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The North Shore has long had a love affair with handcrafted candy. There are so many locally owned businesses, many with decades or even generations of experience, that we’ll bet there’s one turning out delectable handmade goodies just a short drive from wherever you happen to be. Here is a sampling of some of the goodies on offer. Remember, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Harbor Sweets

With more than four decades of experience and an ever-expanding line of high-quality chocolate products, Harbor Sweets is a one-stop shop for delicious gifts. They have tons of Valentine’s themed chocolates this year, including truffles, mints, caramels, and toffees. Their Valentine’s Sweet Sloops (sailboat-shaped almond butter crunch, dipped in white and dark chocolate) costs just $12.75, or grab a big box of all their classics wrapped in pretty gold foil for $64.

85 Leavitt St., Salem, 978-745-7648; 140 Rantoul St., Beverly, 978-969-2779;

Turtle Alley

Hallie Baker, proprietor of Turtle Alley, has been pleasing patrons for more than 20 years with her handmade confections. She has special heart-shaped Valentine’s boxes starting at just $11 for a sweet package filled with four generous treats, and they go up to $59 for more than 20 pieces — check out their Satin Swirl or their Deepest Darkest Heart. Not into chocolates? They also do candies like sour lips, juju hearts, and Valentine’s gummi bears.

42 Rogers Street, Gloucester, 978-281-4000,

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Co.

Go way beyond traditional and give your sweetheart a taste of history from America’s oldest candy company. Sure, they have a slew of classic chocolates (turtles, truffles, caramels, and more), and their fudge is rightfully famous. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, tell your true love your romance will stand the test of time just like the Gibralter, a hard lemon- or mint-flavored indulgence invented in 1806 and made by Ye Olde Pepper Candy Co. exactly the same way today.  

122 Derby Street, Salem, 978-745-2744; 59 Main Street, North Andover, 978-689-3636;

Photograph courtesy of Tuck’s Candy Factory

Tuck’s Candy Factory, Rockport

A Rockport institution for nearly 100 years, Tuck’s has plenty of experience with Valentine’s sweets. This year’s special creations include heart-topped peppermint patties, chocolate dipped pretzels decked out in pink and red sprinkles (dubbed “Cupid’s Arrows”), cherry cordials, and chocolate dipped Oreos decorated with lips, hearts, and Xs and Os.

7 Dock Sq., Rockport, 978-546-2840,

Winfrey’s Fudge & Chocolates

From a basement on the North Shore 40 years ago, this family-owned chocolatier has grown to four locations around the North Shore—Rowley, Stoneham, Wenham, and Middleton—not to mention supplying countless wholesale clients. Their traditional heart-shaped boxes are stuffed with caramels, truffles, and fruity cream fillings, and they’re well prepared for the sweet rush. Don’t forget about their old-fashioned fudge, either!

42 Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, 978-948-7448; 143 Topsfield Rd, Wenham, 978-468-7448;189 S Main St, Middleton, 978-429-8300; 41 Main St, Stoneham, 781-279-7448;

Stowaway Sweets

Tucked in an English garden in Marblehead, Stowaway Sweets has crafted chocolates by hand for almost 100 years. Some of their most famous guests throughout the years have included Winston Churchill, FDR, Katherine Hepburn, and Oprah Winfrey. Try their Meltaways, with smooth buttercream centers covered in milk or dark chocolate, that, you guessed it, melt in your mouth.

154 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead, 781-631-0303,

Putnam Pantry

The Danvers cafe serves up ice cream and candy—plus some show-stopping handmade chocolates. For over 65 years they’ve used locally sourced fresh ingredients and traditional New England recipes to craft their chocolate confections. Want to go big with your chocolate offering this year? Head to Putnam Pantry and pick up a nine-pound, heart-shaped box jam-packed with classic chocolates for just $295.

255 Newbury Street, Danvers, 978-774-2383,

Photograph courtesy of Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House

While its flagship location is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kakawa chocolate has one non-New Mexico location right in downtown Salem. They craft everything by hand, daily, using no preservatives, and they specialize in hard-to-find flavors like cherry chili, prickly pear, and mescal. But they specialize in elixirs: rich drinking chocolates based on historical recipes.

173 Essex Street, Salem, 617-548-4567,

Prides Crossing Confections

Opened by world-class chocolatier Chris Flynn in 1982, the Beverly chocolate shop continues to make some of the best chocolates in the Greater Boston area. They aim to make stopping into their Prides Crossing train depot shop like stepping back in time. The scent of their renowned caramels wafts through the air, and rows of glass counters hold endless confections that are handmade daily. Their heart-shaped boxes of chocolates start at $14, and they do chocolate-covered strawberries, too.

590 Hale Street, Beverly, 978-927-2185,

WIlley’s Scoops and Sweets

Located in the heart of Salisbury Beach, WIlley’s Scoops and Sweets has been cranking out handcrafted chocolates since 1913. You can place your Valentine’s Day orders ahead of time, then stop in to the store and pick them up. V-Day boxes start at four-piece samplers for $8, and go up to 30 pieces for $35. Don’t forget to revisit in the summer for their homemade ice cream!

4 Broadway, Salisbury, 978-465-5541,

Photograph courtesy of Ovedia Artisan Chocolates

Ovedia Artisan Chocolates, Amesbury

Go for an elevated version of the classic heart-shaped box, loaded with Ovedia’s artisan chocolates, or choose a five-pack of luscious truffles, adorable pink chocolate frogs, sassy lip-shaped lollipops, or even a chocolate box filled with chocolates, for the ultimate edible gift.

36 Main St., Amesbury, 978-388-7700,

The Chocolate Pantry

A small, woman-owned business on Salem’s Derby Street, the Chocolate Pantry specializes in imports from around the world. You’ll find selections you can’t get anywhere else, shipped in from places like Belgium, Switzerland, and even the Middle East. They offer customizable gift boxes, perfect for the holiday, or you can check out their individual selections for those exclusive offerings like red velvet truffles, espresso cubes, or halva.

140 Derby Street, Salem, 978-744-7000,

M. Cacao

With a commitment to flavor and artistry in their chocolate-making, M. Cacao’s chocolates will let you give your loved one a tiny, edible work of art. For Valentine’s Day the chocolatier is offering a Hearts & Roses box including hearts filled with Champagne-spiked Valrhona white chocolate ganache and rose caramels adorned with a rose petal. Or browse the regular selection of creative choices like spiced-up chili caramels or the Seriously? truffles, including such flavors as bourbon, black raspberry, and passion fruit.

6 Chestnut St., Amesbury, 617-334-5777,

Nichols Candies

This small, red shop just off the highway in Gloucester overflows with handmade chocolates for every taste. Buy a pre-packed box or walk through the store with a helpful staff member who will assemble a custom selection full of your love’s favorite flavors.

1 Crafts Rd., Gloucester, 978-283-9850,