This is by no means a complete roster of all the excellent, ethically produced chocolates on the market. It’s a short list of the bars that I buy and eat regularly. All, except Valrhona, are American-made, because that’s what I find most easily available. Use it as a starting point to choose your own favorites.
This New Orleans chocolate maker specializes in fragrant, tangy bars made from Peruvian and Mexican chocolate, some with Louisiana sugar.
One of the first of the new wave of American bean-to-bar makers, this San Francisco company makes exceptional bars with only two ingredients: cacao and sugar.
[Learn more about how chocolate is made.]
This Northern California outfit gets a lot of attention for its black-fig chocolate bar, but I also love its Belize single-origin drinking chocolate.
Its single-origin bars — made in Asheville, N.C., from beans grown in Peru, Costa Rica and Nicaragua — have both purity and richness.
Anyone driving in the Catskills should stop at Fruition’s shop in Shokan to stock up on its beautifully made single-origin bars, and its not-too-sweet dark milk chocolate bars, which are some of the best in that style.
This Massachusetts producer makes bars with local maple syrup, as well as a fine collection of single-origin bars.
The San Francisco-area company makes high-quality, reasonably priced chocolate for baking, but I also love their well-balanced eating bars, which blend cacaos from different regions.
The Rizek family has growing cacao in the Dominican Republic since 1905. In 2019, they opened a workshop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where you can see, and smell, their glorious chocolate as it’s made.
I’m not sure which I like better: the Los Angeles company’s earthy single-origin bar from Ghana or the fruity Venezuelan bar. Better order both.
Hawaii is the only state growing cacao commercially, and Madre, on Oahu, uses it to great effect.
Also part of the first wave of craft-chocolate makers, Taza, outside Boston, is not only a great source for silky single-origin bars; it also offers stone-ground Mexican chocolate disks with a pleasingly gritty texture.
From its austere 81 percent bittersweet to its wacky freeze-dried mint gelato, Tcho, in the Bay Area, is always innovating. I have my eye on its new black lime and French thyme bar, and not just because it rhymes.
The French brand has long been my go-to for premium chocolate brand. I keep its pastilles squirreled away in my desk for emergency snacking. Valrhona recently became a B Corporation, which requires the company to demonstrate that the business has a positive impact on its community, its workers and the environment.