Box of artful chocolates

If you have a sweet tooth, chances are chocolate brands are high on your snack radar. And if you agree that chocolate might as well be the eighth wonder of the world, keep reading. Per Insider, the chocolate industry is a more than $100 billion business, and to keep that business alive requires a lot of cocoa beans. According to the National Confectioners Association, it takes 400 cocoa beans to make just one pound of chocolate — and a cacao tree will, on average, produce some 2,500 beans a year, or about six pounds of chocolate. To put this into context, for Valentine’s Day alone, an estimated 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold every year (via Good Housekeeping).

As for chocolate makers, as with any food product, some brands are killing it in this space, while others aren’t quite living up to the hype. Our Tasting Table taste testers hit the ground running to round up 20 chocolate brands with the end goal of ranking them from worst to best. As self-proclaimed chocolate fanatics, we found so many good ones, it was truly a challenge to organize them for this listicle. But we did, so grab a glass of milk, a cup of tea, or whatever beverage fits your fancy (and pairs with chocolate, of course), and get ready for some serious deliciousness.

20. Esthechoc

Esthechoc chocolate packs

According to Esthechoc, a healthy outside starts from the inside. We definitely agree with this statement, so we dove into the chocolate to see if its aesthetic wrapper had the deliciousness inside to match. Think of Esthechoc as a food supplement made from 72.6% dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate and fewer additives, the healthier the chocolate is and, therefore, better for your overall health. It’s confirmed this chocolate will definitely make you feel good and not leave you with the sugar rush hangover that comes with too much-sweetened chocolate.

While Esthechoc’s website states all the positive benefits of consuming chocolate, including support of skin metabolism and antioxidants, we are most concerned about the taste of the products. So is beauty chocolate also delicious chocolate? In our opinion, no. Compared to the other chocolate brands on this list, Esthechoc missed the mark for us. This chocolate tasted healthier but was not the first chocolate we would reach for when heading back for seconds.

19. Whittaker’s

Whittaker's chocolate bars

Next on our list is family-crafted and New Zealand-based Whittaker’s Chocolate. Whittaker’s sources its beans from Ghana, which once harvested, take some 80 days to journey from West Africa to Porirua; there, the chocolate maker batch-roasts the beans itself. Whittaker’s main focus is making palm oil-free chocolate, and we appreciate knowing the chocolate we are consuming has quality ingredients and was crafted responsibly. Making chocolate is neither a simple task nor one that should be rushed. Whittaker’s takes every precaution to ensure a high-quality and delicious chocolate result every time.

Like most things, though, high-quality chocolate does not come cheap. Whittaker’s is known for being a high-end candy brand, one that’s often imported — another reason why it costs more to purchase. With this being said, the taste is worth the price if you are able to swing it. The only reason Whittaker’s landed lower on our list is due to the price to ship for consumers outside of Australia or New Zealand.

18. Cadbury

Cadbury chocolate bites

Cadbury started making chocolate over 200 years ago and continues to invent and inspire today’s industry. Chocolate lovers appreciate Cadbury’s "Cocoa Life," which is the company’s use of 100% sustainably sourced cocoa in its Cadbury Dairy Milk products — a practice Cadbury has proposed to do for all its products by 2025.

You may recognize the name Cadbury from its popular Easter commercials highlighting the famous Cadbury Creme Eggs. This product contains a milk chocolate shell with a soft fondant center that melts in your mouth. While this Cadbury chocolate product is top-rated, especially during the spring, Cadbury’s other offerings did not, particularly wow our taste buds. Previously, these eggs were only available around Easter time but have since been available for purchase year-round.

While we believe the Cadbury Creme Eggs are pretty delicious, the other products do not quite compare in our taste test. We feel like other chocolate brands are better tasting and affordable, hence our lower ranking of Cadbury.

17. Russell Stover

Russell Stover chocolate box

Russell Stover has been an American favorite since 1923. It’s known for its assorted chocolate boxes that grow in popularity around the holidays, like Valentine’s Day, as they make easy gifts that anyone will enjoy. The fun of receiving one of these boxes is guessing what filling each chocolate contains. The most common fillings are sweet creams, like vanilla or raspberry, chewy caramels, nougats, and crunchy nut clusters covered in rich milk or dark chocolate.

Overall, we feel like Russell Stover is just OK. The fillings are a little too sweet, in our opinion, and are covered by a thin layer of chocolate. Additionally, the flavors taste a bit artificial; however, we can not seem to stop eating them once we get started. This brand does not scream luxury chocolates, but they are still a welcomed gift. One thing we can appreciate about Russel Stover is its extensive product offerings, including a wide range of sugar-free chocolate options. We have not tried these yet, but we are intrigued.

