Do you really want to wow your Valentine? Then put that generic heart-shaped box of chocolates back on the drugstore shelf, and back away slowly. The approach of Valentine’s Day might stress you out – especially if you want to find something great, and have zero ideas – but you can relax. Simply visit an artisanal candy shop and pick out whichever treat catches your eye. And with these three shops, you’re bound to find something that will make your sweetheart melt.
If your Valentine has both a sweet tooth and a love of art, look no further than Compartés Chocolatier in Brentwood. The shop’s signature bars line up on ledges along the wall of the tiny boutique, each like a miniature painting. All the artisanal chocolate bars are wrapped in vibrant, eye-catching wrappers that look too elegant to open. But, given the glorious chocolate underneath, nobody will hesitate too long. Try unusual flavors like the s’mores-inspired “campfire,” or the deliciously complex, citrus-spicy, and Valentine’s-appropriate “love potion,” with orange-peel and pink-pepper inflused dark chocolate.
But don’t forget the other gems here: cube-shaped truffles, topped with intricate designs that look like miniature Warhols and Mondrians. If you’re lucky, head chocolatier Jonathan Grahm will greet you from behind the counter and walk you through all the tantalizing flavors – like the creamy pear and mascarpone adorned with adorable pink flamingos, or the cayenne- and cinnamon-infused Mexican hot chocolate truffles, which are sure to warm your honey’s heart.
The deep purple walls and gilded displays envelop you in romance as you step into Vosges Haut-Chocolat in Beverly Hills. Everywhere you look, you’ll find rows of neatly displayed chocolate bars and truffles – but the main attraction are the dozens of samples set up in glass jars around the store.
You don’t even have to ask for samples: Just indulge in the delicious infused morsels until you find the winning flavor. You can purchase a prepacked purple box brimming with truffles, such as the especially decadent Krug Champagne-infused dark chocolate, or create your own mix. If you go the creative route, head to the chocolate laboratory (a glass-lined counter at the back of the store), where you’ll find a display of daily flavors – like the manly whiskey truffle, a rich smoky chocolate with a subtle spicy kick; or the brown sugar Koval bonbon, a dark chocolate shell with a buttery bourbon caramel filling.
If you and your love are little less traditional, skip the truffles and bonbons and taste the sweet simplicity of Scandinavian treats at Sockerbit. The bright white walls and minimalist plastic bins brim with colorful confections, and each one offers a perfect Valentine’s gift for your modern love story. Put together your own mixed bouquet with imported Swedish candy – all GMO- and corn-syrup-free. Pick from gummies, chocolates, and other treats, like the sweet, fluffy marshmallow cubes the store is named after, or the novel salty licorice. Of course you can never go wrong with gummy hot lips — they’re ideal for date with a goofy sense of humor. Aren’t you glad you ignored the drugstore chocolates this year?