09 Feb An Awesome 2023 Valentine’s Day Chocolate Guide
What is the best culinary-inspired Valentine’s Day gift you can give? When you need gifts that reflect your love or inspire passion, choices like a flower arrangement or a card are nice but may need a little more help. Even romantic dinners can seem a little routine without something extra to spice things up.
The best culinary gift for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate, of course!
To convey your message of a happy life and indulgent affection, add chocolate to your list of perfect gift ideas for this favorite holiday of romantics everywhere, couples and singles included.
But don’t settle for just any old chocolate from the grocery store! Show your true love you truly care with bespoke confections from celebrated chocolatiers who go beyond mixing cocoa and caramel into pedestrian candy bars.
These aficionados are constantly baking up fresh treats and decorating them with an elegance that can outshine the most delicate flowers—plus, these handmade bonbons, truffles, and chocolate bars are made with exotic or organic ingredients that can elevate any fine dining experience with epicurean pleasure.
Your friends at Black Restaurant Week have rounded up some of the most exciting chocolatiers from their national directory of Black-owned businesses, then picked out one or two of their handmade confections for you to try. These colorful and beautiful chocolate choices make stunning gifts for that special someone—or a special treat for yourself!
60 Worcester Rd., Framingham, MA 01702
Indulge your senses without guilt! Decadent dark chocolate truffles from owners Pam and David Griffen blend the health benefits of dark chocolate with therapeutic ingredients like cinnamon, olive oil, and blueberries into unique flavor combinations that soothe the body and soul. Sign up for a Virtual Chocolate Tasting to get an insider look at chocolate’s journey from raw cocoa beans to ganache, then sample several types of chocolate, including four handmade truffles. You’ll laugh out loud while Pam and David lead you through your luscious tasting kit with wit and wisdom. You can also visit the Framingham, MA, store to pair your sweet, savory, or spicy treats with locally roasted coffee or “real” hot chocolate.
3300 Connor St., Suite 261, Bronx, NY 10475
Ramona Thomas loves chocolate but hates fakers. She was frustrated by the artificial ingredients on candy labels, so the seasoned baker resolved to make something better. After taking a French pastry course, this Brown University alum with a Ph.D. in higher education launched My Chocolate Soul with a mission of spreading joy through chocolate. Her handmade pecan or cashew—or pecan and cashew—turtles definitely accomplish that goal. These beauties feature nuts sunk into all-natural caramel, then drowned in milk or dark chocolate for a sumptuous finale to the most romantic dinners. In addition to assorted treats available for purchase online, Thomas offers concierge services that bring a custom chocolate experience to events like weddings, corporate gatherings, and other special occasions.
15 S. First Ave., #2023, Mount Vernon, NY 10551
Want to try something risqué? How about inviting a third party into your chocolate experience? Don’t worry—this “threesome” is about bringing together white, dark, and milk chocolate in one luxurious candy bar for a singular taste sensation. You can add nuts if you like or modify the types of chocolate for bespoke creations that truly delight. Try the limited edition Ruby & White Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Crunch Bar for a fresh, fruity, fabulous treat like none other. Made without any colorants or fruit flavorings, this sweetie features the newly discovered red cocoa bean for an intense color and a unique taste. Feel great about sharing 3 Some Chocolates with your boo, as this company uses only fair trade cocoa beans and reinvests part of every purchase into sustainable global chocolate farming initiatives.
2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., New York, NY 10030
Striver’s Row is arguably the epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance. These blocks of 19th-century brick and limestone row houses have been home to legendary music artists over the years, like Fletcher Henderson, Eubie Blake, and Tupac. Since 2018, it’s also been the site of Harlem’s only chocolate shop. Founders Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon infuse all their decadent creations with a sense of history and community, but none evokes Black heritage like their truffles made with Uncle Nearest Whiskey. This selection from the Speakeasy Collection is a nod to the first-known African American distiller, Nearest Green. It combines 72% dark chocolate with whiskey ganache for a unique indulgence to share with someone special.
