Life is a box of chocolates, says Forrest Gump. It’s arguably true because no matter what you’re gonna get, it’s something decadently sweet and healthy, too.
A bad day can suddenly turn brighter and better with a chocolate truffle, it’s inexplicably magical. It’s truly a food of the gods, you’re on cloud nine after a heavenly bite of the luscious delectable confection.
Also, chocolate is like a natural drug that boosts your lowly mood. Chocolates are not just palatable but it’s good for the health of chocolate crunchers like me and you.
Sweet History of Chocolates
The sweet history of chocolates can be traced back to Mesoamerica in 450 BC, cultivated for about five millennia. The word chocolate originates from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” a bitter beverage brewed from cacao beans. The Theobroma cacao, the Latin name for the cacao tree, means food of the gods.
Cacao was highly valuable back then that only the wealthiest families in Aztec Empire could afford chocolate drinks. The Industrial Revolution changed the course of time, however, paving the mass production of chocolates for the common people up to now.
Scientific findings prove the health benefits of this delicious treat to humans. Chocolate’s aroma alone increases theta brain waves which trigger relaxation. Consequently, it slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, increasing the blood flow to the body’s major muscles.
Many studies prove an interaction between chocolates and the neurotransmitters responsible. Findings show that chocolates contain the pleasure chemical dopamine’s precursor tyrosine including serotonin and endorphins that help regulate the mood.
This is pretty much the reason why all chocolate confectioners’ adverts associate chocolates with happiness.
Global Chocolate Consumption
The massive popularity of chocolates throughout history has dramatically grown world production to a record high of 4.85 million metric tons in 2019. That’s because one pound of chocolate requires 400 cocoa beans.
Germany and Switzerland both known for exquisite chocolate confection also top the list of the world’s biggest consumers of chocolates. Other European countries that made it to the top 5 chocolate eaters include Austria, Estonia, Ireland, and England.
The 2018 statistics indicate that German consumers around 24 pounds of chocolates per person each year. Close behind is the country of Switzerland, consuming 21 pounds of chocolates per capita. US consumers, meanwhile, eat 2.8 billion pounds (1.27 billion kilograms) of chocolates each year.
Fact is, chocolates are one of the world’s favorite foods, making it a $103 billion industry to date. Another fact is chocolates are not created equal. Several world-renowned chocolatiers have gifted mankind the melt-in-mouth and best chocolate brands that genuinely delight your taste buds.
Here at Men’s Gear, we narrow down our top choices to the 21 best chocolate-tasting brands in the world. Check out which of your favorites made it to our list and read on to know more about other artisan chocolate brands to try next.
Lindt & Sprungli
Lindt & Sprungli is unquestionably the top Swiss chocolate brand in the world originating in Zurich in 1845. For nearly two centuries, the chocolatier continues to delight the palate of every chocolate aficionado from generation to generation.
The global iconic brand in confectionary offers a wide variety of chocolates made from superior quality ingredients. However, Lindt chocolates are sold at a reasonable price across more than 120 countries worldwide.
The ultimate chocolate connoisseur is best-known for its truffles that melt in your mouth, literally. They’re made of more than 20 decadent flavors wrapped in various colors. The most coveted miniature single squares come in white, caramel, dark, extra dark, and a lot more.
Moreover, Lindt keeps its global key brand which is of the finest quality chocolates. The company also has several local brands which include the following:
- Ghirardelli – A famous American brand
- Russell Stover Chocolates – No. 1 boxed chocolates in the US.
- Whitman’s – The largest and oldest brand of boxed chocolates in the US.
- Pangburn’s of Texas – Texas-born chocolates loved by everyone
- Caffarel – The seducing expression of Piemontese Chocolate tradition
- Hofbauer / Küfferle – Traditional brands with Austrian charm
Lindt Master Chocolatier is world-famous for its luscious and smoothest chocolates across time and space. It also makes liqueurs and ice cream on top of its perfected white chocolate creation beyond compare.
