Attractions September 07, 2015
These 13 Chocolate Shops In Virginia Will Make Your Sweet Tooth Explode
There’s a saying: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate. And that’s kind of the same thing.” I couldn’t agree more. Few things in life can improve a bad day – or make a good day better – like a rich, delicious chocolate concoction. You know what I’m talking about. From gourmet delicacies to family recipes passed down through the generations, you’ll find some of the finest chocolates, truffles and sweet treats at these 13 shops in Virginia. You can thank me later.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Gearhart's Fine Chocolates, Charlottesville / Richmond
With signature flavors like Earl Grey, Brown Butter Caramel and Mint Julep, Gearhart's Fine Chocolates handcrafts their chocolates using the finest ingredients and culinary skill. Since opening in 2001, Gearhart's has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and countless other "best of" lists, locally and nationally. Choose from classic assortments, gift boxes, specialty items or create your own custom collection at Gearhart's retail shops in Charlottesville or Richmond, or order online at
Gearhart's Fine Chocolates
2. Chocolatepaper, Roanoke
Any chocolate shop that has a tasting room is a winner in my book. This eclectic chocolatier and gift shop in Roanoke offers over 50 gourmet chocolates and truffles, along with cards and gifts, making it the perfect place to get a one-of-a-kind present for someone special - or just to treat yourself. See why Chocolatepaper keeps showing up in "best of" lists like The Roanoker and Virginia Living Magazine
3. Cao Artisan Chocolates, Lynchburg
Using ancient methods of hand-selecting, roasting and grinding cocoa beans into premium chocolates, Cao Artisan Chocolates creates beautifully balanced flavors straight from the bean. Their tasting lounge features an Old World European feel designed to foster a sense of community - and let's be honest, it's the perfect place to sit back and indulge in some of the finest handcrafted chocolates, hot cocoa and cakes available anywhere. Visit them at
4. The Chocolate Spike, Blacksburg
With a background in art and chemistry, Chocolate Spike owner and operator, Genie Ranck, shows her skills in each handcrafted chocolate creation. Featuring flavors like key lime and pumpkin spice, all of Chocolate Spike's chocolates, truffles, fudges and hand-dipped fruits are made from high quality, fresh ingredients for candies as beautiful as they are delicious. Visit them online at
5. Warfel's Sweet Shoppe at the Dayton Farmer's Market, Dayton
When making incredible candies is a family tradition, you might as well stick with the winning ticket. Warfel's Sweet Shoppe is the result of generations of candy makers who have handcrafted cakes, chocolates and confections for years. Today, Warfel's offers a retail shop at the Dayton Indoor Farmer's Market as well as online orders. See their full selection of candies and specialty items
6. For the Love of Chocolate, Richmond
When it comes to pure selection, For the Love of Chocolate has it all. With everything from classic chocolates to vegan and kosher candies, For the Love of Chocolate is a candy-lover's paradise. This well-stocked shop in Carytown features chocolates from around the world, Virginia-made items, seasonal specialties, self-serve candies, retro goodies and organic and fair-trade products. Stop by their shop on West Cary Street or visit them online at
For the Love of Chocolate
7. Cocoa Mill Chocolatier, Lexington and Staunton
This award-winning shop in Lexington (with a new location just opened in Staunton) has been dishing up handmade chocolates for years. Under new ownership since 2006, Cocoa Mill runs like any locally owned, family shop - and that means that personal attention and passion goes into each chocolatey creation. Featuring assorted chocolates, truffles, barks and dipped fruits, the Cocoa Mill offers gift boxes, custom orders and a la carte treats for any occasion. Visit them online at
Cocoa Mill Chocolatier
8. The Royal Chocolate, Williamsburg
When The Royal Chocolate opened in 2006, they began with a commitment to quality and creativity that made them a favorite in no time. Using the freshest ingredients, The Royal Chocolate handcrafts, hand dips and hand makes their signature items, including gourmet apples, chocolates and truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries and fondue. See their complete selection at
The Royal Chocolate
or stop by their retail location at Virginia Beach Town Center. While you're there, be sure to try a chocolate covered Twinkie and ask about their tastings, special events and private party hosting.
9. Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates, Alexandria
Fleurir is really the result of a story coming full circle. Head chef and creative genius of Fleurir, Robert Ludlow, is a former apprentice to Tim Gearhart of Gearhart's Fine Chocolates - the first chocolate shop on our list. Since opening their own shop in Alexandria, Fleurir has consistently created world-class chocolates, cocoas, caramels and more. Visit them at their retail location in Alexandria or shop online at
Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates
10. MAD About Chocolate, Williamsburg
When someone like Marcel Desaulniers, a four time James Beard award-winning chef and author of Death by Chocolate, opens a chocolate shop, you can't help but take it seriously. And MAD About Chocolate does not disappoint. Known for melt-in-your-mouth cookies and Double MAD brownies, the chocolate creations from Desaulniers' kitchen are the things dreams are made of. Stop by the cafe in Williamsburg to enjoy lunch and, of course, dessert, or shop at
MAD About Chocolate
11. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries, Staunton
While you might not expect gourmet results from a shop located in the former garage of a private residence, Giancarlo's is simply full of surprises. Located in a house on Austin Avenue, you can find Giancarlo's by heading down "Pastry Lane" and looking for the red and white awning over the back door. This is where Giancarlo creates all of his premium chocolates from pure Cordillera Colombian 65 % cacao bittersweet and a 36% dark milk, single bean chocolate. While I don't understand exactly what that means, I do understand that the results are delicious. Choose from flavors like amaretto marzipan, raspberry white chocolate ganache, espresso, orange zest, caramel milk-dark or hazelnut gianduja and see for yourself why Giancarlo's is a Staunton treasure. Stop by their small display room Fridays 9-5:30 and Saturdays 9-3, or place your custom orders anytime. Visit
Giancarlo Fine European Pastries
online to learn more.
12. Red Rocker Candy, Troy
From their factory in the small town of Troy, Red Rocker Candy makes premium toffees, chocolates, brittles and more using only the finest ingredients. Their candies are sold throughout the state or available online at
Red Rocker Candy
. As a designated "attraction" off of Interstate 64 (Exit 136), visitors are welcome to come by to watch the candies being made - and of course to pick up some of Red Rocker's signature "Rocking Chair Mix" and other favorites that have been featured by "Cooking with Paula Deen" and "The Rachel Ray Show."
13. Schakolad Chocolate Factory, Virginia Beach / Arlington
Made fresh on-site, Schakolad chocolates come from a European family recipe dating back three generations. With retail locations around the country, Virignia is proud to serve up gourmet Schakolad chocolates at 3 locations - 2 in Arlington and 1 in Virginia Beach. All of their gourmet chocolates and candies are custom crafted at each location to ensure top quality - and absolutely mouthwatering flavors. Visit
online to find the shop nearest you or to order a custom box.
Where are your favorite chocolate shops? Did we leave some gems off the list? Please let us know in the comments below!