When considering the fundamental flavours and ingredients of Irish cuisine chocolate probably isn't the most prominent product that comes to mind, least of all because we can’t produce the cocoa bean with our climate.

However, in the last decade in particular, Ireland has seen a surge of highly-skilled, artisan chocolatiers offering luxurious hand-made truffles, intricate and colourful hand-painted bon bons and chocolate bars and collections which showcase the Irish terroir and seasons through ingredients like sea salt, local honey and Irish cream liqueur.

In fact, chances are you probably have an artisan chocolate producer in your county or at the very least a neighbouring county.

We’ve scoured the country to compile a list of great Irish chocolate brands which stand out in (almost) every one of the 32 counties. Great for gifts or just a treat to yourself, with these beautiful chocolate creations you really don’t need to find an excuse to indulge

Antrim: Ten Watch Chocolates (Randalstown) + Co Couture (Belfast)

Lawri Dowie is a hobbyist who fell into the art of couture chocolate creations and started selling at local farmers markets around 2019. Fast forward three years and his creations clinched the Best in Antrim, Best in Ulster and Ireland’s Best Artisan Product at Blas na hÉireann 2022, the Oscars for Irish food and drink producers.

This is an emerging chocolatier to keep a close eye on as big things are in his future –– keep up to date on Instagram @TenWatchChocolates

In Belfast, Deirdre McCanny has been quietly spearheading a chocolate revolution since 2008 from her basement cafe and workshop steps from Belfast City Hall. Strict on ethical sourcing - particularly from Madagascar - hers is a treasure trove of delicious and incredibly-well made chocolate treats in the heart of the city, and her hot chocolate is a thing of beauty to behold to sip. cocouture.co.uk

Armagh: Cobden & Brown

A small, boutique, family-run business in Armagh, Cobden + Brown make couverture chocolate that’s gluten-free in a small range of bars, truffles and caramels with different flavours, as well as a limited edition salted caramel spread. @cobdenbrown on Instagram

Carlow-Wicklow: The Chocolate Garden of Ireland

Located just outside Tullow in Co. Carlow, this is not only a chocolate factory but an ice-cream one, too. The Chocolate Garden of Ireland's boxes of chocolate are their popular product, filled with dainty caramels, bonbons and orchard flavours. The signature red bows on the packaging are perfect for occasions, whether that’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas gift-giving. chocolategarden.ie

Cavan: Áine Handmade Chocolates

Founded by master chocolatier and MD Ann Rudden in Cavan in 1999, Áine is stocked in leading supermarkets and department stores at home and abroad and you will spot the recognisable Á in the branding from a mile away. The bars are the signature, in an incredible array of flavours from Seville Orange and Zesty Lime to Crisp Honeycomb and Roasted Hazelnut. chocolates.ie

Clare: Hazel Mountain Chocolate

Backed by the dramatic landscape of the Burren, Hazel Mountain Chocolate is the Republic’s only bean-to-bar chocolate factory, cafe and shop, run by Kasha and John Connolly. Their process is simplified, from roasting and grinding the ethically-sourced cacao in-house to then ageing the chocolate and making and selling their creations on-site. Among the Burren’s many great visitor attractions, don’t miss the tour whilst if in Galway City don’t miss their cafe and shop on Middle Street. hazelmountainchocolate.com

Cork: Koko Kinsale

In Kinsale, Koko - founded by former ceramics gallery owner Francis Keane and now with his daughter Emily on board - has just celebrated a decade in business. Look out for their colourful packaging across a range of award-winning boxes, bars and popular hazelnut and chocolate spread. kokokinsale.com

Cork-Tipperary: Praline

In North Cork Norma Kelly’s Praline in Mitchelstown is not only a patisserie and cafe but also a chocolatier with wonderful truffles and geometric-patterned bars in different flavours like Berry, Tropical and Hazelnut. praline.ie

Derry: Monto Chocolates

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Monto Mansour is the man behind his namesake brand, begun in 2020. A talented and respected pastry chef with 20 years experience in kitchens, following his foray into luxury chocolate he continuously produces arguably the most colourful and expressive bonbons on the entire island. His 2023 festive collection includes flavour combinations of mango and lime, calvados and cinnamon and spiced port caramel. montochocolates.com

