Move over, Russell Stover. Hell no, Hershey. Goodbye, Godiva. Ciao, Cadbury. Get lost, Lindt. For choosy chocolate lovers, those common candies just won’t do. If your girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, mom, or whoever you want to treat (yourself included) craves unique chocolate, these unusual choices will hit the spot, on Valentine’s Day or on any other. They may not come in heart-shaped boxes, but it’s what inside that counts.
From camel milk and crickets to curry powder and coconut ash (and plenty of less alliterative options), these interesting chocolates are all delicious and exciting, and worthy of much adoration. And yes, sweet-salty bacon chocolate bars deserve a mention, but even that’s old-hat by now. Try one (or more) of these unique chocolate gifts for your discerning Valentine.
Gold Collection Dark Chocolate-Covered Balsamic-Infused Dried Strawberries, $20 at Dylan’s Candy Bar
Chocolate-covered strawberries are nice and all, but so…expected. These put a piquant twist on the tradition by using balsamic-infused dried strawberries and dark chocolate for a more complex confection. Check out other interesting options like Champagne and Black Currant Truffles, plus other more conventional (but no less delicious) flavors. And through February 7, use code VALENTINEQ1 to get 25 percent off your order plus free shipping on all orders $25 and over. (Missed out? You can still get 20 percent off your order with code CUDDLEQ1—and free shipping on orders over $25.)Try It
Camel milk chocolate has recently gotten easier to come by outside of Dubai (and the “Chopped” kitchen, where Martha Stewart once brought it along for the dessert basket challenge), but chances are good your giftee hasn’t tried it yet. It’s available with dates and with hazelnuts, as well as in white chocolate and dark chocolate form. Most reviewers admit they can’t taste much of a difference, but the camel milk certainly gives it some cachet.Try It
This Thomas Keller-backed—and Oprah-approved—organic extra-virgin olive oil chocolate has an ultra-smooth mouthfeel and extra antioxidants from the heart-healthy fat (which comes from famous Italian olive oil producer Armando Manni). If this sleekly packaged set of milk and dark chocolate is a bit too rich for your blood, you can also buy single bars of the same olive oil chocolate for $15 each at Williams Sonoma.Try It
This 9-piece truffle set from Vosges starts with high-quality chocolate, of course, and highlights inventive flavor combinations like star anise, fennel, and absinthe; ginger, wasabi, and matcha green tea; and coconut and curry (among some less unusual options for when your palate needs a little break). Spring for the 16-piece collection and get some additional flavors (like pasilla chiles and candied violet), or the deluxe 32-piece box for a few more (including horseradish-lemon zest and rose water-pistachio).Try It
Vosges Haut-Chocolat Super Dark Chocolate Coconut Ash and Banana Bar, 2 for $14.99 on Amazon
For single flavors, check your grocery store's candy aisle and you might find even more inventive Vosges bars at even lower prices.
Porcini mushrooms and thyme may sound more suited to a bowl of pasta than a chocolate confection, but this beautifully striped milk-and-white chocolate bar contains both earthy shrooms and herbal thyme for a flavor sensation. The packaging is gorgeous too, and the bars are handmade in Pennsylvania.Try It
Éclat White Chocolate Experience, $38 on Amazon
You can also buy a quartet of these smartly striped bars, two in porcini-thyme and two in the green tea and roasted rice flavor combo.
Pears, cheese, chocolate…sounds like a lovely start to a cheese board—or a unique truffle option that’s probably ripe for an exercise in pairing wine and chocolate! Compartes, which has been a celebrity favorite since it opened in the 1950s and is still beloved by famous and regular folk alike, also offers tons of other delicious flavors to suit any taste, all fetchingly decorated to boot.Try It
You can buy peanut butter and jelly chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s, which is a sure sign these aren’t too uncommon—except this gourmet version steps it up with “a thick, creamy layer of peanut butter praline…mixed with crumbly biscuit for a deliciously crunchy texture…topped with a tartly sweet and tender layer of passionfruit pâte de fruit.” Oh, and it’s covered in semisweet chocolate, of course.Try It
This buttery, rich, golden brittle is studded with cacao nibs that have picked up a hazy tang from renowned bacon baron Allan Benton‘s smokehouse, and it’s all finished off with a layer of chocolate. (Consider accompanying this with a box of the brand’s duck fat caramels.) But beware, this isn’t in stock on Amazon until Feb. 10—which is just in time for Prime members!Try It
Not only is this smooth and silky dark chocolate bar filled with spicy-sweet habanero-honey caramel, it has an appropriately cheeky name perfect for the occasion. And it’s affordable enough for every budget.Try It
Got a bourbon lover in your life? These dark chocolate-covered, sea-salt-sprinkled caramels are made with Woodford Reserve’s award-winning bourbon, plus butter and cream. For something with a cool kiss of mint and a bourbon cream center rather than chewier caramel, try their Mint Julep Bourbon Balls too.Try It
If you’ve ever dipped your fries in a chocolate shake, then you know this is good. Maybe better, since the chocolate is dark and the potato chips will stay nice and crisp. If your Valentine has a sweet tooth that’s also salty, they’ll be delighted with this addictive dessert—and if you’re lucky, they’ll share.Try It
Philadelphia Candies Original Milk Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips, $13.95 on Amazon
In case you (or yours) prefers milk chocolate, you (and your potato chips) are covered!
If Nestlé Crunch bars and even chocolate-covered potato chips are a little too ho-hum for your honey, consider gifting this crunchy cricket-studded chocolate bar instead. Edible insects are the wave of the future, so may as well get on board now. And almost everything tastes better covered in chocolate anyway.Try It
Chuao chocolates are fairly easy to find in grocery stores and at other retail outlets, but this lovely little gift box is a great option for Valentines who like some variety. Find a mix of flavors like sea salt and chipotle with popping candy for a little fizz; spicy dark chocolate; and mango, chile, and lime.Try It
Vegan and paleo-friendly, this chocolate bar boasts “zesty lemon caramel with a cheesecake twist“—made with Peruvian cacao, Indonesian coconut sugar, and organic lemon essential oil, but no dairy at all.Try It
Tahini has taken over desserts and we love it. These smooth dark chocolate bites are filled with pure sesame purée, milk chocolate (yes, two kinds of chocolate in one), and bits of toasty sesame brittle for a textural treat that tastes amazing.Try It
Champagne is a must for special occasions, and Valentine’s Day is no exception—but why not present it in the form of pretty pink Champagne chocolate truffles (alongside a bottle for good measure)?Try It
If Valentine’s beer is more your true love’s desire, give them a box of these Oregon craft beer chocolate truffles. Smooth and creamy inside with a crisp chocolate shell, I can personally attest that these are delicious, and the edible bottle caps look exactly like the real thing.Try It
A Note on Wrapping: If you choose an exotic truffle collection, you’re already covered as far as presentation, but if you opt for a homemade mix of a few intriguing bars, you can wrap them each in tissue paper and present them in a sweet heart-emblazoned bag. In any case, you’re going to make someone very happy.
Hallmark Large Gift Bag with Glitter Heart, $5.99 on Amazon
Create a grab bag of individually-wrapped treats in a romantic package.
Visit our Valentine’s Day 2019 Gift Guide headquarters for even more great ideas. And check out our Valentine’s Day giveaway on Instagram (three lucky winners will get lots of goodies from Hotel Chocolat)!
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Related Video: How to Make Exploding Chocolate
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