Let these purveyors of fine chocolate tempt your taste buds with their delectable creations.
ALMA CHOCOLATE Portland. "The confections here are handcrafted from organic and fair-trade ingredients," says Lisa Wells of San Francisco. "I tried a chocolate-covered toffee with ginger, a habanero chocolate truffle with gold dust, and a salty caramel. All were staggeringly good." (503) 517-0262, www.almachocolate.com .
CHOCOLATE BAR Reno. "Divine!" writes Skye Emery of Reno. "Handmade truffles with such flavors as ginger, cayenne, and green tea. Fondue with strawberries, bananas, and pound cake. And the cocktails are something else. The chaitini—Grand Marnier, Baileys, and masala chai with grated nutmeg—pairs perfectly with the chocolate layer cake." (775) 337-1122, www.thechocbar.com .
CHOCOLATE BAR Boise, Idaho. "Outstanding!" says Karen Mebane of Boise. "The dark chocolate, green chile–pistachio bark is yummy. So are their dark chocolate–covered orange slices. And their white chocolate bark with lemon, lavender, and almonds is the best twist on white chocolate I’ve ever experienced." (866) 383-7771, www.thechocolatbar.com .
CHOCOLATE TREE Sheridan, Wyo. "It’s not good for the figure, so I don’t go often," writes Gay Hale of Sheridan. "But the Chocolate Tree is a great place to shop on a special occasion—or on a bad day or whenever. Their chocolate makes a great gift anytime." (307) 672-6160.
CUMMINGS STUDIO CHOCOLATES Salt Lake City. "This family-owned place stands out among this city’s food treasures," says Lee Ann Hansen of Salt Lake City. "I love the dark chocolate–dipped raspberry creams with real berries inside." (800) 537-3957, www.cummingschocolates.com .
DAGOBA ORGANIC CHOCOLATE Ashland, Ore. "Locally made and world-renowned," says Victoria Stewart of Ashland. "A family runs the company with a small crew, and they travel to South America to select sustainably grown cacao beans. Their chocolate is organic and kosher. It’s great with local wines." (800) 393-6075, www.dagobachocolate.com .
DONNELLY CHOCOLATES Santa Cruz, Calif. "Often you’ll find owner and chocolatier Richard Donnelly in the shop," says Suzanne Reed of Scotts Valley. "Try his truffles, cardamom bars, and chipotle-chile chocolate. All it takes is one piece—ecstasy!" (888) 685-1871, www.donnellychocolates.com .
DORADO CHOCOLATES Grass Valley, Calif. "The genuine thing," promises Eileen Blodgett of Nevada City, Calif. "Ken Kossoudji offers his fine French-style creations: Passion fruit truffles. Tahitian vanilla caramels. Pear crisps soaked in key lime juice and dipped in chocolate. You may even find gold dust right on your chocolates." (530) 272-6715, www.doradochocolates.com .
EUPHORIA CHOCOLATE CO Eugene, Ore. "I’ve tried chocolates all over Europe and these stand among the best," says Hilary Loud of Eugene. "No wonder—Euphoria started making chocolates over 25 years ago. Dark chocolate truffles with fruit or chocolate fillings, hearts in foil covers. Delicious!" (541) 344-4605, www.euphoriachocolate.com .
FOG CITY NEWS San Francisco. "A wondrous array," writes Virginia Less of Petaluma, Calif. "Proprietor Adam Smith seeks out unusual and interesting bars of chocolate from around the globe. Don’t miss the ‘chocolate passport’: Buy 10 different bars, get one free." (415) 543-7400, www.fogcitynews.com .
HAZELNUT HILL OUTSIDE Corvallis, Ore. "They grow hazelnuts and make chocolates here," writes Jo Tarver of Corvallis. "And if you arrive on a day when they’re coating the nuts, you can watch—and sample! Check out their nutcracker display during the holidays." (541) 754-5657, www.hazelnuthill.com .
LA DOLCE V FINE CHOCOLATES Sebastopol, Calif. "Their sweets are as delectable to behold as they are to consume," says Janet Thomas of Santa Rosa, Calif. "But the creamy French hot chocolate is a showstopper." (707) 829-2178, www.ladolcev.com .
MOONSTRUCK CHOCOLATE CO. Portland. "Whenever I want a special treat, I head over to one of the Moonstruck Chocolate cafés," writes Sheri Vogt of Portland. "Among my favorites is the dark chocolate from a valley in Venezuela’s Ocumare region infused with a gentle glow of chile pepper." (800) 557-6666, www.moonstruckchocolate.com .
MOUSE'S CHOCOLATES Ouray, Colo. "Make going to Mouse’s the end of a perfect day," says Kathryn Swartz of Paonia, Colo. "First hit the local hot springs, then do a little shopping on the main street of this Swiss-style mountain town, and finally head over to Mouse’s for one of chocolatier Mouse Durgin’s handmade chocolates. Her scrap cookies, which she makes with chocolate scraps instead of regular chips, are a must." (877) 793-7447, www.mouseschocolates.com .
RECCHIUTI CONFECTIONS San Francisco. "Like eating art," says Debbie Kaplan of Foster City, Calif. "The Piedmont hazelnut looks like a cut diamond. The ginger heart is dark chocolate with fresh ginger covered in white chocolate and a touch of gold leaf. They’re almost—but not quite—too pretty to eat." (415) 834-9494, www.recchiuti.com .
RED'S WINES & BLUES Kalispell, Mont. "The best chocolate cake!" says Mona Charles of Kalispell. "It’s what you imagine your grandmother used to bake. The cake is dense and moist, with icing like fudge. I always plan to split a piece—until we order another." (406) 755-9463.
SCHARFFEN BERGER CHOCOLATE MAKER Berkeley, Calif. "Chocolate as it was meant to be," writes Pat Murphy of San Francisco. "They roast and blend cacao beans from sustainable farms all over the world. Our guide offered many samples, including an extra-dark chocolate that’s 82 percent cacao." (510) 981-4066, www.scharffenberger.com .
WHALE'S TALE RESTAURANT Newport, Ore. "The most decadent dessert I’ve ever tasted—mousse in a bag—is made here daily," writes Nan Williamson of Redmond, Ore. "White chocolate mousse inside dark chocolate hardened into a square ‘bag’ is then topped with fresh berries and whipped cream. Talk about exquisite!" (541) 265-8660.
Photography by Terrence McCarthy
This article was first published in November 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.