Hershey’s is a behemoth chocolate brand in the world. Originating in the 19th century, the name has become synonymous with the goodness of affordable chocolates on the planet today.
Confectioner Milton S. Hershey ventured into making candies and opened his first shop in Philadelphia, PA in 1873. Many decades after, Hershey’s is now the name of a town in Pennsylvania where Hershey’s Chocolate World stands. It’s a bucket-list destination for chocolate lovers to visit and indulge in some one-of-a-kind experience.
Hershey’s chocolate products have a range of bestsellers, not just in the US but across the globe. Its fastest-selling chocolates include Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s chocolate bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Pieces, Whoppers, Mounds, Almond Joy, and York Peppermint Patties.
These products are a mix of Hershey’s originals and ones acquired by the company over time. In the US, the chocolatier’s chart-toppers are Reese’s and Hershey’s bar. Its dark chocolate is a fine choice, too, and other pleasing flavors to choose from.
Hershey’s also makes a household name for cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and baking mixes.
Ferrero Rocher is a delectable gold-wrapped concoction every chocolate fan raves about. It’s undeniably one of the best chocolate brands in the world.
Originally introduced in Europe, the Italian signature creation by Michael Ferrero has been in the confectionery industry since 1982. Ferrero Rocher is named after its confectioner and Rocher de Massabielle, a grotto in the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes.
Ferrero Rocher truffle bars of milk chocolate is made to perfection. The balls are of finest mix smooth milk chocolate roasted hazelnut treat within thin crunchy wafer shell and topped with chopped hazelnuts. It also adds lecithin as an essential ingredient which is a remedy for high cholesterol, anxiety, and depression.
Being one of the top chocolatiers on Earth, Ferrero Rocher becomes the largest consumer of hazelnut. It approximately consumes 25 percent of the world’s hazelnut supply.
Furthermore, the Italian chocolate brand’s golden-glint single-piece packaging and strong brand image create a great appeal to chocoholics. The Ferrero Rocher is a widely popular heavenly gift in a box on celebrated occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas holidays.
Godiva is Belgium’s pride in the list of the best chocolate brands in the world. Named after Lady Godiva, the 1926 Belgian chocolatier will be celebrating its 100th birthday in five years.
The world-famous premium chocolate brand of Europe is a relentless innovator in the business of gourmet chocolates. Godiva is named the official brand of the Royal Court of Belgium for its esteemed excellence in chocolate creation.
This exquisite Belgian chocolate is the epitome of luxury. It comes in instantly recognizable gold-wrapped boxes tied with ribbons. Each box contains sinfully delicious truffles or chocolate.
What makes Godiva truly a food for the gods is the use of premium ingredients. It creates an explosion of rich and authentic sweet taste, without added preservatives found in many mainstream chocolate brands.
Through time, Godiva keeps its recipes close to its chest. The Belgian chocolate’s extraordinary truffles and pralines are to die for. Many are also hooked on its chocolate-dipped strawberries and other unique flavors.
The nearly two-century-old Cadbury, formerly known as Cadbury’s, is a giant multinational chocolate brand owned by Mondelez International. The world-famous chocolate which hails from England is the second-largest confectionery brand in the world after Wrigley’s.
The English chocolatier started its humble beginning in 1824 when founder John Cadbury began selling coffee, tea, and hot or cold chocolate in Birmingham, England. It expanded its operations to chocolate creation only in 1842 with 16 varieties and 11 cocoa brands.
The Cadbury’s prominent script logo features bold and rounded letters with pronounced serifs based on William Cadbury’s signature. The company only started to stamp the script logo on its chocolate bars in 1960.
Today, Cadbury is one of Britain’s long-running and most successful exports. The company’s head office is located in Uxbridge, West London, and operates in 50 countries across the globe.
