Chocolate’s on our minds, and we want to offer you a bite of some of the South’s greatest artisan chocolatiers. While some of the chocolate makers on this list are small-batch, small-team confectioners, others are opulent, high-end and high-volume. But all create completely irresistible edible art you’ll have to see to believe. The tastiest part? All of these chocolatiers ship to you and your loved ones, but we might also suggest adding these scrumptious shops to your road trip bucket list.

9 Southern Chocolate Makers We Love

Chocolatá
Birmingham, AL

Chocolatá uses single-origin chocolate ethically sourced from 100% Latin American farms to create handmade chocolates and specialty items in Birmingham and beyond. Owner Kathy D’Agostino learned the art of chocolate making when she was a young girl working at a chocolatier near her family’s home for many years. Even during her career working in merchandising and design, she always kept the dream of opening her own chocolate shop. Now, her cozy and colorful shop is a chocolate-covered haven where the dreams of others come true. Known for her artful presentation, eclectic shapes, elegant packaging, and frequent collaborations with local artists, Kathy and the Chocolatá team satisfy a revived downtown Magic City’s sweet tooth. Buy a box or three for yourself at chocolatachocolate.com.

Chocolata, a Southern chocolate maker

Order a 5-, 6- or 15-piece assortment for you or a loved one HERE. Image: Facebook

Chocolata Yogi Da Bars

Chocolatá and Birmingham artist Yogi Dada joined forces to create the Yogi Dada Fund. For every purchase from their Dea Africa Series, 50% of the proceeds go to a fund for Black artists ​and art students for art supplies through Forstall Art Center in downtown Birmingham. Image: Facebook

Poppy & Peep
Nashville, TN

People across the country know and adore Nashville artisan chocolatier Olive & Sinclair, who we first wrote about in 2012. We adore them, too, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t let you know about new-to-the-scene Poppy & Peep. Father-daughter duo, Mark and Evane Stoner, are partners and founders of the sweetest 1-year-old business in Music City. As a young girl, Evane remembers her dad bringing her treats from his business trips: fudge from Gatlinburg, TN, and saltwater taffy from Maryland. They loved — and still love — visiting candy shops together. After attending chocolate school, the duo decided it was time to bring their vision for chocolate education to Nashville. Poppy & Peep creates whimsical, flavor-packed chocolate delights, meringues, spread, and more in a custom micro-factory that you can visit (COVID-dependent!) in East Nashville. Find out more at poppyandpeep.com.

Poppy & Peep Nashville Chocolates Valentine's Box

This fabulous Valentine’s box comes with three Valentine’s bonbons, Chili Nibs, half a gold chocolate bar, half a strawberry chocolate bar, three pieces of pâte de fruit, and a mini hazelnut spread. TODAY (February 9) is the last day to preorder for shipping in time for Valentine’s Day arrival. Image: Poppy & Peep

Assorted truffle box from Poppy & Peep, a Southern chocolate maker

As you’re building your assorted truffle box from Poppy & Peep, you can choose from gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan options to fit all tastes. Image: Poppy & Peep

RELATED: The Single-Most Indulgent Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe You’ll Ever Make

Family & Future (formerly Tabula Rasa)
Carrboro, NC

You heard it here first! With more than seven years of micro-batch chocolate making under his belt, North Carolina native Steven Lambeth is taking the plunge to full-time chocolatier. Steven believes chocolate tastes better with only high-quality, healthful ingredients. He starts with organic, fair trade, raw cacao that is rich in antioxidants and then sweetens it with wholesome coconut and maple sugars instead of cane sugar. Steven’s rebranding of his current brand, Tabula Rasa, to the forthcoming, Kickstarter-backed Family & Future Chocolate Kitchen, reflects his deeper purpose: to provide for his family while making delicious chocolate you can feel good about bringing back to yours. Steven’s creative confections are all fair trade, organic, and healthful, with biodegradable packaging. It’s all about supporting the well-being of his customers’ families, the families of cacao farmers, and the earth. Find out more at kickstarter.com.

