Just in time for Valentines Day, here’s a short list of our favorite Maine-made chocolates!
Black Dinah began on Isle Au Haut, an island in Penobscot Bay. But their chocolates were too good to remain offshore! They soon expanded to a mainland tasting room (and ice cream shop) in downtown Blue Hill that is totally worth a visit. They now create their delectable confections in Westbrook, and the increased production means you can find their peanut butter-filled frogs, sea salt caramels, gourmet truffles, and my favorite–sea turtle caramels–throughout New England! Worth every penny.
As the saying goes, “You can’t get there from here.” Monica’s Chocolates is located way Down East in Lubec, Maine, and her shop–a foodie oasis in a very rural area–closes for the winter. But luckily her chocolates, including amazing bonbons made with her special Peruvian filling, can be found at specialty shops around Maine. I recommend the almond and apricot bonbons, as well as her chocolate sea urchins (with caramel, toffee, pecans, and Peruvian filling) and chocolate sea cucumbers (with caramel and peanut butter). And if you do find yourself in the neighborhood after April 1, be sure to stop in–she offers free samples!
Needhams are a Maine tradition, and Len Libby in Scarborough makes some of the best. Handmade with fresh coconut dipped in either milk or dark chocolate, these treats will draw you back to Maine for more. As if their chocolates alone weren’t worth a visit, their store in Scarborough also features the world’s only life-size chocolate moose.
During the summer, the best way to try La Nef chocolates, especially their unusual truffles, is a day trip out to Monhegan Island where they’re made! But if you get hooked, you can always get more via mail order. Produced by a year-round island family, this chocolate is proudly sourced from fair-to-farmers, direct trade, traceable Central American cacao grown in Mayan soil.
These beautiful small-batch chocolates can be found in Kittery and Portsmouth, NH. Their artisan bars include violet, pansy, and mendiant bars embedded with flowers–almost too pretty to eat! Their selection is dazzling: fresh cream truffles with fruits and liqueurs, tasting bars featuring chipotle, sea salt, caramel, pepitos, and/or fruits, marzipan bonbons… Resistance is futile.
A chocolate lover could, in fact, tour the length of the Maine coast using these four chocolatiers as waypoints: Start with Byrne & Carlson in Kittery, then check out the moose at Len Libby in Scarborough, then head up to Blue Hill to the Black Dinah tasting room, and end up all the way on the eastern edge of the US to taste Peruvian chocolates at Monica’s.
And keep in mind, our lovely Midcoast vacation rental homes are right in the middle of all that chocolate!