16 unusual (and exceptional) chocolates for Valentine’s Day – CNET

Chocolate may be the ultimate cliche on Valentine’s Day but there’s a darn good reason for that. I mean, have you ever had chocolate? It’s literally delicious, especially really good chocolate made with a few unusual ingredients. 

If you’re going the chocolate route you shouldn’t feel unoriginal but you should spring for something high-end or unique — or both! For choosy chocolate lovers, common candies or drugstore chocolates won’t do on Valentine’s Day, so pretty-please put down the heart-shaped box from the supermarket. If your girlfriend, boyfriend, special someone, best friend, mom or whoever you want to treat (yourself included) has an elevated sweet tooth, there are some incredible options for buying extraordinary chocolate online and having it shipped safely to your door, saving you a trip to the store. 

Read moreThese tasty Valentine’s Day mail-order treats are all heart 

These highly creative craft chocolates are anything but ordinary: From camel milk and crickets to curry powder and coconut ash (and a few slightly more traditional options), these fine cocoa-based candies will definitely wow the chocolate lover you love. 

Goldbelly

What could be sweeter for your honey than chocolates infused with an actual honey center? The filling is a rich liquid caramel, and the bees are hand-painted with yellow and black cocoa butter so they’ll delight even before the first bite.

Sur La Table

Champagne can be a must for special occasions, and Valentine’s Day is no exception — but why not present it in the form of pretty pink Champagne chocolate truffles? These are white chocolate with a hint of strawberry, and a creamy Champagne milk chocolate center, rolled in powdered sugar to finish. Tres chic.

Read moreThe most delicious Valentine’s Day food gifts under $40

Food52

A box of bonbons is classic, but a box of bars is just as welcome, especially when they come in a range of fascinating flavors like these, from maple and cacao nibs to bananas Foster. Even better: All of Raaka’s chocolate bars are vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy.

Seattle Chocolate

Last year, Seattle Chocolate partnered with The Museum of Flight to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the very first moon landing with a limited-edition truffle bar made of creamy milk chocolate with bits of popping candy. Not recommended to consume with soda — just kidding.

Amazon

If dairy isn’t an issue, look beyond conventional milk chocolate. Camel milk chocolate has recently gotten easier to come by outside of Dubai (and the Chopped kitchen, where Martha Stewart once brought it along for the dessert basket challenge), but chances are good your giftee hasn’t tried it yet. It’s available with dates and with hazelnuts, as well as in dark chocolate form. Most reviewers admit they can’t taste much of a difference, but the camel milk certainly gives it some cachet.

David Escalante

This Thomas Keller-backed — and Oprah-approved — organic extra-virgin olive oil chocolate has an ultrasmooth mouthfeel and extra antioxidants from the heart-healthy fat (which comes from famous Italian olive oil producer Armando Manni). This sleekly packaged set of milk and dark chocolate is also available from the official Keller + Manni Chocolate site.

Vosges

This nine-piece truffle set from Vosges starts with high-quality chocolate, of course, and highlights inventive flavor combinations like star anise, fennel and absinthe; ginger, wasabi and matcha green tea; and coconut and curry (among some less unusual options for when your palate needs a little break). Spring for the 16-piece collection and get some additional flavors (including pasilla chiles and candied violet), or the deluxe 32-piece box for a few more (including horseradish-lemon zest and rose water-pistachio).

Mouth

This painterly white chocolate confection is striking even before you bite through the sweet, creamy shell and find the tart passionfruit caramel filling. There’s a touch of cardamom, too, and the company calls this flavor combo The Lover, so it’s extra-appropriate.

Food52

This fragrant trio of chocolate bars features lovely botanical illustrations on the packaging and intriguing flavors inside: halvah, rose and cardamom; star anise, ginger and cinnamon; and long pepper, lemon and mace.

Harry & David

Rich chocolate truffles are perfect for Valentine’s Day and fine Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus makes some of the best in the world. Chocolate sampler boxes can get you into trouble with an awkward flavor or two. With this box of truffles, I truly can’t decide which one sounds the best: butter truffle, extra dark, coffee, cognac, Marc de Champagne and tiramisu.

Olive & Sinclair

This buttery, rich, golden brittle is studded with cacao nibs that have picked up a hazy tang from renowned bacon baron Allan Benton’s smokehouse, and it’s all finished off with a layer of chocolate.

Lake Champlain Chocolates

Not only is this smooth and silky dark chocolate bar filled with spicy-sweet habanero-honey caramel, it has an appropriately cheeky name perfect for the occasion. And it’s affordable enough for every budget. Also available on Amazon.

Amazon

If you’ve ever dipped your fries in a chocolate shake, then you know this is good. Maybe better, since the chocolate is dark and the potato chips will stay nice and crisp. If your Valentine has a sweet tooth that’s also salty, they’ll be delighted with this addictive dessert — and if you’re lucky, they’ll share.

Amazon

If Nestle Crunch bars and chocolate-covered potato chips are a little too ho-hum for your honey, consider gifting these crunchy, dark chocolate-coated crickets with sea salt instead. Edible insects are the wave of the future, so may as well get on board now. And almost everything tastes better enrobed in chocolate anyway.

Amazon

Chuao chocolates are fairly easy to find in grocery stores and at other retail outlets, but this lovely little gift box is a great option for Valentines who like some variety. Find a mix of flavors like sea salt and chipotle with popping candy for a little fizz; spicy dark chocolate; and mango, chile and lime.

Food52

Tahini has taken over desserts and we love it. These smooth dark chocolate bites are filled with pure sesame puree, milk chocolate (yes, two kinds of chocolate in one) and bits of toasty sesame brittle for a textural treat that tastes amazing.

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