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Atlanta’s best chocolatiers

Alon's chocolates, credit: Jenny Turknett

Alon's chocolates, credit: Jenny Turknett

I love chocolate. It seems that you’re either a chocolate person or you’re not. I’m a chocolate person.  Are you a chocolate person?

Judging the best chocolatier for Best of the Big A wasn’t a difficult assignment. Although, after tasting chocolates from multiple Atlanta chocolatiers in one sitting, I did feel like a kid who had raided the candy jar and ended up with a tummy ache. Upon making this remark to friends, one laughed and asked me to forgive her for not feeling sorry for me.

In truth, the hardest part of the assignment was choosing a winner. Although usually decisive, in this case I had trouble ranking the shops. I wanted to award a four-way tie for first place. Here’s what I adore about my top four Atlanta chocolatiers.

Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co.

Located in Inman Park, Cacao is everything you would expect a chocolatier to be. Exuding charm, every detail is carefully considered in this boutique. Seeing women working in the “laboratoire” behind frosted glass doors evokes the sense of a top-secret-Willy-Wonka-esque production.

Using 75% dark chocolate, Cacao’s truffles are about respecting the chocolate. Flavorings are delicate and subtle, never overpowering the flavors of the rich chocolate. My favorites are the truffles that are rolled in toppings — ones without the shell protecting the velvety ganache-like center. Don’t miss the coconut dulce de leche truffle.

Two of my other favorites at Cacao include the domino bar, which is a shortbread cookie layered with house-made marshmallow and caramel and dipped in chocolate, and the Azteca Aphrodisiac sipping chocolate. The latter makes me glad I don’t live nearby — this sipping chocolate with six chiles and spices is more addictive than Starbucks.

11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (note: Cacao will be open on Valentine’s Day, Monday Feb. 14). 312 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta, 404-221-9090.

Alon’s Bakery

Alon’s Bakery has a large selection of chocolates. If I am in the mood for bold flavors in my chocolate, this is one place I’d go. The shell on the truffles here is thinner and softer, making it easier to chomp into the smooth-rich-full-flavored centers. The truffles I most enjoy from Alon’s include the pumpkin pie, port fig, coconut, and a wonderfully surprising Earl Grey.

Dunwoody Location: 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, 678-397-1781. Original Location: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. 1394 North Highland Avenue, 404-872-6000.

Sugar-Coated Radical

In an unusual location with limited hours, Sugar-Coated Radical has great appeal on many fronts. From the tiny shop in a

credit: Jenny Turknett

credit: Jenny Turknett

former home to the hand-stitched tags on the brown cardboard boxes, everything is a bit quirky and completely endearing. And that’s before you taste the chocolate.

Shop owner Taria Camerino gives a personal tour of the chocolates and confections. Unlikely fillings and flavorings play nicely with the 70% chocolate. The truffle with olive oil and the stuffed figs with goat’s-milk-brie-ganache are two of the more unusual pairings that really work. This is the place where you will taste the passion of the chocolate-maker.

2-7 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. 680 Drewry Street, Atlanta, 404-587-4912.

The Chocolaterie

If you don’t have a trip though Cumming planned in the near future, you might want to alter those plans. The Chocolaterie, located at the Avenue Forsyth, is a fun chocolate/gift shop with something for everyone. After tearing myself away from

The Chocolaterie, credit: Jenny Turknett

credit: Jenny Turknett

oogling the extensive fudge selection, I am mesmerized by the truffles.

These chocolates are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen– hand painted with swirls of color and a glossy sheen. The attendant waits patiently while I repeatedly remark how gorgeous they are.

While some are traditional, many of the candies have unique fillings such as the red velvet cake — made with real red velvet cake inside. The Chocolaterie makes all of the ingredients that will go into their bold-flavored chocolates. My favorites include the sea-salt caramel, mint-chip delirium, dark-chocolate delirium, and the rainforest with raw cacao nibs for a nice crunch.

10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Sundays. 410 Peachtree Parkway, Cumming, 678-513-2700.

Jenny-Turknett-Tagline–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

31 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zack, GoG8trs, Food Victorian, BestoftheBigA, Kristen Phillips and others. Kristen Phillips said: I could get behind a tour of all of these! @angelabuckland @amymccollum RT @AJCFoodandMore: Atlanta’s best chocolatiers http://bit.ly/hWSrb9 [...]

Kash

February 3rd, 2011
12:02 pm

Sugar Coated Radical is the bomb. Amazing in a number of ways. Everyone should drop what they are doing and immediately go there…..when they open at 2pm.

Lane

February 3rd, 2011
12:13 pm

I’m a fan of Maison Robert! Walk in the door and the smell is incredible. And Robert is always at the counter hand-crafting delicious chocolates. Plus, their other house-made items are terrific.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristen Hard, Jenny Turknett. Jenny Turknett said: Atlanta’s best chocolatiers http://t.co/p2rxGpV [...]

1164mgc

February 3rd, 2011
12:50 pm

I don’t live nearby so unfortunately I can’t sample all of the chocolate shops (or even ANY of them) that Atlanta has to offer. I am a “chocolate person” but I’ve never been too fond of truffles. The way you describe the ones you’ve tried at these places, though, make me angry that I can’t go to those places to try them as well!

ted

February 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

Also surprised Maison Robert isn’t on your list.

Rodney

February 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Fantastic! I’m not much for the sweets so I haven’t heard of two of these chocolatiers. I’m VERY excited about Sugar-Coated Radical. Seems just like the kind of place that would really do it for me.

Hey Jenny – what about ATL’s cheesemongers? Think maybe you could put a list together with your opinions? I pretty much stay with Tim at Star Provisions but just like the chocolatiers, I’m probably missing some great cheese!

goodegirl

February 3rd, 2011
2:27 pm

Excellent…I love the pepper infused chocolates at The Chocolaterie.

