Sometimes we judge a book by its cover. And by book we mean chocolate, and by cover we mean the packaging. How could you blame us, with bars this beautiful? If we (almost) didn’t care what was inside these drop-dead, gorgeously designed gems, we’d frame the wrappers and put them on our inspiration wall.
Spoiler alert: They’re as stunning inside as they are on the outside.
Okay, so perhaps their beauty-to-deliciousness ratio wasn’t totally surprising. Each of these chocolates are small-batch, indie bars made with excellent ingredients and incredible attention to detail. We’re in foodie/design junkie heaven.
Below, seven bars out to prove beauty isn’t only skin-deep:
Cajamarca Peru Single Origin Chocolate Bar – Portland, Oregon-based Woodblock Chocolate is the delicious result of years of artistic endeavors from wife-and-husband team Jessica and Charley Wheelock. Working with just single-origin cacao beans, sugar and salt, they create stunning little bars as deeply flavorful as they are beautifully executed. The sleek bars with gorgeously-designed labels are ideal for stashing in a purse or a lucky kid's backpack or (if you’re an early planner) stocking stuffers.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Bar – This bar is truly a global medley, with single-origin chocolate from Ghana and of course Mexican spices like warm cinnamon and feisty cayenne. The heat kicks in just after your first bite, boosting the creamy chocolate to unexpected heights. It'll have you hot and bothered. For extra warming power, chop it up and melt it into milk! Fresh whipped cream optional.
Madagascar Dark Chocolate Bar – The Somia Plantation in the lower Sambirano Valley of Northern Madagascar has unique growing conditions and post-harvest practices that are known for producing rich, citrus-y, nutty organic cacao. That's what you'll find in this bar, along with organic cane sugar – a beautifully simple showcase of the distinctive terroir of Madagascan cacao beans. Robbie and Anna say the nuttiness is reminiscent of roasted hazelnuts, and it's balanced by bright fruity notes.
Toasted White Chocolate Bar – You like dulce de leche. You like brown butter. Well, you'll love this toasted white chocolate bar. It sounds overpoweringly sweet, but a tiny sprinkle of salt cuts down the sugar overload. This is one of the absolute best white chocolate bars we've tasted – especially on peanut butter toast with bananas.
Chocolate Mint Chip Gelato Bar – A chocolate bar filled with ice cream? Impossible! Lucky for us, the geniuses at TCHO chocolate are all about the impossible. They teamed with their neighbor Gelateria Naia to craft a bar filled with chunks of astronaut mint ice cream (made exclusively for TCHO). It's so good it may actually have been beamed in from another planet.
Marañón Peru 76% Dark Chocolate Bar – If you could turn dark chocolate into butter, it would taste like this. Mellow, creamy, with just-right acidity and a toasty walnut flavor. For the longest time, the chocolate-making world thought the Nacional variety of cacao bean had been wiped out by disease. Thank goodness the trees were rediscovered in Peru’s Marañón river canyon. Their highly prized pods contain a notably high percentage of white beans – about 40%. This is unusual, as most cacao beans are a dark and purple-y. And that awesome black-and-silver packaging with foil stamping? That’s all by All Good, an indie creative studio here in New York City.
JCOCO Rainbow Chocolate Set – At our weekly Friday tastings at Mouth, we have to admit we eat with our eyes first. Suckers for appealing packaging, we were giddy when this stack of rainbowliciousness arrived. Each colorful package contains three bars, individually wrapped with 1970's fashion photography. And the chocolate does not disappoint. Each totally unique but crowd-pleasing flavor is more outstanding than the next. Black fig and pistachio? Spicy orange? Giddy.
These bars make awesome gifts, ideal for those who live and die for design. Or, just for chocolate lovers.Whatever your poison, these bars scratch the itch.