I am here to save you from doing something dumb for Valentine’s Day. Like picking up a box of chocolates at a gas station because you forgot Tuesday is Valentine’s Day.
A quick trip to a local bakery or chocolate maker can yield much more interesting finds. We’ve got everything from hand-dipped chocolate truffles to handmade chocolate boxes, petit fours, mini cakes, sugar-free candy and chocolate-covered fruit.
BROWN AND HALEY FACTORY STORES
Where: 110 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-620-3067; or 3500 20th St. E., Fife; 253-620-3030. brown-haley.com.
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Find: Almond Roca, of course, in several flavors. The stores carry Valentine’s tins ready for gifting.
Also: Pre-made dessert mixes, Almond Roca in bulk, Mountain Bars and other candies.
CELEBRITY CAKE STUDIO
Where: 314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-627-4773; celebritycakestudio.com.
Find: Hand-dipped petit fours in decadent flavor combinations, plus decorated sugar cookies.
Also: Whole cakes or cake-by-the-slice, cupcakes, cake pops, more.
Where: 602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070; corinabakery.com.
Find: Petit fours, hand-dipped truffles, plus mini heart-shaped cheesecakes.
Also: Brownies, cake-by-the-slice, scones, pastries, cookies, gluten-free desserts and espresso menu.
DOLCE SI SICILIAN BAKERY AND CAFE
Where: 5005 Main St., Tacoma; 253-292-0172, dolcesi.com.
Find: Decorated cookies and pastries.
Also: Cannoli, cakes, gelato and espresso menu.
EMILY’S CHOCOLATES/AMES INTERNATIONAL
Where: 4401 Industry Drive E., Fife; 253-235-4866, emilyschocolates.com.
Find: Chocolate-covered dried fruit, chocolate-dipped caramels, packaged candies and nuts.
JOHNSON CANDY CO.
Where: 924 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma; 253-272-8504.
Find: The bonanza for Valentine’s Day candy offerings. Truffles and hand-dipped chocolates by the piece or pound, plus pre-packaged chocolates in boxes, large and small. Or, pick from dozens of empty, pretty boxes that can be filled with chocolates and truffles you select from the counter.
Also: Hand-dipped ice cream bars and selection of sugar-free candies.
LA WAFFLETZ AND MACARON STATION
Where: 2501 E. D St., Tacoma; 206-489-9770; facebook.com/lawaffletz.
Find: Macarons in more than a dozen flavors every day. My favorites for Valentine’s Day are rose raspberry, strawberry and raspberry chocolate. Macarons are French pastries with a buttercream frosting center (different from coconut macaroons).
Also: Dessert waffles.
THE TATTERED APRON
Where: 14207 Meridian Ave E., Puyallup; 253-845-4365, facebook.com/thetatteredapron.
Find: Red velvet cake hearts with cream cheese filling, plus love cakes, which are six-inch cakes in either white cake with strawberry filling or chocolate with ganache.
Also: Pie whole or by-the-slice, cake whole or by-the-slice, brownies, lemon bars, muffins, scones, drip coffee.
Where: 610 N. First St., Tacoma; 253-327-1860, teasechocolates.com.
Find: Handmade truffles made straight from beans. Cherry cordials and other high-end confections.
Where: 3303 Jahn Ave. NW, Gig Harbor; 253-313-5804; facebook.com/TropsChocolates.
Find: Handmade chocolate boxes decorated to order, plus truffles (try the new red velvet) and hand-dipped chocolates.
Also: Brownies, chocolate syrups made in-house and espresso menu.
Where: 2102 E. Main St., Puyallup; 253-256-5566; wannacupcake.com.
Find: A selection of cupcakes, decorated cookies, dipped strawberries, plus chocolate-dipped cheesecake bars from Tacoma Cheesecake.
Also: Scones, muffins, bagels, espresso menu.