With Valentine’s Day creeping up like a canny Cupid wielding his bow, the confectionary shelves are all a-groan under the weight of supposedly-gorgeous gifts. It can be hard to know what’s top of the chocs – but the below will mark you out as a (wo)man of top taste. Your money might not buy their love, but it’ll definitely buy them some damn fine chocolate.
Paul a. Young’s Valentine’s truffles
Paul’s destination-inspired romantic range has returned, allowing you to compile a bespoke box which conjures up memories of trips past or hints at holidays future. To name just three; lovely ‘Lisbon’ is inspired by Portuguese custard tarts, Marrakech is mint tea and rose petals, and New York is classic cheesecake.
- From £2 from a single truffle, available instore from Paul a. Young boutiques
Cocoa Runners’ Valentine’s Collection
If you want your lover to discover fine single origin chocolate, this Cocoa Runners quartet is for you. Featuring Original Beans’ marvellous dark milk, Femmes De Virunga; Vietnamese cocoa in Marou’s dark Bar Ria, Italian maker Domori’s Apurimac Peru 70%; and Cacaosuya’s extremely limited-edition Peruvian Lakuna dark chocolate, it’s a globetrotting treat that’s hard to beat.
- , £24.95, available from Cocoa Runners
Eat Chic’s Peanut Butter Cups
Love Reeces’ classic confections? Eat Chic’s Lotta Andonian makes peanut ‘better’ cups; upmarket versions that are made from quality milk, white and dark chocolate and organic British ingredients, and which boast fine fillings like coconut peanut butter, peanut butter & raspberry jam, and cinnamon peanut butter – sprinkled with sea salt for the perfect ‘swavoury’ hit.
- £17.50, available from Yumbles
Schokolat’s Chocolate Handcuffs
Things might get messy – and melty – if you try to slap these handcuffs on your other half’s wrists. Although they might look the part, they’re entirely cast in chocolate. The only real restraint involved, therefore, lies in trying not to eat these replicas all in one sitting.
- £15.95, available from Yumbles
The Whimsical Cake Company’s Ombre Pyramids
Ombre’s not just on-trend for hair and cakes – the graduated colour effect makes for an eye-catching box of chocs. The Whimsical Cake Company’s dozen white chocolate pyramids are crowned with gold leaf and filled with cookies and cream, a dream for the sweet toothed king or queen of your heart.
- £16, available from Yumbles
Canesmith & Co.’s Beer & Peanut Caramels
A pint and a packet of peanuts might well be all it takes to win their affections, but Valentine’s calls for something special. Canesmith’s caramels get their sweet-savoury flavour from a full-bodied blend of Elgoods’ ales; their terrific texture from roasted peanuts. Buying a bag of these fancies for the one you fancy is the sweetest way to say ‘you drive me nuts and I want to get you drunk’.
- £7.50, available from Yumbles
Matthieu de Gottal’s Flaming Heart Truffles
This Belgian chocolatier always has a piece of my heart, and learning about his most romantic creations to-date have made me fall a little further in love. An Åkesson’s Organic 55% Dark Milk Brazilian ganache is brought together in holy matrimony with Compass Box’s 15th anniversary Flaming Heart whisky, decorated with edible dried rose petals. The result? A dozen dainty chocs sure to cause serious sparks and fan those flames of passion.
£24.50 for a box of 12, available from Matthieu de Gottal
Lena Rose Bakery’s White Chocolate Gems
Pretty in pastel and lustre-dusted, you can mix and match Lena Rose’s handmade white chocolate jewels to create a collection that’ll make the recipient think you’re a real gem. Flavours are on the sweet side – think coconut, cotton candy, Oreo and raspberry – so are best suited to someone who you’d call your sugar sugar, honey honey, candy girl.
