chocolates

Chocolate lovers everywhere can rejoice at the number of chocolatiers scattered around the United States. Every state has an artisan making handcrafted truffles and chocolate treats. If you have the time, tackle these top cities for chocoholics.

Start Your Journey on the West Coast

Up north in Seattle is one of the first places you should visit. Fran’s Chocolates came about after the owner’s trip to Paris where decadent chocolates became her passion. Smoked salt caramels are exquisite. There are four stores in the Seattle area, and one is within the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Theo Chocolate Inc. is another solid choice, especially if you want a quick lesson in fair-trade chocolates. This chocolate shop is on Phinney Avenue, close to Staybridge Suites Seattle – Fremont.

ghirardelli-squareNow head south to Portland, Oregon, to Woodblock Chocolate. This company got its start in a home kitchen where the Wheelock’s roasted cacao beans before grinding them. Chocolate bars and cocoa are up for sale in the chocolate shop, and when you’re done indulging, Juniper Hotel is a short distance away.

San Francisco’s Ghirardelli is a well-known chocolate company in the U.S. You cannot get closer to this famous chocolate factory than by booking Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square. The boutique hotel is steps from chocolate and there’s even a Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop on the premise. Other chocolate companies in California that you don’t want to miss include Scharffen Berger in Berkeley, Richard Donnelley Fine Chocolates in Santa Cruz, and a number are also found in Los Angeles.

Now Head East

As you make your way to the East Coast, don’t miss these top cities for chocoholics. Start in Denver where you’ll find Roberta’s Chocolates. Bacon truffles are decadent and a great balance of sweet and salty.

Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates in Kansas City, Missouri, is a great stop if you want to try chocolates created from cacao beans in a variety of countries. Try Columbian and Venezuelan chocolate before sampling Ethiopian and Madagascan. The chocolate truffle filled with lavender caramel is amazing! Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center is just a few blocks south of Christopher Elbow.

Your next stop should be Chicago. Here, you’ll find the chocolates at Vosges Haut-Chocolat. There are so many types to try, but I’d start with the Guinness Stout truffles. The store in The Shops at North Bridge put you on the same block as Chicago Marriott Downtown. Plus, you’ll be within a short walk of the Navy Pier.

If you want to take a more southern route as you head to the East Coast, Wiseman House in Hico, Texas, offers chocolates for sale and classes you can take to master the art of making your own handcrafted chocolates. Wiseman House is about 80 miles from Fort Worth, where you’ll find a huge selection of Fort Worth hotels for your accommodations. You’re also within a few hours of Dallas hotels.

Make your way to Atlanta, Georgia, to try the decadent sweets at Cacao. Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company makes their chocolates from a blend of more than two dozen varieties of cacao beans. Cayenne Passionfruit truffles are worth the trip! Now, head north to Asheville, North Carolina, where you can try French Broad Chocolates. They even have vegan chocolates available if you do not eat dairy products. With Catawba Brewing next door, you can enjoy a cold pint after a few chocolate tastings.

black-tea-rose-petalsAnd End Up in New England

Before reaching New England, you’ll find dozens of chocolate companies in New York City. Jacques Torres has shops scattered around New York, including the Grand Central Station shop. The cognac truffles may not look as pretty as some, but they taste incredible. Kee’s Chocolates has been around since 2002, and it’s the flavors that make this a chocolate shop to check out. Try the Black Rose – a truffle with black tea and rose petals – or the Balsamic Truffle – a very unique pairing of dark chocolate, pecans, and balsamic vinegar. Mast Brothers in Brooklyn is my recommendation for the third chocolate shop to visit when in New York City.

Massachusetts will be your next stop. Somerville is home to EH Chocolatier. Head inside and try the artisan candy bars, especially the Ancho Bar that’s like a gourmet Snickers with two types of ancho-spiced nuts, pretzel pieces, scotch caramel, and dark chocolate. Now head into Boston proper to visit Beacon Hill Chocolates. This award-winning chocolate shop sells a variety of truffles with flavors like Grey Goose Vodka or olive oil.

I can’t recommend cities for chocoholics without hitting my own local favorite. Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vermont, has a very special place in my heart. Book a room at Hotel Vermont and you’ll be within walking distance of this chocolate shop. Watch the workers making the chocolates by hand from outside and then head in for some of the most decadent treats around. I really recommend getting a scoop of one of the chocolate ice creams when it’s warm outside or a cup of Aztec hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day.

This is only a small sampling of the fantastic chocolatiers found around the U.S. It’s so hard to narrow the list down. How about your own favorites? What is your preferred treat when you stop in to sample the goodies? No matter where you go, Reservation Counter can help you save money on your hotel room or suite. Book now for exceptional discounts and then share your own chocoholic experience when you return!