Donegal: Donegal Chocolate Man

Axel produces fine, hand-crafted chocolate bonbons in small batches "between the hills and bays of Donegal" as he says himself. A one-man operation, he believes there’s a bonbon for everyone and every palate, from classic flavours like salted caramel and hazelnut praline to unexpected combinations like lemon & basil, passionfruit & coconut and blueberry & almond. donegalchocolateman.ie

Down: Neary Nógs

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Northern Ireland’s groundbreaking bean-to-bar chocolatiers, Shane and Dorothy Neary and their small, family operation are zoned in on ethical sourcing and sustainability in every aspect of business. From their production workshop nestled by the Mourne Mountains they regularly host tours and events and their range runs from caramel cups and fudge to bars, slates and truffles, plus their drinking chocolate (classic, chai, peppermint or chilli) is also a fan favourite. nearynogs.com

Dublin: Cocoa Atelier or Chez Emily

It’s hard to believe the modern luxury chocolatier Cocoa Atelier shut its doors on Drury Street five years ago. Fans may miss the contemporary and elegant chocolate emporium, like a chocolatier version of Chanel, but fear not –– Cocoa Atelier simply refocused on its wholesale business and Park West chocolate lab, delivering to select stockists via distributor La Rousse Foods, so all is not lost. Chocolate lovers, keep the faith and keep those eyes peeled. cocoaatelier.ie

Galway: Grá Chocolates

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Possibly the most-awarded chocolatier in the country, Gráinne Mullins was a young chef at the top of her game and primed for global pastry chef superstardom when the pandemic rolled in. With record speed and dexterity she built a chocolate brand overnight at the back of her parents house and safe to say Ireland has taken to it like moths to a flame. Mullins’ Grá brand is widely stocked and recognisable, including a regular listing as a concession within Brown Thomas stores, and her seasonal flavours truly reflect and capture the edible landscape of Ireland. grachocolates.com

Kerry: Lorge Chocolatier + ÉALÙ

One of the true cocoa visionaries and a Frenchman who turned The Kingdom into his chocolate empire, Benoit Lorge was one of those initial craftspeople who made artisan chocolate a 'thing’ in Ireland. Based in Kenmare, for the last twenty years he’s been selling incredible chocolate creations and training others in the art as a master chocolatier. If you want to know about artisan chocolate in Ireland, Lorge is probably the first name to know. lorge.ie

A brand new player in the Kerry food scene, Éalù comes from chef Kallam Moriarty and his wife Clíona Walker, both well-known in the Dingle hospitality scene and now striking out in business together. You might not know the name yet but you will soon enough, theirs are incredible hand-painted bonbons with unique flavours many reflecting the local larder. Check their Instagram for up to date details and order direct. @ealufoods

Kildare: Buíoch + L’Art du Chocolat

Like many, the adversity of the pandemic sparked innovation and creativity and that was exactly the case for Ryan, a former chef, and Daryl, whose background is in corporate sales. They joined forces and Buíoch (meaning ‘gratitude’ as Gaeilge) was born, now cranking out a vast range of chocolate products from their base in Celbridge, available to order online. buioch.ie

On Maynooth’s Main Street, pop in to a proper French-style patisserie, chocolatier and cafe, L’art du Chocolat, where you will find a range of French fancies in the form of mini slab rounds and truffles to craic’inette and caramel balls. Online orders also available. lartdu-chocolat.com

Kilkenny: Truffle Fairy

Founded by chef Mary Teehan in 2005 and now boasting a pair of cafes in Thomastown and Kilkenny, Truffle Fairy’s signature is - no surprises here - gorgeous single origin chocolate truffles in a variety of styles and flavours, from boxes of four and six up to a 60-box. They have a wide vegan range and also a range of delicious slab-style chocolate bars plus cacao nibs and brownies. trufflefairy.ie

Laois-Offaly: Temptation Chocolates

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Twin sisters Kate and Ruth O’Hara are self-taught chocolatiers who have clinched a slew of awards and accolades since returning home from Dublin to Laois during the pandemic and trying their hand at chocolate making, first casually then professionally. Now, from their base in Abbeyleix, they craft small curated batches using fine Valrhona chocolate, Irish cream and butter and other organic and ethically-sourced ingredients. Their colourful hand-painted bonbons and chocolate bars are unmissable. temptationpatisserie.ie

