Best Chocolate Shop 2014

First place: Brandini Toffee

Founded in 2006 by then-freshmen Leah Post and Brandon “Brandini” Weimer as a way to earn money for a high school class trip, Brandini Toffee now boasts a 5,200-square-foot. production and retail location and is also available in stores across the country including Nordstrom. Offerings include toffee pretzels, brownies, poppers, bark, bites and, of course, the original scrumptious toffee. 42-560 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, (760) 200-1598, brandinitoffee.com

Second place: See’s Candies Westfield Palm Desert, 72-840 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert, (760) 340-1322; 144 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, (760) 325-6211; sees.com

Third place: Trader Joe’s 67-720 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Cathedral City, (760) 202-0090; 44-250 Town Center Way, Palm Desert, (760) 340-2291; 46-400 Washington St., La Quinta, (760) 777-1553; traderjoes.com

-Lea Goodsell

Best Specialty Food Store 2014

First place: The Upper Crust

Celebrating 20 years in the desert, The Upper Crust offers special and private label gourmet foods including pepper jellies, chutneys, dips, spreads and tapenades as well as specialty spices and much more. Make any meal a gourmet meal with their advice and selection. 73-540 El Paseo, Suite C, Palm Desert, (760) 568-1998, theuppercrust.us

Second place: Trader Joe’s 67-720 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Cathedral City, (760) 202-0090; 44-250 Town Center Way, Palm Desert, (760) 340-2291; 46-400 Washington St., La Quinta, (760) 777-1553; traderjoes.com

Third place: Savory Spice Shop 73-399 El Paseo, #103, Palm Desert, (760) 346-4372, savoryspiceshop.com

-Lea Goodsell

Best Wine and Spirits 2014

First place: Dan’s Wine Shop

For more than 25 years, Dan Sullivan has been selling wine in Palm Desert, with the last 10 years at his current location. He stocks hard-to-find, limited as well as popular wines at competitive prices and also offers personable and great advice to help you find a great wine for yourself and your guests. 73-360 Hwy. 111, #1, Palm Desert, (760) 674-0305, danswine.com

Second place: Total Wine & More, 72-339 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert, (760) 346-2029, totalwine.com

Third place: Trader Joe’s 67-720 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Cathedral City, (760) 202-0090; 44-250 Town Center Way, Palm Desert, (760) 340-2291; 46-400 Washington St., La Quinta, (760) 777-1553; traderjoes.com

-Lea Goodsell