Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, admittedly there might be a few hold-outs somewhere; but none of them live in #California, that’s for sure! The Big Bear state, home of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, beaches and atrocious traffic jams, boasts some of the finest chocolate shops in the world. Here are a few to keep in mind when you get to the Left Coast.

Chocolate covered

Located in the Noe Valley section of San Francisco, this chocolate shop is the progeny of proprietor Jack Epstein. The shop holds a vast array of locally produced chocolates, along with beau coup chocolates from “bean to bar” makers. The phrase “bean to bar” refers to companies that process their cocoa beans, eschewing ready-made chocolate from another manufacturer. If you make the pilgrimage to Chocolate Covered, be certain to try the Chimayo Pistachio Semi-Sweet Chocolate, a confection to die for. This palate-pleaser combines the crunchiness of pistachios, the frisson of red chile and the smooth charm of dark chocolate. Yummy! Another favorite is Madre Chocolate, a “bean to bar” treat from Hawaii made with coconut milk, which means it’s not only vegan but organic.

Coracao chocolates

This Bay Area chocolatier uses only the finest ingredients, resulting in scrumptious, healthy confections to satisfy your sweet-tooth. Coracao’s ingredients include gluten free, dairy free, soy free, organic chocolate, along with coconut sugar. They stone grind their nut butters from organic nuts. Try their drool-worthy Berkeley Bars or their Truffle Bars. And remember, because Coracao avoids refined sweeteners, their products not only titillate your taste buds, but they’re good for you. Guilt-free indulgence!

Compartes chocolateir

Located in SoCal, in Los Angeles, Compartes features true designer chocolates with unique wrappings. For example, the Tibetan Goji almond bar comes wrapped in a Buddha wrapping. The chocolates inside the distinctive wrappings are printed with swirls and geometric patterns. Along with the designer chocolates, Compartes features the more mundane and very popular time-honored confections, like turtles and chocolate-covered orange peels. When you’re there, be sure to pick up a six-pack of dark chocolate turtles or truffle bars. Or what the heck, just pick up a dozen of each. You’ll be glad you did.

John Kelly chocolates

John Kelly has two shops, one in Santa Monica, the other in Hollywood. Both shops carry the ambience of an up-scale jewelry store, where the gleaming gems reside encased in glass compartments. Only in this instance, the gems are chocolate, not diamonds. This isn’t Tiffany’s, it’s a candy store. John Kelly’s specialty is Truffle Fudge, a designer confection whose presentation is exceeded only by its yumminess. One bite and you’ll find yourself transported to chocolate heaven. Or you could try the salted caramels, which provide an existential experience.

K chocolatier

Utilizing a secret, Hungarian recipe, K Chocolatier makes its own chocolate on the premises. K Chocolatier caters to the most discriminating chocolate lovers, with offerings like Vodka Balls, Snowballs, Truffles and the shop’s legendary K Bears, composed of dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate integrated with crunchy rice. Shaped like bears, these treats are worth the price of admission. For chocolate lovers seeking something with a little more oomph, try the Scotch Hiballs. #Shopping