BOSTON (CBS) – Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolate. My idea of the perfect Valentine gift is a Reese’s peanut butter heart.

Chocolate is big business. There was over $22 billion in retail sales of chocolate candy in the U.S. last year. 58 million pounds of chocolate was purchased for Valentine’s day.

So if your sweetie has a sweet tooth, how about making something from scratch instead of just buying that box of chocolates.

Think outside the box here (you know which box!) and bake some gourmet brownies or a chocolate cake from scratch. You can buy Ghirardelli chocolate, sitting right next to the Hershey chocolate in the grocery store. Both Ghirardelli and Hershey have great recipes on their websites.

I found an easy candy recipe for fudge and it’s on the back of the Marshmallow Fluff jar.

If you want to impress your date or guests, make the Ghirardelli soft center cakes. They did not take much time and everyone at my house thought they were great.

If the kitchen is not where you want to be, consider one of those heart shaped boxes of candy. About 40 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 and the discount store!

I thought I should include some of the fancy candies in my research; Lindt, Godiva and Ghirardelli and indeed the more money you spend the creamier the product. I like buying the Lindt chocolate for a special occasion because they are produced in Stratham, New Hampshire. There also is an outlet store there which appeals to my thrifty side.

A bag of Hershey 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 Valentine’s Day stick a few kisses in each lunch, maybe with a note or a card.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

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