To rate Seattle’s top chocolates, we asked local companies for three samples apiece: one milk, one dark, and one candy of their choosing. When we compiled the results, we were surprised to find some newcomers among our top picks.

Page by page, find milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolatier’s choice winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions.

Chocolate Lab in our Shopping Guide

Chocolatiers Tested: Boehm’s, Cadeaux, Cocoa Chai, Dilettante, Fiori, Fran’s, Seattle Chocolates, and Theo Chocolate.

 

Milk Chocolate (milk/sugar/cocoa butter base)

Winner

Milk Chocolate Ganache with Vanilla Bean
Cadeaux Chocolates

The Goods Milk chocolate infused with vanilla.
Percent Cacao: 34
Region of Origin Multiorigin
Why We Love It We couldn’t get enough of this truffle’s creamy texture and the contrast between its silky center and snappable shell.
Sweet Success Secret Experimentation. Janet Shimada lab-tested 20 trial recipes before arriving at this blend.

 

Runner-Up 

Meltaway Mint
Seattle Chocolates

The Goods Truffle bar with creamy, mint-infused “meltaway” center.
Percent Cacao: Blend: 33 milk, 53 cacao dark
Region of Origin West Africa
Why We Love It The hint of mint wasn’t beloved by all tasters, but the “tart, dry finish” pushed it ahead of the competition.
Sweet Success Secret Subtlety. Double-distilled peppermint oil adds a whisper of mint without overpowering the chocolate.

 

Honorable Mention

Lait
Cocoa Chai

The Goods Rich dark milk chocolate truffle.
Percent Cacao: 40.5
Region of Origin Venezuela
Why We Love It “Smoothness” and “balance” were among the praises heaped upon this confection.
Sweet Success Secret Simplicity. Ivy Chan eliminates butter, relying on heavy cream in her ganache to create a velvety mouthfeel.

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Chocolate Lab in our Shopping Guide

Dark Chocolate (sugar and cocoa butter base)


Winner

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle
Cadeaux Chocolates

The Goods Creamy ganache in a crisp chocolate shell.
Percent Cacao: 60
Region of Origin Multiorigin
Why We Love It Heralding it as a “superstar,” samplers described a candy that’s “rich and decadent, with no bitterness or flat flavor.”
Sweet Success Secret Versatility. Shimada can also make pastries, a skill that clearly informed this lustrous, gilded bonbon.

 

Runner-Up

Venezolano
Cocoa Chai

The Goods Pure dark chocolate ganache enrobed in a dark chocolate shell.
Percent Cacao: 70
Region of Origin Venezuela
Why We Love It We liked the “crispy-creamy” texture contrast.
Sweet Success Secret Decadence. Chan revealed that she uses heavy cream with at least 36 percent milk fat.

 

Honorable Mention 

Mezzanotte Dark
Fiori Chocolatiers

The Goods Creamy, extra-dark chocolate bar.
Percent Cacao: 70
Region of Origin Venezuela and Ecuador
Why We Love It Fiori’s dark horse has a “solid, toasty flavor” with a hint of bitterness.
Sweet Success Secret Globalism. Lee Fiori links the understated, layered flavors to his studies in Japanese cuisine.

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Chocolate Lab in our Shopping Guide

Chocolatier’s Choice (milk, sugar, and cocoa butter base)

 

Winner 

Fleur de Sel Caramel
Cadeaux Chocolates

The Goods Vanilla caramel dipped in bittersweet chocolate and topped with fleur de sel.
Percent Cacao: 60
Region of Origin Multiorigin
Why We Love It “That’s good caramel,” said one taster. Another called this savory-and-sweet concoction “sophisticated.”
Sweet Success Secret Precision. Shimada’s exacting process ensures heat is always evenly distributed, the key to creating silky caramel.

 

Runner-Up 

Perfect Peanut Butter
Seattle Chocolates

The Goods Peanuts and creamy peanut butter in a dark candy shell.
Percent Cacao: Blend: 30 white, 53 dark
Region of Origin West Africa
Why We Love It This “fancy nutter butter” evoked its peanut butter predecessors, then left them in the dust.
Sweet Success Secret Genius. Seattle Chocolate’s “meltaway” center melts at 76 degrees, 20 degrees lower than its outer shell.

 

Honorable Mention

Mozart Kugeln
Boehm’s Candies

The Goods Bittersweet dark chocolate with hazelnut ganache and a marzipan center.
Percent Cacao: 62
Region of Origin Multiorigin
Why We Love It It was the “excellent” flavor combo of marzipan and bittersweet chocolate that won us over.
Sweet Success Secret Homage. The rose-oil-infused almond marzipan is a tribute to a classic Salzburg confection.

This article appeared in the March 2009 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.

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