At last. The chocolate lover’s favorite holiday is almost here. Valentine’s Day. Day of truffles and roses. Love and poetry. Heart-shaped boxes which inevitably lighten when passed from hand to hand.
I read somewhere that 75% of chocolate is purchased by women, except during the week before Valentine’s when it’s 75% men. Men, I have some good news for you. You can do this online. Of course you then deprive yourself of tasting while you shop, but if you’re that busy, read on.
Women, are you really waiting for him to present you with a box of chocolates on the 14th? Can you wait that long? What if he doesn’t? What if it’s the wrong kind? Will your snobbery trump what should be gratitude? Perhaps you want to give your loved ones chocolates too. And yourself!
Ordering online in the U.S., you might try Christopher Norman Chocolates. John Down, The Chief Chocolate Officer (yes, that’s his actual title), uses his background in art to hand paint several of his confections. And you can’t beat the stunning packaging and presentation. My favorite of his Valentine specials is the one which comes in the edible box. That’s right, the heart-shaped box itself is dark chocolate and inside are three triumphs: a milk chocolate heart filled with hazelnut gianduja , a dark chocolate heart with tinges of caramel, and a chocolate-covered Amarene cherry.
Or if you want a very upscale and personalized gift delivered directly from France, check out zchocolat.com, where Pascal Caffet, a winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France has designed a wide assortment of elegant delectibles that come in keepsake boxes, some of which are mahogany and can be engraved with a personal photograph, message and other options. They even offer concierge service, VIP membership, and your own live-in personal trainer to keep you in shape…just kidding about the trainer. I won’t even mention the shipping costs involved here. Especially to the U.S. At this level of spending, you’re not exactly in the stamp line.
When you are done dreaming, you can actually and quite simply create your own heart-shaped cake for Valentine’s Day. All you need are whatever your favorite recipe for chocolate cake is, a square cake pan and a round one with the same diameter. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake until done. When the two cakes have cooled, cut the round one in half. You now have the rounded top sections of your heart. Center the square cake on a platter, so it looks like a diamond. Attach (with icing) one half round to the top left side of your diamond and the other half round to the right. Voila, here is your heart. Cover entirely with icing…need I say, chocolate?