recommended by experts

The Best Valentine’s Day Candy and Chocolates, According to Chefs

If you’re planning on giving your sweetheart the gift of Valentine’s Day chocolate, there’s no reason to settle for a heart-shaped box of whatever’s left at the drugstore. There’s also the chance that your valentine doesn’t even like chocolate. To help you make a better-informed candy choice for your sweet-toothed sweetheart, I asked chefs from across the country to share their favorite Valentine’s Day candy, from the fancy chocolates they plan on giving to their loved ones to the nostalgic sweets that remind them of childhood crushes.

“I love chocolates from Torino, and I’m a lover of all things gianduia [an Italian hazelnut spread] and dark chocolate. I personally order from Venchi; they have a great variety of chocolates and hazelnut treats. I also love gifting people Amedei chocolate whenever I can find it; it’s my favorite.” —Scott Conant, chef and owner, Fusco, New York

“These Reber Mozart Kugel candies are classic Austrian confections layered in a bull’s-eye fashion with marzipan, nougat, pistachio, and chocolate — need I say more? They give off a very 19th-century high-society vibe, with ornate wrapping and decadent layers. And if you have the hots for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart like I do, well, that’s just a plus. I highly recommend if you’re looking to impress this Valentine’s Day.” —Jeremy Salamon, executive chef, The Eddy, New York

“I’m still a sucker for the Sweethearts. They make them now with all kinds of funny quotes. Any candy that can make you laugh is at the top of my list, and they only come around once a year, so it makes sense to enjoy them while you can.” —Michael Fiorelli, executive chef and partner, Love & Salt, Los Angeles

“SweeTart Hearts are the best; the mouth-puckering flavors make me cringe in the best way. A line cook once gave me a box tied in a pink bow — someone told him they were my favorite, and it’s a gesture I will never forget.” —Thea Habjanic, executive pastry chef, La Sirena, New York

“What could be more romantic than chocolate and Champagne — they’re aphrodisiacs that are perfect for the day of love. It’s also a way to class up a childhood favorite (gummy bears) with adult flavors (Champagne).” —Jesus Nunez, chef, the Sea Fire Grill, New York