Buy your valentine the best chocolate Atlanta has to offer

Xocolatl in Krog Street Market is a chocolatier transforming beans to bars in their Krog Street Market location.  The entire process from hand-cracking the beans, to separating the bits from the shells in a winnow, and stone-grind them for days until chocolate begins to form takes place in the shop.  The small batch production of cacao from various regions around the world and organic cane sugar are the only ingredients in many of their bars.  Some varieties are flavored with peppermint, coffee, coconut milk, and sea salt.
Xocolatl in Krog Street Market is a chocolatier transforming beans to bars in their Krog Street Market location. The entire process from hand-cracking the beans, to separating the bits from the shells in a winnow, and stone-grind them for days until chocolate begins to form takes place in the shop. The small batch production of cacao from various regions around the world and organic cane sugar are the only ingredients in many of their bars. Some varieties are flavored with peppermint, coffee, coconut milk, and sea salt.

Everyone, it seems, has a soft spot for chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated with heart-shaped boxes — filled, of course, with bite-sized chocolates.

But for those aiming to impress a chocolate lover, skip the waxy, mass-produced candies filling the aisles of drugstores. Think outside the box and consider instead local chocolate artisans who make small batches of extraordinarily delicious chocolates.

In metro Atlanta, local chocolatiers have been producing hand-crafted chocolates since the 1970s. Whether as a craft passed down for generations in a family or the dream of a traveling couple, the exquisite and uniquely crafted chocolates at these five shops make perfect gifts for the love of your life.

Delectable chocolates from Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co. might make your valentine happy. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Delectable chocolates from Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co. might make your valentine happy. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co.

Consider Kristen Hard, the founder and CEO of Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co., as the chocolate maven of Atlanta. To say she is obsessed with chocolate is an understatement. Hard studied the cacao bean, its nutritional benefits and the process of making chocolate from bean to bar. As a bonus, Cacao was named as one of the best chocolates in the country in 2015 by Food & Wine.

For Valentine’s Day, try the small or large heart-shaped Boxes of Love with an assortment of chocolates or a Pave chocolate box. For every other day, the shop offers a variety of bars, barks, drinking chocolates and chocolate-dipped fruits.

Cacao strongly encourages online shopping or making appointments for in-store shopping due to COVID-19.

Buckhead: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays. 3035 Peachtree Road N.W., Suite A150, Atlanta (in between Shake Shack and Tom Ford). 404-228-4023. cacaoatlanta.com/

November 6, 2020 Roswell - Photo shows chocolate-covered strawberries at Chamberlain's Chocolate Factory in Roswell on Friday, November 6, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
November 6, 2020 Roswell - Photo shows chocolate-covered strawberries at Chamberlain's Chocolate Factory in Roswell on Friday, November 6, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Chamberlain’s Chocolate

If you can think it, Chamberlain's can dip it in chocolate. Since 1986, Chamberlain's Chocolate has churned out chocolate products: from gummy bears enrobed in chocolate to traditional house-made ganaches that fill truffles, creams, caramels and toffees. They currently offer chocolate-covered Twinkies and even deep-fried onion strings in chocolate.

For Valentine’s Day, the store offers chocolate roses, fondue and dipped fruits, as well as truffle boxes and cake pops.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; by appointment on Sundays. 1575 Old Alabama Road, Roswell. 678-728-0100, chamberlainschocolate.com.

The Chocolaterie

Open since the summer of 2006 in downtown Duluth, the Chocolaterie specializes in hand-painted chocolate truffles as well as handmade fudge, candies including pecan turtles and chocolate bark and ice cream.

Online ordering and curbside pickup are also available.

Noon-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, noon-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

3099 Main St., Duluth. 678-585-3338, thechocolaterie.com/

Xocolatl

A tiny yet gorgeous space in Krog Street Market is home to Xocolatl, a “bean-to-bar” chocolate shop.

Inside this micro-factory (the production space stretches only 250 square feet), owners Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt make a variety of pure single-origin dark chocolate bars. Weyandt and Read, who lived in Costa Rica and worked with cacao farmers and artisanal chocolatiers, now share their experience and passion for making small batches of craft chocolates here locally.

The cacao beans are sourced from several countries around the globe including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Madagascar, Tanzania, Ecuador and Trinidad. The single-sourced bars contain two ingredients — cacao and organic cane sugar. No added cocoa butter, no soy emulsifiers and no fillers of any kind.

What you taste is the true flavor of the chocolate from different regions — different flavor profiles ranging from earthy and nutty to buttery and fruity. Xocolatl, pronounced CHOCK-oh-lattle, also offers chocolate bars infused with other ingredients such as the "Kissed Mermaid" with coconut milk, sea salt and vanilla; the "Soul Rebel," which features dark coconut milk and Jamaican jerk spices; and the "Wide Eyed" with Bolivian coffee beans from Cafe Campesino in Americus ground right into the chocolate.

For Valentine’s Day, the shop offers packages including the Dark Chocolate Decadence Box, Sweetheart Set and Valentine Trio, as well as special confections including raspberry sorbet hearts.

Noon-7 p.m. daily. Curbside pickup, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-604-9642, xocolatlchocolate.com.

Yvonne Zusel contributed to this report

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