10 Best Chocolate Shops in California

A bit of chocolate is the sweet spot in any day. Milk, dark or white, it doesn’t really matter as long as it satisfies that need-for-chocolate craving. For the finest chocolates made with the best ingredients, check out these 10 incredible shops in California. 

Ginger Elizabeth, Sacramento, CA

Exotic flavors are highlighted in the handcrafted chocolates made by Ginger, the owner and chocolatier. Chocolates are flavored with hints of Meyer lemon, Bergamot pale ale, Raspberry rose geranium and grapefruit fennel pollen. Chocolate bars, both milk and dark, macarons and specialty items range from roasted pumpkin butter to fleur de sel caramel lollipops to Oaxacan spice syrup. Be sure to stay for a cup of hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows or fresh whipped cream.

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ChocoVivo, Los Angeles, CA

The ancient art of making chocolate, hand-grinding the cacao seeds much like it was done by the first chocoholics, the Aztecs, is the secret behind the extraordinary handcrafted chocolate bars made here. You’ll find only dark chocolate, no milk powder or additional cacao butter is added and they all begin with just cacao and a little unrefined sugar. Tastings, pairings and cacao ceremonies happen monthly.

Recchiuti, San Francisco, CA

Single origin chocolate, no preservatives and the freshest herbs infused into handcrafted chocolates make these sweet delicacies worth indulging in. The signature Burnt Caramel, a mouthwateringly good smoky, whiskey-like flavor, is showcased in truffle and caramel sauce. But don’t miss the lemon verbena, tarragon grapefruit or cardamom nougat for a decadent and delightfully unique chocolate experience.

Carlsbad Chocolate Bar, Carlsbad, CA

Chocolates, coffee, wine. It’s the trifecta of an amazing flavor adventure. The store is choco-full of bonbons, caramels, peanut butter cups, divinity and toffee. Some are made fresh daily. And that’s just the candy. Cakes by the slice, pastries, muffins, cupcakes, cookies round out the sweets. Custom-blended coffee is the base for espressos, lattes and mochas. Wine, sold by the bottle, is representative of reds and whites.

Sunnyland Chocolate Factory, Palm Desert, CA

This shop, with one-of-a-kind chocolate delicacies, is an oasis of sweetness in the desert. Hand-dipped strawberries, turtles, sea salt caramels, English toffee, s’mores and an extravagant caramel-covered marshmallow dipped in chocolate concoction that blows your taste buds up are just a few of the items to be found here. Of course, there are truffles, but the not-to-be-missed sensation is the golden-brown caramel, churned and mixed by hand.

Mariette Chocolates, San Jose, CA

Chews, barks, nut clusters, creams, Euro truffles, Belgium chocolates and 55 different premium handmade truffles are just such a beautiful sight at this family-owned shop. Satisfy any sized sweet tooth with a box of hand-picked favorites. You’ll find all kinds of fudge, peanut brittle, English toffee and even Turkish delight. Be sure to try the hot chocolate on a stick, a small block of chocolate in several flavors that, when melted, makes any drink so much better. 

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Wine Country Chocolates, Glen Ellen, CA

Truffles, the good kind you with ganache in the middle, are the signature delicacy at this mom and daughter chocolate-making team. The hand-formed, hand-pressed truffles are delicately covered in a generous layer of dark chocolate and then infused with sweet and savory tastes like amaretto, apricot, cappuccino, tiramisu, and since it’s located in wine country, cabernet sauvignon and champagne. Chocolate barks, bars and hand-dipped fruits and nuts hold their own against the truffles. But know this, chocolate lover, you can join a truffle club and have them delivered to your door once a month.

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Drakes Chocolates, Arcata, CA

The hand-crafted artisan chocolates at this small family-run company are made fresh every day with all-natural ingredients, fair-traded chocolate product, real cocoa butter and, just might be, the best chocolates you’ve ever eaten. Truffles are hand-rolled and hand-dipped and come in 13 all-natural flavors. Handcrafted chocolate bars, butter almond toffee and a Humboldt chocolate bark are popular favorites. Vegan, don’t fret, there are some chocolates made without dairy just for you.

Mendocino Chocolate Company, Fort Bragg, CA

For more than 30 years, the chocolatiers at this shop have approached candy making as an art, creating beautifully colorful and delightfully delicious treats that sweeten any day. All confections are handmade in a creative palette of different flavors, in both dark and milk chocolate. Giant sea turtles loaded with pecans, crunchy-buttery toffee and rich, creamy truffles are award-winning. Cookies, fudge, bundt cakes, sugar free candy and an Irish Beach Cream fudge sauce help make this a place where there is a little something for everyone.

Dallmann Fine Chocolates, San Diego, CA

Leave a lasting impression on someone you love by giving them a box of these exquisite artisan chocolates. The flavor combinations are outrageous—lemon thyme, bananas foster, bacon and Applewood smoked sea salt, hibiscus raspberry and coconut curry are just a few of the distinctive fusions. The sea salt collection, though, hits all the high marks, a perfect combination of sweet and salty, blended with a buttery caramel. Take a chocolate-making class or stop by one of the wine-and-beer chocolate pairing events for an educational and fun activity.

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