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Taste of the Holidays

Chocolate Worth Celebrating

The end of the year is not just holiday season, but chocolate season. Whether you are party throwing or party going, chocolate is always in style.

As the temperatures dip, chocolatiers and chocolate lovers alike have something to cheer about. While cacao beans are grown in tropical climates, chocolate confections thrive in cool weather, when the threat of melting diminishes. That is until the chocolate makes it into your mouth. Here are our top picks for chocolates to share and savor.

Charles Chocolates
When it comes to edible gifts, Charles Chocolates takes it one step further with edible chocolate boxes filled with chocolates. This season indulge in a sophisticated box of tea chocolates. The box is filled with tea-infused chocolates created in collaboration with Teance, a local specialty teahouse. Flavors include lichee, jasmine, Formosa oolong, osmanthus and roasted twig and they pair wonderfully with tea. The box is a work of art, a reproduction in chocolate of Chinese tea mountains; and each chocolate is decorated with Chinese characters indicating their flavor. Tealicious! 14 oz $60.

Coco Luxe
If your guests don't like surprises treat them to chocolates that indicate what's inside. Clever icons take all the guesswork out of picking the perfect confection. A gingerbread man? That indicates a spicy molasses flavor. A banana split? Expect milk chocolate banana ganache with dried cherries. The devil's pitchfork? Devil's food of course with pure dark chocolate ganache. A smart choice. 4.5 oz $17.95

Recchiuti
For chocolates decorated with even more local flair, check out Recchiuti's Rex Ray Collection. Local artist Rex Ray has designed over 100 Bill Graham Presents rock and roll posters and now he's designed the decoration for four different Burnt Caramel chocolates, Recchiuti's most popular flavor. A box of eight chocolates is just enough for a hostess gift or to go with coffee after dinner. Stylish and sleek. 3.5 oz. $18.00

Cocoa Bella
If picking and choosing gifts has your head spinning, let Cocoa Bella put together the World's Greatest Box of Chocolate, a collection handpicked by the shops proprietor and confirmed chocoholic. A printed guide will let you know which are inside your box, including Belgian, Swiss, French, Italian and American chocolates. What's your pleasure? Choose from a selection that includes English Toffee with Almonds, Orange Ganache in Dark Chocolate, a Creme Brulee chocolate and so much more. Something for everybody. 18 pieces $25 or 38 pieces $50.

RICHART
Looking for something avant-garde? Then turn to the French who invented the concept. RICHART offers up the Soir des Fetes collection with exotic Mediterranean flavors such as lavender, tarragon and cumin. Or choose the Petits Intense collection with flavors that run the gamut from roasted to fruity to citrus to herbal and even floral. Chocolates include Mango/Passionfruit, Kumquat, Grapefruit, Thyme, Basil, Wildflower, Rose and Spice. These will impress even your most jaded friends. Each comes with an edible chocolate plaque that doubles as a seasonís greeting card. C'est magnifique! For the Soir des Fete 36 pieces are $73 and 16 pieces $33 Petits Intense 49 pieces $72