What are the best chocolate stores?

Michael Recchiuti- “He [Michael Recchiuti] makes the best chocolates in the United States” –Mort Rosenblum; Los Angeles Times (February 2, 2005) Location: Ferry Building Marketplace One Ferry Building, Shop #30 San Francisco, CA 94111 

Jacques Torres - From a modest shop/factory in Brooklyn, nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Torres produces attractive chocolates for sale in his ship as well as for distribution to chocolate shops, restaurants, and hotels throughout the United States and probably the rest of the world. Mr. Torres is well known for his connection with the French Culinary Institute in New York as well as for his programs on the FoodTV network. I have seen Mr. Torres’ on FoodTV (as well as in person) and there is no doubt that he is a master craftman with a very thorough understanding of the chocolate arts—which is what you’d expect from a classically-trained pastry chef. However, like many top-notch pastry chefs, I think that the essential qualities of chocolate are less important to him than the presentation. 

L. A. Burdick Chocolate --Walpole, New Hampshire -- Over 18 years ago...Larry Burdick began making chocolates in New York City for a small number of fine restaurants and caterers, using a variety of European couverture that he learnt studying abroad. From this beginning, L. A. Burdick Chocolate has grown into a thriving direct mail and web business located in Walpole, New Hampshire

Vognes Haut -- Locations in Chicago and now with retail stores in Chicago, Miami, and New York, is also planning store for London, Australia, and San Francisco.Katrina Markoff is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has worked extensively in Spain, Italy, France, Southeast Asia, and Australia, and her approach to flavors reflects this diversity. While it’s true that the flavors in the Naga (curry and coconut) bar and truffle are clear, clean, and identifiable, they don’t stand out and assert themselves. The same is true for the Black Pearl (ginger, wasabi, black sesame seed) and gianduja. 

christopher elbow chocolate Christopher Elbow -- 118 Southwest Boulevard / Kansas City, MO 64108. 1-816-842-1300. 

Chuao Chocolatier --Chuao Chocolatier in Encinitas is Southern California's only artisan chocolate shop. Named after the legendary cacao-producing region of Chuao in central Venezuela (pronounced chew-wow), Chuao Chocolatier melds traditional European techniques with world-class Venezuelan chocolate and fresh, natural ingredients to produce the finest handmade chocolates. Chocolatiers Michael Antonorsi and Brian Vandenbroucke founded Chuao Chocolatier 

Guittard Chocolate-- Ferry P????rmers Market The Embarcadero San Francisco, Calif. S E. GUITTARD Since 1868 this Bay Area family has been crafting chocolate in the French tradition. Today they produce some very fine bars and couverture (one of the reasons that inexpensive See's Candies are such a good value is because the company purchases couverture from E. Guittard). I like the rounded fruitiness of the Ambanja bar from Madagascar and the spicy finish of the Chucuri from Colombia

Richard Donnelly -- Since 1988, Donnelly chocolate has been made by hand from the finest French and Belgian couvertures. After studying with master chocolatiers in Paris and Brussels, Richard Donnelly returned to the United States to create his own line of chocolates, focusing on simple yet sophisticated flavors. Donnelly Fine Chocolates 1509 Mission St. Santa Cruz, Ca 95060 

Martine’s Chocolates Bloomingdale’s -- Martine's Chocolates are upscale confections handmade fresh daily, right in front of the customers, by Martine's own chefs chocolatiers, at Martine's Chocolates shops in Manhattan: at Bloomingdale's (6th floor, Main Course) and at Martine's Chocolates too, recently opened (400 East 82nd Street., right off First Avenue). 

Dagoba Organic Chocolate has garnered the reputation of making some of the best organic chocolate bars in the US--.2005 Tastemaker Award- Food & Wine, Green Power Leadership Award - EPA, World's Best Chocolate - CNN/Money, Best Dark Chocolate - San Francisco Chronicle,"Best Organic Bars - Food & Wine. Read our Newsletter! All products Organic & Kosher (KSA)
La Maison du Chocolat 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. Chocolate can be purchased online. La Maison du Chocolat remains our favorite pick with stores in New York.
Debauve & Gallais --20 East 69th Street off Madison)-- For years savvy travellers have flocked to the legendary Debauve & Gallais store on Paris' Left Bank. Established in Paris in 1800 and appointed the official chocolatier to the French court, Debauve & Gallais has since built a cult following among chocoholics, gourmands, and connoisseurs all over the world. Formerly a treasure closely guarded by the French, Debauve & Gallais chocolates have finally made their way states French company’s new Manhattan boutique --
Richart Design et Chocolat --7 East 55th St. New York, NY 212 371-9369 -- Richart are smaller, and the flavors are more exotic. Michel Richart is fond of using exotic spices and herbs, and likes to make tiny chocolates that are just one mouthful. In the NY store the chocolates are flown in twice a week from Lyon, France 80 year old chocolate gallery -- inventive flavors -- with an accent on fruit, spice or flower-flavoured ganaches. Stores in Paris, Lyon, Barcelona, Milan, Tokyo, New York 
Pierre Marcolini -- Stores in Brussels, France, Japan, UK and New York. Pierre is one of only two Belgian chocolatiers, and one of four in all of Europe , the title of chocolatier being bestowed solely upon those who select their beans, roast them and make their own basic ingredient, couverture. He uses only the finest cocoa beans from Venezuela, Madagascar, Ecuador and Mexico. New location for the signature collection of Pierre Marcolini is at: 485 Park Avenue, New York City. Products" Coeur Framboise -- A bitter ganache with raspberry pulp coated with white chocolate, wide selection of bonbon's from different origins, herbal infusions. Try: Java Fondant and Coeur Framboise. 

Michel Cluizel -- "La Boutique Michel Cluizel" (alias "La Fontaine au Chocolat) displays Michel Cluizel's main products in the heart of Paris, 201 rue Saint Honoré. Since 1948, Michel Cluizel is one of the rare chocolate manufacturers to process cocoa beans. Assisted by his four children, he elaborates exceptional chocolates in his Chocolaterie, in the south of Normandy. Selections: Created in Michel Cluizel's chocolaterie, with a blend of cocoa beans from several origins, these fine dark and milk chocolate stand out from others by their cocoa content or specific added ingredients. Noir de Cacao 72% Grand Noir 85% Noir Infini 99% Noir au Café (coffee) Noir aux Ecorces d'Orange (orange peel) Noir au Grué de Cacao (cocoa nibs) Noir au Praliné à l'Ancienne Grand Lait 45% (milk) Grand Lait aux Noisettes (milk / haselnuts) What to try: Noir au Grué de Cacao (cocoa nibs) Dark chocolate : 60% cocoa This 'grué' is made from small fragments of cocoa beans specifically produced by the Island of Santo Domingo. After fermentation and drying, the beans are roasted, their shells removed, then ground and blended with the chocolate for a fine chocolate-cocoa harmony.