Pitter pat, pitter pat. Oh, be still my heart! Although, some might argue that the sound they hear around this time of the year is the sound of pure dread. Embrace this holiday of love and get your cupid on! Back to that pitter pat you are hearing. What to do to surprise your Valentine? There is so much out there beyond the usual bunch of overpriced red roses and glittery greeting card-not that we have anything against glitter, mind you. Behold! We have found cocktail kits, chocolate-making classes, specialty brews and wines. Oh, what fun this day of love shall be! Best part is that so many of these great (lovely?) ideas can be done throughout the year…so that you declare your love again and again and again….
Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti
To Valentine’s Day…and beyond! This season, LeRouge Chocolates by Aarti in Westport is offering Chocolate Making Classes for Men as well as Classes for Couples. You can create special chocolates for the one you are sweet on, or together, as you dip and sip LeRouge Hot Chocolate in sugary, chocolatey bliss. If making gifts aren’t your style, then purchase one of the trademark polka-dot boxes and fill it with the likes of hand-painted truffles, chocolate-covered fruit, chocolate bark, French Mendiants (disks of dark chocolate studded with nuts and fruits) and decadent, silky toffee. LeRouge flavors span the classic to the unexpected, with global influences shining through, as with their Kentucky Bourbon or Guinness Truffles, Mango or Coconut Caramels and Saffron Pistachio Hot Chocolate (my personal fave). Beyond this upcoming holiday of love and treats, remember that LeRouge is a wonderful source for Corporate, Hostess and Teacher gifts that can be shipped anywhere! Also, if a night out or a special event is on your calendar, consider a (non-Valentine) chocolate making class: “Fun Night for Mom”, kids’ birthday parties and special classes for Boy and Girl Scouts (that would make for one heck of a fun badge!). Don’t miss out on giving, receiving or creating these edible works of art that will make your taste-buds swoon.
1pt (One Part) Infusion Blends & Kits
Shake, shake, shake things up a bit this year, and surprise your sweetie with a delicious craft cocktail using our all-natural, multi-ingredient, dry infusion blends. Making craft-cocktails is finally as easy as 1-2-3! Each 1pt Infusion Blend takes between 2-6 hours to infuse, and with more than 15 blends to choose from (gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum…), makes endless infusion possibilities. We like to say, “infuse at lunch and have cocktails ready for dinner!”. In the case of upcoming Valentine’s Day, grab our 1pt N°006 Chocolate Infusion Blend made with vanilla rooibos, cocoa shells and marigold petals, and craft our after-dinner cocktail, “My Tipsy Valentine”. Visit their online Cocktail Lab for this recipe and a whole host of others. Teroforma also stocks a great variety of unique gifts and accessories for hosts, cocktail, whisky and wine lovers, along with more 1pt merchandise online.
Brewport Brewing Co
For those who prefer to drink their Valentine’s treats, head to Brewport in Bridgeport for a special holiday libation: their new chocolate beer, lovingly named Cute Fat Kid #3. This fella is described as a “Chunk” Chocolate Peanut Butter Russian Imperial Stout. The beer that drinks like a dessert? Gotta try it to find out! Enjoy it at Brewport alongside their thin crust pizza (Valentine’s dinner idea?) or take it home in a growler for your own Cute Fat Kid #3. Chug-a-lug-hunka-hunka-burning-love.
Castle HiIl Chocolate
You can buy chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but how do you make them linger (spoiler: you can’t)? What about this genius idea? Instead, buy your love The Chocolate Candle. Spurred on by customers commenting that they wanted to bottle the fabulous scent at this chocolate shop, the owners decided to do just that…bottle it. They have captured the dreamy, rich scent of melted chocolate in a jarred 100% soy candle, made right in Sandy Hook. It even has cotton wicks so it burns clean and is made with phthalate-free fragrance oils. This is some seriously eco-friendly chocolate. Calories be damned. You have met your match (“match”, ha…see what I did there?).
