In tasting dozens of products (such a chore), we found 15 that left our tasters using such words as "amazing," "ultrasmooth," "exceptional," and "artistic." Among them are three that are new to our annual tests: Recchiuti, Xocolatti, and zChocolat. The Ratings show only the excellent choices among the products we tried.
Shop smart. Bear in mind that you generally have to buy the candies online, and it's shipping that can kick their cost into the stratosphere. (With shipping charges excluded, eight are CR Best Buys.) In answer to a question about high shipping costs, Jacques Torres' website cites the candy's "time and temperature-sensitive nature" and the need for chocolate to arrive "tasting just as fresh as it does when it leaves our shop." Here are ways to get the most for your money.
Bottom line. Quality is exceptional in all of the rated choices, but styles and flavors are quite different. Consider the recipient's tastes as you read our descriptions. And make sure that he or she checks the shelf life: Some products last just 7 to 14 days. Although the candies may go to waist, you won't want them to go to waste.
For more food Ratings and reviews from our experts check our Food & Drink Guide.
This article also appeared in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.