I wish I was that woman who has Christmas presents purchased and wrapped by November 1, the one who has everyone’s name on a calendar with a box of generic-but-sentimental-enough birthday cards just ready to be mailed. I aspire to be that woman. But, I am not.
In fact, I am so not that woman that I can almost guarantee you I’ll be in Target at 9:30 p.m. February 13 digging through the sad leftovers of all the Valentine’s Day goodies everyone else left behind. Fortunately, as part of my job here at Cooking Light, I taste test a lot of food products in any week. That means I’ve got a pretty good idea of what sweets are worth my money (and yours) and which you just shouldn’t bother with at all. This is that list.
Chuao Love Child Bonbon Collection: These are the “strawberries-that-must-not-be-named” around the office because they’re so sinfully good, just speaking about them elicits eye rolls of pleasure and yearning. Each dried strawberry is cuddled (their word–not mine–but it’s apropos) in port wine-infused dark chocolate ganache. Try one, and you’ll know exactly why we speak in hush-hush tones about these delicious bonbons. ($17, chuaochocolatier.com)
Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Justin’s: This bag of goodness is for the guy or gal who knows what they like and likes it to be the best on the market. Sure, you can probably find more expensive PB cups, but when they’re as affordable as Justin’s and so dang good you’re not entirely sure you’ll be able to stop after just one, you know this is the gift your sweetheart needs. ($6, grocery stores nationwide)
Compartés Valentine’s Truffles Heart: If bigger is better, you can’t beat this modern box of chocolates. Each box contains 35 handmade truffles with flavors including raspberry rose, pink crystal salt, red velvet, strawberry champagne, meyer lemon lavender. I promise you it’s worth dropping this chunk of change because the love and attention poured into these confections will show your Valentine just how much you care. ($100, compartes.com)
Chocolove Bars: These wrappers don’t win any points for beauty, but I’ve eaten many of these bars in my time, and they never disappoint. You can find them at finer grocery markets like Fresh Market. Pair one (or two) with a bouquet of roses or a bottle of whiskey, and your Valentine will be pretty pleased they picked you. ($5, chocolove.com and finer grocery retailers)
Vosges 9-Piece Exotic Truffle Collection: For the adventurous foodie, a box of exotic truffles is just what Cupid ordered. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill truffles. Instead of flavors like caramel and raspberry, you’ll find Hungarian paprika and Indian curry powder. ($30, vosgeschocolate.com)
More Valentine’s Day Sweets: