Love chocolate? Houston and its surrounding areas have many a shop to help you cure your cravings or find that perfect gift for the chocolate aficionado in your life. From artisanal chocolatiers to European-style chocolate shops, we’ve rounded up Houston’s best bets for chocoholics.
For exotic flavors and a gorgeous aesthetic, Cacao & Cardamom is just what you need. Annie Rupani’s gorgeous, hand-crafted chocolates are tiny pieces of edible art whose flavors draw from her South Asian background and world travels. You’ll find flavors such as mango-caramel, cardamom-rose and black sesame-ginger, and more traditional options such as dulce de leche, hazelnut or s'mores. Rupani takes pride in making her chocolates as natural as possible -- she uses five ingredients or fewer -- and ensuring that the chocolate’s flavors shine. If you’re looking for a special gift, consider the shop’s chocolate high heel. Originally created as a Mother’s Day gift idea, the chocolate shoe can now be ordered year-round with five days advance notice.
Launched in 2010, Araya Artisan Chocolate started in Katy and now has two other stores in River Oaks and Uptown Park. Their beautifully decorated chocolates in flavors such as Moroccan tea, strawberry balsamic, chipotle, and tequila, make a great gift for a loved one or for yourself. All of Araya’s chocolates are made in small batches using single-origin Venezuelan chocolate and honey instead of sugar, which gives the chocolates a unique taste and texture. For those with dietary restrictions, Araya offers a few vegan and dairy-free options.
Treat yourself to luxurious European chocolate at Rice Village’s Chocolat Du Monde. This charming, European-style chocolate shop carries mostly imported chocolates, including high-end brands such as Belgium’s Neuhaus and Leonidas. You’ll also find some domestic chocolate in the store’s glass, temperature-controlled cases. While most everything sold at the store is brought in, Chocolat Du Monde housemade fudge, caramel apples and chocolate-covered strawberries. And don’t miss the creamy and rich Belgian hot chocolate, made with melted bar chocolate, heavy cream and milk.
Macaw Confections is the realization of Lilian Vega’s lifelong dream of owning a chocolate shop. She and husband Fernando Guirola started the company in 2014 to make chocolates that you could feel good about eating. Because of their engineering and science background, Vega says making artistic, beautiful chocolates is not their thing. Instead, they focus on pairing high-quality chocolate with healthy fruits and nuts. Find them weekly at the Rice University Farmers Market, Woodlands Farmers Market or order online. For a Texas-inspired treat, try Macaw’s pecan and blueberry clusters.
Founded in 1946 by the Kegg Family, Kegg’s Candies is a full-fledged chocolate factory that makes gourmet boxed chocolates and other traditional Southern confections. You’ll find assortments of milk and dark chocolates, as well as chocolate truffles, that you can buy boxed or individually from the cases of Kegg’s two stores. If you’re interested in chocolate making, take a tour of Kegg’s factory (on Westpark Dr between Hillcroft and Dunvale) and watch the production in action behind a 100-ft glass wall. Then pick up some goodies or ice cream at the adjoining store. You can also pick up Kegg’s Candies chocolates at its Meyerland store.
Chocolate and barbecue? Why not? Scott Moore and Michelle Holland started making chocolate as a hobby in 2011 and that soon turned into a business with a little barbecue thrown into the mix. Tejas Chocolate Craftory in Tomball specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate making. Cocoa beans sourced from around the world are roasted “low and slow” in a clay brick oven, then stone ground and allowed to age so the chocolate develops its flavors before it’s turned into chocolate bars. The barbecue prepared by chef Greg Moore is good, too, so we suggest you go for the chocolate and stay for the barbecue. It’s worth the drive.