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Valentine’s Chocolates

"Oh, I couldn't possibly," she says, her hand nevertheless reaching toward the proffered box. Chocolate represents all that is decadent, delicious and exotic. Even Casanova was reportedly a great fan of chocolate's erotic qualities-and that was a man who knew there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

To Seduce

Photos: Rae Huo

"Holy…cocoa bean," one thinks, as the Naga truffle spreads coconut extract, milk chocolate and fragrant curry powder across your mouth. The Naga is just one of the exotic truffles made by Vosges' owner/chocolatier, the Chicago-based Katrina Markoff. Her haut-chocolats are worldly, with ingredients such as Pastis, Chinese star anise, violets-even Big Island honey. The layered flavors, the lingering sensations. We're blushing. A nine-piece box is $23 at Neiman Marcus (Ala Moana Center, 951-8887).


To Comfort

To bite, or not to bite? To crack through the shell of the chocolate-covered cherry and enjoy it all at once, or slowly let it dissolve, savoring the syrup before you hit the satisfying pop of the fruit itself? Take time to try both, as these old-fashioned confections are far better than their drugstore impersonators: balanced sweetness and cocoa-forward, dark-chocolate richness. $9.75 for six ounces at Ethel M. Chocolates (Ala Moana Center; 957-0101). To healWorld-famous Chocolatier Jacques Torres created a chocolate bar with herbs to help stomach a too-full stomach. With 61.5 percent cacao, you can really taste the dusky undertones of the cacao beans playing off the peppermint, basil and cardamon flavors. $5 a bar at Origins (visit www.origins.com for locations).


To Heal

World-famous Chocolatier Jacques Torres created a chocolate bar with herbs to help stomach a too-full stomach. With 61.5 percent cacao, you can really taste the dusky undertones of the cacao beans playing off the peppermint, basil and cardamon flavors. $5 a bar at Origins (visit www.origins.com for locations).


To Intrigue

The gray, wind-churned sea meets a lonely beach in France. Fran's Chocolates Dark Gray Salt Caramels are the result: an unusual, luxurious creation. The caramels are hand dipped in dark chocolate, then sprinkled with just a dash of gray sea salt harvested off the Brittany Coast. Oui, this makes them really delicious. $12.50 for a box of seven at Honolulu Chocolate Co. (Ward Centre, 591-2997).


To Impress

That famous gold box, the anticipation of a teasing ribbon tie. Godiva has long been famous for its truffles. With flavors such as mojito (spearmint and rum flavors spiked with a squeeze of Key Lime in a white-chocolate ganache) and "pabana" (passion-fruit juice and banana mixed into a base of milk chocolate ganache), we don't know where to start. Four-piece box of truffles, $8 at Godiva (visit www.godiva.com for locations.)

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,February

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