The Chocoholic’s Top Ten Bean-To-Bar Craft Chocolate Makers


Hey! So over the past year or more, I’ve been researching bean-to-bar chocolate makers for a book I’m writing. (Have written. It’ll be available in May; more on that later.) I am just starting an Instagram for my chocolate reviews @the chocoholicsguide so do follow me there. For Valentine’s Day I wanted to post my top picks for best craft chocolate makers. In no particular order. And…I haven’t tried ALL the chocolate. These are picks from those bars I have tried. Trust me, I’ve tried dozens, and dozens, and dozens so far. And I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I’ve become a dark chocolate fiend. Forget that sweet milk stuff that is mass-produced by companies that don’t care where they source their cacao beans. I want the good stuff. And I’m going to get you started on the same quest.





Ok, this one starts the list because it is my favorite. And, yes, I initially thought it was named after some boastful French chick, but it is instead a river in North Carolina, where the chocolates are made. And…fine, the bar I’ve picked is their Dark Milk Chocolate. I think it’s a great starter bar for someone looking to experiment and move onto the dark bean-to-bar chocolate. It’s smooth. It’s delicious. It comes in a sexy box that you can keep and stash small narrow stuff in when you’re done! And you can order from them online. Well worth the shipping expense, trust me. Oh, and I may have referred to them in my story (not by name) but it is my heroine’s fav craft bar as well.


Rock-aaaaa. I love saying that name! Made in Brooklyn and soooo nummy. I think I first found this one at a Whole Foods. Yes, bean-to-bar is possible to find at a grocery store (while many are not). Then I discovered they have a monthly subscription box, so I checked that out. So cool. They send you 3 new bars every month that are not available to the public. Anyway, my favorite bar of theirs is a classic, the Coconut Milk bar. Very smooth, no dairy (if you’re worried about that) and yet another choice if you’re just starting on the bean-to-bar journey. Their Oat Milk and Sea Salt bars also clock in as favs.


Ooooh, nummy, sweet, sexy chocolate bars. I talked to the women behind this company at the Chocolate Festival in Seattle a few years ago. I was so impressed that I bought all the chocolate, and it was all good! And with chocolate bar names like Buff, Kiki, Nudie, Punch, Saltry and Sassy don’t they just belong in a romance novel? The pomegranate and hazelnut bar (Sassy) has a kick and a smoothness befitting its name. And the sea salt bar is Saltry, indeed.


One of the grandfathers of the craft chocolate movement, I highly recommend you try any bar they offer for a taste of quality and excellence. Their packaging is plain and simple, but they don’t need flashy colors for their dark, intriguing bars. Sometimes you can find these at Whole Foods. Grab one! This one was a collaboration bar they created with A Beautiful Mess blog and it’s vegan and gluten-free and all that good stuff, but mostly, it’s a treat!


I’ve become a bit obsessed with Map Chocolate. You must follow her Instagram account @mapchocolate. The flavor combinations in the bars this very small one-woman-owned operation creates are amazing, and yet sometimes baffle me as to how she manages to marry all those wacky combinations into a perfect bar. And get this, the batches are small, and the maker will post on Instagram when they are available for sale online. But hurry! They sell out FAST. My favorite bar so far is: Sunny With A Chance Of Cake, which includes tahini, panela, sea salt, and pineapple. It’s like a BURST of pineapple dancing on your tongue. A. Maze. Ing. If you want to win my heart…


A brand-new fav. I recently tried a toasted white chocolate bar (yes, white!) and let me tell you that was delicious. I know, and I agree, white chocolate just isn’t…well. But this bar? Smooth, fruity, surprising, and hardly worthy of the disdain the other white bars receive (it’s not even white in color, sort of a tannish). I’ve tried their stollen bar as well, with cherries and ground almonds. Nom. This is a UK company, so if you are in the US you’ll have to order directly from the maker or, I’ll tell you at the end of this post where I order most of my chocolate bars.


Another heavy hitter, one of the grandaddies of the bean-to-bar craft. This is no-nonsense craft chocolate at its best. Yes, all of the bars on this list are going to cost much more than your standard candy bar. But these are not candy bars; they are chocolate bars. And it’s worth paying for chocolate that is nurtured from the bean to the final bar. These are not bars you consume in one sitting. You break off a square (or triangle or whatever shape that darned bar wants to break into) and savor it, experience it, enjoy. Make it last days. A week! Seriously, people, this is what you want from bean-to-bar. The experience.


