17 Types of Chocolate Chefs Always Have in Their Pantry

From off-the-wall flavors like truffle fries to classic chocolate bars like Toblerone, here’s what the pros stash on their shelves. 

chocolate bars, cocoa powder, and a bowl of melted chocolate
Photo: Adobe Stock

Chocolate is a subject everyone wants to weigh in on. Guilty pleasure? The options are endless. But what about the best for baking? Or simply snacking? Whether you're a classic chocolate bar fan or prefer a single origin, artisanal bean-to-bar, here are a few favorites chefs always have on hand to satisfy their sweet tooth when the craving strikes.

M&M'S Peanut Butter

"I'll confess that I keep a stash of peanut butter M&M'S for late-night cravings. There is no denying that combo of chocolatey, peanutty deliciousness." — Derek Kaplan, president of Fireman Derek's Bake Shop in Miami

Cocoa Powder

"My go-to celebratory cake is devil's food cake with boiled chocolate frosting, and it doesn't contain any chocolate — only cocoa powder. It gives the cake a more intense chocolate flavor, as opposed to chocolate baking squares, which traditional recipes call for. It's what my mom always baked for my birthdays growing up, and I still request it when I visit her." — Frederick Aquino, executive pastry chef of Veranda in NYC

TCHO Chocolate

"I always like to have a bit of TCHO 60.5% dark chocolate. It's complex, dark enough to satisfy dark chocolate lovers, but rounded enough for everyone to enjoy. This makes it the perfect option to whip up a dessert on the fly at home." Justin Ottervanger, executive chef of The Parlour Room in NYC

Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate

"It is a guilty pleasure, and I must eat at least half the bar every night — it's too good." — Daniel Sokolov, chef de cuisine of The Parlour Room in NYC

Chocolate Disks

"Half of the chocolate I always have in my pantry is chocolate disks, which I use for all types of projects, including cookies, brownies, frosting, puddings, and hot chocolate. For me, this style of chocolate is the most versatile. I usually have Valrhona or Guittard." — Rachel King, founder and chief development officer of Kaneh Co.

Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa)

"I particularly favor dark chocolate of Venezuelan origin; the taste and aromas are fruity, intense, and soft at the same time. It is one of the easiest and most versatile chocolates to work with as the base for ganache, molding, and other sweet treats." — Johan Giachetti, chief chocolate maker at Le Bristol Paris

Almond Joy and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

"Working at Daniel, I have the opportunity to source chocolate from all around the world. I definitely find myself snacking on Evocao from Cacao Barry and Maracaibo from Felchlin at the restaurant; however, with a 9-year-old at home who loves Almond Joy and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, we enjoy a wide variety in our household." — Shaun Velez, pastry chef of Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in NYC

Original Beans Cru Udzungwa 70% with Nibs

"In my opinion, it is the tastiest chocolate on earth and supports a company with a huge focus on sustainability." — Carla Henriques, executive pastry chef of Hawksmoor in NYC

Peruvian Single Origin

"I love dark chocolate and usually have bitter chocolate (70-80%) on hand. I tend to prefer Peruvian single origin chocolate — the terroir of the region is delicious. I always keep a supply of my favorite chocolate in bars in case I need to chop some for cookies, pancakes, or any other recipes. I like the melt feel that real chocolate gives, as opposed to baking chocolate, which will reset and become a chunk in the final product, like what happens in chocolate croissants." — Ursula XVII, chocolatier and founder of Disset Chocolate

White Chocolate

"I think it's important to keep a really good dark and bitter chocolate, a milk chocolate, and a white chocolate on deck. Valrhona's Opalys 33% is great for a white chocolate; however, I actually treat Dulcey 35% as my go-to white chocolate. It's complex and handles salt well." — Devin Braddock, executive pastry chef of South Florida-based Ariete Hospitality Group

"White chocolate is useful for making different mousses and the flocking of cakes, such as the outside ornaments and icing." — Elisabeth Hot, pastry chef of Dorchester Collection's Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris

Cacao Nibs

"I always have cacao nibs in my pantry. It adds texture and a lot of flavor without sweetness to morning oats." — Bradley Herron, senior director of culinary at The Genuine Hospitality Group

Milk Chocolate

"Valrhona's Jivara 40% is a milk chocolate — and my personal favorite. It's super creamy and sweet. I love using this chocolate with the Manjari 64% to add a touch more sweetness in desserts." — Kimberly Ku, executive pastry chef of Bar Blondeau at Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn

Ghirardelli Baking Chips

"For home baking, my favorite — and easy-to-find — chocolate is Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% baking chips. It was the one chocolate my parents splurged on when making cookies or brownies when I grew up. It also melts beautifully, unlike other grocery store brands, and it's one of my favorite snacking chocolates." — Kelly Mencin, pastry chef of Rolo's in NYC

Gianduja (Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread)

"I always have a gianduja chocolate and a fruity astringent dark chocolate in my pantry. There is an inexplicable enticement from the creamy body hazelnut milk chocolate offers. When paired with dark chocolate, an added bold dimension tied with sea salt creates balance that is sure to satisfy your chocolate craving." — Tiffany Pascua, executive pastry chef of Dorchester Collection's Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles

Truffle Fry-Flavored Milk Chocolate

"The newest collection from Keller + Manni, K+M Chocolate, is unique for its forward-looking flavors and luxurious texture. One of my favorites is Truffle Fries, a milk chocolate that combines lightly salted, crunchy French fries with a hint of truffle in homage to the namesake side at Bouchon Bistro."Thomas Keller, chef and restaurateur

Extra-Bitter Guayaquil

"Coming from Ecuador, the flavor profile and quality of this 64% min cacao allows me to play with it in different plates at the restaurant, from chocolate mousse to deep chocolate truffles. At King & Rye, we use it in our peanut butter chocolate toffee bacon bar and in the truffles for the whiskey tasting." — Tomas Chavarria, executive chef of King & Rye at The Alexandrian in Old Town Alexandria, VA

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