When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile
By Stacey Leasca
Chocolatiers around the world continue to get more and more creative with their chocolate innovations. And while there are countless chocolate shops worth recognition, we’ve narrowed this list down to a few of our favorite chocolate purveyors to visit in person while traveling.
Whether you’re after buttery, melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate, or nougat-filled dark chocolate delights, read on to discover seven luxury chocolate shops in Europe and the U.S. that serve up divine treats.
Melt Chocolates, UK
Founded in 2005 by Louise Nason, Melt Chocolates, in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood is on a mission to bring everyone a sweet treat in its purest form. That means chocolates without artificial chemicals or useless added sugar. The family-owned company makes its chocolates daily, so you know what you’re getting is exquisitely fresh and boxed up in plastic-free packaging. The shop offers both virtual and on-site chocolate classes to teach you how to make the best brownies, bonbons, pralines, and more.
Soma Chocolate, Canada
In 2003, David Castellan and Cynthia Leung started to get inventive with their sweets and opened their first shop, Soma Chocolate, in Toronto. In the original shop, which happens to be a former whisky distillery, the team roasted cacao beans and produced chocolate to put into everything from cookies to truffles. Their products were a hit, which led the company to open a second Toronto location and a small chocolate factory that people seek out from all over the world. Visit the shops in person to try Soma’s one-of-a-kind, small-batch chocolates.
Patrick Roger, France
Patrick Roger’s chocolates are the perfect amalgamation of chocolate and art. Roger started his chocolate journey as a teenager, learning from chefs in Switzerland, Monaco, and Spain beginning at the age of 16, before debuting his own brand in 1997. “I travel a lot around the world: Ecuador, Brazil, Japan,” he said. “All these countries help me to find the best products. I found all my creativity and inspiration in my travels and in my countryside, situated in a little village called Poislay. This village is my origin, my roots, and my work. A never-ending voyage to the sources of nature.”
At his store, you’ll now find everything from cooking chocolate to bars, and Rodger’s favorite, the pralines, all surrounded by gorgeous works of art that will make you feel like you’re in a museum – a very, very tasty museum.
Oriol Balaguer, Spain
Oriol Balaguer is another chocolate master mixing art and sugar to create a whole new dessert reality. Guests can find decadent goodies at his multiple shops in Barcelona, including some of Oriol’s more surprising flavors like wasabi, olive oil, and truffle. For the ultimate bite, grab one of the collection boxes, preferably its Collection 36, which comes with 36 units of 12 different flavors for you to savor.
Maison Cailler, Switzerland
For more than 200 years, Maison Cailler has been baking up tasty treats for the masses. At its factory in Broc, Switzerland, the team continues to make chocolates from cocoa beans straight to the finished product, exclusively using Swiss sugar and alpine milk from the region.
According to the company’s website, it’s also one of the few chocolate makers that use lightly condensed milk instead of milk powder, which gives the chocolate a distinct taste and texture. To honor all this chocolate history and innovation, guests can visit its museum to see the chocolate makers at work and learn more about the production of chocolates at the Suisse shop.
Mary Delluc’s passion for chocolate turned into her first shop on Rue Royale in Brussels in 1919. Mary Chocolatier is not just any shop, it’s an art deco salon that quickly became popular with the chocolate-loving elite.
The chocolate brand, which remains a Belgian Royal Warrant Holder, is just as iconic as always and now has shops across Brussels and around the world, with outposts in Saudi Arabia and Japan. Don’t leave the shop without picking up one of the assortment packages, which come in floral boxes that are just begging to be displayed in your home. Go for the Rosin Rose, which comes with an assortment of 18 pralines. Be sure to ration them out to make the delight last as long as possible.
Bridgewater Chocolate, U.S.
Established in 1995 by Erik Landegren, the shop began as a small outpost at the Bridgewater Village Store in Connecticut. As a native of Sweden, Landegren brought with him a taste for creamy and rich chocolates that soon satisfied his American customer base, too. In 1999, Landegren partnered with Andrew Blauner to grow the business, but that didn’t change the meticulous chocolate-making process or the European-sourced ingredients.
At the three retail shops, which all come decked out in elegant décor to match the desserts, guests will find turtles, toffees, caramels, truffles, peanut butter patties, hazelnut pralines, and much more. Just make sure to order enough to share, because you’ll want to offer these treats to everyone you love.
(Text Courtesy: Travel + Leisure)