Lisa

February 3rd, 2011
2:58 pm

Teuscher has always been my favourite.

Jenny Turknett

February 3rd, 2011
3:10 pm

Rodney – love the cheesemonger idea! And for those asking about Maison Robert, if you click on the link at the top to the Best of the Big A listing, you’ll see it in my top 5.

Kayla

February 3rd, 2011
4:16 pm

Was at Cacao Atl today. Walking in there always makes me happy and I leave feeling like I went to some secret shop no one knows about because its so tucked away. It smells incredible and everything I buy there is always crazy good. I feel like its something out of a movie or story book

th

February 3rd, 2011
4:42 pm

Where is the guy who used to own The Chocolate Bar) working these days?? He made delicious truffles.

ozzfest

February 3rd, 2011
4:50 pm

The places mentioned are adequate at best. Somebody needs to call the folks at THE CHOCOLATE FETISH in downtown Asheville…if they opened an Atlanta store they would be multi-millionaires.

They have THE BEST chocolates I have ever had, and a huge variety. I come home with a trunk full everytime I am in Western North Carolina.

Smarty

February 3rd, 2011
5:03 pm

I can’t believe you left off Maison Robert…ONE of the best in the country by muiltple news publications. And the guy is straight of the boat from France. Typical of this paper.

Les

February 3rd, 2011
5:06 pm

Maison Robert!

Lance

February 3rd, 2011
5:28 pm

I agree with Smarty, Les and Lane! How could you leave out someone who has been crafting chocolate for two decades now for Alon’s?! Not even in the same class! I call the Reebs my third family as I have been going there for several years now and it feels like home when you walk in. And on top of that EVERYTHING they make, from the pastries, bread, sandwiches, macaroon de’ paris are fresh, made by hand are simply wonderful. And don’t get me started on the chocolates, perfection. They may not have some of the odd combination of flavors like Cacao, which does make some amazing chocolates, the beet/blueberry, ginger and fig/balsamic really come to mind, but for pure quality, consistency, quaintness and customer service it’s Maison Robert hands down.

Slash

February 3rd, 2011
5:46 pm

LW Chocolatier!

Sunwolf

February 3rd, 2011
5:52 pm

Maison Robert is the bomb — the chocolate bomb! Not including them in your article makes it rather moot.

kmb

February 3rd, 2011
6:19 pm

Maggie Lyons and Maison Robert should be on anyone’s list.

Sleepy

February 3rd, 2011
6:55 pm

UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Not even a mention of Maison Robert? I regularly make the evil drive across town for his delicately rich truffles. Alons’ chocolates are a joke – brilliant bakers, but chocolatiers???? I may need to try Cacao – far closer to me.

truthbtold

February 3rd, 2011
6:56 pm

Schakolad Chocolates on Hammond Drive is awesome!

choclover

February 3rd, 2011
7:08 pm

MAGGIE LYON Chocolatiers are the BEST in the tri-state area – far above any of these others. Can not BELIEVE they are not on your list!!! How can you have missed MAGGIE LYON????

chocoholic

February 3rd, 2011
7:17 pm

Folks have to remember all these chocolates were judged head to head, including Maison Robert (which was mentioned, and came in fifth). Different people have different tastes…it’s ok! I’m not crazy about Maison Robert’s chocolates either (love sugar coated radical, though), but I’m pleased to see there a people who are : )

Lance

February 3rd, 2011
8:13 pm

Jenny I think the point most people were trying to make was the AJC’s inability to provide something consistent. You say you list the top 5, but the main article only talks about four of them. Why even bother mentioning a list that you have to hunt for. If you can’t find space to mention all five in the main article and let a central link take you to a full review of all five then that is a cop out, plain and simple.

Lance

February 3rd, 2011
8:14 pm

Choclover, this is the top in “Atlanta”, not tri-state.

I am whatever you say I am

February 3rd, 2011
8:20 pm

What!?!?! The chocolate bar did not get a review???? Blasphemy I say!!!

however,….I heard of this wonderful place called Alon’s where chocolate, cookies, and delights existed.
At first, I thought it was an urban legend but seeing that there is an address listed complete with phone number and hours, I may just have to check it out.

chocoholic

February 3rd, 2011
11:38 pm

@Lance – the best of the big A top 5 is separate. This is a blog post about picking the best chocolates, and she highlighted her 4 favorites. As she said, she almost wanted to award a four way tie for first, so that’s what the article is about. A “cop out”? What on earth are you talking about? It’s a blog post about her 4 favorite chocolatiers. That’s it. Maison Robert wasn’t one of those 4. Deal with it, dude. Or call a whaaambulance to come pick you up.

Jenny Turknett

February 4th, 2011
5:27 am

Lance, I understand why you ask. But I chose to write about these four only because I could make a case for each of them to earn first place. While I ultimately ranked them in the Best of the Big A (where Maison Robert is included in the top 5), I wrote about the four-way tie contenders.

[...] all within a stone’s throw from your apartment.  Here’s a little information on Cacao and their sumptuous truffles: Using 75% dark chocolate, Cacao’s truffles are about respecting chocolate. Flavorings are [...]

ChocolateCentral

February 4th, 2011
10:57 am

With all the fabulous chocolate I’ve tasted, it seems hard to believe I haven’t tried that features sea salt. I keep reading about it. I live in a mountain village in Mexico and haven’t come across it. I’ll be on the lookout for it or have some shipped here.

Andrew S

February 4th, 2011
7:23 pm

Agreed with ozzfest – Chocolate Fetish is amazing. So is the Chocolate Lounge. Why is all the good chocolate in Asheville?!?!?!