BOSTON (CBS) – Americans eat on average 12 pounds of chocolate a year which is half what the Swiss eat. I thought that number was low then I realized that’s 1,152 Hershey kisses per person.

[Audio|titles=A Sweet Tooth|artists=Dee Lee]

Chocolate is big business. There was over $15 billion in retail sales of chocolate candy in the US last year. And over $1.5 billion of that is spent this week. And the #1 chocolate we love to eat; M&Ms made by Mars, a family held company.  The U.S. produces more chocolate candy than any other country in the world.

My idea of the perfect Valentine chocolate treat is to spend a Saturday afternoon (11 to 3) at the Chocolate Bar at the Langham hotel. The buffet this year features the five tastes, salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savory. It is a bit pricey but cost effective if you eat a lot! Cost: $40 for an adult and $28 for children ages 5 to 12. Kids under 4 are free. They are sold out for this Saturday. But an IOU for next Saturday will work as well.

Over 50% of women will give chocolate for a Valentine’s Day gift. So if your sweetie has a sweet tooth, how about making something from scratch. It does take time but can be rewarding and fun.

Think outside the box here (you know which box!) and bake some gourmet brownies or a chocolate cake. You can now buy the famous San Francisco Ghirardelli chocolate, sitting right next to the Hershey chocolate in the grocery store. Both Ghirardelli and Hershey have websites with some great recipes to get you started.

A good easy recipe for fudge is on the back of the Marshmallow Fluff jar. Who knew? Also a candy that impresses is chocolate peanut butter bars. All you do is melt chocolate and peanut butter to create your own candy.

If the kitchen is not where you want to be, consider one of those heart shaped boxes of candy. 36 million will be sold this Valentine’s day. Not very original but will do in a pinch and you can buy them at the drugstore, grocery store, the discount store!

I checked out a few of the fancy candies Lindt, Godiva and Ghirardelli (hey, someone had to do it) and indeed the more money you spend the creamier the product. But a heart shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter cup will do in a pinch and its only 75 cents and four WW points. That’s the small one. I have seen some that weigh 8 ounces!

A bag of chocolate kisses works well also; find something nice to put them in, like a basket or a vase. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. When packing lunches on Friday stick a few kisses in each lunch, maybe include a note or a card. I understand that green M&Ms are also in this year.

If you want to impress your date or guests try the Ghirardelli soft center cakes. They did not take much time and my guests thought they were wonderful. But they are 14 WW points. So if you want to splurge this it!

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