11 Things You Might Not Know About Cheese

ThinkStock
ThinkStock

Happy National Cheese Day! Whether your thing is cream cheese, fancy cheese, spray cheese or night cheese, when it comes to this dairy product, there’s a whole lot to love. Here are 11 things you might not have contemplated about cheese—from royal-wedding cheese to the stinkiest cheese to couch-cushion cheese to the ultimate macaroni and cheese.

1. QUEEN VICTORIA RECEIVED A BEHEMOTH CHEESE AS A WEDDING PRESENT.


Wikimedia Commons

During the celebration of her wedding to her first cousin Prince Albert in 1840, Queen Victoria received the gift of a 1250-pound, 9-foot-diameter cheddar. It was produced by a cooperative of cheesemakers from two villages, according to Steven W. Jenkins in Cheese Primer. “Perhaps baffled by how to serve it, she sent the cheese off on a tour of England,” Jenkins writes. “When attempts were made to return it to her, she refused to take it back.”

2. ANDREW JACKSON GAVE NEW MEANING TO THE TERM “BIG CHEESE.”

Andrew Jackson
Wikimedia Commons

Fans of The West Wing might know a thing or two about this one. In 1835, a farmer in New York honored Andrew Jackson with a 1400-pound hulking hunk of cheddar cheese. Not knowing what to do with the mammoth cheddar, Jackson left it in the White House lobby to age for two years until he decided to throw his last public reception on George Washington’s birthday. “Everyone from Supreme Court justices to stable boys jammed the East Room to wish him well—and eat cheese,” writes Albert Marrin in Old Hickory: Andrew Jackson and the American People. “Oh, what a glorious day for cheese! Carpets grew slippery with cheese. Pockets filled with wedges of cheese. ‘All you heard was cheese; all you smelled was cheese,' a guest reported.”

3. THERE IS A SOMEWHAT OFFICIAL “WORLD’S STINKIEST CHEESE.”

Speaking of the smell of cheese, in 2004 researchers at Cranfield University in England used an “electronic nose,” along with a group of 19 human sniffers, to analyze cheese odors. A soft cheese from northern France called Vieux Boulogne was determined to be the most pungent. In fact, it even beat out Epoisses de Bourgogne, a cheese so stinky that it has apparently been banned from public transportation throughout France.

The Guardian had the Vieux Boulogne couriered to its offices, and reporter Patrick Barkham alleged that the cheese had “an aroma of six-week-old earwax.” He also wrote, “From a safe distance of 50 metres, the cheese emitted a pleasant eau de farmyard, replete with dung and Barbour jackets.”

4. THE WISCONSIN “CHEESEHEAD” BEGAN WITH A BURNT COUCH CUSHION.

While France is known for its elegant (and sometimes nostril-assaulting) cheeses, our very own Wisconsin holds its own in the cheese department. The No. 1 producer of cheese in the United States, the state license plate boasts “America’s Dairyland” and state legislators even honored Lactococcus lactis, the bacterium used to make Colby, cheddar, and Monterey Jack, as Wisconsin’s official microbe. But not only is Wisconsin home to a multitude of cheese producers, it just might be the official HQ of cheese lovers worldwide. After all, nothing but true, deep, utterly mad love would possess a person to wear a wedge of cheese as a hat.

The idea for the foam Cheesehead, now worn proudly by Wisconsinites at Green Bay Packers games, came to Milwaukee native Ralph Bruno nearly 27 years ago on a whim. Bruno told the Los Angeles Times that he was reupholstering his mother’s couch when he discovered he had a leftover cushion. He randomly began burning holes into the foam rubber until his mother shooed him outdoors because of the stench. Out in the yard, Bruno painted the cushion yellow and affixed it to his head. Then he wore it to a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. It caught on throughout the world of Wisconsin sports.

5. CHEESE BRINE IS AN ANTIDOTE FOR MILWAUKEE’S ICY ROADS.

If you thought nothing could top the foam Cheesehead in Wisconsinites’ dedication to all things cheese, think again. Last month, Milwaukee introduced a first-time program to repurpose cheese brine to keep its roads from freezing. Because rock salt is expensive, the brine was mixed with the salt to make it stretch further. The natural salts in the brine also help it to break down the ice and the snow.

