If you haven't had a chance to yet, drop by Chocolate Gems, at 25 Broadway in downtown Asheville. The shop's handmade chocolates include fiery selections like a cayenne-enhanced chocolate, crowned with a red tear drop and an ancho-chipotle variety with a purple teardrop. The shop also offers spiced Mexican drinking chocolates. And on Friday, Feb. 10, Chocolate Gems will offer a wine-and-chocolate tasting beginning at 6:30 featuring the shop's handmade chocolates paired with selections from the New River Winery, located in Lansing, N.C.
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge once again offers its aphrodisiac collection, which includes confections like the Cosmic Love Potion, made with an elixir that a local herbalist conjured up in a dream (true story). Also included in the box is an Indian kulfi spiked with cardamom, a cayenne-enhance dark-chocolate truffle and a fig-and-port variety. 10 S. Lexington Ave.
The Chocolate Fetish has a number of Valentine's Day specials, including a "Dark Desires" truffle filled with European dark chocolate ganache with a hint of vanilla bean. Chocolatier Elizabeth Foley calls the treat a "simple, dark and pure indulgence." The shop also offers a pomegranate-pink peppercorn truffle, a number of hand-painted chocolate hearts and much more Valentine's-friendly fare. 36 Haywood St.
Raw Shakti Chocolates are handmade in Asheville and offer an 85-percent cacao chocolate that's raw, vegan, gluten-free and diabetic-friendly Valentine's gift. The bars are sweetened with coconut-palm sugar, one of the lowest glycemic-index sweeteners. For extra, um, fortitude on Valentine's Day, may we recommend the Energy Elixir made with Himalayan pink sea salt, guarana and rhodiola root, all which help to boost your body's energy levels? For information on where to buy, visit Shakti's website.
Another raw chocolate maker, Sinless Raw Chocolates, has moved to Swannanoa.
And UliMana, another local raw chocolate maker is offering the chance to get free chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Visit the company’s Facebook page, write a love letter to your favorite UliMana product, and automatically get entered to win.
Black Mountain Chocolates is a small-scale bean-to-bar chocolate factory in (where else) Black Mountain. The company currently offers a 70 percent dark chocolate bar mixed with cocoa nibs for a serious experience for chocolate lovers that would go amazingly well with a rich red wine. You can order straight from the website here.