The iconic chocolate name is best known for its Dairy Milk, Creme Egg, and Roses selection boxes. It has 37 distinct variants including Milk Chocolate. Some of the best-selling flavors are:
- Golden Biscuit Crunch
- Banana Caramel Crisp
- Bubbly White
- Toffee Popcorn
- Fruit and Nut
The most famous and popular, however, is its Easter chocolate eggs. Cadbury’s Easter eggs delight the taste buds with yummy milk chocolate with a creamy filling. Some time ago, Cadbury fans have to wait for Easter to enjoy them but not anymore. You can grab Easter eggs all year long.
Ghirardelli is a US division of Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli. However, it rightfully earns its place in the list of the most coveted and best chocolate brands in the world.
Established in 1852, the third-oldest chocolate brand in the US after Whitman’s and Baker’s Chocolate. It’s a landmark name in gourmet chocolate creation for a whopping 169 years. The confectioner took its name after the legendary chocolatier, Domingo Ghirardelli.
Ghirardelli features a wide range of chocolate varieties and flavors in its stores across the states. The miniature single squares or bars come in milk chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate, and many other palatable flavors.
While Ghirardelli is wildly popular in chocolate creation, it also makes hot cocoa and a range of baking mixes. These products sell like hotcakes during the holiday season.
Over time, Ghirardelli has evolved into one of the leading chocolate manufacturers in the US.
Introduced in 1901 in Switzerland, Milka is also one of the most recognizable and best chocolate brands in the world. For over a century, the popular Swiss signature chocolate has been primarily manufactured in Lorrach, Germany.
In 2012, Milka hits a production record of more than 140,000 tonnes of chocolate sold in over 15 countries in the world.
The chocolate brand’s name, Milka, is coined from star ingredients: milch (milk) and kakao (cocoa). The Swiss chocolate is specially made with Alpine milk which explains the brand’s symbol. Lila, the purple mallow cow with a bell around its neck, first appeared on Milka’s label in the 1970s. It belongs to the Simmental race known for producing quality milk.
Milka chocolates come in bars and for celebrated traditional occasions, in Easter eggs and Christmas house gift boxes. Some of the most favorite chocolate bar flavors include milk chocolate, milk chocolate with Oreo, strawberry yogurt, caramel, white chocolate, whole hazelnut, and the like.
Also, Milka sells chocolate-covered biscuits and cookie treats, which are as scrumptious as its chocolates.
Milka continues to delight German chocolate lovers and the rest of the world. To date, Milka, under its umbrella company Mondelez International, sells 150,000 chocolates around the world per hour.
Nestlé is a global conglomerate behind the creation of the iconic, much-loved chocolates in the world. It’s one of Switzerland’s iconic brands which celebrated 150 years in existence in 2016.
The world’s largest food and beverage company, like any business, has its humble beginning which traces back to the 19th century. Its story begins with founder Henri Nestle who launched his “farine lactee” (flour with milk) in Vevey, Switzerland. His company enters into a merger with Anglo-Swiss in 1905, forming what’s now known as Nestlé Group.
Notably, Nestlé played an important role in the history of milk chocolates. In 1875, the company supplied chocolatier Daniel Peter with condensed milk that he used to create the first commercial milk chocolates in the 1880s.
The giant Swiss brand began making its line of chocolates in 1905. In present times, its confectionery boasts a line of affordable chocolates. Such includes chunky chocolate Yorkie, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Nestlé Crunch, Aero, Smarties, and After Eight dark chocolate.
Switzerland is the land of chocolates, literally. It’s the home of the best chocolate brands on the planet like Toblerone. The world’s famous Swiss chocolate resembles the shape of the mountain of Matterhorn, the country’s natural landmark.
Toblerone has since become a best-seller Swiss confection for more than a century. In 1908 Theodor Tobler and Emil Bauman first created a unique concoction of milk chocolate, nougat, almonds, and honey in Bern, Switzerland. Tobler himself designed Toblerone’s iconic triangular prism shape you see today.
In the early days, Toblerone is a luxury decadent candy for the royals. It’s however made more affordable at present for everyone to enjoy.
