Chocolate is the food of the gods, and chocolatiers are master craftsmen. However, there is a difference between chocolate producers and chocolatiers. We will get into it as well as tell you about the ten best chocolatiers from the four corners of the world. So you can make your own decision on which one is the best of the best.
What is a chocolatier?
A chocolatier and chocolate manufacturer usually go hand in hand. A chocolatier uses chocolate to create confectionery pieces. Many do not make the chocolate from scratch. Their products are constructed items, such as sculptures, bouquets, etc., using already made chocolate. It is often made of cocoa beans and cocoa powder, and there are many types of products, such as chocolate liquor, the old classic milk chocolate, black or white chocolate bars, etc.
Chocolatiers are required to go to culinary schools where they have to learn certain subjects. These can include:
- History of chocolate
- Confectionery formulae that are based on fondant or ganache
- Chemistry relating to the different types of textures and flavors
- Business skills, such as production and even marketing
- Cultivation and processing
- How to bake chocolate, temper it, dip and decorate it, as well as how to mold or sculpt it (They can melt solid chocolate bars into molds or use them to create sculptures.)
Now that we have the basics down, let’s get into the ten best chocolatiers worldwide.
Teuscher (Zurich, Switzerland)
The Swiss are known for many things, and one of them is chocolate. They also have one of the best chocolatiers known as the Teuscher. It was started by one man who went around the world searching for the finest cocoa, fruits, marzipans, nuts, etc., blending them all together into his famous recipes that are still being used to this day.
There are over 100 varieties, with each one made of the most expensive natural ingredients. This means that there are zero additives, chemicals, or preservatives added. Teuscher’s specialties are chocolate with a creamy champagne center that is also dusted with the confectioner’s sugar. Plus, their champagne truffles are outstanding.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
This company was created by chocolatier Katrina Markoff. She chooses all the spices, chocolate, and even flowers that will be transformed into her wonderful, tasty work of art. She studied in Paris at the Le Cordon Bleu. Her chocolates contain flowers, rare spices (such as Argentinian dulce de leche or Mexican vanilla bean), and premium products. Definitely a chocolatier to check out.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc. (Berkeley, California, USA)
This one is a bit different in that they do make their chocolate before they create their art. They go through each step of the process, from finding the right beans to creating the bars. This is done so that their products can deliver a flavor that is uniquely them. Their items are created by the most skilled hands they can find. Plus, they specialize in creating and using dark chocolate.
Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York, New York, USA)
Entering this chocolate cafe can feel like stepping into a European wonderworld. Many people have compared it to the movie “Chocolat.” There are cafe tables where one can sit and drink their delicious hot chocolate while trying their freshly baked “pain au chocolat.” They can also take some home. You can see the handcrafted products as they’re created behind huge glass windows. Plus, there are five of these places in New York, as well as one in Atlantic City.
Norman Love Confections (Ft. Myers, Florida, USA)
After many attempts, Norman Love and his partner have created a technique where the color designs for every candy are either airbrushed or hand-painted into molds. From here, they fill the molds with high-quality chocolate imported from Switzerland, Belgium, and France.
Norman Love has said chocolate is his passion, and he wanted to make it not only delicious but also gorgeous to look at. He seems to have achieved both of these goals. They use only the freshest ingredients, which often contain bananas, caramel, hazelnuts, pureed raspberries, ginger, and passion fruit, as well as other ingredients. A highlight is the pumpkin white chocolate bonbon.
Valrhona is in France, and it has been creating gourmet items since 1922. In 2008, they introduced salty and spicy Xocopili into their mix. This chocolatier gets its cocoa beans directly from premier plantations in the Pacific regions, the Caribbean, and South America. They make their products in the French style, and they were also one of the first to compare their chocolate to wine. There were labels such as “grand cru,” “single estate, “single origins,” and even “vintage chocolate.”
Godiva Chocolatier (Brussels, Belgium, and Worldwide)
Godiva was created by Joseph Draps, who has a long history with chocolate long before he founded the company. It is in his blood. The Draps family has been in the business since about the 1920s, and Joseph learned his skills and sharpened his business sense when he joined the family business. He later left to start his own company that he named “Godiva.” To this day, the company creates excellent products that come in recognizable golden boxes.
Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates (Santa Cruz, California, USA)
Richard Donnelly is a wonder in the industry since he combines fine Belgian and French chocolates with interesting flavors, such as chipotle, cardamom, lavender, saffron, and even Earl Grey tea. These techniques awarded him the Best Artisan at the Euro Chocolate Festival, which he received only a decade after he first opened his shop. The company only makes 50 pounds (about 22,68 kg) of chocolate per day to keep up their quality and freshness. Their honey vanilla caramel and their white chocolate macadamia nut are a must-try.
Richart (Paris, France)
Richart makes chocolate with the most refined ingredients they can get their hands on. Their recipes have won the Ruban Bleu seven times, making them perfectionists. Nowadays, they are looking at enhancing their flavors as well as creating wonderful designs and colors. A highlight in their collection is the Bulwood Vault. It has seven drawers of chocolate and comes with humidity and temperature gauges. It is not a surprise that this would take you about 850 USD.
Puccini Bomboni (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
This company creates hand-made products in their breathtaking cafe and restaurant located in Amsterdam. Here, you can try an exotic mix of spice with their chocolates, and they include the freshest ingredients. They believe in quality over quantity, so their menu may be small, but the flavors are enormous. However, they do not deliver, so book that plane ticket soon.
Chocolatiers take chocolate to another level. Everyone that is mentioned on this list adds their own style and of course, flavor to the mix, and reading about them is not enough. Therefore, taste them if you can and decide for yourself which chocolatier is the best of the best.