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Saturday, September 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Light Rain
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Madison chocolatiers gear up for Valentine's Day
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Credit:James J Chocolate Shop

The fact that Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday is a blessing for local chocolatiers.

"Having Valentine's Day on a Friday or Saturday is perfect," says Laurie Jarnigo, business manager at James J Chocolate Shop, 514 Monroe St. "That makes it the biggest retail day of the year -- as opposed to, say, having it on a Monday. That means you have full week of buildup."

James J sells several luscious heart-shaped items this time of year, including a one-pound box of candy for $29. You can also get chocolate molded in the shape of Cupid.

Jarnigo isn't too worried about the financial crisis' effect on sales, but she is worried about the weather.

"I think a snowstorm would have a worse effect than the bad economy," she says. "We were on a roll over Christmas until the storms came."

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, 2086 Atwood Ave., goes all out for Valentine's Day. "We have a rose-tea-infused truffle, along with port wine and passion fruit -- very love-struck flavors," says general manager Sandy Mouras.

Gail Ambrosius also offers solid chocolate hearts and a lover's box with 12 flavors. Another popular Valentine's Day item is a $15 gift certificate to one of the company's chocolate tastings, held the third Thursday of every month.

In the past, Candinas Chocolatier, 11 W. Main St. in Madison and 2435 Old PB in Verona, has offered rose-infused chocolates for Valentine's Day. It doesn't have anything special this year -- but it really doesn't have to, since all of its chocolates are special. Founder Markus Candinas notes that the company has again been rated among the top half-dozen chocolatiers in the country by Consumer Reports.

Valentine's Day is one of Candinas' busiest periods, and he expects a lot of orders at the last minute. "I'm anticipating some late nights this week," he says.

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