6. THE HOLES IN SWISS CHEESE ARE NOT CAUSED BY NIBBLING MICE.

A piece of Swiss cheese
Wikimedia Commons

The holes in Swiss cheese, oddly called “eyes,” are caused by carbon dioxide gas bubbles that are produced by bacteria during fermentation, according to Don Vorhees in Why Do Donuts Have Holes? Fascinating Facts About What We Eat and Drink. The longer the cheese ferments, the larger the holes grow. By adjusting the various bacterial growth conditions like temperature, acidity, and the length of the curing time, a cheesemaker can control the size of the holes.

7. THERE WAS A VELVEETA SHORTAGE IN 2014 THAT CAME TO BE KNOWN AS A "CHEESEPOCALYPSE."

In early 2014, Kraft confirmed to NBC News that Velveeta was in limited supply. The cheese-loaf shortage was apparently due to Kraft moving Velveeta’s production lines from a plant in Minnesota to another plant in Illinois. NPR referred to the shortage as a possible “Cheesepocalypse.”

8. WHEN IN DOUBT ABOUT MOLDY CHEESE, TOSS IT OUT.

Moldy cheese
Wikimedia Commons

It’s well known that mold on cheese isn’t always something to worry about and sometimes it’s even to be enjoyed, but what about those times when a cheese should be thrown away? According to registered dietician Katherine Zeratsky on the Mayo Clinic’s website, soft cheeses like cream cheese, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese that have grown mold should be discarded. So should any type of cheese that’s crumbled, sliced, or shredded.

Hard and semisoft cheeses like Colby, cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss aren’t easily penetrated by mold, however, so you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest. And of course cheeses like Camembert and Brie (and Gorgonzola—yum!), which mold is actually used to make, are completely safe to eat.

“If you’re not sure what type of cheese you have or what to do if it grows mold, the safe course is to discard it,” Zeratsky says.

9. THE VIRGIN MARY GRILLED CHEESE WAS SURPRISINGLY MOLD-FREE.

Back in 2004, there was that crazy grilled cheese sandwich that supposedly bore the face of the Virgin Mary and sold for $28,000 on eBay. The seller, Diana Duyser of Hollywood, Florida, apparently claimed that the sandwich was completely mold free, even though it was stored in a not-completely-airtight container. Brendan Koerner of Slate decided to exhaustively analyze how the sandwich failed to sprout a single spore of mold. He supplies several hypotheses, including the idea that the trans fats in the margarine repelled the mold and that the bread was full of mold-prohibitive preservatives. But, surprisingly, he also believes it very well could have been the cheese.

“The cheese filling, aside from contributing to the sandwich’s fat content, also added calcium to the mix,” Koerner explains. “Calcium is a mild mold retardant, though less so than margarine. The acidic cheese may have also altered the pH level of the sandwich; bread mold grows best when the pH is more or less neutral.”

10. AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR CHEESE DISH IS MAC AND CHEESE.

The award for most popular cheese recipe in the United States goes to macaroni and cheese, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. The largest macaroni and cheese, according to Guinness World Records, weighed 2469 pounds and was made by Cabot Creamery Cooperative in Fulton Square in New Orleans. The recipe called for 286 pounds of cheese, 575 pounds of cooked macaroni, 56 pounds of butter, 26 pounds of flour, 1100 pounds of milk, and 61 pounds of dry seasoning.

11. IT’S POSSIBLE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL CHEESE SCULPTOR

There are three professional cheese sculptors in the United States, according to NPR. Sarah Kaufmann, also known as the “Cheese Lady,” is one of them. Kaufmann carves cheese for Super Bowl parties, weddings, corporate functions, state fairs, and dairy-association events. Her sculptures have ranged from a 120-pound Mickey Mouse to a 300-pound gorilla to various TV personalities (Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Marc Summers) to a six-foot long model of the USS Reagan aircraft carrier. “It’s much more delightful than working with wood or stone,” Kaufmann told NPR. “You can snack while you work.”

An earlier version of this article ran in 2014.

