The flavor and nuances of chocolate depend on the quality and origin of the cocoa beans used to make it. The best chocolates beans come from: Venezuela, Brazil, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Central America and the Caribbean. Robert Linxe, owner of Paris’ Maison du Chocolat, considers the “Ariba” bean from Central America as the finest of all cocoa beans due to its pronounced character and intense flavor. Other widely used beans are: “Guanaja”, “Manjari”, “Pur Caraibe” or “Guayaquil” on their chocolate bars.
These are the fifteen best chocolate makers listed alphabetically
1. Amedei, Italy
pralines 16, price: about 30 euros
In 1990, Cecilia Tessieri decided to dedicate herself to an extraordinary adventure which gave her the opportunity to discover all of the precious secrets of chocolate.
Her business began making pralines in a small workshop of only 45 square meters with just one employee. In the beginning, Cecilia recalls how the chocolate was purchased elsewhere, therefore, what she was producing was not all made by her hands.
During this time Cecilia was driven to search for the ultimate perfection in hand made chocolates, sending her inquest of the best cocoa beans possible. Her exploration took her to far off places, places where they cultivate cocoa varieties that have retained the aromatic character of the territory to which they belong.
Amedei has since discovered and exploited the most remote places on the planet, finding the rarest of cocoa beans, precious and aromatic, with the aim of later turning them into exquisite creations.
After seven years of hard work and devotion, the first chocolate bars carrying the name “Amedei” became available to consumers in 1998 turning Cecilia Tessieri’s dream into a reality. She owes great thanks to her family for their support, including her maternal grandmother to whom she gave particular merit in this adventure by using her surname Amedei.
2. Ferrero Rocher, Italy
Name a single chocolate lover who has not heard of Ferrero Rocher. This Italian branded chocolate are sometimes also referred as Ferrero Spa. Made of roasted hazelnuts, walnuts and hazelnut cream milk chocolate, Ferrero Rocher are one of its kind. With the growing demand of this chocolate in the market, the company has started to make it using different flavors. The more popular flavors in the market are Pistachio, Coconut and Lemon, coconut & dark chocolate and strawberry. The thin layer of wafer coated with milk chocolate would simply melt into your mouth.
3. Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York, New York, USA)
When you step into Jacques Torres Chocolate, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small European specialty store. Many customers compare the experience to the movie Chocolat. Jacques specializes in fresh, handcrafted chocolates. Eat them there, where cafe tables encourage you to sit, sip hot chocolate, and enjoy a freshly baked pain au chocolat — or take a selection home. Visitors often can see the chocolate goodies being prepared behind large glass windows. There are five Jacques Torres Chocolate shops in the city, plus one in Harrah’s in Atlantic City.
4. La Maison du Chocolat, Paris, France.
Created in 1977 by Robert Linxe. la Maison du Chocolat sets the benchmark for his unusual and subtle associations of natural flavors coupled with chocolates from different origins. Main boutique shops are located in Paris, New York, and London.
5. Leonidas Chocolate, Belgium
Leonidas Chocolate Bars – Variety Pack (12 bars): $37.00
The company was started in 1913 by Greek-Cypriot American confectioner Leonidas Kestekides in Ghent although he first began producing his chocolate in the U.S. Leonidas has 350 shops in Belgium and nearly 1,250 stores in around 50 countries including 340 in France. Leonidas has become one of the highest producing, widespread chocolate companies in the world
6. Neuhaus Chocolates, Belgium
Neuhaus Chocolates are known for being a popular brand among Belgian chocolates. There are wide selections of flavors chocolate lovers can die for. This brand is known for producing handcrafted chocolates. When it comes to milk chocolates, you cannot think of any other brand but this. The packaging also makes it a top demand in the market. The pralines and truffles flavor of the chocolates are more popular in the market than any other Belgian brands. The dark chocolates and white chocolates are poured together to make a range of enticing and pleasure-seeking fillings.
7. Lindt & Spugli Chocolates, Swiss
Lindt & Spugli Chocolates rank among the most popular chocolate brands of the world. This is a Swiss chocolate brand and is known for its rich taste. In the recent few years, Lindt brought another variation of chocolate in the market by the name of Lindor. The core of it is soft and smooth with a hard coating of dark chocolate on the outer shell. Lindt & Spugli is also known for producing great bunny chocolates and chocolate eggs during Easter every year.
