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Taste Test: The Best Boxed Chocolates

We taste-tested dozens of boxes of chocolates from the grocery store and online to find our favorites.
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BEST OF THE BUNCH
Garrison Confections Chocolatier Andrew Shotts's
creations impress both the palate and the eye. As Val, one of the panelists, said: "It's more than candy -- it's art." Thomas was more enamored of the taste, writing, "Who knew it was possible for chocolate to be both bold and delicate at the same time?" For Valentine's Day, Shotts makes a limited collection called Legendary Lovers. With chocolates named after star-crossed lovers like Roman mythology's Dido and Aeneas (strawberry basil and raspberry verbena), the collection is bound to get you in the mood. ($20 for the 12-piece box; garrisonconfections.com, 401-490-2740)

SAIL OF THE CENTURY
Harbor Sweets
This company makes hand-dipped and molded chocolates, simple confections all wrapped in gold foil. We loved the Sweet Sloops -- little boats of crunchy almond toffee topped with sweet white-chocolate sails. ($35 for the 38-piece box of Sweet Sloops; harborsweets.com, 800-243-2115)

HERBAL ESSENCES
Woodhouse Chocolate
This Napa Valley newcomer is known for arty, beautiful chocolates with vibrant flavors such as Thai ginger, honey and mint. As Simon wrote, "The mint tastes amazing, like it was just picked from the garden." ($30 for the 24- piece box; woodhousechocolate.com, 800-966-3468)

FRENCH KISSES
Fauchon
Can't make it to Paris for Valentine's Day? French chocolate is a great consolation. This paper handbag is filled with milk chocolate pralines and dark chocolate ganache hearts. Nina, a librarian, said her bonbon was "as smooth as a Marvin Gaye tune." ($23 for the 5.2-ounce Signature Pink Purse; fauchon.com, 866-784-7001)

CLASS ACT
Fran's Chocolates
Fran's has satisfied Seattleites for over 20 years. After tasting the truffles, a panelist, Alexandra, pledged her love for the oolong tea-flavored one. "It's wonderfully rich," she said, "and the cornflower petal on top is a nice touch." ($46 for the 33-piece box; franschocolates.com, 800-422-3726)

BIG BUSINESS
L.A. Burdick
Larry Burdick of New Hampshire makes bonbons as small as gumdrops, which is why he's able to cram dozens into each box, including flavors like pistachio with lavender. Ron, my stick-with-one-flavor husband, flew through them like a man on a mission. ($48 for the 1-pound box; burdickchocolate.com, 800-229-2149)

INTERNATIONAL APPEAL
Bridgewater
Swedish-born Erik Landegren makes old-fashioned, American-style candies like turtles and caramels in Connecticut. We ate so much of the buttery, chocolate-covered hazelnut toffee that the box had to be escorted out of the room. ($34 for the 1-pound box; bridgewaterchocolate.com, 800-888-8742)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in February 2007.

 

 

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