Ah, it’s February! That means love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches. 💖 For Torontonians, February also means dirty mounds of snow and freezing weather - but that’s no reason to despair! Though this Valentine’s Day will look starkly different from last when we were just on the cusp of the pandemic and lockdown, there are so many options to make the most of the holiday.
Most people will be opting for a Valentine’s Day from home in Toronto and whether you’re celebrating with friends on a virtual Zoom party, a significant other, or even your pet we have the best tips for your Valentine’s Day from home in 2021! We spoke with local shop owners and scoured their e-commerce Shopify stores to find out what they’re offering this Valentine’s Day to get recommendations on how local Torontonians can make the most of the day of love.
Valentine's Edible Gift: Sweet tooth fix from local chocolate shop
The Chocolate Messenger is a small family owned business in East Toronto, specializing in providing quality chocolates and truffles for all of life’s occasions. Chef and manager, Alon Valdman tells us some of his favourite orders for Valentine’s Day.
Alon at The Chocolate Messenger says they have some delicious releases for Valentine’s Day. “We have many products that are fun for Valentine’s Day and made with a little extra ~love~.” People are ordering:
- Hot chocolate love bombs. Hot chocolate bombs have been a popular treat this year, sprouting up all over the Internet, and now you can bring them home. Chocolate Messenger's are a hot chocolate bomb in the shape of a heart with red and pink colouring.
- The Chocolate Heart Smash Box is a a chocolate heart-shaped hollow box filled with more chocolate, candy, and all sorts of goodies. Yes, Alon does recommend you smash it open with the included mallet! Even though it looks way too beautiful to destroy.
- Finally, the Chocolate Long Stem Roses are a beautiful presentation and deliciously offered in a trio of milk, dark, and white chocolate.
Alon, what is something you recommend for couples doing virtual Valentine's dates?
We have had couples buy two identical truffle boxes then over video call they each try the same flavours, at the same time. It’s really fun to guess which flavours you are trying and it's interesting to discuss your preferred flavour profiles. Experiencing the same flavours is a good way to have a shared experience with loved ones, even if you can’t be together. There is something to be said about how chocolate can bring us together!
Love that idea! Alon, what’s the most crazy or fun custom item a customer has ordered from The Chocolate Messenger for Valentine’s Day?
One year, we had a customer ask us to help with their proposal to their partner! This was done within a custom chocolate ring box, in the shape of a heart, and they ended up putting the ring inside with their favourite truffle flavours. So sweet - figuratively and literally!
Valentine's Virtual Date: Cacao tour and experience (plus drinking chocolate and chocolate bars!) from local shop
ChocoSol Traders is a bean-to-bar chocolate shop that has been around for nearly twenty years. The chocolate is made in Toronto from scratch, using only simple, whole-food ingredients. General manager and co-owner Mathieu McFadden shares his must-have orders for Valentine’s that always impress:
- Mon Cherry D’Amour is definitely our go-to order. This chocolate rarely fails to blow people’s socks off with its gooey, decadent cherries and satisfying vanilla sea salt base
- If you want to make sure you cover all your bases go for the Valentine’s Mi Amor gift pack, which offers our cacao chocolate bars and drinking chocolate
Mathieu, what is ChocoSol offering for Valentine’s Day for virtual dates?
Prior to COVID and lockdowns, ChocoSol used to host a special taste and tour experience at the St. Clair location. This wasn’t able to happen in 2020, of course, so we spent our energy focusing on our Shopify store and online orders. But now, I have has teamed up with our head production lead, Mayra Toro, to do a unique ChocoSol experience you can enjoy at home.
We’ve been working on creating a digital experience so customers can do our chocolate taste and tour tradition virtually. We are launching the first series of this tastings for Valentine’s Day this year! It will combine an ample variety pack of our staples flavours with tasting notes provided by our cacao and chocolate expert Mayra as well as an engaging digital tour of facilities and lots of opportunities to ask questions about what ChocoSol is all about.
Mathieu, what is the best Valentine’s gift ChocoSol Traders was involved in?
Probably the year we were asked to hide a wedding ring in our tasting courses. The customer provided some extra funds to get candles, flowers and pedals. We were really able to transform our space into something special.
Also, there was is the infamous bag of chocolate, uh,🍆.
Valentine's Bouquet Gift: Beautiful floral arrangements and gift packs from local shop
Coriander Girl is a full service floral boutique in the heart of Toronto’s west end offers everything from same day flower pick up and delivery, as well as complete wedding and event floral design. Coriander Girl will be transitioning to a shop led by lead designer and general manager, Deanna Balmer of The Wild Pansy. Their curated Valentine’s collections include colourful and seasonal bouquets to entire gift sets. These floral arrangements are ideal to decorate your Valentine’s Day table for two at-home or deliver to a loved one this holiday.
Valentine's Pampering Gift: Self-love for a Valentine's at-home from local shop
Health Hut is Toronto's one-stop-shop for feel good and cozy essentials. All products are curated with well-being in mind and they offer a wide selection of natural daily care, natural lifestyle, green beauty, and self-care products. Since we're all staying in this Valentine's, we all deserve to take a little time off to appreciate ourselves. Give yourself the at-home relaxation and self-care treatment. Health Hut has put together a variety of curated gift boxes with the intention to celebrate love and self-love, whether you're together, apart, or enjoying time all to yourself.
You'll see the different types of packs Health Hut offers on their Valentine's Day section. You can select the gift box you want, choose your custom options, and leave a note that will be handwritten. The whole package will be wrapped and delivered.
Valentine's Custom Gift: Commissioned digital art from local artist
Rina Kazavchinski is a fine artist in Toronto and her shop offers custom commissioned pieces. For Valentine’s Day, Rina is recreating your first date in a digital art format. She has also done a ton of digital pet portraits so if your Valentine is your furry friend, why not get them something special, too.
Rina, what's a fun virtual date idea for couples on Valentine’s Day?
Dating virtually is so different but there are things you can enjoy together, whether or not you're physically together. Ordering sushi from a nearby restaurant, tasting craft beers from a Toronto brewery, and doing something creative together is the best date.
Love it! What’s a popular custom commission couples usually order, Rina?
One of my favourites I have done in a custom digital art commission was putting this amazing couple against the background of the CN Tower. I loved getting to change the background of their original photo and they were incredible customers to work with. The most popular custom digital commission I did recently featured a couple and their pet. People love including their pets in their digital portraits - nothing beats having the whole family in there!
What’s your local Toronto shop offering for Valentine's Day?
Do you have a local shop offering something exciting for Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re fueling a Zoom party, are the perfect solution for a virtual date, or are bringing the outing experience into the home, let us add your Toronto Shopify store to Metaranx!