Is there anyone in the world who doesn't like chocolate? Even people without a sweet tooth can't resist the occasional bite, even if they insist otherwise. If you're a confirmed chocoholic looking to upgrade from your usual m&m's, you're in luck.
Over the last couple of decades, the world of gourmet chocolate has exploded. Regardless of where you are in the world, tracking down some luxury chocolate has never been easier.
If you're ready to splash the cash on some of the best confectionary available, these are the 10 best luxury chocolate brands to hit up.
10. Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates
As nationalgeographic.com says, Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates is nothing if not unusual. Not content with making the same kind of chocolates as everyone else, they like to mix Belgian and French chocolate with ingredients like lavender, chipotle, saffron, cardamom, and Earl Grey tea.
The result is an exquisite, innovative collection of chocolates that have become the toast of chocolate lovers the world over. The honey vanilla caramel comes particularly highly recommended.
9. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc.
If you like dark chocolate, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc. is a name you'll want to get familiar with. To ensure the quality of its product, the chocolatier oversees every single element of the process itself.
Beans of different origins are carefully blended to create a unique, complex flavor profile and a taste experience like no other. Production is limited to small batches to guarantee freshness. If you're a keen cook, its selection of baking chocolates will make an excellent addition to your pantry.
8. Jacques Torres Chocolate
If you want to try some of the very finest gourmet chocolates in New York, don't miss a visit to Jacques Torres Chocolate. Legendary French pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres specializes in handcrafted, fresh chocolates that deserve to be savored, not devoured.
Only the best ingredients are used, resulting in complex, exquisitely flavorsome chocolates that need to be tasted to be believed. If you can't get to one of his five locations in New York, you can order directly via the website for nationwide delivery.
7. Vosges Haut-Chocolat
Katrina Markoff takes the art of chocolate making very seriously indeed. Having learned everything there is to know about French confectionery at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she founded the Chicago-based chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat in 1998, quickly developing a reputation for her quirky use of ingredients and superb flavor profiles.
Highlights not to miss include the Red Fire Chocolat made with fiery Mexican chilis, cinnamon and velvety dark chocolate, the Black Pearl Chocolat made with warming ginger, black sesame seeds and dark chocolate, and the extremely moreish Argentinean dulce de leche truffle.
As desiblitz.com says, fine Belgian chocolate begins and ends with Godiva. Established almost 100 years ago by chocolatier Joseph Draps, Godiva has earned a reputation for producing high-quality, luxury chocolates with an attainable price tag.
Their range (which includes truffles, sables, biscuits, pretzels, and chocolate-covered strawberries) is extensive enough to please everyone, regardless of whether you're a fan of white, milk or dark chocolates.
Only the highest quality ingredients are used, while their signature gold-wrapped boxes make these the perfect chocolates to gift.
As luxatic.com says, Italian chocolate manufacturer Amedei is famous for their dark chocolate, and not just because of the jaw-dropping price tag it comes with.
This is a company that prides itself on ensuring only the very finest ingredients go into its products - so much so, they're even secured exclusive rights to a Venezualian plantation.
If you like velvety smooth textures and indulgent flavors, this is the brand for you. Just be warned that it's expensive stuff - according to Wikipedia, one of its products, Amedei Porcelana, is known as the world's most expensive chocolate.
70 years ago, Dolf Teuscher established his namesake chocolatier in a small town in the Swiss Alps. Determined to make the finest chocolates in the country, he hunted down the very best ingredients he could find, using them to practice and perfect the recipes that now serve as the foundation for the 100 plus varieties of chocolates made each day in the Teuscher kitchens.
Preservatives, chemicals, and additives are banned, with only the best nuts, marzipan, fruits, cocoa, and other natural ingredients making their way into the chocolates. Don't miss the house specialty, the champagne truffle, in particular - a blend of fresh cream, butter, and chocolate with a champagne cream center and a light dusting of sugar, it's to die for.
Chocolates don't get much more luxurious than those that come out of French brand Valrhona's kitchen in the Rhone Valley. Beans are meticulously sourced from plantations in the Caribbean and South America before being blended to create a unique flavor profile.
The selection is wide enough to offer an excellent choice (the Valrhona Equinoxe Noir and Valrhona Grands Crus assorted chocolate ganache are two of the must-tries) and although the prices are high in comparison to everyday brands like Dove or Hershey, they're actually very reasonable in comparison to most luxury brands.
Lebanese chocolate company Patchi was founded in the 1970s, and today enjoys a reputation as one of the best luxury chocolate brands in the world.
The prices might be high, but so are the quality of the ingredients. The Patchi 'Chocolate Menu' contains over 50 different varieties to try, many of which incorporate ingredients such as roasted nuts, Gianduja, orange peel, and dried strawberries.
There's also an enticing selection of more exotic flavors such as Cotton Candy, Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter for the more adventurous to try.
The French know how to make good chocolate, and French chocolatier Richart knows how to make it better than most. Since starting their business in 1925, the Richart family have won the Ruban Bleu (the most prestigious honor a confectioner can obtain) a record seven times.
With their distinctive designs, incredible flavors, and heavenly aromas, Richart chocolates are in a league of their own. If you don't mind blowing some cash on something truly special, try the $850 burlwood vault with seven drawers of chocolate, each of which comes with its own temperature and humidity gauge.
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Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith