernal Bar.
Best Cordials: Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolate Covered Cherry Cordials
Cordials are a special type of chocolate that are a bit deceiving to the eye—they may look like regular truffles, but there's a liquid filling hiding within each sweet shell. These particular cordials from Mrs. Cavanaugh's feature a deliciously sweet cherry in the center of each treat, and you can select whether the fruit is coated in milk or dark chocolate.
There are several box sizes available, ranging from 4 ounces all the way up to 5 pounds, and you'll get around 22 pieces per pound. The candy is freshly made in Utah, and the cordials arrive in a cute box that's perfect for gifting.
Best Sesame Brittle Chocolate: Zoe's Chocolate Co. Sesame Tahini Chocolate Gift Box
Not too sweet but just sweet enough, these elegant dark chocolate bonbons are filled with smooth tahini, sesame brittle, and milk chocolate. Made in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania by Zoe’s Chocolate Co., they are a winner of a Good Food Award (an annual award competition for outstanding American craft food producers). The gift box includes nine decadent pieces.
Best Variety Pack: andSons Chocolatiers Holiday Gift Box
Have you ever seen prettier chocolates in your life? The Holiday Gift Box from Beverly Hills-based andSons Chocolatiers are almost too lovely to eat with their colorful shells and artful packaging—but they're too delicious not to. Each box contains a collection of fan-favorite treats, including popular ganaches, pralines, and bonbons, as well as four limited-time flavors: Eggnog, Spiced Cinnamon Caramel, Fresh Mint & Berry, and Marzipan & Saffron.
Best Candy Apple with Chocolate: Mrs. Prindables Triple Chocolate Classic Petite Caramel Apple
We think it should always be candy apple season, and when the candy involved is chocolate it’s even better. This package of four fresh Granny Smith apples are first dipped in caramel then covered in chocolate in two different styles: Two are first covered in dark chocolate then draped in thick ribbons of milk, white, and dark chocolate, and two are rolled in walnut pieces and smothered with milk chocolate. Each petite caramel apple will serve 1-2 people, and the box weighs approximately 2 pounds. If you prefer a candied apple without nuts, there are nut-free options as well, and if you really love candy apples, there’s even an Apple of the Month program.
Best Snack Box: Chocolate Storybook Ultimate Chocolate Snack Box
Chocolate Storybook's signature cow print gift box is packed with one pound of milk and dark chocolate malted milk balls each and another pound of milk and white chocolate pretzels. This snack box is great to munch on without feeling too overwhelmed by the chocolatey-ness of it all.
Best Coffee-Flavored Chocolate: Sugarfina Cold Brew Cordials
Coffee lovers can now celebrate by having their cold brew and fine chocolate all in the same bite. These “cordials” resemble chocolate truffles, but the surprise is the splash of liquid coffee when you bite into them. 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 means great packaging and design and sophisticated flavor combinations.
Some of the company's creative offerings include Champagne Gummy Bears made from Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne, a new collaboration with Aviation American Gin (the world’s highest-rated gin owned by actor Ryan Reynolds), a bourbon candy collection that includes boozy bears and caramels, and more.
Best Chocolate Bars: Seattle Chocolate Bar 5 Milk + White
This collection of mini chocolate bars from jcoco delivers rich flavors that will leave you wishing each bar was a just little bigger. The "library" comes with four 1-ounce milk chocolate bars in the following flavors: Mango Plantain, Himalayan Sea Salt + Toffee, Edamame Sea Salt, and Crisp Quinoa Sesame. There's also one Cayenne Veracruz Orange bar that has a delicious white chocolate base. Not only do the bars taste good, but 10% of net profits go to Americans affected by food insecurity, so it's a purchase you can feel good about, too.
Best Assortment: Hotel Chocolat Small Chocolatier's Table
Why settle for one type of chocolate when you can have a little bit of everything? The Small Chocolatier's Table from Hotel Chocolat includes 58 different types of chocolate, including milk, dark, caramel-milk, white, and even raspberry bars. There are boozy truffles filled with gin and rum, as well as Chocolate Pillows with buttery biscuits inside. Plus, the assortment comes in a beautiful box that makes it a lovely gift for your favorite chocolate-enthusiast.
Best Chocolate-Covered Fruit: Compartes Gourmet Chocolate Covered Fruits Gift Box
Move over, chocolate-covered strawberries! This gift box from Compartes Chocolate includes an impressive selection of chocolate-covered 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 in California for optimal freshness. Selections and seasonal fruits may vary, and you can choose from a large or medium-size box, depending on how many people will be sharing it.
Best Chocolate with Nuts: 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.
Truffles are a classic treat that anyone will enjoy, and the Harry & David Signature Chocolate Truffle Gift Box (view at Harry & David) includes 24 bite-sized chocolates in a variety of popular flavors. Or, if you want to wow your recipient with handcrafted treats, consider the Chef's Selection from Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate (view at Goldbelly), which includes 24 delicious pieces that are hand-selected by the chef and packaged in a stunning gift box.
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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 Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget.