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Ever since the Aztecs worked their magic with cacao beans, chocolate has been a tempting treat. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to indulge and choose something really delicious for that someone special – or for yourself.

Allo! Chocolat 

Allô! Chocolat, in Waukesha, elevates chocolate to works of art. The shop’s artisan meltaways and truffles are hand-crafted and available in more than a dozen delectable flavors including champagne, royal raspberry and white chocolate cherry. The meltaways are delicately spray-painted with edible finishes in elegant colors and designs.

What better way to present a special gift than in a jewel box or double-heart container – made entirely of chocolate? These edible treasures can be also be filled with the shop’s own “jewels” – such as chocolate-dipped strawberries or individual raspberries nestled in tiny chocolate cups. (Pre-order these fruit confections!)

“Warm, thick and very decadent” is the way store owner Carrie Igielski describes the shop’s famous sipping chocolate. These rich melted truffle drinks can be enjoyed in the store or purchased as a mix to make at home.

Sally's Sweet Shoppes 

Shopping for chocolate treats is fun in the kitschy locations of Sally’s Sweet Shoppes in Genessee Depot and Delafield. Everything is homemade and the stores’ signature offerings include its sumptuous dark chocolate-filled cupcakes and dark chocolate truffle cheesecakes. Many of its cookies are “gluten-friendly,” including chocolate decadence cookies, according to Delafield store manager Megan Jaeger. “Our Snicker bars are gluten-friendly and are often cut into four pieces and served at weddings.”

Even leftovers become chocolate delights at Sally’s. Cake tops – the domed sections of cakes trimmed off to give the cake a flat surface – are mixed evenly with a variety of frostings and turned into cake pops. “We then freeze them and dip them in chocolate,” Jaeger says. “They are a two- or three-bite treat.” The stores also feature chewy perennial favorites pecan and cashew turtles.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory 

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Delafield offers an amazing take on the basic fruit and chocolate combination. Apples are dipped in caramel, rolled in nuts and then drizzled with chocolate. These are visions for the eyes as well as the taste buds – and a giant Granny Smith apple can be ordered for parties.

Fudge is the ultimate chocolate, and the store offers many varieties of the classic candy. Fudge Pops, similar to cake pops, are dipped in chocolate and then covered with toppings that range from sophisticated sea salt to down-home apple pie to kid-approved gummy candies.

The shop offers chocolate-dipped Oreos, pretzels and Rice Krispie squares for younger Valentines, and even offers sweets for the four-legged family members. “We have treats for dogs,” says shop owner Harry Schaff. “They can’t eat chocolate, so we take dog biscuits and dip them in a special white confection that is safe for dogs.”

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz described the perfect combination of deep affection and tasty confections when he wrote, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

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