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To give you a taste of the best chocolates around the world, we culled our
favorite flavors from these new sweet shops.

If
you think a box of chocolates is a bland Valentine’s cliché, then you’re not
shopping at the right places. Chocolatiers have elevated the sweets into an art
form and are opening appealing shops that cater to both locals and tourists.

The
finest new truffles and bonbons often reflect local tastes and unexpected
pairings. Consider the white peach and apricot caramel chocolates sold in
Mexico City’s artsy Condesa neighborhood or the Blanc de Noir ganache covered
in gold dust available at a Basel shop also known for its wine tastings. These
bite-size treats are an easy, affordable luxury—a satisfying treat in the
moment and a souvenir to savor long after your travels.

For
years, the big news in chocolate has been the bean-to-bar movement, a worthy
farm-to-table-inspired trend that focused more on varietals and provenance than
culinary-driven flavor combinations and artful presentations. But recently,
truffles have come into focus. And indeed, one trend has flowed into the next,
with careful sourcing and community involvement playing a large role for some
recently opened chocolate shops.

In
Berkeley’s Elmwood district, for instance, it’s all about cocoa with a cause at
Casa de Chocolates, a hacienda-inspired boutique slated to open in February
2012. Owners Amelia Garcia and Arcelia Gallardo are sourcing their beans from
various South American communities, and their plan is to launch a nonprofit
organization to give back to the farmers who cultivate the shop’s cacao. Their beans go into creative flavors like dark chocolate with
goat’s-milk caramel.

The
market-driven tenets of farm-to-table cooking have also made their way into the
chocolate lab. In London, Paul A. Young (who just released a beautiful cookbook
for the chocolate-obsessed) focuses on hyper-seasonal flavors, with a selection
that changes each week. Soma, Toronto’s favorite
small-batch producer, has taken the approach in a different direction, opening
a new factory-like space where customers can watch the bean-to-bonbon process
happen before their eyes. And in Mexico City, local fruits like mango and
passion fruit are put on display inside colorful chocolate shells at Tout
Chocolat, a trendy new shop by a former NYC pastry chef.

Whether
as souvenirs or exercises in virtual travel, these spots satisfy the urge to
indulge, bridging a familiar medium with the essence of a destination—and what
can be sweeter?

Best New Sweet Shops

To give you a taste of the best chocolates around the world, we culled our
favorite flavors from these new sweet shops.

If
you think a box of chocolates is a bland Valentine’s cliché, then you’re not
shopping at the right places. Chocolatiers have elevated the sweets into an art
form and are opening appealing shops that cater to both locals and tourists.

The
finest new truffles and bonbons often reflect local tastes and unexpected
pairings. Consider the white peach and apricot caramel chocolates sold in
Mexico City’s artsy Condesa neighborhood or the Blanc de Noir ganache covered
in gold dust available at a Basel shop also known for its wine tastings. These
bite-size treats are an easy, affordable luxury—a satisfying treat in the
moment and a souvenir to savor long after your travels.

For
years, the big news in chocolate has been the bean-to-bar movement, a worthy
farm-to-table-inspired trend that focused more on varietals and provenance than
culinary-driven flavor combinations and artful presentations. But recently,
truffles have come into focus. And indeed, one trend has flowed into the next,
with careful sourcing and community involvement playing a large role for some
recently opened chocolate shops.

In
Berkeley’s Elmwood district, for instance, it’s all about cocoa with a cause at
Casa de Chocolates, a hacienda-inspired boutique slated to open in February
2012. Owners Amelia Garcia and Arcelia Gallardo are sourcing their beans from
various South American communities, and their plan is to launch a nonprofit
organization to give back to the farmers who cultivate the shop’s cacao. Their beans go into creative flavors like dark chocolate with
goat’s-milk caramel.

The
market-driven tenets of farm-to-table cooking have also made their way into the
chocolate lab. In London, Paul A. Young (who just released a beautiful cookbook
for the chocolate-obsessed) focuses on hyper-seasonal flavors, with a selection
that changes each week. Soma, Toronto’s favorite
small-batch producer, has taken the approach in a different direction, opening
a new factory-like space where customers can watch the bean-to-bonbon process
happen before their eyes. And in Mexico City, local fruits like mango and
passion fruit are put on display inside colorful chocolate shells at Tout
Chocolat, a trendy new shop by a former NYC pastry chef.

Whether
as souvenirs or exercises in virtual travel, these spots satisfy the urge to
indulge, bridging a familiar medium with the essence of a destination—and what
can be sweeter?

Courtesy Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates

Best New Sweet Shops

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