4611 36 Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98126
Set your beloved’s heart ablaze with artisan chocolate hearts made by a real-life fireman! Michael D. Poole honed his cooking skills in the kitchen of the Seattle Fire Department for 30 years before completing Le Grande Diplome in Cuisine and Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. Now he battles against preservatives and artificial flavors instead of flames and smoke. Heat up any romantic dinner with his Valentine’s Day chocolate hearts infused with matcha, mango, strawberry, or other mouthwatering flavors. If you’re in the Seattle area, treat your love to in-person classes where you’ll learn the art of hand-painting chocolates or crafting French macarons from scratch.
Inside Bella Vita Jewelry, 108 W. Sixth St., Little Rock, AR 72212
Instagram | 501-396-9146
As Arkansas’s first Certified Professional Chocolatier, Carmen Portillo brings a fresh perspective to her handmade luxury chocolates. She got her first taste of gourmet truffles while living in London, and it inspired her to complete the online certification program through Vancouver’s Ecole Chocolat. Cocoa Belle premiered in Potrillo’s hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, in 2012 and has since expanded to locations in Bryant and Fort Smith. Her indulgent and sophisticated confections often look like glittering jewels, so it makes sense that you can find them inside Bella Vita Jewelry, Tipton Hurst Florist, and other fine retailers. Tempt your sweetie with unusual chocolate flavor combinations, like passion fruit, rosewater, or strawberries and champagne—the perfect complement to any fine dining experience.
3926 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, TX 75219
If you’re in the greater Dallas area, this family-owned business is your one-stop shop for a unique and memorable Valentine’s Day. Start by dining on savory crepes filled with prosciutto, brie, or basil pesto, accompanied by a glass of red or white from the wine menu that is regularly voted among the city’s Top 10. When it’s time for dessert, you may have difficulty choosing from the over 52 varieties of handcrafted bonbons and truffles—but we’ve got your back with two exquisite picks:
Barrel-Aged Whiskey Bonbons: The finest dark, milk, and white chocolates bring smooth sweetness to the fiery edge of single-malt whiskey, 21-year-old rum, Grand Marnier Cuvee, and other storied spirits. Choose 16- or 32-piece gift boxes made of beautifully singed wood engraved with the company’s signature.
Handmade Truffles: The kitchen at Chocolate Secrets is staffed by chocolatiers from seven different countries with more than a century of combined culinary experience. This international team delights in crafting unique truffles to delight and amuse any palate. Discover a mélange of milk, white, and dark chocolate in Spoil Me or Yes, Yes, Yes, or make your passionate intentions known with Take Me Now, a sumptuous marriage of milk and dark chocolate.
1200 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 *by appointment only
Want to create a glamorous, red-carpet experience for your special someone this Valentine’s Day? Opt for Phillip Ashley chocolates that have graced swag bags for elite attendees of Hollywood’s hottest awards events. Award-winning chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix handcrafts small batches of unique confections with an international flair that run the culinary gamut from sinfully sweet to boldly botanical to pleasantly piquant. Delight your beloved with his La Vie en Rose Valentine’s Day Collection, capturing the essence of Paris, Provence, and all things francais. Featuring edible rose petals, orange blossoms, lavender-infused caramel, and hibiscus-strawberry molasses, this assortment delivers an elegant mystique that goes far beyond a dozen roses.
Valentine’s Day Gifts: A Sweet Ending
Valentine’s Day is all about connecting deeply with your special someone, cherishing all that makes that person important to you, and reaffirming the desires of both your hearts—and chocolate is a beautiful symbol of each of those aspects of love.
Romance fills the air this time of year, like the scent of fresh cookies from a small-town bakery. Even if Valentine’s Day isn’t your favorite holiday, treating yourself to handmade goodies from these chocolatiers can spark your inner passion for the good life.
Whether you combine these signature confections with a fresh bouquet of roses or lilies, or you simply share them with your loved one in a quiet moment, they’ll help make celebrating love all the sweeter.