5 sweet and spicy Valentine’s Day gifts and things to do for East Bay food lovers

Passionfruit Baked Alaska from Ici Ice Cream in Berkeley. Photo: Ici Ice Cream

Candy crush

1. Market Hall Foods on Fourth Street is hosting its ninth annual For the Love of Chocolate Festival this weekend. This could be a good opportunity to pick up a gift for your valentine. Or, if you’re both chocolate lovers, you can make it a weekend activity to attend together. Local chocolate makers will be on hand to talk about their products and offer samples. There’ll also be tastings of unique food pairings and dishes using chocolate. For the Love of Chocolate festivities take place from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10. Market Hall on 4th, 1746 Fourth St. (near Delaware), Berkeley

2. If you’re looking for something outside the (candy) box this V-Day, here’s an idea — bring your valentine straight to the source. TCHO Chocolate holds two 90-minute tours (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m) of its factory on a regular basis, including on Valentine’s Day. Read our recent story about the Tcho tour for more details about what to expect. Tickets are $10TCHO Chocolate, 3100 San Pablo Ave., Ste. 170 (enter on Folger), Berkeley 

Thrills and chills

3. Local Food Adventures is hosting a special Valentine’s Day edition of its ice cream and gelato tour in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, guests will visit area shops to taste a variety of ice-cream treats and get the backstory behind each dessert. The Rockridge Valentine’s Day Ice Cream & Gelato Tour is a one-hour guided tour that starts at Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor & Café (5925 College Ave.) Tickets are $20, advanced reservations are required.

4. Speaking of ice cream, Ici Ice Cream will be stocked with plenty of Valentine’s Day-themed frozen desserts, cookies and confections to take home to your true love. Go big and get the one-pound box of chocolate almond butter crunch toffee or the pretty Passionfruit Baked Alaska (seen above). Or, if you’re not sure how to tell a secret admirer you think they’re the bomb, there’s Ici’s vanilla-chocolate conversation heart ice cream bombes that can do the talking for you. Ici Ice Cream 2948 College Ave. (near Ashby), Berkeley and 2079 University Ave. (near Shattuck), Berkeley


Get spicy

5. If your true love has a culinary side, Oaktown Spice Shop is a great spot to pick up Valentine’s Day gifts. Both of Oaktown’s shops — in Oakland and Albany — are stocked with tons of fresh spices and blends that you can mix and match to create a perfect custom present. Owners Erica Perez and John Beaver have also created assembled gift sets filled with aphrodisiac-inducing spices to get the amorous feelings flowing. Oaktown Spice Shop, 546 Grand Ave. (between Euclid and MacArthur), Oakland and 1224 Solano Ave. (at Talbot), Albany