5 Must-Try Artisanal Chocolate Shops

Valentine’s Day may be over this year, but that doesn’t mean that your sweet tooth should be ignored. In addition to world-renowned wines and top-flight cuisine, the Napa Valley happens to be home base for some pretty spectacular chocolate shops. (Plus, chocolate and Cabernet are a famously good pairing!) If you’re a certified chocoholic, here’s where to find your heart’s desire.

La Forêt. Located on the pretty Browns Valley Road (across the highway from downtown Napa), la Forêt is a true French-style atelier of chocolate. Proprietress Wendy Sherwood trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and honed her dessert expertise at such prestigious establishments as Patrick Roger in France and Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Her small-batch chocolate, caramels, toffee, and other confections are every bit as good as you’d expect to find in a chocolaterie in France.

Anette’s Chocolates. With two shops in Napa – a store on Main Street and a smaller venue at the Oxbow Public Market – Anette’s is owned and operated by the eponymous Anette and her brother, Brent. Together they hand-produce artisanal truffles, creams, brittles, chews, and chocolate and caramel sauces. Don’t miss their wine truffles, including Port, Raspberry Merlot Pate de Fruit, Brandy Gold Rush, Tart Cherry Cabernet, and Almandi Sabori with Cabernet and Cherries.

Kollar Chocolates. At first glance, you might not even know these are chocolates – Chris Kollar creates such imaginative, colorful confections, they’re truly edible works of art. In 2015, he was named one of the “Top 10 Chocolatiers of North America” by Dessert Professional Magazine. His Yountville shop features a glass demonstration kitchen, where you can watch the magic being created. 

Vintage Sweet Shoppe. Tucked into the Historic Napa Mill on Main Street, this lively shop features a range of dessert and wine-country gift items, like Prager Port in chocolate and chocolate-covered wine bottles. If you’re adventurous, check out the Chili Chocolate and the White Chocolate Lemon Bark. 

Woodhouse Chocolate. No visit to St. Helena would be complete without a stroll by Woodhouse, located in a 19th-century brick and stone building on Main Street, to see the always-imaginative window displays. From there, it’s a no-brainer to open the door and go inside, where the jewel-box décor transports you to Paris. The shop represents three generations of the local Anderson family, who share a passion for cuisine and art – a fact that’s evident from the exquisite displays of handmade chocolates in the glass vitrines. From the Champagne Truffle (in the shape of a cork) to Cinnamon Toast, you can custom-select each piece that goes into the signature blue box.

Kirsten Mickelwait is a St. Helena-based writer who has lived and raised her family in the Napa Valley for nearly 20 years.

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