By Divian Conner
When I was growing up, there was one Valentine’s Day that always stood out. My mom went the extra mile to make it special not only for my dad, but for us kids as well that year. She had, of course, made us her signature custom Valentine treat cards to pass out at school and we, as her children, were expecting no more when we trampled off the school bus and headed into the house that day.
Despite the large dining table that sat off to the left of the formal living room, my mom had placed a small folding table, for two, covered with the finest linen adorned with two candles. It was elaborately decorated with the finest of our china gifted from her mother and the reddest red fabric napkins encased in brass napkin rings. She had roses and she had steak. Of course, the complimentary baked potato sat nestled quietly in its foil close by. She had planned this romantic dinner for my dad complete with a heart-shaped box of chocolates to the side of the two place settings.
I had just come from school and I walked into the living room with a big “WOW” plastered on my face. I was smitten, intrigued and jealous. To my surprise, there was another setup in the family room. A table trimmed with all the fixings and stuffed animals holding pillowy hearts were all waiting for us kids. While my mom and dad dined on steak and aluminum wrapped loaded baked potatoes, we kids feasted on the like. It was a memory that would carry over forever. We tipped our wine glasses in the air, yelling in our best British accents, “Cheerio,” as we indulged in great food and sipped sparkling cider.
Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers and the like. It is not just for couples. Valentine’s Day is for love. Showing your appreciation to the ones you hold dear. While it may be cartoony cards with a lolly taped on the front for your kids to pass out at school, it is also a time to show your children just how much they are loved.
The love of your life is not just one being, it is all you hold dear. I will never forget that day my mom not only showcased her love for her husband but for her children. She thought of making us all happy and showing us we were all her Valentines.
Salut to the day of love and what better way to show those you love that they matter than by gifting them with chocolate. Gourmet, artisan chocolate is not as hard as you think. Instead of the regular boxed chocolate with orange and strawberry filling that gets a bite mark and is then discarded, why not gift your best pals with an easy labor of love covered in their favorites?
Simple chocolate can easily turn into something that looks amazing and tastes just as great. After all, your family and friends are worth it. Make this Valentine’s Day just as special as a foil-wrapped potato with a teddy bear holding a plushy heart.
Homemade, Customized Valentine’s Chocolates
Chocolate chips or pieces of your choosing (dark, milk, semi-sweet, white, & etc.)
Any toppings or mix-ins
Melt chocolate chips on low heat, stirring continuously until smooth.
Pour into molds or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Tap against the counter to release air bubbles. Sprinkle with any toppings. Let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator/freezer for quicker setting.
Wrap and present to your loved ones.
Before set and dried, top the backside of the bars with: