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Connecticut Chocolate Trail

Oh, chocolate. Love it. Crave it. Can’t live without sweet chocolate. Milk, dark, white – you name it - chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and  flavors in the world.  And although chocolate can be imported from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland or France – there is a world of chocolate that can be found right here in Connecticut.  Believe it or not, our state is home to many world-renowned chocolatiers and local chocolate artisans who create an experience that is decadent and rich in flavor.

They say there is nothing better than a good friend, except, perhaps a good friend with chocolate – so grab a partner, and treat the chocolate lover in your life (or yourself!) to an unforgettable tasting trip throughout the state.   This Connecticut Chocolate Trail will indulge all of your senses!

THE SWEET SPOTS: MUST-TASTE SHOPS TO VISIT

Bridgewater Chocolate Factory and Factory Store
559 Federal Road
Brookfield, CT  06804
203-775-2286
and
2 LaSalle Road
West Hartford, CT  06107
860-570-0707
www.bridgewaterchocolate.com      

With store locations in Brookfield and West Hartford, Bridgewater offers an enormous catalog of options for the sweet tooth in your family.  First established by owner and founder, Erik Landergren in 1995, Bridgewater Chocolates specializes in American-style premium hand-made chocolates such as turtles, toffees, caramels and peanut butter patties. Winner of many awards and featured and reviewed in the country's top magazines and newspapers, Bridgewater Chocolates are top-notch.  The warm and inviting atmosphere, coupled with the enticing scents of gourmet chocolates make this one sweet spot to visit!

Cocoashak
55 Elm St, 2 Town Center
Cheshire, CT 06410
203-272-2128
www.cocoashak.com

A fine, yet fun chocolate shop offering handmade chocolate truffles, barks, chocolate bacon bars, chocolate covered potato chips and pretzels. They make s’mores with fresh-made marshmallow and serve Aztec Spicy Sipping Chocolate during the colder months.  Sooth your cravings for even more chocolate with special classes and tours.

Chocolate Rain Shop
69 Wilton Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 956-6000
www.chocolaterainshop.com

Offering fine chocolate confections that are fresh, fabulous, and fun.  Featuring a wide variety of handmade chocolates, French Macrons, Petit Fours, pastries and cupcakes at the shop. You can also customize to your specification. All our products are great for any occasion, special events, corporate gifts, party favors, easy desserts, or the holidays.

Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shop
381 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
203-438-0065
www.deborahanns.com

What happens when you get two Yale Law School graduates together in a room?  Chocolate, of course!  Tired of the corporate legal world in New York City, this sweet couple now serves a variety of homemade chocolates, ice cream and an array of candies to guests.  From humble beginnings of just a few types of chocolates, they now produce 70 varieties, including chocolate-covered pretzels, granola and marshmallow caramel.  The rear of the store, which was originally part of a bank, has 1,300 square feet of open kitchen, so customers can observe truffles being hand-rolled.

Divine Treasures
Parkade Plaza
404 Middle Turnpike West
Manchester, CT 06040
860-643-2552
www.dtchocolates.com      

For the health-conscious and eco-friendly chocoholic, Divine Treasures offers a wide variety of delectable treats using organic Belgian chocolate and the finest vegan, gluten-free ingredients. Owner Diane Blanchette-Wagemann uses recipes and traditions learned from her grandmother to create handcrafted candies with a healthful spin. Divine Treasures was the recipient of the 2011 Customer Satisfaction Award for Excellence in Customer Care, presented by Talk of the Town News, Customer Care News and Celebration Media.  Try the 10 Million Smooches (crunchy all-natural peanut butter base, caramel topping surrounded by dark chocolate), Cranberry Raindrops, Ginger Explosion, Toffee Bites, Peppermint Patsy and more, or pick up a beautifully-wrapped assorted gift box.

Fascia's Chocolates
44 Chase River Rd.
Waterbury, CT 06704
(203) 753-0515
www.fasciaschocolates.com

In 1964 John & Helen Fascia began making candy in their Waterbury, CT home to supplement John’s work in a local factory. With three young daughters helping out, Fascia’s Chocolates became the family’s full time passion and eventually moved the business out of their home. A half a century later, the entire Fascia family still makes all products in-house and in small batches to ensure the highest quality and freshness possible. Connecticut Magazine's "Best Chocolates" of 2012, Fascia's produces over 100 varieties of chocolates, fudge, peanut brittle, molded novelties and much more, and chocolate lovers will be sure to find something that they will call their favorite. They also produce authentic Italian Gelato on site and house Lynne's Chocolate Cakery.   In September 2013, Fascia's opened in their current facility to offer a unique Chocolate Experience and Tour where participants learn about chocolate in a fun and informative way.  Bean to Bar, Bar to Box, Tasting, Sampling and a look behind the scenes at how it all gets done.  You can even make your very own chocolate bar.  Tours are offered on weekends throughout the year with an expanded schedule during the summer. Reservations are recommended, see the website for more information.  Fascia's also offers Kids BIrthday Parties, Group Tours & Workshops and Special Events.

H. Mangels Confectioner
11 River Street
Milford, CT 06460
203-783-9770
www.hmangels.com

Truffles, truffles and more truffles!  Rich in history and heritage, H. Mangels follows in the tradition of its store owner’s great-grandfather, Henry Mangels, who owned a candy store in the East New York section of Brooklyn in the 1890s with truffles made using only the purest ingredients:  chocolate, butter, heavy cream and liqueur.  The truffles are hand-made from start to finish, and come in a variety of flavors including Grand Marnier, Double Dutch Chocolate, Chambord and Espresso, to name a few.  Make sure to sign up for the Truffle of the Month while you’re here!  H. Mangels does not use any preservatives or artificial flavors, and offers a variety of sugar-free products as well. H. Mangels is located inside Villa Gourmet, a scheese and specialty food shop.

Hillside Sweet Shoppe
19 Main Street
East Haddam, CT 06423"
(860) 970-5382
http://www.hillsidesweetshoppe.com/

If you’re nostalgic for an authentic candy and ice cream shop, try Hillside Sweet Shoppe in the equally irresistible village of East Haddam! For more than 30 years, this small, family-owned confection shop has been providing homemade and other fine chocolates, homemade ice cream and hot fudge, confections, gifts, toys, and more. In addition, you can find gifts of chocolate and candy, wedding favors, balloons and themed gift baskets. Hillside Sweet Shoppe also hosts birthday parties with balloons and custom party favor bags as well as ice cream parties for special occasions. Experience all that Hillside Sweet Shoppe has to offer in its quaint Connecticut River Valley location.

Knipschildt Chocolatier / Café Chocopoligie
12 South Main Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
203-854-4754
www.knipschildt.com

Voted one of the Top Three Chocolates in the World by Gourmet Magazine, Knipschildt Chocolatier’s handcrafted specialties are in high demand. Fritz Knipschildt, Danish born and trained, uses the finest ingredients from around the world to create his chocolate masterpieces.  Each piece is made by hand, and tastes as good as they look!  To enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the famous sweet treats, as well as taste them for yourself, take a tour through Café Chocopologie, where you can watch the confections made by hand. Then, grab a seat in the dining area for a gourmet meal, finished with a five-piece chocolate sampler, bonfire s’mores, chocolate fondue, crepes or truffle beignets.

Munson’s Chocolates
Main Store and Factory
174 Hop River Road
Bolton, CT 06043
860-649-4332
www.munsonschocolates.com

Other store locations include Farmington, Glastonbury, Mystic, Orange, South Windsor, Westport, West Hartford, and West Simsbury

Founded in Manchester, Connecticut in 1946, Munson’s began making handcrafted chocolates, creams and caramels in a tiny store behind a tailor shop. Now a third-generation family-run business and the largest chocolate manufacturer in the state, little has changed from Munson’s delicious original recipes. Visit the main store and factory in Bolton for a sneak peak at the chocolate-making process, or stop in for a treat at one of the other locations throughout the state.

The Chocolate Lab
1114 E. Putnam Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06878
203-698-6980
www.choc-lab.com

This unique chocolate shop and cafe located in the JHouse hotel in Greenwich, CT is a key stop on the Connecticut Chocolate Trail. Chef Kwaku-Dongo's pure, rich cocoa creations feature handmade truffles and filled chocolates, all handsomely packaged, as well as pastries, confections, espresso and coffee drinks, and an assortment of premium coffee and loose leaf teas.

Thompson Brands
80 S Vine St.
Meriden, CT 06451
(203) 235-2541
www.thompsonchocolate.com

The story of Thompson Chocolate is in many ways the story of the American Dream. Our founder, William H. Thompson, was one of America's first chocolatiers. In 1879, he established our company determined to produce only quality chocolate items with "no artificial ingredients." With hard work and attention to detail, he succeeded. Now, over 130 years later, Thompson Chocolate continues his tradition of making delicious foil wrapped chocolate specialties in Meriden, Connecticut. Thompson offers a range of delicious fine, foiled chocolate novelties – from the beautiful foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies that are a must-have on Easter morning, to the chocolate cigars that announce a baby's joyous arrival, our chocolates have had the ability to make any occasion sweeter. All our products are 100% natural and contain no artificial ingredients. Come shop our newly renovated store; Open Mon.- Fri. 10am to 4pm. (Please call for our special Summer Hours)!

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates
280 Town Hill Road
Goshen, CT 06756
860-309-2545
www.thorncrestfarm.net

Milk House Chocolates creates artisanal chocolates made in small batches one at a time with the Farm’s fresh milk, cream and butter. They harvest their own hay and pasture their cows. This ensures the cows are fed the finest sweetest hay and natural feeds to produce its signature milk. These chocolates are for those who desire something truly special. They will melt different, taste different and feel different. Because the finest chocolates are fresh, these chocolates are created on Thorncrest Farm in its creamery and are available to you within hours or minutes from when they are made. Fresh cream, milk and butter are used, so please store your pralines and truffles in an air tight container and a cool temperature. They are best consumed and enjoyed within ten days.

Tschudin Chocolates & Confections
100 Riverview Center (Corner of Main & Court)
Middletown, CT  06457
860-759-2222
www.tschocolates.com

Adventurous chocolate lovers will find plenty to surprise the taste buds at Tschudin Chocolates on Middletown’s vibrant Main Street, where the sweets are handmade using exotic flavors and spices and fresh, local ingredients. Grownups will enjoy a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, custom-made hot chocolate and amoretti truffle, while the young (and young at heart) can take a “Wonka” tour of the candy kitchen and then taste the treats they have seen created.