I spend a lot of time thinking about chocolate. That tends to happen when you write a book about the bean-to-bar movement and lead chocolate tastings almost every day. So of course I am always being asked where are my favorite places to treat myself in my neighborhood, the Hudson Valley. If you love chocolate, here are my top five Hudson Valley Chocolate Shops!
Bean-to-bar chocolate is the focus at this family-run workshop in Shokan. What’s bean to bar? Owners Bryan and Dahlia Graham start with high-quality, transparently traded cocoa beans, then roast, grind, and smoothen them into chocolate from scratch. The results are the most mouthwatering bars I’ve ever tasted. That’s also because Bryan started out as a pastry chef and chocolatier, working for Jacques Torres and other names you’d recognize. He brings his great palate to his chocolate and other treats, like brown-butter-bourbon caramels, chocolate-covered nuts, and, in the summer, soft serve and ice cream sandwiches!
3091 NY-28, Shokan, NY 12481
You might recognize Hakan Martensson’s name as the force previously behind Fika, New York City’s Swedish coffee bar known for its bonbons and baked goods. Or maybe you know him from his outlandish, sci-fi chocolate sculptures (yes, he’s made Yoda out of chocolate). His new shop in Beacon welcomes visitors with warm wood floors and redbrick walls, and of course pastry cases full of delicious bonbons, bars, and baked goods. Try flavors like mango-chili ruby chocolate and hazelnut-fig white chocolate, as well as an assortment of bonbons. Also check out his website for recipes like a spiced citrus bonbon!
462 Main Street Beacon New York 12508
Vegan. Socialist. And fiercely feminist. Those are just a few of the reasons I love Lagusta’s Luscious, a chocolatier with two locations in New Paltz. Get your mocha coffee or golden milk fix while picking out an assortment of pretty and pretty delicious confections like peanut butter cups and peppermint patties as well as my favorite, the Furious Vulvas: yes, vagina-shaped chocolate, with pink peppercorns and Hawaiian pink sea salt. The atmosphere is half cafe, half anarchist gathering place, with a rotating array of locally made goods (think sweaters and art objects) as well as flyers for fun upcoming events.
25 N Front St, New Paltz, NY 12561; and 11 Church St #1, New Paltz, NY 12561
Technically this shop is a bit outside the Hudson Valley area, but it’s worth the drive. Primo Botanica makes its chocolate from scratch, starting with sourcing cocoa beans. What makes these bars unique are the botanicals they add to each chocolate, like chaga mushrooms, hemp extract, and more. The shop’s aesthetic is rustic meets hipster, with wooden touches, windows with sayings in sans serif font, and twinkly lights that beckon from within.
200 Broadway, Troy, NY 12180
This new spot in Woodstock sources chocolate as the base of its confections from one of the best bean-to-bar brands in the world: Amedei, based in Italy. The two founders, Emily Kellogg and Pierre Pouplard, got to know each other while working at Thomas Keller’s famed French restaurant, Per Se. From there they moved back to Emily’s hometown of Woodstock to open their own shop and create gorgeous bonbons in creative flavors like black forest and tiramisu as well as classics like hazelnut praline and passionfruit. Also find caramels, chocolate-covered nuts, and more.
2 Old Forge Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498
About the Author:
Megan Giiler is a food writer and chocolate expert. Her book "Bean to Bar Chocolate, America's Craft Chocolate Revolution", has been featured in major publication such as Bon Appetit, Bloomberg Business, Saveur, Los Angeles Magazine and American Test Kitchen. Her company, Chocolate Noise, specializes in public and private, in person and virtual chocolate tasting events where guests are treated to a selection of the best, ethically sourced, artisan chocolates from around the world. Find out more about Chocolate Noise's tastings here