Although many would argue there is no wrong time to indulge in chocolate, February is considered Chocolate Month because of Valentine’s Day. Here are a half dozen world-class East Coast chocolatiers you should try.
Goodnow Farms Chocolate | Sudbury, MA
Goodnow Farms Chocolate is one of the world’s few chocolate makers to press its own cocoa butter, and one of the few in the U.S. to make single-origin, non-alkalized cocoa. Each premium Goodnow bar identifies the bean’s country of origin and percentage of cacao.
All of Goodnow’s gourmet chocolate is made at Tom and Monica Rogan’s 225-year-old farm, which now offers limited tours to the public. Visiting all their growers’ farms ensures transparency in their supply chain The bean-to-bar chocolate company won more international awards in 2022 than any other producer in the country. Check them out at www.goodnowfarms.com.
Éclat Chocolate | West Chester, PA
Master Chef and Chocolatier Christopher Curtin established the internationally-recognized Éclat Chocolate in 2005. Award-winning signature chocolates, caramels and truffles, plus a line of chocolates made with ingredients produced at the nearby Longwood Gardens, are made on the premises and are available in the shop.
Curtin honed his skills at the Compagnons du Devoir, France’s premier guild for pastry chefs, and was the first American to be awarded the honor of German Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier. He travels the world to consult with chefs and artisans, and find new and special cacao varieties. Find the shop at www.eclatchocolate.com.
Perfect Truffle | Frederick, MD
Since its inception in 2005, Perfect Truffle has handmade every chocolate to the highest standard of quality. Each flavor is crafted to engage every level of taste, using only the best chocolate from around the world. It takes two to three days to create truffles that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Owner Cody Marwine uses inspiration from his culinary experiences, and travels the world to develop new flavors that make each chocolate a unique experience. For example, the lavender truffle hast the taste of a lavender petal. You can find them at www.perfectruffle.com.
Holl’s Chocolates | Parkersburg, WV
Holl’s Chocolates, a family-owned business founded in 1986, specializes in creating traditional Swiss chocolates. A commitment to authenticity grows out of the experiences of three generations of Swiss-trained chocolatiers. Founder Fritz Holl trained as a confectioner in Switzerland. By the end of his three-year apprenticeship, he could make all the sweet delights that are offered in a Swiss conditorei, which is a combination of pastry shop, chocolate shop, and café.
Fritz’s son Dominique learned the craft of chocolate making just the way his father had 50 years earlier. Under the second generation’s influence, Holl’s adapted their processes to blend the best of the old and new ways. Learn more at www.holls.com/.
Castronovo Chocolate Factory | Stuart, FL
Travelers with a sweet tooth can’t resist the tasty creations at Castronovo Chocolate Factory. Chocolate maker Denise Castronovo, who opened the shop in 2013, is the only U.S. female chocolatier to be honored at the International Chocolate Awards.
The shop uses cacao beans imported from Latin America to handcraft its chocolate bars, which are produced on-site, in small batches. Castronovo is committed to preserving heirloom varieties of cocoa that are sustainably grown under rainforest canopies.
White Chocolate infused with Lemon and Lemon Salt, a World Gold 2020 winner, is among the unique flavors available. In-person visitors also will find truffles, hot chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies. Check them out at www.castronovochocolate.com.
Norman Love Confections | Fort Myers, FL
Chocolate lovers can experience sweet treats and jewel-like chocolates at Norman Love Fort Myers Chocolate & Dessert Salon. Upon entry into the Willy Wonka-esque salon, guests are sure to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of chocolate — in the best way possible.
An expansive glass case offers an overview of Love’s gorgeous gourmet creations, made of the highest-quality ingredients, including signature flavors like gourmet dark chocolate, and more unusual ones like Hot Dark Chocolate, infused with jalapeno pepper, and Key Lime Shell, shaped white chocolate.
The Black Collection features chocolates with ingredients from top cocoa regions around the world. There’s Andoa, an organic dark chocolate derived from Peru with a 70-percent cocoa mass, yielding a burst of freshness and bitterness to savor, and Jiquilisco Bay, with ingredients descended from some of the first cacao planted in Hacienda La Carrera more than 100 years ago. With a cocoa mass of 97 percent, the chocolate produces a slight spice and hints of berry. More information is available at www.nomanloveconfections.com.
By Shuan Butcher