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I Know There's a Freak Under That Buttoned-Up Exterior
Andre's Confiserie Suisse ($2.55)
5018 Main, 816-561-6484
4929 West 119th Street, Overland Park, 913-498-3440
Everything is proper in the midtown or Leawood chocolate shop — properly passionate. The Matterhorn, that signature peak of volatile pastry seismology, is a dual threat: a big chocolate mountain that signifies the phallic or the mammary, as you like. Either way, the real treat is the delicate butter-cookie base that holds a chocolate and chocolate-buttercream cake beneath the skillfully arranged chocolate and vanilla fondant.
There Are Many Ways to Get Into Heaven
Russell Stover Candies (1-pound box, $13.99)
Available throughout the metro
There's a solid reason that the traditional 1-pound box of assorted chocolates — nougats, caramels, fudge, toffees, nut clusters — has been the favored Valentine's Day choice for mothers, grandmothers, maiden aunts, old gay bachelors and shut-ins. The familiar yellow cardboard box (which can be used later for a variety of craft projects, or for cleverly hiding cash or handguns) evokes a simpler era, when a box of candy evoked a sense of sweet affection rather than lust. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sampler, which was introduced in 1912 and became the best-selling boxed candy in America within three years. Kansas City's Russell Stover bought Whitman's in 1993. Remember the rule, though: Don't give a Whitman's Sampler to a sex partner unless there's an engagement ring tucked inside the box.
We've Been Together Long Enough to Eat Like Pigs Around Each Other
Chocolate toffee pecans
We B Nuts and Stuff ($14.50 per pound)
9437 Mission, Leawood, 913-649-6887
It takes a brave partner to give candy that's assembled by sheer poundage — or maybe a long-term partner, with whom all barriers against indulgence have been torn down. These nuggets, dusted with powdered sugar, sit beckoning in the glass display cases lining the center of We B Nuts, a store that opened in Ranch Mart Shopping Center in December. The saltiness of the pecans is the last note you taste from a handful, meaning you'll keep reaching for the next one to get more of the dark chocolate and sweet toffee.
Don't Worry, These Nude Polaroids Will Be Classy
Small "Peanut Butter Dreams Pizza"
Amore Chocolate Pizza Co. ($14.95)
4821 West 117th Street, Leawood, 913-327-1400
The 6-inch chocolate disc is the relative thickness of a Belgian waffle, and inside is a creamy peanut-butter center to balance the snap of the dark or milk chocolate. Peanut-butter chips and a white-chocolate drizzle on top help sell the suggestion that you're eating some kind of pizza, but this is strictly for the easily convinced. What other kind of Valentine's Day date do you want, though?
Thanks for Letting Me Get to Second Base
Milk- and white-chocolate-covered Oreos
Chip's Chocolate Factory ($8.99 for a six-pack)
Crown Center, 2450 Grand, 816-421-0012
The chocolate covering on each Oreo is like the fudge produced by the Crown Center candy shop — rich and buttery. Then you bite into the cookie center and you're a kid again, looking for a huge glass of cold milk and hoping that nobody comes to stop you from eating the whole box.
Your Tongue Is So Hot
Panache Chocolatier ($4)
418 Nichols Road, 816-931-3191
KC's Panache might be most famous for its chocolate-dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered corn flakes, and the chocolate-and-popcorn combination known as Choco Poppo (cinephiles need love, too). Now there's a new kick in town: dark-chocolate pieces made with hot red-pepper flakes. It's a smooth, silky chocolate with a discreet flash of heat. It's lovely with a glass of chilled champagne and a hot bubble bath.