Chocolate maker, Food 5*/5, Price about £1/piece, website
Neuhaus is a cooler, less mainstream alternative to Godiva. Having been introduced to them ten years ago by a neighbour who went on regular business trips to Brussels, the exquisite Neuhaus chocolates have always had a special place in my heart.
The Manon sucre vanille must be tried. It is a rich buttercream, caramelized pecan and a tiny shard of toffee enrobed in a deeply sweet sugar cream. Like the Aphrodite, it’s heaven for lovers of white chocolate. It was fascinating to learn in the little booklet that the Manon is named after the role played by the opera-singer daughter of Jean Neuhaus, who invented praline. The Cornet Doré, a smooth, luxurious swirl of hazelnut giandula is a signature piece. The dark ganaches such as Grand Place and Jean exhibit sophisticated smoky yet fruity notes.
Neuhaus chocolatier has boutiques in Harrods, Mayfair and Putney in Central London – within easy access on occasions special enough to merit the one-pound-per-piece decadence. It’s bound to impress on Valentine’s days and anniversaries. Nevertheless, if you want to be really, really sure, get something from Tiffany’s too.