Last Updated: January 31, 2020
Haven’t we all been guilty of accepting chocolates from a suitor or secretly handing a box of handmade chocolates to an admirer? Well, in one way or another, there is an alluring factor about this decadent treat that makes them exotically romantic. From its luscious taste to its aphrodisiac qualities, no wonder chocolates are one of the most preferred gifts to give on Valentine’s Day.
Long gone are the days when we queue in line to get generic supermarket chocolates. With the rise of artisanal chocolates and growing appreciation for cacao beans, chocolatiers around the world, including Singapore, are creating new waves with this raw ingredient.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s bring our hearts back to Singapore and get to know our homegrown Willy Wonkers with these 8 local artisan chocolates which literally scream ‘I Love You’!
Singapore’s first bean-to-bar chocolate craft maker, Fossa Chocolate, creates chocolate bars that are truly handcrafted from scratch. From roasting, cracking, winnowing cacao beans and refining them into chocolates which are later moulded into bars, Fossa Chocolate bars are carefully handcrafted in small batches, without additives.
Fossa’s two-ingredient dark chocolate bars (S$10), which are available in 70% and 72%, pull through specific flavours of the beans used and showcases the craftsmanship of the chocolatiers with its amazingly smooth texture. As if the dark chocolate bars are not seducing enough, their daring inclusion of local flavours such as the award-winning Salted Egg Cereal (S$12) and Chilli Peanut Praline (S$12) definitely invoked my curiosity to try them for myself.
Fossa Chocolate bars are the perfect gift for your loved one, especially if he/she is a minimalist at heart. From its elegantly simplistic packaging with beautiful letterpress finish to its no-fuss list of ingredients, these chocolate bars (especially the dark chocolate) would make wonderful pairings with red wine for a relaxed romantic evening!
Lemuel Chocolate is the other bean-to-bar chocolatier in our city-state alongside Fossa Chocolate. Established three years ago back in 2017, Lemuel Chocolate opened with the mission to educate consumers about craft chocolate and to make chocolate appreciation as well-known a practice as with wine and coffee.
Lemuel’s Valentine’s Day series of chocolate bonbons features three different flavours namely Sweetheart (pink heart-shaped bonbon), Berry In Love (purple lip-shaped bonbon) and Rose (white dome-shaped bonbon decorated with dried rose petal) which cost S$40 for a box of nine.
My favourite has got to be the Rose bonbon, a white chocolate shell filled with rose-infused lychee ganache and a small disc of cheesecake. Its fruity and floral combination exuded a sweet fragrance when bitten and the cheesecake added a nice texture profile to the bonbon.
With its pink marble packaging cleanly decorated with a black ribbon, Lemuel Chocolate’s Valentine’s Day series is a contemporary representation of handcrafted chocolates that will definitely impress your date!
Expected Damage: S$40 per Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box (available in-store only)
Former Irish lawyer tuned chocolatier, Leela Titus, gave up the courtroom and restarted her career in the kitchen after she arrived in Singapore, setting up Leela’s Fine Chocolates in 2013, to share her passion and provide luxury handmade chocolate to the Singapore market.
Made with the finest European couverture chocolates and fresh natural ingredients sourced locally whenever possible, Leela not only creates chocolates to order, she also runs chocolate-making workshops and chocolate appreciation events for private and corporate functions.
Dressed in a classic maroon box (S$30), Leela’s chocolate spells sophistication from its packaging to its flavours. This Valentine’s Day, there is certainly no harm in getting a little tipsy with their Red Wine Chocolate consisting of a decadent dark chocolate ganache infused with full-bodied red wine in a dark chocolate coating. If not, get some fieriness going with their Chilli Chocolate. A balanced blend of spicy chilli tempered with dark chocolate that is sure to send some tingling feeling at the back of your throat!
Expected Damage: S$30 per box of eight chocolates (available online)
Janice Wong needs no introduction. The brand like the creator herself is a household name not only in Singapore but also around the world, with the opening of her chocolate outlets in Japan, Macau and Korea.
Known as one of Singapore’s most innovative dessert maker, Janice Wong’s passion for culinary and love for contemporary arts has propelled her to push beyond traditional boundaries, introducing us to her world of edible art.
From its chic and modish packaging to the use of bold neon colours for the chocolates itself, Janice Wong’s XOXO Chocolates (S$38) are bound to leave you in awe (as it did to me) the moment you open the box.
The XOXO Chocolates comes in three flavours—Rose, Basil Lemon and Bailey’s Salted Caramel. Of all three flavours, my favourite has got to be the Basil Lemon. One bite into the chocolate and the fragrance from the basil rushed up my nose, followed by subtle acidity and sourness from the lemon.
It was somewhat refreshing and different. If you are looking for a gift to someone who stands out from the crowd and dares to be different, Janice Wong’s chocolates will definitely reflect their personality!
The Dark Gallery is a boutique-cafe concept specialising in artisan dark chocolate desserts ranging from ice creams to plated desserts, indulgent chocolate-based beverages to beautifully crafted bonbons.
