We can’t tell you who to buy the chocolate for, but we can recommend shops that carry the best cocoa (no drugstore boxes included).
3160 Bladensburg Rd., NE
This new chocolate factory—one of a kind in the District—produces beautifully-packaged bars with cacao sustainably-sourced from Brazil (sorry, Mast Brothers). Pick up a few at one of their local retail partners, or visit their Bladensburg Road, NE factory for a tasty tour.
1025 N. Filmore St., Arlington; 2910 District Ave., Fairfax
Chocolatier Jason Andelman’s confections are hand-made in small batches with ingredients like French Valrhona chocolate and Maryland-grown mint. Look for bonbons with interesting flavors such as Cabernet or lemon-almond, made with house-made almond paste.
1130 Connecticut Ave., NW
Chocolate Chocolate has been cranking out sweets in downtown DC for more than 25 years. Gift a DC-themed sweet for your Valentine in the form of a milk chocolate rendering of the Capitol, White House, other landmarks. The shop also sells a variety of packaged or make-your-own chocolate sets.
1904 18th St., NW
Formerly Cocova, the Chocolate House isn’t in the business of making chocolate. Rather, it stocks fine chocolates made all around the world, from well-known cocoa destinations (Switzerland, Belgium), to unexpected places like Boston, Madagascar, and Hungary.
724 Jefferson St., Alexandria
Husband-and-wife team Ashley Hubbard and Robert Ludlow are behind this artful chocolate boutique in Alexandria, where truffle flavors range from classic salted caramel to more exotic (pistachio-orange blossom). Have a honey who hails from elsewhere? Regionally-themed chocolate bars, like the hickory-caramel-and-bacon-studded South Bar, make great gifts.
4611 Sangamore Rd., Bethesda
This Bethesda bakery will gladly fill a box or bag with any number of 21 varieties of chocolates, each with a different filling. Flavors include salted caramel, honey lavender, white chocolate passionfruit, and rum raisin. Also sold: pastries, fruit tarts, and cookies for your sweet.
1750 Crystal Drive, Arlington (Crystal Mall)
Schakolad may be a national chain, but chocolates are made and dipped on-site in Crystal City. Customize your own box or buy a pre-selected assortment.
1743 L St., NW
American and Belgian chocolates line the cases of this funky downtown DC chocolate and gift shop, including tasty chocolate-dipped caramel marshmallows, truffles, and turtles. Shoppers can customize boxes, and also pick up cards and other fun gifts (picture frames, funny socks) at the same time.
929 F St., NW
This Penn Quarter chocolate “boutique” sells artful boxes of chocolates in exotic flavors that range from mango to sangria and rosemary-caramel. There’s also chocolate-covered bacon for all the pork lovers, and a whole adjoining restaurant with cocoa-infused dishes.
121 N. Market St., Frederick, Maryland
You don’t have to visit downtown Frederick to procure a box of these exceptional chocolates—shop online, or visit one of their many retail partners around Washington. The Greek heritage of the sibling-owners translates to unusual flavors such as baklava and pomegranate.