Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day would never be complete without chocolates. From bars to bites, they are simply delicious and no one wants to settle for less. Since it’s a special day, your best bet has got to be artisanal chocolates, meticulously made to detail to tug one’s heartstring right away. Here are some of the best around Asia.

Marou Chocolates Vietnam

Chocolates may not be the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think of Vietnam but Marou Chocolates are dispelling that notion. Being the first artisan bean to bar chocolate maker in the country, they are now making waves at the global stage.

It’s the brainchild of two Frenchmen, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou. They ditched their jobs and plunged headlong into the chocolate adventure in 2011 and never looked back.

The names of the single-origin bars come from the provinces where the kaleidoscopic cacao pods are sourced from. Each province’s chocolate has its own distinctive flavour profile which is further enhanced with Vietnamese sugar cane and spices once it’s fermented at the factory.

If you have an affinity for aftertastes, check out Ba Ria. Beyond the intense chocolate experience, the bar is punched up with strong fruitiness. If that’s not up your alley, the Heart of Darkness is a salacious combination of gingerbread and cinnamon with a hint of tobacco. Tien Giang is for those who seeks an interplay of woody and earthy flavour amidst subtle sweetness.

It’s available in numerous stores worldwide and online. But if you’re heading to the heart of Saigon, do visit their latest cafe Maison Marou. Besides the chocolate bars, patrons can also grace up their tables with delectable chocolate bon-bon and assorted pastries and wash it all down with a cup of java.

Seniman Kakao Malaysia

After the success of Artisan Roast in the evolving coffee scene in Kuala Lumpur, Amirah and Michael gradually spread their wings into chocolates. Once there was enough money in the coffer, the ambitious duo opened a chocolate factory.

Currently, the beans are not only sourced from Pahang, Malaysia as Vietnam and Papua New Guinea are in the mix too. However, they are working with local farmers to improve the cacao quality for the future.

The chocolate bars exude all qualities one would look for in an artisanal chocolate. The welcome note of sleek creaminess also resonates earthy, woody and slightly spicy flavours. While those who prefer mild orchard essences, the ones made from Pahang cacao beans are a must try.

The chocolates are said to have more theobromine than other bars in the market which is known to cause severe addiction. Moreover, weight-watchers will be delighted to know that less amount of sugar is used, giving them additional reasons to walk out with armloads of chocolate. Seeking a shi􏰩 from their 3 different 70% dark chocolates􏰨 Their single milk chocolate is reaping up positive reviews too􏱚.

The need for a gift paper or box is nullified thanks to their well- designed wrappers. If you think the facade is fabulous, wait till you unwrap them, as the astute designs are crazed by Malaysian artists on the chocolates themselves. The bars are sold at Artisan Roast, the Three Little Birds Coffee cafes in Sentul and DPC, and Rubberduck.

To complete the equation of a chocolate obsessed date, do try their chocolate drink too, which is available at Yellow Brick Road, Standing Theory, Soul Sacrifice in KL, and Awesome Canteen in Penang.

Beans to Bars Singapore

With a name that says it all, Beans to Bars would surge into any chocolate devotees’ good books. The Singaporean owned company started up with simple goals, to let everyone indulge chocolates without the need to pierce through the wallet due to spirit-sapping shipping charges. They bring over award-winning chocolates directly from makers in US, Australia and Europe. To further amp up your expectations, they have bagged a number of awards.

From milk to dark and organic chocolates, one would certainly be spoilt with choices. Think 􏰪avours infused with handmade honeycomb, Porcini mushrooms, golden berries, salted caramel, beer hops, Pinot Noir red wine, Tahini sesame paste and Matcha – even the pickiest eater will be pleased with the waves of flavour profiles that come in various shades and sizes.

Their personalised pinewood gift box and photo frame are part of their winning formula. What better joy than surprising your partner at their doorstep with a gorgeously designed box, filled with addictive bites and bars.

If you’re not in the mood to curl up on the couch with delectable chocolates, swing by the Dean & Deluca where you can nibble them along a curated selection of wine after a hefty meal.

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