Bites: Rose-flavored chocolates and other ideas for a low-key Valentine’s Day

Seaweed salad, french fries and homemade cookies are turning into my family’s Valentine’s Day tradition.

Photo by Rey Lopez
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One year was a fondue party. Another, a proper steak dinner. Those were the early years, when my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I actually acknowledged Valentine’s Day. We would spend the night at home, cooking (and drinking).

At some point—we’ve been together almost 13 years now—we stopped celebrating. I can’t think of many of my couple friends who plan something for February 14 either.

Last year, I again felt the call of this day dedicated to love. Maybe it’s the mother hormones, but I decided to stop maligning this harmless holiday. My daughter, then almost 1 ½ years old, and I made Herr’s potato chip cookies (with added chocolate chips) for my husband. We walked to Streets, a mini restaurant inside of a grocery store, just a few blocks from our house for an eclectic dinner of seaweed salad, mozzarella sticks, sushi and french fries. It’s our standing order.

This year, I’m thinking we should keep our new tradition alive. We’ll make Alison Roman’s viral hit, the salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread cookies from her cookbook Dining In and hit up Streets for a very casual dinner.

But if you’re more into chocolates and roses, here are some ideas:

Pacari, an Ecuadorian family-owned company making organic chocolate, sells Rosa Andina (60 percent) with geranium rose essence. It won silver in 2015 and 2016 at the International Chocolate Awards.

Locally, Cocoa Manna out of Culpeper has a very limited edition chocolate rose bar. It’s 70-percent dark chocolate, single origin from the Dominican Republic. Chocolatier Karen Mosebrook layers rose geranium leaves with sugar to impart the rose flavor and then infuses that into the cocoa butter. She candies the leaves and sprinkles it on top for extra flavor and crunch. The bar is for sale only at her storefront. // 8052 Sperryville Pike, Culpeper

For extreme chocolate lovers, The Conche, inside Village at Leesburg, is an entire restaurant dedicated to chocolate. Besides a menu featuring the likes of cocoa nib-crusted scallops, there’s a chocolate boutique featuring the Valentine’s Day-themed rose wine and raspberry bonbons. // 1605 Village Market Blvd. SE, Leesburg

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