I’ve always loved Christmas. Not just because I really like opening gifts and have a soft spot (around my belly) for cookies, but because I love getting swept up in the spirit of the season. Whether I’m writing holiday cards, or running around to five different malls to find the perfect present for my BFF, or singing along (poorly) to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” I feel enlivened during this time of year.
Or at least, I have until this Christmas season.
This year, for reasons unbeknownst to me and all the little Who’s in Whoville, I have become… a Grinch.
I haven’t bought a single present other than a gift card I was required to buy for an office gift exchange, I haven’t sent out any holiday cards, and I haven’t listened to any Christmas music – not even the Alvin & the Chipmunks song.
With only nine days before the big ornament ball drops, I have joined ranks with those people – the procrastinators who wait till the last minute to do their shopping and holiday spirit giving. The ones who get in fights at Bloomingdale’s over the last black cashmere sweater and give out coupons for hugs instead of real presents.
Fortunately, there is a saving grace for those Scrooges who have, like me, let the month of December get away from them – chocolate.
It may not be the most creative or intimate of choices, but good chocolate is an indulgence that few people actually buy for themselves. Unless, of course, they are like me and buy themselves 1-lb boxes of customized See’s chocolates that they have the counter ladies wrap up to appear as though they are giving it to someone else instead.
But for the rest of the population who doesn’t dream in calories or chase around to various confectionaries over their lunch hour, chocolate is an easy last minute gift that is sure to wipe even the Grinchiest of frowns off a Grinch’s face. Here are four of my favorite chocolatiers in Los Angeles that can work wonders in a holiday pinch.
912 South Barrington Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049-5504
With unique flavors like blackberry sage and a recent pear and cheese offering, Compartes Chocolatier is sure to make an impression on the most sophisticated of palates. The US Weekly crowd will be interested to know that “the Hills” girls are big fans of the honey peanut butter sea salt truffle, as well. Bonus: The pristine packaging requires no additional gift wrapping.
3360 West First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman’s artisanal confectioner produces a variety of upscale treats to tantalize every taste bud. While they are famous for their toffee, and make a mean holiday nougat containing almonds and hand-candied local oranges, I’m particularly partial to their salt and pepper truffles. This sweet treat is sure to spice up any stocking.
444 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210-4820
Edelweiss’ hand-crafted chocolate-covered marshmallows have been a hit with both the young and old since 1942. No one can resist the caramellow, but sweeter tongues will appreciate the candy-coated toffeemallow.
3423 S La Cienega Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA
For the traditionalist, See’s Candies is the definitive favorite, and, given their many locations, is a convenient choice for last minute shoppers. Those with more time can create customized boxes filled with the popular scotchmallows, peanut nougats, milk bordeaux and caramels. Or make a box for themselves. Because sometimes the Grinch needs some chocolate too.