- £20, available from Yumbles
Artisan Du Chocolat’s His & Hers Cocoa Nibs
Falling in love can be beautifully bittersweet – just like Artisan du Chocolat’s chocolate-coated cocoa nibs, available in His & Hers varieties. The female of this species naps the nibs in white chocolate flavoured with acai and beetroot, whilst ‘His’ are wrapped in robust Colombian chocolate.
- £9.99 each, available from Artisan du Chocolat
Hotel Chocolat’s Love Potions
There’s no black magic involved here – whether you take that term to refer to sourcery of a line of same-named common confectionary. Hotel Chocolat’s magical little collection ‘spells’ romance, comprising a quartet of boozed-infused ‘Love Potions’: Blood Orange Bellini, Champagne Cocktail, Passion Berry Margarita and Golden Martini Kiss.
- £10, available from Hotel Chocolat
Rococo’s Venus Nipples & Lips
The lips are rather more realistic than the nips, but both chocs in this box are equally-lip smacking. The scarlet bouches will amuse theirs with layers of top-notch white and dark chocolate, whilst the milky white, coffee bean-tipped Venus nipples are filled with intense coffee truffle.
- £14.95, available from Rococo Chocolates
Chocolate Ecstasy Tours’ Golden Ticket
If you reckon they reserve as much affection for all things cacao as they do for you, a Chocolate Tour will help you score. Whether you opt for Brighton or a London location; a half-day, full-day or evening tour, your lucky lover will discover places and treats they’ve never tried – and will love you forever for it.
- From £33, available from Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
The Chocolatier’s Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Spread
Forget those dreadful spreads made with sugar, low-quality cocoa and a sad sprinkle of hazelnuts; this is the real deal. Using water rather than dairy for the ganache means there’s no masking the fine flavours of 36% Java milk chocolate, muscovado caramel and sea salt. The fact that it also contains 40% fewer calories than similar products means you can slather it onto your chosen canvas with gay abandon.
B Is For Brownie’s The Goldie
- £30, available from B Is For Brownie
Little Black Cat Gourmet’s Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel Heart Balloon
They’ll be highly unlikely to burst your bubble if you woo them with a balloon that pops to unleash a shower of confetti, a personalised poem, a hand-printed card and the pièce de résistance – a nonet of Anber Raz’s fantastic Himalayan pink salted caramel chocs, made with 64% single-origin Madagascan chocolate.
- £20, available from Little Black Cat Gourmet
Chin’s Kitchen’s Spiced Dark Chocolate & Cherry Cake
Blogger-turned-pro-baker Chintal Kakaya has just launched her e-store, enabling anyone and eyeryone to enjoy her oft-Indian-inspired cakes’n’bakes. If your Valentine is yet to discover Chin’s wonderful wares, then this fruity, spicy dark chocolate number is a great way to pop your proverbial cherry – featuring that very ingredient in its rich midsts.
- From £32.50 for a 6-inch cake, available from Chin’s Kitchen (collection only)
Dormouse Chocolates’ Valentine’s Hamper
Manchester’s Dormouse don’t just make brilliant bean-to-bar chocolate – as exemplified by this handsome hamper, the brand also offers a whole host of fun flavoured creations. If you can’t find the words to say, the ‘Feelin’ Fruity’ discs are the easiest way to convey a frisky demeanour, whilst Cherryade, Caramelised Apple and Rose & Raspberry bars support the sentiment. You won’t have to break apart any hearts if they’re the caring, sharing sort, because two so-shaped lollipops are included.
- £22, available from Dormouse Chocolates
Damson Chocolate’s Angel Blend 65% Bar
Damson’s Angel Blend chocolate might be named for the London neighbourhood where it underwent its transformation from bean to bar, but it’s a lovely little way to let someone know that you think they’re heavenly and their presence puts you on Cloud 9. Made with Madagascan and Trinidadian cocoa, the 65% dark chocolate is naughty and nice in equal measure – just like so many of life’s little pleasures.
- £4.50, available from Damson Chocolate
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- To read more about Damson Chocolate, click here
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