Scotland's top chocolatiers show us their Valentine's Day goodies and tell us if chocolate really is an aphrodisiac

Giving your beloved a box of choccies is the classic romantic gesture.
Edward & Irwyn's Lover's Box, £14Edward & Irwyn's Lover's Box, £14
Edward & Irwyn's Lover's Box, £14

If your loved one prefers the fancy stuff to bog standard Quality Street, then read on.

We’ve compiled recommendations from Scotland’s best independent chocolatiers, so you never have to splurge £6,000 in Hotel Chocolat.

Edda Holt and Kirsty Irvine of Edinburgh’s Edward and Irwyn

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Lover’s Box, £14, includes two of everything, arranged in symmetry, so a couple can start at one end and work their way towards the middle, experiencing the same flavours at the same time.

"However, whatever your situation, they’re designed to be delicious, either shared or hoarded, celebrating whatever you wish to celebrate.

“It’s been very popular, as have all our boxes. People come in to buy for themselves, saying that they received our chocolates as a gift and have craved them ever since, which we take as the highest compliment.

"We also do caramel boxes, which contain salted honey caramels and a slab of creamy vanilla and lava salt chocolate, and the larger mixed boxes also feature our real honey honeycomb. Both are a celebration of our customer favourites”.

Sebastian Kobelt's For Her box, £11Sebastian Kobelt's For Her box, £11
Sebastian Kobelt's For Her box, £11

Sebastian Kobelt of Sebastian Kobelt, Linlithigow

“This Valentine's, our bestsellers are For Her – prosecco, rose petal and Madagascan vanilla – and For Him – osmanthus flower and Glenlivet 12-year-old single malt – boxes at £11 each.

"For the first one, I liked the concept of bubbles and roses, and to balance it out we added a creamy vanilla ganache. For the second, I’ve experimented with osmanthus flowers. They're dried and can be used like tea, but have such a depth of flavour – notes of apricots and malt and hints of peatiness.

Sugarsnap's Heart Shaped Halen Môn Salted Caramels, £12Sugarsnap's Heart Shaped Halen Môn Salted Caramels, £12
Sugarsnap's Heart Shaped Halen Môn Salted Caramels, £12

"It was an obvious choice to pair them with whisky. I'm always humbled when an idea becomes an experiment, makes its way into our online shop and becomes a seasonal bestseller – incredible.

“Good dark chocolate is a mood enhancer as it helps to release several feel-good chemicals in our body. Whether chocolate is an actual aphrodisiac or a placebo I think is irrelevant. Find what works for you and don't be afraid of experimenting”.

Annette Smith of Glasgow’s Sugarsnap Chocolate

Cocoa Black's Signature Selection Box, £50Cocoa Black's Signature Selection Box, £50
Cocoa Black's Signature Selection Box, £50
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Any food which tantalises the senses can be an aphrodisiac and chocolate definitely ticks all the important boxes.

“For my Heart Shaped Halen Môn Salted Caramels, at £12, I went down a traditional heart route, but with a modern geometric twist.

"I am all about geometry. This shape and colour combo is pleasing to the eye. As it uses the same recipe as my award-winning salted caramel bonbons, it’s bound to be pleasing to the palate too. As a second choice, you can't go wrong with a big box of 25 Artisan Collection chocolates, at £37. [It’s] perfect for sharing with someone you love, even if that’s yourself.

“There's something lovely about knowing the chocolates you hand-crafted are about to surprise a loved one. It works, because the customers come back and buy again.”

Ruth Hinks of Cocoa Black, Peebles

The Chocolate Tree's Vegan Box, £15.95The Chocolate Tree's Vegan Box, £15.95
The Chocolate Tree's Vegan Box, £15.95

“At Cocoa Black we see a lot of repeat orders for boxed chocolates in the run-up to Valentine’s. I’m unsure whether they’re an aphrodisiac, but it seems they’re having some effect.

“Our Signature Selection box, at £50, is our most popular Valentine’s Day gift. It features our full range of luxury, hand-made chocolates, designed to resemble a box of precious jewels, with heart-shaped moulded chocolates, indulgent truffles and seasonal flavours including passionfruit.

“Luxury chocolates are always a special gift. We do receive lovely customer comments and pictures of our chocolates in romantic places such as the Maldives”.

Alastair Gower of The Chocolate Tree, Dunbar

“Chocolate is definitely an aphrodisiac. Cacao contains all kinds of love-inducing chemicals such as phenylethylamines, theobromine and anandamide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In Sanskrit anandamide is the ‘bliss chemical’. As well as being full of lovey-dovey chemicals, chocolate is also a vasodilator like beets and nitric oxide.

“Chocolate is naturally suited to Valentine’s Day. We make ours with lots of cocoa and the right amount of sweetness. I would recommend our Piura 70 per cent chocolate bar, at £2.95, which has beautiful red fruit notes. It’s like a fine wine and the right kind of flavour for love.

“Another option would be a box of our artisan chocolates, from £14.95. My wife makes them in small batches by hand and they are our finest product. The Vegan Box of 15, at £20.95, has been popular.

“Giving someone chocolates is only going to be an aid to someone loving you. The important part is giving them to the right person. If you don’t know if they feel that way about you, then probably best to eat them up yourself and move on”.

Iain Burnett of Iain Burnett: The Highland Chocolatier, Grantully

“Customers have been ordering a lot more of our At Home Guided Chocolate Tasting Flights, from £21.95 for two, to have an experiential gift at home. Sometimes they send them to different addresses and do the tasting over a Zoom call.

“However, our Sweetheart selection of 20 Velvet Truffles, at £35.95, is typical Valentine’s. It includes Passionfruit Velvet Truffle, Rose Velvet Truffle, Strawberry and Star Anise and the Ruby Velvet Truffle, all in milk or single origin 70 per cent dark chocolate.

“Dark chocolate has an uplifting effect on most people, whether simply the happiness of chocolate or the trace nutrients in theobroma cacao.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Customers often want to include messages of love and support to those who they’re separated from, family, friends and carers – romance comes in all sizes. And when they choose ‘real’ chocolate, it always over-delivers.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.