Now that you have recovered from gingerbread lattes, cookies, and, well, everything gingerbread flavored, it’s time to delve into Valentine sweets!
By Julia McWilliams
Over the last week I have done a tasting tour of sorts (the sacrifices I make!), around the area, looking for tasty Valentine sweets. I focused on terrific, local businesses.
Remember, a Valentine doesn’t need to be big or expensive, or just for a sweetheart. It can be for anyone as a reminder you care about them, kids included.
I found two chocolatiers in Pasadena that make their own chocolates. Mignon Chocolates, sells delicious chocolates in Old Pasadena at 6 East Holly, and their shop in Glendale makes the chocolates. They offer a variety of flavors and beautiful chocolates in red, heart-shaped boxes from small to large, as well as pre-ordered, chocolate- dipped strawberries. Be sure to read the history of Mignon Chocolates, which was established in 1910 in Kharkiv, Ukraine as a bread bakery.
Another chocolatier is CAR Artisan Chocolate Manufactory & Café, also in Pasadena, at 1009 E. Colorado Blvd. You will find chocolate bars made there on-site. These are adult, artisan, chocolate bars with strong, unique flavors. The owners take pride in making their chocolates directly from cacao farmers in remote areas of Mexico, Peru, and Nicaragua. Can’t decide which chocolate bar to get your Valentine? Get them a gift card from CAR. They can choose their own bar, have a coffee and one of the amazing chocolate croissants.
Also in Old Pasadena, Delight Bakery, at 39 N Raymond Ave., is an excellent place to find beautiful, and delicious, cupcakes, cookies and cakes, as well as an assortment of pastries. For your Valentine you can purchase a box of valentine shaped cookies with red sugar coating, or a box of beautifully decorated cupcakes. Show your love for your family and take home an entire cake!
Patticakes Bakery & Bistro has long been a staple in Altadena at 1900 N. Allen Ave. Although they have wonderful bistro offerings with a large patio for dining, I was on the lookout for Valentines. Patticakes is locally famous for their beautifully decorated and delicious cakes, which need to be pre-ordered. But, if you just make a refreshment stop, they have a large assortment of pastries, as well as some Valentine sugar cookies. As a special treat the baristas have crafted Valentine beverages, including White Chocolate Rose, Vanilla Almond, Raspberry White Chocolate and Carmel Turtle. There are also Macaroon, Sugar Cookie and Almond Rose blended drinks.
– San Marino
Want to avoid the crowded restaurants and long wait to be seated? At Julienne’s in San Marino at 2651 Mission St., you can order an entire Valentine dinner for two to go! It includes a starter, full entre, with chocolate covered strawberries, Linzer cookies and Champagne (order the day before). Just add flowers and candles and you are set for the perfect Valentine evening.
You can also find Valentine cookies/candies and Petit four.
– South Pasadena
Drive along Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena, and if you look carefully, you will spot the little gem Berry Opera at 811 Fair Oaks. Walk inside and you will instantly be captivated by the beautiful French pastries. Glossy small cakes in a variety of flavors, macarons, different flavors of mousse and cheesecake, as well as picture-perfect fruit tarts, and Valentine cookies. There are also several flavors of croissants, including chocolate (of course), and four choices of almond with chocolate, hazelnut or Nutella. Whether an opera fan or not, this “La Boutique Pastry and Café” is worth singing about!
Looking for decorated Valentine cookies I hit the jackpot at Perfectly Sweet Bakery in Alhambra at 126 W. Main St.! Walking into the bakery you see an explosion of Valentine cookies. All beautifully, hand-decorated and designed in-house. There are all sizes and types from a 2023 bunny for the Year of the Rabbit to a large Eiffel Tower, all in Valentine colors. Hearts in red, pink and white with intricate, delicate lacy designs. Let your kids pick out their own Valentine cookies!
– San Gabriel
And finally, for kids of all ages, make a stop at Nomad Gourmet Ice Pops at 415 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel. They have a selection of unique flavors that change frequently. Some flavors available now are Berry Peach Lemon, Chocolate (of course), Peanut Butter with Chocolate, Mango Chili, Watermelon, Spumoni and Spicy Peach, just to name a few. They also have vegan and sugar free options.
To show how special Nomad Ice Pops is, this sign was posted: “Our Hearts go out to the victims in Monterey Park. 100% of sales today (January 23rd) will go to the Victim Relief Fund. 20% of sales the rest of the week will go to the Victim Relief Fund.” These dates have passed, but I felt it important to show the generosity of Nomad Pops. That is truly a Valentine.
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