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Best Chocolate

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What are excellent L.A. area retail chocolates (truffels, etc.) I'm familiar with Teauscher (spelling undoubtedly wrong) and would like other suggestions. Thanks.

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  1. forget teuscher and neuhaus. and godiva is crap.

    the best chocolate in L.A. is available in Larchmont Village:

    201 N. Larchmont Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA
    (323) 860-7966

    they get their goods weekly from Belgium. i used to visit their NYC and Paris stores often, and it is definitely the best bang for the buck!

    p.s. if you're a dark chocolate freak, like myself, i've found that the Lindt Excellence %70 Cocoa Bar is the best-best bang for the buck! usually runs 2 bucks for a 3.5 ounce bar.

    Link: http://www.leonidas-chocolate.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joe Blowe

      Kron's in Beverly Hill's is great.

      1. re: zeichner

        K Chocolatier is absolutely the best. The truffles are absolutely amazing!!!

        K Chocolatier
        9606 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        1. re: jsmillie

          A few weeks ago while driving in Malibu I made a stop to get a sandwich at John’s Garden and while walking around that nice little village of shops and playground I noticed a K CHOCOLATIER location. They were closed when I was there so I will have to return.for another sandwich at John's and look into this location of K.


          John's Garden Fresh Health STR (Sandwiches, soups and salads
          )3835 Cross Creek Rd Ste 1
          Malibu, CA 90265-6400
          (310) 456-8377

    2. Try to find a brand called Sharffen-Bergen (sp.?) from Northern California,can only vouch for their dark bittersweet, out of this world.

      12 Replies
      1. re: hana

        Scharffen-Berger is the best for baking. Find it at Bristol Farms; in candy bar sizes at Peet's coffee. Do they make truffles?

        1. re: hana

          Scharffen Berger is great stuff! I like the 70% bittersweet variety... the 9.7 oz. bar goes a long way. Very rich complex flavor. I used to keep it in my desk at work and people would come from other floors in the building when I put a plate of pieces out for sampling. Makes an awesome flourless chocolate cake!

          It's available locally a number of places -- I buy it at Surfas Restaurant Supply in Culver City, on National Bl. east of Venice 310-559-4770. Surfas carries all kinds of great provisions -- well worth a trip.

          A little company info... one of the reasons I first bought it was the story [after I tasted, I was sold] Surfas carried their line when it was first available around 5 years ago.

          Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker was founded in 1996 by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg with one simple goal: to make the richest, most flavorful chocolate from the purest and best cacao that can be found.

          The only American chocolate company founded in the last fifty years, Scharffen Berger has returned to the basics of chocolate making, using restored vintage machinery imported from Europe. The beans we use are carefully selected from small plantations found near the equator. They include the rare Venezuelan Criollos as well as varieties from Madagascar, Trinidad, Ghana, and Papua New Guinea. After each variety is roasted to taste in small batches, the cocoa beans are ground with large-crystal cane sugar and whole bean Tahitian and Bourbon vanillas before being conched into lush liquid chocolate. By carefully blending beans from many origins, we produce a chocolate with a dense concentration of flavors that are naturally present in cacao. A complex fruitiness and long rich finish bring the best of the world of chocolate into every bite.

          Link: http://siliconvalley.about.com/gi/dyn...

          1. re: Patti B

            Have you seen the clip that one of the Food Network shows did on them? I think it was "The Best Of", but am not positive. I have wonderful dreams of "accidently" getting locked inside their factory for the weekend. I would end up looking like that German kid in Willy Wonka.

            1. re: Mike Kilgore

              Martha Stewart also did a 15 min. feature on them and their factory. They're so dedicated in their pursuit of the best cacao beans, the process, quality control. I'm starving for a bar right now.

              1. re: sunnyla

                Sounds great and I'll definitely give it a try, but I'm looking more for your confection style chocolate candies rather than the raw chocolate. Any ideas on that?

                1. re: SKU

                  Moonstruck Chocolatier, based in Portland, creates some of the most decadent chocolate piece candy I've ever tried. They use 60-70% cocoa solid chocolate and, like Scharffenberger, only use the finest cru cacao beans. I've included a link below, and from the site you can order samplers of various sizes.

                  Has anyone seen Pierre Koenig chocolates retailed anywhere in So Cal? This is a French chocolatier of the highest order, and theirs surpassed anything I've tried (with the exception of the aforementioned Moonstruck; they're on par with each other. I bought a box years ago in SF, but haven't seen any there in trips back. I found an e-tailer online, but their selection is a bit slim and I have the seasonal worry about shipping such a delicate perishable.

