Chocolates have become as synonymous with Valentine’s Day as flowers. Read on to find out which ones we think are the best of the bunch for this year. Fear not if your pockets aren’t deep as there are plenty of budget options, as well as high-end decadence for those with more cash to splash.
1. ChoconChoc Perfect Match Chocolates: £6.99, ChoconChoc
This witty take on love-themed chocolates make for a more unusual Valentine's Day offering . Hand-made in Somerset using creamy white Belgian chocolate, these treats taste fabulous. You’ll be relieved to know they are substantially bigger than usual matches – around five times as long and 20 times as thick. The words “Perfect Match” are etched on the side.
2. Godiva Valentine’s Round Gift Box: £20, Godiva
Godiva’s indulgent boxes from its Coupes d’Amour collection are hand-made in Brussels. The so-called “cups of love” come in five melt-in-the-mouth flavours including banana, strawberry, pistachio, caramel café and intense chocolate.
3. Hotel Chocolat Straight from the Heart: £39, Hotel Chocolat
Hotel Chocolat has an impressive range of Valentine’s chocolates for all budgets, but our favourite is this array of 35 chocolates and truffles, many of them heart-shaped and with romantic flavour combinations, such as Pink Champagne and Caramel Gianduja.
5. The Chocolate Society Gjanduja Honeycomb Hearts: £29.99, Selfridges
Filled with delicious milk chocolate, hazelnut gjanduja and shards of hand-made honeycomb, this set of 15 beautifully presented red hearts is ideal for people who like a bit of crunch in their chocolate. They are definitely not to be scoffed and instead savoured in appreciative silence.
6. Cocoapod Personalised Chocolate Squares: £3.50, Not on the High Street
Two of these four chocolates can be personalised with initials, while the remaining two feature one of the Kent-based company’s own designs, such as small hearts. The letter squares are hand-made from Belgian chocolate and the pattern squares are either strawberry and orange or plain, milk or white.
7. Rococo Venus Nipples and Lips: £14.95, Rococo
The name is supposed to sound saucy, although we think they sound a bit like the snacks Graham Chapman was selling in the People’s Front of Judea scene in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. Nevertheless, the four handmade red lips (dark chocolate covered in hand-painted white chocolate) and six venus nipples (coffee truffles covered in white chocolate, with a coffee bean) are astonishingly tasty and look extra-special. .
8. Harrods Chocolate Love Bears: £9.95, Harrods
We reckon it will be love at first bite with these sweet chocolate bears. Made from rich and smooth Belgian milk chocolate, their hearts are painted – you guessed it – red, and they all come in a see-through box that’s gift wrapped with a neat red ribbon.
9. M&S Perfect Pairs Heart Collection: £15, Marks & Spencer
M&S have shaken things up a bit with these milk, white and dark truffles, pairing them with flavours such as strawberry and balsamic, truffle and sea salt and caramel and passion fruit. The result is a box of indulgent chocs that you may well want to keep all to yourself.
10. Montezuma’s Valentine’s Hamper: £19.99, Montezuma's
This brand excels in making handmade chocolate with robust and often quirky flavours. We love its Valentine’s hamper, which contains a milk chocolate and butterscotch heart, salted caramel heart truffles, a milk chocolate bar with caramelised sesame and sunflower seeds, and – our favourite – a white chocolate bar with lemon and sour cherry.
11. Divine Dark Chocolate Hearts: £1.12, Waitrose
These mini dark chocolate love hearts from this partly farmer-owned company are individually foil-wrapped and have just the right balance of sweet and bitter. They’re suitable for vegetarians and are palm oil free, as well as being Fairtrade. Not keen on dark chocolate? They’re also available in milk chocolate or white chocolate with strawberry.
12. Artisan du Chocolat Sweetheart Tin: £9.99, Artisan du Chocolat
This brand makes exceptionally fresh chocolates that taste wonderful. This charming tin offers a small collection of some of their best ever flavours, including our favourite, the salted caramel, and the more unusual cherry and cardamom coulis.
13. Chococo Love Box: from £13.95, Chococo
This Dorset-based family firm makes some of the freshest chocolates in the UK, with no additives or preservatives, and you can taste the difference immediately. This box, available in two sizes, contains the likes of Arbequina olive oil and sea salt, passion fruit, sakura tea and champagne and strawberry. Good news for couples: there is two of everything.
14. Fifth Dimension Valentine’s Box: £17, Fifth Dimensions
Relatively new to the chocolate scene, this British chocolatier has quickly gained an excellent reputation, most recently winning at the International Chocolate Awards. This box includes 12 handmade treats with unique flavours, such as peanut and raspberry. It’s as good as it gets for lovers of fine chocolates made from single origin cocoa.
15. Fortnum & Mason Personalised Chocolates: from £30, Fortnum & Mason
The Fortnum’s name is the first clue that these chocolates are none too shabby. Straight from its world-renowned chocolate counter, flavours include vanilla fudge, sea-salted caramel truffles and pralines, all of which are melt-in-the-mouth. There are three sizes available, and all of them can be personalised with initials.
16. Prestat Heart Assortment: from £7, Prestat
Prestat, with its longstanding Royal Warrant, has come up trumps this year with a range of four heart-shaped, pink chocolate boxes. Among the flavours are passion fruit fondant, rice crisp nougat, ginger and saffron fudge and rose crème. If it’s good enough for the Queen…
17. Carluccio’s Rose Di Cioccolato e Prosecco: £55, Carluccio's
Italians know a thing or two about love and romance, so it should come as no surprise that Carluccio’s has come up with this fabulous box containing the ultimate symbol of love – red roses – the heads of which are actually solid milk chocolates made by Caffarel, the age-old Italian confectioner based in Piedmont. There’s a bottle of top-notch, delicate fizz to wash them down with, too.
We think you’ll be hard pushed to find any chocolate lover who would be disappointed with Hotel Chocolat’s Straight from the Heart Box, and it gets our overriding vote for being the best of our more extravagant suggestions. For a smaller token of love, ChoconChoc’s Perfect Match Chocolates are both fun and romantic.