A chocolate pairing guide for everyone on your Valentine's Day list
Because chocolate is the true meaning of Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is coming and it's time we stopped pretending it is about love, light and happiness and time we acknowledged the true meaning of Valentine's Day: chocolate. Buying it, eating it, giving it. We thus present the Valentine's Day Guide you never knew you needed: an exploration of our favourite chocolates and who you should be giving them to on February 14th (and like, every other day too though).
A new lover
Let's get this one out of the way. Romance is in the air. You're glued to your phone, your performance at work is rapidly decreasing, your friends are tired of your one track mind and you.are.floating. You have decided gifts are meaningless when your love is just this hashtag real, but like, you both like nice experiencessssss, why not splurge on a fancy chocolate you can eat sensually while staring at each other.
CXBO, like you, and your amour, is a very sexy store nestled in the heart of Kensington Market in Toronto. The small, curated interior is stuffed with hand painted bars in wild colours. Everything looks good, but the Kensington Bar — dark chocolate with chili (meow), apricot (for your health!) and coffee (to stay up late sharing trauma) — hits all the right notes. The bar's gritty coffee bean texture and dotted chewy apricots symbolize the bumps you will overcome together.
CXBO Kensington Bar, $10, cxbo.ca or in store
Your best friend forever
Your best friend is the greatest. They call you on your bullshit, celebrate your successes and text you back even when you won't stop talking about your new crush. You need a chocolate as dependable, solid and trustworthy as they are. A chocolate for everyday, a cupboard companion you'd take anywhere. Just like your best friend, Ritter Sport is always there for you: in the grocery store (on sale), at a highway stop (in minis) or at a long stopover in Amsterdam (beside a comically large wheel of cheese). Reliable, high quality, but not so high quality you can't wear sweatpants while eating it. Sweet, but not too so sweet you need to save it for special occasions. While all Ritter Sports have something to offer, the Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts is BFF material. Its nuts remind you that you can break down life's problems. It's chocolate reminds you to drink water. Its vague notion of sport reminds you to go to yoga class later.
Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bar, $4-6, everywhere
Co-worker who always shows you photos of their kid
The only thing worse than other people's vacation photos are photos of their kids whom you will never meet. We get it Linda, Chester loves Tai Chi. June is thriving in Montessori. Branch is learning Cantonese.
Show how much you appreciate their updates with a sack of Kinder Surprise. Just like your friendship, a Kinder Surprise is hollow. Just like children, a Kinder Surprise's toy is considered one of life's great joys by some and a health hazard to others. As an added bonus, the kids will get high from the caramel-sweet chocolate and undoubtedly cry when their sibling's toy is better than theirs. Happy Valentine's!!!!
Kinder Surprise Multi-Pack, $3.47, walmart.ca
For a stranger on the bus
Random good deeds feel good and are especially important around the holidays when it's easy to feel vulnerable. Giving food to strangers gets weird quick, but when managed properly will totally make their Instagram stories (hashtag thanks world)! The least threatening and most universal Valentine's chocolate is a large bag of Hershey's Kisses.
These bite-sized, flat-bottomed chocolates wrapped in a lightweight aluminum foil have no enemies. They are the pink heart emoji. They are the Twitter account rating dogs. The average bag 13/10 contains so many chocolates that it is impossible to physically consume them alone, resulting in an altruistic urge to get rid of them. Their ubiquity makes them unthreatening. Their milk chocolate makes them irresistible. Humanity: not that bad.
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses, $4.18, walmart.ca
Trying polyamory, wut do I do?
After listening to a lot of Dan Savage you are emboldened with the desire to break down your patriarchal views of relationships and love freely! This goes great most of the time, but is a bit confusing. Your week is chalked with Valentine's dates and you want to get your lovers something that says, "You're cute, but like, don't freak out or anything". Smarties feature many colours that you equally prefer and expect nothing from you except your immediate enjoyment. You don't need them, but if you're waiting to get popcorn and they are well-displayed you're like, totally happy to pick them up. Like your dates, they are crunchy and satisfying for a short amount of time. They contain no artificial colours, as your interactions contain no artificial notions of exclusivity.
Smarties, approximately $2, that overpriced corner store near your house
Older person vaguely related to you
Then there is the type of love you feel for the older person, kind of related to you, who's pretty mean about your body and has some problematic world views, which you are constantly course correcting. Despite their annoying habits, you still love the old biddy. Like this old person, Lindt has been around forever and can be super sweet when it wants to be. It's in every store, always on sale and has lived a goddamn life. Lindt makes a lot of stuff, but the extra creamy bar will stick to the top of this old person's mouth like nothing else and prevent them from repeating that joke you hate, giving you both a delicious respite.
Lindt Extra Creamy, 2 for $5 every time we check
Your goddamn self
The most important type of love, always and forever, is the love you feel for yourself. May this sometimes be manifested in an extra nice chocolate you buy for yourself.
SOMA makes some of the most delicious chocolates in Canada, but we are obsessed with the simplicity of their Old School Bar, combining just two ingredients — partially ground cacao nibs and whole crystals of organic sugar cane — to provide an entirely unique texture. This is chocolate as it was back in the day. Simple and pure like your highest self. No flavours, colours, toys, milks or showy packages in the way. The chewy crumble is challenging, the surge of cacao is thrilling. This is life and it is beautiful. You can do anything. You can be anything. February 14th is just a day and we are thinking about you.
Old School Dark, $11 somachocolate.com or in store
Nicole Campbell can usually be found doing wine stuff as a Grape Witch, but her true love is chocolate, bad jokes and Instagram accounts rating dogs. She wishes you a beautiful Valentine's Day and reminds you to do whatever you like regardless of her questionable advice above.