True chocolate fanatics (like us!) know that sweet treats should be enjoyed all year long, but Valentine's Day provides the perfect opportunity to seek out extra-special chocolatey delights. This year, skip the waxy last-minute drugstore finds and present your loved ones (or yourself!) with something more memorable: artisanal chocolate that's as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
If you don't live near an artisan chocolate shop, don't worry: You can still snag an unforgettable edible gift. To make it easy, we've rounded up 14 impressive artisan chocolatiers and "bean-to-bar" chocolate-makers who offer shippable goodies. Whether you're seeking chocolate gifts for your valentine or simply stocking up the cupboard with decadent desserts for the whole family, these dedicated artisans will leave you feeling inspired by the beauty and versatility of cocoa.
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1. Family-made chocolate
m² Confections, $5.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/M2Confections
The basics: Husband-and-wife team Kendall and Jonathan Mathews of m² Confections operate a chocolate studio in Denver, Colorado. Their hand-painted creations are both exquisitely crafted and down-to-earth, with offerings ranging from dark chocolate cherry cordials to peanut butter crunch "candy whirls."
Delicious details: Kendall and Jonathan take pride in working together and draw inspiration from people close to them. "I think a lot of my DIY inspiration comes from my mother," Kendall explains. "She isn't a chocolatier by any means, but her style of creation at home has always influenced how I think about flavors." This sense of nostalgia is evident in offerings like s'mores kits and gourmet peanut butter and jelly cups.
Sweetest pick: For a pop of color this Valentine's Day or any day, consider m²'s beautifully designed Truffle Gift Boxes ($56.00 for a box of 24). Decadent truffle flavors range from burnt passionfruit to salted caramel to fresh mint.
2. Tz'utujil chocolate
Diego's Chocolate, $27.99+ at Etsy.com/Shop/DiegosChocolate
The basics: It's all about history and culture at Diego's Chocolate, a Guatemala-based chocolate company owned by a Tz'utujil (Mayan) family. Founder and CEO Diego Hernandez and his team perfected their signature recipe in 1990 and have offered Mayan chocolate rolls, cardamom chocolate and even spicy chili chocolate ever since.
Delicious details: "For me, cacao and chocolate are a part of my Tz'utujil heritage. I learned how to roast and work with the beans from my grandmother, who always prepared our family's drinking chocolate on special occasions," Diego says. "Chocolate is a life-giving force in our culture." While Mayan chocolate is traditionally consumed as a beverage, Diego has enjoyed the challenge of crafting edible chocolate with ethically sourced cacao beans.
Sweetest pick: You might not associate basil with chocolate, but Diego's Chocolate offers a Vegan Basil Gourmet Chocolate Roll ($29.99 for a pack of four). To make this treat, 75% dark chocolate is rolled with Guatemalan basil, which adds an unconventional earthy flavor. Delicious!
3. Out-of-this-world chocolate
Stars Candy Company, $16.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/StarsCandyFactory
The basics: Do you like your sweets with a side of sparkle? You're in luck! Crystal Hart, chocolatier at Stars Candy Factory in Oregon, makes out-of-this-world sweets, from geode-inspired chocolate truffles to edible sea glass-themed candy. Each piece is decidedly unique, combining marbling effects, edible glitter, ganache and vibrant candy melts.
Delicious details: Crystal thrives on the creativity afforded by working with chocolate and dreams of someday going into the candy-making business with her three children. "Each of them shares time in the kitchen with me every week learning how to make treats," she explains. "Chocolate has not only created a career for me but also provided lots of happy memories."
Sweetest pick: Crystal's gorgeous Geode Chocolate Truffles ($50.00 for a box of 20) are a must-try. "I have a hard time not sitting and staring at them a bit before they're packed up and shipped off!" she says. Don't worry if pastels aren't your thing: Stars Candy Factory also offers a Dark Rainbow truffle variety.
4. Dairy-free chocolate
Czarina Chocolates, $5.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/CzarinaChocolates
The basics: Russia-born Yulia Willardson of Czarina Chocolates creates treats with a twist, offering an entire inventory of dairy-free chocolates. She emphasizes the use of alternative sugars and avoids preservatives in her handcrafted assorted chocolates. Now based in Texas, Yulia got started via an online school for chocolatiers.
Delicious details: The challenge of chocolate appeals to Yulia and comes into play as she dreams up eye-catching truffle collections, chocolate bars, caramels and more for Czarina Chocolates. "Chocolate mesmerizes me," she says. "It's very temperamental. One day you think you finally figured it all out, and the next you have to start back at the basics. I love the challenge and the science behind it."
Sweetest pick: The Gourmet Dark Chocolate Candy with Cointreau Liquor Ganache ($18.00 for a box of ten) is a best-seller, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. For something totally out-of-the-box, check out Yulia's Smoked Chile Chocolate Ganache truffles ($18.00 for a box of 8).