8. Norman Love Confections (Ft. Myers, Florida, USA)
“Chocolate is my passion,” says Norman Love, who dreamed of making chocolate that was visually stunning as well as delicious. Love and a partner perfected a technique in which the colored designs for each candy are hand-painted or airbrushed into chocolate molds, which are then filled with the finest chocolate imported from Belgium, France, and Switzerland. The pumpkin white chocolate bonbon is almost too gorgeous to eat. Using only the freshest ingredients, his recipes call for pureed raspberries, bananas, ginger, caramel, passionfruit, and hazelnuts, to name a few.
9. Puccini Bomboni (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
You will actually have to visit Amsterdam to sample what may be the best chocolates in the Netherlands. The proprietors of Puccini Bomboni, a delightful cafe and restaurant, hand-make each chocolate on the premises and do not deliver. Exotic combinations of chocolate and spices, concocted from the freshest ingredients, are a specialty. Although the variety isn’t enormous, the quality is truly amazing.
10. Richart (Paris, France)
Committed to quality, the French chocolate-maker Richart guarantees you the most refined chocolates from the most refined ingredients. Richart recipes, developed and tested by the Richart family, have won France’s most prestigious confectioner’s honor, the Ruban Bleu, seven times. Having perfected the art of chocolate making, Richart now focuses on enhanced flavors and distinctive designs and colors. A box of assorted chocolates is visually stunning. If you really want to impress, splurge on the $850 burlwood vault with seven drawers of chocolate — complete with temperature and humidity gauges
11. Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates (Santa Cruz, California, USA)
These chocolates are unusual, to say the least. Richard Donnelly likes to push the chocolate experience by combining its rich tones — he uses Belgian and French chocolate — with ingredients such as lavender, chipotle, saffron, cardamom, and Earl Grey tea. Such innovation helped Donnelly win the Best Artisan award at the prestigious Euro Chocolate Festival in Perugia, Italy, just ten years after he opened his shop. To maintain quality and ensure freshness, Donnelly produces no more than 50 pounds of chocolate a day. If you need a break from the exotic and unusual flavors, try Donnelly’s white chocolate macadamia nut or a honey vanilla caramel.
12. Teuscher (Zurich, Switzerland)
palette of truffes and pralines assortment.250 gr about 30 euros
The Teuscher chocolate tradition began more than 70 years ago in a small town in the Swiss Alps. Dolf Teuscher scoured the world to find the finest cocoa, marzipan, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients with which to make his confectionery. After years of experimenting, he skillfully blended these ingredients into his now famous recipes.
Today the Teuscher kitchens in Zurich make more than 100 varieties of chocolates using these original recipes, which have been handed down from father to son. Only the finest and most expensive natural ingredients are used, and absolutely no chemicals, additives, or preservatives are added. The house specialty is a champagne truffle, a blend of fresh cream, butter, and chocolate with a champagne cream center, dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Chocolates are flown to Teuscher stores worldwide weekly.
13. Thorntons Chocolates, U.K
Britain’s favourite chocolate company Thorntons has been making delicious chocolates and treats for over 100 years. Thorntons Chocolates are very popular in all parts of the world. Cocoa beans from Sao Tome, New Guinea, Papua and Tanzania are combined together to make chocolate toffees. Thorntons are usually milk chocolates with a hard outer layer. These chewy toffees became very popular among the steelworkers of the city. The fusion recipe of the chocolate has made it extremely these days. Thorntons chocolates are only sold online.
14. Valrhona (France)
Valrhona has been creating exceptional gourmet chocolate since 1922, with cocoa beans purchased directly from premier plantations in South America, the Caribbean, and Pacific regions. The chocolate, made in the French style, comes in a variety of bars. Valrhona was one of the first chocolatiers to describe its chocolate like wine, labeling creations as grand cru, single origins, single estate, and vintage chocolate from bean to bar. In 2008, it introduced spicy, salty Xocopili.
15. Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Owner and chocolatier Katrina Markoff chooses every spice, flower, and chocolate that is flown into the Vosges kitchen to be transformed into fine chocolates. She learned the art of French confectionery at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Further inspired by her global apprenticeships, infusions of rare spices and flowers are combined with premium chocolate in truffles such as Mexican vanilla bean and Argentinean dulce de leche.