Handcrafted in Waterbury since 1964, Fascia’s has been creating every sort of chocolate that you could think of: dipped, molded, cups, barks, bars, brittle (oh my), truffles, Meltaways. Now, imagine filling boxes of these gems and sending them out to people you love as a 3, 6 or 1 year supply. Spread the love! Each month, a particular chocolate is highlighted, such as Peppermint Patties, Cordial Cherries, Caramels, Turtles, Brittles, Butter Creams, Fudge, oh what a year (or months) it will be! You can surprise your loved one month after month and have them reminded of how sweet they are to you. This beats a phone call or a text big time. P.s.-They are also certified Kosher.
Not a fan of heading to the card store to stand for a virtual eternity looking for just the right card? Have we got the best idea for you, then. Combine a written sentiment…with chocolate. Noteworthy Chocolates will personalize your choice of chocolate with designs and words of your choosing. Yes! Pick your size, flavor (Smooth Milk, Classic White or Golden Dark), your “flair” of border designs and finally, your message. With all these choices, this the gift that no one else would have received. Order soon, as February 10th is the last day to order for delivery, or take a spin up to their store in Bethel (upstairs from Molten Java Coffee). Added bonus: Their chocolates are Gluten, GMO, Peanut, Tree Nut and Soy Free.
Sunset Meadow Vineyards
Each weekend, SMV offers decadent and fun Chocolate & Wine tastings on weekends (road trip!). You will be able to sample 5 award-winning estate wines that have been paired with 5 specialty chocolates. There are two types of pairings available-red wines and white wines-so take your pick! SMV is also hosting their Annual Valentine’s Dinner on February 8 and 9. Enjoy live music and a four-course dinner, with a special tasting upon arrival. Nestle in with food and drink in their cozy tasting room which has a view of the vineyards-still lovely even if snow covered. Seating is very limited, so don’t hesitate to register soon!
Truffle Shots of Essex
A slim, modern shot glass filled with…chocolate. Have you died and gone to heaven? Quite possibly. An enterprising mother-daughter team hit on this idea of focusing on the contents of a truffle (who needs the pesky shell?) and have since garnered a slew of awards in the wild world of chocolate creations. This is their twist on a classic truffle. Despite the name, Truffle Shots are non-alcoholic (with the exception of the Macallan Whisky Caramel) and flavors rotate, so check in often. How can you resist trying Fig & Balsamic, Raspberry Kiss, Peanut Butter or Ginger nestled in and between layers of creamy, luscious ganache? Well, you just can’t. Surprise your Valentine or do shots with friends at your next party in a new and swoonworthy way.
Wave Hill Breads
If there is one thing many people say they love, it’s BREAD. Wave Hill Breads is a little gem located down a side street in Norwalk which produces artisan loaves using “ingredients your grandmother would recognize”. Read: this bread is the real McCoy. Lucky for us, in addition to selling lotsa lovely loaves, they also hold bread and pastry making classes. As a special Valentine’s treat this year, they are offering a “Heart of Pastry-Making“ croissant making class. Viva la France! If you aren’t able to make it to a class, they will also have heart-shaped french baguettes, chocolate croissants, and red and white stripes croissants for sale at their store. A way to a person’s heart often can be through their stomach…
Matthews 1812 House
If the object of your desires does not desire the usual Valentine’s treats, 1812 House might have what they desire. Send them or serve them a cake! Their Red Wine Cake (chocolate cake marinated with a mix of red wine and port) and award-winning Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Torte (rich chocolate torte laced with Kentucky Bourbon, topped with pecans and their gooey Caramel Bourbon Sauce) are two decadent standouts. Can’t decide which to get? Call it a draw and indulge in a sampler of mini Lemon Rum, Chocolate Rum, Espresso, and Spice cakes along with a jar of one of their many small batch, gooey dessert sauces. 1812 House also creates nostalgic candies like Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries in Armagnac, Toasted Marzipan, Caramel Marshmallows, Honeycomb Chips, and sugary, colorful Pate de Fruit. Whichever you choose, sweetness abounds.