Houston's Top 5 Chocolate Shops for Rabid Chocoholics

Willy Wonka sure didn't make it easy on us chocoholics when we were kids.

I remember wishing I could take a tour through his factory for the sole purpose of dipping my face in that chocolate river—the best part of the tour, no doubt. (Well, unless you nearly drown in it like poor Augustus.)

These days I have to find gourmet chocolate on my own time. Luckily, downtown Houston has an eclectic array of chocolate shops, or chocolatiers, to choose from. Each store is unique and flaunts a smorgasbord of temptation, from traditional chocolates and truffles, to chocolate-covered fruits and cookies, to bizarre-tasting bite-sized treats.

So, seriously, what are you chocoholics waiting for?

In no particular order, here are Houston's top five chocolate shops that are worth a visit or two (or three or four):

1. The Chocolate Bar

Whether you're craving some gourmet chocolate bars or a few scoops of ice cream, The Chocolate Bar is bound to have something you'll like—and love. Located in River Oaks and Rice Village, the popular confectionery offers a diverse array of sugary bliss, including chocolates, ice cream, milkshakes, cookies, cake, popcorn and dipped fruit. Be sure to look out for its adorable Texas-themed chocolates, too.

Best for: The Basic Chocolate Lover

2. Slik Chocolate

Located on Westheimer Road near The Galleria, Slik Chocolate offers a fascinating combination of traditional chocolates and filling snacks, including chocolate and caramel waffles, chocolate-drizzled crepes and fondue. Some of the handmade chocolates are stuffed with eye-catching flavors, such as mango cream, pistachio paste and orange mousse. It's a chocoholic's heaven and unforgettable lunch spot.

Best for: The Savory Sweet Tooth

3. Cacao and Cardamom

Cacao and Cardamom is one of the most international and artistic chocolatiers in Houston. The shop, situated on Westheimer, boasts colorful shapes and innovative flavor combinations with unique dashes of cultural touch. Interestingly, the chocolates look more like delicate jewels than they do edible treats, but the flavors are downright stunning: rose water, guava and lavender, to name a few.

Best for: The Cultured Chocoholic

4. Araya Artisan Chocolate

Araya Artisan Chocolate, located in River Oaks and Uptown Park Mall, offers a delectable variety of signature handcrafted chocolates, with flavors ranging from traditional (e.g., key lime and pistachio) to non-traditional (e.g., chipotle and vodka citron). The store also sells French macarons and vegan/dairy-free chocolates and desserts.

Best for: The Sophisticated Palate

5. Chocolat du Monde

On Times Boulevard sits Chocolat du Monde, a European-style boutique offering world-renowned chocolates and imported sweets. While the store doesn't specialize in handmade chocolate, its gourmet treats gathered from around the world are enough to entice any well-traveled chocolate lover. Some of its most famous products are those provided by acclaimed Belgian chocolate companies, Leonidas and Neuhaus.

Best for: The Euro-Choco Connoisseur

Hannah Muniz is a freelance writer and travel lover based in the greater Houston area. You can learn more by visiting her website.