For World Chocolate Day, the best chocolate in each state, according to Yelp. You’re welcome!

When eaten in moderation in its pure form, dark chocolate can be a good source of nutrients.

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Today is World Chocolate Day and chocolate lovers around the world are satisfying their sweet tooth by indulging in decadent chocolate bars, cookies, cakes and desserts. 

Chocolate derives from cacao plants, which were first found in ancient Mesoamerica (much of what is now Mexico and Central America) more than 4,000 years ago, Newsweek noted. The Olmec civilization in Latin America was the first to turn cacao into chocolate. The Olmecs reportedly drank liquid chocolate (free of sugar) during rituals and used it for medicinal purposes.

Japanese Consumers Enjoy The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Chocolate derives from cacao plants, which were first found in ancient Mesoamerica (present-day Mexico) more than 4,000 years ago. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Centuries later, the Mayans and Aztecs deemed liquid chocolate to be a magical brew and both civilizations drank it during birth, marriage and death rituals. The Aztecs believed the god Quetzalcoatl gifted them with chocolate and they created an herby chocolate-based concoction called “xocolatl” (which translators to “bitter water”) that they drank in preparation for war and used as an aphrodisiac. 

Chocolate reached Europe in the 16th century and was initially used as a medicine before people started adding sugar, honey and vanilla to it. It would become a preferred drink of Europe’s wealthy elite for years. That changed when Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten invented a “cocoa press” in 1828 that separated the fat from the roasted beans, leaving a powder. Importantly, the cocoa press allowed for the mass production of chocolate, making it more affordable for the masses, who used the powder and milk to make what is now known as hot chocolate.  

British chocolatier J.S. Fry & Sons was the first to create the dark chocolate bar in 1847 by combining cocoa butter (or fat) and liquor with sugar, then molding it. Nearly 30 years later, in 1875, to this mixture Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter and businessman Henri Nestlé added milk, resulting in milk chocolate. The rest, as they say, is history as chocolate increased in popularity.

Americans reportedly spend billions of dollars a year on chocolate and most prefer milk chocolate, and it is beloved worldwide for its taste and versatility.

Dark chocolate — when eaten in moderation in its pure form — can be a good source of nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and copper, according to WebMD. Raw dark chocolate that has been minimally processed is healthier than milk chocolate and white chocolate. 

Chocolate Production Continues At Cadbury During Hostile Takeover Bids
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate bars move down the production line. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

In honor of World Chocolate Day (July 7), which dates to 2009, below is a list of some of the best chocolate shops in every state and Canada, via Yelp:

  • Alaska (Anchorage): Alaska Wild Berry Products
  • Alabama (Gulf Shores): Chocolate Corner & Ice Cream
  • Arkansas (Bentonville): Markham & Fitz
  • Arizona (Scottsdale): Zak’s Chocolate
  • California (Idyllwild): El Buen Cacao
  • Colorado (Denver): Stargazer Fine Chocolates and Coffee
  • Connecticut (Goshen): Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates
  • DC (Washington): The Chocolate House
  • Delaware (Rehoboth Beach): Snyder’s Candy
  • Florida (Lauderdale by the Sea): Jan’s Homemade Candies
  • Georgia (Atlanta): Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate
  • Hawaii (Naalehu): Paradise Meadows, South Point Road
  • Iowa (Ames): Chocolaterie Stam – Ames
  • Idaho (Boise): The Chocolat Bar
  • Illinois (Chicago): Chocolat Uzma
  • Indiana (Indianapolis): SoChatti
  • Kansas (Wichita): Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates
  • Kentucky (Louisville): Art Eatables
  • Louisiana (New Orleans): Southern Candymakers
  • Massachusetts (Jamaica Plain): cacao
  • Maryland (Baltimore): Pure Chocolate By Jinji
  • Maine (Lubec): Monica’s Chocolates
  • Michigan (Grand Rapids): Mokaya
  • Minnesota (Saint Paul): Legacy Chocolates 
  • Missouri (Kansas City): Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates
  • Mississippi (Jackson): Nandy’s Candy
  • Montana (Bozeman): La Châtelaine Chocolat Co.
  • Nebraska (Lincoln): The Chocolate Season
  • Nevada (Gardnerville): Chocolate Shoppe
  • New Hampshire (Manchester): Dancing Lion Chocolate
  • New Jersey (Merchantville): Aunt Charlotte”s Candies & Gifts
  • New Mexico (Taos): Chokolà
  • New York (New York): Confectionery (particularly the Harlem Chocolate Factory
  • North Carolina (Raleigh): Escazú Chocolates
  • North Dakota (Fargo): Sweet Dreams Confections
  • Ohio (Grandview Heights): Pure Imagination Chocolatier
  • Oklahoma (Norman): Apple Tree Chocolate
  • Oregon (Portland): JinJu Patisserie
  • Pennsylvania (Hellertown): Dolce Patisserie
  • Rhode Island (Warwick): Trinity Confections
  • South Carolina (Charleston): Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier
  • South Dakota (Deadwood): Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates
  • Tennessee (Chattanooga): The Hot Chocolatier
  • Texas (San Antonio): Delice Chocolatier & Patisserie
  • Utah (Springdale): Springdale Candy Company
  • Vermont (Stowe): Laughing Moon Chocolates
  • Virginia (Alexandria): Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates
  • Washington (Seattle): Intrigue Chocolate
  • West Virginia (Vienna): Holl’s Chocolate
  • Wisconsin (Milwaukee): Indulgence Chocolatiers

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