Toblerone is now owned by giant US confectionery company Mondelez International. The chocolate brand, popularly known for its nougat-rich chocolate, comes in various flavors such as Snowtops, plain chocolate, white chocolate, and more.
English chocolate creation Mars joins the ranks of the best chocolate brands on Earth. The first Mars chocolate came out in 1932 in Slough, England.
Chocolatier Forrest Mars, Sr. took inspiration from a milkshake to create the Milky Way bar touted in ads as a “chocolate malted milk in a candy bar.”
Mars Milky Way is made with a generous portion of nougat and caramel richly covered in milk chocolate. Its packaging comes in a trademark black wrapper with a red-gold-edged logo.
The Mars bars introduced two different variants: the original British recipe made of caramel and nougat coated with milk chocolate. The American recipe, meanwhile, is made with nougat and toasted almonds covered in milk chocolate, and later, the caramel was added to the recipe.
The company discontinued the American variant in 2002. However, Mars reintroduced it to the chocolate market after a year and named it Snickers Almond. Also, the English confectioner created the massively popular kids candy, M&M’s.
Being the world leader in chocolate creation, Mars also makes chewing gum, mints, fruity candies, and other confections.
Chocolatier Michele Ferrero, the genius behind Ferrero Rocher, created another chocolate goodness for kids labeled Kinder. Kinder is a German word that means children.
Originally made in Alba, Italy in 1968, Kinder targeted the German and Italian chocolate crunchers on its first year. Soon, it expanded its market reach to other European countries.
As Kinder is specially made for children, its hollow chocolate egg contains a surprise toy that kids can build themselves. The global brand has a wide variety of chocolate creations for the sweet-toothed little ones. Some of Kinder’s original versions include Kinder Bueno, Kinder Maxi, Kinder Rigel, and Kinder ChocoFresh.
Kinder assures moms that its chocolate confection is made from good quality chocolate with creamy milky filling. In addition, it doesn’t contain artificial colorants and comes in a single portion wherein each bar is individually wrapped.
At present, Ferrero SpA owned-Kinder is the world’s second-largest chocolate brand with a total of 22 companies. The immensely successful chocolate brand for kids retails its products in more than 170 countries.
“Happiness is German engineering, Italian cooking, and Belgian chocolate,” at least for Belgian chocolate lovers. Belgium has become a home to the finest chocolate artisans gifting the world with excellently concocted melt-in-mouth artisanal chocolates. One of which is the Guylian chocolates.
Guylian, a coined name of founding couple Guy and Liliane Foubert, was established in 1958 in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. Since then, it has made a breakthrough in luxury chocolate creation.
The Belgian chocolate bears the one-of-a-kind seahorse logo on its signature chocolate bars. Guylian became largely famous for its rich, luscious chocolate seashells praline with assorted fillings inside. While other luxury chocolates are sold in gift boxes, Guylian comes in wrapped chocolates, bars, and napolitans.
The company’s other delectable and creamy confections include chocolate truffles, rich hazelnut pralines, and velvety fruit mousses gain a massive following. These delightful assortments further seal its spot as one of the world’s best chocolate brands ever known to man.
In its 50th year, South Korean multinational conglomerate Lotte Confectionery bought Guylian. The global leader produces Guylian chocolates under its belt until now.
Dove is an American chocolate brand offering Americans and the rest of the world a wide range of best-tasting chocolates, confections, ice creams, and milk. Dove chocolates are known as Galaxy in Ireland, the Middle East, India, the UK, and New Zealand.
Its story began in 1939 in Chicago. Greek-American Leo Stefanos founded the Dove Candies & Ice Cream shop on a street corner of the Windy State. After six decades, Dove entered the UK market under the Galaxy brand.
The Galaxy and Dove brands come in different variants and flavors. These include milk chocolate, caramel, Cookie Crumble, Minstrels, and Fruit & Nut varieties Minstrels. It also has Ripple, a bar of milk chocolate with a folded or “rippled” milk chocolate center.
