Where to Buy Chocolate Candies and Treats for Valentine’s Day 2013
For the love of chocolate: Sweet treats abound for Valentine’s Day
Krause’s Chocolates of Saugerties
John Courtsunis, owner of Commodore Chocolatier in Newburgh, loves being in his shop around February 14 because “people use as much care to select their chocolate for their sweetheart as I do to make it,” he says. To indecisive customers he often recommends the marzipan praline. The one-inch square sweet is a combination of marzipan, chocolate ganache, and almonds that are caramelized on the premises; for a final, decadent touch, the whole concoction is then dipped in chocolate. Yum. Of course you can bet that one-of-a-kind treats are popping up at candy counters everywhere from Albany to Airmont. Here are a few of the more interesting ones:
Krause’s Chocolates of Saugerties — they now have a new location in New Paltz, too — creates hand-molded, heart-shaped chocolate packaging for their delectable desserts, which are sure to strum the heartstrings of the eco-conscious. “It’s one of our most popular items on Valentine’s Day,” says Manager Bethany Gillespie. “The whole thing is edible, so there is no waste.” The boxes vary in size — they can hold anywhere from three to 24 chocolate pieces — come in either milk or dark chocolate (or both, for those who can’t bear to choose), and cost between $8 and $50. More chocolate and a smaller carbon footprint? Sign us up.
“The flavor is unexpected and different,” says Lagusta Yearwood (www.lagustasluscious.com) about her Intense Anatomical Hearts, which are made of solid chocolate with 66 percent bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs, dried cherries, and volcanic black salt. “It’s a little more flavor than your average Valentine’s chocolate,” says the chocolatier, who opened her New Paltz shop in 2011. We’ll say. Looking for a more traditional treat? Try the Cashew Rosewater Creams in a heart-shaped shell ($15 for a box of eight).
Our furry friends deserve representation on this international day of love. While dogs cannot eat chocolate treats, they can provide inspiration for candy figures — which is exactly how Rae Stang thought to produce chocolate terriers ($16 for a pack of three). “I have a little Jack Russell named Effie, and I model the chocolates after her,” says Stang, who owns Lucky Chocolates in Saugerties. The crunchy canines are made of all-organic milk, dark, or white chocolate; the variations are often mixed together to create different designs — a white-chocolate body and a dark chocolate head, for example. Using more chocolate, Stang decorates them with different spot patterns and facial expressions, which makes them too cute to eat — almost.
Renowned Rhinebeck chocolatier Oliver Kita experimented with different nuts, dark chocolate, and fruit flavors when he set out to create his vegan collection; eventually he came up with several winners, in which coconut milk is substituted for heavy cream. “You want to think of these chocolates as kisses,” he says about his Vegan Valentine Box ($50). “The taste lingers and you always go back for another.” Two of these aphrodisiacal flavors are the Vermilion Fruit (with the pink kissy lips) that includes “raspberry, lingonberry, and red currant blended into a love triangle”; and the fan-shaped Sakura Cherry Blossom, which is a combination of sweetheart cherries, sun-dried dark cherries, and dark chocolate. If that doesn’t say love, we don’t know what does.
Cheers to Chocolate
Orange County’s Pazdar Winery began making its Eden’s Pleasure chocolate wine about 15 years ago. “I believe we were the first ones to produce it commercially,” says owner David Pazdar of the libation, which has since become a trend at wineries from coast to coast. While he refuses to divulge the secret mix, Pazdar says the white wine with hints of bananas and chocolate — “we grind the roasted cocoa beans ourselves” — can be enjoyed by itself or with dessert. At 17 percent alcohol, the Cerise Chocolat — a port-style cherry wine — “holds up really well,” says Pazdar. “It is still good a month or two after opening it.”
The Perfect Pair
Two of our favorite words are “chocolate” and “tour”; put them together, and they describe a mouthwatering event at the Hudson Chocolate Bar. Held on February 9, the tour visits the nearby Christopher Norman chocolate factory where chocoholics can see how the savory sensations are made. Afterwards, guests return to the Chocolate Bar, where a wine and chocolate sampling awaits them. Owner Kim Bach says that pairing wine with chocolate is much different than pairing it with a meal. “Sweetened wines work better because they have similar notes to the chocolate,” she explains. But the sweetest part about the whole affair? Admission is free.