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Valentine’s Day Confections
Treats for Your Sweetie
by Jialin Luh on Jan 22, 2010
This year, instead of getting the Russell Stover Boxed Chocolates or corny conversational hearts, get your Valentine something sweeter. In San Francisco we are fortunate to have many confectioneries to choose from. From chocolates to cupcakes, macarons to handmade candies, it’s easy to support local businesses and avoid mass-produced factory chocolates for all your Valentines.
This confectionery nearly closed its doors at the end of last year but, in a miraculous change of events, celebrated its reopening the first week of January. With three locations throughout the city — the Ferry Building, Hayes Valley and the Marina — Miette Confiserie is a popular destination for eye- and palette-pleasing sweets, cakes and pastries. Aside from elegant cakes, another easy choices is Rosettes — tiny rose meringues infused with organic rose oil packaged in darling tubes. Need something for a vegan? Try the Denmark Mints, chocolate vegan mints resembling pastel-hued M&M’s, but prettier.
The Candy Store
Another well-loved establishment, The Candy Store on Vallejo Street in Russian Hill specializes in hard-to-find nostalgic goodies and the latest from contemporary “artisan confectioners.” The candy buyer’s criteria for selecting what goes in the store is admirable (listed on their blog): 1. The candy must be made by a small confectioner, bonus if family owned and/or local; 2. Ingredients must be of the highest quality; 3. The product must be unique and not easily found in other stores; 4. Packaging must be attractive; 5. Must taste great! This is a great destination for the discerning lover of sweets and nostalgia.
If “bewitching candy” is in order, try Fiona’s Sweetshoppe, which specializes in English, Scottish and otherworldly confections. The owner, Fiona, is actually an M.D. who decided to give her medical practice a break in pursuit of her “undying passion for candy.” Here you’ll find treats like Gobstopping Gingers, Rich Treacle Toffee, Old Fashioned Humbugs, Sherbet Strawberries, and much more.
Cups and Cakes Bakery
Sometimes all it takes to make a bad day better is the gift of a cupcake, or cakes. The “basic flavors” menu consists of 14 flavors, such as “cloud nine” (angel food), “pucker-up pink lemonade” (tart pink lemonade cake, pink lemonade buttercream, rainbow sprinkles) and “strawberry blonde” (honey cake, strawberry buttercream, rainbow sprinkles), is currently supplemented by a list of 12 “specialty flavors,” including “pancake breakfast” (maple bacon cake, maple buttercream, bacon!), “rainbow brights” (vanilla rainbow cake, cream cheese frosting, rainbow nerds) and “the art house” (ginger-beet cake, ginger cream cheese, candied ginger). And they’re happy to customize!
Macarons have steadily gained popularity in recent years, but they are no piece of cake to craft successfully from scratch. Leave the work to the experts and reserve your energy for your romantic activities. Known for having a wide selection of flavors, these macarons are handmade by French pastry chef Christophe Michalak, the 2005 winner of the World Pastry Cup. All the colorful, beauteous macarons are gluten-free and come in more than 12 flavors.
The Cake Gallery
Surprise your Valentine with a cake depicting just about anything you wish from the Cake Gallery. Though well-known for X-rated and erotic cakes, it also crafts all kinds of thee-dimensional cakes. Past orders have included cakes shaped like guitars, steaks, and cartoon characters. The sky’s the limit. Don’t expect something you’ll see on the TV show “Ace of Cakes,” but you can look forward to affordable, totally personalized embodiments of your imagination.
Come here for a wide selection of chocolate — as the shop name suggests, just about every chocolate you could hope to find is covered here. Everything from chocolate with bacon to chocolate with green tea, and other combinations with chili and sweet basil, is game here and you can taste before you purchase!
Teuscher and its famous champagne truffles is worth braving the Union Square crowds. All kinds of artisan chocolates can be found here, and gorgeous packaging to boot, from floral options to Swiss-designed whimsical animal themes. Not the cheapest option, but if your Valentine is worth the splurge, definitely pay this place a visit.
by Jialin Luh on Jan 22, 2010