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Chocolate—and gourmet chocolates in particular—have earned a reputation as one of the best and most delectable 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 aisle and opt for turtles, truffles, and bars that are crafted by the finest chocolatiers from around the world.
Here, we've rounded up a wide-ranging selection of the best gourmet chocolates available today.
Best for Valentine's Day: Jacques Torres Chocolate Valentine's Day Heart Truffle Box
Pull out all of the stops and wow your loved one with a classic heart-shaped box filled with chocolate from Mr. Chocolate himself: Jacques Torres. Not only are these chocolates beautiful and designed for Valentine’s Day, but they’re also filled with gourmet flavors. Think orange ganache in white chocolate, raspberry ganache in milk chocolate, and intense dark chocolate ganache in dark chocolate.
Includes: 7 truffles of different flavors
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. Since then, he has progressively held positions at award-winning restaurants around the world.
The ideas for his bonbons come from New York City itself, and 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.
Includes: 24 handmade chocolates
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. 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 the international market in 1972 with the boutiques we now see in many countries around the world.
Includes: 22 assorted chocolates in seven different flavors
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, but luckily, there are 24 turtles in this old-fashioned red and white striped gift box. Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is a shop that 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.
Includes: 24 chocolate turtles
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 except 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.
Includes: One bar of filled chocolate
Best Cordials: Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolate Covered Cherry Cordials
Cordials are a special type of chocolate that is 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.
Includes: 22 chocolate-covered cherry cordials
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.
Includes: 9 pieces sesame brittle chocolate
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 to 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 packaged in a pretty box tied up with a cream satin bow for an elegant presentation.
Includes: 24 assorted truffles in six different flavors
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. 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.
Includes: 4 caramel apples in two different flavors
Best Variety Pack: andSons Chocolatiers Signature Collection Box
Have you ever seen prettier chocolates in your life? The Chocolatiers Signature Collection 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. A wonderful array of flavors are featured in this box, including passion fruit caramel, Texas pecan praline, basil lime, yuzu verbena, and milk chocolate ganache, among others.
Includes: Choice of 12-piece, 24-piece, or 36-piece box
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 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.
Includes: 3 pounds of chocolate snacks in 4 different flavors
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 they're 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.
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.
Includes: Choose from a sampler pack, a small acrylic cube, or large acrylic cube filled with chocolates
Best Chocolate Bars: Seattle Chocolate Bar 5 Milk + White
This collection of mini chocolate bars delivers rich flavors that will leave you wishing each bar was just a 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 percent of net profits go to Americans affected by food insecurity, so it's a purchase you can feel good about, too.
Includes: 5 chocolate bars in different flavors
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.
Includes: 58 assorted chocolates in a variety of flavors
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.
Includes: 20 or 40 chocolate covered assorted fruit pieces
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.
What to Look for in Gourmet Chocolates
The ingredients in gourmet chocolates should be quality, fresh, and recognizable. If you look at the ingredients and see a long list of additives, it’s not a “gourmet” chocolate. The finest chocolates are made with the finest quality ingredients that are then imagined into reality by creative and well-practiced professional chocolatiers whose techniques are precise and fine-tuned. "Organic," "bean to bar," and "handmade" are also terms that add value to gourmet chocolate, so look for those on labels.
Artistry and Appearance
We eat with our eyes first and in the world of gourmet chocolate, this concept is taken seriously. The chocolate itself should always be clear and not clouded-looking. It can be matte or shiny, depending on the type of chocolate and the method being used to create it. If decoration is part of the chocolate, as in bonbons, it should look perfect, never muddled or messy.
Gourmet chocolates always have the essential feeling of being a gift—whether they're for someone special or if they’re just for yourself—so packaging is important. At its most basic, packaging should be designed to keep the chocolates fresh and unbroken, but value is also added by the type of box the chocolates are packaged in, and some can be quite decadent.
What is gourmet chocolate?
Gourmet chocolate is made to higher standards than what is generally available in the marketplace. Considered to be luxury products, gourmet chocolates are hand-made by trained chocolatiers or made in small batches to better control quality. Sometimes called “craft chocolate," gourmet chocolate is often made with cocoa beans that are ethically sourced and bought in small bulk. The process from start to finish usually involves personal attention rather than the norm for everyday chocolate, which is highly industrialized.
How do you make gourmet chocolate from scratch?
Chocolate is made in a complicated process that begins with cocoa beans and involves fermenting, roasting, and processing. To get started working with chocolate, explore the common chocolate types and varieties. Also known as baking chocolate, unsweetened chocolate is the base ingredient in all other forms of chocolate, except white chocolate. You'll also need to decide what form of gourmet chocolate you want to make. A bar? Bonbons? Molded shapes? Each one has a different method and requires different tools and skill levels. You can find step-by-step instructions for whatever creation you want to make. Chocolate roses are not only a great way to get used to working hands-on with chocolate, but they are also sure to impress!
How long can gourmet chocolate last?
How long gourmet chocolate can last depends on the variety of chocolate and how it was made and stored. If kept in a cool, dry place, it can last up to a year, but this really isn’t advisable. Gourmet chocolate is best eaten as soon as possible—and not only because it’s irresistible. If the ingredients are fresh, the flavor is best enjoyed as close to when it was made as possible.
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.