PORTSMOUTH — The strawberries are ordered, the truffles are being made and the chefs on the Seacoast have a mouth-watering selection waiting for you and your loved one this Valentine’s Day.
Before she opened her candy shop Monday morning, Janette Desmond at Kilwins on Congress Street in Portsmouth had already taken two orders for chocolate-covered strawberries. She will be at her shop at 6 a.m. on Valentine’s Day filling all of her pre-orders and making hundreds more strawberries to sell Thursday.
“Chocolate-covered strawberries are always best eaten the day they are made,” Desmond explained.
Store Manager John Desmond said another special seller this year is their heart-shaped boxes of chocolate that are completely edible.
“It’s fun, but in not a gimmicky way. It’s like eating an ice cream cone. The cone is the best part at the end,” he said.
At Lickee’s & Chewy’s on Washington Street in Dover, there are treats for Valentines of all ages, but behind the glass near the back of the shop there are specialized chocolates made with moonshine, bourbon, vodka and rum. Owner Chris Guerrette has teamed up with local distiller Kevin Kurland of Smoky Quartz Distillery on Lafayette Road in Seabrook to create the popular collection.
Guerrette expects people will visit the café on Valentine’s Day, so in addition to pulling together gift-giving items, he has created a chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake shake for couples to try together.
“It’s large enough for two people. It’s clearly meant for sharing,” Guerrette said.
The Valentine’s Day menu at Cava Tapas & Wine Bar on Commercial Alley in Portsmouth is also meant for sharing. Co-owner John Akar said Chef Gregg Sessler has created another eight-course aphrodisiac menu that runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Akar said he expects to see a busy weekend following the holiday.
“This time of year, it really gives people an excuse to get out and have a really nice dinner,” Akar said of Valentine’s Day and the weekends that bookend it.
At Ristorante Massimo on Penhallow Street in Portsmouth, there is a special “Engagement Table” for Valentine’s Day couples who plan to share the rest of their lives together.
“We have many beautiful nooks that are tucked away. The one under the brick arch is truly special. We have had hundreds of proposals over the past 25 years. It is so thrilling when you know it’s about to happen, it is so emotional for everyone and so very special!” Owner Massimo Morgia said.
Morgia said Valentine’s Day is typically booked weeks in advance, but there is limited seating for the rest of the weekend this year.
At Patty B’s Italian Restaurant on Dover Point Road in Dover, they almost booked as well.
Owner Patty Barish said they are planning a menu that includes filet mignon, baked stuffed lobster and jumbo shrimp cocktail.
“We have some beautiful wines selected,” Barish said. “We try to make a big deal of it.”