Valentine's Day Chocolate Ideas

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Chatham's Fine Chocolates
114 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-277-5889

Chocolates By Bernard Callebaut
15688 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
480-315-1002

Chocofin Chocolatier
13404 N. La Montana, Fountain Hills
480-836-7444

Chocolate Boxes by Pastry Chef Pierino Jermonti
T. Cook's at the Royal Palms
5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-840-3610

Chocolate Tea in February
Arizona Biltmore
2400 E. Missouri Avenue, Phoenix
602-381-7632

If you want to buy chocolates for your sweetie (or what the heck, for yourself!), consider the first three retail shops on this list. Think of Chatham's as a chocolate broker, offering premium chocolates made by 14 different chocolatiers. Chatham's features about 220 chocolates in flavors as wildly exotic as dark chocolate with habañero, lilac and black China tea and lavender with black peppercorn. Create your own custom assortment. A chocolate heart filled with chocolate truffles sells for $48, but there are plenty of less expensive but adorable options. Chocolates By Bernard C. is home to award-winning Belgian chocolates made by fifth-generation chocolatier, Bernard Callebaut. Callebaut uses great ingredients (pistachios from Italy, walnuts from France) and offers a rotating selection of beautiful chocolates. Here, too, you can build your own box, go with a truffle-filled chocolate heart or find plenty of less expensive options. Louis and Denise Mirabella are the chef-owners of Chocofin Chocolatier in Fountain Hills. They hand-make their chocolates in small batches so they're always fresh. Like the other companies here, they offer plenty of exotic flavors, build-your-own-boxes and lot of inexpensive sweet options (nut barks, chocolate bars, etc). If you want something extra-special, get a chocolate box (literally) from Perry Jermonti at T. Cook's and fill it with Perry's chocolates, jewelry or an engagement ring. The boxes, which can be custom made with advance notice, come in a range of prices ($45-$225) and they're really exquisite. Many are available right now for Valentine's Day. And if you happen to be a chocolate-loving tea drinker, try the afternoon tea at the Arizona Biltmore throughout the month of February. Although afternoon tea is offered in the Biltmore's lobby all year long, chocolate becomes the emphasis in February, when even the finger sandwiches are sometimes pink or heart-shaped. Pastry Chef Thomas Huebner makes dainty delicious treats (chocolate swans, raspberry tartlets, cherry-chocolate chips scones) to accompany the usual afternoon tea offerings. Tea hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m.; Call for a reservation.