Dining

Devil's Food

Top chocolatiers are producing frightfully good Halloween chocolate
Photo: Katie Foster/Tasting Table
Halloween chocolates

We all know the best house on Halloween: The one giving out full-size Snickers bars. Or Reese's or Hershey's—pretty much anything big and chocolaty. But as anyone over the age of seven has figured out, quantity and quality rarely go hand in hand. That's why some chocolatiers are making high-end seasonal treats for the Halloween palate.

"We find both a challenge and inspiration in the fact that the average American typically is not looking for really good candy on Halloween," Voilà Chocolat founder and CEO Peter Moustakerski says. The Manhattan-based store makes chocolate confections and holds events where you can create your own. For example, this year the chocolatiers are making skeleton bars (think an archeological dig made out of chocolate) and 3-D skulls. They're not the only ones jumping on the skull train. Miami-based Cacao Art is making 3-D skulls filled with hazelnut and milk chocolate for your midnight-eating pleasure. Meanwhile in Kansas City, Christopher Elbow is featuring white skulls on the tops of his truffles, in flavors like Venezuelan dark, whiskey pecan and pumpkin spice caramel.

The Monster Mash collection from Moonstruck and Batalicious Bark from Zoe's

"Seasonality gives us another opportunity to educate consumers about chocolate and the art of chocolatiering," Moustakerski says. Because like it or not, most of the chocolate we eat has very little, well, chocolate in it. Instead, it's a little bit of (usually poor-quality) cacao mixed with a ton of sugar and additives like vegetable oil and soy lecithin.

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"At the end of the day," Chris Kollar, the cofounder of Kollar Chocolates in California, says, "the most important thing is the taste." That's why Kollar uses Valrhona chocolate for its Halloween offerings like a dark chocolate bloody knife.

Other chocolatiers are making treats more goofy than creepy. Moonstruck Chocolate Co. in Portland, for example, offers a Monster Mash collection with a green Frankenstein toffee truffle that you might mistake for Lurch from The Addams Family, as well as a Popping Praline Mummy truffle, Blood Orange Devil truffle, Crème Brûlée Werewolf truffle and, everyone's favorite, a Peanut Butter Ghost truffle. Then there's L.A. Burdick, the high-end chocolatier in Manhattan most famous for its adorable chocolate mice. While that might be enough to make you scream, this Halloween, it's concocted a Coffin Assortment that includes the infamous mice, as well as white chocolate ghosts filled with hazelnut-chocolate ganache in, you guessed it, a coffin-shaped box.

Of course, there's another shape that's much more synonymous with the holiday: the pumpkin. Zoe's Chocolate Co. in Maryland adds some adult mischievousness to the mix by featuring "scary" pumpkin faces on the front of its truffles and filling them with a milk chocolate ganache heavy on the pumpkin purée, cinnamon, nutmeg and cognac. The bunch is called, appropriately, the Drunken Pumpkin.

In other words, put down the milk chocolate Minions: This Halloween, you can have both kitschy and delicious.

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