16. Nestlé

Nestlé candies and chocolates

Nestlé‘s motto is "Good food, Good life"; this is something we can get behind. Not only is Nestlé a popular chocolate company, but it is also one of the largest food distributors in the world. Nestlé’s extensive brand portfolio includes everything from baby food and water bottles to coffee, cereal, and pet care products. The company even dabbles in health care, nutrition, and food service. For the purpose of this article, though, we are obviously most interested in Nestlé’s chocolate products.

The popularity of Nestlé’s chocolates can be attributed to their good quality and moderate prices. The Swiss multi-industry company was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé and has since become some of the most popular chocolates in the world. In the United States, Nestlé’s most popular chocolate bars are Butterfinger and Toll House Cookie Dough. While Butterfinger’s flaky crunch sets it apart from other chocolate bars, its incredible sweetness and artificial flavorings contributed to our lower score. These bars and other Nestlé products are delicious but not made with the world’s finest chocolates.

15. Dove

Dove chocolate bar

Our next chocolate brand, Dove, is an American chocolate brand that first got its start in 1939 Chicago, with its signature ice cream bar, the Dove Bar, debuting in 1956. Today, the brand offers a large range of chocolates, candies, and ice creams (bars and pints). Dove’s packaging and branding give off a sexy, desirable feel, making you want to indulge in its silky-smooth chocolate products.

The individually wrapped Dove Promises Collection comes in milk or dark chocolate, and each bite comes with a quote inside the foil wrapping. This is a nice personal touch that feels more elevated and inspiring than, say, a fortune cookie note.

Dove’s marketing certainly gives off a luxurious feel, so we set high expectations in our chocolate taste test. Our opinion? The brand lives up to the hype; it’s not overly sweet and tastes smooth, just as the wrapper states. These individual chocolates and bars have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. One bite, and you are transported to a milk or dark chocolate paradise.

14. Ritter Sport

Hands holding Ritter Sport chocolates

Discover the most colorful chocolates with Ritter Sport. Each chocolate comes in a vibrant wrapper, so you can taste the rainbow, and no, we are not eating Skittles here. The brand prides itself on using the best ingredients in its chocolates like whole biscuits, crunchy hazelnuts, sweet strawberries, Alpine milk, fine marzipan, or the best Jamaican rum. We appreciate how the brand pays attention to ingredients and only uses three to four ingredients in each chocolate.

The cocoa in each bar comes from Ghana, Nicaragua, or Peru and is 100% certified sustainable. We love Ritter Sport for its diversity in chocolate packing, quality ingredients, and vegan options. We find ourselves continuing to go back for more and try each color. Overall, Ritter Sport makes very delicious, creamy chocolates. Our favorite would have to be the Dark Whole Hazelnuts. Even though we venture toward the classics, this bar is packed full of filberts, and it feels like eating a handful of fancy chocolate-covered nuts.

13. Duc d’O

Duc d'O chocolates

Duc d’O was founded in 1983 by Hendrik Verhelst, a former timber merchant. If you are looking for Belgian chocolate made with the finest ingredients, look no further than Duc d’O. Duc d’O today offers an assortment of exquisite chocolates like flaked truffles, assorted pralines, mousse tablets, and seashells. The company focused on chocolate truffles during its founding, though, so we headed straight for the truffles.

As part of our taste test, we tried the Flaked Truffles and learned no two Duc d’O truffles are alike. This is due to the company’s chocolate creation process. The light chocolate mousse journeys through a large bed of chocolate flakes, and as this occurs, the truffles are coated in Belgian chocolate shavings, creating a unique and delicious treat. There are over a dozen truffle flavors to try, and each one is creamy, milky, and mouth-watering. For more flavors in every box, purchase one of the assortment boxes; you will not be disappointed.

12. Scharffen Berger

Scharffen Berger chocolates

Scharffen Berger revolutionized the chocolate industry in 1996 as America’s first artisan chocolate manufacturer. The company was founded by chocolate connoisseur Robert Steinberg and winemaker John Scharffenberger. After Steinberg’s diagnosis with Leukemia, he decided to dedicate himself to his passion for fine food, turning his attention to chocolate making. Hershey acquired the brand in 2005 but Scharffen Berger later returned to private ownership in 2020. Scharffen Berger continues to travel the world to source the finest cacao for its products. And its products are made in America to this day.

Scharffen Berger sells baking chocolate and chocolate bars, which differs from many of the other brands on our list. For baking purposes, the brand sells unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder, various baking chunks, and bars. Its high-quality baking chocolate was a game-changer for the bakers of America. Additionally, we tested the regular chocolate bars and indulged in their rich, creamy flavors. We learned and appreciated that Scharffen Berger bars have a higher cacao content than other brands.

11. Kinder

Kinder piñata and chocolates

The Kinder brand began in 1968 in a small Italian town but has since become a global phenomenon. After only being available in European cities, more recently, Kinder started producing chocolates to be sold in the United States.

