Looking for something divine to tempt your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? This year, skip the mass produced box of chocolates and go local. From vegan truffles to Tahitian vanilla bean caramels to dorian cake, the following shops have plenty of offerings sure to hit that sweet spot. Read on for some of our favorites.
photo: Guilherme Yagui via flickr
Creo is a chocolate factory with a tasting room just in case you need to sample the wares before you buy. Take your sweetie(s) with you, or use it as an excuse to “quality check” the goods before the big day. For an extra interesting excursion, sign up for a chocolate factory tour. The free tours, available on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, include some irresistible tastes. Kids under 5 are discouraged because it’s a working factory, so if they come, they’ll need to be carried or held tightly by hand.
11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m. tours (book online)
122 NE Broadway
photo: Matt E. via Yelp
This factory does tours, too, though young chocolate lovers have to be at least 8 in order to participate. While Ranger produces a line of chocolate bars, they also make sweet caramels: butterscotch, Tahitian vanilla bean and Chulucanas chocolate. Find them in Cup & Bar, the cafe they share with Trailhead Roasters.
7 a.m.-7 p.m.
18 NE MLK Blvd.
photo: Kelley Gardiner
Vegan chocolate—can it be any good, you wonder? The answer is a resounding YES. A lot of dark chocolate is vegan to start with, so it’s not too far off from your usual chocolate excursions. Missionary specializes in dairy-free truffles with delightful flavors like Vanilla Salted Caramel and Meyer Lemon Explosion. For Valentine’s Day, try the heart-shaped truffles. We’re sure Mom wouldn’t mind seeing a box of Jacobsen Pinot Noir Salted Caramel Hearts in a ribbon-wrapped box on February 14.
Tues-Thur. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fri. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Closed Mon. and Sat.
2712 NE Glisan St.
photo: An Xuyen Bakery by David K. via Yelp
An Xuyen Bakery
This pan-Asian bakery is one of the favorites in town—probably had a sandwich on one of their baguettes, even if you didn’t know it—but they don’t just do bánh mì. Guava cookies and Japanese cheesecakes line up next to sponge cake and chocolate cupcakes in their expansive pastry case. This is also the place to order a durian cake, if that’s how your sponge cake rolls.
photo: Bees and Beans via Yelp
Bees and Beans
Not only is this candy locally made, but it’s made with local ingredients where possible, too: honey, butter, cream, coffee, berries, mint, walnuts and hazelnuts are all made or grown nearby. You’ll find quality candy bars like the Honey Bar, with honey caramel and hazelnut nougat; ‘Bert Bars with crispy rice; or sweet and fruity pâtes de fruit that the kids will gobble up like gummies. Bees and Beans products are available in stores throughout Portland, or at the back of the restaurant at the New American.
2103 N Killingsworth
When you walk in the door, a beam of light may seem to strike you from above. This might be what heaven is like: all chocolate, all the time. Not everything here is local, but it’s a curated selection of over 150 artisan chocolatiers, including local ones like Cocanu, Xocolatl de David and Woodblock Chocolate. That means they won’t be cheap, but they’ll be worth it for those discerning chocolate lovers. We love the original West End location for slow browsing, and the smaller location at the Heathman for a treat on the go.
Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
414 SW 13th Ave.
Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
712 SW Salmon St.
Insider’s Note: Order ahead if you have your heart set on something in particular for your sweetheart. Smaller operations have a tendency sell out early, especially when it comes to specialty chocolates.
What’s your favorite place to get locally-made treats for your sweetie? Let us know in the comments!