How Sweet It Is

Think outside the heart-shaped box of chocolates and try one of these local sweet shops for confections sure to impress your valentine.

CoCo’s Cupcake Café

5811 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside; 412/361-2625, cocoscupcakecafe.com
These cupcakes (shown above) are baked from scratch and so adorable that you can’t feel guilty about reaching for seconds. In addition to its tasty classics, CoCo’s Cupcake Café offers special Valentine’s Day flavors. Feeling romantic? Try the strawberry-champagne cupcakes, made with champagne-infused vanilla cake with baked-in strawberries, topped with Italian meringue buttercream and a chocolate-dipped strawberry. How about passionate? The passion-fruit cupcakes are moist and fruity, covered in fluffy buttercream icing. Trying to spice things up? Spicy chocolate cupcakes are tinged with white and cayenne pepper and dipped into creamy chocolate ganache. Serve them to your sweetie packaged by CoCo’s in a heart-shaped or long-stem-flower box, and you’ve got yourself one sweet valentine.

Toffee Taboo

toffeetaboo.com
Native Pittsburgher and local culinary scenester Bob Sendall’s Toffee Taboo is an irresistible blend of salty and sweet. His crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates consist of fine Belgian dark chocolate formed into thin sheets topped with whole almonds and cashews and drizzled with toffee and white chocolate. The sweets are romanticized for Valentine’s Day with a box featuring red wrapping and a white bow.

Rosalind Candy Castle

1301 Fifth Ave., New Brighton, Beaver County; 724/843-1144, rosalindcandy.com
With nearly 100 years of from-scratch chocolate-making under its belt, Rosalind Candy has its buttercreams, nougats, toffees, caramels and clusters down pat. And while it’s well-stocked on all those lacey heart boxes for the ladies, there’s something special for the guys, too. Rosalind’s Oxford Shirt Heart is a top seller, with a fabric shirt lid, complete with a collar and satin tie.

Love Street Living Foods

lovestreetlivingfoods.com
Specializing in raw and organic foods, Love Street offers a Valentine’s Day gift box that is a great choice for chocolate lovers looking to keep things healthy. The box includes one raw, organic-chocolate super fudge bar, which is sweetened with agave nectar; one plain chocolate bar and a chocolate bar with goji berries and maple syrup. Full of antioxidants, these dark treats are both scrumptious and sensible. Love Street products are available at Maggie’s Mercantile (Oakland), Giant Eagle Market District (Bethel Park and Shadyside), East End Food Co-op (Point Breeze), John McGinnis & Co. (Castle Shannon) and McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores (Monroeville).

Olive or Twist

140 Sixth St., downtown; 412/255-0525, olive-twist.com
Even going out for a drink can be a chocoholic’s paradise. Try the chocolate-covered cherry martini at Olive or Twist. It’s a blend of crème de cacao, Kahlúa, amaretto and grenadine. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate-covered cherry on top. Now that’s indulgence.

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