Celebrating Valentine’s Favorite Pair: Chocolate & Bubbles

PHOTO: Mustache Valentines Chocolates.
Marc Delacruz

Valentine’s Day is not a time you should over-think. Private island jet-aways, 15-course meals that cost the equivalent of a house payment, elaborate gifts featuring technology… not really needed. Sparkling wine and chocolates, on the other hand? So classic; so delicious; so much love. (And in this pic, so mustache.)

PHOTO: Pralines from the Cronut creator.
Neuahaus Chocolate
Pralines from the Cronut Creator

For all the people too smart (or too far away) to queue up for a Cronut, here’s a much fancier option: Belgian chocolate company Neuhaus teamed up with a bevy of superstar pastry chefs -- including Cronut creator Dominique Ansel -- to create a “Haute Patisserie” praline collection that you can buy online and have on your doorstep in 24 hours. These are not pralines as you know them. They’re more like eensy-weensy French pastries coated in decadent chocolate -- each one about the size of a throat lozenge.

PHOTO: Vintage Rose Champagne.
Laurent-Perrier
Vintage Rose Champagne

Because there really is no substitute for vintage pink Champagne… Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvee Rose, pictured, is lovely if you can find it (easiest in the UK). The rare Alexandra Rose vintage has a most romantic back story. (It was originally created in 1987 by the then-Head of House at Laurent-Perrier as a wedding cuvee for his daughter, Alexandra.) Recommended bottles under $100: Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve, Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

PHOTO: Conversation hearts.
Godiva
Conversation Hearts

If your heart doesn’t beat a little faster when you see a candy heart with a love message just for you, then you are cold as the Klondike. Granted, though, the ones from elementary school taste kind of like chalk. Godiva makes much yummier versions out of milk chocolate – like this “HUG” Heart, or cute bonbons that spell out I (Heart) Y-O-U.

PHOTO: A Champagne Cocktail toast.
Living Room at the W Times Square
A Champagne Cocktail Toast

Classic cocktails and dark spirits don’t fit with the mood on Cupid’s big day. Toast your date with a sparkly cocktail –- ideally one with berries in it, and a sexy name. The Living Room lounges at W Hotels nationwide play up the sexy theme very well, mixing champagne cocktails such as the Love Potion (pictured) and the French Lace.

PHOTO: Chocolate-covered capsaicin (aka chile peppers).
Strawberries.com
Chocolate-Covered capsaicin (aka Chile Peppers)

Everything you need to know about chiles taking over the world is illustrated right here: Strawberries.com is promoting chocolate-dipped jalapenos as a viable Valentine’s gift. Not that we’d expect Strawberries.com to only feature strawberries (we would), but to put peppers ahead of pretzels? My, how times are changing.

PHOTO: Fizzy party drinks.
Le Sutra
Fizzy party drinks

If you plan to be out with friends celebrating the fact that you’re not paired up this Valentine’s, champagne is probably not your drink for the evening. You need something a little more affordable, and a little stronger. Sweet, sparkly and in all beautiful colors resembling Fruit Stripe bubblegum, Le Sutra is a fun one for nights out…or for pre-partying…or for saying “No” to the weather and having everyone over to your house.

PHOTO: ALL THE DESSERTS
Gaby, Sofitel New York
ALL THE DESSERTS

Sometimes you want ALL THE DESSERTS. Not a sampler, not a bite or two from everyone else’s plate. ALL. Exactly as they appear on the display cart – the better to make people jealous on Instagram. Here’s Gaby in the Sofitel, Manhattan, showing how to do a properly over-the-top dessert platter with crème brulee, éclairs, macaroons and chocolate overload.

PHOTO: #LoveBrachetto
Consorzio Tutela Brachetto dAcqui
#LoveBrachetto

This Italian sparkly berry-cherry-ruby wine is like delicious young love in a bottle. The more elegant cousin of Lambrusco, it’s produced in very small quantities in the hilly Piedmont region of Italy. Perfect bottles for Valentine’s Day include Banfi Rosa Regale, with the distinctive red rose, and Ca’ dei Mandorli, which features the symbols for “male” and “female” on a pink background.

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