I was sold on Valentine’s Day back in middle school when my crush* gifted me a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates between first and second period. No matter that the drugstore batch tasted like Halloween leftovers or that the “relationship” lasted barely a week—I was totally smitten and as far as I was concerned, Valentine’s Day ruled.
While the good ‘ol days of pastel-colored conversation hearts and flimsy perforated cards are over, I can still appreciate honoring February 14 with something sweet for my sweetie. Here are a trio of locally made desserts that will charm the pants off just about anyone. You’ll see…
Justin Chao of Le Bon Garçon crafts the most brilliant caramels I have ever tasted. Every batch is made from scratch using the best ingredients and no preservatives, which results in a soft and silky caramel that is truly like no other. It’s quality you can really sink your teeth into.
For Valentine’s Day, Le Bon Garçon has created a limited-run blood orange-infused caramel called Caramour, as well as beautiful packaging to go with it.
Other flavors available include classic salted caramel, passion fruit, and macadamia nut. Make sure to place your orders by February 7 in order to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day.
Pies are all the rage these days, and the miniature ones made by Tonya Dooley of Cutie Pie That! are a delight. The individually-sized pies span four inches across and come in a panoply of seasonal flavors. She also has heart-shaped pie pops for those who prefer their sweets on a stick.
There’s a lot to like about Cutie Pie That!’s creations. The fillings are plentiful and not-too-sweet, while the crusts are golden and flaky wonders. The Peerless Pomegranate Pear Pie ($6) and the Meyer Lemon Mojito Pie ($6) are my favorites.
Cutie Pie That!’s line of artisanal pies are currently sold at the Sierra Madre Farmers Market, La Cañada-Flintridge Farmers Market, and Larchmont Village Farmers Market. They can also be ordered online.
The collection of sweets that Magnolia Bakery has created for Valentine’s Day is so delicious and beautiful that it makes me giddy just thinking about it. The red velvet whoopie pies ($3.50), which are made of heart-shaped red velvet cakes sandwiched around whipped vanilla icing, are moist, creamy, and surprisingly well-balanced.
I also love the flourless chocolate cupcake ($4) adorned with a light and fluffy pink vanilla bean meringue buttercream. It is a dreamy little thing, one that I wouldn’t mind eating half a dozen of.
With caramels, pies, whoopie pies, and cupcakes decked out for the holiday, it’s impossible to resist the charms of St. Valentine. Channel your inner middle schooler. You know you wanna.
*Several years ago, I discovered through Facebook that my crush now prefers the romantic company of men over women. Even so, I still believe in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
Le Bon Garçon’s caramels are available for purchase online and at select stores in Santa Monica.
Cutie Pie That! ‘s pies are available for purchase online and at select farmers markets.
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048-4312