2046 York Rd., Timonium, 410-252-6601.
Behold the red-and-white flag and the exquisite displays of handmade truffles, dark rochers, and walnut giandujas, and you might swear you're in Switzerland. You're not, but you are in a Swiss chocolate shop. Owner Ben Hauser was weaned on the art form by his Swiss-born chocolatier dad, Ruedi (who has his own chocolate shop in Rhode Island).
Editor's pick: Coffee truffles—dark chocolate, cream, and coffee ganache sprinkled with crushed espresso beans.
1818 Pot Spring Rd., Timonium, 410-453-9334.
Years ago, while traveling abroad for his job in medical sales, Larry McGlinchey discovered fine French chocolates. Back on home soil, he made a career change and opened a French salon-style chocolate shop.
Editor's pick: The white bars—a winning trifecta of cocoa butter, vanilla, and sugar.
9630 Deereco Rd., Timonium, 410-561-7705.
Long before chocolate stores made their mark in the 'burbs, A. Kirchmayr Chocolatier set the standard for European chocolate shops. Twenty-six years later, owner Albert Kirchmayr continues to practice the art of German chocolate-making.
Editor's pick: Chocolate-covered hazelnuts.
The Velvet Chocolatier
10403 Stevenson Rd., Stevenson, 410-365-9883.
These elegant chocolates get a lot of buzz. Just ask Oprah Winfrey, who gave them a shout out in her magazine O, or Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who discovered them while filming Veep in Baltimore.
Editor's pick: The caramel cups with dark chocolate and sea salt.
Several locations including 6831 Harford Rd., 410-483-4414.
Open since 1915, Wockenfuss harks back to simpler times when chocolate-covered marshmallows and coconut crèmes were a food-pyramid staple. Now, a fourth generation of family is involved.
Editor's pick: Classic almond bark—whole roasted almonds buried beneath slabs of dense dark chocolate.
Rich History Fun Fact
The name chocolate comes from the Aztec word “xocalati," which means bitter water. The truffle was named after the black truffle fungus because of the way it looked.