Other Dove and Galaxy varieties are Amicelli, Duetto, Promises, Bubbles, and Truffle. In some countries in the Middle East, Dove’s related brands are “Jewels” and “Senzi”.
Galaxy and Dove chocolates offer the same creaminess and rich-tasting milk chocolates that are not overpowering. It also makes ready-to-drink chocolate milk, hot chocolate powder, cakes, ice cream, and a lot more.
Dove/Galaxy chocolates are now owned by the world’s leading confectionery Mars, Incorporated.
Ritter Sport is a German-produced chocolate brand family-owned by Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. headquartered in Waldenbuch, Germany.
The story of Ritter Sport began in 1912 when founding couple Alfred and Clara Ritter built a chocolate factory. It later introduced its brand of chocolate called Alrika.
Later, Clara’s brainchild, Ritter’s Sport Chokolade or widely known as Ritter Sport was introduced in 1932. She suggested creating a square chocolate bar that would perfectly fit in a pocket of a sports jacket. This explains why the brand name bears the word sport in Ritter Sport.
Ritter Sport changed the chocolate world with its square bars made of 16 smaller squares. The square chocolate confection has more than 30 varieties, with one for every day of the month and two for Sunday.
In addition, it comes in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate with Marzipan, nougat, fruit, coconut, and puff rice fillings. Each of the German chocolate flavors is packed in its unique color.
The chocolate brand won sole rights to square bars in 2020 against Milka. Like how it’s advertised, Ritter Sport continues to be “Square. Handy. Good.”
Russell Stover is one of the much-loved chocolate brands in North America. It’s the box of chocolates featured in Forrest Gump where the “Life is a box chocolates” line became so famous.
In 1923, Chocolatier couples Clara and Russell Stover started concocting candies in their Bungalow home’s very own kitchen. In 1943, the company’s official name was changed to Russell Stover Candies.
The American-made confection marked a new milestone in 1998 when it launched its line of sugar-free chocolates. No sooner, it’s renowned as the leader in producing sugar-free candies in the US.
Over time, Russell Stover adds more flavors to its line of chocolates with new ingredients such as raspberry, orange, coconut, or maple nut butter.
In 2014, behemoth premium-quality chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli acquired Russell Stover and Whitman’s Candies.
Valrhona is France’s heavenly gift to the chocolate world well-loved for its exquisite, balanced, and consistent flavors. This French gourmet treat is one of the top makers of gastronomic chocolate in the world.
This French gourmet chocolate brand founded in 1922 originated from the small wine-growing village of Tain L’Hermitage, France.
Rhone Valley’s Pastry Chef Albéric Guironnet opened his first chocolate factory, Chocolaterie du Viavaris. He dedicated his life to creating artisan-quality chocolates like no other.
The brand achieves a trademark of excellence with high-quality cacao beans sourced straight from major plantations in South America, The Caribbean, and the Pacific regions. Valrhona stepped out of its box to grow its very own plantations in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
The French-style high-end chocolate has a slew of variety of bars. Valrhona pioneered in naming chocolates like wine. It labeled its exceptional creations as grand cru, single origins, single estate, and vintage chocolate. It also introduced the spicy, salty Xocopili in 2008.
For near a century, Valrhona has perfected gourmet chocolate creations with a variety of distinct and remarkable aromatic profiles. It’s touted as the Rolls Royce of chocolates.
Zurich-based Swiss chocolatier Teuscher brings an exceptional chocolate experience for all the chocoholics. It’s acclaimed as the best chocolate in the world by National Geographic and confectionery connoisseurs around the world.
The Teuscher tradition began in 1932 in the Swiss Alps when chocolatier Dolf Teuscher skillfully crafted chocolates named after himself. The Swiss chocolate confection is made with the finest cocoa and other secret ingredients of the now much-loved recipes.
