Not all chocolate is created equal.

Chocolate. The word alone sounds luxurious, conjuring up images of sweet confectioneries and luscious truffles gloriously wrapped in shiny, dark fudge.

Cacao has been around since the ancient Mayan times, long before it was turned into the modern day sweet treat we know it to be now. To the Aztec people, cacao was believed to be a gift from the gods, reserved for the upper echelons of society.

Fast forward to today, and chocolate has become a billion dollar industry, enjoyed by both young and old around the world. In fact, Fortune Business Insights estimated that the global cocoa and chocolate market was valued at USD 43.13 billion in 2017 and it predicts that the industry will expand at a rate of 5.7% up to USD 67.22 billion by 2025.

However, not all chocolate is created equal.

Like Mayan times, some chocolates are reserved for the upper echelons of society, with price tags to match. Here’s a look at some of the most expensive chocolates in the world.

To’ak’s Art Series Guayasamin

Starting off the chocolate conversation is the artisanal brand, To’ak. The Art Series Guayasamin by To’Ak is a chocolate that will set you back a whopping USD 685 per 50g bar. Not only is this chocolate To’ak’s priciest offering, it is also itsfirst blend, made from rare Ecuadorian Nacional cacao beans. Using a unique barrel aging process, this chocolate is matured for three years. This 77% luxury dark chocolate ages like a fine wine and should be enjoyed as such. It is recommended that this chocolate be enjoyed with sweet, fortified wines like Port and Pedro Ximenez sherry. Zacapa 23 rum, and triple-distilled Irish whiskey and sherry-finished single malt Scotch whiskey will also compliment this chocolate excellently. As for cheese, To’ak recommends ruyère, Comté, aged Gouda, and Brie as pairings. W toakchocolate.com

House of Knipschildt ‘s La Madeline au Truffe

Another chocolate that will have you reaching deep into your pockets is the La Madeline au Truffe, by House of  Knipschildt. At a price of USD250 per 42 grams, this luxury bar’s main attraction is the rare French Perigord mushroom at its centre, which is surrounded by a decadent and luxurious chocolate ganache made up of  70% Varlhona chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla. Talk about the finer things in life. Danish-native Fritz Knipschildt is the founder of House of Knipschildt  and began his chocolate making journey in his humble apartment in Conneticut, USA back in 1999. Today, the chocolatier specializes in making artisanal chocolates and handcrafted truffles using the finest cocoa beans from Ecuador, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea.
W chocopologie.com

Debauve & Gallais’ Le Livre

French chocolatier Debauve & Gallais has been making chocolate for over 200 years, and on its 200th anniversary, it released a commemorative box of finely handmade ganaches and pralines tucked in a gold-embossed leather box. Priced at about USD260 for a box of 36 pieces (400 grams), these little drops of handcrafted heaven do not come cheap. Founded in 1800 in France, Debauve & Gallais were appointed the official chocolatiers of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis Philiippe. It still stands today as a household name in chocolate-making. W debauve-et-gallais.com

DeLafée of Switzerland’s Gold Swiss Chocolate Box

If there is any country that knows how to do luxury, it’s Switzerland. The two defining characteristics of Swiss chocolatier DeLafée are chocolate, and gold. Yes, you read that correctly. Founded in 2004 by Sebastian Jeanneret, DeLafée of Switzerland develops a wide range of products including edible gold leaf and gold flakes. As far as their chocolate products go, their most expensive offering is the Gold Swiss chocolate box of eight Swiss chocolates individually wrapped with 24 karat edible gold. The box also comes with an antique Swiss gold coin from the Swiss central bank, dating from 1910 to 1920.  It does not get any more luxurious than Swiss chocolate wrapped in edible gold. This box will set you back about USD393 per box of eight chocolates. Chocolate covered in gold? Sign us up.
W delafee.com

Ganache Cien Blue Box by MarieBelle New York

MarieBelle New York’s gorgeous box of ganaches are almost too good looking to eat. An elegant box of 100 signature MarieBelle New York Holiday Chocolate Ganaches, each of these drops of delight are made with the finest single-origin chocolate and eclectic ingredients.  The individually designed chocolates are tiny, edible works of art wrapped elegantly in its signature MarieBelle blue box. These artisanal chocolates are priced at USD 280 per box of 100 chocolates. Honudras- native Maribel Lieberman first opened her MarieBelle chocolate shop in New York in 2000 and quickly became a household name in the chocolate industry, with fans such as Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lopez. W mariebelle.com

(Photos: Respective brands)