The Best Gift to Give Your Valentine? Loads of Chocolate

Columns Ono, You Know

February 13, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

With sweet nothings in the air, Valentine’s Day is even more delicious this year as many are putting the finishing touches on that gift — cards, chocolates and jewelry — for that special someone.

And as the time draws nearer to this holiday of love, it’s evident that we all can’t resist chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. In fact, a recent report indicated that more than $1 billion worth of chocolate has already been purchased in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Be it dark, milk or white, chocolate pairs perfectly with what’s undoubtedly the most romantic day of the year. Understandably, it comes as no surprise that modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine found in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and romance.

So if you’re still in need of booking a romantic dinner for your valentine and searching for a sinfully delicious chocolate dessert, look no further: I’ve got some excellent “Ono, You Know” recommendations for you that are, yes, Cupid-approved.

Fendu Boulangerie

  • The author serves of lovely, chocolatey Valentine's treats available at Fendu Boulangerie.
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Roses may be in full bloom this Valentine’s Day, but Niel Koep, owner and chef of Fendu Boulangerie, is well aware that the way to a woman’s heart is through lots of chocolate!

Koep has been busier than ever creating exquisite masterpieces for this special holiday that you’re sure to love.

“We have two chocolate domes (at $5.75 each), both made with Verona chocolate from France,” he explains.

“The first one is a bittersweet chocolate dome with a Grand Marnier creme brulee placed in the center of the dough. The outside is a light chocolate Bavarian topped with a shiny chocolate glaze, and the bottom layer consists of a chocolate chunk macadamia nut sponge cake.”

Now if that doesn’t have you drooling, than why not take note of Koep’s second dessert, made exclusively for Valentine’s Day? I happen to be crazy for white chocolate, so it’s no surprise that this lovely creation holds a special place in my heart.

The White Chocolate Dough Saint Valentine features a tantalizing exterior of white chocolate mousse with a bottom layer of flourless chocolate sponge cake layered with an orange flower water ganache. With the very first bite you’ll be greeted by a rich strawberry center similar to savory Bavarian.

“They’re both very light in consistency, and in my opinion Verona chocolate from France is one of the best chocolates in the world,” Koep states. “With five or six different dark chocolate covertures, each one has a distinctive flavor.

“With these desserts, you can eat the whole thing even after partaking in quite a few courses of Valentine’s dinner.”

A beautiful white chocolate heart decor sits atop the desserts, but it’s the edible gold glitter sprinkled on the white chocolate creation that most certainly wowed me!

“It’s actual gold — powder-thin gold,” Koep attests.

Trust me, here: You’ll definitely win points with your valentine with this hint of decadence. Better yet, Fendu Boulangerie will be open tomorrow on this day of love, from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fendu Boulangerie
Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive #5119
(808) 988-4310
View the Map


  • You won't want to miss out on any of the sweet selections featured in Bibas' Chocolate Fantasy Dessert Buffet.
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All of your dreams and fantasies will come true on this holiday of love when you and your lover dine at Bibas.

Located courtyard level in the newly renovated Hale Koa Hotel, Bibas offers contemporary, casual dining at an affordable price. With more than 85 items on the menu, food and beverage director Christopher Forbes says the eatery offers high-quality worldly cuisine, specializing in steaks, fish, salads and more.

Kirby Haynes is the chef in charge at Bibas, and pastry chef Barry Yadao is the master behind the desserts. This Valentine’s Day, treat your date to Bibas’ all-you-can-eat Chocolate Fantasy Dessert Buffet. A sinful array of chocolate cakes, pastries and a flowing chocolate fountain with fresh strawberries and cantaloupe for dipping — this is any chocoholic’s paradise on earth!

“We felt like the Chocolate Fantasy Dessert Buffet was a great fit for Valentine’s Day, and it’s, of course, tradition to give your love interest chocolates on this day, so why not give them this?” Forbes says.

Yadao adds, “Everything is made fresh and most of what I make are classics, but I try to change it up with a little flair, using modern techniques.”

With 10 rich, chocolatey items to choose from, why not sample it all — from the White Chocolate Flourless Cake Terrine, to the Grand Marnier Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Flourless Cake, Chocolate Coffee Mousse Cake and White Chocolate and Lemon Curd Mousse Cake, to name a few.

Yet, prior to this grand finale, make sure to spoil yourself silly with Bibas Valentine’s dinner. This $29.95 meal comes complete with the dessert buffet, a choice of soup or salad, Grilled Petite Filet Mingon and Lobster Tail, fresh vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes, french fries or rice.

“On Valentine’s Day and every day, customers can expect a wonderful value with great service,” Forbes says.

Customers who wish to order off the regular menu also can take part in the Chocolate Fantasy Dessert Buffet for $8.95 per person.

Hale Koa Hotel
2055 Kalia Road
(808) 955-9676
(Guests must have a military ID or
sponsor to dine. Call for eligibility details.)
View the Map

Bali Steak & Seafood

  • Bali Steak & Seafood's Waialua Estates Chocolate Pyramid consists of bittersweet chocolate mousse, passion creme and white chocolate ice cream.
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There’s no better way to celebrate this Valentine’s Day than by enjoying a marvelous dinner with an incredible oceanfront view — at sunset, no less.

Well, you and your special someone can experience all that at more at Bali Steak & Seafood, conveniently located at Hilton Hawaiian Village. This award-winning restaurant features none other than some of the best surf and turf our island has to offer.

“We focus on local ingredients, but we specialize in steak and seafood,” says executive chef Jeffrey Vigilla. “We really focus on utilizing local seafood, and one of our biggest sellers is the Seafood Medley, an array of island fish, scallops, lobster, shrimp and more.”

On this special day, however, diners can marvel in decadent entrees from Bali’s special Valentine’s prix fixe menu ($85 per person), which includes your choice of Grilled Filet Mignon, Grilled Colorado Lamb Rack or Vanilla Bean Butter Poached Kona Lobster, to name a few.

But while all this is divine, I can’t help but save room for dessert — the Waialua Estates Chocolate Pyramid, to be exact!

This delightful dessert is a collaboration of chef Jeff and pastry chef Andre Fusero, and features bittersweet chocolate mousse, passion creme and white chocolate ice cream.

“I expect to sell more than 200 of these during Valentine’s dinner,” says Vigilla, who has been working in the culinary industry for more than 30 years.

“You have a symphony of tastes here — the raspberry, the white chocolate, the dark chocolate and the raspberry and mango sauce,” he adds. “I would suggest savoring a small piece at a time.”

Yes, no matter what you do, savor each and every sinful bite, for these chocolate pods, locally grown at Waialua Estates, all share a bit of aloha.

Bali Steak & Seafood
Hilton Hawaiian Village
2005 Kalia Road
(808) 949-4321
View the Map

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