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Not too late to grab flowers, sweets for Valentine's Day (w/video)

  • Heather Frye at Dragonfly Floral in Healdsburg, uses orchids in Valentine's Day arrangements, Thursday Feb. 13, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

"Last year it was really last-minute," said Lucy Gustafson, owner of artisan chocolatier Recherche du Plaisir in Santa Rosa. "I had a guy knocking on my door at 7 p.m., an hour after we closed."

This year, Gustafson stocked up in anticipation of an even bigger Valentine's Day for her 2-year-old business. Even so, by Thursday afternoon, she was worried about running out of product entirely.

"I'll be staying here all night if I have to," she said, vowing to make sure she has plenty of stock for late-buying Valentine's customers.

Valentine's Day Around The World

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The Savory Spice Shop in downtown Santa Rosa began carrying Gustafson's chocolate this year, the first time the store has stocked products specifically for Valentine's Day, co-owner Cheryl Ytreeide said.

"Last year, oddly enough, a lot of kids or young adults were buying (spices as) presents for mom and dad, especially dad," she said. "Spices on Valentine's Day is a guy thing."

In addition to the chocolate, the store added a special "Onyx Black Sugar," mixing a debittered cocoa powder, vanilla bean, cinnamon and sugar to create a rich, slightly spicy product that can be sprinkled on baked goods or, in the form of black sugar cubes, dropped into coffee or tea.

The jars of black sugar cubes have been selling briskly, about two dozen in the last two weeks, and the company is considering adding it as a regular seasonal product for the holiday, Ytreeide said.

But the real star of Valentine's Day remains the flower, merchants say, particularly the rose.

"I think people are willing to pay ... even though it's very expensive," said Peter Thomson, co-owner of Santa Rosa-based flower delivery service Wisteria Florist. The business expects to sell at least 60 rose arrangements, most of which will probably be the middle-priced offering, which runs $90.

Florists, however, say the high cost of roses isn't really their fault. Wholesale prices double or more in the weeks leading up to the holiday.


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