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Guilty Indulgences

Though many people consider Valentine’s Day just another marketing scheme to make Americans spend money, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a sucker for a heart-shaped box of chocolates. And if I’m going to go there, I might as well go all the way and indulge my wallet and my taste buds with Vosges Haut-Chocolat collections.

When I discovered this Chicago-based chocolatier three years ago at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, it was love at first sight. Not only is the packaging gorgeous, but the flavors are so unique and adventurous that I wanted to try them all. Who would have thought Budapest sweet Hungarian paprika or rose water could make quality dark chocolate taste even better?

And with every new flavor combination, Vosges continues to trump itself. This year, the Sweet Coquette Collection, “a dossier of aphrodisiac truffles and folklore,” is something worth trying at least once. With truffles like Absinthe made with Chinese star anise, fennel, pastis and dark chocolate, this Victorian-inspired set will have your palette working outside of the box. My favorite is the Edith – Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne, crushed rosebud tea and dark chocolate. If you really want to get outside of your comfort zone, try the Kumamoto – pearl dust and Kumamoto oysters with white chocolate. You can taste a combination of salty and sweet with a subtle hint of the oyster towards the finish.

The Gatsby and Daisy collection, inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” also makes a great Valentine's Day gift. The Rosé and Brut Cuvée truffles hinted with rose petals are divine but the packaging is also a fun gift idea. Each box comes with inscribed notes from the lovers and a magnifying glass to read the letters and inspect the intricate details of the truffles. The whole set is thoughtful, delicious and a wonderful compliment to champagne.

Although the truffle collections are nice to try on their own or with wines, they can be on the pricey side. More reasonable favorites would be the exotic candy bar collections or candy bar libraries. I’ve tried them all but my top three would be the Naga, Barcelona and Red Fire bars. One of the most popular is the Mo’s Bacon bar which sounds scary but is a great combination of savory bacon and sweet chocolate with a great crunch throughout.

If you want to impress your sweetheart or get a wonderful treat for yourself, these chocolates are worth it!

We gave samples to our editors at and this is what they said.

On Mo’s Bacon Bar (Dark Chocolate):

- “What we love about chocolate covered pretzels, but subtler. Love the salty hint and the surprising crunch. I could eat a pound of this.”

- “I was very skeptical at first, but you could only barely taste the bacon and it did add a slight saltiness to the chocolate, which was good. Love that salty-sweet combo.”

- “Cool, sweet/salty flavor. The bacon doesn’t overpower the chocolate.”

On The Gatsby Truffle:

- “This is the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted! Dark chocolate AND champagne in one dessert? I can die a happy woman!”

- “On the first bite, it tastes like I’m eating a flower but it has a good aftertaste. It is very rich. It’s good after you get over that first zap to your taste buds - no pun intended.”

- "Absolutely got the taste of the dryness of the Brut that matched perfectly with the soft velvet of the rose and dark chocolate. Champagne, roses and chocolate? Can’t think of a better match!"

On The Daisy:

- “I like the texture and the flavor of the middle white chocolate – a little bit too flowery on the outside but great white chocolate aftertaste.”

Want more ideas for Chocolate?

Here are some suggestions:

Chocolate Recipes

Superfood: Dark Chocolate