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Looking for some awesome chocolates

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So, the gf likes chocolate (duh), and I'd like to go a step or two above the cellophane-wrapped heart-shaped box of chocolate roulette route. Problem is, I don't know where to go. Any recs for local places making delicious chocolates? Also, how early would be too early to pick some up for Valentines day? Only place I can come up with was Abdallah, which is decent, but I'd prefer something a little more special.

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  1. get the gf some chocolates from b.t. mcelrath. he is one of the best chocolatiers in the country, and he's local! you can get 5 packs of his artisan truffles at lunds/byerly's, surdyk's, bibelot, all kinds of places around town. you can get his high end chocolate bars at any of the co-ops. he puts out special edition truffle boxes for v-day. with a 5 pack of b.t. mcelrath passionfruit truffles, you can't possibly go wrong. until they are gone. better get 2 packs! :)

    http://www.btmcelrath.com/index.asp

    2 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      I second this. Good schnitt.

      Just Truffles is good, but expensive and the owner has a very bad rep. I refuse to go there any longer :(
      Someone once mentioned this place on lake minnetonka near excelsior. They have a giant lit chocolate' sign. It is on a hill in a little house. I have never had them, but i hear it is good.

      1. re: ashii

        This is the first I've heard of the "owner having a very bad rep." Could you please explain this?

    2. BT is quality stuff.

      also, head over to Surdyks, they have a good selection, and carry Rogue which you definitely want. another would be Chocolat Celeste, pretty high end stuff.

      http://www.roguechocolatier.com/
      http://store.chocolatceleste.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: getgot211

        I like Rogue as well and they are offering free shipping in January.

        http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2011/...

      2. Sugar Sugar at 38th & Grand Av S has special chocolates as well as other candies.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josie

          Just Truffles on Grand Avenue in St. Paul is my favorite.

          http://justtruffles.com/

        2. Try Truffles and Tortes. They have some amazing stuff. they have locations in Plymouth and Anoka

          http://trufflesandtortes.com/

          1. I'll echo the Chocolat Celeste recommendation. Open Wed-Sat only, though, so it will take some planning. But Mary's chocolates are the best IMO. They also come with a high price tag.

            1. If you want a huge leap up, go for B.T. McElrath, my favorite specialty chocolatier in the area. I love all his truffles, but the passion fruit truffles are especially awesome. Note that these and others mentioned (e.g., Chocolate Celeste; not my personal fave) are upscale European-style chocolates that are priced accordingly.

              But if you just want a nice step up from drugstore chocolates like Abdallah, check out Regina's Candies in St. Paul and South St. Paul. They use quality ingredients and hand-dip their chocolates. They always blow away Abdallah in my side-by-side taste tests.

              http://reginascandies.com/

              Me, I usually go for BOTH Regina and B.T. McElrath on Valentine's Day.

              Anne

              8 Replies
              1. re: AnneInMpls

                I concur with the BT McElrath idea. And with the passionfruit truffles. To die for!

                If you want to splurge, get a little basket and put in a sampling of the bars and small assorted packs. Mississippi Market coop has BT McElrath and probably some of the other coops too. He also has great toffee.

                I like the fact that Chocolate Celeste is local but those chocolates are too sweet for me. I like to taste the chocolate not just sugar. So what she likes best may depend on her tastes.

                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  Is the BT McElrath passion fruit truffles better than the passion fruit & Tangerine chocolate bar? I don't think his truffles are sold here locally (SE MN), but I found the bar. It was good but didn't really wow me, didn't quite taste the passionfruit... so made me wonder if truffles are better.

                  1. re: Ummm

                    Yup, the truffles are definitely better. The passion fruit bar is my least favorite of the B.T. McElrath bars - I still like it, but the other bars are better. (My top fave is the salted dark chocolate one.)

                    There are other B.T. McElrath truffles that I like more than the passion fruit (like the lemon, the salted caramel butterflies, and his amazing December-only peppermint buttercreams, oh swoon), but those passion fruit truffles always go over well with a crowd. The flavor works better as a truffle filling than in a hard chocolate bar. And they're heart-shaped, with a white chocolate shell and a dark chocolate base - nice combo.

                    Me, I'd go for a box of assorted truffles so your valentine can decide which she (or he) likes best.

                    Anne

                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      Ah. Guess when we're in the TC next I'd have to give his truffles a try. I typically prefer milk chocolate, but the white/dark chocolate combo is interesting.

                      1. re: Ummm

                        B.T.'s salted caramel butterflies are in milk chocolate. Me, I'm a dark chocolate gal, but I LOVE these butterflies. And the bar with milk chocolate and salty toffee is very, very good. It's my 2nd favorite after the salty dark chocolate bar.

                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          oh salted caramel sounds good!! have to remember that, and the salty toffee bar!

                          1. re: Ummm

                            the "salty dog" is the dark choc bar w sea salt bar, my fave as well.
                            the "prairie dog" is the milk choc w toffee, very good. the (2?) other flavors are good but not as awesome as the truffles they borrow their flavors from, imo. the bars come in wee little cardboard boxes, and are a very sweet small gift by themselves or in a little stack.

                        2. re: Ummm

                          It looks like you can buy them on-line from his web-site, if you don't want to wait. I haven't put as much thought into this as some of the others here, developing their taxonomies of local chocolate competence, but I think BT McElrath's chocolates are both very very tasty and unique.

                  2. Abdallah is not the best quality. Why don't you make some chocolate truffles yourself? Some great-quality bittersweet chocolate, some cream, some cocoa....find a pretty box...

                    1. Thanks to all who suggested the BT McElrath passionfruit truffles. Went over big time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mech_e

                        So pleased to hear it. I got some too - such bliss!!!!!