It’s my birthday today, so I’m indulging in a post devoted to chocolate :)

As fellow chocoholic Laura Florand will attest, there are countless chocolatiers who craft delectable treats in shapes, forms and combinations that will entice you to try them all. Depending on where I am in the world, I have different favorites, and even those favorites evolve with the arrival of new talent and new discoveries.

I recently discovered Amella’s agave chocolate sea salt caramels, made here in California. If you aren’t sure you like caramels, or sea salt, or dark chocolate, try these. They are not too sticky, too sweet, too salty, or too rich, so if you like a smooth balance of flavors this is the perfect introduction to caramels and sea salt.

I found these at the Conservatory for Coffee and Tea, but if you have trouble finding them, try their website or Whole Foods.

If you are more adventurous, go to John Kelly Chocolates in either Santa Monica or Hollywood. They are also available online or at Neiman Marcus, but fresh is best. These are everything Amella’s are not, with larger pieces (1 oz) and bold rich flavors.

DSC_0013-1The three pictured below are all truffled bites: Dark Chocolate Pink Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt with caramel, Dark Chocolate with Habanero and JalapeƱo, and Dark Chocolate with Gray Sea Salt. If you like spicy, they have mild or hot; I chose the hot and loved it, but there is a milder Chipotle and Ancho version.

The gray sea salt interior with rich truffle filling and generous sea salt.

The Pink Alea Hawaiian Salt Truffle bite with a thin layer of caramel.

Of course there is still my favorite all around chocolatier, Madame Chocolat, who will ship her gorgeous glitter truffles throughout the US. I love her regular truffles, even without the glitter :)

IMG_3963Her chocolates are the closest to French chocolatiers I’ve ever had in the states :)

So many chocolates, so little time :)

John Kelly Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Madame Chocolat on Urbanspoon

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