Johnny's Chocolates and Pralines Survival Guide


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A Short List of Chocolatiers

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A Short List of Chocolatiers

How does a chocolatier get on this list? Either they have been singled out by a published reviewer or they are one of my two favorite chocolatiers. Obviously then, this list is only a tiny sampling of chocolatiers, and many superior chocolatiers are not listed here. The Taster Opinions section lists all chocolatiers I (or friends of mine) have sampled and/or reviewed, as well as a few that I haven't gotten to yet but have heard good things about.

Eric's Chocolate Store Reviews lists and reviews many more chocolatiers. A number of the books in the References section also include much more comprehensive lists.

Because I'm interested in chocolates that someone in the U.S. can actually buy without too much trouble, I've generally included only the producers that will do worldwide mail order, or brands that have a reasonable number of outlets in the U.S. To give a small taste of what else is out there, however, I've included a few of the smaller chocolatiers that have won high praise from a reviewer.

This list is divided into North American and European chocolatiers. A few of the European shops have U.S. offices, some of which are noted.

Conflict-of-interest disclosure: No chocolatier or distributor has provided compensation to me to be included on this short list. However, as time has passed some chocolatiers/distributors have sent unsolicited free samples in appreciation of being included. When this has been the case, I have made a note of it in the entry below.

North America
  • Chocolaterie Bernard Callebautweb page: Bernard Callebaut emigrated from Belgium to Canada in the 1980's, and the chocolatier is based in Calgary. The web site provides a list of retail locations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as recipes. Mail order from the Calgary parent office here, or from their Portland, OR office here. Phone: (800) 661-8367, (888) 829-6800.

  • Chocolats Le Français: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Has mail order. Address: 269 South Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, IL 60090. Phone: (847) 541-1317.

  • Fran's Chocolatesweb page | taster opinions: Nathalie Bailleux et al. call Fran Bigelow "probably the best overall chocolatier in the United States," and praise her dark chocolate truffles. Bailleux et al. also note that Fran's prefers "mellower" blends of beans. Chantal Coady rates Fran's as having "good to excellent quality." Products can be ordered online. Address: 2805 East Madison, Seattle, WA 98122-4020. Phone: (206) 322-0233, (800) 422-FRAN.

  • Godivaweb page: This may be the only one of the listed chocolatiers you've heard of; it has great brand-name equity in the U.S. But, I'm afraid to say, some consider Godiva to be the lowest end of acceptable chocolatiers. On the plus side, they're one of the easiest to find of the upper-end makers; you should be able to find Godiva chocolates at a store near you (their web site has a store locator, and you can also order online).

  • Joseph Schmidt Confectionsweb page | taster opinions: One of the two "commercial" brands Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." You can buy their chocolates via mail order, online, as well as various stores thoughout the U.S. (their website has a store locator). Address: 3489 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94114. Phone: (415) 861-8682, (415) 861-3923 (fax).

  • Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolatesweb page: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Specialties mentioned by Nathalie Bailleux et al. include the mousse (available during Christmas) and the bite-sized bars of solid chocolate. Has mail order, which can also be done online. Address: 1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Phone: (408) 458-4214.

Europe
  • Bernachontaster opinions: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Coady found the "truffles, pralines, giandujas, and marzipans" to be "exceptionally good." Nathalie Bailleux et al. compliment their specialty, the palets d'or. Has worldwide mail order. Address: 42 Cours Franklin Roosevelt, 69006 Lyon, France. Phone: (33) 78 24 37 98, (33) 78 52 67 77 (fax).

  • Bernard Dufoux: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Nathalie Bailleux et al. recommends the Green and Badiane ganaches, the Caprice de Caroline, and the Palais Bourbon. Has mail order, but I'm not sure if they do worldwide delivery. Address: 32 Et 40 Rue Centrale, 71800 La Clayette, Lyon, France. Phone: (33) 85 28 08 10, (33) 85 26 83 56 (fax).

  • Christian Constantweb page | taster opinions: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Nathalie Bailleux et al. recommends the Orpheo Negro and the Soleil Noir. Has worldwide mail order. Address: 26 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France. Phone: (33-1) 47 03 30 00. The web page link above is to the U.S. reseller; phone: (617) 216-2660. [Free sample received.]

  • Fauchon: Fauchon is one of the two "medium-sized" companies Chantal Coady lists as rating "the very best quality available." Nathalie Bailleux et al. recommends the pralines by Delsart. They do have stores elsewhere in the world, and they do accept mail order. Address: 26-28-30 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France. Phone: (33-1) 47 42 60 11.

  • Jean-Paul Hévin: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Has mail order, although I don't know if they deliver worldwide. Address: 3 Rue Vavin, 75006 Paris, France. Phone: (33-1) 43 54 09 85.

  • La Maison du Chocolatweb page | taster opinions: One of the the two "medium-sized" companies Chantal Coady lists as rating "the very best quality available," La Maison du Chocolat is available in New York and Neiman-Marcus in Dallas and Houston. Nathalie Bailleux et al. recommends the ganaches, "perfected by the grand master chocolatier Robert Linxe." Address: 225 Rue Faubourg St Honoré, Paris 75008, France. Phone: (33-1) 42 27 39 44, (33-1) 47 64 03 75 (fax). Address (U.S.): 1018 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10021; 30 Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020. Phone (U.S.): (800) 988-5632; (212) 265-9404 (at the Rockefeller Center).

  • Le Roux: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Has worldwide mail order. Address: 18 Rue du Port-Maria, 56170 Quiberon, France. Phone: (33) 97 50 06 83, (33) 97 30 57 94 (fax).

  • Maryweb page: Depending on who you talk to, you're not going to get much more elite than this chocolatier. Gregg Easterbrook calls it the "Cartier" of chocolatiers. Chantal Coady finds their wares just "average to good quality." Want to try some? Then you'll have to make a trip to Brussels; that's the only store, and they don't do mail order. Address: 73 Rue Royal, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Phone: (32-2) 217 45 00.

  • Neuhausweb page | taster opinions: Gregg Easterbrook feels Neuhaus is a good combination of availability and quality. Chantal Coady rates Neuhaus as "average to good quality." Some particular Neuhaus pralines recommended by Lesly Berger: the "Pharaoh," the "125," and the "Automne." With an office in the U.S., Neuhaus is accessible to Americans by mail order, online, as well as through their Madison Ave. (New York City) boutique. Neuhaus also sells its pralines in selected Macy's, Neiman-Marcus, and other such stores. The lady I talked to at Neuhaus to get a catalog was very kind and polite. Address (U.S.): 2 Secatoag Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050. Phone (U.S.): (888) 666-7088, (516) 883-7429 (fax). Note: U.S. mail order is through their New York boutique, (212) 861-2800. Orders are shipped 2nd Day Air.

  • Sprüngli: One of the the two "commercial" brands Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available." Coady tasted chocolates from their Top Ten selection. Nathalie Bailleux et al. enjoyed the Truffles du Jour and their bonbons. Sprüngli has a number of stores in Zurich, and also do worldwide mail order via FedEx. Address: Bahnhofstrasse 21, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland. Phone: (41-1) 211 5777, (41-1) 211 3435 (fax).

  • Wittamer: A small producer Chantal Coady rates as having "the very best quality available" and "Without a doubt the finest chocolate-makers in Belgium...." Nathalie Bailleux et al. praises the Trianon and the Bouchon. Has worldwide mail order. Address: 12 Place du Grand Sablon, Grote Zavel 12, 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Phone: (32-2) 512 84 51, (32-2) 512 37 42 (fax).