Johnny's Chocolates and Pralines Survival Guide


FAQ About Chocolates

A Short List of Chocolatiers

Taster Opinions

Where To Buy


Selected Web Resources

License & Disclosure

In a panic? If you need to buy a box of nice chocolates now, skip to the FAQ question "Help! I need a box of nice chocolates in a hurry...."

Here's a brief description of each section in this guide:

  • FAQ About Chocolates: Answers to questions like "what is a praline?" and "how do I choose good chocolates?"
  • A Short List of Chocolatiers: Here I've listed only chocolatiers that have been singled out by reviewers and whose chocolates are available in the U.S. (either through a retail outlet or worldwide mail-order).
  • Taster Opinions: The (anonymous) comments of friends and acquaintances of mine who've tasted a variety of chocolates. Note that chocolatiers that are not on the short list above are also reviewed here.
  • Where To Buy: Very incomplete list of place to buy chocolates in cities that I've lived in.
  • References: Books and articles I've consulted, quoted, and cited to put together this guide.
  • Selected Web Resources: Online retailers, directories of retailers, and review sites.

About This Guide

What in the world is a "praline?" If you asked this question, then you're at the right place! This guide is a basic primer on gourmet chocolates (or chocolate candies), referred to as "pralines" by fans of Belgian chocolates.

Why this guide? And why is it called a "survival" guide? Perhaps I can best explain with this hypothetical scenario: It's your girlfriend's birthday. To treat her, you decide to buy her a box of chocolates. So, you go down to your local See's candy shop and buy a box, and when you give it to her, her reaction is less than enthusiastic. Why? Because you didn't realize there is much more to the world of chocolates than deciphering which one has the nougat in it. Unfortunately for you, she does.

I hope this guide will give enough rudimentary information about pralines to help prevent such a faux pas. I'm not an expert on this topic (I'm actually an atmospheric scientist). My own personal experience with chocolate candy is very limited, my tastes are unrefined, and I actually happen to like See's candy quite a bit. However, I know that other people have more specialized tastes, so I'm trying to educate myself a little about something they absolutely love. Thus, please email me your suggestions, criticisms, and comments about this guide. I'm trying to learn too!

Acknowledgements: Paul Tang and Ben Redelings helped me with the HTML code. Thanks to all the people who tasted the different types of chocolates and gave me their feedback, and special thanks to those who bought me chocolates so I could do "research" too :)

Guide maintainer: Johnny Lin <email address>.