10 Awesome Chocolate Bars for the Holidays

We snapped open bars from Portland and beyond to answer your stocking stuffer prayers. Or keep them for yourself. We won’t tell.

By Karen Brooks December 15, 2015

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1. Alma Chocolate’s Hazelnut Sea Salt Crunch Bar
Of Alma Chocolates’ various gilded confections and dark drinking chocolates, this is its shock and awe bar, where swaggering chocolate, creamy intensity, nut crunch galore, and briny Oregon sea salt swerve merrily into overdrive. It’s positively addictive. almachocolate.com


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2. Batch PDX Twicks Bars
Like a better Twix, this lofty bar is stacked with seductive, buttery shortbread, a thick swatch of caramel, and good chocolate from a Portland up-and-comer. Its dark star twin is the Batch Bar, a crunchy wonder that subs coconut-almond praline for the shortbread. batchpdx.com

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Image: The Meadow

3. Blanxart Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Bar
The hunky bar from Barcelona is sweet, creamy, and positively throttled with Spanish hazelnuts. It’s not just a snack, it’s a meal—a must-have for backpackers and nut freaks. blanxart.com 

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Image: Karen Brooks

4. Bonnat Java Chocolate Bar
Milky, but deep and a pure, Bonnat Java is a delightful, tongue-coating expression of cocoa-butter. It adds up to a beautiful break from the tyranny of bittersweet, courtesy of an old school French chocolate family.

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Image: The Meadow

5. Castronovo Lemon & Sea Salt White Chocolate Bar
White chocolate scares me, but it’s hard to argue with the unique blend of lusciousness, salty lemon flakes (from Portland’s Bitterman Salt Co.) and a thrust of lemon oil. It’s a foodie’s lemon chiffon cake reborn as a bar. castronovochocolate.com

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Image: Cocanu

6. Cocanu

Cocanu is a Portland chocolate line defined by subtle beauty, sophistication, integrity and storytelling. The pop rocks-landscaped Moonwalk bar pays homage to space travel dreams. For a novelty bar, it’s hard to beat. At the other end of the spectrum is the Valentina, a hopeless romantic’s love letter, found in a square of maple sugar-slicked, pure-hearted chocolate wrapped like an envelope. cocanu.com 

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Image: The Meadow

7. Fruition Chocolate “Hispaniola”
I’m completely won over by these bright, cheerfully packaged craft bars from the Hudson Valley. It’s easy, mouth-filled-with-joy chocolate, like eating silk and velvet and vanilla while watching Breakfast at Tiffany's—something you and your grandma would love. tastefruition.com

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Image: Marou

8. Marou Faiseurs de Chocolate

These French artisan chocolate dudes in Vietnam work with cacao farmers to create colorful, gold-leaf papered bars. Every chocolate lover has a different favorite. I’m a fool for the Da Lak bar (70%), with a punch of bright spice and earth, while Cacao co-owner Jessie Mannis fell hard for Heart of Darkness (85%). “It’s got a million things going for it…exciting, coconut, spicy, chai.” marouchocolate.

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9. Woodblock Chocolates
A Portland bean-to-bar line for the hardcore chocolate eater. These are not gobbly candy bars, but a quick trip to a different chocolate ecosystem altogether. My favorite: Peru (very sharp and austere, with a sushi vinegar vibe), Trinidad (assertive with fresh-cut grass; it’s so different you’ll never look at chocolate the same), Salt & Nibs (rugged; a deep dive into salt, texture and pleasure). woodblockchocolates.com 

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10. Xocolatl de David’s Peanut Butter Truffle Bar Portland chocolate explorer David Briggs combines the DNA of a chocolate truffle, a Reese’s cup, and a coastal salt flat into a thin, pocket-sized square of elegant cacao. Each decadent bite is in a rush, melting on impact. xocolatldedavid.com

Most bars are available locally at The Meadow (805 NW 23rd Ave.) and Cacao (414 SW 13th Ave.)

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