Without a doubt chocolate has become an international food. Over the centuries it has developed into one of the most delicious and highly consumed treats not to mention the competition that exists over what makes the best chocolate. There will always be preferences as with any food but suffice to say certain chocolatiers worldwide have reached a level of excellence that is hard to deny. The following is a sample of some of those talented men and women who have devoted themselves to taking the humble cacao bean and elevating it to extraordinary levels. Whether through their skill in extracting, refining and blending the chocolate or through the juxtaposition of other flavours, these establishments provide a level of innovation and excellence that demands recognition. Switzerland has long been recognized as a home of good chocolate. Teuscher in Zurich is no exception. From humble beginnings 70 years ago in the Swiss Alps to the present day the quality remains the same. The founder, Dolf Teuscher travelled the world to acquire the finest cocoa, nuts, marzipan, fruit and the like with which to develop his recipes. Much time experimenting resulted in a beautiful blend of ingredients that now constitute the famous chocolates. Over 100 varieties of chocolates exist using those early recipes handed down through the family. Quality defines them, and no artificial ingredients are included nor chemicals or additives of any kind. Blending fresh cream, butter and chocolate a wonderful champagne truffle is created as the signature house chocolate. Staying in Europe one of the most iconic names in chocolate hales from Brussels, Belgium but is now known globally. Godiva chocolates date back to the 1920s when the Drap family owned and operated a simple shop in Brussels. Their signature filled chocolates were popular at the fashionable shops of the day. Later when the son of the original Drap took over his skill as a chocolatier and a businessman meant the business grew. He conceived the notion that a prestige range of chocolates with a memorable name would be good for business and so Godiva was born. Not just a pretty face, in its now recognizable gold boxes, the chocolate renowned for its superb flavours has been rewarded for its excellence with an appointment as official supplier to the Belgium court. Richart of Paris, France has become synonymous with refinement in the chocolate world. With attention to detail Richart perfected the art of chocolate making using ingredients of superb quality and has gone on to enhance this with the development of incredible flavours, design and colour. Thus, a box of Richart chocolates not only blows away the taste buds but provides a visual feast as well. This chocolatier has taken the art of chocolate making and presentation to a whole new level. If you can make the trip to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, you can try what has been described as the best chocolates the Netherlands has to offer. Puccini Bomboni, a restaurant and cafe produce handmade chocolates which can only be purchased there. The combination of spices with fine chocolate reveal some of the most unusual and luxurious creations. Chocolate making on a small scale but big in quality! Finally let’s not forget that many other parts of the world have produced fine chocolate makers and none more so perhaps then the USA. Norman Love Confections in Florida produces some of the most visually stunning chocolates using moulds that are airbrushed, or hand painted. Using the finest chocolate imported from Europe and an array of delicious fresh ingredients, magic is made! Scharffen Berger in Berkley California is worthy of note too because here each process involved in the manufacture of the chocolate, from the bean to finished bar is done on site. The finished unique flavour of the chocolate is achieved through combining beans of various origins. Scharffen Berger specializes in dark chocolate and maintains a small production level to ensure quality using traditional methods. Many more chocolate makers could feature here but personal taste will of course affect opinion so get tasting and see if you agree!