5. Ecuadorian chocolate
Sueños Chocolates, $3.50+ at Etsy.com/Shop/CacaoEsperanza
The basics: In conjunction with "heirloom" cacao farmers in Ecuador, Sueños Chocolates founder Dr. Lori Shapiro imports cacao to her home in Boston, where she creates and sells vegan small-batch dark chocolate. This "farmer direct" model is beneficial for Ecuadorian farmers—and the treats are downright incredible.
Delicious details: Since its launch in March 2020, Sueños Chocolates has expanded to include inventive and visually stunning treats infused with dried berries and fruit, nuts and even rose petals. There's even pure, unsweetened organic dark chocolate for purchase.
Sweetest pick: Have a little fun with the 3-Bar Handmade Sueños Sampler ($25.00), which can be personalized with your choice of three chocolate bar flavors. A few options include sea salt, toasted coconut, candied ginger and maple sugar. No matter which pairings you select, you'll be immersed in dark chocolate goodness.
6. Chocolate that doubles as art
Arty Chocolate, $75.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/ArtyChocolate
At a glance: Arty Chocolate is operated by Adalet Can, a Turkish chocolatier whose edible creations come in all sorts of surprising shapes, from hyperrealistic tools to a keyboard. Each confection is made with fine Belgian chocolate and ships worldwide in a small padded box for safe delivery.
Delicious details: Arty Chocolate has been in the chocolate game since 2015, when Adalet decided to practice her skills alongside a friend who owns a small patisserie. "I love the affect my chocolate has on people," she says. "It's fun to see the faces of surprised people when they first see my shaped chocolate pieces."
Sweetest pick: Adalet's personal favorite Arty Chocolate creation is the Painting Set Chocolate ($95.00), as visual arts are her main non-dessert passion. We're fans of the Mirror And Lipstick duo ($85.00), which almost looks too good to eat!
7. Pretty painted chocolate
Chocolate By E, $14.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/CHOCOLATEbyE
The basics: French-American national Elissa Benjamin of Chocolate By E offers hand-painted artisanal chocolates that are as spectacular to look at as they are to eat. The San Francisco Bay Area–based creator produces everything from plays on classic candy to chocolate bark specially designed to support Pride Month.
Delicious details: Elissa explains that chocolate is a decidedly original medium. "Chocolate is never exactly the same day to day, so it offers continual challenges," she says. "There's something magical about the way chocolate can react and take aspects of so many different materials. For example, chocolate molds are generally polycarbonate with really shiny cavities. The chocolate picks up its signature shine from simply being on something shiny!"
Sweetest pick: With Gourmet Bonbons ($63.00 for a box of 25) in flavors ranging from apple cider caramel to yuzu white chocolate ganache, there's never a dull moment at Chocolate By E. "Chocolate is a medium of joy—a playful and exciting experience every time," Elissa says. We're inclined to agree!
8. Chocolate with fruit flair
Peony Chocolates, $3.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/PeonyChocolates
The basics: Creativity and detail are the name of the game at Peony Chocolates. Operating from Pennsylvania and New York, Peony is a "nib-to-bar" or "bean-to-bar" chocolate company—in short, this means that they create chocolate from scratch, directly from the cacao bean. Many of Peony's creations include inventive mix-ins and dried fruit, adding visual beauty and mouthwatering flavor. Think: Peony matcha goat milk chocolate with freeze-dried raspberries and strawberries. Yum!
Delicious details: Chocolate-maker Lana prides herself on exploring cacao beans from different parts of the world and incorporating organic ingredients in her confections. "Depending on the beans' growth conditions, flavors can be nutty, earthy or have flower and berry aromas," she explains. This emphasis on research and variety sets Peony Chocolates apart.
Sweetest pick: Lana raves about Orange Moons ($3.00 per piece), candied orange slices dipped in 70% dark chocolate. Like your chocolate with nuts? You'll appreciate Peony's luscious Artisan Dark Chocolate Bars ($14.00) with sugared almonds and macadamia nuts.
9. Chocolate that's "the bomb"
Bomb Confections, $6.50+ at Etsy.com/Shop/BombConfections
The basics: Sandi Keller of Bomb Confections whips up chocolate bars, hot cocoa bombs (hence the shop name) and bourbon-infused delights in her Arizona home kitchen.
Delicious details: For Sandi, it all started by accident. A self-described "serial entrepreneur," she stumbled into chocolate-making after helping her daughter make hot chocolate bombs inspired by a TikTok video. She was hooked. "I opened my Etsy shop and, six weeks later, had sold so many that I realized I could really do something with this," she says. "I love how chocolate can be as simple as just a pure chocolate bar or elevated by using fillings and flavors."
Sweetest pick: Bourbon Chocolate Espresso Bombs ($29.00 for a box of four) with dark chocolate are a favorite at Bomb Confections, but we're particularly charmed by their freeze-dried Raspberry Chocolate Bars ($10.00 for a box of 12)—the raspberries rehydrate as you chew!
