Happy Valentine’s Day!
Ah, the love it or hate it “holiday” has finally arrived—the litmus test for many on gauging how much their significant other really cares for them.
Did you know that the average amount spent on Valentine’s Day gifts has swelled to nearly $150 smack-a-roos this year? Flowers, cards, jewelry, romantic dinners and candy remain the most popular ways to say “I Love You” February 14.
Not surprisingly, people under 35 and those in newer relationships tend to spend the most. Surveys show those who are married spend the least with many saying they are content spending Valentine’s Day at home on the couch. Falling into the “old married couple” category my husband and I typically exchange greeting cards (the funny kind) and cook a nice steak dinner at home, but that’s about the extent of it.
It’s not that I don’t keep my eyes open for a little something I think my husband might like, it’s just that nothing ever really screams “Greg.” My local grocery store had a few shelves of offerings on an end cap. Your basic Russell Stover heart shaped candy and some options from Nestle, Hershey and Lindt. My local hardware store even had a table with some choices to peruse as I made my way to the back of the store to pick up new toilet seat screws.
Everywhere I went nothing really “wowed” me and I guess that’s my problem. If you are going to give a token of love on this, “The Holiday of Love,” there is a lot of pressure to get something that stands out. And that’s when it hit me that if any of these retailers had featured chocolates and candies made by local businesses that would, for sure, have enticed me to spend way too much on a frivolous, err I mean heart-felt gift for my other half.
Here is a another little something you may not know—Vermont is well-known for many things—stunning fall foliage, great skiing and maple everything, but I bet not many are aware that in the past few years the state has been flooded with innovative chocolatiers.
This past December, I was at a winter farm’s market when I met Sue Haynie and her husband who make the most “to die for” sweets and teas. Their non-GMO business, Sweet Seasons Farm & Artisan Confections is based in St. Johnsbury. They pride themselves on using certified naturally grown, high quality, local ingredients when possible and say the secret to their unique tasting confections has to do with the Couverture Chocolate they use.
The heirloom apple used in their Vermont Maple Carmel Organic Apple drizzled in chocolate comes from their own orchard as does all the fruit they use in their confections. The apple was out of this world and decorated so nicely you wanted to take a photo of it rather than eat it. For special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day I could be persuaded to spend $10 on one for my other half, but alas the secret is out and the company is sold out of this one already on their website. For Valentine’s Day, they also offer such delectable treats as Raspberry Bonbons, Chocolate Marshmallows, a Chocolate Secret Box and Sweetheart Chocolate Dipped Cookies, to name a new. The company also makes a variety of truffles year round and while we’ve all tasted truffles the unique flavors they’ve created combined with an emphasis on local ingredients makes deciding which one (or two or three) to sample excruciatingly difficult.
So when was the last time chocolate made you feel this way? That’s what I thought.