Anyone can buy a box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but if your honey’s got a sweet tooth, this year you can get them something really special. Instead of your average heart shaped candy box, opt for a unique, artisan made treat, like gourmet cupcakes, unique macaroons, or high quality chocolates. Even if you don’t live near a boutique style bakery or sweet shop, it’s easier than ever to get these high-end treats shipped from some of the biggest names shops (and some of the finest bakeries in Manhattan) right to your doorstep.
Cupcakes have been the go-to trendy dessert for years. With hundreds of unique gourmet permutations, and every shop with their own signature cakes and frostings, getting a box with a dozen different flavors is a great way to gift not just a little something sweet, but a unique gastronomic experience. From exotic coffee creams to lavender honey, chocolate basil, and even more unusual flavor combinations, you can mix and match a whole box full of unique cupcakes for a gift totally tailor made to your valentine’s tastes. As a bonus, add a Cupcake Recipe Book to your gift so you can replicate the flavors you really love.
Macarons are quickly gaining on cupcakes in popularity, and are also getting the boutique treatment. Available in a rainbow of colors and flavors, these meringue-based cookie sandwiches are crisp on the outside, smooth and meringuey on the inside, and filled with buttercream frosting or jam. Like cupcakes, many of the top artisan shops will ship boxes of 6, 12, or 24 assorted flavors of your choice directly to your doorstep. Even if you’ve never heard of them, this Valentine’s Day Delicacy is a great gamble – the bright colors and pretty, smooth shape of the macarons alone make them look almost took good to eat, but they’re tasty enough you won’t be able to help it. Again, getting a cookbook from the place that makes them – like Macaron Cafe’s companion Recipe Book – is a great way to keep the gift giving even after you’ve munched your way through the confections.
One of my personal favorite sweets is ice cream, and there’s no better hand-made, all-natural ice cream than Jeni’s – and certainly not any you’ll be able to get delivered. With almost two dozen completely unique flavors – from Whiskey and Pecans to their Valentine’s-Day-red Cherry Lambic Sorbet – Jeni’s ice creams are one-of-a-kind mouth experiences your valentine is sure to love. Available in pints or signature collections of multiple flavors, this is easily the best gift out there for your favorite ice cream fiend. And if you have an ice cream machine, the recipes in their Splendid Recipe Book are specifically designed to make perfect scaled-down versions of their signature flavors with ingredients you’ll be able to find nearby.
Another great mail-order delicacy on the rise this Valentine’s day are mini cheesecakes. Ordinarily I’m not a big fan of gift baskets, but cheesecakes are one of those desserts that most people only have in restaurants, are hard to make on your own, and even harder to make well. That’s why I love these Golden Edibles Mini Cheesecakes – they show up perfect every time, no cracks, no bubbles, perfectly moist and smooth all the way through. And unlike some whole cheesecakes, which can be pricier to ship, you get a whopping dozen mini cheesecakes per package – three each in four different flavors (for about what you’d pay for a plain Full Sized Cheesecake) – the perfect unexpected treat for your valentine.
Then again, sometimes the best Valentine’s Day gifts are the simplest ones. These pink and red Chocolate Covered Strawberries are the perfect sensual, romantic sweet – made with the freshest, ripest berries and dipped, drizzled, and decorated with quality Belgian milk, dark, and white chocolates. This particular gift set comes with chocolate dipped gourmet cookies, too, but really, what could be better than sharing a sweet, juicy strawberry while there’s still snow on the ground?
Finally, if your valentine is really just all about the chocolate, at least make sure you get some quality sweets. While it might be tempting to grab that pink heart box from the discount Valentine’s Day rack at your local supermarket, don’t do it! It’s not a bad gift per se, but a real chocolate lover will get a lot more mileage out of even a smaller box of better chocolates. This Organic Truffles And BonBons set is a good place to start, with 70% single-source Costa Rican organic chocolate, but any European or artisan chocolate will work nicely as well. Hint: if it has edible gold leaf on it, it’s probably pretty darn good chocolate!
If you want to make this Valentine’s Day truly special, you only need to step slightly out of tradition. Sweet treats for your sweetheart are the name of the game on V-day, but swapping the bouquet and candy box for something made with a little more care can easily make your Valentine’s Day Gift much more memorable – and is sure to show your valentine you care!