                  Any hints would be appreciated.


                  Link: http://www.moonstruckchocolatier.com

                  1. re: Kriss Reed

                    When I lived in Portland and had to go see my parole officier, I would treat myself to a chocolat eclair from Moonstruck after the meeting. The pastry was not as light as Parisian eclairs but what they lacked in subtlty they made up for in the instantly happy-making filling. These eclairs are not as good as they once were, when the company first started. They mass market them at the Whole Foods in Portland where they sit in a display case becoming stale.

                    But if the Moonstruck store still exists on NW 21st, go and get a chocolate egg cream before you die. They tailor make it with your specifications such as just a little cream and lots of chocolat syrup and soda. It's a great way to ingest high quality chocolate.

                  2. re: SKU

                    For a fast truffle fix, Trader Joe's sells Joseph Schmidt's truffles - it's a boutique chocolatier out of San Francisco. I don't know what variety Trader sells, but JS makes a wide variety. If you go to their website, you'll also see the other amazing confections they create. Truly visually stunning.

                    1. re: critical

                      Around last Christmas I bought some truffles at Trader Joe's (no, they weren't Jos. Schmidt). They were awful, I could taste the vegetable shortening in them. Blech!

                      The thing is if you're looking for enrobed centers that's one thing. But if you want a great truffle nothing's easier than *making* them. Three simple ingredients that are about as tough to deal with as cream and sugar in your coffee plus the liqueur of your choice. Even enrobing them is as simple as playing in chocolate if you follow Alice Medrich's non-tempered formula. But you can skip it and roll them in cocoa powder or ground sweet chocolate.

                      Go buy yourself some artisan chocolates by all means, but stir together some great chocolate (Sharrfenberger works jess fine!), some hot cream and a little bit of butter and you're home free. You can even keep it in the freezer and make just a few at a time.

                      Really, *much* better than Jos. Schmidt.

                      1. re: critical

                        Trader Joe's is a good call. They carry some Sharfenberger and they also carry a line of single origin chocolate that is excelent (I buy the yellow label). They also carry Droste, which I always fond satisying. Better yet, the prices are very reasonable.

                  3. re: Mike Kilgore

                    Dear Mr. Kilgore-
                    I fell off my chair at your post! The kid's name from Willy Wonka's was:

                    Augustus Gloop!

                    You are correct-the "Best Of" series on food network did a piece on Scharfenberger (sp)
                    chocolates, and I've found them at Gelson's, in large blocks, to my great delight!!

                    Thanks for providing a smile for my day!

                  4. re: Patti B

                    of course, HERSHEY'S owns scharffen berger now.
                    don't know if john or robert have any power whatsoever at this point. . . .

                2. the best retailer for chocolate in Los Angeles is the department store Neiman Marcus, in Beverly Hills. As well as selling Godiva, Josef Schmidt, and Rich Art, the best recommendations are Laderach, Neuhaus, and for the turtles, Neiman Marcus' own namebrand. Everything is sold per piece/pound so you can pick out a great personalized selection.Oh,and by the way, if it is for a gift, make sure and tell them to put it in a box and wrap it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: andrea

                    Neiman's chocolate counter is great.

                  2. Where they have Fran's from Seattle. Gelson's is one example.

                    1. Belgian chocolate after 4 tasting trips to there is overrated and the top ones are overpriced.

                      1. None of the shops mentioned are L.a. based chocolatiers except Kron's shop. K Chocolatier (that's the name of the shop) does some of the best truffles around. You will pay thru the nose for them tho.

                        And if you're going to go to the trouble of making truffles don't use that sharfenberger junk, use valhrona and use robert linxe's recipe.

                        1. for confection, Neuhaus rocks, it's a classic. But the sexiest is Boule, the choc shop run by one of the finest resaurants in the city, Sona. Avoid the freaky wasabi etc. fillings, but if you stick to what sounds like it might actually go with chocolate, like the fleur de sel caramel or the passionfruit, or even the cinnamon piece, you'll be in heaven. Expensive, so buy less if you have to...