McDonald's Shamrock Shake Is Back—Here's How to Find One

Todd Van Hoosear, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA 2.0
Todd Van Hoosear, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA 2.0

While most people were still thinking about Valentine's Day, McDonald's quietly added a seasonal favorite to its menu in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day on March 17. The Shamrock Shake, a pale green, whipped cream-topped milkshake that tastes like mint, returned to McDonald's the week of February 11, Business Insider reports.

As was the case in past years, the shake is only available at select locations, but 2019 marks the first time that McDonald's has added a Shamrock Shake locator to its app. If you log in to the McDonald's app and enter your zip code, you'll be shown a map of the restaurants in your area that are selling the item.

Since it first appeared at McDonald's in the 1970s, the Shamrock Shake has grown into one of the chain's most successful special offerings. It's been sold under different names (like the St. Patrick's Day Green Milkshake), and it's inspired different promotional gimmicks (from Uncle O'Grimacey to a straw designed by aerospace engineers), but the minty milkshake itself hasn't changed much over the decades.

The Shamrock Shake comes in small ($2.19), medium ($2.59), and large ($2.99) sizes. It's now available at select McDonald's restaurants while supplies last through March 24.

[h/t Business Insider]

The Best Chocolate Shop in All 50 States

iStock.com/TorriPhoto
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Chocolate is one of life's sweet, simple pleasures. And luckily, there are plenty of chocolatiers across the country who are happy to help you indulge your chocolate cravings. Whether you have a hankering for truffles, handmade chocolate bars, or chocolate-covered marshmallows, here are the best chocolate shops in all 50 states.

1. Best Chocolate Shop in Alabama: Peterbrooke Chocolatier

chocolate-covered popcorn in a bowl
iStock.com/LauriPatterson

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Take a bite out of one of the chocolate treats at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, and you'll quickly realize why this shop is a step above the rest. The most fun, decadent confections here are the chocolate-covered popcorn, pretzels, and Oreos.

2. Best Chocolate Shop in Alaska: The Alaskan Fudge Company

Location: Juneau, Alaska

Founded in 1980, The Alaskan Fudge Company makes killer fudge and chocolate treats ranging from Husky Paws (chocolate, pecans, and caramel) to cappuccino truffles. For something lighter, try the white chocolate-dipped apricots.

3. Best Chocolate Shop in Arizona: Chocofin Chocolatier

Location: Fountain Hills, Arizona

This bean-to-bar craft chocolate shop treats the humble cocoa bean with the utmost care and respect. Try their small-batch, handmade chocolate bars, nut barks, and banana macadamia chocolate, in which banana ganache is topped with a salted macadamia nut.

4. Best Chocolate Shop in Arkansas: Sweet's Fudge Kitchen

blocks of fudge on a plate
iStock.com/pamela_d_mcadams

Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Established in 1969, Sweet's Fudge Kitchen focuses on fresh ingredients to make the absolute best chocolates. Besides almond and cashew turtles, the shop also sells a mouthwatering fudge, hard candies, and licorice.

5. Best Chocolate Shop in California: Edelweiss

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Since opening in 1942, Edelweiss has served Hollywood legends including Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn. The shop's assembly line even inspired the famous chocolate factory scene in I Love Lucy's episode "Job Switching." Today, Edelweiss's chocolate-dipped marshmallows (available in flavors such as mocha, mint, and coconut) are super-popular.

6. Best Chocolate Shop in Colorado: Chocolate Lab

Location: Denver, Colorado

For anyone curious about the chemistry of food, Chocolate Lab might be the coolest place ever. Pick up an assortment of their hand-crafted chocolates and uniquely flavored truffles, or stay for lunch and dinner. The menu features soups, sandwiches, and salads that thoughtfully incorporate chocolate. Try the fantastic chocolate balsamic glaze and chocolate barbecue sauce.

7. Best Chocolate Shop in Connecticut: Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

outside view of Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

Frank Di Martino, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Ridgefield, Connecticut

Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe has plenty of homemade ice cream, candy, and fudge, but the chocolates are truly the star at this lovely store. Wondering what to get? Start with the chocolate-covered strawberries, then see where your taste buds take you.

8. Best Chocolate Shop in Delaware: Sweet Serenity Chocolates

Location: Seaford, Delaware

Owned by a husband and wife team, Sweet Serenity Chocolates is all about building community through chocolate. The store's most tasty items include the hand-dipped buttercream truffles and cookies and cream bark.

