Ditch the V-Day Drug Store Box of Chocolates and Go for Alma Chocolate Instead

Let’s be honest: drug store chocolates are awful. The heart-shaped boxes are not only tacky and cheap, but also contain some of the most offensive-tasting chocolate known to man.

Rather than disappoint your girlfriend, wife, or significant other with a weak Whitman’s sampler, throw a little more money and a lot more quality at the situation. We suggest you try Portland, Oregon’s Alma Chocolate this Valentine’s Day. We’re confident you’ll be feeling the love afterward.

Alma Chocolate began, like so many small business, at home, in founder Sarah Hart’s kitchen. It was 2005. The catalyst? The Easter Bunny. Or rather, the crappy chocolate versions of it that pop up every year beginning in late February.

When it came time for Hart to pack her son’s Easter basket that year, Hart was “completely frustrated with what was available quality-wise. It was all just waxy. People have lived and died over the cacao trade (historically, and even still), so it should be amazing.”

And Alma chocolates are just that–amazing. Don’t believe us? Take a gander at the video and image gallery above and tell us your mouth isn’t watering right now.

Related: Winter Sangria: Hot Chocolate and Red Wine

Much less sweet than their commercial counterparts, Alma’s chocolate bars, bonbons, caramels, and other deliciously decadent delicacies are firmly rooted in the world of high-quality, high-caliber chocolates that put the flavor of the chocolate at the forefront. Using only fair-trade or direct-trade sources, Alma primarily works with South American chocolates, which have a deeper, richer, overall more chocolatey taste than their African counterparts, which tend toward more fruity, flowery flavor profiles. (Fun Fact: Countries in Africa produce more chocolate than anywhere else in the world.)

And it’s that South America chocolate that makes up the bulk of Alma’s Valentine’s Day options. With boxes that include Thai peanut-butter cups, truffles, whiskey bonbons, and much more, there’s sure to be something for every lady in your life. Not too big on making decisions? Go for the dozen caramel roses or a real-24k-gold gilded chocolate heart.

If you’re actually in the Portland area, stop by their retail location in the city’s Northeast or their confectionary in the Southeast for some extremely rich in-house drinking chocolate. We recommend the Thai coconut cup if available. Made from 68% dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and coconut, the drink is infused with chili, ginger, and lime zest, giving it the best kind of spicy kick–perfect for a gray Valentine’s day.

Related: 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Guys

If you don’t have the privilege of living within driving distance of Alma, you’ve still got time to order and receive the chocolates before Valentine’s day. They ship everywhere in the US.

So dare to be different this year, and get your girl a sweet treat from Alma Chocolate. After all, its name in Latin means “soul” and “nourish.”

Video and images by Dan Baker.