As soon as the second week of February rolls in, streets become full of vendors carrying heart-shaped balloons and flowers. Restaurants start advertising special price fixed menus and lovers start squirming restlessly wondering what to gift their partner. So what’s a person to do? Win her heart over with decadent desserts! Bonus brownie points for finding a relatively unknown home-based-baker who has the touch of magic in his/her hands.
This week I stuffed my face with an embarrassingly high number of desserts and now I’m an expert in building premium made-to-order valentine’s day basket filled with decadent desserts, beautiful flowers and exquisite treats- the ultimate present even for someone who’s not big on this holiday.
Without further ado, here is what transpired when I ordered multiple Valentines Day baskets for “research”:
My tough girl exterior cracked as I unboxed the giant heart-shaped box and found delicious desserts that only my carb-loaded dreams are made of. The delicate heart-shaped macaroons reminded me of my time in Paris. Macaroons are hard to master, over bake them even by a millisecond and they crack. Pink Pistachio hit the cord with these macaroons.
Convinced that I’d already tasted the best thing, I picked up a chocolate shell filled with seasonal berries nestled atop of rich chocolate mousse and sweet berry compote. Boy oh boy, my tastebuds danced in delight.
Next, I tried their buttery tarts and pies: first apple, then chocolate and I ended with walnut. Each one was so perfect I was beginning to wonder whether Pink Pistachio employed actual elves from the North Pole. If Prince Charming ever shows up (does he even exist? I mean this could be an entirely different rant) I’m going to send him this box (and hopefully devour half the treats with him). Pink Pistachio has thoroughly won my heart and it’s safe to say they’ll be a constant on my cheat day(s).
You may have already tried Myne’s Signature Double Nutella cake filled with Nutella ganache and frosted with Nutella buttercream at food festivals or Dessert Directory. I’m a sucker for her homemade dairy ice-cream so naturally, I wanted to add that to my Valentine’s day basket. I got in touch with the delightful Myne who told me that along with her baker friends she’s put together a special basket for Valentine’s day.
For joint ventures, this team of four bakers goes by a combination of their initials- SMJTJ and puts together a basket full of their individual specialties. Myne added three of her best-selling ice-cream flavors: Nutella Swirl Dream, Myne’s Strawbery Cheesecake and Lindt Dark Indulgence with 70% cocoa.
Javeria Usman added individually wrapped slices of her premium baked cheesecakes to the basket, that had the silkiest texture. Samiyah Khalid Khwaja added the gooiest triple chocolate chip Nutella fudge brownies and classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Last but not the least, Taimoor Jalal of Manchoolez added half a dozen of his phenomenal Ferrero Rocher cupcakes to this one-of-a-kind basket. Goes without saying that this basket was the ultimate present to receive. Even people who were on strict diets couldn’t resist the urge. We recommend placing orders with this power team a few days in advance because each product is perfectly curated and takes time to develop.
After Pink Pistachio and SMJTJ, I thought there possibly couldn’t be another baker that could outperform. Then I tasted the goodness made by home-based bakery A-Creations and was pleasantly surprised. Since strawberries are in season and are used to depict love, Amna capitalized on the fruit and centered her tray around it. There were four strawberry centric desserts and each one was a crowd pleaser.
I started with the mason jar filled with vanilla sponge cake, whipped cream, ganache and fresh strawberries and moved on to the baked cheesecake topped with the freshest strawberry sauce I have tasted this season. Both of these desserts were appropriately sweetened. They were simple yet so delicious that it was hard to pull away. Next, I tried the chocolate dessert cup that was layered with gooey brownies, chocolate sauce, cream and strawberries and lastly I dug into the stacked vanilla cake with cream cheese drizzle. You can tell that A-Creations is using top-notch ingredients because each bite is a delight. The flavor of strawberries really came through in these desserts and I highly recommend this price friendly tray to anyone wanting to woo their bae.
On first look, the Valentine’s Day products made by Bakelicious looked homemade but when we tried them out, they were surprisingly delightful. The chocolate mousse cups were so delicious, everyone wanted a bite. The mini heart shaped brownies were not only cute but decadent and perfectly chewy. The cupcakes were average though but for the price point, this basket gets our approval.
Hi-Fi Delights from Romi
The goodie box that we received from Hi-Fi Delights from Romi came across as a little amateurish. Though the products looked lovely, they weren’t as hot at the office. Perhaps our judgement is tainted because we’ve been spoiled by maestros at this point. The red velvet cupcakes and the brownies were the best items in their basket but overall we weren’t impressed. The price point was great though. Try them out and let us know if you think otherwise.
The notion of a bouquet made with doughnuts seemed quirky enough for to me to try out. Unfortunately, I didn’t know before ordering that the doughnuts were pre-bought from Dunkin’ Donuts. The bouquet was beautiful but Dunkin’ isn’t something that excites me. If however, that’s something you like, try them out. They also do beautiful bouquet arrangements made from chocolates.
Sugar Rush by Rubab
Sugar Rush’s Valentine Day basket was beautifully packed in red net and contained two types of dessert parfaits, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate dipped marshmallows and a few Ferrero Rocher chocolates. The boys in the team loved the parfaits but I vehemently dislike coconut essence so I only tried the mousse cups.
As much as I want to support small-scale businesses, I wouldn’t go out of my way to order this tray again but the boys on the team disagree, so don’t take my word for it. Try them out for yourself and let us know how your experience was.