10. All-natural chocolate
Wooden Table Baking Co., $6.50+ at Etsy.com/Shop/WoodenTableBaking
The basics: Wooden Table is based in Oakland, CA, though its head baker, Andrés Ozzuna, hails from Argentina. The company creates some of the most creative and decadent chocolate treats imaginable, from peppermint dark chocolate truffles to cardamom pistachio dark chocolate bark, with all-natural ingredients instead of extracts or preservatives.
Delicious details: Andrés' passion for chocolate is evident in everything he creates. "Chocolate is beautiful when it melts to our hands' temperature. The smell is another sensation I adore," he says. "The bakery has been my safe place since I can remember. After many years of baking alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) and other cookies, I started adding chocolate to my creations and fell in love."
Sweetest pick: For total indulgence, check out the mountainous Almond Dark Chocolate Truffles ($24.00). If you've ever wanted to try alfajores for yourself, it doesn't get much better than the ones produced at Wooden Table. Check out their Alfajores Sampler ($36.00 for a box of 16) for made-from-scratch cookies in tantalizing flavors: traditional, chocolate, snickerdoodle and meringue.
11. Vegan, gluten-free chocolate
Witerki, $34.50+ at Etsy.com/Shop/Witerki
The basics: Witerki focuses on producing vegan, gluten-free chocolates with custom inscriptions, intricate designs (rose-shaped truffles) and even mini chocolate figurines. Owner and small-batch chocolatier Julia is Ukrainian, but she now resides in the United Kingdom with her family. Good news: Her chocolates ship worldwide!
Delicious details: For Julia, the pandemic was a business turning point. "In April and May 2020, when Covid started and people couldn't meet each other, my chocolates were gifted to many loved ones," she explains. "When they opened each chocolate box and took a bite, people could feel how dear they were to the person who chose such a delicious gift."
Sweetest pick: Witerki is brimming with beautifully designed treats, but Julia's Personalized Artisan Vegan Chocolates ($43.00 for a box of 12)—complete with a loved one's name or initials—are exceptional. What could be more delightful than biting into a chocolate that literally has your name on it?
12. Locally loved chocolate
Mokaya, $2.00+ at MokayaGR.com
The basics: If you ever find yourself in Grand Rapids, MI, ask a resident where to get the best chocolate in town—Mokaya will almost certainly top the list. With a cozy brick and mortar shop, ethically sourced ingredients and an array of products available for shipping online, this artisanal chocolate shop certainly stands out.
Delicious details: Mokaya prides itself on incorporating local ingredients, such as Michigan-made beer, into its unique chocolates. Truffles are hand-painted or transferred from sheets with colorful, intricate and festive designs. The deliciousness doesn't stop at classic chocolate bars and truffles, though: Mokaya also sells chocolate-coated cookies, chocolate-dipped honeycomb, mini tarts, hot cocoa, ice cream and pretty much any other sort of treat you can dream up.
Sweetest pick: Love a good mint and chocolate combo? You haven't really lived until you've indulged in a Mokaya Peppermint Patty ($2.00). With a dark chocolate coating, refreshing minty filling and crystallized mint crumble on top, it's truly one-of-a-kind.
13. Joyful chocolate
Sweet Joy Bites, $15.00+ at SweetJoyBites.com
The basics: Sweet Joy Bites is a Texas-based sweet shop founded and owned by Raquel Silva, whose passion for creating traditional Brazilian brigadeiros (bite-size chocolate balls loaded with rich flavor) is infectious. Raquel cherishes the opportunity to share her Brazilian roots with a broader market.
Delicious details: The "joy" in Sweet Joy Bites is center stage in everything Raquel and her team do. "Our mission is to bring joy and happiness to our customers through the medium of delicious gourmet truffles," she says. "We believe that life is meant to be celebrated, and chocolate is a perfect way to add an extra layer of indulgence and enjoyment to any occasion. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do what I love every day."
Sweetest pick: Brigadeiros, of course! Opt for a Large Chef's Pick Brigadeiro Gift Box ($68.00 for a box of 24). Popular flavor selections include white chocolate lime (Raquel's favorite!), coconut and guava cheesecake.
14. Chocolate with a dash of romance
Moore Than Chocolate, $12.00+ at Etsy.com/Shop/MooreThanChocolate
The basics: Based in Colorado, Stephanie Moore's shop Moore Than Chocolate ships mouthwatering and artistically inspired cocoa treats to satisfy sweet cravings. Stephanie, a former executive chef, has found her passion in the world of small-batch chocolate and baked goods.
Delicious details: Stephanie's creations are neat, thoughtful and packed with flavor. Her culinary knowledge and prowess in the kitchen are obvious with every chocolaty delight—these are anything but ordinary grocery store truffles. Marzipan, vegan peanut butter cups and honey lavender white chocolate truffles are just a few of the goodies you'll find.
Sweetest pick: We're enamored with Stephanie's enchanting Rose Truffles ($14.00 for a box of six), which feature white chocolate along with dashes of raspberry and vanilla. Each chocolate features an edible rose ganache and a sprinkling of lovely rose petals. Does it get much more romantic?