Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and if you haven’t already ordered chocolates, you will want to do that really soon (as in right now soon) to get them by the big day. Over here at Cool Mom Eats HQ, we are big believers in supporting small, independent makers and that includes small chocolatiers who are doing some amazing things with those fermented and dried cocoa beans.
So, we are sharing seven of our very favorite chocolatiers that you may not have heard of just yet. Each of these businesses’ delicacies has actually been tested (and devoured) by our team and all received high praise. If you want to get any of these by the 14th, you will want to place your order no later than 2/5 (unless you want to pay a ton for expedited shipping).
Top Image: Bon Bon Bon, John & Kira’s and Christopher Elbow Chocolates
As a side note, there is no rule that says you can’t order yourself a box (or two or three) of these fine chocolates, and you do not have to share.
Bon Bon Bon
Bon Bon Bon makes bon bon bons in Hamtramck, the heart of Detroit, Michigan. There is a lot to love about these chocolates, but let’s start with their mission statement: “We believe that good people deserve good chocolate”. I can totally get behind this. Each bon is carefully crafted, individually packaged, and then secured in a 100% recyclable custom-folded box. You can choose a mystery box, or hand-select the flavors you want from their menu. My favorite flavors are the Bubs and Cherry Lux, but to be really honest I haven’t been sad with any flavor combination. If you are lucky enough to live close to one of their brick-and-mortar locations, you can book an in-person bon-making class, which sounds like a dream come true.
John & Kira’s
I discovered John & Kira’s several years ago when on a business trip to Cool Mom Picks headquarters in Philadelphia. They make their chocolates with the finest ingredients sourced from urban gardens and small family farms around the world. One of my favorites from John & Kira’s are the Chocolate Figs that they source from Spain, fill with whiskey-infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache and hand dip in dark chocolate. For Valentine’s Day however, you can’t go wrong with these vividly colored Sweathearts (pictured above).
I discovered Woodhouse Chocolate while visiting my sister who was attending culinary school in St. Helena, California. This quickly turned into one of our favorite reasons to visit the quaint St. Helena downtown. Luckily you can order all of their fine chocolates no matter where you live. If you want to try a sampling of their decadent truffles, the Valentine Boxes are a good way to go. My husband’s favorite is the Dark Chocolate Sea Turtles and my daughter loves the Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Cups (pictured above).
I promptly ordered these beautiful artisan chocolates from the Black-owned chocolate company Hot Chocolat last year when Christina recommended them along with a few other exceptional Black-owned chocolate companies. Spoiler alert, they are heavenly and I have ordered them several times over since then not just as gifts, but as a treat for myself. The Dark Chocolate Green Tea Matcha is my favorite flavor combination. If you live or are visiting Seattle, it’s worth checking out the chocolate-making classes or macaron-making classes.
Christopher Elbow Chocolates
Christopher Elbow is a pastry chef by trade and has been making hand-crafted chocolates, bonbons, and confections since 2003 in Kansas City. You can grab a small sampling of his amazing creations with an 8-piece Valentine’s Day Chocolate Collection (pictured above) but you will love the flavors so much you may want to grab a bit bigger box to try them all. Personally, my favorite indulgence is the Fresh Lemon Chocolate Bonbons. These are delightful and make a perfect gift for anyone, any time.
French Broad Chocolates
French Broad Chocolates is a true love story with its beginnings in an abandoned cacao farm in Costa Rica. Now located in Asheville, NC, French Broad is an internationally celebrated “bean-to-bonbon” chocolatier. If you can’t decide which flavors to select, you could always gift your love (or yourself) the BonBon of the Month Subscription which is a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription that delivers the perfect box of delicious flavors chosen by the French Broad team. February’s bonbon flavors are Passionfruit and Chocolate Cherry – yes, please.
In Seattle’s historic downtown neighborhood of Pioneer Square you can find Intrigue Chocolate. This is a small, artisan chocolate-making and confection company where owner and Chef Aaron Barthel focuses on small batches of craft chocolate from a roasted nib. To get a true sampling of all of Intrigue Chocolate Co.’s award-winning ganache truffles, you will want to order the 24-piece Truffle Collection where you will get two of each flavor like Loomi (black lime) and Pear Brandy & Honey. This is the perfect gift for the true chocolate connoisseur in your life.