If you’re looking to impress your sweetheart—and we mean, like, John Cusack-holding-a-boombox impress—for Valentine’s Day, then you need to upgrade from the last-minute box of chocolates and cliché teddy bear. Spark some wow with year with Southern sweets and gourmet confections. These thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts spread the love not only to your person, but also to small business owners and artists around the South. From gooey, indulgent brownies made in Nashville to a cookie the size of your head and buttery-sweet brittles, these thoughtful Southern sweets communicate the ultimate love language.
Southern Sweets from the Local Palate Marketplace
Cinnamon Sugar Pecan Brittle
If you're looking for sugar, spice, and everything nice, this pecan brittle is for you. South Carolina confectionist Sam Holmes specializes in gourmet brittles, candies, and sauces that just so happen to be free of animal byproducts, gluten, and palm oil. Southern pecans coated in a rich candied crust make a pleasurably spiced, crunchy snack. Enjoy as-is or sprinkle over ice cream.
Colossal Fleur de Sel Cookie
How big is your love? Is it regular-cookie sized or colossal-cookie sized? Show your love goes above and beyond with a sweet Valentine’s Day gift that does the same. Sunflour Baking Company’s thick cookies crisp up around their edges but stay dense and moist inside. We love this chocolate fleur de sel cookie’s brownie-like texture, plus the sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top. Though this dessert would easily feed two (remember, sharing is caring), you may be tempted to eat it all yourself.
Does it get more decadent than biting into a fudgy brownie oozing caramel layers? Nashville-based sweets company Colts Chocolate proves that it really doesn’t. Bits of toasted pecans in the brownie give a fun crunch that contrasts with the soft layers of whiskey-spiked caramel. Beyoncé said to put the love on top, and Colts Chocolate does that exactly, finishing these babies with a coat of chocolate ganache.
Add instant elevation to ice cream, fruit, or store-bought cookies with a decadent drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce. Or, chocolate and caramel sauce, which is the case with this sweet topping from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. We love this one as a Valentine’s Day gift because it does the heavy lifting if you waited until the last minute to plan. The gentle heat from ghost pepper gives an unexpected kick to desserts that will keep you Valentine on their toes.
Salty meets sweet in this hand-made toffee from Arkansas. Southern-grown pecans get coated in rich butterscotch, then topped with a layer of chocolate and finished with flaky sea salt. The result is a sweet, nutty candy with a playful, snappy texture.