Chocolate Gifts That Give Back
There's no better way to say “I love you” on Valentine's Day than with a unique and exclusive box of chocolates. Here are six of our favorite artisan chocolate makers and their enchanting chocolate creations:
1The Most Beautiful BonBons
Photo Credit: Evan Sung
Chocolatier Susanna Yoon makes the prettiest chocolate bonbons ever at Stick With Me Sweets. With their impossibly glossy shine and vibrant colors, each bonbon is like a jewel or work of art — that’s almost too pretty to eat. The flavors inside are just as divine and come in cute boxes of 6, 12, 24, or 54 bonbons that open up like a book. Yoon uses only the highest quality ingredients for ganaches and pralines, and even roasts her own black sesame seeds for her signature black sesame passion fruit mango. Kalamansi meringue pie is truly like a bite-sized pie: with a graham cracker crust, tart kalamansi ganache, and a dollop of meringue on top, all encased in a brilliant green and yellow white chocolate shell.
2A Chocoholic Gift Box
Photo Credit: Mark Ryan
Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate is a small bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Santa Barbara. This company helped pioneer the craft chocolate movement in the United States. Chocolate maker Mike Orlando crafts beautiful single-origin chocolate bars that highlight the unique tasting notes of their origins, from Kokoa Kamili in Tanzania and Palos Blancos in Bolivia. He also creates caramels, confections, and drinking chocolates too. Candied cocoa nibs are especially addictive, essentially a peanut brittle with cacao instead of nuts. For a full taste of his talents, the chocolate lover's gift box is a great choice, and the ultimate chocolate lover's gift box is an even more extravagant show of affection.
3A Unique Crunchy Cacao Snack
Photo Credit: Good King Cacao
All chocolate is made from cacao beans, ground down to a smooth and silky consistency to make chocolate bars and truffles. But rarely do we get a chance to eat whole cacao beans. Good King Cacao makes a novel new snack, caramelizing and roasting full beans for a crunchy, dark chocolate delight that's nutrient dense and never melts. These delicious beans are crunchy like a nut and flavored with a little salt and sugar or sometimes additional spices like mint, rosemary, cinnamon, and chili. All the beans are processed in small batches and purchased directly from women in the communities that grow them.
4Hawaiian Chocolate That Gives Back
Photo Credit: Maui Ku'ia Estate
Maui's new solar-powered, farm-to-bar chocolate maker infuses flavors like lemongrass, mango, calamansi, and peppermint into dark chocolate and dark milk chocolate squares. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where you can grow cacao, and visitors can tour the 20-acre Maui Ku'ia Estate farm in the foothills of the West Maui mountains. Tourists can see cacao trees up close and taste juicy cacao pulp fresh from the pod. The best part is that 100% of their net profits are donated to Maui charities and non-profit community organizations.
5Chocolate Made By Lovebirds
Photo Credit: Vesta Chocolate
What could be a more romantic Valentine's Day gift than chocolate crafted by two people in love? Roger and Julia Choi Rodriguez of Vesta Chocolate are a husband and wife team that make bean-to-bar chocolate sourced from Roger's home country — the Dominican Republic. Their small shop in Montclair, New Jersey is worth a stop for arguably the best mocha in the country. Otherwise, you can shop online for most of their gifts, including creative vegan superfood cacao bars like goji hibiscus rose, golden latte, and matcha oat.
6Fair Trade + Fun Flavors
Photo Credit: Theo Chocolate
Seattle's Theo Chocolate was the first organic and fair trade chocolate maker in all of North America. The brand has remained dedicated to paying farmers a living wage and educating Americans about how chocolate is made. You can visit their Seattle factory for a tour, and find their chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, cookie bites, and baking chocolate in grocery stores across the country. New for Valentine's Day, there's a limited-edition salted black licorice 70% dark chocolate bar, along with kid-friendly favorites like coffee and cream cups, peanut butter and jelly cups, and snickerdoodle cookie bites.