The Ten: Best Chocolatiers

By Nevin Martell

Photo courtesy of Fleurir

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been getting in the Halloween spirit by fantasizing about what treats we’d be scoring for the big night. The more we thought about it though, the more we realized that we didn’t want to share our sweets. Instead, we loaded up on haute chocolates, turned off the front porch light, and watched all the Friday the 13th movies back-to-back. These spots were where we stocked up for our no-holds-barred choco-binge.

Fleurir

Chocolatier Robert Ludlow and his wife Ashley Hubbard’s Georgetown boutique (a second location opens soon in Alexandria) is both tasteful and tasty. Though we can’t resist the Elvis-evoking peanut butter-banana chocolate confection, we’re really a sucker for the regional chocolate bars. Our personal favorite is the Northeast, which is shot through with shards of maple pecan toffee.

SPAGnVOLA

At this Gaithersburg gem, chocolatier Crisoire Reid turn out 1,000 truffles a day made with beans from her home country, the Dominican Republic. The passion fruit packs a sweet punch that’s equally fruity and floral – a perfect reminder of Caribbean getaways. A chocolate-pistachio core is rolled in pale green pistachio dust to create a nutty sensation. And the Passion of the Sea truffle coats a 54% milk chocolate ganache with a 70% dark chocolate shell, then dapples it with hearty crystals of Mediterranean sea salt.

Artisan Confections

Right now, we’re totally loving chocolatier Jason Andelman’s salted butterscotch that infuses a milk chocolate-caramel ganache with single malt Scotch and salted butter. Honestly though, any of the beautifully arted treats at this Arlington standout are sure to make your day.

The Perfect Truffle

This Frederick favorite features lots of classic flavors alongside a few you might not expect, like blueberry balsamic, Old Bay caramel, and cayenne pepper. We’re especially fond of their chocolately collaborations with nearby Flying Dog Brewery, which include the Gonzo truffle spiked with Imperial Porter.

Cocova

Wedged between Dupont Circle and AdMo, this shop was formerly known as Biago Fine Chocolate. Despite the name change, it still stocks a globe-spanning selection of bars, truffles, and treats. If you’re overwhelmed by the choices, there are usually plenty of free samples on hand to help guide your decision.

Co Co. Sala

You don’t need to book a table to indulge at this always-bustling church of chocolate. It’s adjacent petite boutique let’s you grab goodies and go. We’re partial to the salted caramel Hot Co Co. pop. Just heat a mug of milk, swirl, and sip.

ACKC

With locations in Old Town and Del Ray, this much-loved area favorite offers temptations for every kind of sweet tooth. We especially enjoy chocolatier Rob Kingsbury’s line of bars, particularly the dark chocolate with garam masala and the cinnamon-almond milk chocolate.

Zoë’s Chocolate Co.

You may have tried these chocolates if you were lucky enough to go to the Emmys last year and score one of the official swag bags from the event. Or you may have just driven out to Frederick and enjoyed a few without putting on your best $50,000 dress. Mediterranean inspired truffles take top billing here, including those that evoke baklava, sesame tahini, and honeycomb.

Potomac Chocolate

This boutique operation handcrafts a quintet of bars using beans sourced from Costa Rica and Peru. Our top pick is the crunchy Upala 70% Nib and Salt.

J. Chocolatier

Tucked away on a tiny Georgetown side street, this perennial favorite stocks an excellent selection of truffles, treats, baked goods, and beverages. We still have dreams about the ice cream sandwich we had there this summer made with two lemon cookies and a scoop of strawberry ice cream.