Why chocolate? Because it’s delicious. Because it lifts your spirits when you’re down. Because it goes great with coffee (and cognac). Because it’s an antioxidant (if it’s dark enough). Because it reduces stress (if only for a minute or two). Plus, it tastes oh-so-good. Enough said. If you need a craving taken care of, take a look at our list of the best chocolateries in Istanbul.
Founded by the Albanian immigrant Filip Lenas in 1923, Baylan is one of the oldest and most established patisseries in Istanbul. Its first branch opened in Beyoğlu in 1923 under the name Loryan, which was later changed to Baylan in 1934. In 1961, a new branch in Kadıköy was opened—and this branch is still in operation to this day. In 2010, a very modern branch opened up in Bebek and renovations began taking place in the Kadıköy store to keep the glory of the old days. Many people know of Baylan with its famous Kup Griye dessert (made with ice-cream, caramel sauce, and brittle). Baylan’s chocolate is just as legendary, especially Moncheri (chocolate with raspberry and liqueur). Baylan chocolates come in bitter, milk, and white, and are filled with innovative flavors, including marzipan, bergamot, mastic, Baileys and cinnamon, champagne, and Amaretto.
2. Chocolate Shop at The Marmara Taksim:
The Chocolate Shop, located right by The Marmara Taksim's entrance, features a distinct range of high-quality chocolate. Of the chocolate-covered dragées, chocolate bars, and truffles, the most exotic of all may be the passion fruit truffle. You’ll find more adventurous flavors here, like the sesame chocolate or the mille-feuille chocolate. These make an ideal gift, especially because of their unique packaging. They come in a few different sizes, and the one that we like the most is the tall, pink box for ladies that has a purse-like handle.
Divan is one of the most well-known patisseries in Istanbul, known for its top-quality chocolates. Divan’s product range includes chocolates with pistachios, almonds, coffee, coconut, truffles (bitter, milk, and white chocolate), and, chocolate-covered dragées. Divan also has a special collection called Chocolat d’Origine, which consists of chocolates that are prepared from cocoa beans from Ghana, Madagascar, Equator, and the Dominican Republic. In this series, you’ll find Jivara with 40% cacao, Equator with 66% cacao, Dominican Republic with 64% cacao, Ghana with 68% cacao, and Madagascar with 64% cacao. A winter favorite from Divan is the marron deguise (which means “chestnuts in disguise”). Made from candied chestnuts that are puréed and covered with chocolate, this sweet treat is extraordinarily luscious. Another specialty of Divan is the Arduaz (brittle covered with blue chocolate). It tastes great but also looks good on the coffee table!
4. Meşhur Beyoğlu Çikolatacısı
One of the most famous chocolates in Istanbul are the milk or dark chocolate bars filled with enormous hazelnuts, pistachios, or almonds, sold on İstiklal Caddesi at Meşhur Beyoğlu Çikolatacısı. The manufacturer behind these grab-and-go chocolates is Elit, which has been around since 1924. So, next time you’re walking on İstiklal Caddesi, look out for these chocolate bars that are sold in plain foil paper in a nostalgic nod to a pre-brand name era. Meşhur Beyoğlu Çikolatacısı, Istiklal Caddesi No. 69; T: (0212) 249 53 64
Godiva is a world-famous Belgian chocolate brand, now owned by a Turkish company, synonymous with fine, elegant chocolate. From truffles to chocolate bars, the dark, milk, and white chocolate varieties of Godiva are simply mouthwatering. And the strawberry dipped in chocolate is just another step into a dream-infused state. So if you want to indulge yourself or pamper someone, get a box of fine Godiva chocolate. Click here to find one of their various branches around town
6. Kahve Dünyası
Open since 2004, Kahve Dünyası is a chain coffee shop that also sells a range of tasty chocolates with quintessentially classic flavors. When it first opened, Kahve Dünyası made a splash among Istanbul’s chocoholics with the chocolate spoon served with their coffees (you can actually buy these in bitter or milk chocolate to enjoy at home as well). Since then, Kahve Dünyası has been a favorite shop for chocolate-covered pistachio-filled Turkish delights and chocolate-covered dragées (available in milk, bitter, or white chocolate filled with orange, coffee, pistachio, and hazelnut). Kahve Dünyası has many more chocolate varieties, including milk chocolate with almonds, bitter chocolate with raspberry, and a range of truffles. Keep in mind that they also have strawberry dipped in milk chocolate made fresh daily!
Mabel is a chocolate boutique that has been producing a wide array of fine chocolates and candies since 1947. They have bitter, white, and milk chocolate that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and flavors. Most famous is their umbrella-shaped chocolate, which even adults have been known to buy and savor in nostalgic spirit. This cone of milk chocolate has a small plastic hook at the end that resembles a rolled-up umbrella. The combination of old world charm and tradition coupled with a large range of genuinely good chocolate makes Mabel something like a Turkish cross between Hershey’s and Lindt.
8. Swiss Gourmet
Sold right by the entrance of Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Swiss Gourmet’s chocolate is luxurious, has a pronounced character, and is filled with intense flavors. They have nearly 30 different kinds, from the simple bitter and milk to the passion fruit and tequila-flavored. Be warned before you buy an elegant box of these delicate chocolates because they are instantly addictive.
9. Vakko Chocolate
Inspired by the world’s best Swiss chocolate, Vakko chocolates (sold at Vakko Chocolate boutiques) are the combination of select cocoa beans with dense flavors that are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. In their diverse range of products, you’ll find classic bitter and milk varieties as well as chocolate-covered Turkish delights, chocolate-covered dragées, and wafers. The signature of the line is a gift box shaped like a fez, so you know these will make a fantastic gift.
10. Çikolata Dükkanı
In the hip neighborhood Moda, Çikolata Dükkanı is a small but quite popular shop serving a delectable selection of varying chocolate options from bite-sized truffles to large chunks of specially prepared concoctions. Make sure you try their strawberry, croquant, and - obviously - the chocolate-filled popular dessert Asuman before you leave.