Valentine's Day gifts: Best boxed chocolates for your sweetheart


"Once you taste amazing chocolate, you'll never go back," said Ellen Klosz of Consumer Reports. "We look for ultra-smooth chocolate coatings and fillings that have fresh cream or have real natural flavors."

Woodhouse's 48-piece Traditional Assortment gift box, which contains truffles, creams, nuts and nut butters, ranked highest among top-tier chocolates. The assortment has some very distinct flavors like cinnamon toast and buttery pecan pie encased in delicious chocolate. A box costs $90, plus shipping.

Woodhouse also offers 24-piece boxes for $48 and 12-piece boxes for $24.

Consumer Reports added several new chocolates to their "excellent" list this year, including Recchiuti Confections' Black Box. The 16-piece assortment for $45 features some unusual flavors like rose caramel and star anise with pink peppercorn, cloaked in dark, milk and white chocolate.

Another new excellent option is the Xocolatti Nero Collection of truffles. For $50, you get 16 truffles with some unexpected fillings like olive oil basil, coffee nutmeg, sake, and champagne brut. Bigger and smaller boxes are available -- you can get 9 pieces for $29 or 25 pieces for $78. There are also three other truffle collections featuring different flavors.

For more colorful "eye candy," check out the edible artworks from Marie Belle, Norman Love, and Anna Shea.

And if you're the happy recipient of some fine chocolates, a word of advice - no nibbling!

"The best way to eat chocolate is to pop the whole thing in your mouth because many times there are different layers, and you want to get the sensation of the texture and the flavors all together," said Klosz.

Something to keep in mind, indulgence can come at a price. Most fine chocolates should be eaten within seven to 10 days, which means you're best choosing overnight or one-day shipping. And that can add substantially to the cost.

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