There’s chocolate you buy from the store, and then there’s handmade chocolate you buy from a shop and swear to never settle for less after one bite of creamy, rich goodness. Luckily, in North Carolina, if you have a major chocolate sweet tooth, you’re in the right place. With a number of stores sourcing and roasting their own beans, you could spend months surveying the unique, artisanal chocolate shops of North Carolina. Yet, these ten listed are special, delicious gems of our state.
1. French Broad Chocolates, Asheville
After meeting while in grad school, then impulsively leaving grad school to move to Costa Rica and start a chocolate shop; the two owners of French Broad, Dan and Jael Rattigan, returned to America and graced Asheville with their knowledge. French Broad Chocolates is a 'chocolate' empire, sourcing the finest beans for unique chocolatey indulgence. From grabbing a truffle to-go or hanging in the chocolate lounge, French Broad is a must stop for any chocolate lover.
2. Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Raleigh
Escazu sources the finest cacao beans from small farms. The beans are then roasted and ground to make delicious truffles, chocolate bars, and ice cream. Grab a cup of coffee and a delicious chocolate bar at Escazu.
3. Twenty Degrees Chocolates, Charlotte
Stop at Petit Philippe, a wine and tasting room, opened by Twenty Degrees Creator Casey Hickey and her husband, for a truffle and some red wine. Twenty Degrees Chocolate uses pastry school knowledge, with sweet creativity, to combine indulging and delightful chocolates artfully crafted for any occascion.
4. Videri Chocolate Factory
Three chocolate lovers had a dream, and turned that dream into reality with Videri Chocolate Factory. Dedicated to NC's motto 'esse quam videri' (to be rather than to seem) this bean-to-bar chocolate factory has nothing to hide with the artisanal production of some of the best chocolate in North Carolina.
5. Black Mountain Chocolate, Winston-Salem
Craving more than a career as a lawyer, owner Brent Peters opened up Black Mountain with his wife. Today, you can take a tour of the factory where all the sweet goodness is made. End the tour with a delicious hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Black Mountain chocolate is retailed throughout North Carolina.
6. Matthew's Chocolates, Hillsborough
You can't go wrong with homemade, all natural chocolates from Matthew's. Owner Matthew Shepherd is an innovative chocolate connoisseur. Yet, he never had formal 'chocolate' or pastry education. It seems the self-taught chef adds a world of sweet goodness to North Carolina. Drop by on special holidays, like Valentines, for great specials.
7. barCHOCOLATE, Charlotte
barCHOCOLATE has innovative, creative and wildly unique chocolate combinations. Ever thought of cherry balsamic milk chocolate, or coriander Pop Rocks hazelnut praline? While these combinations might sound a tad ridiculous to the more formal chocolate lover, they're fun and delicious. You can't find chocolate quite like this anywhere else. barCHOCOLATE can be found at a number of retailers in Charlotte.
8. The Chocolate Fetish, Asheville
From 1986, to new ownership in 2001, The Chocolate Fetish has been satisfying Asheville's sweet tooth with amazing, homemade chocolates. From classic truffles, to unique 'chocolate shoes,' this is a must stop next time you find yourself in Asheville.
9. The Fudgeboat, Carolina Beach
From an assortment of fudge, to hand-dipped chocolate strawberries; the fudgeboat is a must for a tasty treat at Carolina Beach.
10. Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
Family owned and operated, this small but sensational chocolate shop is a great gem hiding in the Smoky Mountains. Browse candies, coffee, fudge, even 'shooters' made with a touch of alcohol. Yum!