Tabula Rasa Chocolate

As Steven transitions Tabula Rasa to his new, full-fledged chocolate brand Family & Future, his recipes will change. You can still snag some of his original flavors — like this maca, pistachio, saffron, and cayenne pastille — online HERE. Image: Tabula Rasa

Chocolate from Tabula Rasa, a Southern chocolate maker

Steven infuses his chocolate with creative herbal combinations and nutrients, like superfood cordyceps and lion’s mane mushrooms that enhance countless functions of the body and mind. Shop the bars HERE. Image: Tabula Rasa

Maggie Louise Confections
Austin, TX

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Maggie Louise Callahan started her career as a corporate finance lawyer in New York City. But a thirst from her creative side just wasn’t being fulfilled in the concrete jungle of Corporate America. After moving to Austin, TX, she attended Le Cordon Bleu and discovered a plentitude of creative opportunities within the realm of chocolate. Maggie soon opened her popular boutique on Austin’s East 6th Street — reopening when it’s safe to — and is now shipping her cleverly shaped, hand-painted chocolates worldwide. Her trendy and seasonal collections include avocado-, cactus-, and lipstick-shaped treats. You can also spot them in many specialty gift boutiques, as well as in — no big deal — Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Explore Maggie’s mouthwatering treats at maggielouiseconfections.com.

Maggie Louise Lipstick chocolate

Deceivingly realistic-looking lipstick tubes you can bite right into? We are in! Image: Facebook

Cocktails + Caviar collection from Maggie Louise Confections, a Southern chocolate maker

Maggie’s Cocktails & Caviar collection is crafted in delicious chocolate with flavors like salted caramel and espresso. Image: Instagram

Phillip Ashley
Memphis, TN

If Maggie Louise is tongue-in-cheek and playful, Phillip Ashley is polished and sophisticated … on the outside. Memphis-based Phillip Ashley Rix is one of the world’s leading chefs and designers of luxury chocolate. With irresistibly inventive flavor combinations like Browned Butter Bourbon Pecan, Ruby Port Goat Cheese Fig Jam, Blood Orange Tequila Creamsicle, and Thai Curry Cashew, each chocolate starts with the finest fair trade chocolate and becomes an edible work of art that’s almost too stunning to bite. Since 2012, Phillip has garnered an international following and orders from high-profile clients, events and corporations like Nike, Apple, the NFL, and the GRAMMYs. You can build a box of your own and virtually explore the insides of each flavor at phillipashleychocolates.com.

Philip Ashley assorted chocolate

We can’t stop scrolling around the build-your-own-box chocolate boutique. Scroll over each flavor to see it deconstructed! Image: Facebook

Galaxy Collection from Philip Ashley

The hand-painted Galaxy Collection includes Planet Earth, a walnut liqueur white chocolate ganache with roasted pistachios and orange blossom honey in a milk chocolate shell; Haley’s Comet, a white chocolate with rainier cherry pomegranate molasses; Milky Way, a milk chocolate Nutella marshmallow chocolate; Asteroid, a mint cookie chocolate covered in rich dark chocolate; Constellation, a chocolate with salted caramel pecan praline; and Walk on the Moon, a wild strawberry, caramel, and brie chocolate. Get yours HERE. Image: Instagram

Condor Chocolates
Athens, GA

Condor Chocolates is brothers Nick and Peter Dale’s homage to the sense of adventure that brought their parents together, and a celebration of their mother’s home country of Ecuador’s world-class cacao. Born, raised and educated in Athens, GA, Nick worked in agriculture while tinkering with chocolate in his home kitchen. Peter worked in politics before realizing his place was also in the kitchen. They opened Condor in Athens’ historic Five Points neighborhood, purveying bean-to-bar chocolate bars, truffles, sipping chocolate, coffee, iced beverages, gelato and a variety of confections. The shop allows sweets lovers to witness the production of all truffles and other decadent desserts from a warm and welcoming environment. Once you are road tripping again, we highly suggest pairing a trip to Condor with one to home interiors emporium Steel + Plank just a few miles away. Explore — and order a taste of — Condor’s melt-in-your-mouth confections at condorchocolate.com.

