Te amo. Ich liebe dich. Ti amo. Ik hou van je. Je t’aime.  In any language, a true expression of love is even better when accompanied by a token of affection. This Valentine’s Day, renowned Pastry Chef François Payard is offering sweethearts the ideal way to show their devotion with a collection of sumptuous chocolates and decadent desserts that will say “I love you” without uttering a single word.

Truffles and Chocolates
Elements of whimsy, surprise and luxury are always helpful in furthering any romance and Payard’s Champagne Pop Rock Truffles provide all those qualities.  Beautifully. A single bite reveals the heart of the truffle to be a velvety, Champagne-infused ganache enlivened by the unexpected and delightful explosion of popping candy.   Enveloped in dark, rich chocolate, the Champagne Pop Rock Truffles are dusted with a light snowfall of cocoa.  Offered in a bow-embellished, red keepsake box that can be shipped nationwide, the 24-piece collection retails for $55.

While others might suggest prosaic gifts of hearts and flowers for Valentine’s Day, Francois Payard perfects the tradition and takes it one step further in a premier showcase of four artisanal chocolates, each filled with a ganache bursting with evocative flavor profiles with floral notes. The vibrant piquancy of orange blossom and passion fruit blended with lush white chocolate, tart lychee perfumed with the heady aroma of rose, cassis elevated by the essence of violet and white tea accented by jasmine all combine for chocolates that are far superior to a simple bouquet.  Each elegant chocolate is a miniature work of art decorated with a colorful, hand-applied design that corresponds to its flavor. Payard’s Valentine’s Day chocolates are available in two sizes, 12 pieces ($28) or 30 pieces ($55), and can be shipped nationwide.

This Valentine’s Day, Payard is extending the floral motif to his acclaimed signature macarons.  Light-as-air and with the ideal balance of chewiness and crunch, for the holiday, Payard’s version of these traditional French cookies feature some of the flavors found in his Valentine’s chocolates, but with a few other welcome additions.  Luxurious ganache fillings of rose and lychee, cassis and viole with poached black currants, passion fruit and orange blossom, chocolate and jasmine, chocolate and lavender are lightly sandwiched between airy macaron shells tinted in delicate romantic hues.  A five-flavor assortment of these sophisticated sweets are packaged in a heart-shaped box with 17 pieces ($48) or in a shippable, yellow Payard box with 24 pieces ($60).

No symbol conveys the sentiment of romance quite like the heart, and no heart-shaped cake is quite like Payard’s. This Valentine’s Day, Chef Payard is offering two heart cakes.  True to its name, the “Bonheur” cake is sure to make the lucky recipient very happy indeed. A classic pain de genes, a dense almond cake with aromatic hints of aromatic coffee, is liberally frosted with billowy layers of mascarpone espresso cream and a Guanaja chocolate mousse which, with its robust undertones of dark molasses and tobacco, is a marvelous foil for this flavorful harmony of tastes and textures.  A coffee and hazelnut wafer adds a delicate finishing touch for a heart-shaped cake that elevates convention. Serves six ($36) to eight ($48).

For those who prefer a chocolate alternative, the “Sweetly Divine” heart-shaped cake more than lives up to the promise of its name.  Fresh vanilla bean mascarpone is layered over delicate vanilla pound cake and vanilla bavarois, which melts in the mouth.  The cake is finished to perfection with ribbons of homemade rose petal-infused raspberry jam and adorned with shards of ivory-colored white chocolate, plump fresh raspberries and a whole vanilla bean.  Serves six ($36) to eight ($48).

These Valentine’s Day offerings are available for purchase by visiting Payard’s three New York locations, calling 212-995-0888 ext. 131 or logging on to> .

FPB – 116 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012; Tel: 212.995.0888
FC Chocolate Bar at The Plaza – 1 West 58th Street (Plaza Boutique on first floor) New York, NY 10019; Tel: 212.986.9241
François Payard Bakery – 210 Murray Street, New York, NY 10282; Tel: 212.566.8300

About Francois Payard
A third generation French pastry chef and cookbook author, Francois Payard is well known throughout the world for his mastery of the pastry arts.  Acclaimed for his fearless creativity and superb technique, Chef Payard’s talent has made him one of the most sought-after pastry chefs both here and abroad.  In addition to working in some of France’s finest Michelin-starred kitchens such as La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton, Chef Payard also served as Pastry Chef of Le Bernardin in New York City before joining Chef Daniel Boulud for the opening of Restaurant Daniel.  In 1995, Chef Payard earned a prestigious James Beard Foundation Outstanding Pastry Chef award and then in 1997, his childhood dream became a reality when he opened a restaurant of his own, Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side which closed its doors in 2009 after a 12-year run.  Branches of Payard have also opened in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Japan and Korea, and in November 2009, the chef opened FC Chocolate Bar in French jeweler Mauboussin’s flagship boutique on Madison Avenue. In September 2010, François Payard and Marlon Abela of Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC) opened FPB, a casual eatery on West Houston Street in downtown New York City, offering a range of freshly baked goods at affordable prices, all prepared from the chef’s own recipes and made using organic flour and ingredients of uncompromising quality. A second outpost of FPB opened in fall 2011 in Battery Park City at 210 Murray Street and additional outposts are due to launch in 2012. In late 2010, FC Chocolate Bar was replaced by FC Chocolate Bar at The Plaza.  Now, both FC Chocolate Bar at The Plaza and all of Chef Payard’s other ventures are managed in partnership with Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation.