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Top Gourmet Chocolate Companies

flickr.com (cacaobug)

I like chocolate, but I have never been a “chocoholic.” This is why I found it rather strange when I woke up this morning, that the first thing that crossed my mind – was chocolate. I remembered the box of homemade fudge in the kitchen, but that just would not do. What I was craving was gourmet chocolates, packaged in a fancy little box. So, I made myself a cup of hot chocolate – using TWO packages, and set out online to find the top gourmet chocolate companies. Mostly, to look at the pictures, you see. This is what I found on Business Week. I was surprised to find that most of today’s popular gourmet chocolates are brands that I have spotted in multiple stores around Missoula.

 

Lindt & Sprungli

This was a small company started in Germany by the Sprungli family in 1845. With the help of innovative leadership, the small company saw expansive growth, which included the addition of treats from the famous chocolate maker, Rodolphe Lindt. Rodolphe’s most popular items include his wrapped Lindor truffles and simple premium chocolate bars, which will put you back about $15 for 15 small squares!

 

Ghirardelli

This very well-known company was founded by an Italian immigrant, Domingo Ghirardelli. He started the company in San Francisco in 1852. Did you know that those little individually packaged chocolate squares are so beloved by the city that they declared them a city landmark? Another interesting fact – the brand was bought out in 1998 – by none other than Lindt and Sprungli! You can expect to shell out $27 for a bag of 70 chocolate squares.

 

Guykian

These chocolates are practically brand new to the world, having just been developed in 1960 in Belgium. These signature seashell shaped pralines were created by husband and wife team Guy and Liliane Foubert. A box of 22 seashells goes for $14.

 

Perugina

This Italian company has been creating chocolaty goodness since 1907. They are known best for their Baci chocolate, and hazelnut-filled kisses wrapped in a love note. They were eventually bought out by Nestle’s European division, but you can still find these little treasures in America. A bag of 10 pieces of Baci is sold for $6.

Richart

These eye-catching French chocolates have managed to stay in the family since 1925. They have been able to stand out from the rest with their unique concept of seven flavor families to choose from, ranging from the classic roasted and fruity, to the more creative herbal and floral. You can only find these special chocolates in upscale Richart boutiques in France, Japan, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. They will set you back $33 for 16 pieces.

 

Neuhaus

These are VERY unique chocolates. They were originally designed by a pharmacist. In Brussels, back in 1957, John Neuhaus did not set out to become a luxury chocolatier when he opened up his pharmaceutical confectionary. His first products of bitter chocolate and licorice were designed to alleviate painful symptoms, not to delight the senses. Soon after, he started offering sweet pralines that can now be purchased in 2,000 sales outlets in 50 countries! You can expect to pay $40 for a half-pound.

 

Godiva

If you ever watch TV, you have seen the Godiva commercials. In fact, it’s those commercials alone that seem to always make me slip when dieting. This is another company that started in Brussels, and they have been around since 1926. Lady Godiva was the muse for this chocolatier, known for her beauty and for being a champion of the common people in Coventry, England, where her husband Lord Leofric ruled with a heavy hand. You can literally find this chocolate ANYWHERE, but a 19 piece box of their gourmet line will cost you $22.

 

I was so into reading about, and looking at pictures of these chocolate companies, that I totally let my cup of hot chocolate get cold. The good news – I was able to beat my chocolate craving by just drooling over photos. Yay me!

 

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