Wine experts get loads of respect, with their oenologists, viticulturists, masters of wine, not to mention white-gloved sommeliers. Ever since Starbucks elevated the cup of coffee, "Q graders," the mandarins of the Arabica bean, have achieved similar gravitas. Craft beer has its cicerones.
What's happening: Now, a still-tiny phalanx of fancy chocolate companies, most based in the U.S., think they are on the brink of the same sort of coming of age. Their product has not yet reached the zenith of niche dining — a fancy appellation to single out its best experts. But exotically sourced chocolate may be the new thing in haut cool.