These cocoa connoisseurs are raising the bar with from-scratch chocolate roasted south of the Mason Dixon.
Former chef Hallot Parson is committed to sourcing his beans only from Latin America, where cacao originated.
Try: The Roasted Cocoa Nibs 65% dark chocolate bar ($5), with a pleasant crunch from nibs (bits of roasted beans). escazuchocolates.com
Kristen Hard ditched law school to open Cacao in 2004, and four years later became the female pioneer of bean-to-bar chocolate.
Try: The beautifully packaged 'Love Bar,' Straight Up ($8), with 75% dark chocolate sourced from the Dominican Republic. cacaoatlanta.com
Truffle pros Jael and Dan Rattigan are now making from-scratch chocolate, some with a newly rediscovered Peruvian heirloom
Try: 65% cacao La Red Cooperative ($7). frenchbroadchocolates.com
Chef Scott Witherow uses brown sugar, molasses, and a stone grinding process much like the one used to make grits.
Try: The creamy-tart Buttermilk White Chocolate ($6). oliveandsinclair.com
Working from his home workshop, Ben Rasmussen produces about 500 artisan chocolate bars a week.
Try: The Upala 70% Chocolate Bar with flavor notes of raspberry and caramel ($7). potomacchocolate.com
Shawn Askinosie makes 42,000 pounds of chocolate annually sourced from farmers he personally meets on four continents.
Try: The White Chocolate Nibble Bar cocoa butter laced with nibs ($10.50). askinosie.com