Who makes the best chocolates in the world?


In any search for the best chocolate in the world, we must start in France. What makes France so important? As in so many matters relating to gastronomy, the French government strictly legislates the production of chocolate. Regulations prohibit the use of any vegetable or animal fat in French chocolate: Only pure cocoa butter is authorized. In addition, French chocolates must contain at least 43 percent cocoa liquor, and a minimum of 26 percent pure cocoa butter. Most French chocolates now contain well above the government's minimum of cocoa liquor. The best bonbons in French chocolate boast up to 80 percent of dark rich cocoa liquor. And, since it is the cocoa liquor that gives chocolate it's rich taste, it is not surprising that French chocolates remain the best in the world. 

The flavor and nuances of chocolate will also 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. 

Editorial Note: While these great delectable taste great they are also very expensive running 2-3 dollars for each 'single bonbon' shown below. On the other hand Chocolate Bars using the same high quality cocoa liquor run a fraction of the cost. Chocolate bars from such makers as Valhrona and Michel Cluizel are ideal ways to get acquainted with some of the best tasting chocolates in the world. See also What are the Best Chocolate Bars in the World.


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. Main boutique shops are located in Paris, New York, and London. Chocolate can be purchased online. La Maison du Chocolat remains our favorite pick.

Richart Design et Chocolat --1, rue du Plat 69002 LYON --- 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

Jacques Genin from Paris. Mort Rosenblum picks Jacque Genin as his top Chocolatier see: Fast Talk with Mort Roseblum. In Travel and Leisure Magazine. TCurrent addresses: 133 rue de turenne - paris 3ème +33 (0)1 45 77 29 01 27 rue de varenne - paris 7ème +33 (0)1 53 71 72 21. There was a time their were no boutique, instead he would send his creations in chocolate off to Alain Ducasse's restaurants, hotels like the George V and Crillon, and luxury-food purveyor Hédiard.

Amedei's Chauo .The Italian chocolate maker, Alessio Tessieri, owner of Amedei, a small chocolate works in Tuscany, has secured himself the exclusive rights to the Venezuelan plantation where the legendary Chuao cocoa bean is grown. His sister Cecilia is the master chocolate maker and has formulated a chocolate so unique that it has won over even a highly discerning chef like Heinz Beck. The newly formed Academy of Chocolate in London has named Chauo the best chocolate in the world. [via Nickie Goomba.] Chauo won the Gold Medal. Chauo won "because of its fruity flavor and unique character".

Jean-Paul Hévin 23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet Paris, France 75007 France -- other botiiques. A pastry chef by the time he was 24 years old, Jean-Paul Hévin started out at the Hôtel Intercontinental and then worked at the Hôtel Nikko from 1976 until 1988, where he spent seven creative, discovery-filled years pursuing his craft alongside Joël Robuchon. Cheese-flavored chocolates (with tastes like Camembert, goat cheese, and Roquefort) are as outrageous as they are offbeat. Moreover, each variety features a flavor-enhancing dried fruit, herb, or spice: époisses cheese/ cumin, Pont l'évêque cheese/thyme, goat cheese/hazelnut, and roquefort/walnut. 

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. Several branches are now located in the US.

Christian Constant --40 rue des Écoles 75005 Paris France Sorbonne/Panthéon, 5ème-- Not to be confused with the French chef with the same name.  Mr. Constant is a master chocolatier who travels the world to garner the best ingredients for his creations. He makes the chocolates from the finest cocoa liquor and cocoa butter. The flavors are delicious and subtle. The sugar addition is just enough, so the texture is incredibly smooth. Mr. Constant offers four different hot chocolates, described with adjectives like onctueux, cremeux and parfumé. Dave Lebovitz's (author of the Great Book of Chocolate) pick is the glossy slick as ice tarte au chocolate with a rich chocolate crust. 

Patrick Roger - (108, blvd. Saint-Germain, Paris -- and many other locations in Paris)....Patrick Roger is said to be the "craziest of all the chocolatier" by many in the field. Patrick Roger is a chocolate maker in the town of Sceaux. He creates boxes of chocolates. Green boxes of chocolates. He gets his quinces from the family garden and makes sweets with them. His chocolates offer a new take on classics by using unexpected flavor combinations. He earned the distinguished title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2000.

