Never has a candy been so universally adored as chocolate. Some even crave the cocoa-based concoction that comes in all shape, sizes and flavors. Blame the bromine, which can increase heart rate and brain activity equivalent to a passionate kiss. Or the hundreds of chemicals in the cocoa bean that produce an unwavering attraction-factor to the dark brown “feel good” treat. Whatever the science, you can indulge your sweet tooth at several Greater Phoenix chocolatiers. Here’s a taste:
Long-time Phoenicians have been savoring the indulgent confections at Arizona’s largest candy factory for decades. The company specializes in molded chocolates, like its signature French mint. But Cerreta makes a range of candy to satisfy any discerning chocolate palate.
To watch the magic unfold, visitors can take a 30-minute guided tour of the family-owned operation located in Glendale and see chocolate flow in real-time and learn some industry “secrets,” such as how cream centers end up in the middle of a luscious piece of chocolate.
5345 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
Specializing in small-batch, single-origin craft chocolate right in the heart of Scottsdale, Stone Grindz takes beans from one farm or one central fermentary and brings out the most outstanding flavor profile possible using only cacao beans, cane sugar, and cacao butter. The end result ranges from the most decadent bars and artistic caramels to 100% raw, organic cacao powder and cacao "nibs."
4425 N. 78th St., Scottsdale
Since 2009, pastry chef Tracy Dempsey has provided stunning, mouth-watering desserts to Greater Phoenix restaurants such as Citizen Public House and Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn. And for the longest time, fans could only enjoy her creations at client restaurants or by picking up a package of her famous confections at such retailers as Sphinx Date Ranch, Changing Hands Bookstore and the Bodega Market at FnB Restaurant.
To meet the growing demand, Dempsey opened a permanent location in Tempe to get her pastries and fresh-baked goods — from canelé and cakes to shortbreads and her Original Bacon Pecan Brittle — right into your hands.
Dempsey originally made her signature creation when she was pastry chef at Cowboy Ciao. Wanting to add texture to the restaurant’s bread pudding, she added the brittle as garnish, with a scoop of bacon ice cream. Before long, she began making the brittle with applewood smoked bacon and pecans, and the rest, they say, is history.
And because brittle is where it all started, Dempsey now offers an apricot pistachio brittle and the Don’t Cry for Me, habanero peanut brittle, made with a dash of Cutino Sauce Co.'s habanero sauce.
1323 W. University Drive, Tempe
Chocolate makes everyone feel good, but Wei of Chocolate makes certain its confectionery originals are good for you, too. Wei satisfies your body, mind and soul with chocolate that’s dairy free, soy free gluten free and GMO free.
The vegan, organic, fair trade dark chocolate offerings include Black Sesame Dark Chocolate, Coconut Salt Dark Chocolate, Crystallized Ginger Dark Chocolate, and Peppermint Dark Chocolate. Available at specialty boutiques and spas in Phoenix, Wei chocolates are meant to enjoy with wild abandon—and bring you to a state of candy enlightenment one decadent piece at a time.
810 W. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix
Zak's Chocolate is a local, award-winning small-batch craft chocolate maker and an artisan chocolatier shop located in Scottsdale. Within the walls of their retail location (currently closed to walk-ins), Maureen and Jim conduct the magical process of turning ethically-sourced cocoa beans into their very own chocolatey creations takes place. Using single-origin and proprietary House Blend chocolate, they hand make dark, milk and white chocolate bars as well as bonbons, truffles, brownies and other yummy confections.
Shop rotating selections of beautifully decadent bonbons and caramels, including several vegan bonbons. All of our dark chocolate bars are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. Preorder for pickup, delivery or shipping.
6990 E. Shea Blvd., Sweet 116, Scottsdale (pick-ups only, no walk-ins)