Valentine's Day is fast approaching and you've got to deliver the goods. You cannot go wrong ordering from any chocolatier I mention below—each one on my list represents fair value when it comes to chocolate. Good chocolate is made with high-quality expensive ingredients by people with know-how and experience. When it comes to chocolate, you don't always get what you pay for, but with these particular makers that is indeed the case.
This isn't the first time I have tried to come to your aid chocolatewise. Holiday time in 2006 I tried to get people to give chocolate every day of the 12 days of Christmas by renaming the holiday Chocomas—alas, nobody embraced this idea.
The picks from my 2006 chocolate gift guide are still good to go. So are the inside-out peanut butter cups, ultimate nougat bars, nut clusters, and butter crunch from 2007's Serious Eats Sweets Gift Guide. And if your significant other is a brownie lover, let me remind you about Mari's. But after the jump I'll turn you on to my latest and greatest chocolate discoveries.
Jacques Torres has done the damn near impossible: He raised the bar on Whopper malted milk balls, which are pretty darned tasty in their own right. Torres has coated some homemade malted milk balls with his own milk and dark chocolate. The dark chocolate variety in particular gives me great pleasure.
Lilliebelle Farms Smokey Blue Truffles: When I tasted one of these at the Chocolate Show, I was prepared to hate it: a chocolate truffle blended with smoked blue cheese studded with roasted almonds. Sounds weird and yucky, doesn't it? In fact, it's totally awesome, a veritable taste sensation. Each bite is simultaneously smooth, creamy, smoky, and tangy. They're just sweet enough to let you know you're biting into a delicious piece of chocolate. It helps that the smoked blue cheese is made by the first-rate Rogue Creamery.
William Winand worked at legendary chocolatier Robert Linx's Maison du Chocolat in Paris before opening his jewel (or perhaps I should say candy) box of a store in Woodstock, Vermont. He apparently absorbed a great deal in France because his chocolates are in the same league as his mentor's and cost quite a bit less. You can buy your Winand chocolates secure in the knowledge that each and every piece of chocolate Winand sells is made by him personally. That's the definition of artisanal. I could not stop eating Winand's Cafe Noir, coffee-infused dark chocolate ganache with espresso. And though I prefer dark to milk chocolate, his Carre Lait, whipped milk chocolate ganache, has me rethinking my entire position on the darkmilk chocolate divide.
Holy crap! I can't believe how much chocolate I have tasted in the past couple of years. No wonder I'm on a diet.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.