A Protest Against Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s is a bit overrated and anti-climatic if you ask me. If you’re single, the day’s completely irrelevant. If you’re dating, there’s all this expectation on the Boy du jour to swoop you off your feet and shower you with flowers/gifts/attention. But expectation always leads to bitter disappointment, and you could end up feeling more unloved when said boy doesn’t deliver on the fantasy you had in mind. If you’re attached, then you have the dilemma of it being barely 2 months after Christmas and you’re scratching your head for gift ideas. How much should you spend on a valentine’s day gift? What if you’ve just started dating?
Valentine’s should be approached with a bit more cynicism. It’s been overhyped to sell gifts, flowers and (awful) valentine’s day set menus. You don’t need to buy your lover expensive gifts to say you love them. Leave each other love notes and plan little surprises. Being a good listener and being respectful to your lover will bring you closer. Daily small acts of kindness will go so much further than a pair of earrings.
Some women want roses, others want Tiffany, but all I want is chocolate.
It’s the small gestures that remind me how much my husband cares— a hug, an impromptu call to say he loves me and whenever we share chocolate after dinner. My husband loves chocolate so I’ve made it my mission to hunt down the best chocolate in London. Single or attached, Valentine’s is better with these sweet delights.
For Gourmet Chocolates
Alexeeva & Jones, Notting Hill
The bees knees, it’s chocolate heaven. They carry fancy chocolates from internationally renowned, award-winning chocolatiers. If you’ve got a chocolate connoisseur to impress, these are the chocolates that’ll do the trick. You’ll find all sorts of pralines, ganaches, truffles and chocolate bars in a range of flavours, from the traditional to the more exotic. Our favourites are the sea salt and caramel from Franck Daubos and the passionfruit chocolate from Paul Wayne Gregory. They don’t come cheap but they’re worth every penny. You can order online, but that would take the fun out of taste testing chocolates at the shop.
The Queen’s Chocolatiers
Making chocolates since 1891, this is reportedly the brand the Queen prefers. The original founding family, the Dufours were the inventors of the chocolate truffle, so Prestat knows a thing or two about the art of making chocolate. Our favourite however, are their wafer thins. Delicate and meltingly smooth, the Earl Grey is a must. There’s also Matcha, which is utterly irresistible. Because they’re so thin, you won’t feel guilty going back for seconds and thirds.
Dark, Rich & Intense
Marou’s Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate brand, meaning that the cocoa beans are sourced from a single estate, in this case, Vietnam. I know, Vietnam! Who would have thought Vietnam made chocolate! Marou was founded by 2 Frenchmen in 2011, who were interested in creating great tasting chocolate that’s ethically sourced. If you’re a fan of dark chocolate, you’ve got to try the Marou Ba Ria at 76% and the Heart of Darkness at 85%.
DIY Raw Chocolate
Making your own chocolate is actually really easy and it’s healthy! Cacao has antioxidants galore and when you make your own, you get to control what goes in it. No preservatives and nasties for starters. You get to customise the flavours and add ins you like— nuts, dried fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, chilli, the list is endless. Anyone can buy a box of chocolates, but to make your own… now that’s true love! I follow this recipe.