Chocolates from Georgetown's Fleurir are always a good gift. Valentine's Day is no exception. Photograph by Erik Uecke.
Don’t be that Valentine. You know, the one who rushes to the pharmacy at 5:30 on February 14, desperately hoping there’s a heart-shaped box of something left on the shelves. It’s not a good look. Instead, head (early) to one of these chocolate shops around town, and pick up some sweets as special as your special someone.
The Butcher’s Block
1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-5253.
Though chef Robert Weidmaier’s market usually focuses on meaty delights, the house-made truffles from the BRABO pastry chefs will be on offer for Valentine’s. There are classic dark-chocolate-raspberry confections, but you can also opt for nontraditional takes, like passion-fruit-caramel with fried pineapple and cherry-fig with honey-roasted almonds.
Price: $9 for four truffles; $18 for eight.
2003 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-635-7917; 506 John Carlyle St., Alexandria; 703-575-8686
The Logan Circle branch of this chocolate shop just closed its doors, but you can still get plenty of handmade truffles and caramels from chocolatier Rob Kingsbury in the Alexandria and Del Ray locations. Creative flavors include dark chocolate and Brie, French Champagne, and tiramisu. If you’re thinking outside the chocolate box for gifts, the Alexandria location has chocolate and wine pairing classes (the next one is February 16), which are purchasable as gifts.
Price: $24 for a dozen truffles.
1025 North Fillmore Street Arlington, VA; 703-524-0007*
Local chocolatier Jason Adelman creates colorful confections that your modern-art-loving valentine will adore. Truffles in flavors such as port wine and fig, ancho chili, and salted butter caramel (our favorite) are decorated in bright colors and groovy designs, including a seasonal series from local artists. Miniature bars in flavors like crispy peanut butter and salted caramel round out the collection.
Price: $17 for a nine-piece box.
1130 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-466-2190
This doubly named downtown shop has been helping Washington pick out Valentine’s chocolates since the shop opened more than 25 years ago. Treats from well-known chocolatiers like Neuhaus and Lake Champlain arrive in highly festive Valentine’s wrapping. Old-school chocolate lovers will appreciate the shop’s classic collections, which include rich buttercreams, pecan turtles, and mint meltaways.
Price: Varies by producer.
Co Co. Sala
929 F St., NW; 202-347-4265
This Penn Quarter chocolate-themed lounge and attached boutique go way beyond the chocolate bar (though they have plenty of those, too, and you can customize them for a special V-day gift). Cocoa Champagne corks filled with Perrier Jouet, strips of chocolate-covered bacon, and hot chocolate “pops” that melt into warm milk for sinfully rich cocoa are among the many finds.
Price: $40 for a 16-piece collection box.
1904 18th St., NW; 202-328-1506
Homemade chocolates aren’t the focus here, and that’s not a bad thing: Owner Biagio Abbatiello stocks bars, truffles, toffees, and more from talented local chocolatiers and other acclaimed producers such as Vosges, Valrhona, and Michel Cluizel. Feeling a bit lost with all the choices? Another gift option is one of the weekly chocolate-tasting workshops, which range from beginner to master.
Price: Varies by producer.
3235 P St., NW; 202-465-4368
Husband-and-wife team Ashley Hubbard and Robert Ludlow are behind this Georgetown chocolate boutique, where truffle flavors range from classic (raspberry) to exotic (lavender-Shiraz). Have a honey who hails from elsewhere? Regionally themed chocolate bars, like the hickory-caramel-and-bacon-studded South Bar, make fun gifts.
Price: $7.50 for bars; $18 for a nine-piece box.
1781 Florida Ave., NW; 202-518-2570
There’s more going on in this cafe than just chocolate (consider including breakfast or lunch in your shopping spree), but there’s plenty of that, too. Pastry chef Niel Piferoen, a Citronelle vet, and wife Ada offer an array of treats to go, including Belgian-style truffles, bars, and passion-fruit, pistachio, coffee, and other flavored chocolates.
Price: $22 and up for a dozen-piece box of chocolates; $3.25 per chocolate bar.
Praline Bakery & Bistro
4611 Sangamore Road, Bethesda; 301-229-8180
You can pick up more sweets than just chocolates at this bakery and cafe also known for its cakes, fruit tarts, and cookies. For a traditional gift, customizable boxes are available to fill with Key lime, pistachio, salted almond caramel, and exotic-fruit-filled chocolates.
Price: $17 for a dozen-piece box.
Schakolad Chocolate Factory
2461 S. Clark St., Arlington; 703-418-2000
There are branches of this chocolate shop around the country, but all the chocolates are made on the premises at the Crystal City shop. Piece together your own box with more than 70 varieties of chocolates, which include flavors like cheesecake, orange truffle, and Jamaican rum. Special dietary options include kosher, vegan, sugar-free, and low-carb sweets; there’s also chocolate body paint, if that’s what you’re into.
Price: $16 for a 15-piece box.
The Chocolate Moose
1743 L St., NW; 202-463-0992
“Serving weirdly sophisticated Washingtonians” is the slogan on the website of this 34 year-old gift gallery, which is a fantastic one-stop shop for valentines looking to pick up a card, a funky gift—anything from jewelry and DC-themed cufflinks to marijuana-shaped potholders (get it?)—and chocolates from producers like Vosges and Leonidas. A sweet favorite is chewy chocolate turtles.
Price: $18 for a pound of turtles.
Keep up with all the Washingtonian's Valentine's Day coverage—including indispensable gift and dining guides—here.
*We orginially misidentified the address. We regret the error.