Ok, so it's no big secret that we Scots have a bit of a sweet tooth. But did you know that Scotland is home to some artisan chocolatiers?
But it's chocolate that is top of most people's favourite treat lists. So much so, that Scotland even has its own chocolate trail.
So we ask, who are the best producers of chocolate in Scotland?
Chocolatia is the brainchild of former Gleneagles chef, Chloe Oswald. What started as a sideline after being furloughed during lockdown in 2020, has grown into a successful and award-winning business.
Earlier this year, Chloe saw two of her chocolates awarded medals in the Academy of Chocolate Awards.
Chloe specialises in seasonal collections, such as those for mother's day, Valentine's, Halloween and Christmas but you can also pick up her signature collection any time.
You can order online or buy from some local stockists, which can be found on her website.
(The Old Schoolhouse, Acharn, Nr Aberfeldy, Perthshire PH15 2HS)
With a love of seasonal flavours and great chocolate, Charlotte set up her business in 2007 with the aim of combining wild natural ingredients with the best quality chocolates.
Based on the southern shore of Loch Tay, Charlotte forages for seasonal produce to make unusual fillings and infuse the chocolate with. She uses these natural products to hand-craft her delicious chocolates, all the while highlighting the unsung heroes in Scotland’s natural larder such as meadowsweet and Scots pine.
This passion for sustainability and her desire to use local, ethical and organic produce where possible has participated in her winning many awards.
And don't worry if you fancy having a go at becoming an amateur chocolatier, the team also offer Chocolate Workshops where you'll learn all about this fascinating foodstuff.
(123 Bruntsfield Pl, Edinburgh EH10 4EQ)
Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh make the chocolate - with flavours including honey & thyme and tequila & chilli - right in the shop, straight from the bean.
And let's face it, you can’t get any fresher than that.
Husband and wife team Alastair and Freidereke Gower, are a true example of where following your passion can lead you.
Beginning at music festivals, they eventually moved to the capital where the whole story of where their cocoa comes from, paying the farmers in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Madagascar higher prices as a point of principal to ensure their communities benefit as much as the local residents in Edinburgh do.
The best part about eating their delicious chocolate is it will leave you feeling virtually guilt free.
(New Jasmine House, Greenbank Place, East Tullos Aberdeen AB12 3BT)
Established in 2008 by Jamie Hutcheon when he was only 17, Cocoa Ooze specialises in unique handmade chocolate.
Having made an appearance on TV’s Dragons Den, Hutcheon even managed to convince the Dragons that his growing business was worth a £70,000 investment.
Using sustainable cocoa from regions such as Trinidad and Grenada, the expert chocolatier and his team have placed an emphasis on using the freshest local ingredients wherever they can within their creations.
They are also going very big on experiences including workshops where you can learn the art of chocolate making from expert chocolatiers and have a go at making your own chocolate bars.
(Lime Tree Larder, Auchencloigh Farm, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire KA25 7LJ)
When Alex Wilson realised how much repair a redundant stable on his farm needed, he decided to seize the opportunity to create the Lime Tree Larder.
At the end of a lime tree lined avenue – planted in 1927 by “Grampa Wilson” – this small, family run production unit opened in May 2004.
Overlooking the surrounding countryside, the Wilson family have perfected the production of chocolate and ice cream, which only friends and family were previously lucky enough to experience.
With business going well, the family renovated the Byre, giving the cows a new home, and the family a place to expand their business, now able to host workshops, parties and group visits.
Committed to producing high quality products, they only use natural ingredients to produce small batches – helping to keep the products as fresh as possible.
While this slow method will mean they’ll never become an empire, their tasty products definitely makes up for the wait.
(Grandtully, Pitlochry PH9 0PL)
Perhaps Scotland's best known chocolatier, Iain Burnett has had extensive training in the art of chocolatiering, studying at schools in Belgium, Switzerland and France and now is sharing this with the nation at his Highland Chocolatier store.
There is very little he doesn’t know about how to make a good chocolate – which includes his multiple award winning Velvet Truffle as well as internationally renowned range of fresh cream truffles and spiced pralines.
His small dedicated team of chocolatiers are all trained in-house to maintain the meticulous quality that has come to be expected.
Using a single-origin cocoa from the volcanic island of São Tomé, the bean was carefully selected for its full range of characteristics. The chocolate is then made with an unblended fresh Scottish Cream from a particular herd of cows – with no additives or preservatives.
(Brodick, Isle of Arran KA27 8AP)
No trip to Arran would be complete without picking up some Arran cheese and some chocolates from James of Arran.
The shop, located by the sea front, is a charming place to see and buy the range of treats, flavours of which include champagne and ginger, mandarin marzipan or passion-fruit crème.
Made in the Arran Chocolate Factory, which has been creating chocolates for over 17 years, James of Arran prides itself on high quality ingredients from around the world.
(10, 42 Walkinshaw Street, Glasgow G40 3PG)
Fusing artisan natural Scottish produce with fine chocolate, Stacy produces a range of different but delicious flavour combinations in her stylish chocolates.
Flavours range from rose and hibiscus to salted caramels with whisky and cognac (not to mention a Cabernet Sauvignon selection) options for the spirited among us.
All are beautifully decorated, making them an ideal gift for a budding foodie or chocolate lover.
(9 High Street, Pittenweem KY10 2LA)
Anyone who has visited the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival will have enjoyed a sweet treat at this central shop and adjoining Cocoa Tree cafe.
This family-run chocolatier sources speciality chocolates from Scotland, Belgium and around the world, including single origin chocolates from hand-selected plantations.
Owner, Sophie Latinis, is passionate about showcasing fair trade, responsibly grown and unusual, exquisite flavours.
Sophie also recently launched her own bespoke chocolate range – handmade in Pittenweem – including her exclusive series of single malt liqueur chocolates, presented in attractive, wooden gift boxes.
Luxury hot chocolate, part of the handmade collection, is available to buy, and in packs ready to enjoy at home. Flavours include hazelnut, ginger chocolate, chocolate orange and dark chocolate.