To give you a taste of the best chocolates around the world, we culled our favorite flavors from these new sweet shops.By Nikki Goldstein
Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates
If you think a box of chocolates is a bland Valentine's cliché, then you're not shopping at the right places. Chocolatiers have elevated the sweets into an art form and are opening appealing shops that cater to both locals and tourists.
The finest new truffles and bonbons often reflect local tastes and unexpected pairings. Consider the white peach and apricot caramel chocolates sold in Mexico City's artsy Condesa neighborhood or the Blanc de Noir ganache covered in gold dust available at a Basel shop also known for its wine tastings. These bite-size treats are an easy, affordable luxury-a satisfying treat in the moment and a souvenir to savor long after your travels.
Whether as souvenirs or exercises in virtual travel, these spots satisfy the urge to indulge, bridging a familiar medium with the essence of a destination-and what can be sweeter?
Slideshow: Best New Sweet Shops
Cocoa Ooze, Aberdeen, Scotland
The Vibe: Chocolate tempered by hand in a country-like setting.
The Flavor: Lemon.
$12 for $12.55, 255 N. Deeside Rd.; 44-7534/103-249, cocoa-ooze.co.uk
Casa de Chocolates, Berkeley, CA
The Vibe: A hacienda-inspired shop selling treats made with traditional Latin American ingredients.
The Flavor: Dark chocolate with goat's-milk caramel.
6 for $15, 2629 Ashby Ave.; 510/859-7221, casadechocolates.com
Tout Chocolat, Mexico City
The Vibe: Bold flavor combos from a former NYC pastry chef, sold in arty Condesa.
The Flavor: White peach and apricot caramel.
14 for $12, 154 Amsterdam; 52-55/5211-9840, tchocolat.com
Cacao Boutique in Atlanta, GA.
Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co., Atlanta
The Vibe: The cult favorite expands, adding pastries and preserved Southern fruits.
The Flavor: Cola.
10 for $25, 1046 N. Highland Ave.; 404/892-8202, cacaoatlanta.com
Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates, London (pictured at top)
The Vibe: Finally a store big enough to celebrate the confectioner's weekly-changing flavors.
The Flavor: Coffee and passion fruit.
$9 for $23.50, 143 Wardour St.; 44-20/7437-0011, paulayoung.co.uk