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Big-Ticket Chocolate


Valentine's Day staple goes upmarket.


In the beginning, yuppies created the wine craze.

Then came the cheese and coffee fevers with side trips to butter fashion and olive oil passion. A few refugees from the gourmet ghetto even became monomaniacal about vinegar.

Can things get any more affected? Well, yes. Try chocolate at about $2,600 a pound from Knipschildt Chocolatier on for size. Just the thing for your over-indulged sweetie on Valentine's Day, right?

For $250 each, you get the Madeleine, described as an "extravagant yet simple ganache" with a French perigord truffle rolled inside. Put ten of these Knipschildt gumballs on a scale and the price comes to about $2,600 a pound. If you're counting calories, be afraid: the whole thing is dusted in cocoa powder (but not dipped in gold, oddly enough).

"The obscene price tags on thoroughbred chocolate prove the theory of sexual economy," says Dr. John Hoover, a Minyanville professor, member of Partners in Human Resources International and author of How to Live with an Idiot: Clueless Creatures and the Women who Love Them:

"The price a man will pay for chocolate is directly proportional to the degree he must compensate for his shortcomings in the transactional economics of his current relationship. Powerful, alluring, insufferably attractive women wield enormous power that weaker, paunchy men with inconsistent and inappropriately distributed body hair must compensate for with chocolate, jewelry, automobiles and real estate. Still, Valentine's Day is one of the least expensive sacred holidays on the female secret calendar."

Sounds like it's time to schedule another appointment for what's known in the trade Minyanville's My Money Valentine Package as "male bikini waxing." If you're still upright after the treatment, you can trot down to Whole Foods Market, Dean & Deluca, Balducci's or The Chocolate Room to buy Knipschildt's spiffy chocolate.

Minyanville's My Money Valentine Package If you're new to chocolate with a plasma screen price tag, and develop restless leg syndrome at the thought of shelling out $2,600 for a box of bonbons, the wonders of capitalism have produced mid-market stuff for aspiring conspicuous consumers and cheapskate Romeos.

Noka Vintages Collection offers its version of the bonbon at an estimated $854 a pound. Going further downscale, Delafee, promising "the ecstasy of gold," checks in at about $508 a pound. Practicing skinflints might want to load up on Godiva's gooey stuff at about $120 a pound. If you want to take the risk of having your sweetie run screaming into the night after a shameless display of parsimony, there's always Richard H. Donnelly's chocolate at a mere $75 a pound. If that's still beyond your budget, try Hershey's – and turn in your yuppie credentials.

Pass The Doggerel, Please

Considering the weak dollar and your burgeoning gut, it may be time to sharpen a pencil and take a second whack at writing a poem for the woman of your dreams.

Maybe something like this:

My love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June
My love is like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

Sooner or later, some clever graduate student laboring in anonymity while cranking out a Ph.D. dissertation will argue that Robert Burns wrote such stuff because he couldn't pop for designer chocolate.

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