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Sweet Solutions

A Delicious Guide to V-Day Shopping



SUGAR IS SEXY. Flowers are nice, sure, and if you have a budget generous enough for jewelry, go nuts. But nothing beats the immediate sensory gratification of chocolate (except, ahem, what should follow the exchange of gifts). February 14, therefore, belongs to pastry masters and lovers of quality confections. Here are some premium gift ideas for the sweetest day of the year:


Trifles of Truffles—Longtime Portland pastry haven Pearl Bakery has recently launched a line of filled chocolates, throwing their name into the ring of relatively new bean-to-bar artisans in Portland's craft chocolate community. Appropriately heart-shaped cinnamon and pink peppercorn bonbons won't fail to please, and tasty flavors like lavender and raspberry will be sold together in sets for the occasion ($6 for two pieces). Or go all out and pick up a sampler that includes more than a dozen flavors. Pearl Bakery, 102 NW 9th, bonbons also available at Pastaworks locations


Sips and Sweets—One imbibable option sees the Two Tarts' cookie masters partnering with Steven Smith Teamaker and Sterling Coffee Roasters to package a couple gifts especially for the holiday. Choose a dozen assorted heart-shaped cookies and a variety of teas for $14 or the same selection of cookies with half a kilo of coffee for $24, which can be picked up at the bakery or shipped to your door. Two Tarts, 2309 NW Kearney, order deadline Sat Feb 9


Caramels That Care—Buy candy for a cause from Sweet and Salty's Caramel Co., a small-production artisan caramel company that has created a special flavor inspired by chai tea (infused with spices like cardamom, clove, and cinnamon) and topped with white chocolate. Dyed pink with beets from Able Farms on Sauvie Island, 10 percent of sales from all orders of the special confections will benefit survivors of domestic and sexual violence at the Portland Women's Crisis Line. The caramels start at $9.95 for a seven-piece package. Orders can be placed online at or buy in person at Emerald Petals, 4220 N Mississippi


Liquid Heaven—Chocolate experts Jesse Manis and Aubrey Lindley of Cacao have finally bottled the orgasmically decadent drinking chocolate that has made their shop a local staple for snobs of the saccharine. A 12-ounce jar of their trademark mix, a blend of Dominican and Bolivian chocolate, runs $25. And while you're not encouraged to pour this divine concoction all over your lover's body when you order it in-store, the new take-home alternative opens up a whole new realm of possibility. If you're willing to waste a single drop, that is. Cacao, 414 SW 13th & at the Heathman, 712 SW Salmon


On the Town—New girl in town Lisa Hare has taken over the bar at Kask in the wake of Tommy Klus' absence, and she'll be offering a special Valentine's Day cocktail. Named the Pulpless Romantic (it's double strained, if you were wondering why the name is so awesome), Hare's drink features Cazadores Reposado tequila, Aperol, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and ginger syrup. Snuggle with your sweetie in Kask's cozy space and fix your sweet tooth with a classy drink. The bar also offers a relatively unique chocolate and mezcal pairing curated by neighboring Cacao, if you're feeling adventurous. Kask, 527 SW 12th


Chardon City—Pâtissier Cheryl Wakerhauser of East Burnside's Pix Pâtisserie and Bar Vivant is bringing another happy French dessert tradition to town. Chardons are top-shelf liquors, crystallized then dipped in 75 percent dark chocolate. Offering a four-piece gift box for $15, you can share shots of Oronoco Reserva rum, Templeton Rye whiskey, St. George absinthe, and Glenmorangie 12-Year Port Wood Scotch. Per tradition, the pastry shop/café turned tapas bar/bistro will hide a pair of diamond earrings in a random box of chocolates, so you could walk away with a genuine bargain. Other classics like French macarons and a special St. Honoré pastry will also be available for dining in or taking home. Pix Pâtisserie and Bar Vivant, 2225 E Burnside


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