20 Chocolate Bars Perfect for Gifting
If you think chocolate is the perfect gift, know that we wholeheartedly agree. In fact, we really think the artisanal chocolate bars in this guide make lovely stocking stuffers or hostess gifts—and all are well suited for self-gifting. The bars in our guide all have exquisite packing, and some so lovely that you don't need to wrap them at all.
Of course, it's more about the chocolate than the packaging. The bars here are an introduction to a number of our favorite small (some very small) chocolate makers. We focused on chocolatiers who make chocolate bars rather than truffles or other chocolate candies. Their bars are a way to explore the flavor of chocolate, to compare chocolate with different percentage of cacao, and also to compare chocolate made from cacao grown in different countries.
Cacao only grows close to the equator and in this collection are bars made with beans from Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru. Beyond South America, here you'll also find bars made with cacao from Madagascar and Tanzania. Several of the chocolate companies featured work with directly with cacao growers, some, like Askinosie, seek out women farmers.
As well as the variety of origin countries for the cacao, the bars here range from intensely dark (like the Madecasse 92 Percent Pure Dark Chocolate); there are a number of dark chocolate bars around 70-72 percent. Dark milk chocolate is a relatively new category and the bars have percentage of cacao around 60 percent. We're not ignoring milk chocolate lovers, though. You'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of bars for you here, too! And we have included a white chocolate bar so delicious it just might tempt haters. Some of the bars are vegan, some made with raw chocolate, and some have no refined sugars. Truly something for everyone!
And these bars come from makers all around the country, from Arizona to North Carolina to Oregon to Maine, so check out the chocolatiers close to you or order bars from far away and share good chocolate this holiday season.
Askinosie Peppermint Dark Chocolate Bar
A new kind of after-dinner mint? This award-winning bar from direct trade chocolate company Askinosie pairs 72 percent dark chocolate from women farmers in Tanzania with crisp peppermint and a little cardamom. From their base in Springfield, Missouri, this family-owned business has been a pioneer in working closely with the farmers they buy cacao from and transparency in their business practices.
Shop Now: Askinosie Peppermint Dark Chocolate Bar, $8.50, askinosie.com.
Fruition Marañon Canyon Dark Milk 68 Percent
We're super excited about the new dark milk category emerging in the chocolate world—these bars typically have a higher percentage of cacao than their traditional milk counterparts and thus a more complex flavor. One of our favorites is this rendition by Catskills-based bean-to-bar workshop Fruition. It's made with one of the rarest cacao varietals, Pure Nacional from the Marañón Canyon of Peru.
Shop Now: Fruition Marañon Canyon Dark Milk 68 Percent, $12.95, tastefruition.com.
Harper Macaw Coffee Bar
Two of your favorite pick-me-ups in one colorful package! Here, Brazilian cacao sourced by Washington, D.C., maker Harper Macaw is blended with Brazilian coffee beans from Ceremony Coffee Roasters of Annapolis, Maryland. The result is a 61 percent dark-milk chocolate bar with a subtle coffee aroma and a satisfying snap.
Shop Now: Harper Macaw Coffee Bar, $11, harpermacaw.com.
Sol Cacao 72 Percent Madagascar
Only two ingredients go into this decadent bar with pleasant fruity notes: cacao beans and raw cane sugar. It's crafted by Sol Cacao, a Bronx-based bean-to-bar company founded by three brothers from Trinidad & Tobago with a lifelong passion for chocolate.
Shop Now: Sol Cacao 72 Percent Madagascar, $8, solcacao.com.
Valerie Blushing Berry Bar
Sweet-tart raspberries and buttery pistachios add texture to this silky-smooth white-chocolate bar from Los Angeles-based maker Valerie. Rose petals are also scattered throughout, perfuming the chocolate without being overpowering.
Shop Now: Valerie Blushing Berry Bar, $10, valerieconfections.com.
Condor Dark Chocolate + Smoked Sea Salt Bar
Seventy percent dark chocolate made with cacao beans sourced from Palo Santo, a family farm in Ecuador, is the perfect partner for smoked sea salt from South Carolina-based Bulls Bay Saltworks in this almost savory bar from Condor Chocolates in Athens, Georgia.
Shop Now: Condor Dark Chocolate + Smoked Sea Salt Bar, $9, condorchocolates.com.
If someone's been really good this year, treat them to this box of the greatest hits from Portland-based chocolate maker Woodblock, which includes everything from single-origin and double-origin to flavors like sea salt and toasted sesame. Each bar is individually wrapped, so you can also divvy them up among multiple stockings.
Shop Now: Woodblock Chocolate Ten Pack, $40, woodblock.myshopify.com.
Dandelion Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador 70 Percent
We adore the nutty, toasty flavor of this single-origin bar made with cocoa beans from Ecuador's northern coast and lightly sweetened with sugar. It also boasts a creamy mouthfeel without the use of cocoa butter or lecithin. Another bonus? No wrapping required—the cream-and-gold packaging is pretty enough on its own.
