Valentine's Day is only a few days away. If you're still looking for a gift and want something that's different from just a regular chocolate bar, we've got suggestions for those who crave rich milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, something with a crunch and more.
We didn't just round up random chocolate bars. We went a step further -- in the name of science, of course. Our team taste tested each of these treats to ensure our recommendations were solid.
Check out the list of our favorite chocolates for Valentine's Day and pick some up for your special someone today.
Chuao's Chocolatier bars burst onto the scene the same way its signature Firecracker bar bursts in the mouth -- undeniably gourmet and unabashedly fun. This particular bar's popping candy ingredient deftly swerves from the realm of gimmicky kids' confection with its heady hits of chipotle and sea salt scattered throughout a dark chocolate ocean. Just perfect.
Rich chocolate studded with clever, unique and often whimsical elements is what sets Chuao chocolate bars apart, and we're obsessed. Baconluxious, Potato Chip and Salted Chocolate Crunch play with sweet and savory flavors, but we've also hunted down the shockingly spot-on Carrot Cake (made with caramelized white chocolate, it tastes just like a cream-cheese frosted cake), crispy Mintfully Brownie and Totally Tangy Mango. Cheeky Churro and Pretzel Toffee Twirl also became instant favorites.
Available at Whole Foods, Amazon and a range of other retail and online shops, Chuao chocolate bars come in whole bars, multipacks and smaller bites. Full-size bars range from about $5.50 to $7 apiece, and there are occasional sales.
When Vosges Haut Chocolate appeared in 1998, its global flavors of smoked almond, turmeric, matcha, ginger and coconut shook the chocolate world. Vosges helped redefine how aspirational, creative and exciting a chocolate bar could be. Not candy, chocolate. (At the time, a dark chocolate Lindt bar with almonds was one of the most high-class chocolate bars easily available.)
Mo's Bacon Bar in dark (72% cacao) and deep milk chocolate (45% cacao) may have made the biggest splash when the brand first began. Its founder, Katrina Markoff, developed enticing aromas, flawless texture and fearless flavor combinations that make Vosges an everyday extravagance. Its shops are a worthy destination any time you're in Chicago.
You'll find flavors from the flawless Pink Salt Caramel, a filled bar, to the more adventurous Walnut and Chanterelle or Black Raspberry with Fermented Black Tea.
These premium chocolate bars are available at Whole Foods, Walmart (beware some exorbitant prices on single bars), boutique food shops, and of course at Vosges' online shop. The chocolate typically costs between $9 and $13 for a full-size bar.
Mirzam Chocolate Makers is nothing short of a revelation. We first stumbled on this gourmet bean-to-bar outfit from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at an upscale market on Northern California's rugged, windswept coast. We found the label again at a specialty store in Salt Lake City and loaded up the cart. Safe to say we're hooked.
It starts with the beautiful artwork that wraps every milk, white and dark chocolate bar as if it were a precious gift. (Ships in an inky night sky, sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see -- Mirzam consciously engages regional artists.) The edible artistry continues to a firm, thin bar with a sharp snap and balanced, layered flavors that slowly unfold as the chocolate melts on your tongue.
White Chocolate Infused with Saffron is warm, comforting, rich and sophisticated. The orange blossom and roasted almond bar still stalks our dreams. Rose and pistachio; coffee and cardamom; figs, star anise and cinnamon: Each Mirzam chocolate bar leaves us hungry for more. Mirzam bars range from $10 to $13. Some varieties are but Caputo's, linked below, has the widest US selection we've seen so far.
This is one of our all-time favorite brands because of Chocolove's sheer range of flavors and its simply delectable chocolate. There's something for everyone: The milk chocolate fan who wants to play it safe with simple mix-ins like hazelnut; the dark chocolate lover who wants to push their taste buds with something like chili mole; the ruby chocolate fan looking to add a kick of passion fruit or pink grapefruit to their bar. While ruby chocolate doesn't tend to get as much love as milk or dark, Chocolove's silky and approachable offerings will make you think twice.
In fact, all the smooth chocolate varieties and flavors offer equally creamy and satisfying fillings. One of our favorites is Salted Almond Butter in Dark Chocolate. It's the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with the consistency of almond butter housed in a dark chocolate shell. (The Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups are also incredible.) As a bonus, there's poetry written inside the wrapper of each bar, making for a doubly sweet gesture if you're gifting.
Prices tend to range between $3 and $4 a bar. You can find Chocolove in grocery stores such as Walmart and Whole Foods, as well as on Amazon and on Chocolove's site.
Ritter Sport is another brand that offers a variety of delicious and unique flavors including the surprisingly incredible Cornflakes and Spiced Biscuit. There's also the perfect-in-every-way Dark Chocolate with Marzipan bar. The marzipan filling stands out just enough from the surrounding chocolate to achieve utter balance; nothing is overpowered.
In fact, that's what makes Ritter Sport such a fan favorite. Its bars balance crisp chocolate with flavorful, fun fillings. Other noteworthy flavors include Milk Chocolate with Butter Biscuit and Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts.
You can find Ritter Sport at grocery stores like Walmart, Whole Foods and Target, as well as on Amazon. They tend to cost just under $3. Also, if you end up at a Ritter Sport retail store, you can make a custom bar, too.
Made in Berkeley, California, Tcho Chocolate has a fascinating origin that includes a NASA "tech wizard," the founders of Wired Magazine and a mission to make premium fair trade chocolate bars sourced from cacao farmers.
The chocolate bars themselves, square and pleasantly chunky, are delicious. Toffee + Sea Salt is a standout, alongside Toasted Cornflake, Mokaccino, Banana Nut and Almond Sea Salt. Tcho also crafts an array of plain and filled bars from single origin growers, including a fudgy truffle bar from Ghanaian cocoa beans, and a "fruity" chocolate bar sourced from Peru. There are even vegan bars made with oat milk.
Tcho Chocolate has been embraced by Michelin star chefs and is available at grocery stores like Whole Foods and other upmarket shops, in addition to online retailers including Amazon and Tcho's own website.
If we're talking marzipan, we can't not talk about Niederegger. Marzipan fans can choose from the Classic Bar (made with bittersweet chocolate), the Milk Chocolate Bar or other bars with orange and ginger.
This is perhaps some of the best-tasting marzipan we've tried. The creamy, delicate nuttiness of the filling will have you coming back for square after square (you've been warned), and the rich chocolate is noteworthy in its own right, too.
You can find Niederegger at stores like World Market or on Amazon, and each bar costs around $5 to $6.