Americans love chocolate as much as hot dogs and apple pie. This love affair began when Dr. James Baker opened New England’s first chocolate factory in 1765. When the Townsend Acts levied a tax on tea, hot chocolate became a patriotic beverage. The confection was first included in military rations during the Revolutionary War. Today, the average adult consumes 11.7 pounds per year of all varieties of chocolate. When looking for the America’s best bean-to-bar chocolatiers, consider the following confectioners.
Theo Chocolate – Seattle
Founded in 2006, Theo Chocolate was the nation’s first organic, fair trade chocolate maker. After roasting and milling the cacao beans sourced from around the world, this boutique chocolatier creates a variety of bars and unique specialty confections by adding delectable ingredients such as fruit, nuts and chilies.
TCHO New American Chocolate – San Francisco
TCHO collaborates with growers from around the globe to produce better beans, which are then used to produce their signature bars and other chocolate delicacies. Customers are encouraged to use a “flavor wheel” to determine their favorite varieties of dark and milk chocolate as well as truffle flavor combinations.
See’s Candies – Los Angeles
Founded in 1921, See’s Candies sells a variety of “old time” caramel- and cream-filled American chocolates as well as nuts and chews containing California-grown almonds and walnuts. This City of Angels mainstay is also celebrated for their signature gold-wrapped lollypops, milk chocolate and toffee brittle.
Kakao Chocolate – St Louis
Using all natural ingredients, Kakao creates its products in small batches to guarantee quality and flavor. The company’s wide range of confections includes truffles, caramels and “dragees,” a fusion of toasted almonds and toffee with a chocolate coating dusted with cacao powder.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat – Chicago
The world travels of Vosges Haut-Chocolat confectioner Katrina Markoff are evident in the company’s unique products. A typical box of truffles is infused with exotic flavors from around the globe, such as Hungarian paprika and Indian Curry powder. This artisan chocolatier also offers a vegan selection made from coconut milk and agave.
Lake Champlain Chocolates – Burlington, VT
Lake Champlain Chocolates creates bean-to-bar chocolate confections from scratch in small batches that meld with the natural goodness of Vermont maple syrup, honey and fresh cream. Using all-natural ingredients, their unique Belgian chocolate-based products contain no preservatives or additives. The company also produces single-source dark chocolate bars.
Jacques Torres – New York
Opened in 2000, this Big Apple chocolatier offers a wide selection of premium creations made from scratch. Jacques Torres, known as Mr. Chocolate, produces unique concoctions designed to please the most discerning and adventurous palettes. Signature recipes include champagne-infused truffles and the Wicked Bar made with ancho and chipotle chiles.
Norman Love Confections – Ft. Myers, FL
Counting Oprah as a devoted fan, Norman Love Confections offers a selection of high-end, mouthwatering American chocolates, including single-source dark chocolate truffles as well as colorful milk and white chocolate creations. Using premium ingredients, the company’s confectioners take an artistic approach to their unique culinary endeavors.