Six Southern Chocolatiers

Thanks to a new class of artisan Southern chocolate makers, some of the sweetest stuff around can be found right here in Dixie

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    French Broad Chocolate Asheville, North Carolina
    While the fair-trade cocoa beans (and a few other notable exceptions) come from the tropics, nearly every other ingredient that finds its way into a French Broad chocolate is sourced locally—from free-range eggs to seasonal fruits, herbs, and wildflower honey.

    Staff pick: For Valentine’s Day, try the Aphrodisiac truffle collection. Trust us on this one, the Cosmic Love Potion alone is worth the box.

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    Sweeteeth Charleston, South Carolina
    Self-taught chocolatier Johnny Battles combines single-origin Columbian chocolate and the freshest ingredients to handcraft his line of habit-forming chocolate bars in five different varieties.

    Staff pick: Try the PB&C bar for a spicy chipotle twist on the classic peanut butter and chocolate pairing.

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    Olive & Sinclair Nashville, Tennessee
    Each batch of Scott Withrow’s slow-roasted stone-ground chocolates combines traditional techniques, European know-how, and Southern flavors—resulting in rich bold profiles. Hand-wrapped, they’re almost too pretty to open (almost).

    Staff pick: Try the Letterpress Variety Pack to sample four different bars, from a 67% cacao Coffee to a straight dark with Southern notes of figs, brown butter, and sorghum.

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    Chocolate South Atlanta, Georgia
    From a chocolate camo bar—equal parts dark, milk, and mint chocolate—to rich dark chocolate Mississippi Mud truffles to the “Loggerhead” turtle made with roasted Georgia pecans, architect turned chocolate maker Amy Stankus’ playful confections are rooted in the flavors of the South.

    Staff pick: Try the literary inspired “Scout” bar made with milk chocolate, orange zest, cranberries, and almonds.

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    Art Eatables Louisville, Kentucky
    With more than thirty different bourbon and chocolate pairings, these small-batch bourbon truffles aren’t your mama’s bourbon balls. Each rich Belgium-style chocolate is selected to complement a specific bourbon’s character.

    Staff pick: Why choose just one?

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    Cacao Atlanta, Georgia
    The first female bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country, Kristen Hard’s creations are truly made from scratch, starting with raw cocoa beans sourced from South America and the Caribbean. In 2012, Hard introduced her line of Southern-inspired truffles, including Bourbon Espresso, Cola Truffle, and Lavender Blueberry.

    Staff pick: Try Hard’s sweet-and-spicy Valentine’s Day truffle collection.