Valentine’s Day centers around love and relationships. Romantic cards, red flowers, and stuffed animals are hallmarks of the holiday, but there’s one thing most of us really look forward to: candies.
In honor of the holiday this year, we scoured the Black Hills for the best treats. Whether you’re a chocoholic or prefer a lighter treat, there’s no doubt that candy stores around the hills will have something that suits your fancy.
This Valentine’s Day staple will satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths. While tradition dictates truffles are simply made from chocolate and heavy cream, fan favorites usually include fruit, liquor or nuts. Not only that, combinations of different fillings and chocolate flavors means the type of truffles you can find are endless. Around Valentine’s Day, strawberry-inspired truffles are a fun go-to, but watch for white chocolate and champagne varieties for something new and exciting.
Looking for your next box of chocolates? Head to Deadwood or downtown Rapid City to visit Chubby Chipmunk; they’re a Black Hills tried-and-true favorite!
This light and fluffy cookie sandwich is a French delicacy that has slowly developed a following in the hills. Don’t confuse them with macaroons, a tasty ball-shaped coconut confection. Macarons are about the size of a half dollar, and come in bright, cheerful colors. They’re made of two airy cookies with a delicate crust that sandwich a soft creamy filling. Fruit flavors are common, but for Valentine’s Day look for chocolate, cinnamon or rose flavors too.
If you want to try one, Pistachio Pie Bakery in Rapid City has some of the best. A fun Valentine’s Day bonus: they also sell cookie kits so you can go home and bake as a family!
Sugar cookies are a holiday classic for two reasons: they’re versatile, and they’re tasty. Who doesn’t love a soft cookie decorated with fluffy frosting? Sugar cookies in the United States originated in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. They were baked in the shape of a keystone, the state’s symbol, but have since branched out into all shapes and sizes. Fun fact: the founder of Keystone, South Dakota, was from Pennsylvania, which is how the town got its name.
Asking where you can find the best cookie in the Black Hills is one of those things that usually results in a passionate response — apparently we really love our cookies! One of our favorite bakeries is 8th Ave Bakery in Belle Fourche. Their sugar cookies are soft and sweet, with adorable Valentine’s themed decorations sure to make your cupid smile.
Turtles are a pleasant mix of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. They’re great for those who want something that isn’t overly sweet; the nuts add a nice salty balance to the treat. While the caramel and pecans are fairly standard, keep an eye out for different flavors of chocolate. Beyond the usual milk chocolate, dark and white chocolate turtles add a slightly different flair to this classic.
A quick trip to Turtle Town in downtown Hill City will guarantee you find a variety of flavors to try!
It’s sweet, sticky, and comes in every flavor under the sun; taffy is a cherished Black Hills classic. This simple candy originated in the Midwest in the late 1800s, and a taffy pulling party was a common way for communities to get together and celebrate. Today, many of us have fond childhood memories of walking main streets throughout the hills while unwrapping this delicacy from wax paper and laughing at how it sticks to our teeth.
While multi-flavor grab-bags are common at shops throughout the hills, a trip to Rushmore Mountain Taffy in Keystone lets you pick out the perfect ratio of chocolate-covered strawberry to huckleberry taffies. Check out their taffy puller while you’re there; it’s worth the trip all on its own!
Hot Chocolate Bombs
If there was such a thing as candy trends, the hot chocolate bomb is the newest and coolest kid on the block. What looks like an oversized truffle is really a chocolate sphere filled with cocoa mix and marshmallows. Some are decorated with chocolate drizzle and sprinkles on top, and come in a variety of chocolate flavors. For a truly decadent Valentine’s Day treat, keep an eye out for dark chocolate versions. Take your cocoa bomb home, heat a mug of milk, and drop the bomb inside. Watch as the chocolate melts and releases the mix, then stir it up and enjoy!
While these delicacies sell out quickly, we’ve recently spotted them at Mostly Chocolates in Rapid City. They’re perfect for a romantic walk around Canyon Lake on a chilly day, or for snuggling close and watching your favorite chick flick.
Whether you go the chocolate route or try something new, the Black Hills are full of talented bakeries and candy stores who are ready to make your Valentine’s Day a little (or a lot) sweeter. Grab some treats for you, your family, or that special someone.