On "The Early Show" Monday, Kimberly Kennedy, author of "The Art and Craft of Entertaining," pointed to a variety of ways you can make your gift special and outside the norm:
Of course, a box of chocolates is nice, but there are so many new/fun options out there today. Why limit yourself?
A -- GIRAFFE!.
It's so much more fun when it's cleverly packaged. The truffles are actually hidden inside. The ones on the set were from Teuscher , on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. When you think of some of the world's best chocolate, you think of them, and this is such a fun take on truffles. Also, the great thing about these boutique chocolatiers is most of them have an online presence now.
ANOTHER PACKAGING IDEA THAT'S KIND OF COMING BACK IN STYLE IS THE BAR
The bars on the set were by Olive Sinclair, and from Tennessee. It's a beans-to-bar company, which means they source, roast and grind their own beans in house.
Their most unique flavor was actually an accident, and it's called salt and pepper. But it was so tasty, they started selling it!
A NEW TREND: CHOCOLATES WITH CRAZY FLAVORS
Savory chocolates are everywhere right now, whether it's salt or spices or heat. And one of the craziest I've seen is chocolate with bacon inside. Yes, bacon! Bacon's having a moment right now, so it's the perfect time to give it as a gift. The one on the show was from Vosges. It's a little pricey at $69, but it comes with many concepts: shapes, packaging, flavors. Also - pancakes!
Forget the classic combo of fruit and chocolate. Everyone thinks of chocolate-covered strawberries, like these from Godiva. But Godiva also has some new skewers with strawberries and bananas and cute little berry boats, which look like tarts, but are all chocolate and fruit.
STRAWBERRIES, AND CHAMPAGNE
On the set was a sparkling rose by Banfi, called Rosa Regali, and it's actually meant for being enjoyed with chocolate. It transforms the flavor. On the show was some from a local chocolatier in Atlanta, called Sugar Coated Radical, but I recommend doing this wherever you live. I found a woman who makes everything hand-rolled, and a lot of it is seasonal with unique ingredients, like pepper. And for the tasting, you'd get an assorted box and break them up or group them just like you'd do with cheese pieces.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO HAVE FUN WITH CHOCOLATE ON V-DAY
I brought along an example of a fun craft for adults and kids. All you need it paper and Hershey chocolate and you can create your own fancy-looking valentine. It's also a great way to get kids more involved in the valentines they give out at school.
ANOTHER CUTE, QUICK INEXPENSIVE WAY TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE'S DAY IS TO CREATE A VALENTINE'S DAY BUFFET
All you need is one trip to the grocery store to buy whatever candy you like. And then you can fill up jars or vases bowls or whatever with candy, and also create cute small trays that turn everyday drugstore candy into a really cute decoration for parties or just to have out during the holiday.