Who doesn’t crave a delicious, sweet, chocolate treat? Decadent yet heartwarming, nothing tastes better than fresh, handmade chocolates. In Nebraska, creating such tasty treats, or works of art, are some of the best chocolatiers, nay, artists, you’ll find anywhere. The fun thing about chocolate shops in the state is they’re not tied to just the large cities, such as Omaha and Lincoln. Instead, travel the state to sample some of the best handmade chocolates west of the Mississippi River. People have been known to create their own chocolate trails, ensuring these nine chocolate shops are among their stops.
1. Fantasy Creations
Home to sweet creations, such as cake pops, cupcakes, and cakes, Fantasy Creations is more than a bakery. The South Sioux City franchise is also known for its chocolate-covered, succulent strawberries, made with dark chocolate as well as specially designed flavors, including holiday-themed colors. The bakery also offers chocolate fountain bars for special events, when each person can create their own chocolate-covered treats, such as cookies, bars, and strawberries.
Pro Tip: South Sioux City is home to the Siouxland Freedom Park, which features a half-scale version of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. The attraction anchors the park, which was designed to honor military members and veterans.
2. The Cordial Cherry
Using Grandma’s recipes to help fund her educational plan, The Cordial Cherry’s founder realized she had a bigger calling — to create handmade, artistic chocolates that break the mold of the traditional candy. Thus, The Cordial Cherry was born. After a decade in business, the west Omaha confectionary’s chocolate-covered cherries remain among its most-popular items, along with chocolate-covered nuts, truffles, and special treats, including chocolate-covered pineapple, licorice, and caramels.
Pro Tip: After picking up your dessert at The Cordial Cherry, why not find a great spot to enjoy some of the best steaks in Omaha? Katy Spratt Joyce shares where to find the best steak in Omaha.
3. The Chocolate Season
Located in south Lincoln, The Chocolate Season invites people to consider it a second home. They seek to provide a comfortable, fun experience where visitors can spend a short time, pull up a chair, order some treats and a drink, and spend as much time as they’d like. And deciding on what to get can be a challenge, with a menu that features locally sourced ingredients for treats such as chocolates and caramel corn. Creating pieces of art with their chocolates, The Chocolate Season offers truffles, bon bons, brownies, and even fudgy oatmeal bars. The shop also produces specialty gift boxes featuring chocolate-covered strawberries and holiday-themed treats.
With a menu featuring items such as quiche and wraps, you can enjoy breakfast and lunch as well as a snack break. The menu features sandwiches, including chicken salad. The Chocolate Season offers hot and cold drinks, from regular coffee and espressos to lattes and macchiatos, as well as frozen brews.
Pro Tip: After your visit to The Chocolate Season, you may want to check out some of the best museums in Lincoln, from the International Quilt Museum to Morrill Hall, home to one of the world’s largest mammoth fossils and more.
4. Crystal’s Confectionery Creations
Norfolk may be the hometown of television great Johnny Carson, but it’s also home to Crystal’s Confectionery Creations. Since 2013, Crystal’s has been the go-to bakery and sweet treat choice for locals and visitors to northeast Nebraska. Joining Crystal’s homemade cakes, cupcakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries are her truffles, caramels, and iced sugar cookies. Since Crystal’s is a home-based business, her products can be found at Kuper Farms Country Market, an indoor farmers market featuring more than 50 vendors. You can also order special baskets and gifts directly from Crystal’s.
Pro Tip: While in Norfolk, stop in at the Elkhorn Valley Museum and check out the Johnny Carson exhibit. Featuring a replica of his Tonight Show stage, the museum is home to hundreds of pieces of memorabilia donated by the star and his estate. From TV Guide covers to his Emmy Awards, the exhibit is a must. You can also swing by and see his childhood home.