9. Best Chocolate Shop in Florida: Key Largo Chocolates

Location: Key Largo, Florida

This fun, bright shop in the Florida Keys serves truffles, bark, fudge, and cake pops enveloped in luscious chocolate. The handmade chocolate truffles are, appropriately, available in tropical flavors such as coconut rum, key lime, and banana daiquiri.

10. Best Chocolate Shop in Georgia: Chocolat by Adam Turoni

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Savannah's charming historic district has two Chocolat by Adam Turoni locations, to the delight of locals and visitors alike. The whimsical stores serve artisan truffles, caramelized chocolate covered hazelnuts, and an amazing Savannah honey chocolate bar, which is made with 72 percent dark chocolate, local wildflower honey, and 24k gold dust.

11. Best Chocolate Shop in Hawaii: Manoa

Location: Kailua, Hawaii

This bean-to-bar chocolate factory and retail store uses single origin cacao from around the world to make a variety of dark chocolate confections. The shop's most popular chocolate bar is made with roasted cacao nibs and coffee beans, but don't overlook the incredible lavender bar, which is made with 60 percent cacao and Ali'i Kula lavender.

12. Best Chocolate Shop in Idaho: The Chocolat Bar

Red and gold-flecked bonbon
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Location: Boise, Idaho

Customers at The Chocolat Bar can find creative, artistic chocolate treats ranging from orange slices dipped in dark chocolate to hand-painted chocolate footwear. The exquisite chocolate shoes (for eating, not for wearing) include dark or milk chocolate high heels decorated with flowers, polka dots, leopard print, and more.

13. Best Chocolate Shop in Illinois: KC Chocolatier

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Fans of Belgian chocolate should stop what they're doing and head to KC Chocolatier, stat. This East Lincoln Park chocolate shop creates beautiful gift boxes containing all types of chocolate, from truffles and hazelnut creams to cordials and caramels.

14. Best Chocolate Shop in Indiana: The Sound Bend Chocolate Company

Location: Multiple locations, Indiana

This chocolate factory, museum, and retail store in South Bend (with chocolate cafes in multiple other locations) gives visitors a comprehensive overview of chocolate: its history, how it's made, and (most importantly) what it tastes like. The cashew caramel patty and chocolate peanut butter logs will no doubt tempt you, so don't put up a fight.

15. Best Chocolate Shop in Iowa: Chocolate Storybook

chocolate-covered bacon
iStock.com/dirkr

Location: West Des Moines, Iowa

Two words: chocolate bacon. At Chocolate Storybook, you'll find chocolate covered bacon strips, maple bacon chocolate caramels, and plenty of non-porcine chocolate treats. The shop's many holiday-themed gift options include elaborate Valentine's baskets, platters of fancy chocolate-covered strawberries, personalized chocolate Easter rabbits, and, for Christmas, a plate chock-full of chocolate-covered caramels, pretzels, animal crackers, and cookies.

16. Best Chocolate Shop in Kansas: Annedore's Fine Chocolates

Location: Westwood Hills, Kansas

This award-winning chocolate shop specializes in European truffles and holiday-themed chocolate treats. Some of their most delectable chocolates include the vanilla bean, the heart-shaped port wine, and the Irish creme.

17. Best Chocolate Shop in Kentucky: Cellar Door Chocolates

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

With two locations in Louisville, Cellar Door Chocolates makes a lot of amazing chocolate. You can't go wrong with any of the shop's truffles, but the absolute best might be the green chili coconut truffle. It's made with a smooth white chocolate ganache and spicy New Mexican green chili.

18. Best Chocolate Shop in Louisiana: Southern Candymakers

Sign for Southern Candymakers in New Orleans.
rosefirerising, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Southern Candymakers has been famous for its praline and toffee offerings for 27 years, but the shop's chocolate is also top-notch. Order the hand-dipped, chocolate-covered Queen Anne cherries or the chocolate pralines, which are made with jumbo pecans.