Condor Chocolate s-mores kit

Snag a winter-perfect s’mores kit complete with five house-made marshmallows by Malvi Mallows, two chocolate bars, and a sleeve of Annie’s Organic Honey Grahams. Image: Facebook

Raspberry Bark from Condor

Order some Raspberry Pistachio Bark — dark chocolate, salted pistachios, and freeze-dried raspberries — for your favorite gal or guy or for no reason at all! Image: Condor Chocolates

RELATED: 18 Southern FINDS We LOVE: February 2021

French Broad Chocolate
Asheville, NC

To know Asheville is to know French Broad Chocolate. In 2003, founders Jael Skeffington and Dan Rattigan dropped out of graduate school, packed their lives into a 40-foot vegetable oil-powered school bus, and drove south to Costa Rica. They bought an abandoned cacao plantation and opened a café and dessert shop where they studied and experimented with chocolate recipes. When they realized they just weren’t beach people, the growing Rattigan family drove the bus to Asheville, NC, sparking a serious chocolate craze almost instantaneously. Today, their Chocolate Lounge is perched right on the bustling Pack Square and, pre-COVID, was just as packed at 11 a.m. as it was after dinner! Whether it’s a pinch of salt, a sprinkling of freeze-dried raspberries, or a swirl of naturally colored lavender cocoa butter, the artisans treat each and every bonbon, bar, and confection like a miniature work of art. If you’re ever in Asheville, visit the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, the French Broad Chocolate Factory (and take a chocolate tour!), and the French Broad Chocolate Boutique (where they sell handcrafted ice cream)! Find out more at frenchbroadchocolates.com.

French Broad Chocolate

Unlike many others on this list, French Broad Chocolate sells a variety of sizes and flavors of chips and nibs for cooking, snacking, and melting. Image: French Broad Chocolate

Bars and bonbons from French Broad, a Southern chocolate maker

Each of their handcrafted bean-to-bar bonbons is painted and adorned by a team of creative confectioners. Image: French Broad Chocolate

Castronovo Chocolate
Stuart, FL

The talent and artistry of Denise Castronovo, the magician behind Castronovo Chocolates, is evident in the dozens of International Chocolate Awards — and praise from the New York Times and Washington Post — that her chocolates have garnered in recent years. The bean-to-bar chocolate expert calls the coastal town of Stuart, Florida home, but frequently visits the Latin American farms and farmers who provide the wild-grown cacao that ends up in her creations. Castronovo cultivates in their chocolate the flavor notes native to one location much like a vintner develops flavor notes in a quality wine. A nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free and emulsifiers-free chocolate maker, Denise and her team use only cacao, cane sugar, art and skill. See and shop all Castronovo Chocolate creations at castronovochocolate.com.

Lavender toffee

Castronovo makes homemade crunchy toffee infused with lavender and layered between two sheets of bean-to-bar Tumaco, Colombia, dark milk chocolate. Sprinkles of lavender buds top off this treat. Gift or get yours here. Image: Castronovo Chocolate

Castranova Chocolate

The clout surrounding this small-batch operation is serious. She has literally won Gold for the best chocolate in the world. Image: Castronovo Chocolate

Sweeties
Georgetown, SC

Sweeties is a quaint shop in Historic Seaport Georgetown, SC, that churns out myriad homemade sweets in a small-batch, old-school operation. Seemingly stuck in time in the best way possible, Sweeties specializes in pralines, fudge, caramel, toffees, brittles and ice cream that could tempt even the most self-restraining passerby on a hot Lowcountry day. Owners Skip and Cindy purchased Sweeties in 2006 to pay their personal bills while they operated a non-profit animal rescue. When the rescue closed in 2019, Sweeties continued to give some sweetness back to the community. They deliver boxes of treats to local front-line workers and offer discounts for any online order sent to a front-line worker. On your next South Carolina coastal adventure (Georgetown is near Pawley’s Island), visit the shop in its historic building dating back to 1870 with all original floors, walls and ceiling beams. Find out more and shop online at sweetiessweets.com.

Sweeties assortment

Sweeties is the no-frills, all-flavor chocolate shop we remember so fondly from family beach trips and Southern road trips. Image: Facebook

Sweeties pralines

“We have created a special Covid Heroes gift box that we are discounting if you send it to a front line recipient,” the Sweeties website says. Gift this special box of 36 bite-size versions of Pecan Pralines individually bagged to make sharing easy and safe. Image: Facebook

We hope that after learning about these nine incredible Southern chocolate makers, you have added a few sweet stops to your must-visit list. In the meantime, order online and tell us what you try!

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