Valentine's Day: Vancouver's chocolate store picks for 2012
Taking just under a minute to melt in the mouth, providing the allure of sensuality and pleasure, chocolate is closely linked to expressions of love and a popular item for Valentine's Day gift giving.
The ancient Mayans provided one of the first links between chocolate and romance. They consumed chocolate as an elixir, viewed as luxurious and health-giving. The drink had great importance in rituals such as marriage ceremonies, where couples gave each other the chocolate drink in preparation for the wedding night experience.
Although research has never proven chocolate as an aphrodisiac, we associate it as such because of chemicals like phenylethylamine (PEA), which has been known for causing alertness, a reaction within the body that can be closely related to the feeling of falling in love.
With the added combination of Theobromine, which causes a physical and mental state of relaxation, there's no surprise we feel a sudden urge of affection towards...well, anyone who gives the gift of chocolate.
Get your chocolate fix this Valentine's Day at these local modern day chocolate factories.
1105 Robson Street |10 a.m. - 7 p.m. | (604) 688- 9624
This sweet shop prides themselves on their Belgian chocolate making techniques and all natural ingredients including the finest cocoa beans and 100 per cent pure cocoa butter.
Their 2012 Valentine's collection features tasty items including Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates and their signature, Ballotin Valentine Collection. Daniel's is known for their specialized chocolates, so if your sweetheart is an animal lover, you're in luck.
Be sure to pick up a solid milk chocolate monkey for Valentine's Day. The store's bestseller around this time of year is the velvet heart. Store manager Lee says that this item has become a tradition, an item that has been sold within the store on Valentine's day for years. With the lovers' holiday just around the corner, Lee expects the store to be fairly busy, and of course, flooded with men.
"Valentine's day is on a weekday this year. We expect that [men] will be coming in last minute to pick up a quick gift on their way home from work," Lee said.
Too busy to make the trip? Buy online.
The Landing 389 Water Street | 10:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. | (604) 676-3452
This is the place to go if you're on the hunt for delicious locally made chocolates that have a decent price tag. Roger's has some of the best Valentine's deals in the city. With gifts for under $5, treat your Valentine to a no-sugar added Dark Chocolate Valentine Heart or Chocolate Lollipop Lips for Valentine's Day.
Bentall Center 306-595 Barrard Street | weekdays 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | (604) 681 6428
In light of the upcoming celebration of love, Purdy's is stocked with over 28 items specially designed for Valentine's Day. Extremely affordable (prices ranging from $1 to $30) you can choose from an assortment of dark chocolate heart shaped boxes, foiled hearts, and their newest product to feature on Valentine's day, Red Velvet cake truffles. These are just a sampling of honourable mentions, a store employee jokes.
"Anything heart shaped and that screams Valentine's Day," she said, will disappear from the shelves because of last minute shoppers.
1017 Robson Street | 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. | (604) 688-4100
Possibly considered to be the chocolate store with the greatest assortment of sweets including clusters, creams, and truffles. In store you can also find unique creations such as Tiger Bombs (chocolate and peanut butter centers wrapped in chocolate), moguls (chocolate pockets stuffed with caramel and variety of nut options including almond, cashew, pecan and many more), and barks (chocolate cut into slabs-milk, dark, white options and choice of almond, cashew, cranberry, Oreo and many more delicious flavours).
Robson street store manager, Alison Peters, says that a favourite for Valentine's Day this year are chocolate covered strawberries which come in milk or dark chocolate and can be topped with an assortment of candies such as Skor chocolate bits. Strawberries range from $3 - $4 depending on size, and should be eaten the day they are purchased.
Peters anticipates an increase in customer volume from the weekend before Valentine's Day, through to the day of. With this being their busiest time of year, she doesn't just plan on slightly increasing her staff.
"On Valentine's Day, everyone works," she said with a serious tone.
With location all over B.C. including North Vancouver, Burnaby, Kelowna, and Whistler, this speciality chocolate store is hard to miss.
2391 Burrard Street (at 8th Ave) | Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (shorter hours Sundays) | (604) 733-2462
Pronounced sho-sho-la, for the love of chocolate, this is an incredibly unique chocolate store. Store owner Hodi said that they are first an educator on 'clean' chocolates- this store is the largest importer of fine chocolate and they make the effort to educate the public on good, organic, and fair trade chocolate. For Valentine's they promote a bit of a different symbol of love - solid chocolate decorated shoes. Ranging in price from $35-$45, these shoes come in milk or dyed red chocolate and are described by store owner Hodi as
"galmmed up beautiful shoes, the only shoe you will ever want drink out of."
With Christmas and Valentine's being their busiest Holiday's, Hodi finds this time of year to be a humorous one
"Valentine's Day is a riot," Hodi exclaimed. She said that around Christmas, customers are always organized and come in the store to pick up delicious gifts weeks before the big day.
"About 75 per cent of our business happens during the three days before Valentine's day."
1429 Robson Street | (604) 608-2866
Chocolate Fondue-- it's the best combination since chocolate and peanut butter. Capstone offers all you can eat chocolate fondue made with 56 per cent semi-sweet Belgian dark chocolate, served with an assortment of seasonal fruits and pastry items. This Valentine's day, what could be more perfect than Chocolate Fondue for two, for only $22.95.