19. Best Chocolate Shop in Maine: Wilbur's Of Maine

Location: Multiple locations, Maine

Located in Freeport and Brunswick, Wilbur's of Maine is a welcome sight for anyone with a serious sweet tooth. The shop excels at making classic, simple treats, evidenced by the perfectly flavorful chocolate-covered blueberries.

20. Best Chocolate Shop in Maryland: SPAGnVOLA

Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland

The chocolatiers at SPAGnVOLA cultivate and process organic cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to make small-batch chocolate bars, truffles, and bonbons. Dark chocolate lovers will absolutely relish the Dominican 75-percent chocolate bar for its nuanced flavors and rich depth.

21. Best Chocolate Shop in Massachusetts: Phillips Chocolates

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Established in 1925, Phillips Chocolates is Boston's oldest chocolatier, and the shop still makes small batches of chocolate treats by hand. Oprah Winfrey proclaimed the store's basket of turtles to be one of her "favorite things" in 2015. Even the basket itself is edible, and it's filled with milk, dark, and white chocolate turtles.

22. Best Chocolate Shop in Michigan: Alpine Chocolat Haus

Chocolate-covered apples
iStock.com/Imagesbybarbara

Location: Gaylord, Michigan

Gourmet hot chocolate, decorated candy apples, sea salt caramel corn, and chocolate covered potato chips are favorites at The Alpine Chocolat Haus, which has three other locations in Michigan. If you're feeling adventurous, try their ghost pepper caramel corn—it comes in three levels of heat.

23. Best Chocolate Shop in Minnesota: Mademoiselle Miel

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Mademoiselle Miel is famous for its terrific honey bon-bons. These treats are filled with local honey, enrobed in single-origin chocolate, and topped with 23-karat edible gold leaf. The shop also sells tantalizing housemade chocolate that is sweetened with local maple sugar.

24. Best Chocolate Shop in Mississippi: Margarete's Fine Chocolates

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

It's hard to decide between the chocolate cremes, truffles, and nuts at Margarete's Fine Chocolates. Luckily, you can order a basket and fill it with a bit of everything. The triple-dipped chocolate covered strawberries—made with milk, white, and colored white chocolate—are one of their specialties.

25. Best Chocolate Shop in Missouri: Chip's Chocolate Factory

display case of hand-dipped chocolate treats
iStock.com/Luca_Daviddi

Location: Kansas City and Independence, Missouri

Chip's Chocolate Factory is the home of Kansas City Fudge, which is available in over 40 flavors. Visitors can watch chocolatiers make hundreds of chocolate treats in the shop's factory; some of the sweetest include Tiger butter (a combination of peanut butter and Swiss chocolate that melts in your mouth), vanilla caramel turtles, and cinnamon roasted nuts.

26. Best Chocolate Shop in Montana: La Châtelaine Chocolat

Location: Bozeman, Montana

La Châtelaine Chocolat is a whimsical shop inspired by French chocolatiers. The polka-dotted dark chocolate caramel brulé typifies the intricate, artistic designs you'll find on the chocolates. The flavors, including sea salt caramel espresso and strawberry balsamic, are also outstanding.

27. Best Chocolate Shop in Nebraska: Candy Wrappers

Box of cherry cordials.
iStock.com/alpaksoy

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Candy lovers will find plenty of delightful bulk candy, fudge, and caramel apples at Candy Wrappers, but the handmade chocolate is truly heavenly. Choose between chocolate turtles, cherry cordials, and the popular sea salted dark chocolate caramel swirl popcorn.

28. Best Chocolate Shop in Nevada: Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company

Location: Reno, Nevada

At Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company, you can order chocolate and wine that pair perfectly with each other. If wine isn't your thing, get a bunch of crazy truffles—they come in flavors as wild as watermelon and champagne.

29. Best Chocolate Shop in New Hampshire: Byrne & Carlson

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Named after founders Ellen Byrne and Christopher Carlson, this sophisticated chocolate shop is what all artisanal chocolatiers should strive to emulate. The store's stunning, handcrafted sweets contain a range of unique ingredients and toppings, including dried fruits, milk chocolate "pearls," crystallized flowers, and dark Belgian chocolate seashells.

