The impossible-to-forget chocolate with the impossible-to-remember name. Chocolate that’s almost too pretty to eat, (okay, not really a thing). These chocolate truffles — little orbs and spheres and cubes — are swirled and flecked with beautiful colors, like gemstones from some far superior dimension. Chef/chocolatier Amanda Wright has a degree in neuroscience, and she trained at the Culinary Institute of America and offers chocolate-making classes. A519 products are made locally, but only available for order online, though I’ve seen pop-up shops around town. This is special occasion chocolate. So if you don’t have a special occasion, it’s time to get one. The pandemic counts.
The Chocolate Moose, Squirrel Hill
Squirrel Hill’s narrow little slice of chocolate heaven has been located in this skinny storefront for years, and it’s kind of easy to miss. The Chocolate Moose stocks chocolates from all over the world, from European imports to locally-made, including Lux Artisan Chocolates, which are beautiful, high-end bars like Brown Butter & Cocoa Nibs and Tart Cherry & Hazelnut Dark Chocolate.
Yetter’s Candy, Millvale
Yetter’s has been making chocolate for 60 years with the same recipe so clearly they’ve figured a few things out. In fact, they’ll dip almost anything in chocolate, from cherries and peanut butter cups, to Oreos and potato chips. The milk chocolate sea salt caramels are particularly great, as are the giant chocolate-covered marshmallows.
There’s an old-time soda fountain for cherry phosphates and the like, and the whole place gives off an immensely charming retro diner feeling. You better believe that you can get ice cream here — because, why not have all the sweet things in one place? And there’s even lunch, with sandwich prices that also seem frozen in time ($2-3.50!), and old-school varieties like Garlic Jumbo and Capicola.
Betsy Ann Chocolates, West View
Another impossibly long-lived — and obviously beloved — chocolate shop, Betsy Ann has been going strong since 1938. They’ve got everything from chocolate truffles to novelties like chocolate playing cards, and even a hairdresser set (complete with combs and blowdryer) made of milk chocolate. Don’t miss the Sea Salt Caramel Pretzels, made with buttery hot caramel from an old-fashioned copper kettle and sea salt from the shores of France.
Sarris Candies, Canonsburg
This one is a bit of a hike from Pittsburgh, but worth a trip just to see this gigantic red and white fantasyland of all things chocolate. Sarris cranks out chocolate by the ton, and loves to put it into unusual shapes, like a giant 1,500-pound chocolate castle — with candied towers and a merry-go-round — that has to be seen to be believed. The shop also has an old-timey ice cream parlor, if your sweet tooth runs cold.