Maybe you need a little TLC for yourself. Maybe it was a bad breakup. Maybe you forgot to buy your partner a Valentine’s gift.
Hey, we’re not here to judge. Berkeley’s food mecca status certainly doesn’t end when it comes to handmade, locally crafted chocolatey delights. Here are some of the best chocolate shops the city has to offer.
Casa de Chocolates
2629 Ashby Ave.
Honoring the Mesoamerican roots of chocolate, Casa de Chocolates in Elmwood offers a wide array of bars, bonbons and other chocolatey confections in flavors such as Brazilian sea salt caramel or maracuyá (passion fruit) caramel.
Other popular choices for bonbons include Mexican vanilla, Tapatío and the “Tequila Butterfly,” a butterfly-shaped chocolate filled with, you guessed it, tequila. A six-piece bonbon set costs $15, and a 12-piece is just under $30.
1964 University Ave.
A not-too-far walk from campus, Blue’s Chocolates serves up dozens of colorful chocolate truffles at its shop on University Avenue. Creative permanent truffle flavors include grapefruit rosemary, peanut butter and strawberry, and sage honey.
But the standouts on Blue’s seasonal menu this Valentine’s Day are its alcohol-infused truffles, including the champagne and strawberries truffle, and “Touch of Venus,” which has a chocolate filling blended with lemon, dry white wine and amaretto.
Pieces are generally $1.50 a pop, though if you want your delicate confections to come in a box, it’ll cost an extra $2.
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
3206 College Ave.
Best known for its expansive collection of cavity-inducing goodies, Berkeley’s old-timey candy store Powell’s Sweet Shoppe also boasts an assortment of homemade sweets. Head to the case near the register to pick out fan favorites such as the chocolate turtles, chocolate-covered honeycombs and chocolate-covered smores. These confections are generally $6.75 per quarter-pound, amounting to about $4.50 per chocolate piece.
Want something more portable while still supporting a local business? Powell’s also has a huge variety of classic Valentine’s Day packaged chocolates from mainstream brands such as Lindt Lindor and Ghirardelli.
Alegio Chocolaté / Claudio Corallo
1511 Shattuck Ave.
Like your cacao beans going a little more au naturel? Check out Alegio Chocolaté / Claudio Corallo in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood. The “bean-to-bar” store doesn’t offer the usual trappings of pink and red chocolate boxes (though they do offer some delicious French-style truffles).
Instead, Alegio focuses on selling its artisan chocolate in slabs. Popular flavors at the shop include the 80 percent chocolate with sugar crystals and the 70 percent chocolate infused with wine. And for those looking for a slightly healthier option, Alegio is also well known for their 100 percent bars. These bars are sold in 160-gram boxes at $26.50.