“Everybody wants a box of chocolates and a long-stem rose,” sang Leonard Cohen in “Everybody Knows,” one of his signature songs. He isn’t wrong. There is a perfect box of chocolates out there for everyone. However, it sometimes takes considerable effort to find the right chocolate for the one you love. Carefully avoid these common faux pas when buying chocolate for Valentine’s Day (or any other occasion).
Mistake #1: Giving Milk Chocolate to a Vegan or Someone with Lactose Intolerance
Every year, vegans, and those with food allergies or sensitivities, receive edible gifts they can’t eat, creating an awkward dilemma of wholeheartedly accepting the gift or explaining their dietary choices so the person doesn’t keep buying gifts that won’t be enjoyed. Avoid putting the recipient in that position by subtly asking questions before you shop. If you ask about whether there’s anything they cannot eat over a shared lunch, they probably won’t suspect a thing.
Happily, several companies now offer vegan and allergy-friendly chocolates in attractive Valentine’s Day packaging. For example, No Whey! Foods offers a heart-shaped chocolate truffle box that is vegan and free of the eight most common allergens. Everything they create is free of milk, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, soy, and eggs.
Chocolate Truffle Heart, $28.95 on Amazon
These truffles are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and come in a heart-shaped box to boot.
Mistake #2: Assuming Edible Gifts Need to Be Indulgent
You don’t have to give your significant other, friend, neighbor, or parent something unhealthy to say, “I love you!” Chocolate can be delicious and healthy too. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, dark chocolate may help protect heart health thanks to the flavanols it contains.
Related Reading: The Best Dark Chocolate Bars to Treat Yourself (Or Someone Else)
Prefer to give a baked good? Lenny & Larry’s offers a variety of delectable chocolate cookies that are nutritious and high in protein and fiber. Their treats are also vegan, kosher, and free of several common allergens such as soy and dairy. They also have no high fructose corn syrup, cholesterol, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols.
Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie Variety Pack, 16 for $32.73 on Amazon
Get 16 individually wrapped cookies in 8 different flavors, like Double Chocolate, Snickerdoodle, and Lemon Poppy.
Mistake #3: Choosing a Box of Chocolates Based on the Beautiful Packaging
While presentation is important in gift-giving, what’s inside the package will be what’s most remembered. Don’t get too tempted by the shimmering red paper over heart-shaped boxes unless they contain the kind of chocolate your Valentine prefers. It would be better to get a few candy bars or other chocolate treats that you know your loved one enjoys, and then simply put them in a gift bag or box. You can always wrap the gift yourself, so the content of the box of chocolates should always be considered before you assess the packaging.
Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Treat Boxes, 3 for $15.95 on Amazon
Make your own assortments and present them in style.
Hallmark Large Gift Bag, $5.99 on Amazon
A gold glitter heart gives this bag some tasteful bling; it comes with tissue paper too.
Hallmark Paper Wonder Small Valentine’s Gift Boxes, 3 for $5.99 on Amazon
A trio of origami-style, heart-topped, pop-up boxes in classic Valentine colors.
Mistake #4: Buying Chocolates Without Considering How They’re Sourced
More people than ever are considering how their food is sourced. Chocolate is an ingredient that has sadly been linked to child labor in some instances. Just as many people only buy ethically sourced diamonds, they are also striving to only support chocolate that was harvested in an ethical manner. Steer clear of the candy aisle at the supermarket and look for fair trade chocolate instead.
Companies like Madécasse have Direct Trade Certification and offer ethically sourced chocolate bars in flavors like Mint Crunch Dark Chocolate, Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs, and Honey Crystal Dark Chocolate. You can’t go wrong buying chocolate that makes you and the recipient feel good.
Mistake #5: Overthinking Things
Finally, trust yourself when it comes to buying chocolate for the ones you love, and remember that it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution. There’s no reason why someone wouldn’t appreciate an ethically sourced box of chocolates even if they were not specifically looking for it. You really can’t be too considerate when it comes to your loved one and the way you pick out their chocolates.
Related Video: A Valentine for Unappreciated Chocolates
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.