Sweets For My Sweet

Lucky for romantic types in D.C., we have enough skilled local chocolatiers to make those red, heart-shaped drugstore boxes of waxy milk chocolate all but obsolete. Here are some sources for locally made Valentine's sweets:

The Cacao Tree
Chocolate maker Sandra Escobar creates delicious truffles with exotic ingredients like Xtabentún (a Mayan anise and honey liqueur) and cardamom. Her Mexican heritage shows through in flavors like Mole made with her 30-ingredient mole recipe and Café de Olla made with Mexican coffee, cinnamon and Kahlúa. Order online by Friday, Feb. 9, for Valentine's deliveries!

Artisan Confections
4815-B Lee Highway, Arlington
Former TenPenh pastry chef Jason Andelman set up his chocolate shop in Arlington last year. The annual Artist Series offers beautiful chocolates printed with the original designs of local artists. Here's a list of where to find Andelman's chocolates. Online orders for Valentine's Day are still possible with an extra shipping charge. Don't miss the salted butter caramel and the Tahitian vanilla bean flavor made with Caribbean cacao beans.

Chocolaterie Wanders
Owners Wilhelm and Melanie Wanders are carrying on a family chocolate-making tradition that dates back to 1726 in Elten, Germany. Their spring flavors include rhubarb caramel (pictured at the top of post), fresh ginger and Earl Grey. Click here for shops that carry the chocolates.

Kingsbury Chocolates
1017 King St., Alexandria
This Old Town shop hooked me with their fleur de sel caramels. Also check out the cocktail truffle collection with flavors including Champagne, Black Russian, Cosmopolitan, Kir Royale, Apricot Sour and Orange Brandy Alexander.

(Artisan Confections photo by Metrocurean; Chocolaterie Wanders photo from chocolateriewanders.com.)