confections at nathaniel reid bakery in kirkwood photo by carmen troesser

5 small-batch St. Louis chocolatiers we love


It’s easy to find good chocolate, but good local chocolate? And good, local, handmade chocolate? That’s another ballgame. With small-batch chocolates, you get brighter flavors, fewer processed ingredients and purer textures. One bite of something like Rick Jordan Honey Foam or a Kakao milk chocolate bar with toasted Missouri pecans, and the difference is clear. 


Whether you need something special for an upcoming holiday (cough, cough) or you just want to experience some of the terrific craftsmanship the St. Louis chocolate scene has to offer, here are some of our favorite small-batch chocolatiers.


1. Rick Jordan Chocolatier


Early in his career, Rick Jordan went to France and Italy to study with some of the most revered chocolatiers in the world. He came back with secrets about aeration, emulsification, flavor profiles and chocolate-making technology, and he now makes delightful treats of his own, like 70 percent whiskey barrel-aged chocolate bars and English toffee. But his crowning achievement is probably Honey Foam, which contains honey from Jordan’s own bees and has an airy, ethereal architecture unlike anything you’ve ever tried. 


Rick Jordan Chocolatier, rjchocolatier.com; Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com


2. Kakao Chocolate


Walk into Kakao’s Maplewood headquarters and you step behind the scenes of one of the city’s greatest chocolate teams. Literally – there’s no demarcation between the shop up front and the production floor in the back. If you stand on the edge long enough, they may offer you a fresh sample. In addition to the aforementioned, ultra-creamy milk chocolate with toasted Missouri pecans bar, you should probably try the sea salt caramels, which are available in a gift box. 


Kakao Chocolate, 7272 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.645.4446; 7720 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.726.7974; kakaochocolate.com



photo by carmen troesser

3. Nathaniel Reid Bakery


Nathaniel Reid’s confections look so elegant that you won’t want to eat them. But after the inevitable photo shoot, you shouldn’t think twice. Offerings like the Guyana dark chocolate mousse with chocolate croquant and the Sambava macaron with vanilla bean and dark chocolate ganache have deep, rich layers that reveal a little more complexity with each bite. Want to keep it basic? Well, that’s not really possible here, but the closest you can get is something like the Madagascar 64 percent dark chocolate bar with crispy pearls. It’s like eating a crisped rice bar (think Nestlé Crunch), but with decadent, buttery chocolate. 


Nathaniel Reid Bakery, 11243 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, 314.858.1019, nrbakery.com


4. Bittersweet Kitchen


Bittersweet Kitchen is like the hidden speakeasy of local chocolatiers. Unless you catch its top-selling chocolate-salted caramel and bourbon-butterscotch dessert sauces at one of a few local shops like Parker’s Table or Larder & Cupboard, you’ll have to make an appointment for private pickup and then meet someone from the chocolatier at a special location. It’s worth it. The fudgy, vibrant brownie pops are spectacular. 


Bittersweet Kitchen, 314.780.6078, bittersweet-kitchen.com


5. Connoley Fine Chocolates 


“It’s a hobby gone crazy,” chef Rob Connoley said about his chocolate-making. But Connoley has mastered the craft, producing some of the most visually stunning chocolates we’ve ever seen. Underneath the treats’ marbled, glittery shine, you’ll find big flavors like passion fruit ganache, blueberry with sheep’s yogurt and granola, house-roasted Rwandan espresso and top-selling salted caramel. The gorgeous desserts will be available at Bulrush, slated to open soon in Grand Center. 


Bulrush, 3307 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 575.956.3319, bulrushstl.com


Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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