Honolulu Coffee franchisee Ming Yang is selling hot chocolate bombs that have been made popular through social media videos | Chung Chow
Pandemic or no pandemic, a few products are likely to be popular for Valentine’s Day: chocolate, champagne and flowers.
Those products may seem timeless, but there are always new twists, or trends that lure consumers.
This year the hottest trend in chocolate is hot chocolate bombs – made famous in TikTok and Instagram videos, Honolulu Coffee franchisee Ming Yang told BIV.
When the seven-centimetre balls of chocolate are put in a mug and covered with hot water or milk, the outside of the chocolate sphere melts, releasing marshmallows and chocolate powder to create a deluxe drink when stirred. Yang sells boxes that have either two dark or two white chocolate balls.
Longtime chocolatier Thomas Haas’ specialty is artisan fine chocolates. His hottest-selling Valentine’s Day item is a single-tier round box, with a velvet heart design that holds 16 chocolates.
Sparkling wine sellers are also upping their game with promotions.
The Okanagan’s Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, which is known largely as a bubbly producer, has an offer that enables buyers to get a bottle of its 2016 Fitz Brut, a bottle of its 2017 Fitz Brut, a Fitz candle to create ambiance and a recipe for a crab, pea and garlic noodle dish created by the winery’s chef, Jeremy Tucker.
Vancouver’s Marquis Wine Cellars is also encouraging sales of sparkling wine. Any customer who buys a bottle of champagne at Marquis’ Davie Street store is given a free pair of Puddifoot champagne flutes.
Most florists offer online shopping and free delivery on Valentine’s Day, but because demand is high for the classic gift of roses, price reductions may be challenging to find.
While restrictions related to the pandemic have spread financial pain for many, others have been able to save money because they are not travelling, dining out as frequently or spending on events, said Retail Insider Media owner and retail consultant Craig Patterson.
“There is a segment of the population that is going to be looking to treat themselves, and to buy something that’s expensive,” Patterson said. “We may or may not see quite so much in the way of the chocolate sales, and the less expensive stuff, but we may see a little spike in sales for diamond bracelets.”
A final, important gift that sometimes gets overlooked is the card.
London Drugs has manufactured a wide variety of its own Valentine’s Day greeting cards. In addition to having a variety of cards for those in the LGBTQ+ community, the retailer has made cards with a nod to essential workers.
One new card that may be desirable for someone who wants to wish a health-care worker well features a staff of Hermes, which represents the medical profession. Two snakes are wound together up a single red rose.
The text reads: “Thanks for putting your heart on the front line.” •