The candy-crazed holiday is upon us. Go ahead, indulge with the rest of the country and eat some chocolate. Just skip the grocery store kind; some varieties are loaded with hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Instead, head over to The Chocolate Nation, a chocolate e-tailer that sources artisanal chocolates from across the country.
The site's founder, Grace Lissauer (who finds a good chocolate soufflé purely blissful), launched Chocolate Nation in an effort to champion for American chocolatiers passionate about the artisan craft of chocolate-making. She makes it super easy for chocolate lovers with dietary concerns to navigate dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and organic options. And locavores can see if there are companies based in their state to avoid cross-country shipping.
An interesting part of Grace's job is monitoring the trends in the chocolate world (tough, right?!). What's on the horizon for 2011? Chocolates with unusual salts, like Red Hawaiian and Himalayan and -- what sounds so delish -- seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame, and anise, so expect to see some licorice-flavored chocolate this spring. For now, head over to the site for something artisan.