When it comes down to it, what we really want St. Valentine’s day sweet thing. Sentimental for sure, but also “sweet” in the purest sense of the word: chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I love the intention behind Anything shiny (addressing my SO directly here), but for a chocolate-loving girl like myself, few other things satisfy my February 14th craving. And of course, no matter what sensation I’m looking to immerse myself in, aesthetics should always play a role. That’s why the best gift-giving chocolate bars not only taste incredible, but don’t require wrapping. It’s cool enough the way it is.
Why hike in, as The Strategist formulatedStatus Chocolate Bars? Since then Mast Brothers (now renamed as Sari market, backed by the bearded sibling duo (often associated with establishing the Amish-style mid-beards trend) encased their handmade chocolates in embossed paper, and the world began to see chocolate in a new light. We no longer have to satisfy our sweet tooth with something like this. Enter: a new era of indulgence for beauty and chocolate lovers everywhere.
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The 7 best chocolates for gifts
Since then (Mast Brothers began distributing chocolate bars in 2007), the world of artisan chocolate has exploded. In an effort to expand the “bean to bar” movement, several other brands have entered the market. As a result, we have plenty of options when it comes to beautiful packaging and unique flavors.
Let me be clear: I love my job—especially when it comes to taste-testing 20+ bars to determine the best chocolate bars to gift. The seven options below were the absolute best. So, if you find yourself in the market for something special between now and mid-February (or really, anytime you want to surprise and delight your partner or friends), check out the list below. There is sure to be something for chocolate lovers of all stripes.
Let’s start with the best of the best. Just as the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” falls short from time to time, so does the premium equivalent of a chocolate bar. In the case of Compartés, Always Judge the tape by its cover. While the Los Angeles-based brand has been around for a few years (and again, The Strategist Already consider it old), the bars boast the perfect intersection of art and craftsmanship. Sure, in the world of “it” chocolate, we’re probably always chasing after the next best thing—and emerging brands are committed to building on it—I’m happy to give credit where delicious credit is due.
Luxurious raw chocolate
The name! trade mark! An approach that does not take itself too seriously! While I was bound to cross out any brand that joined two words with an ampersand long ago, Fine & Raw sums it up perfectly. Each organic bar is handcrafted in Brooklyn, implementing and continuing the bean revolution. And while the end result is verging on addictive, the makers of Fine & Raw are all about the process. Clean ingredients, vegan products, ethical and sustainable production, and quality sourcing. Could your Hershey’s bar say the same thing?
I’ve always wondered if flying premium with JetBlue (the rating is called “Mint” by the brand) is worth paying top dollar for. And and then I discovered that all passengers not only received free Wi-Fi and flat-bed seats (luxury!) but also got to snack on Raaka mini chocolate bars. After trying Raaka Chocolate myself, I’m rethinking my united alliance. Kidding… kind of.
But really, for a brand that’s been around since artisanal chocolate bars debuted in Brooklyn in 2010, Raaka knows how to play the long game. And as the chocolate experts, we reap the delicious results. Certainly, I’m not going to pretend that it was the large swaths of vibrant color covering the bars that first attracted me. And I wouldn’t deny the flavors using buzzwords that kept me intrigued. But all of this together, along with more than a decade of dominance in the chocolate world, has kept me coming back (and again). Everyone deserves a taste of raka.
Mission Chocolate is based in São Paulo, Brazil. The chocolatier herself, Arcelia Gallardo, started her career at the famous Dandelion Chocolate (another winner on this list). Gallardo loves to dive deep into every part of the chocolate-making process, and goes to painless lengths to make sure each bar tastes like nothing before – in the best way possible. Not only that, but they also aim to grow and expand the bean to bar movement in Brazil and played an important role in starting the Bean to Bar Brasil Makers Association. I used to consider this a good reason to show off something delicious.
Machaful has officially answered my unceasing prayers. Getting my favorite drink in (vegan) chocolate form? brilliant. The brand is known for sourcing the best Japanese matcha and curating a beautiful range of edible matcha goodies (Granola, chips, and of course, chocolate). Their focus on quality is evident not only in the product, but in the experience of visiting any of their three coffee shops located in New York City. Everything from packaging to preparation to the beautiful final product is carefully considered. And with a focus on sharing goods that can be woven into your daily routine, it’s no wonder we became instant converts.
As promised, the famous Dandelion Chocolate made the cut. The small-batch brand is based in San Francisco but sources single-origin chocolate from all over the world (think: Liberia, Madagascar, and Tanzania). And while I love a little crunch and adding texture to my chocolate, with pure, minimally processed cacao beans, it would be a shame to cover up the flavor.
Controversial, I know, but I’ll admit — I’m a full-spar fan. Yes, the brand faced allegations in 2015 that their chocolate was *too good* because it contained chocolate Melted bits are best, but the company has regrouped and reinvented itself since then. We also can’t have a conversation about the best chocolate bars to gift without including the OG in a place of honor. in 2015 Vanity Fair In an article, the publication cited Mast as being responsible for “introducing artisan chocolate into mainstream American culture” and that’s definitely something to thank them for. I would happily do so by buying an “expensive” bar (some say it is, some say it isn’t).
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