Chocolate treats are the name <BR>of the game for Valentine's Day
In baskets labeled "sweetheart garden," there are "chocolates on a stick" with words such as "kiss" and "love" and molded into shapes such as hearts and lips. They also come in milk, dark and white chocolate, as do most of their candies.
Chocolate is more popular for Valentine's Day than any other holiday, Mary said. "Whether it's truffles or other specialties, people know what their sweeties like. Some people come in here all giddy about choosing all these candies."
Aside from chocolate, Mary said they have "fun candies," such as heart-shaped sour marshmallows, sour "smoochie lips" and conversation jellybeans (rather than hearts) that have expressions such as "hug me" and "I love you."
Other Valentine treats include hollow, heart-shaped boxes with lids that people can stuff with other candies, Irene said. "Then they can eat the whole gift."
They also have a special chocolate pizza, which is a large chocolate heart sprinkled with M&Ms (to appear like pepperoni) and flakes of white chocolate (resembling parmesan cheese).
People can buy these items individually, or get a special package put together. Irene said that, aside from Valentine candy, people can choose some of their other specialty goodies to mix, such as truffles, pralines, toffee, nut clusters and peanut butter cups.
Kerrianne Burch and Cheryl Larson own a small business called Cornflower Blue, where they make gift baskets. Burch said gift baskets are always popular during this time of year.
They include chocolate and other scrumptious treats in each basket. The "gourmet basket" includes sparkling cider, Ghiradelli chocolate, raspberry shortbread, chocolate caramel-filled hearts, fudge and "sunny seed drops" (chocolate-covered sunflower seeds).
A basket designed especially for men includes items such as cheese and crackers, sausage, pretzels, nuts and chocolate and peanut butter candy.
"We make sure the men are happy," she said with a smile.
They spruce up the look of the baskets with beautiful ribbons and bows. Burch said chocolate oftentimes takes the place of giving flowers because "(the baskets) are as beautiful as flowers, but something people can enjoy edibly."
Chocolate is such a lovely gift, she added, because "it's so romantic. When you think of Valentine's Day, you think of chocolate. People feel like it means more if it's chocolate because it's so delectable."
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