Artisan chocolate, made by hand and usually in small batches, means it’s not only fresh and delicious but a more ethical, sustainable and healthier alternative to mass-produced chocolate. Here are eleven excellent artisanal chocolate Valentine’s Day gifts from around the world.
1.Belgium: Pierre Marcolini, Malline of 25 Hearts, £29
The Pierre Marcolini House, founded in Brussels in 1995 by Pierre Marcolini, the chocolatier known as pioneer of the “bean to bar” movement, where one brand controls every stage of making chocolate, from the purchase of the beans to the creation of the bar. The cocoa in every chocolate comes directly from independent producers in Cuba, Indonesia, India, Sao Tomé and Principe, Madagascar, Peru, Venezuela and China. The 2022 Valentine’s Day range features this gorgeous box of chocolate hearts with flavors including Dark chocolate raspberry, Milk chocolate passion fruit, Salted butter caramel, Strawberry cream white chocolate and Faro almond praline with strawberry caramel.
2.Belgium: Corné Port-Royal, Tower of Love, €52
In 1935, Belgian chocolatier Maurice Corné created the legendary “Manon Sucré” a praline which combines cream with crisp nougatine and fresh walnuts. Today, the team of artisans at Corné Port-Royal work daily to prepare chocolates whose recipes have remained unchanged for almost a century. The brilliantly named “Tower of love” features a heart shaped tin and red leather gift box. Inside are praline classics plus 40 Napolitains: square dark, milk, milk and nougatine bits, dark and orange, and dark and ginger chocolates. The heart gift box and the red leather gift box each offer a tempting range of Corné Port-Royal classics: a praline for every moment.
3.England (London):Melt, Champagne Truffles, £36
Melt’s chocolate boutique in Notting Hill, London creates hand-crafted chocolates in small batches. The Champagne truffles and Passion Fruit hearts are both excellent fresh chocolate choices for Valentine’s Day. The decadent white champagne truffles are crafted with a blend of milk and white chocolate and infused with Marc de champagne.
4.England (London): Paul Young, Chocolate hearts £
London Chocolatier Paul Young is well known for his creatively flavored artisanal chocolates and truffles that use seasonal ingredients. This year’s Valentine’s Day collection includes the return of some favourites like Rhubarb and Custard, Honey caramel and Cinnamon toast brioche truffle, alongside some new flavors for 2022: Basiltini, Blackcurrant Bellini and Caramel chai cookie dough truffle. A box of 12 solid chocolate hearts, created from 12 different couvertures, wrapped in vibrant colored foils presented in a chic black box are another great gift option.
5.England (Cornwall): Josh’s Chocolate, Ultimate Chocolate Selection Box £65
Founded in 2019 by Josh Parker, this new Cornish chocolate brand features hand-made and hand-wrapped chocolates by a small team of dedicated chocolatiers, using Rainforest Alliance chocolate. The eco-friendly brand uses attractive paper packaging (designed by local illustrator Joanne Barry) that’s completely recyclable, as is the foil. The abundant selection in the box for Valentine’s Day includes hot chocolate spoons, gigantic buttons and the full range of chocolate bars, with local ingredients added, like Cornish sea salt.
6.England (London): Rococo, A Temptation of Truffles, £29.95
Much loved London chocolatier Rococo has won plenty of prizes from the Academy of Chocolate and the International Chocolate Awards. All chocolate is handmade in small batches in their London kitchen by Head Chocolatier Mireille Discher and her talented team. The packaging is a real stand out too, especially the much loved blue and white design. For 2022, “A Temptation of Truffles” is very tempting indeed. The heart-shaped box includes milk, dark and salted caramel truffles plus milk and dark chocolate hearts.
7.England (Devon), The Blushing Cook, Valentine’s brownies £36
Although, not strictly chocolates, these gorgeous artisanal brownies deserve a mention as they’d make the ideal Valentine’s Day sweet gift. Topped with tasty pink chocolate and decorated with organic, edible flowers grown in Devon, each tray of dense, double chocolate brownies offers chocolate and flowers in one box. Blushing Cook’s Valentine’s brownies can be ordered online and sent anywhere in the UK – anonymously or with a personal message.
8.Scotland: Highland Chocolatier, Velvet Truffles Romantic Selection £44.95
A beautiful selection of Iain Burnett’s award-winning Velvet Truffles and Pralines is presented in a red velvet heart-shaped box. Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett has created fine, hand-crafted Velvet Truffles for Michelin Star restaurants so it’s no surprise that he’s Scotland’s most awarded Chocolatier. His Velvet Truffles are made with fresh Perthshire cream and a rare island cocoa.
9.Italy: Villa de Varda, Chocolate Praline and Amaretto gift set £42.90
Hand-made pralines by the maître chocolatier of Villa de Varda are a delicious, boozy gift from an artisan grappa distillery in the Dolomite Alps. The pralines have a dark chocolate shell and are filled with a delicate and soft Grappa Riserva Triè-infused cream. They recommend enjoying them with a bottle of their smooth Amaretto liqueur, available as a set.
10.Argentina: Sur, Valentine’s Limited Edition Chocolates, £30
London-based duo Maria and Emanuel create luxury Argentinian alfajores, a special chocolate and dulce de leche biscuit beloved by millions of Latin Americans. Before launching Sur with her husband, Maria worked as a chocolatier for 20 years at The Savoy Hotel and Hilton Buenos Aires and in chocolate shops like Rococo Chocolates and L’Artisan du Chocolate. For Sur, they use chocolate of Latin American origin and classic Argentinian ingredients: Dulce de Leche, Malbec and Yerba Mate. The Valentine’s Limited Edition, “Lentos didn’t come back,” is inspired by innocent love before Wi-Fi (1980s and 1990s). There are six alfajores in the gift box in three flavors: Sos mi caramelo: 70% Peruvian chocolate with dark biscake, cherry, spearmint ganache; Merenguitos: Tumaco 85% Colombian chocolate, dry merengue and dulce de leche and Cesar Banana: Macondo 60% Colombian chocolate, Lemony biscake, banana ganache and dulce de leche. A lovely added touch inside every box is two playlists with Argentinian and International Lentos (slow dances) so you can immerse yourself in the vibe while enjoying the alfajores.
11.USA (Los Angeles): Compartes, Heart Shaped Chocolates Gift Box, $107.95
Founded in 1950 and reinvigorated by chocolate prodigy Jonathan Grahm, Compartés gourmet chocolates are made from scratch by hand every day by a small team of chocolatiers and chocolate artists, using fresh natural ingredients from local farmer’s markets, in their Los Angeles chocolate kitchens and shop. Known for fusing chocolate with art, style, design and fashion, the box includes 30 gourmet chocolates. Some covers are hand painted by Jonathan while others feature their traditional lips design. Also available is a chic black box that reveals a secret hidden I LOVE YOU message spelled out on chocolates when you open it.