Valentine’s Day can be a tricky holiday to plan (and shop!) for — especially coming on the heels of a gift-filled December. But there’s one go-to present that is always appropriate, always appreciated and always devoured: Chocolate! Click through our decadent slideshow to see the 30 chocolate collections our staff melted over …
Spread the loooove with a box of Borne Confections six cocoa-pod chocolates in flavors like passion fruit, currant & violet, and Japanese citrus fruit. Up for mixing and matching? Create your dream tasting menu from 30 different ganache infusions.
BUY IT: $16.50 for 6, borneconfections.com
Bacon: It’s just not breakfast anymore. Each truffle in the Chocomize 12-piece collection is blended to bring out the best flavors of chocolate and those salty strips — including double-smoked bacon with caramel and black pepper, and hickory-smoked bacon with Guinness and roasted peanuts.
BUY IT: $36 for 12; chocomize.com
You won’t find a drop of corn syrup in Droga caramels drenched in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. The secret sweet ingredient: honey, which gives each piece a unique but familiar flavor.
BUY IT: $17 for 9, drogachocolates.com
It’s a good thing there’s a whole pound of bite-size pomegranate chocolates stuffed into each wood gift crate. Because one you start popping Olive & Cocoa‘s sweet-tart treats, you’ll have a hard time stopping.
BUY IT: $64 for 1 lb., oliveandcocoa.com
Imagine a cross between a gooey cinnamon bun and a candy bar — and you get Chocolate Schecken, a type of sweet German breakfast bun made with deep, dark chocolate. Queen City Cookies‘ Schnecken, which means “snails” in German (a reference to the spiral shape of the buns), gets a final slather of European-style butter before baking to make each bite worth every calorie.
BUY IT: $15, queencitycookies.com
Judge these gorgeous Godiva chocolate truffles by their cover, because they are as beaitful on the inside as they are on the outside. Each box is filled with six rich flavors, including chocolate lava cake, strawberry crème tarte and white chocolate passion fruit.
BUY IT: $16 for 6, godiva.com
As the name suggests, these eight ganache chocolates from Theo contain reported aphrodisiacs such as cinnamon, licorice and ginger. Who knows if these ingredients really live up to their expectations, but you can certainly have fun testing them.
BUY IT: $18 for 8, theochocolate.com
The star of this DeLuscious cookie collection is easily the red velvet whoopie pie. The cake-like cookie is filled with creamy white chocolate buttercream and topped with dark chocolate and a tony white chocolate heart.
BUY IT: $55 for 12, delusciouscookies.com
Take a marshmallow, smother it with caramel, then layer dark (shown) or milk chocolate on top and you’ve got the Gob from Lucas Candies. With this confection, the 118-year-old New York State candymaker proves that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones.
BUY IT: $9 for 6, lucascandies.com
Maybe Shakespeare’s Ophelia wouldn’t have had such bad time if she’d gotten to try one of these Wild Ophelia bars from Vosges, an artisanal chocolatier known for their clever packaging and distinctive flavor combinations such as Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips and New Orleans Chili. We can’t help but wonder, will beef jerky succeed bacon as chocolate’s next trendy meat mix-in?
BUY IT: $4 each, at Walgreens stores nationwide
Is your Valentine the do-gooder type who belongs to a CSA? He or she will be thrilled to know that this stylish, colorful assortment from Robin Chocolates doesn’t have GMOs or additives, and is made with organic ingredients that have been produced according to fair-trade standards.
BUY IT: $26 for 12, robinchocolates.com
There’s nothing fishy about this adorable container of Chocolate Caviar from Eli Zabar, which is filled chocolate granules that are perfect for sprinkling on ice cream, pancakes or anywhere else that needs a shot of cocoa.
BUY IT: $35 for 2 oz., elizabar.com
Diehard caramel fans will love these dark-chocolate–covered hearts from California chocolatier Marich. These sweets are made in the Dutch tradition, since the company’s founder honed his craft as an apprentice in a candy factory in Holland before emigrating to the United States.
BUY IT: $8.50; marich.com
Sweet-meets-salty treats are highly addictive and these pretzels from Snappers are no exception. Drizzled with both milk chocolate and caramel, they’re basically a riff on the classic turtle. And they’re affordable enough that you’ll have bucks leftover for a chichi Valentine’s dinner.
BUY IT: $7, edwardmarc.com
Think you and your sweetie are a perfect fit? These Jacques Torres puzzles made with dark, white and milk chocolate are a playful way to say so.
BUY IT: $11, mrchocolate.com
Rather than mess around with bars or molds, Pig of the Month simply brings two amazing raw ingredients together. They start with nitrate-free, applewood smoked bacon and dip it into 72% Swiss chocolate for a union that’s as blissful as the one you’re celebrating (we hope!).
BUY IT: $25 for 1 lb., pigofthemonth.com
If your Valentine is ready to graduate from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, this sophisticated alternative from Justin’s is an ideal gift. Not only are they delicious, these fairly virtuous treats are gluten-free, organic and made without hydrogenated oils.
BUY IT: $24 for 12, justins.com
Seattle Chocolates has released two bars that they’re envisioning as a his-and-hers set. The Cinna-man is for the dude who loves to chew Big Red: It’s dark chocolate studded with crushed cinnamon candies and a healthy dose of cinnamon oil. As a counterpoint, the company describes the Pink Bubbly as “freeze dried raspberries in white chocolate with all natural popping candy pieces that tickle the palate like champagne bubbles in dark chocolate.” Consider it your girly, chocolately version of Pop Rocks.
BUY IT: $3.50, seattlechocolates.com
For the gift-giver who wants to wear their emotions on their sweets, we present these white chocolate Sweetheart Pops from Edward Marc. They’re classier and more delicious than the conversation candy hearts you used to trade in elementary school.
BUY IT: $3.50, edwardmarc.com
The folks from Florida’s Norman Love Confections got creative and named their 2014 Valentine’s candies after songs. A few fun examples: “Sugar Sugar” has sugar cookie mixed with almond ganache and white chocolate, while “Wicked Game” is a devil’s food cake covered with dark chocolate.
BUY IT: $50 for 24, normanloveconfections.com
It’s tough to improve on a deliciously soft and flaky French-style macaron, but Macarons & Cookies by Woops! has succeeded with their artfully stenciled raspberry Valentine’s Day cookies.
BUY IT: $32 for 12, bywoops.com
When only a heart-shaped box of chocolates will do, an assortment from Prestat is a classic choice. Fun bit of trivia: The sweets from this U.K.-based company, which holds a Royal Warrant for Queen Elizabeth II, were reportedly loved by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl.
BUY IT: $27 for 12, prestat.com
These glossy little hearts from Kohler Chocolates are a delightful alternative to the intensely boozy chocolates your grandma used to eat. Under the dark-chocolate shell is a raspberry ganache filling that’s laced with subtle hints of cognac and champagne. We’ll drink to that.
BUY IT: $19 for 9, kohlerchocolates.com
These dark chocolate and raspberry sweets from François Payard were inspired by kisses themselves. This gift set comes with two extras that take it from fun to fabulous: A cute clutch purse and a flavored chocolate-raspberry lipstick.
BUY IT: $55, payard.com