Leitrim: Elements of Chocolate

Small batch, Belgian chocolate with as local flavours as possible, Elements of Chocolate takes - as the name suggests - an elemental approach to chocolate craft, making everything they produce slowly and by hand. Their range includes bark, snack bars, seasonal gift sets (Mother’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s, Halloween) and both bars and bonbons. eoc.ie

Limerick: Braw

Micro but mighty, Anna Coffey’s petite chocolate workshop and micro-bakery business bears big flavours and ambitions. A former head chocolatier at Dublin’s Cocoa Atelier before joining Adare Manor as pastry chef and later striking it out solo in business. She sells direct to customers and supplies cafes and restaurants around Limerick. Her 2023 festive collection of bars includes flavours like peppermint, pistachio and mince pie! braw.ie

Longford: Torc Chocolates

Torc has been a popular cafe, deli and food hall in Longford Town since first opening in 1997 and their range of chocolate products runs the gamut from bars, truffles and caramels to bombs, slabs and marshmallows. They even run chocolate parties for groups of between 8 and 16 people. torcchocolates.ie

Mayo: Paula Pastry at Ashford Castle

Paula ‘Pastry’ Stakelum is Director of Chocolate and Patisserie at Red Carnation Hotels, having risen through the ranks at Ashford Castle to both Head Pastry Chef and Executive Pastry Chef before her current role. Her in-house ‘Paula Pastry’ range of delectable Valrhona chocolate includes truffles, shards, couverture and both chocolate spread and drinking chocolate. Available on-site and to-order online shop.ashfordcastle.com/collections/the-chocolate-shop

Meath: Bohó Nibz

Karen - who is originally from Colombia - has called Ireland home for five years and currently produces her hand-made, hand-painted chocolates in Navan, Co. Meath. Her neat collection of signature bonbons, rounded bars with gooey middles and gianduja-filled vanilla and almond turrón are set to go stratospheric and customers can order direct to have her creations shipped to you. bohonibz.com

Monaghan-Louth: Tara Gartlan Chocolate

Based in Carrickmacross, Tara Gartlan is an esteemed pastry chef having worked in Michelin-starred kitchens before going solo to focus on her chocolate business, which specialises in gluten-free chocolates as Tara has first-hand experience being diagnosed coeliac herself. Her entire production is gluten-free and her colourful and lavish chocolate bonbons and limited edition brownies are already covetable treats with a ravenous customer base. Order direct. taragartlan.com

Roscommon: Benny’s Deli (Roscommon Chocolate Co)

Originally, the Roscommon Chocolate Company was set up by filmmaker-turned-chocolatier Karen Gordon in 2010 when she relocated to Ireland. When she later retired, Benny from Benny’s Deli in Castlerea was approached about possibly taking over the business and Karen’s artisanal chocolate truffles were kept in production. These are still made now and available individually and in gift boxes from the deli, while you can also click and collect from their site too. bennysdeli.com

Sligo-Fermanagh: Clo Chocolates

Inspired by the local landscape and with colourful, eye-catching packaging, choose between truffles and bars made by Clotilde Rambaud in the heart of Sligo where she also runs her other business Le Fournil Bakery with her partner Tomasz. clochocolates.ie

Westmeath-Longford: Bon

Before setting up Bon Chocolatiers in Athlone, chefs Georgia and Daniel worked in Michelin-starred kitchens and under the likes of pastry maestros Amaury Guichon and Vincent Valée. Now partners in business as well as life, Bon has been multi-awarded in its first few years in business for the couple’s edible works of art. Don’t miss their unique Rockin’ Robin creations and signature bonbons. bonchocolatiers.ie

Wexford-Waterford: Bean & Goose

Waterford suffered a loss earlier this year when Mark Lanigan ceased producing and trading his Marco Cocoa hand-painted creations but the sunny South East has long been fabulously served by Bean & Goose. Run by sisters Karen and Natalie Keane, this bean to bar business is one of the most recognisable of the artisan chocolate wave of recent years with stockists right across the island, particularly in independent stores. Expect ethical, single origin sourcing and small batches, a dedication to sustainability and local Irish seasonal flavours across the range. beanandgoose.ie