In addition to being a day to express your undying love for your significant other – or perhaps your dog – Valentine’s Day is also the perfect excuse to jump back into the world of chocolate confections you swore off when the new year arrived. And yes, we realize many of you fell off that wagon back on Jan 3 and have been satisfying the sweet tooth under cover of darkness or behind a locked office door. But on Feb 14 there’s no need to be ashamed of the five chocolate bars in your purse.
That one true love may not last, but chocolate never disappoints. So indulge your craving with one of these delish options:
1. Truffles at Dean’s Sweets, 82 Middle St., Portland
They’re everything you dream of: Decadent, hand-dipped, melt-in-your-mouth creations with sweet (or savory) surprises like peppermint, ginger, brandy or cayenne in the middle. Better than sex? Maybe. But don’t tell him that.
2. Gelato at The Gelato Fiasco, 74 Maine St., Brunswick & 425 Fore St., Portland
If you’re walking past a gelato store it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from going in. So … since you’re there, you might as well get the most chocolate bang for your bucks: Dark Chocolate Noir Sorbetto. It needs no further introduction than what’s on the Gelato Fiasco website: “dense, dark, oh-my-god-chocolate.”
3. Cake at Scratch Baking, 416 Preble St., South Portland
Everyone knows that everything’s good here, but for this occasion you want the chocolate ganache cake. It comes in three sizes – 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch. Whichever size you choose, don’t feel like you have to share.
4. Martini at The Bar of Chocolate, 38 Wharf St., Portland
Online commenters rave about the size of the drinks here and word is this vat of liquid goodness comes in a chocolate-rimmed glass and with enough alcohol to make you and three of your friends tipsy. Yum! Gimme anutherun, (hic) … please.
5. Hot cocoa at Bard Coffee, 185 Middle St., Portland
Not every coffee shop makes a great hot cocoa, but Bard does – and your mug of creamy deliciousness will come with a fun work of art on top thanks to your friendly barista. Unfortunately the design won’t last long – and neither will your cocoa.
6. Crepes at The Merry Table, 43 Wharf St., Portland
Feel free to skip dinner and head straight for dessert with the chocolat crepe. It’s filled with chocolate ganache and topped with whipped cream. What else do you need?
7. Strawberries at Whole Foods, 2 Somerset St., Portland
Think strawberries are only good in the summer? Think again. Try them dipped in milk chocolate. Even better, find someone to feed them to you as you lounge in a tub of bubbles with a glass of Champagne in hand.
8. Bacon at Old Port Candy Company, 422 Fore St., Portland
Yes, bacon. Strips of it, in fact, cooked, cooled and dipped in melting chocolate. The final touch is the sea salt sprinkled on top. Breakfast anyone?
9. Popcorn at Coastal Maine Popcorn, 43 Exchange St., Portland & 12 Oak St., Boothbay Harbor
Skip the Orville Redenbacher and Junior Mints and go straight for the chocolate cherry popcorn the next time you pop “The Exorcist” in the DVD player. So yummy it’ll turn heads.
10. Doughnuts at The Original Frog & Turtle: A Gastro Pub, 3 Bridge St., Westbrook
You’ll have to time your craving just right – or suffer until Sunday – but it’ll be so worth it when you start your brunch off with an appetizer of homemade, mouth-watering doughnuts. One order includes three doughnuts so make sure at least one is the double chocolate, which is sliced and filled with chocolate cream and finished with chocolate ganache on top. Expect the sugar coma to kick in before your eggs benny arrive.
11. Milkshakes at Silly’s, 40 Washington Ave., Portland
Ice cream in the winter? Oh sure you betcha! And if you try the Montezuma’s Revenge, made with vanilla ice cream, milk, chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne, it may even heat you up a bit on a cold February night.
12. Beer from RSVP, 887 Forest Ave, Portland
The mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malts and real chocolate are balanced perfectly with the right amount of hops for a bitter-sweet finish in Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. Dessert! In a frosty mug!
13. Lobster dinner at Haven’s Candies, 87 County Road, Westbrook; 448 Forest Ave., Portland & 2 Cabella Blvd., Scarborough
If you’re craving chocolate AND a Maine shore dinner, Haven’s has what you’re looking for. Well, sort of. For $32.95 you’ll get a one-pound lobster, ear of corn, some shells for decoration and even a cup of drawn butter – all made out of chocolate.
Or wine a free box of chocolate-covered strawberries (enter by Feb 10): havenscandies.com/contest/