Sweet Somethings

Sometimes great things really do come in small packages. Lady M Confections, a luxury bakery in New York City, makes a perfect, petite, heart shaped gateaux au chocolat, gilded with lusty ganache and a sprinkling of gold dust. Orders are shipped overnight and can be placed by calling Lady M. Confections Co. at (718) 937-8877.
Alfajores (buttery, dulce de leche sandwich cookies) may be a classic South American treat, but you don't have to fly a thousand miles to sample them. At Destino, a Nuevo Latino restaurant in San Francisco, chef James Schenk makes alfajores by hand using an old family recipe. Contact him through the Destino website, and he'll send a batch right to your door. ($12 per dozen, plain; $16 per dozen, chocolate-covered.)
Spread your love with a gift of artisanal fruit preserves and honey. We'd wait all winter for our first taste of Katz and Company's tart and sweet grapefruit and meyer lemon marmalades ($11), but their distinctive Branch honeys (3 for $33) are also swoon-worthy. Or, for an even more unusual flavor combination, reach for the confiture artisanal che poire et coing (pear and quince with black tea, $10.95) from the French company Confitures de Raphael. Breakfast will never be the same. To order from Katz and Company, visit; Confitures de Raphael are available from
Valentines Day gifts needn't be cloyingly sweet. Instead, surprise your someone with a tray of nutty backlava, or one of the dozens of other rich, mellow, flaky, and intensely flavorful pastries from Mid-East Pastry Delight. Orders can be placed through their website; a 7 lb. mixed platter is $30.
At Bissinger's, a traditional chocolatier based in St. Louis, Missouri, each confection is crafted the old fashioned way: in a small kitchen stocked with wooden spoons, copper kettles, marble slabs, and starch-cased molds. Their collection of fine chocolates ranges from blackberry caramels and molasses chips to toffees and pure, deeply dark chocolate buttons -- but we're especially partial to their line of crunchy, complex seasonal barks. Share a shard of the cranberry pecan (19.50), strawberry ($16.75), or dark chocolate blueberry ($19.50) versions and you'll see why. To order, visit
There may be nothing simpler or sexier than plump chestnuts robed in sweet, sticky honey. For the best in the world, seek out the Ascheri family, a highly regarded Italian winemaking clan. Each fall, the Ascheris prepare pale, sweet chestnuts and acacia honey sourced from hives near their home. Served with cheese or spooned over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it'll knock your socks off. A 480 gram jar is available for purchase from Formaggio Kitchen for $28.95.
Count on Napa Valley's Woodhouse Chocolates to celebrate Valentines Day in style. In honor of the holiday, the company has traded it signature blue boxes for a scarlet version -- and chock them full of dark chocolate hearts filled with everything from coffee toffee and cocoa nibs to Spanish saffron and rosewater. A box of 12 pieces is $25 and is available from the Woodhouse Chocolates website.
Show your sweetheart that you're nuts for her with a basket of Magee's Nut House nut butters. These American treasures have been made by the same Los Angeles family since 1917 and have been 100 percent nuts and 100 percent delicious since their first batch. Varieties include peanut, cashew, almond, fruit nut, macadamia; all are available in 4 oz. jars and 1 lb. tubs, and prices range from $3.25 to $11.50. To order, call 323/938-4127 or shop online at

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