Valentines Day can be stressful when trying to figure out what to get that someone special. If you are thinking about getting some valentines chocolates this year then your best bet is to look into gourmet chocolates. Getting valentines chocolates from your significant other that do not happen to come from the local grocery store is always a bit more special. You know a little more time was put into finding that special chocolate and your significant other will know that they were more then just a passing thought between picking up the milk and standing in the check out line.
1. Godiva-- Godiva Chocolatier was founding in 1926 by Joseph Draps in Brussels, Belgium. They have been in the United States since 1966 and have over 450 stores world wide. Godiva uses two methods to manufacture their various sizes and shapes; enrobing and shell-molding. The bittersweet and milk chocolate that they use are made primarily from fine, high-flavor cocoa beans, and in their fillings, they use large quantities of Grade A dairy butter and heavy cream. In keeping with their European heritage, many of their chocolates contain hazelnut praline which is made from finely ground hazelnuts, sugar and chocolate. They have a website where you can order your choice of chocolates and they offer live assistance from 8am until 11pm ET. A 19 piece Valentines Day Box will set you back about $28.
2. See's Candies-- Sees Candies was founded by Charles See. See along with his mother and his wife, Florence, opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November of 1921. The sparkling clean, black and white shop was designed to resemble Charles' mom, Mary See's, home kitchen. The recipes for the candy all came from Mary See. See's adds no Preservatives to any of the candy it makes, and believes the freshness and flavor of its candies is best when sold within a short period of being produced. See's Candies are very popular throughout California and the West and is sold in over two hundred shops throughout the West. They have a website where you can make online orders and a 1 pound box will set you back about $20.
4. Fannie May Candies-- Fannie May Candies was founded by H Teller Archibald in 1920 and the first store was located at 11 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago. By 1935 there were approximately four dozen stores in Illinois and several neighboring states. During World War II when other companies changed their recipes because ingredients was scarce, Fannie Mae chose not too. Fannie Mae stuck to their exact recipes, making only what it could which often times meant closing shops early because no more candy was available. They never compromised the taste of their candy even in hard times. This happens to be one of my favorite gourmet chocolates but that's probably because I grew up in Chicago. They have an easy to navigate website where you can make online orders. A 1 pound box will set you back about $25.
5. Ghirardelli Chocolate-- Ghirardelli Chocolates was founded in 1852 in San Francisco, California by Domingo Ghirardelli, who immigrated to the United States from Italy. Ghirardelli is one of few American manufactures that makes chocolate starting from the coco bean through to finished products. Ghirardelli accepts only the highest quality coco beans and rejects as many as 40% of the beans that are offered to them. Also, Ghirardelli uses an intensive refining process to insure that it's chocolate really does melt in your mouth. Ghirardelli has no grainy feel because they refine most of their chocolate flakes until they are 19 microns (human hair is 100 microns in diameter). Other mass market chocolates are refined to only 40 microns. They have a website for online ordering and a Valentines Day heart box filled with chocolate will set you back $22.
7. Lamaison Du Chocolat-- Robert Linxe founded Lamaison Du Chocolat in France in 1977. Robert Linxe was from the Basque region of France, famous for its abundance of chocolate shops. When Robert Linxe opened his shop in Paris, he distained fillings heavy with nuts, spices and sugar. He favored smooth, creamy, ganache, that sophisticated mix of pure chocolate and heavy cream which has become synonymous with fine chocolates today. The company does offer an online boutique (make sure you chose the right country) and brace yourself, a 2 piece order is $8, 6 piece order is $14 and a 14 piece order is $24. I will let you explore on your own the price of more.
8. Neuhaus Chocolates-- Neuhaus Chocolates is known as the inventor of the Belgian praline. The company was found in 1857 by Jean Neuhaus, a Swiss man who set up shop in Brussels. He opened a pharmaceutical sweet shop selling cough sweets, liquorices and bars of bitter chocolate. In 1912 Jean Neuhaus grandson, Jean Neuhaus Jr, took over and invented the first filled chocolate bouchee, which he named praline. The Neuhaus recipe is a secret and has remained unchanged for 150 years now. They have an online store, make sure you select the right country. A box of 16 pieces will cost you about $30, but be aware, that the shipping prices are high here. If you are in the United States, shipping will cost around $30 with FedEx.