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Sweet Treats for Hilo’s Valentine’s Day Shoppers

Posted February 8, 2017, 02:00 PM HST Updated February 9, 2017, 01:10 PM HST
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    Looking for something special for your valentine?  I was—and Hilo did not disappoint. If you’re about to embark on a search for sweet treats, here are five suggestions for all of you Hilo shoppers, as well as a recipe for DIY chocolate-dipped strawberries.

    As you would expect, Big Island Candies is a premier treats destination and an absolute must for gift-giving and omiyage. Shopping is such a pleasure with your complimentary cup of goodies in one hand and fresh coffee in the other. It’s also fun to watch the candies being made in their big windows.

    I picked up a box of Salted Caramel Brownies for my husband (after carefully taste-testing other delicious products). The store decorations are always fantastic, but for Valentine’s Day, they outdid themselves.

    The staff is tremendously helpful. Don’t forget your punch card!

    Big Island Candies: 585 Hinano St. in Hilo, 935-8890. Open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Yes, it’s a big-box store, but Target does seasonal candy in a Big Way.  Anyone who shops at Target knows about that corner in the back of the store where the holiday candy lives. The array is absolutely dazzling this year, as usual.

    Stop in to get some great bargains there, and don’t get trampled when it all goes on sale after the holiday.

    Target: 391 Maka‘ala St. in Hilo, 920-8605. Open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sundays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

    Heading downtown,  check out Two Ladies Kitchen, a Japanese confectionary shop. My personal favorite treat there, and I’m not alone in this, are the mochi-covered strawberries.  Second place, in my book, goes to the peanut butter mochi, but it’s hard to choose. In fact, grab a variety pack. Gifts are nicely wrapped and it’s a popular spot for buying omiyage.

    It’s a tiny shop, so be prepared to wait in line.

    Two Ladies Kitchen: 274 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, 961-4766.  Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Sugar Coast Candy Company is one of my favorite spots because they have a lot of the candies I loved as a kid. My husband has a weakness for root beer barrels; I still love a Bit O’Honey and Chick-O-Sticks.  (I hope Dr. Ito, my dentist, isn’t reading this.)

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    Sugar Coast has pulled out the stops for St. Valentine’s Day—it’s a sea of red and pink and chocolate. If you like nostalgia and sugar, this is going to be your happy place.

    Sugar Coast Candy: 274 Kamehameha in Hilo, 935-6960. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. except for Sundays, when they open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.

    Looking for a treat that is organic, vegan, soy-free, raw and fair-trade? Step into Abundant Life and let them set you up with some Lulu Bars. Check out the Salted Caramel and Midnight Velvet versions. They are packaged just perfectly for gift giving, right down the hearts on the labels.

    You can also do your grocery shopping while there.

    Abundant Life: 292 Kamehameha Ave. in Hilo, 935-7411. Open seven days a week.

    Lastly, if you like to DIY your Valentine’s Day treats, here is an easy recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

    • 1 clam shell of fresh, large strawberries (usually about 12)
    • 1 ½ to 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
    • Toppings, if desired (sprinkles, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, etc.)
    • Parchment paper

    Wash strawberries gently and dry with paper towel. Make sure your strawberries are dry, or the chocolate will not stick to them!

    Place chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl (I like my glass one because it doesn’t hold heat) and heat for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Heat again for 30 seconds. Stir.  Be very careful not to overheat the chocolate.  It will keep melting as you stir it. Depending on the wattage of your microwave, you may need to heat it one more time. I needed two 30-second cycles and one 15-second cycle.

    Holding the stem, dip the strawberry into the chocolate and swirl it. Let excess drip off and place onto the sheet of parchment paper. If you want to decorate your berries, give them a sprinkle while the chocolate is still warm so that the decorations stick.

    Let the strawberries cool to room temperature before you put into the refrigerator if you are not giving them away immediately.

    Share with a loved one!

    Big Island Candies. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Big Island Candies. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Target’s candy section. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Two Ladies Kitchen. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Abundant Life. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Sugar Coast Candy. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Sugar Coast Candy. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    DIY Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Marla Walters
    Marla Walters is a transplant from Humboldt County, California. She has a multitude of writing experience as a Wise Bread staff writer, cookbook editor, and blogger. She has also written for The Purple Fig and Molly Green.
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