The Best Chocolate on the North Shore

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piron-smallChocolate makes most women’s hearts pitter-patter a little faster; especially on Valentine’s Day. These chocolate shops on the North Shore are splurge worthy.

Belgian Chocolatier Piron Evanston

This store has been in business 26 years, ever since owner Bob Piron and his mother went to Belgium to study chocolate making. Now owned by Bob and his brother, Fred, the shop continues to make luxurious chocolates by hand. You can custom fill a box or chocolate heart. We love the dark chocolate truffle filled with raspberry cream and the heart-shaped solid chocolates. If you want a little heat and spice, try their chipotle-dusted truffle.

sweets_choc-heart-boxChocolate Potpourri Glenview

This shop is a little hard to find in an industrial area of Glenview, but well worth the hunt. Owner Marsha Gordon began the business in her basement, moved to a commercial kitchen and then opened her own space in Glenview. Truffles are their top seller. Custom fill a heart-shaped box or choose a premade assortment (if you’re more a grab-n-go guy.) Their must-have chocolate: heart-shaped truffles filled with apricot, white almond or rasberry for Valentine’s Day.

Sweet’s of Lake Forest Lake Forest

Susan and Jonathan Dick have been making chocolates at Sweet’s for the last 25 years. Their Valentine’s Day offerings include chocolates for parents to buy their kids: chocolate-dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels, and homemade peanut butter cups. For adults, they have traditional boxes that they can fill with dark chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered caramels and cream-filled chocolates. But don’t be shy about dipping into the kids’ collection. All of us chocolate lovers would be pretty happy to see those chocolate-covered Oreos come the 14th.

Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut Lake Forest

Beautifully packaged chocolates are the big sellers here. For Valentine’s Day, they offer heart-shaped boxes with a mix of their 48 flavors of praline and truffles. They also have chocolate hearts made with three different kinds of praline cream: coffee, raspberry and dark chocolate.

Leonidas Wilmette

Made in Belgium and shipped overnight to Wilmette, these chocolates have long been a favorite in Europe. For Valentine’s Day, Leonidas has beautifully packaged hearts, gold boxes and even chocolate pops for your children. As a bonus, while you’re shopping you can have a cup of their hot chocolate voted MIB’s best on the North Shore or a lovely almond croissant. And if you’re downtown, Leonidas has a location at Chicago Avenue and Rush Street.

Downtown

Also in the city, are these two great choices for beautifully packaged and delicious chocolates.

Vosges Haut Chocolate Chicago

Very expensive, but absolutely delicious. A truly a Chicago treasure, as it was created by a hometown girl. The champagne truffles made with Krug Champagne are the ticket for Valentine’s Day. For a lover with more exotic tastes, try their aphrodisiac collection: star anise, chillies and pearl dust are some of the more unusual flavors mixed into chocolate truffles.

Terry’s Toffee Chicago

Fifteen flavors of gourmet toffees elevate the humble chocolate treat to a haute sweet. For Valentine’s Day, look for the Lavenilla, a lavender, vanilla and white chocolate toffee made with 31 percent coco butter. The packaging adds to the appeal of these treats: red hat boxes or lacquered bamboo boxes are reusable and gorgeous for gift-giving.