Table scraps 

A bittersweet love affair

“Hello lover,” I coo at my Valentine’s date: dark and delicious. I take a bite. “Oh, Thomas” can’t help but escape from my lips.

We met in Vancouver. It was love at first sight, so I decided to bring my Thomas Haas dark chocolate bar with Indian spices home for the night.

Someone actually asked me whether I liked Valentine’s Day or not. How can any woman argue with a holiday that gives you permission to indulge in chocolate totally guilt free?

Christmas and Easter: I love them all.

And with my Chinese doctor even endorsing dark chocolate as good for my health – mind you not in monstrous portions – a square or two of chocolate as dark as I can find is my cup of coffee routine.

But this week, it’s about love.

I don’t believe Valentines Day traditions should only be celebrated once a year – and neither do a lot of people.

People spend more than $7 billion a year on this substance of the gods — and you don’t want to know how many calories that translates to.

Chocolate is a single woman’s love potion, a writer’s fit-in-a-drawer cup of caffeine and the secret to the fountain of youth — a Harvard study concluded men who eat chocolate add a year to their life.

Not that I need any excuses to indulge in the dark delight. And boyfriends - you should be buying chocolate for your sweetheart by the truckload. What other over-the-counter aphrodisiac can you give seemingly out of love? – a red bow masking a sure fire night of some serious under the sheets time.

If you really want to va-va-voom the romance, The Den at Nicklaus North is coupling a horse drawn sleigh ride with a five or three course fondue.

Nothing says seduction like a chocolate fondue for two. The Mallard Lounge’s chocolate fondue invites fresh fruit and biscotti dippings by candlelight, toasted perfectly with a hearty red wine or elegant bubbly.

For a more contained chocolate that doesn’t just put it out there all at once, the heart-shaped chocolates at Rogers focus more on the tease. The silver wrapping printed with red hearts lures sweet tooths into a dark chocolate shell enveloping a Valentine’s special edition cinnamon cream.

Tall, dark, handsome and rich best describes the to-go slices of chocolate heaven served over the counter at Portobello in the Upper Village. White, dark and milk chocolate mousse stack up on top of each other in between layers of cake. Enjoy this chocolate stud in the privacy of your own home and don’t forget to romance the splurge with a good cup of tea and a book.

A female version of this one-night stand awaits at Elements with its chocolate volcano hiding away a passion fruit centre surprise.

Remember quantity doesn’t mean quality. Cheap chocolate is often loaded with cream, a low cocoa count, preservatives and sugar. To experience chocolate royalty – when the Whistler Farmer’s Market and Sweet Sarahendipity isn’t around – pull up a stool in the casual wine bar at Araxi for petit fours. The handmade celebrities will have you deliciously flustered in a bite and the coconut gelato centered one, wrapped in hard chocolate, will have you dawdling. Every visit introduces a new lover with the chocolatier regularly changing up this Chorus Cocoa Line up.

Sometimes chocolate isn’t about romance. It’s just a quick soulless hit to get that sparkle in your eye twinkling again.

For a quickie, try a hot chocolate crowned with a heap of chocolate whip cream at Mogul’s, the chocolate swirl cheesecake brownie at Alpine Café and Catering Company, chocolate chip cookies at Ingrid’s Café or a Whistler organic dark chocolate bar.

These brief, easy encounters are short, sweet and satisfying with no commitment other than an added day to your fitness routine.

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