Best Chocolate - 2012
What elevates a simple candy maker into the loftier role of an artisanal chocolatier? At Chocolat Céleste, part of the answer is in the creation of perfect chocolate crystals that carry the snappy-bite characteristic of fine chocolate. It also comes from using expertly sourced ingredients: local butter and cream, and cacao from the world's finest purveyors. But what makes Chocolat Céleste really stand out is owner Mary Leonard's heavenly blending of flavors, such as bold chile peppers, delicate champagne, or the subtle bitterness of the Rush River Brewing ale and porter she used for her latest truffle collection, in which the beer adds a perfect weight to the rich and velvety chocolate. The storefront off University Avenue may seem ordinary from the outside, but once you leave with a gorgeous box of truffles tied with a fancy bow, you will feel decadent and pampered. Another stellar characteristic of this chocolatier: Leonard is an expert at pairing truffles with wine for the sexiest of treats.