5. Chocolaterie Stam
Known locally simply as Stam, Chocolaterie Stam invites visitors to browse its store, taking in the fragrance of fine European-style chocolates, including special shapes (such as seashells), fudge, bon bons, and more. Opened in 2009 at Papillion’s Shadow Lake Towne Center, Chocolaterie Stam features not only artistically designed chocolates, but also gelato and hot and cold drinks. Stam creates gift boxes consisting of all types of chocolate treats, cookies, fudge, and licorice.
6. Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates
Art meets dessert is the best way to describe Lincoln’s Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates. Decorated in various colors, you’ll struggle in deciding whether to eat the glossy, hand-painted bon bons or display them as art. Made without preservatives or artificial ingredients, Lulubee’s menu also includes toffee and chocolate bars. Creating seasonal chocolate treats, you may find a white chocolate Easter bunny, heart-shaped chocolates for Valentine’s Day, or even peppermint crunch chocolate balls for Christmas.
Pro Tip: Following your visit to Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates, you may want to check out the attractions around Lincoln that I shared when suggesting ways to spend the day in Lincoln.
7. Bakers Candies
Home to the world-famous chocolate meltaways, Bakers Candies in Greenwood ranks as the top candy store in Nebraska. Producing more than 30 million pieces of meltaways — named because the chocolate “melts” in your mouth — Bakers sends the foil-wrapped treats around the world. Making them with milk and dark chocolate, meltaways come in a variety of flavors, including mint, cherry, raspberry, and coconut. With its 6,000-square-foot outlet, Bakers Candies is the largest candy store in the state. You can purchase meltaways by individual flavors or a variety pack. You can also purchase themed gift boxes, such as one in the state’s shape or celebrating Cornhuskers football. Producing treats at their on-site 25,000-square-foot production facility, Bakers Candies also creates nostalgic sweets, such as Boston Baked Beans, French Burnt Peanuts, Orange Slices, and green apple gummy rings. The store also features other Nebraska-produced products, such as jellies and popcorn.
8. Chocolat Abeille
As you enter Chocolat Abeille, you may think you’re in an art gallery instead of a popular chocolate shop in Omaha’s Old Market. Using colored cocoa butter to create more than 20 varieties of hand-painted pieces of chocolate, the chocolatiers put a lot of love into their work. Chocolate treats include natural ingredients and feature unique flavors, such as Jim Beam bourbon toasted pecans, lavender-infused chocolates, orange blossom, raspberry, and plenty of caramel. Chocolat Abeille even offers six types of chocolates using honey from the owner’s personal honey bee colony. The store also sells jars of fresh honey. Whether you buy a small box for yourself or a gift basket for others, you’ll enjoy the succulent tastes of the chocolate treats.
Pro Tip: Following your visit to Chocolat Abeille, you may want to enjoy your treats as you stroll through the historic Old Market or maybe grab a seat on a bench along the riverfront. Writer Sage Scott offers a few ideas on places to visit in Omaha with this article.
9. Master’s Hand
Whether it’s dark or milk chocolate, you’ll love the handmade chocolate treats at Serendipity Chocolates inside Master’s Hand boutique in Tekamah. Take a bite out of Nebraska-shaped solid chocolate or enjoy a chocolate-covered peanut cluster, either way, you can’t make the wrong choice. Among the store’s most popular items, sea salt caramels sell out quickly. The team produces all types of chocolates, including truffles and a white chocolate menagerie. The caramels are so soft, they seemingly melt in your mouth. Master’s Hand offers some of the best fudge you’ll ever enjoy, with unique flavors such as raspberry and vanilla. With mouthwatering chocolate-covered strawberries and cherries, you’ll be challenged on what to choose to satisfy your chocolate tooth.
What began as a home school project creating handmade candles to sell for fundraisers, Master’s Hand has grown into one of Nebraska’s most successful business stories. The boutique includes seasonal home decor and accessory products from Nebraska creators. Serving breakfast and lunch, you’ll swear by the home-style cooking, with soups, sandwiches, and salads available. Their cinnamon rolls are considered among the best in the world.