Top 8 love bites

BE still, my beating heart! We have licence to get excited as we like about our loved-ones at this time of year. 

All the talk about greetings cards being environmentally unfriendly gives us even more reason to express our love with a big smile and a hug, continuing throughout the day with little tokens of affection, such as our treats at every meal.

This Sunday can be schmaltzy, with plenty of foods and fizz. You can make heart-shaped biscuits, cakes, and breads, and fashion anything from mashed potato to cheese into shapes for fun. You can pipe messages with Pavlova mixture onto a silicone sheet and bake them in the oven for 30 minutes. Dust with chocolate powder, or a top with a little grated lemon zest or, wait for it, passion fruit. Even a carrot or beetroot cake can be baked in a heart-shaped mould.

Going over the top is allowed, so get into the spirit of ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’. Eke out the chocolate treats over a few weeks to avoid racking up too many extra kilos. Leftovers will keep for months in a cool place.

The Chocolate Shop white chocolate shoe €12.95

Top 8 love bites

Worthy of any true blue Christian Louboutin fan, and costing considerably less, this fun shoe is made from white chocolate decorated with pink hearts. We loved the beautifully shaped pink heel and sole and removed the cellophane wrapping for the photograph, which is finished with a purple bow. There are other chocolate heart options too in the English market, Cork and on line www.chocolate.ie

Leonidas €9

Top 8 love bites

This hollow heart is a decent size and made from the deliciously rich milk chocolate loved by dedicated Leonidas fans. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with a red bow, it avoids the extra calories of creamy filled chocolates, so a small chunk a day can be enjoyed guilt-free. Other options available.

O’Conaill €1

Top 8 love bites

This solid heart comes in other sizes, but this one has plenty of bites with a delicious vanilla back taste. A good one for leaving beside a favourite book, or hiding under a plate – use your imagination! From the French Church Street and Princes Street, Cork cafés and shops.

Butlers €7

Top 8 love bites

This pretty pink tin has 13 red foil-wrapped milk chocolate truffle hearts inside. With 32% cocoa solids, they are filled with a truffle mixture which appealed more to the very sweet-toothed tasters. There are plenty of other heart-shaped options in this brand at different prices.

Godiva Coeur Iconique €14

Top 8 love bites

The most expensive of our selection, this stylish gold box has just six heart-shaped chocolates inside (we hoped for a second layer). Two each in white, milk, and dark chocolate, they are rich and luxurious to match their price. For those who like all three types of chocolates, they also come in a larger size €26. From Brown Thomas, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Galway.

Marks & Spencer selection from €4.49

This store had the second best selection of hearty treats and we liked them all.

Top 8 love bites

The ‘Love Is Sweet’ box has 19 heart and round shaped white, milk and dark chocolate with various fillings €14.99. ‘Be Mine’ is a fake leather box of four chocolate hearts with salted caramel centres €4.49. We paired these with a little 20cl bottle of Cava Rosado €5.79, or to last all through three courses, a decent bottle of Oudinet Champagne – at €39, a fair price.

Lidl selection from €1.49

Top 8 love bites

This tops the list for choice with heart-shaped pasta €1.49, the ‘For You’ brand of a red tin of truffle hearts €2.29 and box of cherry liqueur chocolates (with whole cherries) €3.99. Good value rosé Champagne comes from Bissinger & Co €23.99 and you can make heart-shaped muffins and sponges in their silicone moulds €2.99 and €3.99. Plenty of fun to be had with these.

ABC Bakery Bread €3.50

Top 8 love bites

The most interesting of our Valentine’s heart selection is a superb Challah, a bread enriched with eggs and sugar/honey. Try this for the family breakfast or a party with everyone breaking off a piece and sharing the love. A bargain in a heart shape today and tomorrow — it is usually available at weekends in a plait. There will also be heart-shaped sugar, gluten and dairy-free cakes available this weekend in the English Market, Cork.

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