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Make this Valentine’s Day special!

Specialty chocolates for everyone on your list

Created date

January 24th, 2012

Chocolate is no longer a one-size-fits-all kind of gift. The variations of cocoa confections are endless, so instead of grabbing that heart-shaped box, try one of these unique offerings sure to please your sweetie. For the puzzle lover. Solve your Valentine s Day conundrum with a delicious chocolate puzzle from Jacques Torres. A mix of white, milk, and dark chocolate, the only thing hard about this puzzle is resisting the urge to gobble it up in one sitting. The $12 puzzle is available online at mrchocolate.com or at one of Torres s retail locations in the New York/New Jersey area. For the animal lover. L.A. Burdick makes delicious chocolates that are almost too cute to eat. Who wouldn t be delighted to open a box of adorable chocolate mice or equally precious chocolate penguins? Prices start at $32 (burdickchocolate.com; 1-800-229-2419). For the conversationalist. If your Valentine loves conversation but hates those chalky Valentine s Day staple conversation hearts, try Seattle Chocolate s His and Hers dark chocolate truffle bars with whimsical wrappers that convey traditional Valentines sentiments. The his bar is Red Hot from the added cinnamon oil and crushed cinnamon candy pieces that add a sweet and spicy texture. For her, there s the Pink Bubbly made with raspberries, white chocolate, champagne, and popping candy pieces that tickle the palate like champagne bubbles. The bars cost about $3 each and can be found in specialty boutiques and fine grocery stores across the country and online at seattlechocolates.com (1-800-334-3600). For the spirit lover. Michael Recchiuti, a European-trained chocolatier, offers a special chocolate collection just for spirit lovers. Treat your whiskey connoisseur to nine chocolates carefully selected by Recchiuti to pair with suggested whiskeys. The buttery caramel and salt of the Fleur de Sel pulls out the sweet vanilla notes from a vintage bourbon. Recchiuti Chocolate, based in San Francisco, offers a beer pairing box and a wine pairing box as well. Prices start at $25 (recchiuti.com; 1-800-500-3396). For the bacon lover. Move over nougat and buttercream; bacon is what trendy chocoholics yearn for these days. Vosges Haut-Chocolat, the shop that started the bacon chocolate frenzy with its popular Mo s Bacon Bar ($7.50), also offers a 16-piece collection of dark & deep milk chocolate bacon truffles made with fresh organic cream and topped with either hickory smoked bacon pieces or bacon caramel toffee for $48. Available online at vosgeschocolate.com (1-888-301-9866). For the crab lover. Whether your Valentine hails from Maryland or simply can t get enough of that distinctive Maryland crab flavor, he or she is sure to love the chocolate crabs from Sweet Cascades. Seasoned with Maryland s own Old Bay Seasoning, they come in milk and dark chocolate. Each handmade crab is $1.50 and locals know they taste best alongside a frosty mug of beer. Sweet Cascades is located at 8167 Main Street in historic Ellicott City, Md. Contact them at 410-750-8422 and they will happily ship your crabs anywhere. For the global advocate. Compartes, a gourmet chocolatier in Los Angeles, offers Chocolate for a Cause benefitting Relief International in Darfur. The special caramel chocolates are decorated with colorful silhouettes of Africa and include a handmade bead bracelet. Prices start at $20. For more information, visit compartes.com or call 310-826-3380. For the fashionista. MarieBelle Chocolate s New York Handbag Collection is sure to delight your chic Valentine. The ultimate in style and good taste, these colorful chocolate handbags are filled with exotic yet soothing flavors like rose petal and spice. Much more affordable than that Chanel bag she covets, prices start at $33 (mariebelle.com; 212-925-6999). michele.harris@erickson.com

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