Best of Artisan Chocolate

Best of Artisan Chocolate

“I always thought chocolate came from Europe,” says Maribel Lieberman, owner of New York’s MarieBelle and a native of Honduras. “When I learned that the Mayans and the Aztecs were the first to create chocolate, it connected me to my roots. I had found my destiny.” Chocolaty destiny might sound extreme (and lucky), but such passion is common among artisan chocolatiers, who can spend days crafting a single truffle.

These aren’t just candy — they’re mini works of art. Lieberman’s sweets boast hand-drawn scenes of New York women. Lillie Belle Farms uses local ingredients to create novel pieces like a smoky blue-cheese truffle. Spanish confectioner Oriol Balaguer’s mascleta truffle explodes with flavor: Inside the chocolate are carbonated candies like Pop Rocks. “What’s happening in chocolate goes hand in hand with the chef movement — better, more, trendier,” says Julian Rose of Moonstruck Chocolate, which is known for its animal-shaped truffles. (For fall, owls.) “As much as we hate the Food Network for some of the crazy stuff it does, it’s helping the industry, raising awareness about flavors and quality.”

A commitment to small-batch production helps maintain quality. Christopher Elbow, whose elaborate designs are now sold nationwide, says, “Growth is great, but we’ll stop producing before we mechanize or compromise quality.”

L.A. Burdick
Walpole, New Hampshire
White-chocolate mouse with
cinnamon center,

Bespoke Chocolates
New York
Pretzel-covered sea-salted caramel,

Knipschildt Chocolatier
Norwalk, Connecticut
Strawberry-lemon-thyme ganache,

Oriol Balaguer
Black truffles and dark-honey chocolate ganache,

Hedonist Chocolates
Rochester, New York
Bittersweet chocolate truffle,

Christopher Elbow
Kansas City, Missouri
Lemon marmalade with white chocolate ganache,

Lillie Belle Farms
Central Point, Oregon
Madagascar vanilla bean and white chocolate,

New York
Dark chocolate with peanut butter,

Bond Street
New York
Chocolate Buddha dusted with 24k gold,

Moonstruck Chocolate
Portland, Oregon
Coconut ganache in ivory chocolate,