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Top 5 Chocolatiers from Around the World

Where's the world's best chocolate? See more pictures of chocolate.
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Anybody can satiate a sudden chocolate craving by picking up a bar at the grocery store. But chocoholics take it a step further by planning a trip to one of the world's premiere chocolatiers.

Although the process of chocolate making (grinding and roasting cacao beans, mixing chocolate and sugar) might seem simple, it's actually pretty complicated, time consuming and expensive. In fact, most small companies can't even afford to make their own chocolate. The key to delectable chocolate is starting with the best ingredients -- namely, the best cacao on the planet. The world's best chocolatiers don't use preservatives found in cheaper mass-produced brands.

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But, in the end, you don't buy chocolate because of where its cacao originates or the antioxidants it might contain. You buy it because it tastes good. And we at TLC Cooking think the following chocolatiers are at the top of their game.

Although only a few stores in the United States carry the brand, Amedei chocolate has won numerous prizes at international competitions. It costs a cool $100 a pound and hails from a region in Italy 40 miles (64.3 kilometers) west of Florence called Chocolate Valley. Its primary ingredient is the world's best cacao.

Rather than produce chocolate in bulk, Amedei focuses on making smaller amounts of the world's finest. The Amedei team uses cacao from the Chuao region of Venezuela, an area known for its centuries-old cacao harvesting tradition. In Chuao, farmers can harvest 9 to 10 tons (8.2 to 9 metric tons) of uniformly perfect cacao.

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For Michel Cluizel, quality is everything. Cluizel, of Paris, prides himself on using cocoa grown on plantations free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and making his chocolate without emulsifiers.

Cluizel imports cocoa from Venezuela, Java, Ghana, Madagascar and Ecuador, and produces chocolate in a plant in southern Normandy, giving this chocolate a truly international appeal. With cocoa percentages ranging from 33 to 99, you're sure to find a taste that suits your palate.

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Jacques Torres of Jacques Torres Chocolate shows visitors some strong South American chocolates.
Jacques Torres of Jacques Torres Chocolate shows visitors some strong South American chocolates.
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Jacques Torres, a native of Bandol, France, uses only the freshest ingredients to make his chocolates. Now based in New York, Torres is famous for creating interesting flavors and unique chocolate inventions. For example, Bandol Breeze combines a layer of apricot with homemade almonds to create a tasty chocolate treat. The truffle Wicked Fun brings together dark chocolate ganache and Wicked Hot chocolate for an extra kick. In keeping with his zest for attention-grabbing innovation, Jacques Torres stirred up some controversy recently by writing some less-than-traditional Valentine's Day messages on chocolate lollipops [source: NY Post].

 

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For Michael and Jean-Francois Poncelet, founders of Dolfin Chocolate Company, chocolate is in their blood. In 1989, these brothers followed in father's footsteps to create a chocolatiering enterprise.

This Belgium-based company specializes in using natural ingredients and high-quality chocolate to produce its unique array of flavors, ranging from ginger to masala to pink peppercorn. Whether your preference is for flavored or pure, unflavored candy, you're sure to enjoy this awarding-winning chocolate.

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A Boston man shovels the Teuscher Chocolate shop out of the snow.
A Boston man shovels the Teuscher Chocolate shop out of the snow.
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Founded in the Swiss Alps more than 70 years ago by Dolf Teuscher, Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland has always prided itself on the tradition of using only the finest natural ingredients to produce some the world's best chocolate. Teuscher Chocolate is made daily in Zurich and exported all around the world to places such as Canada, Europe, America and Asia.

Combining the old world charm of chocolatiering with modern innovations, Teuscher has been lauded for setting the standard for chocolate. In addition to using the highest grade cocoa and best cane sugars, Teuscher even gets some of its milk from 15 onsite cows [source: Teuscher]. You can't get much fresher than that!

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Sources

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