On Valentine's Day, thoughts turn to love and romance, greeting cards and flowers and chocolate.
Last year Americans spent approximately $900 million on cards, $700 million on flowers and $709 million on candy, according to an International Mass Retail Association survey. Chocolate Manufacturers and National Confectioners associations are projecting $725 million in candy sales for Valentine's Day 1998.
Valentine's Day sales top all others at Candy Kitchen, according to John Leos, whose grandfather opened the family's Waynesboro, Pa., store in 1902. Leos isn't sure of the exact date, but he says the chocolate-Valentine's Day connection goes back at least to the 1890s, and probably further back than that.
Fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate are the number one item at the family's Frederick, Md., branch of the business. Heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates and the Candy Kitchen line of Swiss-style truffles, all made from the family's recipes and imported ingredients, also are popular. Candy Kitchen also makes sugar- and salt-free chocolate for diabetics, Leos says.