There might not be any Valentine’s Day specific bonbons however, with eight amazing flavours to choose from, there will certainly be something that will please your loved ones. Our box of nine bonbons (S$31.50) were neatly placed in a warm cocoa bean-printed box, emphasising the brand’s mission to present their customers with a treasury of discoveries on the canvas of chocolate.
My favourite flavour has got to be the signature, Toasted Almond. Dressed elegantly in black with specks of gold, this bonbon features a 66% dark chocolate shell with toasted almond bits. Its roasted nutty flavour paired brilliantly with the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate shell, resulting in a luscious and delectable treat.
I particularly loved the colours of the Strawberry Graham bonbon. Its pastel pink, yellow and blue shell made for a sweet and dreamy combination that perfectly represents Valentine’s Day.
If your partner is not a fan of chocolates, The Dark Gallery also sells macarons (from S$24) and cakes (from S$39) as an alternative for a sweet ending to a romantic night!
“Chocolate can’t be made in a hurry, and is not like a cake, which can be covered with icing and many camouflages”. Patience, technique and dedication are what Anjali, owner of Anjalichocolat, is all about. The self-taught ex-banker-turned-chocolatier, travelled around the world learning as much as she could about chocolates before settling down in Singapore to embark on her business.
Today, she not only sells artisan luxury chocolates, but she also offers chocolate-making workshops at Loewen Road, sharing her passion and craft with other chocoholics. Bonbons and truffles from Anjalichocolat are freshly made every day using the finest ingredients such as Belgian couverture, fresh cream, butter, wholes spices and fruit purees.
For a variety of not only chocolate bonbons and truffles but also almond dragees, heart bars and chocolate-coated orange peel, Anjalichocolat’s Valentine Premium Gift Box (S$100) is your pick.
This fiery red box fastened by a yellow heart-shaped ribbon is traditional and befitting of this day of love. With 16 different varieties of chocolate, that includes passion, strawberry hearts, raspberry hearts, noir and dark chocolate truffles, the premium gift set is definitely a steal for any die-hard chocoholics out there!
Expected Damage: S$100 per Valentine Premium Gift Box (available online and in-store)
Chocolates are harmless when eaten in moderation, nonetheless, if you are looking for a healthy and guilt-free alternative, we highly recommend Chocoelf’s Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box. Founded by Dr Joe Lee, a consultant urologist cum chocolatier, Chocoelf was established with the focus of creating chocolate treats using little or no sugar at all.
Boxed up in a seductive red heart-shaped box, adorned with roses and gold embellishments, Chocoelf’s Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box (S$45) is a classic symbol of affection to your beloved. Inside, pink, red and brown heart bonbons are lined neatly alongside chocolates with ‘I Love You’ imprinted on its surface. Not only are they pleasing to the eye, the chocolates, which are filled with strawberry, passionfruit and hazelnut ganache, are all only lightly sweetened.
Many of us have the misconception of healthier products tasting awful. Regardless, these chocolates tasted as good or even better than some of those artificially-flavoured chocolates in the market. The intensity of the dark chocolate camethrough with each bite, complementing the respective ganaches perfectly, making these chocolates an awesome guilt-free option!
Expected Damage: S$45 per Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box (available online and in-store)
Starting out as a cake shop in Katong back in 1998 selling just one cake—a simple dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge—Awfully Chocolate has evolved to a group of shops, cafes, and restaurants both in Singapore and overseas today. Although chocolate cakes are the brand’s main selling products, they have also introduced a series of chocolate bars and truffles, specially handcrafted with all-natural and premium ingredients in Singapore.
This Valentine’s Day, Awfully Chocolate has created a complete collection of pure ganache chocolate truffles inspired by their crowd favourite—Dark Chocolate Truffles.
Packed elegantly in a classy black box, simply decorated with a dusty pink rose ribbon, Awfully Chocolate’s Gorgeous Tuffle Inside (S$45) stays true to the raw ingredient and will be the ideal gift for a serious chocoholic. Aside from their classic Dark Chocolate Truffle, there will be three new flavours, 70% Dark, 45% Dark Milk and White Chocolate with Lemon. Each flavour is created to elevate the beauty of the respect chocolates itself and will certainly delight those who seek pure, simple chocolate flavours with no frills or fanciness.
Artisan chocolates aside, here’s a bonus treat for all you love-birds out there!
If you are looking to make an impression and give your lover the greatest surprise this Valentine’s Day, Rainbowly’s My Sun and Star Chocoberry Bouquet (S$79) or True Bliss Tower (S$149) will definitely get the job done.
Specialising in fresh fruit bouquets and chocolate-dipped strawberries, Rainbowly’s edible bouquets will leave your partner smiling from ear-to-ear when he/she receives them. These fresh fruit bouquet and strawberry towers are so gorgeous that I could not bear to eat them! Well, I eventually dug in, and I must say, the chocolate-coated strawberries were awesome! Sweet and juicy, they were a fantastic treat that left me refreshed and feeling good!
Expected Damage: S$79 per Rainbowly My Sun and Star Chocoberry Bouquet, S$149 per True Bliss Tower (available online)
With nine different brand options and a variety of different chocolates to choose from, you will definitely have no problem selecting the right gift to impress your partner this Valentine’s Day!