Evan Kleiman’s favorite LA places to buy chocolate: Milla Chocolates, Valerie Confections, Republique and more

Milla Chocolates’ box of Valentine's Day assorted chocolates. Photo by Ali Gokay Sarioz.

Despite Evan Kleiman’s innate restaurateur's dislike of Valentine’s Day, she recognizes it as a time to acknowledge important relationships based in love. It’s crucial this year, as so many of us have experienced loss. And those who have been in close quarters for months may choose to express that despite everything, they still value those they see too often.

Lately we hear a lot about the downsides to living in Los Angeles. But one of the greatest assets of such a large city is the concentration of creative people doing great work here. This includes makers who are servicing our cravings for chocolate. Here are a few local people who are doing great work.

Bean to bar

Car Artisan Chocolate - Haris Car is a bean-to-bar maker in Pasadena whose bars include milk and white chocolates, often a rarity amongst bean-to-bar makers.

Bar au Chocolat is from Nicole Trutanich. What began as a passion for her became a study of agriculture, chemistry, history, politics, culture, art, and the physiology of taste. Her minimalist focus is on how the inherent bitterness of cacao is brought into beautiful balance with the sweetness of sugar.

ChocoVivo - Patricia Tsai, another bean-to-bar maker, moved from behind a computer where she crunched numbers to creating Mexican-style stone ground chocolates. This style sets her apart as does her chocolate sourcing. She uses cocoa from a farmer in Tabasco, Mexico who ended up mentoring her. She also has a line of skin care products based on the cocoa butter that is a byproduct of chocolate making.


ChocoVivo’s Hot Chocolate Kits includes a handmade ceramic cup, a choice of four different hot chocolate powders, and a mini whisk. Photo courtesy of ChocoVivo. 

Chocolatiers

Milla Chocolates - Christine and Goktug Sarioz combine their talents to bring a modernist approach to chocolate mostly sourced from The Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela. Christine is the maker combining her background in fine and decorative arts with her passion for impeccable execution. The architectural bars are stunning and the almond enrobed Dragées are cravable.


Milla Chocolates’ set of dragées. Photo by Ali Gokay Sarioz.  

Rose Noir Chocolates - Lindsey Newman formerly of SLS has made Rose Noir her pivot where she creates exquisite Bon Bons. She sells at farmers markets in the high desert and online.  


Bon Bons from Rose Noir Chocolates. Photo by Ricardo Mora/R.Mora Photography.

Valerie Confections is one of our local chocolate stalwarts. Her finesse in confectionary as well as pastry is unusual. Her chocolate-covered toffee is legendary as are her cakes. But don’t sleep on the Chocolate Granola or the Good Mix that grew out of the chocolate granola. The Durango Bark is like eating chocolate food.


Chocolate-covered toffee from Valerie Confections. Photo courtesy of Valerie Gordon. 

Cakes

Chocolate comes in many forms. Two exceptional chocolate desserts on menus now are the flourless chocolate cake at Proof and the chocolate caramel cake from Republique.