The LA Burdick Signature Chocolate Assortment ($ 45 for 37 pieces; medium), which came in a wooden box, was well received with three votes in second place and just one hit. The subtle shades of chocolate squares hide a mix of French-inspired ganaches, including plenty of juicy options like Macallan whiskey and green chartreuse. These are safe gift chocolates in the middle of the street that are likely to make professional gifts. LA Burdick is based in New Hampshire with stores in New York City, Cambridge and Boston. LA Burdick is known for its chocolate mice, which are undoubtedly cute.
The Knipschildt Chocolatier Large Signature Collection ($ 60 for 25 pieces) performed well with two votes in second place. This chocolatier is based in Norwalk, Connecticut and is very popular in the area. The structured, hand-made paper packaging is one of the most beautiful.
The Vermont Nut-Free Grand Assortment (approx. USD 22 for 12 pieces) is an assorted box of chocolates in the truest sense of the word – there are many different shapes and flavors. It reflects boxes of chocolates that people with nut allergies may have coveted, but which they ultimately had to do without. These tasted good, but weren’t as well made as the Amore di Mona pralines. And while these chocolates are made on a 100% nut-free facility, many are made on shared equipment with products that contain gluten / wheat, soy, eggs, and dairy products. If you’re looking for more of a classic chocolates box experience, this could deliver, but we encourage you to check allergy information before purchasing.
The Moonstruck Total Eclipse Collection ($ 16 for six) was beautiful inside and out, and it doesn’t contain any nuts. Unfortunately, these chocolates are not made in an allergen-free facility so this can be too risky for people with more severe allergies. And they’re expensive for such a small box. However, they are still a great option if you prefer nut-free chocolates but aren’t concerned about the facility they’re made in. You get one of six different flavors each, and both the chocolates and the box itself are lovely to look at.
The Christopher Elbow Gourmet Chocolate Collection ($ 41 for 16 pieces) was our top pick for 2014. A panel of judges selected it as their favorite at a blind tasting. However, at later tastings, the chocolates looked too sweet and the flavors seemed a bit persistent. While these chocolates are absolutely gorgeous – they resemble balls and jewels – our current picks have pushed them down from the top spots.
Fran’s gray and smoked salted caramels ($ 37 for 20 pieces) are said to be among Barack Obama’s favorite confections. While they were nice, we didn’t like them enough to call them our favorite. The chocolates were a little sweeter and everything we tried had a slightly burnt taste.
The traditional Woodhouse range of chocolates ($ 66 for 24 pieces) didn’t make a big impression on our first group of tasters, but these chocolates didn’t get any votes in last place either. This Napa Valley, California-based chocolatier offers pralines colored only with natural chocolate colors in shades of brown and white. The assortment is in robin-egg-blue-crinkle-cups and boxes.
John & Kiras Every Flavor Chocolates ($ 35 for 15) had great taste but ended up being pretty bland. They were all the same shape, size, and texture, the only difference being that the ganache filling was flavored. We didn’t think this would be a good choice for a gift; Instead, you’d better leave for a dinner party while the guests linger over coffee.
Biting into the chocolates at the Neuhaus Classic Ballotin ($ 39 for 17 items) was less exciting for us than the packaging. The shells were too thick and the fillings were sugary and average. As for this packaging, the chocolates come in a box that is wrapped in shimmering paper, and it feels like a Christmas morning when you open them. Neuhaus is a Belgian chocolate company that has been around since 1857.
The various types of candy from Jacques Torres Chocolate (US $ 27 for 12 pieces) consist of chocolates, ganaches, and caramels and come in a neat box. We found the truffles and filled chocolates attractive. But the chocolate itself had no complexity and the taste died on the tongue.
The Vosges Exotic Truffle Collection ($ 49 for 16) includes a bacon bar that was loved by many of the people we spoke to, but the various chocolates weren’t as well received. The Vosges are famous for round truffles with exotic, unexpected combinations like wasabi with black sesame seeds and even Taleggio cheese with walnuts. The funniest comment we’ve heard: “Cumin? This is a mean trick! “Vosges chocolates are available in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The No Whey Everything Good collection (about $ 30 for 15 pieces) is a nut-free option made in an allergen-free facility. Ultimately, however, all of the flavors were too perfumed and the chocolate was waxy.
The Godiva Dark Chocolate Gift Box ($ 40 for 22 pieces) is another chocolate that was mentioned in our comments section. These were Lesley’s favorites in high school, but the quality seems to have gone downhill since then and we honestly believe these chocolates wouldn’t hold a candle for our selection.
See’s Assorted Chocolates (around $ 25 for £ 1, available nationwide) was one of the most prized items on our tasting series. The chocolates are usually larger, enough for two bites instead of one, with a mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate around old-fashioned nougat and nut caramel fillings. Although this chocolate got three hits, it also got a third place. The range may seem like a nostalgic readiness for followers, but it can’t compete with the more boutique chocolates out there. Even so, these pieces were far better than Russell Stover’s chocolates.
Speaking of Russell Stover, this chocolate along with Whitman’s has received all the strikes from our panelists. The tasters commented on how artificial the samples tasted, and they generally disliked them.