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Valentine's Day Gifts for Chocolate Lovers



Chocolate is THE gift for Valentine's Day--especially for chocoholics. It comes in all flavors, shapes, sizes, and fillings. With a plethora of chocolatiers producing everything from sumptuous treats to delicacies that look more like art than food, there is no end to the possible gifts to give to a chocolate lover (even if that chocolate lover is you). Chances of going wrong with this gift? Slim. That is, unless of course your significant other is on a diet, in which case, go for roses.

How to Give Chocolate As a Gift


* Make sure that the person you plan to give the chocolates to doesn't have any food allergies or specific dietary needs.
** Allergies to nuts, fruits or even gluten may pose a problem.
*** Try shopping for plain dark or milk chocolate without nuts or filling if you think someone might have a nut or fruit allergy.
*** Lucky for people with celiac disease, most chocolate is naturally gluten-free, even the kinds with nuts. When in doubt (or when you can't get a chance to read the ingredients on a given package) stick to solid, plain or nut chocolate and avoid chocolate with fillings since they are more likely to contain some sort of flour as a thickening agent.
** Vegetarians and vegans may only want chocolates without eggs, dairy, or other animal by-products, such as gelatin. Try vegan, lactose-free, or organic chocolate.
** Consider kosher chocolates if you know your honey keeps kosher.
** Thankfully for diabetics, there are a lot of sugar-free options. Some popular gourmet brands are:
*** Chuao: This is a small line of chocolates with a recent sugar-free addition to the collection.
*** Cuba Venchi: A gourmet Italian chocolate company that makes truffles, pralines, bars, and more.
*** Godiva: The popular chocolate maker wouldn't dare leave anyone out of the delicious fun.

* Unless your partner has a sense of humor, avoid getting chocolates that look like anything other than a typical chocolate should (chocolate cow patties are not a romantic Valentine's Day gift).

* Chocolate doesn't have to be given by the truckload. The rule of thumb should be quality over quantity. Even a small box of fine chocolates is better than a family-sized heart box filled with half-grade sweets. High quality chocolates are usually in nicer packaging too, making them suitable gifts even without wrapping paper.

* For a long lasting chocolate gift, try a subscription to a chocolate of the month club.

Chocolate Types



Chocolate comes in a wide variety of intensities, starting with the most mild, milk chocolate, ranging to the most intense 90% bars of dark chocolate. Part of determining the intensity of chocolate depends on the actual cocoa content. The less cocoa, the sweeter and more mild a chocolate tends to be because it contains more sugar and milk and less of the actual cocoa beans or chocolate liquor.

What type of chocolate suits you?
* Milk Chocolate: Light, sweet, and easy to eat. It combines perfectly with most fillings and nuts.
* Dark Chocolate (55%, 60%, 70% cacao): Rich and decadent. Perfect for true chocolate connoisseurs who actually want to taste the cocoa.
* Bittersweet Chocolate: This is a unique and rich chocolate that is a happy medium between dark and milk chocolate.
* White Chocolate: Delicate and very sweet. Not everyone enjoys white chocolate since it has less of a chocolate flavor. It contains cocoa butter but not cocoa liquor.

Chocolate Variations









Chocolate Brands









Organic Chocolate Brands





Chocolate Facts



It's no wonder that chocolate is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day since it naturally contains theobromine, a chemical compound similar to caffeine. The mood enhancing qualities of theobromine are responsible for chocolate's reputation for being an aphrodisiac. Chocolate also possesses a large amount of antioxidants and may be helpful in protecting the heart--only the dark variety though.

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