Kinder specializes in grabbing the attention of chocolate-loving children. It sells a hollow good-quality chocolate egg with a surprise inside; one half of the egg contains milky sweet creams and wafer bites filled with cocoa cream, while the other contains a surprise toy. While these eggs are not the only chocolate products Kinder sells, they have gained the brand extreme popularity with the younger audience.

For chocolate lovers of all ages, Kinder crafts Kinder Bueno, which shares its own bit of surprise. Beneath the milk chocolate surface, your tastes buds will be surprised with a crispy wafer filled with a creamy hazelnut filling. Then the entire bar is coated and drizzled with dark chocolate. These bars are incredibly satisfying but not too heavy.

10. Mars

Bowl of M&M's up close

Mars has been around for over 100 years, and like other brand powerhouses like Nestlé, Mars produces a large variety of products, from pet care and candy to food and nutrition. Mars makes candy brands like M&M’s, Snickers, 3 Musketeers, and MilkyWay. For the purpose of this article, we opened a bag of the former for the sake of "research."

M&Ms are undoubtedly a crowd favorite, and you cannot blame them. The classic bag alone speaks for itself and is the perfect treat or snack if you want a few small candies. One of the unique services M&M’s offers is it lets you special-order color-specific bags and even personalizes them with a message or your name.

The greatest reason we didn’t rank Mars and its corresponding candies higher on our list, though, is due to the quality. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the products, especially M&M’s, you just don’t get that luxury chocolate taste with Mars chocolates. For this reason, we placed Mars in the middle of the pack at No. 10.

9. Guylian

Guylian chocolate box

The Guylian chocolate founders created Guylian Sea Shells in celebration of love and chocolate. Founder Guy Foubert was a passionate Belgian chocolatier, then met his forever girl Liliane, who helped design the shining exterior and the delicately sculpted shapes. They combined their names to create Guylian and over 80 years later, the brand is one of the top-selling boxed chocolate brands in the world, available in 120 different countries. All Guylian chocolates are still produced in Belgium today.

Aside from the famous seashells, Guylian also produces truffles and chocolates with no sugar added, in flavors like Coffee Cardamom or Caramel Pineapple. We appreciate the diversity of these chocolates, the unique shells, and the flavors that Guylian crafts. Known as being Belgium’s favorite chocolates, we can agree that these chocolates are of a high quality and delightfully delicious. The creamy nature and the sprinkle topping of the truffles made them truly irresistible.

8. Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin chocolate boxes

Jacques Genin is known as one of the best chocolate melters in the world and works out of his workshop in Paris. While Jacques Genin crafts some of Paris’ most delicious chocolates, he also is widely known for crafting delicious caramels and pâtes de fruits. If you are looking for the ultimate French sweets, Jacques Genin sets a high bar. Jacques Genin stocks the top French hotels and restaurants with his sinfully creamy delicacies.

Upon entering the shop, it feels more like an expensive jewelry store than a chocolate shop. This vibe really ties the luxury chocolate aesthetic together. When it comes down to the chocolates, not only did we feel fabulous while consuming them, but also the taste matches the vibe you feel in-store. The chocolates melt in your mouth and offer the perfect amount of sweetness. Although on the more expensive side, the chocolates are worth every penny. You can purchase in-store if you venture to France or pick up one of the small batches made available for online orders.

7. Milka

Milka chocolate bar and Oreos

Next on our chocolate brands list is Milka, one of the most popular chocolate brands in Europe. For the last 120 years (and counting), every Milka chocolate product has been made with 100% real Alpine milk — the reason for its incredibly creamy texture.

Milka offers a variety of chocolate bar flavors, including Alpine Milk and bars made with hazelnut, white chocolate, or Oreo. For our hazelnut lovers, Milka Noisette is to die for and the definition of a chocolate bar that melts in your mouth. This bar marries soft chocolate with 100% Alpine milk and a strong aroma of hazelnuts.

While we can’t get enough of the milk chocolate offerings from Milka, the dark chocolate varieties fell a little short in our taste test. The most important thing to note is this brand’s chocolate is best enjoyed in a European country. While you can order online, we have heard if you get it shipped to the United States, the quality and taste do not last the trip overseas.

6. Toblerone

Toblerone chocolate peak

The Swiss know how to make high-quality chocolate, and Toblerone is no exception. Toblerone got its name from the founder’s family name of Tobler and the Italian word for nougat, "torrone." A flavor combination of honey and almond nougat mixed with chocolate set Toblerone apart from other chocolate brands, helping it to grow in popularity across Europe.

The Toblerone bar has been the company’s bestseller since it was introduced over 100 years ago. While the candy’s famous peaks are said to mimic Switzerland’s Matterhorn, another story persists. According to Culture Trip, the triangular shape was actually inspired by a musical that the future chocolatier Jean Tobler saw when young; the dancers and the triangle shape they formed made an impression.

