Where to Level Up Your Chocolates for Valentine’s Day
Chocolate is a magic ingredient of sorts. It’s the meal-capper that ends so-so dinners on a high note. A perfect tandem to coffee, much better than cream and sugar ever was. The antidote to a bad day. And while the Hersheys and Ghirardellis of the world are nice to have around, there is a whole universe of chocolatiers out there that have upped the ante. Less mass-produced and more artisan, these chocolates, all available locally, are examples of quality trumping quantity.
This Japanese retailer is popular for truffles they call Nama, which are, by any standard, ridiculously decadent. Fresh cream, premium liquer and the choicest chocolates all went into creating flavors like Au Lait (milk), Bitter (dark), Champagne, Maccha, and White. All of which are fine-tuned to perfection. Unlike your usual truffle, these are flat and rectangular in shape, immaculately laid out in a tiny box with its own serving tongs. Proof that great things do come in small packages.
See here for a list of branches.
Davao’s family-owned chocolate company takes their single origin chocolate seriously. So seriously, that they make it tree-to-bar from their own farm of cacao trees. Using some of the world’s finest beans, the 65% Dark Chocolate is deeply flavored and crafted for purists—those more particular about cacao content than anything else. It’s a bittersweet revelation that works just as well as dessert or a hot beverage when melted carefully over low heat.
Originally from Lebanon, every Patchi atelier around the world is a luxe space where ‘haute couture’ chocolates are the draw. More than just dressing them up in elegant fashion, unwrapping their signature creations reveal precision in flavor and texture. Think creamy milk chocolate mixed with smooth ginaduja and hazelnuts, or dark chocolate fused with pistachio croquant or a zesty orange peel. There’s something sensational for every kind of chocolate lover here, perfect for wooing.
Patchi is at B5 Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For more information, visit Patchi.
Guittard, over a century old by now and decidedly less mainstream than its counterparts, has been making exquisite chocolates from their Burlingame headquarters since the 1900s. Their Eating Bars offer the entire spectrum of cacao content, from white all the way up to 91 percent, all of which are made using generations-old techniques. Their 45% Cacao Soleil D’Automne Milk Chocolate is a brilliant dark milk variety more people should know about.
Guittard is available in All About Baking branches at 41 Congressional Avenue, Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City; 2 Kitanlad Street corner Quezon Avenue, Barangay Dona Josefa, Quezon City; 257 Aguirre Avenue, Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City; LG/F Uptown Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For more information, visit Guittard.
Chocolate lover Pam Cinco went from hobbyist to force-to-be-reckoned-with status in the last few years. This local artisan is a celebrated source of bold chocolate bars like Brown Butter Milk Chocolate, Pastillas de Pili, and Cerveza Negra Truffles. The product lines, some classic, some intriguing, have a thing in common: They don’t bombard you with unnecessary sugar the way commercial chocolate bars too often do.
Risa is available at Risa Chocolate Kitchen, Somascan Building, CRM Avenue, BF Almanza, Las Piñas City; Bar Pintxos at G/F Don Gesu Building, Don Jesus Boulevard, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; Milk Box Café at Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; Nav Modern Thai at United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City; Satchmi at 4/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City; The Kitayama Meatshop at 2292 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City; Ritual at 2/F Languages Internationale Building, 926 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City; Connie’s Kitchen Deli at 92 Broadway Avenue corner 4th Street, Cubao, Quezon City; The Pig Pen at G/F Cinema Building, Solenad 3, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna; and Chateau Hestia at J. Hernandez Street, Purok 5, Bukal, Silang, Cavite; and online at marketa.ph and foodsource.ph. For more information, visit Risa Chocolates.
Villa del Conte
Villa del Conte’s Italian gourmet chocolates are the fruit of over 75 years of artisanal tradition in a quaint little town in Padova, Italy. A wide range of confectionery is available, but most people seem to come for their ganache-filled praline balls and praline sticks. These palate-teasers ooze velvety concoctions underneath that crisp chocolate shell, like dark chocolate with salted caramel or milk chocolate with banana cream.
Villa del Conte is at Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; Resorts World Manila, Pasay City; Robinsons Magnolia, Quezon City; Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City; SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City; Greenbelt 5, Makati City; and Century City Mall, Makati City. For more information, visit Villa del Conte.
Truffles de France
Once a seasonal Costco offering, these French truffles are the definitive kind. Every piece is a manifestation of deep, robust chocolate goodness dusted lightly in cocoa powder, and it melts softly in the mouth. Many truffle fanatics consider this the best of the best for its price and quality. Two things to be careful about: one, they melt quickly if not stored properly, and two, they’re addicting.
Truffles de France is at Glorietta 4, Makati City; and SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
Everything that has come out of this SoCal chocolate factory has been pure delight. Some of the most enamoring flavors in the chocolate world (though not all make it here) Chuao took and put a spin on, like their Potato Chip Milk Chocolate and The Firecracker Bar which combines silky dark chocolate with popping candy. Don’t reduce their gutsy varieties to novelty. The thing about Chuao is, even when you take out all the bells and whistles, their chocolate tastes damn good.
Chuao is available in Candy Corner at Power Plant Mall, Makati City; Glorietta 1 and Glorietta 5, Makati City; Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City; SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; SM Marikina; SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City; SM North Edsa, Quezon City; SM San Lazaro; SM Sta. Mesa, Manila; SM Fairview, Quezon City; Robinson’s Magnolia, Quezon City; UP Town, Quezon City; and SM Dasmariñas. For more information, visit Chuao.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Their caramel apple confections are swiftly taking over their chocolate collection, but this Colorado chocolate brand still has a mouthwatering set of bars, truffles, barks, fudge and bear paws. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is diverse enough to appease any sweet tooth, but their top-notch techniques will please even the most difficult-to-please chocoholic.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has branches at Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City; and UP Town Center, Quezon City.