Valentine's Day gifts for chocolate lovers

When I was a kid, my mother would buy each of her four children a small box of Russell Stover's candy every year for Valentine's Day. Decades later, chocolate is still the only thing I want for Valentine's Day. I willingly accept it on every other day of the year too.

My hands down favorite-to date-is the Teuscher Champagne Truffle. If I'm near Rockefeller Center, I sometimes buy a tiny box or just a single piece because it's so pricey and rich. An 8 oz. box of 16 truffles costs $39. It's worth it, I assure you, but only if you live near one of the 13 stores. Otherwise, Teuscher only ships Federal Express second day or priority overnight, which costs from $13 to $40.

I'm always trying new candy to find a reasonably priced alternative. Consumer Reports recently rated premium chocolates and included three newcomers in its recommendations. It's best buys include the Godiva Gold ballotin ($38 for 15.25 oz.), Leonidas general chocolate assortment ($32 for 16 oz.) and See's Famous old time
assortment ($15 for 16 oz.). The only best buy rated excellent was Wisconsin-based Candinas Chocolatier ($20.75 for a 16-piece assortment).

One of my latest finds is a candy bar called Berkshire Bark. I'd be perfectly happy to get a couple of mocha buzz bars, made with Belgian chocolate, roasted almonds, caramel and crushed coffee beans. Berkshire bark is available for $5.99 on amazon, and igourmet, and in select gourmet stores nationwide. (In case my husband reads this, head to Plum Pure Foods, just down the street).

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