The best chocolates to melt your (sweet)heart
If you're shopping for a romantic box of chocolates to give as a Valentine's Day gift this year, there's good news. According to Consumer Reports latest test on chocolate gift boxes, you'll find very good tasting treats at modest prices.
Consumer Reports' techie tasters describe the top chocolates as being smooth with high-quality fillings that range from the usual (nuts, caramel) to the exotic (chili pepper, star anise).
But most of the recommended are pricey – about $40 to $90 per box -- and available only online, which means tacking on shipping fees that range from $18 to $36.
One of the priciest is Richart Petits Collection Intense Ballotin. It goes for $67 plus shipping. But it wasn't the best. The chocolate coatings are chalky, and some of the fillings reminded the taste testers of soap.
Far better, but still pricey is the Norman Love Confections 25-piece Signature Gift Box, with ultra smooth chocolates and unusual fillings. It costs $49, and with shipping you'll pay more than $60.
So, if you're in a cash or time crunch for February 14, check out these other top choices in chocolates. And you can get them in stores, so you won't have to pay for shipping.
- Godiva Gold Ballotin 36-piece ($2.74/ounce)
- Ferrero Collection Fine Assorted Confections ($1.25/ounce)
- Leonidas Chocolate General Assortment ($2.25/ounce)
- See's Assorted Chocolates ($1.06/ounce)
For made-in-B.C. treats, Vancouver chocolate maker Thomas Haas has been busy whipping up more than 120,000 pieces of fresh chocolate for Valentine's Day, including 24-carat gold leaf hearts.
"We cover everything from $1.25 hand-crafted chocolate heart with a passion fruit filling up to $200 for something more elaborate -- and then anything in between," Haas told CTV's Steele on Your Side.
Haas said Valentine's Day and Christmas are their busiest selling holidays. But unlike Christmas, it's men doing most of the buying for the romantic occasion.
"It's all men shopping so it is a different experience for us. So it will be this ‘it's what I want, or I don't know what I want…and I want it now.' It doesn't matter what it costs," Haas said.
Haas sells his chocolates from his North Vancouver and Kitsilano stores, as well as locations like Capers, Whole Foods, Urban Fare and Granville Island Public Market.
Consumer Reports says chocolates are best when eaten fresh. Most last for only 10 days to three weeks, another reason to enjoy them right away.
North Americans will spend more than $1-billion on chocolate this Valentine's Day.
Watch CTV tonight for an insider look inside Thomas Haas' Vancouver chocolate studio, and a full report from Lynda Steele…