Aside from its dynamic and unique flavor, we appreciate Toblerone’s affordable price point. This brand proves that high-quality chocolate doesn’t always have to be expensive. Additionally, unlike other foreign chocolate brands, the reviews rave about the quality of the product here in the states. Pro tip: We stick our Toblerone bars in the freezer to enjoy chilled chocolate deliciousness.

5. Godiva

 Godiva chocolate box

Godiva offers premium chocolates for a fairly reasonable price, considering the quality. Although affordable, its gold-wrapped, ribbon-tied packages radiate luxury, and each box contains great quality chocolate. The Belgian brand started in 1926, and today the global team of Chefs and Chocolatiers keeps the tradition alive; Godiva is now available in over 80 countries.

Unlike other chocolate brands that taste unauthentic, we think Godiva’s chocolate is the perfect amount of sweet and creamy. The brand uses premium ingredients, so you will never worry about its chocolates tasting fake, only rich and satisfying chocolates and truffles without the added preservatives.

While Godiva’s chocolates can cost more than other brands we have outlined so far, the quality is worth the price. If you are looking to taste Godiva without the steep price tag, though, they make smaller boxes and individually wrapped chocolates for all to enjoy. This brand is definitely worth splurging on for the right occasion.

4. Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli chocolate squres

In 1849, Domingo Ghirardelli sailed to America and opened a store in San Francisco, on the corner of Broadway and Battery; three years later, he opened a second shop in the city, a confectionary shop named Ghirardely & Girard, the precursor to the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

When it comes to variety, Ghirardelli offers it all. Depending on your sweet preference, the brand starts bars at your standard milk chocolate and slowly increases the chocolate percentage with 60% chocolate all the way up to 92% cocoa. During our Ghirardelli taste test, we knew from the first bite the brand would be high up in our ranking.

The chocolate isn’t too soft or sugary and offers the right amount of sweetness and crunch. Ghirardelli bars have a solid crunch when you break the bar, which we can appreciate. Aside from chocolate bars, Ghirardelli also wins in the baking mixes and hot chocolate department. We could spend all day taste-testing every product Ghirardelli offers, but trust us when we say Ghirardelli knows its chocolate.

3. Hershey’s

Hershey's chocolate bar

If you know anything about chocolate, you know the name Hershey. ​​Hershey’s has been around for 125 years, crafting your favorite chocolates like Hershey’s chocolate bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Today, Hershey is the umbrella for more than 90 brands and products, including sweets, mints, and snacks, but we will stick with discussing the company’s best chocolate offerings for this article.

We love a Hershey’s bar because it’s consistently excellent and delightfully sweet. Hershey offers so many varieties of chocolate, in every shape and size — from Reese’s to Krackle to Almond Joy. Additionally, Hershey comes to play with seasonal chocolates and boxes we cannot resist when any holiday strikes. Any day of the week, we find a Hershey’s chocolate product that can curb our sweet tooth and make any after-meal bite a little bit sweeter. The wrapping on Hershey products is neither fancy nor gold, but nothing satisfies quite like a Hershey’s bar.

2. La Maison du Chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat box

Visionary chocolatier Robert Linx created La Maison du Chocolat in 1977. La Maison du Chocolat crafts chocolate with a unique taste and elevated flair today. The brand sources and makes chocolate using rare and pure cocoa through an incredible chocolate-making process: All chocolates are hand-crafted outside Paris with extreme precision and care. We appreciate the time and effort the brand puts into every square piece of its chocolate.

La Maison du Chocolat is one of the fancier brands we ranked in our chocolate brands list. If you are ever looking for a more sophisticated gift, look no further than a box of chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat. No matter the flavor combination, whether it be fruit-infused or nutty, the complexity and flavor of the chocolate itself still shines through. While it is more luxurious and comes with a higher price tag, the company does offer small boxes, so you can still feel like royalty while enjoying your La Maison du Chocolat.

1. Lindt

Lindt chocolate pieces

Taking the gold in our ranking of 20 chocolate brands is Lindt Chocolate. The brand has been perfecting chocolate for over 170 years. According to Lindt, behind every Lindt chocolate creation is a passionate and skilled master chocolatier. These chocolatiers come from around the world and help to keep Lindt’s products innovative and exciting.

Lindt’s Lindor truffles are the company’s most well-known product. These truffles are the definition of smooth and offer the perfect amount of chocolate filling in every bite. The flavor possibilities feel endless, but some of our favorites are the original milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and sea salt milk chocolate.

The chocolates from Lindt taste incredibly high-quality, creamy, and delicious, so it’s no secret the brand snagged our No. 1 spot. We love the taste, no doubt, and feel like you can never go wrong with grabbing a bag of Lindt Lindor truffles or a Lindt Excellence Chocolate bar. Lindt has given excellence to all our senses.