Confectioner: Kakao Chocolate

Walk into Kakao Chocolate in Maplewood, Missouri, and you’ll see, behind the counter, confectioners focused on their tasks, making each of the company’s coveted sweets by hand using high-quality and often local ingredients. Offerings change seasonally, but one favorite is always available: sea salt caramels. The caramel is dense and not too sweet, enhanced with a light dusting of crunchy salt crystals. Kakao is perhaps best known for its truffles, in flavors like Old Fashioned or mint. (Photo by Cheryl Waller)

Kakao Chocolate, kakaochocolate.com

RUNNER UP: Crown Candy Kitchen, crowncandykitchen.net