Bernachon — 42 Cours Franklin Roosevelt, 69006 Lyon, France. Phone: (33) 78 24 37 98, (33) 78 52 67 77 (fax). daily -- The first store opened in Lyon in 1953. The roasting of cocoa beans, from Puerto Cabello, Guayaquil, Santa Fé, San Antonio, Madagascar, Jamaïca, Bahia. Chocolates arise out of the clever mixture of these cocoa beans and inimitable products such as Echire butter and Isigny cream. Best Picks: Le palet d'or (Fresh cream and dark chocolate adorned with a golden leaf). The Bernachon Kalouga bar --rich and smooth salted butter caramel in 55% dark chocolate. See Tripadvisor: "The Best Chocolate on Earth"

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. 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. 

Cacao Sampaka -- Eight collection of bombes (bonbons) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Grandes orígenes del cacao Frutos secos y crujientes Cacaos y especias de América Flores, hierbas e infusiones Vinos, licores y aguardientes Frutas y mermeladas de frutas Trufas forradas de cacao amargo Innovaciones gastronómicas --- culinary consultant Ivan Stoler says: "Cacao Sampaka is the pushing the boundaries of what chocolate can be, using ingredients such as Eucalyptus and Cardamon in his Chocolate Bars" .Stoler's personal favorites include the single bean variety bonbons and the bonbons with liquors (Collection No.5 -- Vinos, Licores y Aguardientes)

Pierre Hermes -- The Pierre Herme patisserie is located in the 6th arrondissement at 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris Phone: +33 1 43 54 47 77 Fax: +33 1 43 54 94 90. Pierre Hermé, widely considered the greatest pastry chef in the world, has some of the most interesting chocolate in town. Herme is the “Picasso of pastry”, in the words of fashion magazine Vogue. Try his version of “Death by Chocolate”, a moist chocolate biscuit base layered with smooth chocolate cream, frothy chocolate mousse and fine leaves of crunchy chocolate for an explosion of textures. 

Debauve & Gallais --30, rue des Saints-Pères Paris VIIe. 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 --20 East 69th Street off Madison)

Michel Chaudun 149 rue de l'Universite, Paris 75007 (First Sto(Stores in Paris and Tokyo) A former employee of La Maison du Chocolate, Michel Chaudun set out on his own just a few years ago, opening a little corner shop on Rue de l'Universite. According to one well-known Parisian food critic, Chaudun's product now equals that of his mentor, Robert Linxe, in both quality and creativity. His base chocolate, a blend of chocolates from nine sources, is rich and complex. Products:includes over twenty-five creations, the latest of which is a crunchy, dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa liquor) flavored with toasted, crushed cocoa beans. 
Michel Chaudun 149 rue de l'Universite, Paris 75007 (Stores in Paris and Tokyo) A former employee of La Maison du Chocolate, Michel Chaudun set out on his own just a few years ago, opening a little corner shop on Rue de l'Universite. According to one well-known Parisian food critic, Chaudun's product now equals that of his mentor, Robert Linxe, in both quality and creativity. His base chocolate, a blend of chocolates from nine sources, is rich and complex. Products:includes over twenty-five creations, the latest of which is a crunchy, dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa liquor) flavored with toasted, crushed cocoa beans. 


Enric Rovira -- Carrer Sant Geroni, 17 Carrer Sant Geroni, 17, 08296 Castellbell i el Vilar, Barcelona, Spain). Barcelona Spain -Review Ecole Chocolat -The most deluxe of Barcelona’s growing tribe of chocolate boutiques, Rovira produces velvety smooth, hazelnut-studded versions of Gaudí’s hexagonal pavement slabs, pink peppercorn truffles, Cabernet Sauvignon bonbons and twisty blocks of Christmas turrón in unusual flavours. Enric Rovira is a chocolate artist. Each of his unique creations is not only a work of art in form, but in taste as well. Having grown up surrounded by sweets in his father's pastry shop, today Enric uses chocolate as his artisic medium to portray the tradition and character of his city, Barcelona. Try: Chocolate covered corn/maize.

Valrhona Chocolate -- - Valrhona Chocolate continues to be one of our favorites and it has been accessible throughout the world. It is perhaps the best chocolate that is easily purchased that is high end. Best price for the Red Stripe 70% appears at Trader Joe's....Many restaurants will use this product in their pastries. And it is even recommended by the Great Pastry Pierre Hermes in his pastry book. Perhaps the best choice in cooking is to purchase the large blocks. Products: Chef Grand Cru and Domain Dark Chocolate - Classic Dark Chocolate - Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate - Pure cocoa -- - Ground praline - Gianduja - Almond paste/marzipan