Need to Know: Washington DC’s Chocolates

Editor’s Note: As of 1/16/2020, we’re excitedly waiting for Harper Macaw to open their chocolate and coffee shop in Georgetown, and for LA Burdick chocolates to open a retail store with seating in Georgetown, too.

 

Washington, DC has so much to offer. Beautiful monuments, restorative and awe-inspiring museums, and the power and pulse that is the United States political system. There are delicious coffee shops aplenty, and touring the city by chocolate is not far behind. If you’re a tourist or locavore, what chocolate truly represents “DC”? What chocolate brands are made within DC? And where can you buy great chocolate in the District? Here are some essential facts for when you need a chocolate souvenir (or an everyday chocolate treat) from the nation’s capital.

First, there are currently two well-known chocolate bars that are manufactured in DC:

  1. Harper Macaw
  2. Chocotenango

What do they have in common? 1) They share similar inception dates, each rooting in DC around 2014-2015, and 2) both brands have unique sustainability endeavors. The takeaways:

Harper Macaw Fall Spice Chocolate
Harper Macaw Fall Spice chocolate bar, Washington, DC

Harper Macaw is a chocolate brand that sources cocoa beans from Brazil, specifically from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest and the Atlantic Forest, and has a factory at 3160 Bladensburg Road, NE (see map). One-hour tours are available for $10 on weekends. The brand is well-known for its decorative packaging style by Design Army, including a notable political series during election season. Harper Macaw was founded by a husband and wife team, Brazilian chocolate maker (Sarah Hartman) and Marine veteran (Colin Hartman) and is now run by other colleagues (as of 2019 the couple has parted ways). The name Harper Macaw combines two endangered birds of Brazil: the harpy eagle and the blue hyacinth macaw. The brand is passionate about agroforestry and reforestation; the company reinvests in the Atlantic Forest through partnerships with NGO’s, including the American Bird Conservancy and Rainforest Trust. The cocoa is purchased through direct-trade. The factory sells chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, and hot cocoa.

Chocotenango Chocolate Bar
Chocotenango Zanzibar chocolate bar, Washington, DC

Chocotenango is an award-winning chocolate brand devised by chocolatier Ismael Neggaz, of Algeria. The brand was originally conceived in Guatemala and established in NE, DC in 2014. In 2016, Chocotenango brought home no less than six awards from the prestigious International Chocolate Awards, with honors for: world (for the micro-batch origin milk bar, 50%), USA and the Americas. Browse the award-winning selection, hereDid you know that a DC chocolate brand was thus decorated?!  The brand donates a percentage of each bar sold to Ecologic Development Fund. Chocotenango treats are sold at The Chocolate House (below) and have also been seen at Compass Coffee locations.

Second, finding good chocolate (for purchase) in DC is easy! You have 4 options:

  1. The Chocolate House (formerly known as Cocova) is a chocolate shop that curates craft chocolate in NW, DC near Dupont Circle. The current sample list of worldwide chocolate brands can be found here. Clearly, it’s a fantastic spot to find all sorts of fine chocolate bars. Visit The Chocolate House to get all of the DC chocolate bar selections listed in this guide (and more) in one convenient place. This is a Time Cupsoul chocolate go-to! Visit: 1904 18th St NW
  2. Chocolate Chocolate is a small but special DC shop in NW (near Farragut North), located at the base of an office building. The shelving may be limited compared to other spaces, but the service and the selection is top tier. This shop is great for personal or corporate gifts, especially with a DC vibe; many patrons enjoy the shop’s monument-shaped chocolate offerings. Go to Chocolate Chocolate to get quality level chocolate in the shape of a DC landmark! Visit: 1130 Connecticut Avenue NW
  3. Kron Chocolatier is located in NW, DC, and Time Cupsoul has dedicated an article to the shop. It offers its own chocolate creations packaged in well-known beautiful flower boxes. Family-owned, located in Chevy Chase, NW, DC. Visit: 5300 Connecticut Avenue NW, #3B
  4. Cafe Chocolat is a coffee shop serving La Colombe coffee and chocolate shop, offering delicious hot chocolate and numerous craft chocolate bars. Not too far from the White House, Cafe Chocolat is the newest to the area and a good contender for a downtown morsel. Visit: 1423 H St NW

Finally, in addition to the chocolate-specific shops, DC’s organic and specialty markets (such as Whole Foods, Glen’s Garden Market) and specialty stores (think Maketto or Salt and Saundry), often carry unique chocolate brands. Coffee shops such as Compass Coffee, the Wydown and Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee, definitely carry unique chocolate brands, as well.

Taking a local road trip to MD or VA? Award-winning SPAGnVOLA (MD), Zoe’s Chocolate (MD), Fleurir Chocolates (formerly in Georgetown, DC, now in VA), Artisan Confections (VA), River-Sea Chocolates (VA), Bluprint Chocolatiers (VA), and Potomac Chocolate (VA) can be found in a car ride just beyond Washington, DC.

Otherwise, for a little further out: be sure to visit The Conche, an award winning chocolate-themed restaurant showcasing “chocolate-infused savory cuisine” in Leesburg, VA!

Have fun exploring DC’s craft chocolate scene! Chocolate suggestions? DC chocolate tips? Please comment below.

2nd Editor’s Note: Since this article was published, we understand that Undone Chocolate, Co Co Sala and Jo Chocolatier no longer exist and so were removed. (You may email J Chocolatier to pick up an item in-person, though.) Happy chocolate tasting!

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