Chocolate runs the gamut from the common Hershey bar to what most people consider the Cadillac of confections ¬ó Godiva. Putting the big labels aside, and bringing things to a more local perspective, the newly opened John Kelly Chocolates may be one of the most luxurious treats Santa Monica has to offer.

In an SAT analogy format, See’s Candies is to Wilshire Boulevard as John Kelly is to Montana Avenue.

For anyone who is serious about their chocolate (and I know you are out there) the offerings at John Kelly are something to be experienced. The signature product is truffle fudge. The name is well suited since its texture is not quite as dense as your standard fudge, yet has little more integrity than an average truffle. When it hits the palette, the taste buds will be enveloped in full rich cocoa flavor. The sprinkling of Mediterranean sea salt not only accentuates the natural flavors, but also plays nicely with chocolate’s semi-sweet undertones.

Bittersweet dark chocolate, luscious all-natural peanut butter, and chocolate mint are just a few flavors found in the truffle fudge bars. John Kelly Chocolates also offers chocolate nut clusters and sugary fruit confections. Score major bonus points with a loved one, or kiss up big time to the boss with one of their beautifully displayed gift towers.

Also, since they are kosher and gluten free they are a perfect gift for your rabbi with a wheat allergy.

The unparalleled quality of the John Kelly line naturally comes at a higher cost as well. Each single serving bar is around $3. However, the higher cost should compel one to truly savor it. For the same price you can get a couple big bags of peanut M&Ms at the Rite-Aid ¬ó and that just spells trouble.

One of the major selling points for Santa Monica’s Buy Local campaign is diversity. Big franchises are inherently predictable and mundane. Local businesses, on the other hand, are unique and diverse. John Kelly Chocolates personifies the small specialty shop befitting to the boutique embellished streetscape of Montana Avenue. In other words, it’s the ganache with panache!

If you go

John Kelly Chocolates

1111 1/2 Montana Ave.

Santa Monica, Calif.


(310) 899-0900

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food, or on CityTV hosting his own show, “Tour de Feast.” To reach him visit his website at or follow him on Twitter @TourDeFeastSM.

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