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Valentine’s day presents a conundrum for many people. Carefully choosing a gift for their sweetheart can be a maddening process. At least, it always was for me. If you’re married, maybe it’s not as much of an issue. After all, if you’re married, you better have a good idea of what gift to get. And even if you don’t, I’ve never heard of a marriage ending because of a Valentine’s day gift – unless it’s given to someone other than your spouse, of course. For those of us who are dating, buying a gift can be tricky. Jewelry is almost always far too expensive and far too serious. Sweets are usually a safe bet, but the heart shaped box of chocolates is overdone. Plus, men probably aren’t going to want chocolates in that particular packaging. So why not give something a little bit different and in much more neutral packaging? Dufflet’s Small Indulgences, from Toronto’s legendary purveyor of fine pastries, desserts, and confections – has developed a luscious line of decadent chocolate treats that bridge European tradition with modern, imaginative flare. These are not your ordinary sweets. All the offerings I sampled have a true sophistication to them. They are not simply sweets; they are sweets with nuance, and layers of flavors.

The way I see it, these small indulgences from Dufflet can save numerous people from the unnecessary headache of finding a Valentine’s day gift. Because they are not your everyday sweets, not your typical box of chocolates, they show a level of thoughtfulness and sincerity, and they do it without the potentially unwanted seriousness of jewelry. Or, perhaps the whole Valentine’s day shtick isn’t your thing and, you just want to do something nice. These morsels can certainly be a highlight of any day, not only special ones. So read about each of the Dufflet’s offerings I sampled. See which ones sound good, and try them for yourself. If you’re like me and really enjoy sweets, that just might mean you have to try them all, and if you really love your sweetheart, you can share some. But a second box of each variety may be required.

 

Caramel Crackle:

These treats are light and crispy, but not overly sweet. Buttery caramel notes combine nicely with a nutty backdrop to for a nice convergence of flavors. These are something truly special.

 

Bittersweet Chocolate Crackle:

Smooth chocolate and pecan suggestions are highlighted by a bright note of cinnamon. Crisp and fairly light in texture, the layered flavors give these treats an uncommon element of sophistication. The staff’s favorite among the samples.

 

Pecan & Cherry Brandy Chocolate Tumbles:

Bright cherry and distinct notes of brandy are infused with more subtle pecan suggestions, making for a very interesting, layered dessert.

Chocolate Tumbles with Anise Liquor:

For fans of real black licorice, these are heaven. A very pronounced anise component leads into a bit of almond crunch. A light, powdery yet crunchy texture, these creations are one-of-a-kind.

 

Milk-Chocolate Morsels-caramel coated hazelnuts:

Rich, creamy chocolate coats crunch nuts. They’re simple and straightforward, but still quite tasty.

Dark-Chocolate Morsels- cranberry & blueberry: These strike a very nice balance between the creamy chocolate and the bright flavors of the dried fruit. It’s easy to loose track of how many you’ve eaten.

 

By Michael Perkins