30. Best Chocolate Shop in New Jersey: Enjou Chocolat

Location: Morristown, New Jersey

This chocolate shop sells stuffed animals, ice cream, and plenty of chocolate gifts perfect for special occasions and holidays. Some of the best treats here are the pretzel platter—filled with chocolates, chocolate covered popcorn, and, of course, chocolate-covered pretzels—and the milk chocolate-covered potato chips.

31. Best Chocolate Shop in New Mexico: Theobroma Chocolatier

assorted molded chocolates
iStock.com/AnnaPustynnikova

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Theobroma Chocolatier makes an impressive variety of boxed and molded chocolates. Truffles are available in a variety of flavors, including cappuccino, black forest, champagne, Key lime, and butter pecan. You can also find molded chocolate in the shape of pandas, dinosaurs, business cards, dreidels, and cell phones.

32. Best Chocolate Shop in New York: Aigner Chocolates

Location: Forest Hills, New York

When it comes to chocolate, New York City is a competitive place. But Aigner Chocolates is a step above the rest, as evidenced by the shop's long history. Opened in 1930, Aigner sells (and ships) chocolate barks, cordials, and marshmallows that are made using the kitchen's original kettles and spoons.

33. Best Chocolate Shop in North Carolina: French Broad Chocolates

French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, North Carolina
confusedbee, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

French Broad Chocolates makes and serves exquisite truffles, chocolate caramels, and hot sipping chocolate. Our menu recommendation: Knock back some dark sipping chocolate and munch on a strawberry balsamic chocolate truffle. Too much chocolate? No such thing.

34. Best Chocolate Shop in North Dakota: Carol Widman's Candy Co.

Location: Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota

Four generations of the Widman family have crafted handmade candy and chocolates, beginning with William Widman in 1885. Although Carol Widman's Candy Co. is well-known for its Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips), the turtles, truffles, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds are among its many other stellar delicacies.

35. Best Chocolate Shop in Ohio: Wittich's Candy Shop

Location: Circleville, Ohio

Wittich's Candy Shop is one of America's oldest family-operated confectioners—and it shows in the vintage charm of the shop, which is home to an old-school soda fountain. Since 1840 the company has prided itself on creating handmade chocolates with high-quality ingredients and paying tribute to its home state with its Buckeyes, a local chocolate treat (available in milk, dark, or white chocolate) with a peanut butter center.

36. Best Chocolate Shop in Oklahoma: Omega Chocolate

Location: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Omega Chocolate has been open for just over three years, but the exceptional shop has earned plenty of accolades for its gorgeous, hand-crafted offerings. Coffee lovers will adore the dark chocolate covered espresso beans, and fun creations like their milk chocolate cinnamon roll truffles can practically double as breakfast in bed.

37. Best Chocolate Shop in Oregon: Woodblock Chocolate

chocolate bark with various toppings
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Portland, Oregon

Husband-and-wife duo Charley and Jessica Wheelock founded Woodblock Chocolate to transform simple cacao beans into delectable chocolate bars. The store sells single-origin bars that come from Peru, Madagascar, and Trinidad, but the most unique option here might be the Japanese-inspired toasted sesame bar.

38. Best Chocolate Shop in Pennsylvania: Pierre's Chocolates

Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania

All of the treats at this sweet chocolaterie are handmade in-house. Swiss chocolatier Jean Pierre Meyenberg opened his eponymous shop in 1970 and ran it with his family until 2011, when the shop was purchased by chocolatiers Tom Block and Justin Zaslow. They spent more than a year learning Meyenberg's techniques and recipes, and they've added their own spin, too, creating artisan chocolates that are made in small batches from single-origin cacao grown at family farms around the world. Try the Swiss truffle, the Mint Cookie—which features dark chocolate and crushed mint cookies—or the shop's New Hope Collection, four sweet treats that pay tribute to the town's history.

39. Best Chocolate Shop in Rhode Island: Sweenor's Chocolates

Location: Wakefield and Cranston, Rhode Island

Sweenor's Chocolates first opened in 1955, and the family owned and operated chocolate shop has stayed true to its origins by focusing on fresh ingredients and eschewing preservatives. And, they offer a number of sugar-free chocolates, which are often recommended for anyone with diabetes.

