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Most people will take any excuse to hop a flight — catch up with a friend, taste test tequila, search out surf — but chocoholics like us are on a whole other level: we’d go to the ends of the earth in the name of a good chocolate bar.
As we jet from here to there we try a few things every time we see it: coffee, cocktails, and chocolate. And we make list after list of our favorites whether we’re traveling to Italy, Mexico, Spain, or elsewhere.
But these are the chocolate bars we heart so much we’d buy a plane ticket just to bring them back home. Luckily, a good deal of them are available for purchase online. And those that aren’t? Well, we’d be lying if we didn’t say we’re waiting for our next flight to search them out.
Best Chocolate Bars
Here are our picks of the chocolate bars worth hopping a flight for:
Yes, we’re partial to other Californians and the Los Angeles-based boutique chocolate company, Compartes, is no exception. Over the years, they’ve come out with stunning stores and creative flavors to match, but we’ll always have a soft spot for their Golden State-inspired California Love (aka Salted Pretzel Dark Chocolate) Bar.
Two sweetheart artisanal food brands from the Bay Area — Tcho Chocolate and Blue Bottle Coffee — come together for this collab. This Mokkaccino Milk Chocolate and Blue Bottle Coffee is a bar we turn to when we need something sweet for our late afternoon pick-me-up.
The Italians make some of our favorite sweets (hello, cannoli and gelato). Still, gianduja, the hazelnut chocolate paste created in Turin (where Nutella got its start), might be the best of all. At least for chocolate lovers like us. So, leave it to the meticulous Italian manufacturer, Amedei (based in Tuscany, not in Turin), to make one of our favorite hazelnut chocolate bars.
Spain: Cacao Sampaka
We first found Cacao Sampaka when we searched for gifts when we were traveling to Spain. Since then, they’ve grown to locations in Barcelona and Valencia and even Japan and Brazil. The truffles are tops, but we like their high-quality single-origin chocolate bars like their Leyenda (aka legendary) series. This one celebrates Criollo Blanco cacao from Tabasco, Mexico, and is one of the most celebrated cacaos.
France: Michel Cluizel
Most of the time, we’re dark chocolate people, but there are some milk chocolates that we’d run to the ends of the earth for, like this Mangaro Milk Chocolate that’s so good we’d travel to France to buy some. Michel Cluizel makes tasty chocolate, but their milk chocolate converted us from strictly dark chocolate lovers to milk chocolate fans.
If we’re going to talk about milk chocolate, we have to talk about Switzerland, where chocolate is one of the unofficial food groups (alongside cheese and wine, of course). And, if we’re going to talk Swiss chocolate, we’re all about Sprüngli. The truth is, they have a lot of deliciousness in their stores — bark and mini macarons are known as Luxemburgerli — but we’ll always go back for their chocolate bars like this nut-studded milk chocolate.
The Belgians totally stand out when it comes to some of our favorite foods — beer, cheese, and chocolate. And when it comes to chocolate, Dolfin is our favorite Belgian chocolate maker. It’s hard to go wrong with their chocolate but we’re partial to this Milk Chocolate with Speculoos that doubles down on the Belgian-ness because it has our favorite Belgian shortbread cookie IN the chocolate!
United Kingdom: Green & Black’s
The Brits know how to make amazingly buttery toffee so naturally, our favorite English chocolate is this toffee chocolate from Green & Black. This bar is available down the street at our local Whole Foods but the toffee flavor has us dreaming of candy shops from old-school Roald Dahl stories.
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Opening photo by Davide Illini