Sweets For Your Sweet

Whether you're looking for a Valentine's Day present for that special someone or just have a desire to eat luscious, local chocolates, you'll want to check out Vianne Chocolat.

I had heard a little bit about Vianne Chocolat here and there and came across the website myself while in search of wedding favors. I learned that the chocolates are made right here in Boston and use butter and cream from New England dairies. Other ingredients such as spices and fruits are sourced from New England farms and local specialty food stores. I'm trying to incorporate local goods into my wedding where I can, so I asked owner and Chief Chocolatier Valerie if she'd mind sending me a few chocolate samples to try, and she graciously sent along a little sampler box.

I opened it to find a burnt caramel cup, a brandied cherry chocolate, a raspberry rhubarb truffle, a cardamom and coconut chocolate, a rose petal caramel, a dark chocolate truffle, a square of white chocolate, and a couple others.

I generously gifted the white chocolate to Jeff. He loves white chocolate while I gravitate to dark.

I selected the raspberry rhubarb truffle to try first and found the sweet tart raspberry rhubarb flavors mixed with rich chocolate incredibly palate-pleasing.

Then Jeff and I shared the rose petal caramel. I was trying to cut each of the chocolates open so I could photograph them and show you what's inside. This wasn't quite the best idea with the caramel because as soon as I cut into it, the silky caramel began spilling out. We quickly ate and enjoyed this one.

Vianne Chocolat is known for the burnt caramel cup. Filled with nearly blackened caramel and topped with alaea salt, this chocolate is incredible, and I can see why it became a signature chocolate. I unintentionally ate it upside down, so the salt hit my tongue first, followed by smooth dark chocolate, and when I bit into the chocolate, the intense blackened caramel came spilling out. On its own, I would have found the caramel too dark and too bitter, but the sweet chocolate mellowed out the caramel.

Cardamom comes through strongly in the cardamom and coconut chocolate. I don't think cardamom is used as much as it should be. It's a really beautiful and fragrant spice, and I savored every bite of this chocolate.

I saved the best to tell you about last... I loved the brandied cherry chocolate.

Before being enrobed in chocolate, Bing cherries are soaked in brandy for days. These chocolates are no joke. A heavy and delicious liquor flavor both overwhelms and complements the smooth, dark chocolate. Valerie describes these as, "the ultimate drunken fruit experience," and I have to agree.

There were a few other delicious chocolates in the sampler box as well, and a few flavors I saw on the site that I would love to try at some point are the strawberry balsamic and the Chambord topped with raspberry powder.

You can order these chocolates online or find stores selling the chocolates on the website, and if you live locally, you can actually sample Vianne Chocolat chocolates yourself along with some champagne and red wine at Urban Grape on February 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A whole box of those brandied cherry chocolates would make a gorgeous Valentine's Day present!

Which flavor do you most want to try?