40. Best Chocolate Shop in South Carolina: Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Christophe Paume, a third-generation French chocolatier, founded this charming chocolate shop. Visitors to the shop's two locations in downtown Charleston and West Ashley can sample the brightly colored, hand-painted chocolates and truffles.

41. Best Chocolate Shop in South Dakota: Mostly Chocolates

Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

At Mostly Chocolates, you can sip on something strong from the espresso bar while you choose between truffles, fudge, and other gorgeous confections. You can't go wrong with the chocolate-dipped espresso creme or the Oreo cream truffle, but if you want some added fruit flavors, their truffles also come in peaches and cream, raspberry, and strawberry cheesecake.

42. Best Chocolate Shop in Tennessee: The Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar

The Goo Goo Cluster Shop in Nashville.
Brent Moore, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Since its debut in 1912, the Goo Goo Cluster candy bar has delighted kids and adults with its tantalizing combination of milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and marshmallow nougat. And you can celebrate all things Goo Goo Cluster at this shop and dessert bar, which serves chocolatey cheesecakes, sundaes, and shakes inspired by the candy bar.

43. Best Chocolate Shop in Texas: Cacao and Cardamom

box of decorated chocolates
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Houston, Texas

Eating chocolate at Cacao and Cardamom feels like taking a food trip around the world. Stop to sample blends of flavors and spices like their Szechuan peppercorn milk chocolate ganache, garam masala pistachio, black sesame ginger, pineapple fennel caramel, lychee basil, or a caramelized cashew and Vietnamese cinnamon praline.

44. Best Chocolate Shop in Utah: Ritual Chocolate

Location: Park City, Utah

Before you come to Ritual Chocolate, you'll probably want to skip your morning cup of joe. The bean-to-bar chocolate shop serves espresso, sipping chocolate, and a 100 percent pure cacao bar that will jolt you awake with its bitter, nutty taste.

45. Best Chocolate Shop in Vermont: Daily Chocolate

Location: Vergennes, Vermont

The chocolatiers at Daily Chocolate excel at flavor experimentation. Besides the black rum caramel (house made caramel in 72 percent dark chocolate), the coconut and cherry clusters will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving. Fans of white chocolate should try the lemon lavender almond bark, made with lavender buds and lemon oil.

46. Best Chocolate Shop in Virginia: Gearharts Fine Chocolates

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Launched by chefs Tim Gearhart and Bill Hamilton in 2001, Gearharts Fine Chocolates uses "the world's finest chocolate with local sweet cream and pure butter" to create its confections. The shop's signature chocolates include pistachio toffee orange, malted milk hazelnut, and mint julep (which is made with fresh mint Kentucky bourbon). The chocolates are available for purchase online.

47. Best Chocolate Shop in Washington: Oh! Chocolate

Lightly colored truffles in rows
iStock.com/kobeza

Location: Mercer Island, Washington

Since 1985, Oh! Chocolate has earned a reputation as the top chocolate destination in Washington. Chocolatiers make small batches of delightful truffles in flavors such as champagne, mango habanero, and Pacific NW blackberry.

48. Best Chocolate Shop in West Virginia: Holl's Chocolates

Location: Vienna and Charleston, West Virginia

Before immigrating to the United States in 1958, Fritz Holl worked as an apprentice to his uncle in a pastry and chocolate shop in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, Holl's Chocolates—the company he founded in 1986—is still family-owned (Fritz's son, Dominique, runs it with his wife, Michelle) and still sells authentic Swiss chocolate. The store's chocolate lollipops (which come in milk, dark, and white chocolate varieties) are melt-in-your-mouth spectacular.

49. Best Chocolate Shop in Wisconsin: Wilmar Chocolates

Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

Chocoholics rejoice in the staggering selection of chocolate covered caramels, truffles, and butter toffee at Wilmar Chocolates. The shop's confections, which are made with authentic Wisconsin butter and cream, regularly win awards at the Wisconsin State Fair.

50. Best Chocolate Shop in Wyoming: Donells Candies

Location: Casper, Wyoming

Donells Candies has been a Wyoming staple since 1956, selling handcrafted confections such as dark chocolate cherry cordials and milk chocolate coconut clusters. Nut lovers rave about the dark chocolate peanut and pecan clusters.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER