Valentine's Destinations for Chocolate Lovers

Forget buying jewelry or a shopping spree for Valentine’s Day. Instead, enjoy a weekend dedicated to the alluring and seductive cocoa bean.

Below are some suggestions representing a variety of regions within North America:

Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

This landmark in the city by the bay is the country’s longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer. Ghirardelli SQUARES are found in grocery stores throughout the United States, along with baking chocolate and specialty concoctions.

Ghirardelli Square now occupies an entire city block complete with boutiques, restaurants, children’s areas and luxury living. San Francisco’s famed Fisherman’s Wharf sits right across the way, positioning the chocolatier as a decadent dessert after a meal looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Address: 900 N. Point St. San Francisco, CA 94109

Phone: (415) 474-3938

Website: www.Ghirardellisq.com

 

Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory

Leave it to Kentucky, home of one of America’s indigenous liquors, to find a way to blend rich, sumptuous chocolate and oaky, syrupy bourbon.

Started by a pair of substitute teachers during Prohibition, the Kentucky-based chocolatier remains a family operation well into the 21st century. Ruth Hanly and Rebecca Gooch began the factory humbly in a rented barroom at the Frankfurt Hotel in 1919. Ten years later, Ruth would be the sole proprietor staring down the barrel of the Great Depression. Sales transitioned to individual pieces rather than by the box, and in 1938 Ruth released the bourbon ball, spiked treat that’s remained popular ever since.

Address:3295 Versailles Rd., Frankfort, KY 40601

Phone: (502) 223-7475

Website: www.RebeccaRuth.com

Boston Chocolate Tours

These walking tours shepherd visitors around some of Boston’s finest chocolate spots. Tours highlight specific neighborhoods and guides include a wine expert, pastry chef and knowledgeable chocoholics. The Back Bay happens every Saturday morning and traverses around landmarks like Copley Square and the Prudential Center. One of the standouts of the tour is the stop at Swiss chocolatier that makes the Dom Perignon champagne truffle. The South End walking includes cupcakes and speciality alcoholic beverages, as well as bakeries and restaurants owned by celebrity chefs.

Phone: (617) 942-0353

Website: www.BostonChocolateTours.com

The Chocolate Museum, New Brunswick, Canada

This interactive experience inside a former candy factory helps cement St. Stephen as Canada’s “Chocolate Town”. Brothers James Ganong and Gilbert Ganong created the company within their fledgling grocery store in 1873. Soon the candy became the reason customers sought out the store. Now home to a chocolate shop, the original factory hosts guided tours for guests to check out antique equipment, vintage chocolate boxes and more.

Address: 73 Milltown Blvd., St. Stephen NB, E3L 1G5

Phone: (506) 466-7848

Website: www.ChocolateMuseum.ca

Max Brenner, New York, Boston, Philadelphia

This New York City institution has more than 50 locations across the globe. It’s known for decadent fondues, crepes, waffles and milkshakes, as well as signature serving vessels like the “Hug Mug”--a hot chocolate cup meant to be held with both hands.  www.MaxBrenner.com

Theo Chocolate, Seattle

Seattle is home to more than Starbucks, grunge music and a public market with flying salmon, it’s also famous for progressive ideals and high-end cuisine. Those two principles have guided Theo Chocolate since 1994. Unscrupulous behavior routinely accompanies the cultivation and export of chocolate, but Theo’s uses Fair Trade and organic ingredients to craft (ethically) guilt-free treats. Try the “Big Daddy” marshmallow or the salted almond and dark chocolate bars. www.TheoChocolate.com

Amano Chocolate, Utah

This chocolatier 40 or so miles south of Salt Lake City scours the globe for ingredients to infuse in its dark chocolate and milk chocolate offerings. Their creations have earned gold medals in competitions in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Napa and more. www.AmanoChocolate.com