Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and the stores are positively blushing red and pink—maybe even purple. Forget run-of-the-mill name brand chocolates or sweets—this isn’t Halloween. Your sweetheart deserves the highest quality, locally-made, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Below are a few options, all handcrafted on the Island.

A Wee Cupcakery

Lifestyle_Dontgo03Around the corner on Fitzwilliam St., nestled in-between two buildings, lies A Wee Cupcakery. Open Tuesday to Saturday, “Nanaimo’s first and Only Artisan Cupcake Bake Shop” has a multitude of cupcake flavours on offer and other specialty baked goods.

Made fresh daily, the cupcakes rotate “depending on the mood of the baker. ” From vanilla bean, Ebony and Ivory, red velvet, Adam’s Apple, coconut cream cheese, Miami Vice, and French toast (to name a few), A Wee Cupcakery also has vegan and gluten-free options available, with sugar-free cupcakes upon special request. Starting at $3.25 each (alternative choices at $3.50), the store requires a minimum 48-hour notice for large orders and usually sells out fast. “Wee Ones,” for those wanting to indulge in small amounts, start at $9 for a minimum order of half a dozen. Creamy, local, and handmade, this makes a great choice for something a little different this Valentines Day.

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Cherub Chocolate

Located in downtown Nanaimo, Cherub Chocolate is one of the newest chocolateries on Commercial St. Handcrafted and using single origin Belgian chocolate (where the cocoa is harvested from one region and is therefore easier to trace and more sustainable), and often local nuts and dried fruits, Cherub Chocolate prides themselves on “using the finest ingredients and handcrafting [their] chocolates from the ground up.” From a Nanaimo Bar Collection, to their new Rosette Truffles for Valentine’s Day, or the saucy Cappezoli Venere Truffles (also known as Nipples), Cherub has a lot to offer. From a nine piece box and a flower bouquet filled with chocolates, to their Exclusive Chocolate Box with over 100 chocolates and 2.2 pounds of sweet locally-crafted goodness, Cherub Chocolate has variety enough to satisfy even the pickiest Valentine.

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Sweet Somethings Candy and Confections

Located on Wesley St. across from the St. Andrew’s Church is downtown’s self proclaimed “Nanaimo Candy Headquarters.” Opened in 2013, owner and founder Carol Surtel is a firm believer that “sugary goodness is enough to brighten even the most sour of days.” Home of the Brownie Bomb with its variety of flavours, pecan clusters, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks, creamy fudge, and the ever classic chocolate heart boxes and chocolate covered strawberries available for pre-order, Sweet Somethings has something sweet (or salty) for every palate. Affordable and varied, you can even go in and ask for samples.

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And if local isn’t cutting it this Valentine’s Day, there’s always Vancouver-based Purdy’s Chocolate.