The kind of chocolate you buy for your sweetheart can say a lot about you as a gift giver. Do you phone it in with a bag of Hershey kisses from Target? Or do you fail miserably at 9 p.m. Feb. 14 with a Hershey's bar from the 76 station paired with one of those cheesy fabric roses (read: epic fail). Or do you make a sweeter, bolder, more local statement to your mate with chocolates made right here in Tacoma?
Forget Hershey's and M&Ms. Tacoma is fortunate to have the Johnsons, Brown & Haley, Affairs and Great Northwest Popcorn – all locally grown businesses that dabble in sweet treats made right here in town.
Johnson Candy CompanyWhere: 924 Martin Luther King Jr. WayPhone: 253-272-8504
Rows and rows of hand-made chocolates, chews, truffles and turtles are available from a few bucks to $30 or more. Empty decorative Valentine's Day boxes are located at the back of the store and can be purchased for around $3-$6, then filled with an assortment of your choice of Johnson candies for a set price. There also are prepackaged heart-shaped boxes of handmade chocolates for sale - from small boxes, to one pound or bigger. Those are priced $5.95 to around $30. Tiny two-bite boxes can be picked up for a few bucks.
Brown & Haley retail storesWhere: 110 East 26th St., Tacoma; 253-620-3067Where: 2105 Frank Albert Road, Fife; 253-926-0240
At the factory retail stores, some of the candy may be technically considered rejects, but unless you’re a perfectionist, you may never know the difference. Shoppers will find tins of the regular Roca for which Brown & Haley is famous, the signature Mountain Bars and the various Roca flavors in almond and mocha. And for the baker on your list: boxes of Buttercrunch Cookie Bar mix.
Great Northwest Popcorn Where: 1948 Pacific Ave., TacomaInfo: 253-779-5676 or greatnorthwestpopcorn.com
From straightforward to kitschy, Great Northwest Popcorn has a flavor for every palate. More than 20 flavor choices are packaged into small bags that range from $2.50-$3. And here’s the best part: sampling is encouraged and they won’t balk if that means you want to try one or six.The popcorn company also sells hand-made chocolate turtles in a display case by the register. All popcorn and candy is made on site.
Affairs Chocolates and CafeWhere: 2811 Bridgeport Way W., University PlaceContact: 253-565-8604, www.affairs-chocolate.com
What’s better than anything else in the world? Enormous handmade truffles. At Affairs, you’ll find a nice variety in 20 flavors (a list is available at their website). And they’ll even wrap them up in a pretty box for you.