                          1. Here are some LA area chocolatiers that sell truffles:

                            * L'Artisan du Chocolat - 3364 W. 1st St., Los Angeles http://www.lartisanduchocolat.com
                            * Chocolatt...from Belgium - 12008 Wilshire Bl., West LA
                            * Chocolate Box Cafe - 714 Foothill Bl., La Canada
                            * Compartes - 912 S. Barrington, Brentwood

                            You can also get gourmet chocolate bars at:
                            * Mel & Rose Wine and Spirits - 8344 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood http://www.melandrose.com
                            * Wally's Wines - 2107 Westwood Bl., Los Angeles

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: socalqtpi

                              Thanks for the tip about Mel & Rose, ever since Trader Joe's stopped selling the Chocovic varietal chocolate bars in Jan 08 I've been needing a place that sold couverture chocolate bars. I made a run tonight and picked up a Bonnat Chuao (damned good, up there with the chocovic ocumare bar) bar and an amano ocumare bar (a bit of a grainy texture, but it has that awesome fruitiness that the best ocumare bars have. I even saw an amedei procelana, and while I'm not quite up to spending $18 for a 50 gram bar of chocolate, it's nice to know the option is there, without having to order it from chocosphere.

                              It's too bad that Mel & Rose didn't carry Askinosie or Chocovic, but just having a store that retails Bonnat, Amadei, Amano, & Michel Cluziel bars is exciting. :)

                            2. Here are some excellent chocolate shops:

                              In LA

                              On the East Coast:
                              These chocolate makers are in New Hampshire and I first found their bars at Dean and Deluca in New York. Beautiful and delicious though expensive.

                              Among the best chocolates I've ever had!

                              This little shop makes the most extraordinary old fashioned American chocolates. Raspberry creams...molasses sponge...chocolate covered cherries.

                              1. Recently had super dark chocolate with almonds from Fran's in Seattle. Available at some Gelson's including Century City.

                                1. I'll second the post about making your own truffles. My wife and I make them once and a while. They are easy and fun to make.

                                  Here's my Westside advice:

                                  In addition to the already mentioned Larchmont location, there is also a Leonida's in Santa Monica right at 4th and Santa Monica (by the Promenade).

                                  I will second the vote for Chocolatt on Wilshire (http://www.chocolatt.com/). The proprietor prides himself on his "artisan" chocolates from small makers in Belgium. He can be a bit snooty (thinks Leonida's is the "Sees Candy" of Belgium) but is generally eager to share his knowledge even with people (like me) who don't know much.

                                  I have always wanted to try the interesting flavored chocolates at Jin Patisserie, but haven't yet found the opportunity. Right on Abbot Kinney in Venice.


                                  For mail order (or a visit to Kona), I can't think of a chocolate I like better than the DARK chocolate macadamia nut Honus (turtles) from Kailua Candy Company in Kona. These are really REALLY good!!!!


                                  1. Maybe I'm being overly critical, but I think most of the places mentioned don't really deserve such effusive praise.

                                    the Europeans
                                    Leonidas: overpriced, sometimes a bit too...ummm...emulsifier-y, and way too sweet, definitely my least favorite of the Europeans. I wouldn't buy it even if it happened to be in my area.
                                    Neuhaus: overpriced, only good for "classics," not worth driving across town for
                                    Teuscher: overpriced, also only good for "classics," but they're known for their champagne truffles, also not worth driving across for

                                    ** In general, I think Belgian chocolates tend to be much, much too sweet and not as pronounced in their flavors as their French, S. American, or sometimes even American counterparts. I do, however, have a soft-spot for Caffe Tasse, if perhaps only because the store is such a great space and was one of my favorite places to hang out (when I had money) in Brussels.

                                    Scharffen-Berger: I think it's really quite good for everyday consumption, but it isn't particularly special. Luckily, it also usually isn't too expensive. For a bit more, I'd buy Valrhona, Dolfin, Michel Cluizel, or El Rey.
                                    Joseph Schmidt: the flavors weren't very differentiated, and it's hard to justify spending that much for "artisanal" truffles with such shelf-life. You're better off buying something more local.

                                    I haven't tried Compartes, L'Artisan du Chocolat, K Chocolatier, or a few other places, and I suppose I ought to remedy that, but I've heard a few things that make me not want to rush.
                                    Boule: don't bother. It's so overpriced it makes me want to CRY. The truffle fillings don't even taste much like what they're supposed to, and the flavors have NO intensity whatsoever. Who wants to pay $2 for a pretty piece for bland sweetness? The shop, however, is a good space, and I've heard that the ice creams (or gelati and sorbetti) are pretty good. The viennoisserie no longer exists, I believe.
                                    Jin Patisserie: it used to be my favorite and I used to consider it to be on par with Jean-Paul Hevin in Paris, but a recent visit left me feeling as if the truffles were lacking something. The flavors don't seem to be as outstanding as they were just a few months ago...It warrants another visit, I suppose. Another thing: the prices seem to reflect the costs of the boxes and not of the chocolates themselves. The tiny individual baggies and clear boxes might be cheaper than their old standard heavy-duty cardboard ones. They need to fix that.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: PseudoNerd

                                      Pseudo Nerd, thanks for the observation about Belgian chocolates being on the sweet side...I felt a little over-critical commenting that a sweet was too sweet! But now I feel better since I agree on Leonida's. (I prefer the slightly rougher tastes of Scharffen Berger and Michel Cluizel's Madagascar, and like the higher percent Valhrona and Callebaut. El Rey is pretty flat.)

