Those looking for something sweet for their sweeties on Valentine's Day won't have far too look in East County this year. This past year several new sweet shops opened their doors in the area, but locals won't want to over look the old favorites either. Whether it's a bouquet of cupcakes, romantic chocolate-covered strawberries or even cake pops for your favorite classroom, shopping local will make it easy this year.
At one time there weren't very many places for fresh baked goods in East County, but the popularity of cupcake shops has opened a few new doors in the area. The newest opened in The Streets of Brentwood just in time for the winter holidays, in late November. Sweet Bliss Cupcakes offers at least 10 to 15 varieties to cupcakes every day.
"We're constantly working on new varieties and Valentine's Day won't be any different," Amy McNair said.
McNair and her co-owner and fiancé, Danny Celaya, began advertising their Valentine's sweets at the end of December, coming up with ideas that everyone will enjoy, she said.
"One item will be a cupcake bouquet with one and a half dozen cupcakes," McNair said. "It also comes in a mini cupcake version with a dozen cupcakes."
The bouquet features chocolate cupcakes with red frosting shaped like a bouquet of roses. McNair said that any flavor of cupcakes is available if ordered in advance.
McNair came up with the idea of opening the cupcake shop after years of baking cupcakes for family, friends and classrooms for her young teenage daughter.
"Cupcakes are generally simple to make and can come in so many flavors," she said.
Sweet Bliss, which is at 2523 Sand Creek Road between Mel's Restaurant and the AMC Theater, will have various flavors of cupcakes and cookies available for Valentine's Day fun.
Also located in the Streets and a longtime favorite is Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a franchise owned by local residents Craig and Christine McKnight. Locally famous for their Valentine's Day chocolate- covered strawberries, the chocolate store features a wide variety of sweet creations, including chocolate-covered apples and marshmallow treats.
"We are the ultimate Valentine's Day sweet store," Christine McKnight said. "We usually have a line out the door for days leading up to the holiday."
Many people generally pre-order their sweets, which makes the lines go fast. McKnight said the strawberries are also available over the counter.
For the past few weeks Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has been setting up baskets and getting ready to have plenty for everyone.
Oakley's Republic of Cake owners Peter McNiff and Chin Chung Fang opened their 3080 Main St. location in late November also offer a variety of cupcakes that can put together in a nice package for a sweet holiday treat for Valentine's Day.
Republic of Cake offers a wide selection of full and mini cupcakes, without all the frills and thrills, but all the tasty fun, according the McNiff.
Downtown Pittsburg is home to Sassy Sweets and Eats. Owner Monique Cortes says that she's got a great array of Valentine's sweets for all those who are looking for just the right treats. She also has a wide selection of baked goods that can be packaged up for classrooms for Valentine's Day, including cupcakes, cookies, brownies and cake pops.
"Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday," Cortes said. "We'll have chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheesecake, heart-shaped cupcakes, truffles and even a champagne glass-filled parfaits."
Sassy Sweets and Eats, at 755 Railroad Ave. in Pittsburg, offers a year- round full-service bakery that, according to Cortes, has something for every taste and price range. They provide cakes for every celebration from a Valentine's Day party to a wedding.
The one thing that all of these sweet shops have in common is that while there will be supplies available for Valentine's Day, pre-ordering is recommended to make sure that there is enough for everyone and everyone gets exactly what they want for their loved ones this Feb. 14.