After New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day tends to sneak up on us. Along with flowers and champagne, chocolate is a traditional way to show your love.
Before you buy that heart-shaped box of mass-produced candies at the drugstore, consider a collection of chocolates made with quality cocoa and the finest ingredients.
We've got you covered with a list of the five best places in Miami to get your special someones the gorgeous chocolates they deserve.
1. Romanicos Chocolate
For those who like to think outside the box, head to Romanicos in Coral Gables for the Miami Sushi Box ($39). Tropical fruits, chocolate, and crisp rice are used to mimic the appearance of sushi, but there's nothing fishy about this edible art. Traditionalists, however, can pick up a Valentine's Day-themed box of Alejandra Bigai's famous hand-rolled truffles ($19 to $85) or a selection of nine pretty bonbons ($16).
2. Exquisito Fine Chocolates
Exquisito uses ethically sourced cocoa beans and roasts and grinds them in-house, adding only sugar and no preservatives. The factory/shop is based in Kendall (12855 SW 136th Ave., Suite 102) and produces chocolate and marshmallow treats using top-quality ingredients. Treat your Valentine to some gourmet hot chocolate at home by purchasing Exquisito's pure chocolate mix ($11) or hot-chocolate spoons ($5 each). The handmade, individually packaged spoons come in various flavors and are meant to be stirred directly into a hot cup of milk, water, or coffee. Other items available on the brand's website include s'mores, chocolate bars, truffles, and chocolate mixes ($5 to $24).
3. Cacao Art
The award-winning Cacao Art, located at 7165 SW 47th St. in Miami, produces gourmet chocolates with the utmost attention to detail and quality. Sisters and professional chocolatiers Susana and Isabel source premium chocolate from Venezuela and incorporate local ingredients for their handmade dark-chocolate confections and chocolate truffles. Wow-worthy boxes start at $18 and go up to $48 for a package of 25 chocolates.
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4. Beacon Hill Chocolates
Valentine's Day is a time to impress, and a sugary gift from Beacon Hill Chocolates will guarantee a wide-eyed reaction. Beacon Hill’s flagship in Boston has long been the big name in New England chocolates, and lucky for Miamians, the brand opened its first outpost in the MiMo District. In addition to offering the classics, the shop also carries truffles in adventurous flavors such as daring olive oil, bacon, and Grey Goose (starting at $2.75 each). Plus, Beacon Hill stocks a variety of heart-shaped boxes to present its confections.
5. Le Roy René
Le Roy René recently opened at Brickell City Centre, but the Aix-en-Provence, France-based sweets shop has been around since 1920. The company's signature treat is the calisson, which means “little hug” in Provençal. It's a blend of finely ground Mediterranean sweet almonds, Provençal melon, and orange peel on a wafer bed covered with icing. The candies resemble flower petals and come in an array of colors and flavors (starting at $3.90 for a box of two). In addition to offering its famous calissons, Le Roy René also sells beautiful chocolates, nougats, biscuits, and other candy.