Ingredients | John Kelly Chocolates

Various salts, spices, and nuts in white bowls.



We make many different products, most of which are based on different types of chocolate:  milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. We also have some products based on peanut butter and caramel.


Most of our products contain a blend of these basic ingredients, along with other good stuff like butter, milk, walnuts, almonds and salt (more about salt a little later). It’s an alchemy that happens due to our proprietary recipe and our special way of bringing everything together, and it makes for a truly unique taste experience. For example, our peanut butter truffle fudge also contains white chocolate, and our milk chocolate products usually have a caramel filling. We blend everything together as necessary so that each piece has a wonderful balance of sweet, rich flavor, flavors that complement each other perfectly. And most products add a coating of semi-sweet chocolate, creating an additional layer of complex, sophisticated flavor.

Our milk chocolate is creamy and not too sweet, with a wonderful finish and a cacao content of 33%.  Our semi-sweet chocolate is uniquely rich and velvety with intense chocolate flavor, and a cacao content of 53%.  Our dark chocolate is a full-bodied chocolate that is not bitter but has an incredible depth of flavor, with a cacao content of 86%.  Our white chocolate is unique among white chocolates you may have experienced in the past – it’s not too sweet, contains cocoa butter, and has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that is surprising and delicious.


We were one of the first chocolatiers to combine sea salts with chocolate in a major way, and we firmly believe that it is one of the all-time best pairing of two ingredients that has ever been invented. Many of our popular flavors are topped with artisanal salts from around the world. When we sprinkle exotic salts on our chocolates, something magical happens – sweet combines with savory, and flavors become more intense – if that’s possible.

Our French Grey Sea Salt has a small grain and is mined in Brittany, as Sel Gris de Guerande, using centuries-old methods. It works best as a topping for our award-winning Dark Chocolate or as an ingredient in our caramel-filled chocolates.

Our Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt has a medium grain and comes from Hawaii, where the natural iron ore that is contained in the salt creates a lovely red hue. It’s a perfect complement for our Chocolate & Caramel Truffle Fudge. As we’ve found, salt (in moderation) not only pairs well with chocolate, but caramel as well, and the three together create a new flavor that you simply cannot believe.

Our Mediterranean Sea Salt has a large grain and stands up well to our crunchy, creamy Walnut Caramel Clusters. This sea salt is mined in Italy and creates yet again the perfect balance of chocolate, caramel and salt.

Our Himalayan Pink Salt may not technically be a sea salt, although it was formed millions of years ago in the foothills of the Himalayas when the area was an ancient sea. The pink hue, with a fairly large grain, has a slightly sweet flavor note that we think works well with our peanut butter truffle fudge. After all, how can salt and peanut butter not be a great combination?

Our Fleur de Sel, sprinkled on salted caramels, is truly the flower of the sea – it’s the most scarce and difficult to mine sea salt that there is, but the delicate grain and pure salt flavor is worth every penny. It’s mined in France and is also renowned by world-class chefs for its delicate and complex flavor.

Our Applewood Smoked Salt, sprinkled on salted caramels, is an altogether different approach to any of the salts above, since it has been deliberately smoked over Applewood (think bacon) to impart a smoky flavor note that hits a completely different set of taste buds.

When it comes to our salted products, balance is the key. A lot of thought and care goes into determining just the right amount of salt to sprinkle on each of these products, because the goal is to allow the salt to impart a savory element while also enhancing the chocolate itself. Too little, and you cannot tell a difference. Too much, and it just tastes salty. And with today’s concerns about salt intake, we can assure you that each piece does not include a large quantity of salt, although how much you can withstand is of course a personal decision.

Caramel and Peanut Butter

For our products based on caramel or peanut butter, we use (of course) natural caramel and peanut butter that pairs best with our chocolate blends.

We use two types of caramel, one that is lusciously creamy, an ideal complement to our fudge or molded chocolate shells, and one that is a bit more chewy, to give an extra “bite” to a single piece of chocolate-coated caramel topped with sea salt.

Our peanut butter is richly smooth, not crunchy. We always combine it with other ingredients in order to maximize the creamy nature of the peanut butter while also allowing it to stand up to a piece of truffle fudge. If you have never tried our peanut butter and chocolate truffle fudge, for example, you simply won’t believe how much more satisfying it is than other candy that combines these two popular flavors.


Many of our products have generous amounts of walnuts, since we find that walnuts work wonderfully with our recipes for truffle fudge. The slightly bitter taste of a walnut is complemented by the slightly sweet taste of the fudge for a perfect combination. All of our walnuts are California grown.

We also use roasted almonds in several products, in order to pair this delicate flavor with products that work best with the “nuttier” taste almonds can provide. Our molded butterflies, for example, combine crushed roasted almonds with sea salt and caramel for a filling that has to be experienced to be believed. The three ingredients, taken together, are so much more than the sum of their parts, and will transport you to a place of extreme depth of flavor.


Many of our products include flavorings that we have carefully selected to bring just the right flavor profile to the chocolate itself. For example, we use all-natural orange oil, peppermint oil, raspberry extract, an espresso blend, and chile powders in just the right quantity, to deepen the overall flavor of the chocolate with which each is being paired. Keep in mind that these flavors are not fillings, as you might see with other chocolate companies. We actually blend these flavors into the chocolate as it is being cooked, so that the chocolate itself is perfectly flavored throughout with these wonderful enhancements. Once again, the right balance is something that requires a lot of careful thought and experimentation.

The Basics

We are, after all, making products that are cooked by hand with several additional ingredients in a secret combination. So we should point out that chocolates, salts and flavorings may be the stars, but we are also extremely rigorous in our use of only the best butter, milk and cane sugar, ingredients that help to create the alchemy that arises from our kitchen.

One Final Note

All of our products are corn syrup-free and gluten-free, except for some gluten contained in our shortbread cookies. You can rest assured that we take pains to provide the most natural and “clean” products – we would settle for nothing else.

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