photo by isa wipfli

happy national chocolate day!

celebrate with a taste test of our fave indie brands.

We've celebrated National Vodka Day and National Cheeseburger Day, but National Chocolate Day might just be our favorite holiday of all. Do we really need to explain why?

In honor of the greatest day of the year, we taste tested confections from independent chocolate brands around the country. We started off with ganaches from Bond Street Chocolate, just a fifteen minute walk from our office in New York, and ended with sea salt caramels from Fran's Chocolate all the way in Washington! Testing all these delicious chocolates, like a bacon bar and fleur de sel turtles, was a tough job, but our entire staff rallied together--and even stayed late on a Friday--to get the job done. 

Read our reviews of the best independent chocolate in the gallery below, just try not to drool on your keyboard. 

(Photo by Isa Wipfli, makeup by Tina Turnbow, styling by Skye Stewart-Short, hair by Raphael Portet, model - Zazoe @ One)

BRAND: Christopher Elbow

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Black and White Truffle

REACTION: This one tasted like a really fancy Oreo that literally melted in my mouth. Best. Thing. Ever. -- Liza Darwin, Senior Web Editor

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Lavender Caramel

REACTION: It tastes like I'm in a fancy perfume bottle filled with caramel and cocoa powder. I feel like I just went to the opera in France. -- Jackie Yaeger, Newsletter Editor

BRAND: Dandelion

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: 70% Dark Chocolate from Papua New Guinea

REACTION: It starts off smooth but then has this tangy flavor--which is a good thing. It's basically chocolate for adults.. -- Rebecca Willa Davis, Online Executive Editor

REACTION: I like that it's not too sweet. -- Evan Campisi, Art Director

BRAND: Bond St. Chocolate

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Bourbon Ganache

REACTION: I can't really believe how much it tastes like bourbon. It's delicious. I could eat one million of these. -- Steff Yotka, Associate Web Editor

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Spicy Caramel

REACTION: For real spicy. -- Josh Madden, Men's Content and Marketing Director

BRAND: My Sweet

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Brigadero

REACTION: It tastes like a chocolate volcano cake, but bite sized. -- Christian Lavery, Men's Associate Web Editor

REACTION: Gooey on the outside, crunchy on the inside--and the center tastes like this cool twist on chocolate. -- Rebecca Willa Davis

BRAND: Christopher Elbow

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Dark Fleur de Sel Turtles

REACTION: This is like one ooey, gooey, chewy piece of heaven. That's all I can really say, because my mouth is full. -- Liza Darwin

REACTION: Outstanding. -- Chris Segedy, Art Director

REACTION: I never thought salt on chocolate would be good, but this is the move. -- Josh Madden

BRAND: Chuao Chocolatier

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Bacon Chocolate Bar

REACTION: This one is weird--weird like I can't stop eating it. -- Christian Lavery

REACTION: It doesn't really taste like bacon, there's just a smoky essence. I like the smoked sea salt flavor. -- Marissa Smith, Fashion Assistant

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Popcorn Chocolate Bar

REACTION: People always think that they're a genius for mixing M&Ms into their bag of popcorn at the movies, but this is genius. Mmmmmm. -- Rebecca Willa Davis

BRAND: Askonosie

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Phillippines White Chocolate

REACTION: It tastes like Easter. -- Josh Madden

REACTION: I don't really like white chocolate, but this is the one. -- Christian Lavery

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Licorice Chocolate Bar

REACTION: It didn't need to happen, but I'm glad that it did. It's good. -- Josh Madden

BRAND: Fran's Chocolates

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Salted Caramels

REACTION: This one is my favorite. It tastes like wedding cake. -- Josh Madden

REACTION: Mmmmm. Oh my gosh. This is so good. -- Beth Garrabrant, Bookings Director

BRAND: Veruca Chocolate

TYPE OF CHOCOLATE: Dark Chocolate Gelt with Nibs 

REACTION: I don't know if you've ever had gelt, but this is a million times better. -- Rebecca Willa Davis