Break the chocolate moldBottom Highlights, Dining Thursday, February 9th, 2012
February is one of the most interesting months of the year. It is, of course, the shortest and changes every four years with the addition of a day. It has Groundhog Day, Presidents Day weekend and Valentine’s Day all wrapped up in 28 (or 29) days.
In recent years, I have noticed that Valentine’s Day has become a true food holiday. Not only is it the day to express your love to your significant other, but the symbolism of food has become such a big part of the day. Restaurants do special menus and it is sometimes impossible to even get a reservation.
Food presents are all the rage and chocolates have got to be the number one item given on Valentine’s Day.
Go into any store and aisle after aisle you will find heart-shaped boxes with the sweet treats inside. Hershey’s, Godiva, Russell Stover and Lindt are just some of the delicious brands you will find. Last year, Americans spent an astonishing $700 million on chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
From the moment chocolate was discovered it was considered to be valuable and decadent. The first little chocolate candies were created back in the 1860s by a little known chocolatier called Cadbury. The company had a vision and was the first to market chocolates in little heart shaped boxes. The idea took off, obviously. Company after company soon followed and a worldwide tradition was born.
These days, not only do you have a plethora of options in the stores, but here in San Diego we have some beautiful chocolate shops to choose from.
Check out Chuao Chocolatier (pronounced chew-WOW) with shops in La Jolla, Del Mar and Encinitas. Two Venezuelan brothers came together and created an artisan chocolate store and are at the top of their game. Try one of their specials such as the Gingerettes or Orangettes.
Eclipse Chocolat is another unique little gem we have here in our city. Nestled on El Cajon Boulevard, they are not only a chocolate house, but they also are a café and offer delectable savory and sweet dishes. They have amazing chocolate themed nights and a knock-out brunch. If you love chocolate, this is one of the best places to try it in so many different ways. The chocolate braised bacon waffle is a no-miss and is something you just don’t find everywhere.
Right in our own backyard we have one of the best additions to Hillcrest. Chocolat Cremerie hugs the corner of 5th and University and offers sweet and savory crepes, creamy gelato and an array of pies, tarts and cakes. Forget the glass of milk here, they have a full bar so you can have a great glass of wine with one of their outstanding chocolate cakes.
If truffles are your thing, you cannot miss the Truffle Lady over in Point Loma. The Elegant Truffle is just that. An unbelievable selection is made fresh daily and any variety you can think of is there. This is a true treat for the one you love. They really just melt in your mouth. If someone gave me a box of these, I’d be in love forever, they are just that good.
I am always telling people to think outside the box. I very often get asked, “Where should I go?” “Where’s the best place to take a date?” “What do you think of that place?” My answers are always the same, try something new. Break the mold and renew your habits.
This year, bring him (or her) a box of something special. Nothing says I love you more than something that was picked out specifically for them. Trust me on this, I guarantee you will be thanked and remembered.
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