The Ultimate Guide to Indulging in Decadent Chocolates

Indulge in the Exquisite Unveiling the Top 11 Chocolates of 2023, Meticulously Tested and Gleefully Appraised by a Seasoned Chocolatier

11 top chocolates in 2023, reviewed by a pro chocolatier

A table covered in a variety of assorted chocolate boxes.

We all know that the power of chocolate is immeasurable. It can bring joy, mend the heart, and create connections. But when it comes to finding the perfect gift, chocolate reigns supreme. It’s not just about flavor – it’s about the whole experience. The best chocolates not only taste divine but are also works of art that are almost too beautiful to eat.

As a self-proclaimed chocolatier, I’ve dedicated my life to the pursuit of all things chocolate. I’ve sampled over 75 different chocolates from 36 renowned brands, meticulously testing for appearance, flavor, and texture. And let me tell you, I’ve found some real gems!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the crème de la crème of chocolates:

Best for Gifting: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Against a peach colored background, an open box of multicolored bon bons from Vosges Chocolates.

When it comes to gifting, Vosges Haut-Chocolat takes the cake. Their chocolates are a visual feast, with each box offering a stunning wow-factor before it’s even opened. From hand-formed Milk Chocolate Truffles to the too-easy-not-to-enjoy Comfort Food Tower, Vosges Haut-Chocolat has something for everyone and every occasion. And their flavor combinations? Out of this world! Who knew that Reishi mushrooms and Italian hazelnuts would make for an umami milk chocolate ganache that leaves you wanting more? With Vosges Haut-Chocolat, every bite is like unwrapping a surprise – the gift that keeps on giving.

Worth a Try: Bon Bon Bon for Truffles and Ganaches

Against a peach colored background, a selection of different colored bon bons from BonBonBon.

Ganache lovers, rejoice! Bon Bon Bon is here to take your taste buds on a wild ride. These unconventional truffles are a two-bite masterpiece, with each bonbon meticulously adorned and playfully decorated. Forget the traditional round shape – Bon Bon Bon’s truffles come in thin rectangular chocolate shells, leaving them topless and daringly different. The flavors are anything but ordinary, too. From the Bourbon-infused Bour-Bon-Bon-Bon to the zingy Lemon Bar None, each bonbon is a delicious work of art. Bon Bon Bon’s attention to detail and commitment to using fresh, local ingredients make them a must-try for any chocolate connoisseur.

Best Candy Bars: Compartés

A box of Compartés candy bars.

Compartés is the master of transforming familiar flavors into fun and stylish candy bars. Take their Donuts & Coffee bar, for example – it’s adorned with bits of real glazed buttermilk donuts, coffee donut crumble, and finely ground coffee. And that’s just the tip of the chocolate-coated iceberg. With nearly 70 flavors to choose from, Compartés knows how to deliver a deliciously unique experience. Their Cookies & Cream bar strikes the perfect balance between dark and white chocolate, while the Strawberry Shortcake bar whimsically mixes jammy strawberries and buttery shortcake into a rosy-hued white chocolate delight. And did I mention they have a plethora of vegan options? Compartés is the go-to brand for candy bars that are as beautiful as they are tasty.

Best on a Budget: Chocolove

Best Chocolate Chocolove bars

Who says you have to break the bank to enjoy high-quality chocolate? Chocolove combines decadent, rich flavors with ethically sourced cocoa beans to create affordable luxury. Their Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate bar feels like a dessert worthy of its own plate and white tablecloth. And let’s not forget the Passion Fruit in Ruby Chocolate bar, with its bright berry notes and rosy-hued cocoa bean. With Belgian-trained Master Chocolatier Patrick Peeters at the helm, Chocolove proves that you can have your chocolate and eat it too, without compromising on quality or taste.

Best for Kids: Ghirardelli

Best Chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares

Introducing your little ones to the world of sophisticated flavors has never been easier, thanks to Ghirardelli. Their individually wrapped chocolate squares are not only great for kids, but they also offer a gateway into more adventurous tastes and textures. From solid milk chocolate squares for the fussier eaters to caramel-filled morsels for those craving something extra gooey, Ghirardelli has it all. And let’s not forget about the squares studded with crispy rice, tart berries, or crunchy nuts – perfect for the more adventurous palates. Ghirardelli has mastered the art of creating chocolates that appeal to both kids and adults alike.

Worth a Try: Fran’s Chocolates for Caramel Lovers

Against a peach colored background, a half-open box with a bow of milk and dark chocolate caramels from Frans Chocolates.

For the caramel lovers out there, Fran’s Chocolates is where your sweet tooth dreams come true. These caramels possess the perfect combination of pull, chew, and just a touch of salt, giving you the ultimate caramel experience. Fran Bigelow, the founder of Fran’s Chocolates, drew inspiration from her trip to Paris, and her dedication to exceptional confections shines through in every bite. With options like milk or dark chocolate coating, grey salt or smoked salt, Fran’s Chocolates knows how to satisfy even the most discerning caramel connoisseurs.

