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What could be sweeter?

Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, giving restaurants a chance to spread the love through a long weekend. While a handful of chefs and restaurateurs have sounded off in The Wall Street Journal about their dread of the day, most will step up and serve meals and sweet treats consumers expect when they book a table for the most romantic night of the year.

Chocolate will be in the air as much as love. The second-most-popular snack year-round, chocolate takes the spotlight this week as doughnut chains and high-end dessert chefs share traditional and surprising ways to incorporate chocolate into the meal. Chains including Arby’s, IHOP and The Melting Pot are putting chocolate concoctions on display, Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

Dunkin’ Donuts got started early with ads for heart-shaped doughnuts, paired with dark-chocolate coffee drinks, according to media outlets including The Boston Globe. Not to be outdone, rival Krispy Kreme Doughnut has launched three Valentine’s Day doughnuts, as seen in the Miami New Times.

Giving a doughnut and a cup of joe might cut it when it comes to celebrating a teacher, friend or co-worker, but significant others typically expect more than a snack. Still, that doesn’t mean the treat has to be elaborate to show the love, Thomas Keller writes in the Los Angeles Times. His Pomme d’Amour is relatively simple. “There are only two elements — the crust and the pastry cream filling — but by making each as good as it can be, you wind up with a dish that, like all perfect pairings, is greater than the sum of its parts,” he writes.

More Valentine’s Day tidbits

  • At NBCLatino, Latino chefs are sharing their favorite dishes for Valentine’s Day, including churros with warm chocolate sauce that chef Carmen Gonzales will serve at Carmen at the Danforth, her eatery in Portland, Maine.
  • Deciding whether to spend your Valentine’s Day calories on dessert or wine? There might be no need, as some winemakers mix the chocolate and the grape, a “Today” blogger writes.
  • New York Times wine guy Eric Asimov frowns on mixing candy and wine but allows that if one must have wine with sweets, such as his favorite salted caramels. Then, by all means, pick a Madeira or other fortified wine with the right mix of sweetness and acidity.
  • When the traditional dozen red roses feels cliche, maybe it’s time to put the traditional flower on the menu. Rose water and rose hips offer a fragrant, flavorful touch to icing, pudding and other desserts, according to The Huffington Post.

Have you perfected a special Valentine’s Day dessert? Share a taste in the comments.

Image credit: DNY59, via iStockphoto