Whether you’re buying chocolate for friends, loved ones, or even yourself this Valentine’s Day, there’s no reason to skimp. Some of the best chocolate can be found at these independent shops and chocolatiers around Washington.
724 Jefferson St., Alexandria
At this picture-perfect chocolate boutique in Alexandria, truffle flavors range from classic salted caramel to more exotic, like wildflower honey caramel. This year, Fleurir’s signature Valentine’s Day treat comes in the form of chocolate-dipped strawberry marshmallow hearts. Want something a little more specific? Try the regionally-themed chocolate bars, such as DC that features dried cherries and Tahitian vanilla coffee in a play on the famous cherry blossoms.
3160 Bladensburg Rd., NE
Husband-and-wife team Colin and Sarah Hartman run this unique chocolate factory, which produces bars made from sustainably-sourced cacao from Brazil, and now, the Dominican Republic. For Valentine’s Day, Harper Macaw is rolling out its first Dominican-sourced chocolate bar, called raspberry cheesecake. True to the name, it features fudgey Dominican chocolate, freeze-dried raspberries, dehydrated cream cheese, and homemade graham crackers. Pick up a few at the Haper Macaw location at the Wharf, or tour their Bladensburg Road, NE factory.
1025 N. Filmore St., Arlington; 2910 District Ave., Fairfax
Chocolatier Chelsea Freet’s elegant French chocolate confections are hand-made in small batches with ingredients like Maryland-grown mint, or locally-sourced spirits and liqueurs. Look for bonbons with interesting flavors such salted butter-caramel or orange blossom-honey. The lemon almond, a treat crafted specially for Valentine’s Day, features caramelized white chocolate with citrus zest, and house-made almond paste.
1130 Connecticut Ave., NW
One of the first independent chocolate shops in DC, Chocolate Chocolate has been a downtown establishment for more than 30 years and sells treats from a variety of chocolatiers. Gift your DC-loving valentine to a solid chocolate recreation of the Capitol, White House, or other landmark. The shop also sells a variety of packaged treats.
1743 L St., NW
Celebrating its 40th year of business this year, Michele Cosby’s Chocolate Moose is a mainstay in the gift-shop-slash-chocolatier world. Both local and Belgian chocolates line the cases of this fun downtown gift shop, including tasty pecan and cashew turtles, sea salt caramels, and truffles. Shoppers can choose between daily-made boxed chocolate sets or customize ones themselves. Take the opportunity to pick up cards, games, novelty socks, and other lighthearted gifts.
4611 Sangamore Rd., Bethesda
Don’t be fooled by the name: this bakery in Bethesda boasts 22 varieties of chocolates. Customers can enjoy flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla ganache, peanut fennel, orange black tea, and key lime. Also sold: pastries, fruit tarts, and macarons of all flavors for your sweet.
1750 Crystal Drive, Arlington (Crystal Mall)
Although Schakolad is a national chain, its chocolates –– like the red velvet cake truffles, made fresh every day –– are created and dipped on-site in Crystal City. Shakolad’s ganache is a treat not to be dismissed, featuring seven different flavors, such as cheesecake, raspberry, or Champagne.
1904 18th St., NW
Formerly Cocova, The Chocolate House doesn’t make chocolate–it selects it. Taking an international approach to sweets, the Adams Morgan stocks chocolate bars, confections, truffles and caramels made all around the world, from Switzerland to Boston, Iceland, or even Vietnam. Also on offer are truffle-making and chocolate-tasting classes several times a month.
929 F St., NW
This Penn Quarter boutiques chocolates come in all sorts of flavors, ranging from mango to sangria and rosemary-caramel. There’s indulgent chocolate-covered bacon, boozy bonbons, and even cork-shaped champagne truffles that will just…pop. If eating at home isn’t for you, you can make your way to the adjoining restaurant, which serves cocoa-inspired 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. While the heart-shaped liquid caramels in flavors like apple pie, pinot noir and fleur de sel are always popular, Zoe’s has added sweetheart chocolates for Valentine’s Day. A dark-chocolate-and-cognac ganache enrobed in white chocolate, these bonbons mimic the look of the candy hearts that wer popular when you were a kid.