NCA reports that Americans spend about $700 million on chocolate for Valentine's Day, and Consumer Reports sampled 30 boxes of gift chocolates. Favorites include the $49 Norman Love Confections 25-piece Signature Gift Box, the $40 Godiva Gold Ballotin box, the $11 Ferrero Collection Fine Assorted Confections and $17 boxes of See's Assorted Chocolates.
Antoine Amrani Chocolates in East Norriton, Pa., has grown into a million-dollar business in its first year of operation. The company's banana rum, almond crisp, coffee sour cherry and Earl Grey chocolates, among others, are sold at gourmet and specialty stores in Philadelphia, New York and Washington.
Oatfield Confectionery, the oldest candy maker in Ireland, is thriving by selling orange chocolates, licorice bonbons and Emerald toffees. The company recently redesigned its brand and is preparing for the Christmas rush.
Kraft Foods added two production lines to its chocolate-making facility in Svoge, Bulgaria. The factory will be able to produce 1 million bars of both local and international brands of chocolate a day.
Lionel Clement, the head chocolatier at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino, will be up against 18 other chefs who specialize in chocolate at the World Chocolate Masters competition, held later this month in Paris. Barry Callebaut is organizing the competition.