There’s a reason 8-year old Jonah Baldwin is drawn to Annie Reed’s letter to his father in the hit 1993 rom-com “Sleepless in Seattle,” and it’s not because Meg Ryan looks the way she does. Rather, it’s because the bubbly Baltimore writer proposes that they meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, á la “An Affair to Remember.” And who can blame young Jonah? New York is undoubtedly the best city in the world in which to spend the day of love and romance.
While eight-course dinners and theater tickets may not appeal to everyone, the one sure way to capture someone’s heart this Valentine’s Day is with sweets. Whether you’ve lived in New York your whole life or are just in town visiting, you won’t want to miss what these local chocolate and sweets destinations are crafting for Feb. 14.
The Sweet Shop, Manhattan
A stroll through this small store nestled on 73rd Street will instantly transport visitors to their more youthful days filled with Charleston Chews, Razzles and candy necklaces. The Sweet Shop is a retro-inspired candy store that is known for its selection of vintage sweets, artisan ice cream and gluten-free treats.
For Valentine’s Day, the Upper East Side shop will be winning the hearts of chocolate lovers across the city with its signature heart-shaped chocolate boxes, which are themselves made of chocolate and filled with an assortment of homemade chocolates. The Sweet Shop will also be servingice cream sundaes for two, made with two scoops of rose-scented ice cream and topped with artisan hot fudge, whipped cream and two cherries. Served with two silver spoons, this sweet treat is made to share with your sweetheart
JoMart Chocolates, Brooklyn
This Brooklyn chocolatier has bee delighting customers with its homemade confections since 1946. Now run by Michael Rogak, the son of JoMart’s founder, the shop is known for its countless milk, dark and white chocolate selections, as well as its marshmallow and marzipan treats.
This Valentine’s Day, JoMart will bring back crowd-pleasers like themed $2.75 lollipops—all in the shapes of hearts, boxer shorts, romantic words and sayings and much more—as well as chocolate novelties like the “Love Puzzle,” twin hearts and teddy bears. The confectioner also will offer chocolate high-heeled shoes, all filled with even more sweets, and its celebrated heart-shaped chocolate boxes, which go from 2 ounces to 5 and a half pounds.
JoMart notably even lets customers avoid the ever-dreaded "whole box of chocolates and only two that I like" scenario by letting you select which sweets you’d like in your heart-shaped box. And if you save your box from this year, the chocolatier will repack it with even more favorites come February 2020, as Rogak does for his own daughters every year.
Tache Artisan Chocolate, Lower East Side
Founded in 2012 by acclaimed pastry chef Aditi Malhotra, Tache serves as both a traditional chocolate shop and a Willy-Wonka-esque confectionary lounge. The Lower East Side space is famous both for its inventive chocolate creations like tequila-infused ganache and coconut-watermelon truffles and its incredibly popular chocolate-making classes.
For 2019’s most romantic holiday, Tache will host BYOB couples’ classes, focused on creating love-infused treats and available for $75 per person, and a “Bonbons and Bubbly” chocolate-and-Champagne tasting party on Valentine’s Day from 3 to 5 p.m. During this free-to-attend party, guests will be taken on a “journey through the senses,” where they will learn the differences between milk, dark and white chocolate, explore the history and origins of chocolate, and finally learn how to taste chocolate properly.
The confectioner also will be selling its signature Tache heart boxes, available in two sizes for $25 and $65, and for those who just need to chill this holiday, the chocolatier’s newest line of truffles, Grateful Chocolates, all made with this year’s hottest ingredient, CBD, will be available in $45 Valentine’s Day boxes. All of Tache’s chocolatey treats will be available for purchase on Feb. 13 and 14.
Jacques Torres, Manhattan and Brooklyn
Jacques Torres has been warming the hearts (and stomachs) of locals and visitors alike for nearly 20 years. The chocolate shop, which has locations in the Upper West Side, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, SoHo, Midtown East and DUMBO, is known for its fresh, handcrafted chocolates made from the purest ingredients available.
For Valentine’s Day, Jacques Torres is offering an all-new lineup of chocolates, including 12-piece Love BonBons, which feature Wicked Love bonbons — a blend of white chocolate and Sichuan pepper — and True Passion bonbons, milk, white, and dark chocolates filled with fruit ganache. Other creations like Be Still My Heart, a lace heart box filled with red chocolate-coated hazelnuts, and the Chocolate Violin, a milky rich instrument filled with Jacques’s signature bonbons, are sure to delight any loved one. For those who best communicate their love through text, the shop is continuing its Chocolate Emoji Collection, pieces from which can be added to any 12- or 25-piece box.
While the $24 Be Still My Heart and the $75 Chocolate Violin are for sale only in-store, Jacques’s other Valentine’s Day offerings are available for purchase online, giving even the laziest of lovers no excuse this February.
Stick With Me, Nolita
Located on the cusp of Little Italy, Stick With Me is the ultimate 21st-century sweet shop, with a focus on Michelin-starred quality attention and care while making its treats accessible to chocolate lovers of all walks of life. Sold in hollowed-out books, the shop’s signature bonbons are almost as memorable on the outside as their colorful and inventive flavors make the inside.
For chocolate’s biggest day of the year, Stick With Me is offering a special Valentine’s Day box that features limited edition bonbons like “Bubbles! Champagne,” “Vanilla Grand Marnier,” and “Speculoos S’mores.” The whimsically pink box, which goes for $98, is available online now and will be for sale in-store this week.
Flour Shop, SoHo
In the works since 2012, baker Amirah Kassem’s Flour Shop took the food, art and fashion worlds by storm when it opened in SoHo in late 2017. The colorful shop, which is more or less every childhood dream come to life, is famous for its rainbow explosion cakes, which pour out every sprinkle and hard candy you can imagine as soon as you cut into their delicious, cream cheese-frosted facades.
Flour Shop has quickly become a go-to destination for any New Yorker or visitor, but the bakery’s Valentine’s Day treats are sure to bring even more people to its Lafayette Street home. For the entire month of February, the shop is collaborating with artist Chris Uphues, who will take over Flour Shop’s window and floors with his signature happy heart cutouts. Customers can buy mini heart-shaped cakes, available in a slew of colors, that all feature Uphues’s playful face drawings.
The SoHo bakery will separately offer $100 Midi Explosion Cakes — available in pink, purple, or yellow — with sayings like “Love You,” “Bae,” and “Be Mine,” providing a 2019 alternative to the recently discontinued Sweethearts. Customers can also select a pink, heart-shaped explosion cake or Valentine’s Day cake balls, all of which are available for pre-order online and in-store on Feb. 13 and 14.
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. and Big Gay Ice Cream, multiple locations
At its new Dumbo location, OddFellows is teaming up with Nomikai, a new canned wine and cocktail brand, to create a special Valentine’s Day boozy ice cream float for two. The float will feature one scoop of OddFellows raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet topped with a Nomikai canned sparkling rosé floater and a cherry, served in a coupe with two red-and-white striped straws, perfect for sharing with your valentine. The float will be available for just $11 throughout the entire month.
At Big Gay Ice Cream, visitors can taste the new Choco-lit truckers, delicious ice cream sandwiches that see chocolate ice cream swirled with cinnamon candies smashed between two chocolate cookies and finally rolled in red sprinkles. Available from Feb. 11 through 17, these chocolatey treats can be enjoyed in-store with your palentine, galentine or sweetheart, or pick up a six-pack for $15 to take home. And on Feb. 13 and 14, Big Gay Ice Cream is offering a buy one, get one free deal, so you have no excuse not to share.