For utter variety of selection and some serious fun you must check out Zotter. I’ve tried many bars, and none have disappointed. My favorite though, is the Chocolate Banana bar. (God created chocolate specifically to be combined with banana; trust me on that one.) This small but hefty bar cannot be consumed over days or a week (as suggested above) but rather must be broken in portions to eat a piece now. And then later (like in five minutes) you decide just one more bite. And then (in about three minutes) you think surely you can save half the bar, but no, another big chunk is really necessary because banana and smooth chocolate and…is the bar gone? How did that happen?


As a born and bred Scandinavian (who has lived in the great tundra of Minnesota all her life) I couldn’t resist trying a bar crafted in Norway. It does not disappoint. I tried the Milk Blueberry (which I don’t see on their site at present). Divine. Lovely. Sensual. Smooth. All those pretty words that should be assigned to romancing a chocolate bar. I’ve posted a pic of their Milk and Brown Cheese bar. I have not tried that one, but someone should dare me to. Cheese and chocolate? I don’t know!


Chocolate made in my neck of the woods (or up a little higher). If you live in Minnesota you may have heard about this chocolate. If you have not, find it, like Right Now. They don’t call this bar Caramel Crack for no reason. You will not be able to stop eating it. You will be finished and wonder what happened to the rest of it. It’s in your mouth. Sweet and crunchy and toffee-like and just Give Me More!

That’s it! My favs. For now. They can all change, and will, because I keep trying new bars and makers all the time. It’s my treat to myself. (And I’m still claiming it’s research for my book. Just try and stop me.) But where do I find all these bars? There is an excellent online store that gathers all the different bean-to-bar makers’ offerings: Bar And Cocoa. Check them out. Get their newsletter (for sales, people!). I highly recommend them. They ship quickly and everything arrives in great condition. It’s the easiest way to explore the wonderful and exciting world of bean-to-bar.

Now, go forth and eat the chocolate!  And get ready for THE CHOCOHOLIC’S GUIDE TO GETTING IT ON, my new romantic comedy available this May!


The 7-author contemporary romance set is now available at Amazon. 7 stories for .99 cents! Or, if you are a KU member, read it for FREE. What kind of a deal is that? An awesome one, that’s what it is.

SOMETHING WILD is a new story that I’d once thought to write for Harlequin’s Dare line, but then I got distracted, and well, when I finally came back to it, I wanted to write it more for myself than any publisher. It’s about a wild child NY socialite who is just trying to do the right thing, but also have a little—at lot—of fun while at it. And if that sexy bodyguard of hers gets any closer….well. Things will happen. I promise. 😉

Pre-order link

New story!

I’ve recently added a novella to the world of Beautiful Creatures! This one introduces new characters that haven’t appeared in previous stories, but…if the current story I’m trying to sell gets published (not a paranormal) there is an interesting connection.

Charming but reclusive werewolf Leopold von Heusen is ready for love. A dating app designed for paranormals vets humans who are ‘in the know’ about their kind, so Leo makes the leap, with hopes of finding ‘the one’.
Sara Kane doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but this dating app provides a foray for the ‘weird relationships’ article she’s writing for a major online blog. The guy thinks he’s a real werewolf? Hilarious! She plans to date him once or twice, get her story, then dump him. But she hadn’t planned on learning his truth…or falling in love.

Find at at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo!

New to Beautiful Creatures?

Are you looking for a new-to-you paranormal world to read about? Have you read a few of my Beautiful Creatures stories and want to read more in the world? I’ve finally re-ordered my booklist by genres within the romance category, and put all the Beautiful Creatures stories under one heading. Now you can see how many books you’ve left to read, or dive in and discover a new world full of vampires, werewolves, faeries, demons, and so much more!

To access the printable pdf book list click here!

My first Harlequin Intrigue is now available

And it’s my 65th book I’ve written for Harlequin! How cool is that? And how else to celebrate a story set in snowy Minnesota than by grabbing a shovel and heading out to shovel my driveway? We have gotten pummeled by snow this year. Whew! I guess the weather is saying it’s proud of me, right? Right?

STORM WARNING is now available in stores and at your favorite digital retailer.

