6 Places to Taste Craft Chocolate like Never Before

Terroir squad

You've heard of wine and beer flights, but a chocolate flight? Yes, it's a real thing, and it's time to step up your game. After all, even the Hershey Story museum has one on the menu.

Like wine grapes and coffee beans, cacao beans have terroir: They taste different depending on where they're grown. That's inspired a new generation of makers to focus on single-origin chocolate, with many shops and restaurants offering flights, so you can taste the differences among the bars and origins. Here's where to find them.

① Cacao (Portland, Oregon)

After you've stocked up on plenty of bean-to-bar chocolate at this shop, which boasts one of the best curated collections in the country, try the in-house menu, starting with a tasting flight of drinking chocolates made with Felchlin Swiss couverture (that's fancy speak for super-creamy, melty chocolate). Choose from a classic dark drinking chocolate, a blend of milk chocolate with cinnamon, and a spicy dark with ginger, cayenne, smoked paprika and coconut milk. 

② ChocoVivo (Los Angeles, California)

This bean-to-bar chocolate maker highlights its wares with a tasting menu to end all tasting menus: Choose from different percentages (65 percent is "baby steps;" 85 percent is "only if you dare") and different house-made bars, such as almond and sea salt, goji berries and black sesame, and coffee and vanilla beans. Then rate how you like them—and compare notes with your friends

Photo: Alicia Cho

③ Dandelion Chocolate (San Francisco, California)

There are so many delicious desserts on the menu at this maker's café and factory that it's hard to choose. Our recommendation: Go with the Chef's Tasting, five mini desserts made with Dandelion's own chocolate and focusing on the terroir of that chocolate. It's remarkable how the smokiness of Papua New Guinea's cacao comes through in the house-made s'more.

④ Hearth (New York, New York)

At chef Marco Conora's restaurant in the East Village, discover one of the best chocolate selections in the city. For dessert, choose three or five tastes from American makers like Amano, Fruition, Askinosie, Ritual and Dick Taylor. Four of the bars hover around 70 percent chocolate, though Fruition is 100 percent: That means no sugar, just cacao. It's surprisingly sweet and just a bit bitter for those interested in the pure thing.

Photo: Daniel Krieger

⑤ Hotel Delmano (New York, New York)

Williamsburg hipsters are as serious about their craft chocolate as they are about their craft cocktails. At this popular bar, you'll find everyone enjoying a tasting flight of Amano Chocolate with sherry. Three single-origin bars pair with three types of oloroso sherry, and the candied citrus peel and crisp crepe dentelle are gifted gratis.

⑥ Nuance Chocolate (Fort Collins, Colorado)

This café and factory makes bean-to-bar chocolate, which means it starts with whole beans and roasts, grinds and smooths them into chocolate from scratch. There are flights of five origins, so you can taste the deep chocolaty notes of Ghana, the delicate nuttiness of Venezuela and the bright fruitiness of Madagascar. If you're craving more, get yourself a hot chocolate or some truffles.