Because: It’s happened!!! That narrow window of time between December and February (aka chocolate-shipping-weather) FINALLY arrived, when temperatures dip from one hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit in the shade to a chilly 77 degrees (when it is literally time for jackets and socks, and no I’m not crazy, just acclimatized), and I held my breath while the chocolate was en route (after constantly reorganizing, reducing, and revising my wish list).
I’ve got recommendations. The online craft chocolate stores I ordered from (2019) are as follows:
Bar and Cocoa
Location: South Carolina, USA
Shipping Cost: Free shipping (within the USA) for orders over $75 (Yay!)
Product Range: Very impressive (and constantly expanding) See the full list.
Bar From Bar and Cocoa I’m Most Excited to Try: Probably Zotter.
Confession: The Zotter bar is already photographed and tasted. Wow. I’m now officially adding the caramel milk to the “if I ever get a chance i want THAT one again” list.
Caputo’s Market & Deli
Location: Utah, USA
Shipping Cost: Chocolate ships free!! (Clarification: This applies to the USA only and you may run into a fee for warm weather packaging during the summer months, but Caputo’s has confirmed there is no need to wait for cooler weather. They package chocolate according to the receiver’s temperature, and offer a warm weather guarantee. (So everyone’s chocolate arrives safe and sound!)
Product Range: I’d always considered Caputo’s to have the best selection of any U.S. based online store, although Bar and Cocoa may have caught up. (I didn’t do a side-by-side comparison.)
Bar From Caputo’s I’m Most Excited To Try: That’s hard. Ritual Vanilla maybe. Also Fruition Browned Butter. Oh and definitely Letterpress Mint. (Obviously it’s hard to decide. And obviously I’ve completely abandoned my rule of one bar per maker. I “blame” it entirely on everybody who makes irresistible inclusion bars.)
Location: Oregon, USA
Shipping Cost: Free shipping (within the USA) for orders over $100
(Which I couldn’t take advantage of, unfortunately.)
Product Range: The selection on their website usually varies pretty widely from month to month / year to year. Due to their location, they can be counted on to carry a nice selection of bars made in Oregon (Ranger, Only Child Chocolate, etc.)
Bar From The Meadow That I’m Most Excited to Try: Castronovo Lemon, without a doubt.
I recommend all three of these stores.
Last but not least, here are two honorable mentions (other online stores that carry a selection of craft chocolates, though I didn’t get to order from them this year):
Location: Oregon, USA
Shipping Cost: I can’t comment as I didn’t get to order from Chocoloplis in 2019. (Guess you’ll just have to place an order to find out!)
Product Range: Chocolopolis seems to focus on dark chocolate (both single origin and blends) rather than inclusion bars (although they DO carry some milk chocolate and inclusion bars)
Bar I Would Have Liked to Try the Most: Something by Mission Chocolate. (Admittedly this is partially because of the gorgeous flower-decorated wrappers. But also because of some unique inclusions. Like candied guava.)
Shipping Cost: I believe shipping is free within the UK. Check their website for international shipping rates.
Product Range: They have a great selection of European and Asian chocolates (partially due to their location) as well as bars from other countries.
Bar I Would Have Like to Try the Most: Probably another Dormouse bar. Oh, and TCHO Mint Chip Gelato. (Yes I know TCHO is made in the USA but wouldn’t you know, there is no TCHO at The Maadow or Bar and Cocoa or Caputo’s; I would have had to order it from the U.K!)
What are your favorite online chocolate sources?