Valentine’s Day is a holiday that demands a serious box of chocolates—something decadent and handcrafted, not something you snagged in the drugstore checkout line. It’s also worth noting that most chocolatiers are independently run small businesses (many owned by women) that put in ridiculously long hours because they love what they are creating. Below are just a few of the many chocolate artisans who have created something amazing for this Valentine’s Day.
Feve Chocolates, California: This four-time Good Food Award winner creates delightful and surprising flavor blends. President, Bryon Sheets and his team craft decadent truffles that do good, so while you are enjoying your Mexican Vanilla, Coconut and Honey Lavender, or Manjari single origin, you’ll feel better knowing a portion of their profits is used for micro-loans to improve the lives of farmers in the chocolate and cocoa trade—and that they use premium, non-GMO quality chocolate. The 21-piece Feve Assorted Chocolates is the best way to taste through all flavor expressions—and do the most good.
Videri Chocolate Factory, Raleigh NC: This bean-to-bar chocolate destination in North Carolina invites visitors to tour the factory and watch the process. Videri recently won a Good Food Award for their 75% Single Origin Dark Chocolate – Dominican Republic, Zorzal bar, but the the bonbon assortments are a good gift-giving bet with flavors such as honey caramel, chewy coffee crunch, and spicy cinnamon ganache enrobed in a satiny dark chocolate (70%) shell. If your special someone is truly a fan, consider ordering one of the Videri subscription boxes—no better way to remind someone they are special than by sending a monthly box of luscious dark chocolate truffles.
Garcia Nevett Chocolatier de Miami: Sisters, Owners and Chocolatiers Isabel Garcia Nevett and Susana Garcia Nevett, wanted to feature Indian flavors in the Valentine’s Day collection this year, “so expect some lovely tropical flavors and bright colors,” says Isabel. Venezuelan by birth, the sisters create award-winning chocolates using European techniques and 100% fine Venezuelan chocolate to honor their heritage. The Limited Edition Valentine’s flavors include Mango and Raspberry Rose as well as award-winners Chili Caramel Hearts and Tupelo Honey and Cardamom bonbons. Chocolate lovers will also appreciate the Award-Winners Collection, a 25-piece offering that brings together every award-winning chocolate they have created since 2014.
Topogato Chocolates, California: Founded in 2020 by two best friends, Simon Brown, a San Francisco pastry chef and chocolatier, and Beau Monroe, an artist and designer based in Portland, Oregon, Topogato delivers on the exotic chocolate experience. Each box contains bold, almost psychedelic flavor blends (smoked tea ganache, or cherry, shiso, and balsamic) that are almost too beautiful to eat, but eat you will. Exhibit A is the Scotch Porcini Stone, an irregularly shaped “stone” of dark chocolate ganache infused with Scotch and porcini—and it’s spectacular. The Deep Flavor Experience gift box features a perfect cross-section of all flavors—a great gift for exploring chocolate.
Hakan Chocolatier, New York: Decadent chocolate expressions get a minimalistic Nordic twist from chocolatier Hakan Martensson–who spent time as a sculptor on the Swedish National Culinary Team. Working with Asian flavors hews to his minimalist style, weaving in ingredients such as yuzu, sudachi (Japanese lime) and even Japanese whisky. Expect flavor purity in contrast with each chocolate in his Valentine’s Day assortment, which features ruby, dark and white chocolates. His dark chocolate ganache with sea salt and goat cheese was a revelation.
NeoCocoa, California: Chocolatier Christine Doerr opened her artisan shop in 2008, focused on delivering the purest expressions of chocolate available. Her silky truffles, which have no hard outer shell, come in a fetching quintet box and feature selections such as mocha cinnamon, zested lime, toasted coconut (a favorite), and crushed cacao nib. Her multi-award winning black sesame toffee brittle was a Good Food award finalist, and if you find a favorite truffle from her line-up you can order an entire box of that flavor (which is not always the case with chocolates, most send you the assortment). Doerr is committed to using all-natural ingredients in every truffle she crafts, by hand, every day.
MarieBelle Chocolates, New York: This year’s Valentine’s Day offerings from Maribelle pull inspiration from France’s Rococo period—think dreamy, romantic and ethereal. The 16-piece collection features colorful handmade ganache-filled truffles in an assortment of flavor combinations. Maribelle’s fetching packaging and silky truffles—made from the finest selection of Criollo cacao beans from all over the world—will make any chocolate lover happy.
LeSaint Chocolate, Pennsylvania: The Black Raspberry Flaming Heart truffles crafted by French-born chocolatier Stephan LeSaint are a stunning, vivid red Valentine’s Day gift, but for the dedicated chocolate purist LeSaint’s 1.5 pound Chocolate Heart of Gold is a no-brainer. The outer shell is a dark chocolate couverture, hand-painted with edible golden cocoa butter—the interior is three layers of crispy rice milk chocolate, caramel and either almond or peanut butter milk chocolate.
Richart Chocolates, France: Champagne and chocolate are always a winning combination and Richart’s Bubbles of Romance collection delivers on both. The nine piece assortment features pink champagne ganache (a dark chocolate coating, with tangy, fresh notes that sparkle on the palate) powder pink ganache (with litchi, rose and raspberry – white chocolate coating with a hint of vanilla) and light strawberry ganache, a 100% natural pink chocolate coating made with a unique variety of cocoa beans.