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The Best Chocolate And Candy Shops In Los Angeles
Chocolate has long been consumed as a delicacy, first as a bitter drink by the Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations and more recently as an indulgent, gourmet treat perfect to be consumed on any occasion. The Mayans even worshiped a cacao god, and considering our love of candy, we can't blame them. There are heaps of wonderful chocolate and candy stores putting their artistic twist on an age-old tradition. Here are some of our favorites—as always, leave your own in the comments.
Compartes chocolates at their chocolate bar in West Hollywood (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
Compartes Chocolatier recenty opened their small but mightily design-savvy shop behind Albert Coffee on Melrose Place selling goods made from quality cocoa coming from South America. Their chocolatier Jonathan Graham uses locally sourced fruits and spices from local Los Angeles farmers markets, making the bars and truffles a truly unique L.A. product. Some of our favorites include the California Love (a bar made with organic dark chocolate and tons of crushed pretzels) and the Love Nuts, which are basically roasted nuts, caramelized with Tahitian Vanilla that are then sprinkled with sea salt, then topped with 14 layers of raw cacao powder.
Compartes is located at 912 South Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles, (310) 826-3380
Photo courtesy of Valerie Confections
When it comes to stunning presentation and absolutely divine confectionary delights, look to none other than Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections. She now operates a shop out of the Grand Central Market in addition to her Echo Park outpost. She specializes in petit fours, truffles, and chocolate covered toffees in both classic and market-inspired flavors. Her lemon pansy petit four — lemon cake layered with lemon ganache, finished with white chocolate, and topped with a candied organic pansy — is as lovely to look at as it is to eat.
Valerie Confections is located at 317 S Broadway St, Downtown, (213) 621-2781
Maple pecan bon bons at the See's Candy headquarters in Los Angeles (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
See's is one of Los Angeles' sweetest institutions, serving up treats made locally since 1921. With their countless airport and mall kiosks, you might think it's some massive corporation at this point, we took a tour way back when, we found that many of the employees had been working there for over 35 years. It's still very much a family-run operation. Everyone has a personal favorite at See's, ours being the Scotchmallow — a caramel and marshmallow bon bon covered in dark chocolate. They also make excellent brittle, for those who claim they don't like chocolate.
See's Candies has locations throughout Los Angeles. You can check out the nearest to you here.
Photo courtesy of Vosges Chocolates
Chef/owner Katrina Markoff has worked with some of the top chefs in the world, including Ferran Adria at El Bulli, and that reads in their elegant, decadent treats. She combines some unique flavors in her truffles, which are gorgeously packaged but not too feminine, in case you're considering a gift for a male host or loved one. Our personal favorite exotic truffle flavors are the Naga, made with sweet Indian curry powder, coconut, and milk chocolate as well as the Funk & Disco made with banana pudding, vanilla powder, and 44% cacao deep milk chocolate.
Vosges is located at 11 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 275-3621
ChocoVivo moved from their Abbot Kinney location to more humble Culver City digs a while back, but they're still making their excellent bean-to-bar chocolates that they've been known for at their chocolate shop and cafe. They source all of their cacao from Tobasco, Mexico, using it in their best-selling bars such as the almonds and sea salt or the cherries, almonds, and black peppercorns. Milk chocolate lovers should be aware that they only do dark bars, which is just as well. They are fantastic.
Chocovivo is located at 12469 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City, (310) 845-6259
Photo of Swedish jelly candies courtesy of Sockerbit
For those interested in Scandinavian candy culture (or just really great candy store design), a visit to this bright and airy Third Street shop is a must. They have an amazing selection of "smågodis", or little candies for the pickin'. Some of them might look familiar, like the pasta basta cola, a soda-flavored sour belt, or the sura skallars, basically Sour Patch Kids in skull form. Grab a bag and have fun plucking out brightly colored Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian treats. There's a wide variety of sour candies, licorice, hard candies and chocolate to choose from, as well as Scandinavian gums and other staples.
Sockerbit is located at 7922 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, (323) 951-0402
Little Flower Candy Company
There is absolutely no question that Christine Moore makes the best sea salted caramels in this city, but her candy shop/cafe also sells clouds of flavored house-made marshmallows, as well as great grub to balance out your sugar high. You'll see little cellophane bags of her individually-wrapped caramels around gourmet shops in L.A., so if you haven't tried them, do it now. They come in flavors like salt, lemon, and vanilla, but we recommend the classic, which will no doubt be the gateway to your next obsession.
Little Flower Candy Company is located at 1422 West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, (626) 304-4800
This Glendale candy shop first became popular for their chocolate covered orange strips, which are always a favorite. They've been using family recipes for their chocolates since 1935, but are always introducing new flavors, like the Bourbon Whiskey — a dark chocolate shell filled with dark chocolate bourbon whiskey ganache. Not only is it bonkers delicious, but it looks like regal jewel or the seasonal Saffron Marzipan — made with in-house roasted marzipan, orange peel, and East Indian saffron.
Mignon is located at 315 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, (818) 549-9600
Various caramel corns from The Art of Caramel's collection (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
The Art of Caramel
Full disclosure: The Art of Caramel is not actually a candy shop, but we'd be remiss not to mention their ridiculously delicious caramel corn in a round-up for sugar fiends. We just discovered their amazing caramel corn on a tour through the new Hotel Covell, and immediately fell in love with the light-as-air popcorn glazed with flavors like Kentucky bourbon caramel and cracked black pepper. The Pasadena-based company's goodies are available at plenty of candy shops around town, including Lolli and Pops (Glendale), The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Silverlake Cheese, Monsieur Marcel at The Grove, and Vincente Foods in Brentwood.
The Art of Caramel is sold at stores throughout L.A. You can find a location near you here.