SACRAMENTO, Calif. — If you need help for a simple gift of chocolate and flowers done right, Sacramento’s local confectioners can help you through the selections or let you choose autopilot while they make your gift.

The general rules for going simple on anything is that there is “nowhere to hide” and whatever it is, it has to be done well.

If you need help finding something both simple and unique for Valentine's Day, here are the greatest hits of two Sacramento confectioners, Le Grand Confectionery and Capital Confections.

Valentine’s Day specials

With these confectioners, the packaging can be just as important as the chocolate inside the box. Both stores are known for exquisite and creative packaging. 

Le Grand Confectionery:

The in-demand items-

•    Chocolate truffles

•    Dark chocolate

•    Dark Chocolate sea salt caramel

•    Dark chocolate toasted almond bark

What can make it stand out-

•    Heart-shaped boxes with high-end velvet or fabric

•    Multi-layer ribboning

•    Chocolate boxes, various sizes

•    Chocolate heart boxes, where the box is made of chocolate stuff with other chocolates and truffles wrapped up and ribboned. 

Capital Confections:

What’s popular-

•    Chocolate covered strawberries

•    Dark chocolate truffles

•    Milk chocolate truffles

•    White chocolate truffles

What can make it stand out-

•    Names written on chocolate hearts

•    5 piece, 7 piece, and 17 piece truffle boxes

•    Heart-shaped boxes with windows to display message on chocolate hearts

•    Ribboning and bows with flowers and other ornamentation

Start with the chocolate

While boxes like the Whitman’s Sampler and classic Russell Stover heart-shaped boxes are synonymous with the holiday, and readily available, a simple gift of chocolates can be elevated with high-end chocolates from Sacramento’s Le Grand Confectionary or Capital Confections.

“The chocolate content in our chocolate is probably triple the chocolate content in the Whitman’s Sampler or what you’re buying at the grocery store,” said Teresa Higgins, owner of Capital Confections.

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“We’re not making mass-produced chocolate, so you’re going to get a fresher and high-end flavor than that of a Russell Stover, etc,” added Carol Schellenberger with Le Grand Confectionary.

Other grocery store chocolate boxes can often have lower quality chocolate, usually with sugar as the first ingredient, Higgins said. They can also have a waxy coating that helps it travel from the warehouse to the truck and to the store.

Both locations make their own chocolate right here in Sacramento. Le Grand Confectionery even distributes their truffles across the country. 

Not to be outdone, Capital Confections also offers a product so fresh that the kitchen they make it in is located right behind their showroom. 

For those who can’t decide, who are hard to shop for, or who “need it now”

Le Grand Confectionery and Capital Confections know their customers and the trends around the holiday. For Le Grand Confectionery, Valentine's Day is their second biggest retail day, coming only behind Christmas.

Not everyone has time to visit a store ahead of time to do their shopping, so ABC10 asked about what you can expect when you shop local the close to Valentine’s Day.

You can still build your own box or let the experts choose for you-

A few days away from the holiday, it is not too late to request the best possible packaging and custom boxes with any combination of chocolates or nuts and chews.

“That’s what we get this week, custom box items for their spouse’s favorite flavors with the aesthetic that they want,” Shellenberger said.

“We work with our customers to find options, and if we know a customer can’t make a decision, we’re going to say 'let us pick the flavors,'” she added. “We know what people like… we will help you build a beautiful box.”

Over at Capital Confections, Higgins will have her sales team out on the floor helping people narrow down their choices and filtering through their choices of packaging, candies, budget.

However, for those who simply “need it now,” Higgins already put the thought into some of the potential gifts for them, going through multiple kinds of box and chocolate combinations ahead of Valentine's Day.

“Gentleman coming in on those last two days- they want something pretty, and they want it now,” Higgins said. She added that the store will carry heart shaped boxes that are empty and pre-filled for any kind of customer.

Last minute tips for prospective buyers-

If you wait until the last minute, you’ll only have your choice of what’s available, whether its chocolate or packaging.

As far as concerns for buying chocolate too early, Higgins says that the timeline for chocolate can be a bit of a misnomer.

“The misnomer about chocolate is that it needs to be purchased within a week of consumption. Chocolate has about a four to six week shelf life,” added Higgins.

That chocolate you buy before Valentine’s Day will still be delicious by the time the big day rolls around. Just be sure to keep it at room temperature and out of the refrigerator.

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