                                      I just got about 10 samples from Compartes yesterday, all dark chocolate, and while they were beautiful and tasty, the overwhelming impression I had was "man, these are super sweet!" I tasted them with water in between, but that was still my overall impression. Beautiful design and lovely store, but a little too much sugar for my taste buds. And this from someone who thinks chocolate is a food group.

                                      Jonathan, the chocolatier at Compartes and I discussed the chocolate at Jacques Torres in NY since I had just been there, and I'm sorry to report that I prefer Jacques'. The flavorings in Jacques' truffles were more intense and each flavor seemed more uniquely balanced with the chocolate in my opinion.

                                      I need to try L'Artisan next. I've had K Chocolatier which is great, but it's been so long since I've had it that I need a refresher of why I liked it. Unimpressed with Boule and Jin...pretty, but not much else. I'd rather have flavor than packaging. I'd like to have a home-town fave so I'll keep going.


                                    2. ive said it once and i will keep saying it again...compartes chocolatier is the BEST CHOCOLATE in Los Angeles!! i use them for all the parties i have and catering, really amazing INTENSE flavors, high quality chocolate and great service!! can't recommend this young artistic bunch of chocolate people enough, i just came from san fran and had scharfenberger and rechutti and was completely unimpressed as i am also not impressed by boule which is completely overrated, compartes blows them all out of the water

                                      912 s barrington avenue
                                      los angeles ca 90049


                                      1. Compartes is pretty great. The dark chocolate, sea salt peanut butter one is AMAZING! If you are in the area and wanting to get 2 chocolates, head west on wilshire to Chocolates of Belgium (west of barrington) across from the savon. Small little shop run by a man from Belgium. He takes chocolates very seriously and it shows. I love the lili (dark chocolate with a think layer of marzipan and chocolate ganache.

                                        1. Chocolate tasting is one of my hobbies. I recently moved to the L.A. area and was looking for the best high end chocolate shops. I found this thread to be helpful and since others may still look at this thread too (as it's a top ranking on Google) I wanted to add some comments. I won't comment on chain store chocolate because it is a world apart from artisan chocolate. All I will say is, of the chains, Leonidas is the best for every-day chocolate. Scharffen Berger is...I can't put it any other way...gross. I agree with the below comment on Lindt. That's the best brand for grocery store dark chocolate.

                                          After reading this chain, I bought some items from K-Chocolatier in Beverly Hills and from Chocolatt in West L.A. I was disappointed to find out that K does not assemble assortments. I was expecting to find a variety of truffles. Their dark chocolate truffle I do recommend ($35 per bag and they only sell their chocolates by the bag). However I was shocked by the quality of the rest of their chocolates. The other chocolates were hard, dry, were more like sugar candy than chocolate and nearly flavorless. The pomegranate was the only other type worth considering, at it was not even compelling. So unless you're going specifically for the chocolate truffle (and there is only one kind) don't bother.

                                          I was pleased with Chocolatt. He does a good job of presenting a wide array of classic flavors, worthy of the Belgian tradition. He makes small batches and rotates flavors in and out of stock so that what's for sale is always super fresh. I was lucky enough to catch a freshly made batch of feuilletine praline, which is my favorite. Not quite as microscopically flaky as say Jean-Paul Hevin in Paris but very tasty nonetheless.

                                          Compartes is next on my list to try....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: andern30

                                            Try the mexican hot chocolate at compartes!

                                          2. Many of the chocolates recommended here are fine, but here are the absolute best:

                                            For Baking and for Drinking: Callebault Bittersweet (avail @ Surfas)
                                            For Truffles, candies, etc.: Jin Patisserie in Venice

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Lambster

                                              ot, but surfas carries a lot of good chocolaty stuff.
                                              the one chocolate thing that they carry that i recommend AVOIDING is the black onyx cocoa powder.