Shop Now: Dandelion Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador 70 Percent, $8.50, dandelionchocolate.com.
Xocolatl Nicaragua 72 Percent
Xocolatl specializes in single-origin chocolate at their Atlanta micro-factory. Try the Nicaragua—it's fruity and floral with a subtle licorice flavor that you'll be thinking about long after you finish the entire bar.
Shop Now: Xocolatl Nicaragua 72 Percent, $9, xocolatlchocolate.com.
French Broad Chocolate Spicewalla Bundle
A collaboration with their Asheville, NC, neighbor, Spicewalla, resulted in this unique three pack of Indian inspired bars from the team at French Broad Chocolate. There's 71 percent dark chocolate bar made with Indian cacao, a Coriander Lemon White Chocolate bar, and a 45 percent milk chocolate bar made with chai masala. The bundle also includes a set of three spices from Spicewalla.
Shop Now: French Broad Chocolate Spicewalla Bundle, $49, frenchbroadchocolates.com.
Dick Taylor Belize, Toledo 72 Percent
Founders Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor used to build wood boats before joining forces (and names!) to make chocolate—hence the unique packaging. The bars are just as striking on the inside: each one has the same intricate molding. We're big fans of their single-origin bar made with Maya mountain cacao for its lingering fruit finish.
Shop Now: Dick Taylor Belize, Toledo 72 Percent, $8.50, dicktaylorchocolate.com.
How healthy can chocolate be? This healthy! Like all of Compartes vegan, organic collection, this bar is refined sugar-free. The Los Angeles-based chocolatier combines 75 percent dark chocolate with turmeric, ginger, and lemon for a "wellness-boosted" bar with a vibrant flavor that matches its lively packaging.
Shop Now: Compartes Detox Bar, $9.95, compartes.com.
Madecasse Pure Dark Chocolate 92 Percent
The darkest chocolate we encountered, this bar is definitely not for the faint of heart. It's intense, fruity, and perfect for the adventurous chocoholics in your life. Started by former Peace Corps volunteers, Madécasse not only sources its cocoa from Madagascar, but is also striving to make all its chocolate there, from start to finish (a mission we wholeheartedly support!).
Shop Now: Madécasse Pure Dark Chocolate 92 Percent, $4.50, madecasse.com.
Jcoco Boharat Bar
Women-owned, Seattle-based jcoco is all about pairing high-quality cacao with unexpected ingredients. The new Boharat bar combines savory spices, including cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves with 60 percent cacao in a wonderfully harmonious chocolate. We also adore how this bar is portioned. Inside the package are three smaller, individually wrapped bars that are the ideal size for snacking (or stuffing the toe of a stocking!). But the best part? Anytime you purchase a bar, a serving of food is donated to someone in need.
Shop Now: Jcoco Boharat Bar Trio, $7.50, jcoco.com.
Ethereal Confections Haiti 70 Percent
We're all about trying single-origin chocolate from different places and love coming across an area we haven't explored yet. Here, Haitian cacao takes center stage in a bar by Ethereal Confections in Woodstock, Illinois. It has a fruity, caramel-y flavor and is beautiful inside and out, thanks to the elegant molding and watercolor packaging.
Shop Now: Ethereal Confections Haiti 70 Percent, $8.50, etherealconfections.com.
Raaka Sugar-Free Yacón Root
If you want a hit of potent chocolate flavor, this is the bar for you. It's 79 percent cacao and sweetened only with yacón, a Peruvian root that tastes like a cross between jicama and apple.
Shop Now: Raaka Sugar-Free Yacón Root, $6, raakachocolate.com.
Fran's Crunch Bars with Roasted Nibs
Roasted cacao nibs can sometimes be a distraction in a chocolate bar. Not so in this version from Seattle maker Fran's—here, you taste the rich dark chocolate first, then get to enjoy a crunch at the end of every bite.
Shop Now: Fran's Crunch Bars with Roasted Nibs, Box of 12, $46, frans.com.
Fine & Raw Lucuma & Vanilla
Not familiar with lucuma? It's a Peruvian fruit full of minerals and antioxidants with a butterscotch-like flavor. It makes an excellent alternative sweetener, and here it's combined with vanilla and coconut sugar in a raw dark-chocolate bar.
Shop Now: Fine & Raw Lucuma & Vanilla, $8.50, fineandraw.com.
Stone Grindz Wild Bolivia 70 Percent
Crafted from beans that grow wild along the Amazon River Basin in Bolivia, this bar has a uniquely nutty, roasted malt flavor. We love the hand-drawn artwork on the packaging almost as much as the chocolate inside it—both are made in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Shop Now: Stone Grindz Wild Bolivia 70 Percent, $9, stonegrindz.com.
Black Dinah Lavender Bark
Organic lavender blossoms give this bar a wonderful floral quality without overpowering the chocolate. All of Black Dinah's barks are made in Maine using single-origin Venezulan chocolate and locally grown ingredients.
Shop Now: Black Dinah Lavender Bark, $5.75, blackdinahchocolatiers.com.