What it is: These gourmet chocolates are handmade in Manhattan with international ingredients and no preservatives. Rated for their high quality by the Zagat guide.
Why we love it: If the presentation is any indication of the quality, we’re already obsessed! Martine’s signature pink gift box is filled with nine dark-chocolate ganache truffles that are flavored with Appleton Rum and finished with a red–white chocolate drizzle ($28 per box).
What it is: Baci means “kiss” in Italian—a fitting name for a chocolatier based in the romantic city of Perugia, Italy.
Why we love it: Not only are these dark-chocolate-coated hazelnut pralines out of this world, but each is wrapped with a note inscribed with a quote or proverb on love or friendship ($5.99 per 9-piece heart box).
What it is: Produced in a small artisanal shop in Charlottesville, Virginia, these chocolates are made from the finest Venezuelan cocoa. Teas, spices and liquors are added to increase the depth of flavor.
Why we love it: Flavors like apricot brandy, maple pecan and pistachio-orange toffee make this assortment unlike any other ($25 per 16-piece box).
What it is: Chef Jacques Torres was one of the first artisan chocolatiers in the U.S. to make his own chocolate from cocoa beans. His chocolate chip cookies are chock-full of oozing, luscious dark chocolate.
Why we love it: This French Kiss mix brings Jacques right into your kitchen. After one bite, you’ll understand why it’s Torres’s most popular cookie ($13 per boxed mix).
What it is: These chocolates are made by the Kras company in Croatia, combining European confection with Oriental flavor.
Why we love it: Between two layers of chocolate is a hazelnut-almond nougat filling. Cooks have tried replicating this dessert with recipe variations, but they’re not the same as the real thing! ($10.99 per box.)
What it is: Bissinger’s sources its cocoa beans from West Africa and Nigeria to create the freshest gourmet confections.
Why we love it: Our editor says all her relatives living in the Midwest adore this St. Louis–based chocolatier! Try the generously sized hand-decorated chocolate petits fours layered with chocolate icing, or the vanilla cakes with raspberry jam ($32 for 20 pieces).
What it is: L.A. Burdick imports only the best chocolate from Switzerland, France and Venezuela. Its chocolatiers follow traditional European techniques, adding flair in the final presentation.
Why we love it: These chocolates make the perfect present. Try Burdick’s dark-chocolate and lemon penguins filled with ganache: They have almonds for arms and are “dressed” in tuxedos of white and dark chocolate ($32 per box of 9).
What it is: Vosges sells artisanal chocolates handcrafted by its owner, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris.
Why we love it: We adore the variety of flavors! The best seller is a 16-piece box of an exotic blend of truffles infused with ingredients like Hungarian paprika, Mexican pecans and Indian curry powder ($40 per box of 16).
What it is: This retailer has specialized in the highest-quality gourmet gifts for nearly a century.
Why we love it: Harry & David’s Valentine whoopie pies are the perfect gift for cake lovers. The unique recipe is rooted in traditional, buttery flavors and comes packaged with half chocolate, half red velvet mini pies ($34.95 for a box of 8).
What it is: François Payard is a third-generation French pastry chef known for his chocolates and gourmet cakes.
Why we love it: Trade your purse for this handbag full of butterless, flourless chocolate-walnut cookies. The presentation is unique to Payard, and the contents are unbelievably decadent ($19.50 for five cookies).