                                            2. Easy to spell, easy to find.... See's. As a lifelong Angeleno, See's chocolates were always a treat for holidays and special occasions. Still are.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Bogey153

                                                Here in Southern California, if you insist on going the easy-to-spell, easy-to-find chain route, instead of See's Candies I recommend the R-o-c-k-y M-o-u-n-t-a-i-n Chocolate Factory, especially their dark chocolate. They have good cherry cordials and quite-creamy creams and also offer chocolate-covered versions of the delicious soft jellies frequently included with the mignardises served after a meal at Michelin-starred French restaurants -- and at Rosemary's in Vegas, by the way. Hint: I once discovered by accident that Rocky Mountain Chocolate's fudge left to "ripen" for a week in the kitchen (e.g., hidden behind a countertop radio) acquires a better taste and texture.

                                                Otherwise, try some of the intense and focused but still-accessible flavors at Mignon Chocolate ( www.mignonchocolate.com ), located in Glendale, Pasadena, Van Nuys, and Tehran. I like the little Glendale store and usually stop there after lunch or dinner at La Cabanita, much further up Verdugo in Montrose, and always during the holidays.

                                                Mignon Chocolate
                                                315 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA

                                                1. re: Bogey153

                                                  Bogey for President 2012!!!! I have to agree whole heartedly. Notice how the snobs automatically side with the French or Belgians. Good ole Mary See's is still the best chocalate by far. 1lb box of soft centers brings a smile to most any face. Also a childhood memory for me. I remember when my now brother-in-law first met my family, he brought my mother a box of Godiva's. Beautiful box from a very stylish man. When I asked if I could have a piece, she told me I could have the whole box if I would get her a box of See's. Whenever any family member or friends of parent's came to visit, one of the stops would be to the See's store either on La Cienega (Still there) or Overland ave. My parent's, Grandparents,uncle's and aunts are all long gone now and whenever I need a pick me up, I'm off to the See's store. Even when my older sister comes to visit we still stop by that store on La Cienega for a box on the way to the Airport even though she can order it on line.. Thank you Bogey for that memory. I have tears in my eyes.

                                                2. There is a new Company called Xan Confections and they have amazing Truffles and Vegan Caramels. They are in most Whole Foods I believe and their site is Xanconfections.com. They have vegan, glutten free and the joseph Schmidt style truffles (they got bought by Hershey I think and are discontinued)

                                                  Hope that helps!

                                                  Anyway they are being reviewed by all the bloggers and everyone loves them so far.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kerrysqueaky

                                                    I've tried the vegan flavors. I want to support my vegan peeps but from what I've had of the vegan flavors, I am not very happy at all. These things are $2 a pop and they're relatively poor quality chocolate, poorly executed, and the fillings are almost sickly sweet.

                                                  2. If you love fresh, hand made, belgium chocolates, check out Madame Chocolat. The chocolate factory is inside the shop so you can watch the chef Hasty Torres making all her creations fresh daily. Hasty is the owner and an amazingly vibrant person. My favorite bon bon is her Ohh la la made with real passion fruit. mmmmm so good.

                                                    Madame Chocolat
                                                    212 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                    1. If you're at Intelligentsia in Silver Lake or Andrew's Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, try an Askinosie bar. I'd say Askinosie is among the very top producers of chocolate bars. Askinosie's white chocolate bars are particularly profound because they are made from non-deodorized cocoa butter. Think of it like cheese made from unpasteurized milk--much more complex.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                                        What's great about Askinosie is that they actually make their own cocoa butter from the same varietal beans they make the rest of their chocolate from. He's one of the only chocolate makers to do that, iirc, and I think it's what makes the white chocolate so profoundly special.

                                                      2. I love the chocolates at Chocolate Opulance in The Market on the top floor of the new Santa Monica Place! While they're a bit out of my price range, I periodically indulge in a chili truffle, or one of the whiskey ones. They are the kind of thing that you stick in your mouth and all the world melts away because the quality is so good!!

                                                        BTW, has anyone tried Essential Chocolate shop in Culver City? (I think it's on Washington; I know it's on the south side of the street). I saw it while driving by, but was unfortunately unable to stop and check it out.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Michelly

                                                          IMHO, Essential Chocolate on Washington in CC is middle-of-the-road. The signage is nice, but what's inside just doesn't measure up. A lot of the stuff looks kinda homey which is fine, but I just don't taste any quality or effort to make something truly special.

                                                        2. For over 80 years the Best English Toffee anywhere is at LittleJohn's Candies in The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax. The LA gift I always give to out of towers. It's that good.

                                                          Farmers Market
                                                          6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036