She’s keeping secrets.

Now he must keep her alive.

A murder in the tiny town of Frost Falls is big news. And a mysterious “vacationer” with the same first name as the victim has police chief Jason Cash intent on finding out who Yvette LaSalle really is. Especially with someone now after her. Yvette is hiding dangerous information, and Jason is the only man she can trust…but how much? Because the truth will get them both killed.


Since February is that particular month that seems to feature all the hearts and roses, I decided it would be perfect to hold a sale on ALL my reissued and/or self-published digital books. Find them at Amazon, B&N, and some at iTunes. Please notice, that I have a new release today as well, ONCE A THIEF. This is a reissue of a 2005 published Silhouette Bombshell that has been re-edited and updated.

I’ve even included Michele Renae’s Paris Secrets, and the story I wrote for Tina Folsom’s Venice Vampyre series, Wicked Seduction. Go grab em!

December post – take two

Ha! Well, over a week ago I wrote up a new post and thought I’d published it, but, who knows? It isn’t showing, so I’m trying again. Just wanted to let you all know that THIS STRANGE WITCHERY is now available both in digital and paperback formats from your favorite online retailer. The actual book will show in stores…sometime next year. Don’t have a date yet, but it will be the double-book format as Nocturnes have been for a while. And…this is the last Nocturne. Ever! So grab it now before you can’t find them in stores anymore.

I wish you all a happy, merry, exciting, relaxing, interesting Holiday Season!


2018…so far

I know, I know, I keep saying I’m going to update my website more often, then it falls to the wayside. Have I mentioned how many times I hate WordPress? It’s not an easy-use for me. Can’t even explain why, but I just never feel comfortable with it. Anyway! So let me catch you up on my year so far…

March saw the release of AN AMERICAN WITCH IN PARIS. This story featured Ethan Pierce as the hero, a vampire who appeared in a few previous Beautiful Creatures stories. I wanted to tell that guy’s story, and found the perfect witch to pair him with.

Then in June THE BILLIONAIRE WEREWOLF’S PRINCESS came out, and again, I fell in love with the hero of that one. Had some fun bringing back a previous character, Never, as the hero’s half brother. Would love to write Never’s story one day. Maybe I will!

The first half of this year and last half of 2017 also saw some tough times for our family. My husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and was doing quite well until last fall when it decided to tackle him hard. He had to quit working and was disabled to the point where he could no longer walk on his own this spring and we brought in hospice care in March. On May 31st he passed away. It was a slow cruel death, yet it was something I had seen coming for a long time. He was always in good spirits and I believe he is without pain now and very happy. While this was going on, despite my best efforts to maintain a ‘normal’ work schedule, I was lucky to get an hour or two of writing done a day (some days none at all) these past months. I’ve always been a writer who puts a lot of words to the page. I wrote three to four 80K word Nocturnes a year, and still wrote projects on the side. Since last fall, I think I’ve written 80K total.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting back into the writing swing of things. As you all know, Harlequin will stop publishing Nocturne in December. I’ll have the last book with THIS STRANGE WITCHERY. And then my first Intrigue, STORM WARNING, will debut next March. It’s been a slow start with the Intrigues because my mind has been preoccupied with care-giving for a while, but I’ve told myself that I wasn’t an expert at writing Nocturnes right out of the gate either, so I’m giving myself some slack and know I will slide back into ‘writer mode’ soon and ‘get r’ done’.

So this month sees the re-issue of FAMILIAR STRANGER. It was published back in 2007 as part of a 4-book mini series called Dark Enchantments. It is not a part of my Beautiful Creatures world. Instead, me and my 3 critique partners/writing buddies, Nina Bruhns, Cynthia Cooke, and Pat White created this fun paranormal world. And along with the reissues (by all 4 of us!) we’ve also written new novellas for the series. Mine is titled THE TRUTH ABOUT FAMILIARS and is a prequel to Familiar Stranger. (You can read them in any order though. Promise.) For a short time The Truth About Familiars is free at your favorite online retailer (except Amazon; don’t get me started on how difficult it is to get Amazon to mark a book to free; ugg!). So grab it now!

And next from me is TEMPTING THE DARK out this September. Promise I’ll try to post more often here, and keep you all updated on my writing and what’s going on in this new life I’m learning to live as a single person.  Blessing to you all!