Worth a Try: See’s Candies for Nut Lovers

Against a peach colored background, a can of Almond Royal chocolate candies from See’s Candies.

Nuts and chocolate – a match made in heaven. And See’s Candies knows exactly how to celebrate this divine pairing. From classic nut clusters to pralines, turtles to barks, See’s Candies has perfected the art of nut-bejeweled chocolates. Their collection of “Nuts & Chews” is a treasure trove for nut lovers, with options like the delectable Toffee-ettes, Danish butter toffee and roasted almonds coated in milk chocolate and rolled in more crunchy almonds. With their commitment to quality and timeless packaging, See’s Candies is a one-stop-shop for nut enthusiasts with a craving for chocolate.

Worth a Try: Seattle Chocolate for Vegans

A stack of Seattle Chocolate bars.

Vegans rejoice – Seattle Chocolate has got your back. Their line of Vegan Truffle Bars is an absolute delight, even without the dairy. These bars are rich, creamy, and filled with intriguing flavors that will leave you wanting more. From the salty-sweet Chocolate Chip Cookie Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar to the bold Pike Place Espresso Chocolate Truffle Bar, Seattle Chocolate knows how to create vegan chocolates that are anything but boring. And the best part? They collaborate with independent artists for their show-stopping packaging and donate a portion of their profits to a nonprofit organization supporting girls’ empowerment. Vegan chocolate that tastes good and does good? Sign me up!

Worth a Try: Petrova Chocolates for the Most Beautiful Treats

A cut in half Petrova bonbon shown with the layered inside on top of a pile white bonbons with black decoration.

Prepare to be dazzled by the sheer beauty of Petrova Chocolates. These hand-painted bonbons are like edible works of art, meticulously crafted with vibrant colored cocoa butter to represent the luscious fillings within. But it’s not just about the looks – each bonbon boasts layers of jewel-toned, jammy, creamy, and balanced flavors that will take your taste buds on a journey. From the tangy Hot Honey Lemon to the playful Popping Almond, each chocolate is a visual and gustatory feast. For those who believe in eating with their eyes first, Petrova Chocolates is the ultimate indulgence.

Worth a Try: Cacao & Cardamom for Adventurous Flavors

A box of colorful bonbons from Cacao & Cardamom.

If you’re an adventurous eater seeking the perfect balance between heat and flavor, look no further than Cacao & Cardamom. This Houston-based chocolatier is known for their use of unusual ingredients like chile peppers, spices, leaves, flowers, and berries. The flavors they create are bold, exotic, and inspired by founder Annie Rupani’s South-Asian heritage and extensive travels. Taste the velvety yet light Coco Curry, the warm and herbal Cardamom Rose, or the robust Five Spice Praline. Cacao & Cardamom is the go-to brand for anyone looking to push their taste buds to new and exciting places.

Worth a Try: Chocolate of the Month Club for Endless Delights

Against a peach colored background, a box with an orange ribbon, an assortment of chocolates, and an information pamphlet from The Gourmet Chocolate of the Month Club.

Why settle for just one chocolate when you can have a monthly indulgence? The Gourmet Chocolate of the Month Club offered by is a curated assortment of chocolates from international, small-batch chocolatiers. Each delivery is a delightful surprise, featuring both bonbons and bars that are sure to tickle your taste buds. What sets this subscription apart is the inclusion of an educational newsletter with tasting notes, background reading material, and product information – so you can expand your chocolate knowledge while satisfying your cravings. Talk about a win-win!

There you have it – the ultimate guide to indulging in decadent chocolates. Whether you’re gifting someone special or treating yourself, these brands are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings in the most delightful ways. So go ahead, dive into the world of chocolate and experience the magic of these exquisite sweet creations!

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How we tested chocolate A white gloved hand holding a Dandelion Chocolate bar.

As a dedicated chocolatier, I take my chocolate expertise very seriously. I’ve combined my background in scientific research, culinary arts, and fine chocolatier work to meticulously hand-select the best chocolates for you. I’ve left no truffle unturned and no chocolate bar untested. Here’s how I conducted my research:

  1. Flavor: I considered the flavors of every chocolate, ensuring balanced cocoa notes and no off flavors. Rancid or bad-tasting chocolate never made the cut.

  2. Freshness: I made sure to consume the chocolates within a few days of purchase to preserve their taste, presentation, and overall quality. If storing them, I kept them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

  3. Texture: The texture of the chocolates mattered to me as well. Correctly tempered and stored chocolate should be firm, snap when broken or bitten into, and melt smoothly on the tongue.

  4. Packaging and Presentation: I looked for packaging that not only protected the chocolates but also added to the overall impact. After all, chocolates are often given as gifts, and nobody wants to receive broken or smashed confections.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the finest chocolates out there, it’s time to embark on your chocolate journey. Treat yourself or someone you love, and savor the deliciousness that awaits. Happy indulging!

Which chocolate brand caught your fancy? Share your indulgent chocolate experiences with us in the comments below!