Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and whether you’re buying chocolate for friends, loved ones, or even yourself, there’s no reason to skimp out on the good stuff. Some of the best chocolate can be found at these independent shops and chocolatiers around Washington.
110 South Payne St., Alexandria
From wildflower honey caramel to pistachio praline rose water, this picture-perfect chocolate boutique in Alexandria offers a limited edition Be Mine box filled with truffle flavors you’ll fall in love with. If you’re looking for something on the simpler side try the strawberry almond pralines, which are molded into heart shapes, dipped into dark chocolate, and finished with red and pink cocoa butter.
2920 M St., NW
You can find a taste of Brazil at this new Georgetown chocolate factory, shop, and cafe (previously located in Ivy City). New owners Samuel Carvalho and chocolate maker Matthew Dixon use their products as a tool to promote reforestation by producing bars from sustainably-sourced cacao in Brazil and the Dominican Republic.* The factory offers fine quality chocolate tastings on Sundays, where guests can learn more about chocolate making.
1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington; 2910 District Ave., Fairfax
Professional pastry chef Jason Andelman uses organic and locally sourced ingredients to create bonbons and chocolates. Items such as Maryland-grown mint and locally sourced spirits and liqueurs often find their way into the confections, and bonbons burst with flavors of strawberry ginger, bourbon maple, and the shop’s signature salted butter caramel in the shape of a heart.
1130 Connecticut Ave., NW
Chocolate Chocolate has been around for more than 30 years and is one of the first independent chocolate shops in DC. There are all sorts of treats and offerings from a variety of chocolatiers. Gift your DC-loving valentine 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
Michele Cosby’s downtown gift shop has been treating “weirdly sophisticated” chocolate lovers in the District for more than 40 years. Local and Belgian chocolates line the cases including tasty pecan and cashew turtles, sea salt caramels, and truffles. Shoppers can choose between daily-made chocolate boxes or customize their own. Take the opportunity to pick up cards, games, novelty socks, and other lighthearted gifts.
2619 Evarts St. NE
Meaning “The Place of Chocolate” in Mayan, this award winning chocolatier is located in the Tastelab food incubator. Visit (or browse local retailers) to try the rich bars using cocoa beans from Belize, Guatemala, and beyond, showcased in flavors like chili caramel, tropical passion fruit, and mango. You can also place orders online).
965 7th St. SW; 4611 Sangamore Rd., Bethesda; 2987 District Ave., Fairfax
Don’t be fooled by the name: this bakery boasts 22 varieties of chocolate. Customers can enjoy flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla ganache, peanut-fennel, and key lime. The shop also boasts plenty of heart shaped pastries this time of year, including raspberry macrons for your sweetheart.
The Chocolate House
1904 18th St., NW
Formerly Cocova, The Chocolate House selects chocolates from all around the world. Taking an international approach to sweets, the Dupont Circle shop stocks chocolate bars, confections, truffles, and caramels made in Switzerland, Boston, Iceland, Vietnam, and beyond. It also offers truffle-making and chocolate-tasting classes several times a month.
Zoe’s Chocolate Co.
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 DC. While the heart-shaped liquid caramels in flavors like 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 were popular when you were a kid.
*This story has been updated from a 2018 article.
*Correction: Sarah and Colin Hartman are no longer the owners of Harper Macaw.