Some of Teuscher’s house specialty includes the must-try champagne truffle, which is a blend of fresh cream, butter, and chocolate with a champagne cream filling and dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Teuscher chocolates are made with the finest and top-shelf natural ingredients, with no zero-added chemicals, additives, or preservatives.
Today, Teuscher has more than 100 varieties of chocolate creations using unique combinations of marzipan, fruits and nuts, and more. These are original handed-down family recipes for more than 80 years.
Swiss chocolate is one thing and Belgian chocolate is another but Swiss-Belgian chocolate is simply irresistible. Patchi is a Lebanese-owned chocolate brand that combines the best of both worlds for many chocolate crunchers.
The luxury brand founded in 1973 is wildly popular in Middle East countries. Patchi takes pride in making its decadent chocolates with all-natural ingredients, including the finest cocoa and fresh milk. The Lebanese chocolate brand also comes in attractively designed packaging.
Patchi’s premium chocolate selection features more than 50 varieties. They’re all made with star ingredients like roasted hazelnuts, pistachios, and almonds as well as orange peel, and dried strawberry. The Belgian-Swiss chocolate also boasts its newest exotic flavors like cheesecake, peanut butter, and cotton candy.
Patchi makes its best-tasting Belgian Swiss chocolate available to the rest of the world via its online boutique.
Richart is a world-renowned brand that specializes in making gourmet French chocolates and macarons. Developed and tested by the Richart family, its superb recipe has received France’s most prestigious confectioner’s honor, the Ruban Bleu, seven times.
Richart’s humble beginnings in 1925 when the Richard family started handcrafting authentic luxury French chocolates. It’s made possible using only the superior quality ingredients coming from different parts of the world.
The family-owned company based in Paris offers abundant tantalizingly delicious delicacies which include signature chocolate squares, French pâtes de fruits, and macarons. It continuously innovates the brand’s flavors, designs, and colors.
Also, Richart comes in beautifully wrapped gourmet chocolate gift boxes for every occasion. The brand has perfected the art of chocolate creation, from the company’s kitchens to visually stunning boxes.
Anyone will make a huge impression gifting a special someone with the $850 burlwood vault with seven drawers of chocolates.
Richart chocolate brand is prestigious and much-loved for its artisanal gourmet chocolate and sublime aromas that never fail to impress chocolate connoisseurs.
Italian chocolate brand Amedei earns prestige for its bean-to-bar chocolate creations. Its dark chocolate is known as the most expensive chocolate in the world.
The artisan chocolate company’s dedication to sourcing the superior cocoa beans directly from cocoa plantations yields exquisite indulgent flavors and extra-smooth texture.
Amedei’s tradition began in the Tuscany region of Italy in 1990. Founding master chocolatier Cecilia Tessierie built a small artisanal chocolate shop with a commitment to excellence.
Using rediscovered ancient processing techniques, Amedei made its very first creation, Toscano Black 70. It’s made 70% extra dark blend, perfectly balanced, and has a unique aroma profile. It also adds hints of tobacco, roasted malt, and cedarwood.
Amedei has now acquired exclusive rights to a Venezuelan plantation, making the price of the signature chocolate bar reasonable. Food critics rated the Italian confection as the best bar in the world, hence, it’s a must-try.
French Chef Jacques Genin intricately created some of the best-tasting chocolates and caramels in the world named after himself. New York Times described Genin’s chocolate factory located in the heart of the Marais district in Paris as a “holy site for connoisseurs.”
Awarded as one of the top French chocolatiers in 2010, Jacques Genin is hailed a genius of flavors. His chocolate confections such as the ganaches and pralines make a pleasurable indulgence.
All of Jacques Genin’s artisanal chocolates are purely produced manually in its Parisian workshop. The ingredients are neatly picked for their subtlety, purity, and aromatic power. Add to that, the artisan quality chocolates are free from additives, preservatives, flavors, and flavor enhancers.
To date, Jacques Genin supplies more than 200 top French hotels and restaurants with one of the handcrafted best chocolates the world has ever tasted.