Whether it’s a gift to a loved one, or yourself, chocolate is always the answer.
The holiday season calls for desserts, desserts and … more desserts. Here, find four local chocolatiers creating sweet treats all year long.
For: A better fruitcake
“I never liked fruitcake,” says Robert Ludlow, owner of Old Town Alexandria’s Fleurir Chocolates. “I still do not like it. It’s so dense and intense.” But, as the chocolate maker of holiday-themed truffles, he does love the much-maligned dessert’s flavors. Candied citrus, diced ginger, dried cherries and walnuts are folded into a molasses-citrus ganache for a confection with the heart of a fruitcake, without all of the hate. // 110 S. Payne St., Alexandria
For: Real white chocolate
Why does white chocolate get a bad rap? “Most white chocolate is made with palm oil and a ton of sugar, and sometimes chocolate flavor,” says Krissee D’Aguiar, owner of River-Sea Chocolates. The sustainably minded bean-to-bar operation—its beans travel stateside via a near zero-emission sail cargo—uses real cocoa butter for the white chocolate, made with milk and sugar (there’s also a vegan version). Come December, find the Lebkuchengewuerz German Gingerbread White Chocolate bar made with Sterling’s Aromatic Spice Blends. Also this month, River-Sea opens a Brazilian-inspired cafe with liquid chocolate drinks and an espresso bar. //4520 Daly Drive, Suite 100, Chantilly
If baking cookies and pouring a glass of grass-fed milk is too much work, Potomac Chocolate’s all-in-one milk-and-cookies chocolate bar should please St. Nick. Owner and chocolatier Ben Rasmussen—who moved the decades-old brand into its first retail shop in downtown Occoquan—first toasts the milk powder for the chocolate and then blends in his own speculoos cookies. Now that Rasmussen has a storefront, expect more than just chocolates, like his own jars of speculoos cookie butter. // 206 Union St., Suite 102, Occoquan
Veritas Artizen Chocolate
For: Edible decorations
What started as Tightrope Chocolate from the crew who used to own Wild Hare Cider is now renamed by new owners as Veritas, which is also branching out. In what was the JR’s Soft Serve & Italian Ice space, is now Honeybee Creamery, which will feature Veritas chocolate, ice cream, Italian ice, soft serve, cakes, pies and coffee. Back to the chocolate: Find peppermint bark ornaments in the shape of Santa, Christmas trees and doves. // 20693 Ashburn Road, Ashburn