Especially if you’re spending the holiday solo, Valentine’s Day is the ideal excuse for treating yourself to some delectable chocolate. Good truffles and bonbons sweeten any sense of bitterness. Here are the best local, artisanal places to splurge on some chocolate delights.
Boston: L.A. Burdick
As legend has it, the company’s founder, Larry Burdick, visited Switzerland in the mid-‘80s, fell in love with the Swiss tradition of chocolate-making, and embarked upon learning it himself. He returned to the States in ’87 with a chocolate pot and a dream. We’re huge fans of the adorable signature chocolate mice.
L.A. Burdick, 220 Clarendon St., Boston, 617.303.0113
At this new spot, the chocolates are created by the pastry chef of Gabriel Kreuther, the Michelin-starred restaurant next door. The Valentine’s Day creations include the chocolate fish shown below. Giving this as a gift might land you in hot water, but as a gift-to-self, it just might express your feelings about the holiday perfectly.
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate, 43 W. 42nd St., NYC, 212.201.1985
Chicago: Katherine Anne Confections
This chocolatier works with local farmers to source cream, honey, fruits, and seasonal ingredients. Her inventive flavors include pomegranate, goat cheese-walnut, and manhattan cocktail—made with locally distilled bourbon.
Katherine Anne Confections, 2745 W. Armitage, Chicago, 773.245.1630
“Fran” is Fran Bigelow, one of the nation’s early artisanal-chocolate pioneers. Her elegant shops are renowned for their salted caramels and their “Gold Bars.” The bars are available in coconut, almond, and macadamia varieties; we’re partial to the coconut: white chocolate and coconut mixed with a bit of rum, topped with roasted almonds and dipped in dark chocolate.
Fran’s, 1325 1st Ave., Seattle, 206.682.0168
Portland, OR: Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
We love their cute and witty “black cat” (dark chocolate) and “chocolate lab” (milk chocolate) truffles, but we’ll direct you to their boozy bites for Valentine’s day. Local collaborations have produced the Oregon Distillers Collection, which includes bonbons laced with local bourbon and pear brandy, and the Oregon Craft Brewers Collection, flavored with beers from local producers like Rogue and Full Sail.
Moonstruck Chocolate Co., 608 SW Alder St., Portland, 503.241.0955
San Francisco: Recchiuti
Local farmers’ markets are the source of the flavorings (lavender, lemon verbena) of some of these sophisticated chocolates. You really can’t go wrong with any of their classic gift boxes of assorted flavors—we’re always excited to receive a Burgundy Box, ourselves. But we’ll assume you’ll be drinking this evening, so we’ll suggest the Whiskey Pairing or Red Wine Pairing assortments, with truffles selected specifically to go with your favorite sips.
Recchiuti, One Ferry Building, Shop #30, San Francisco, 415.834.9494
Los Angeles: Compartes
Known as much for their chocolate bars as their truffles, Compartes has something for the purist as well as the hedonist. Try the roses-and-rosé chocolate bar, or perhaps the heart-topped, chocolate-covered oreos.
Compartes, 912 S. Barrington Ave., Los Angeles, 310.826.3380