Chocolate is big business this week, with an estimated 58 million pounds of it being sold for Valentine’s Day. But why hand over your hard-won dollars to Big Chocolate when Colorado produces so many local options?

You probably know the names of some of our storied, long-time local chocolatiers. Most famously, there’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, the now-international franchiser that began as a tiny shop in Durango back in 1981. Hammond’s Candy Factory opened in Denver nearly a century ago, and the very first treat it ever produced was — you guessed it — chocolate.

But there are also lots of smaller shops, ones that you may not know the names of; operations run by tinkering scientists and the chocolate-obsessed. They’re creating small-batch, hand-made delicacies that just might revolutionize your relationship with the dark stuff. (And the white stuff, and the milk stuff.)

Phil Simonson opened Chocolate Lab in 2010 with a truffle recipe created by his husband. Over the past eight years, thanks to customers’ increased appetite for everything chocolate, he’s grown his operation from just those truffles to a full-on chocolate bounty, and last year he even added a savory, choco-centric restaurant. (Think bourbon-chocolate barbecue sauce poured over pulled pork …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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