With just one week until Valentine’s Day we’re starting to think about where to grab something sweet to show those we care about we’re grateful for the happiness they bring to our lives. And let’s be honest, with the craziness in today’s world who couldn’t use an extra treat to remind us that sometimes joy really is found in the perfect dark chocolate bar hiding in your desk drawer, or the salty, caramel truffles you enjoy after the kids have finally gone to bed.
If you have a chocolate lover in your life who has you on the hunt for the perfect box of chocolates, or perhaps a few macaroons, check out the five local businesses below to find the perfect Valentine’s Day indulgence.
With a focus on local and ethical ingredient sourcing and social responsibility and sustainability, this family-owned Chapel Hill business does not disappoint. I discovered their to-die-for dark chocolate caramels at the Carrboro Elf Market this past holiday season and purchased several packages for gifts. Chocolatay Confections is a vendor at the Chapel Hill and Durham Farmer’s Markets but you can also place your order online, but make sure you make it happen before February 9th if you’re placing an order for Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a unique Valentine’s occasion, you can enjoy some of their yummy chocolate at a special event on February 15th, “Lavender, Love, & Wine” at Lavender Oaks Farm in Chapel Hill.
Located in downtown Hillsborough, Matthew’s Chocolates reminds me of a small chocolate shop you might stumble upon in a quaint village in Belgium. You can find beautiful hand-painted chocolates and rich truffles that truly taste like perfection. To add to the experience, owner Matthew Shepherd likes to experiment with fragrance in his chocolates resulting in a unique aromatic experience if one chooses. Valentine boxes include 9 pieces of special chocolate chosen by Matthew and while you’re picking out something special for someone else, do yourself a favor and try out the gelato.
Bonbons, gummies and old-fashioned favorites! Lolli and Pops is located downstairs at Southpoint Mall and is a one-stop-shop if you’ve got different palettes to please. With beautiful macarons, boxed chocolates, more gummy bear flavors than you knew existed and unique finds like Harry Potter themed candy, you should be able to find something for everyone in this candy land. Let’s be honest, my kids could care less about the percent of cacao in their chocolate bar. Making a stop at Lolli and Pops is a must before February 14th.
If you’re looking for yummy chocolate and want to support a great cause, Special Treats is your spot. Owner Dan Friedman has a background in investment real estate but wanted to find a way to provide opportunities for adults living with disabilities after seeing how challenging it was for his own son who has autism to find a job. Dan opened Special Treats in 2017 and recently moved to a new location within Timberlyne Shopping Center and now features a juice bar and serves wine and beer. The most popular item at Special Treats is the Tree Stump, which is a chocolate-dipped sandwich of two pretzels with peanut butter and caramel in the middle. Need I say more? I recently stopped in to grab some Tree Stumps and Dan gave me a sample of the Raspberry Coffee Bean Bark that is made in-store, and although I’m not a big fan of fruit in my chocolate, the coffee beans perfectly balance the raspberries.
Live entertainment is a mainstay at Special Treats, and their Chocolate Lounge features great live music and stand-up comedy Fridays and Saturday evenings and some Sunday afternoons. On Valentine’s Day from 6-10 pm, they will host a chocolate tasting party featuring a three-course gourmet truffle menu, champagne and live music. Tickets are only $10 per person and can be purchased at the store or on Facebook.
The famous Tree Stumps from Special Treats.
People rave about Miel’s truffles and macarons with some folks saying it’s the best chocolate they’ve ever had. Chocolates are made on-site and there are numerous flavors and choices to choose from. Stop in at 1011 West Main Street in Durham and fill a heart-shaped box with 16 pieces of your choice, or if you need a larger quantity, there are boxes that will hold 75-80 pieces. It is worth noting that some of the options on their website, like the Valentine Cookie Bouquet and the Perfect Valentine Cupcakes, usually require special order well in advance.
Off to the races we go friends! Good luck finding the perfect caramel, bonbon or truffle to express your admiration for the Valentines in your life. And if you purchase any treats from the shops we’ve mentioned here, take a picture and tag us on Instagram (@bororealtync) or Facebook and tell us what you thought. Better yet, if you have a local favorite that you think we should know about, tag us on social media and we will gladly give it a try. A reason to indulge in local delights- yes, please!