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Valentine's Day is Not for Women Only

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From the National Confectioner's Association

If figuring out what women want this Valentine's Day is tough, figuring out what men want may be even tougher. After all, contrary to popular belief, Valentine's Day isn't only about the ladies. A nationwide study conducted by the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) in 2005 revealed what's on the minds of men and women during the annual celebration of love and romance. Knowing exactly what men and women want could help some couples find sweet success this Valentine's Day. Key findings include:

  • A Penchant for Pralines? When asked to select the sexiest Valentine's Day candy, men were more likely than women (25 percent vs. 23 percent) to select specialty candies such as truffles, pralines and caramels. Men were also more likely to select dark chocolate, whereas women felt milk chocolate was the sexiest candy to give a spouse or significant other.

Tip: Women, consider exploring more sophisticated gift ideas for your spouse or significant other this Valentine's Day. Just because your man is a sports junkie, doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate the finer things in life!

  • Procrastinate Later. It's no secret that most men wait until the last minute to purchase gifts, especially on Valentine's Day when leftover roses sell at reduced prices. Surprisingly, more men than women (8 percent vs. 6 percent) selected "the evening before Valentine's Day" as the ideal time to present a loved one with candy.

Tip: The most interesting and romantic gifts are often the ones that involve the most thought and planning. Exchanging gifts the day before Valentine's, gives couples more time to share them together.

  • Intimate Settings. Both men and women desire a romantic, private setting for their special Valentine's Day. According to the survey, nearly 40 percent of respondents rated "in front of the fireplace" as the most popular place to share candy. For women, the second best place to savor sweets was after a nice dinner. Not surprisingly, men preferred enjoying the treat "in bed."

Tip : In front of a fire or in bed, a romantic location is always preferred to present a sweet treat to your Valentine. Pick a place that commemorates a special memory, moment or occasion in your relationship.

  • Breakfast in Bed? Both men and women (32 percent) felt that waking up with a sexy sweet is the best way to start Valentine's Day.

Tip: Nothing beats starting Valentine's Day by being intimate and impromptu. Surprise your loved one with their favorite sweets before or after breakfast in bed.

  • Too sweet for send-offs. Only one percent of respondents selected "right before breaking up" as the ideal time to present Valentine's Day candy. However, of all the respondents, men were twice as likely then women to select candy as a parting gift.

Tip: Unless you're looking to sweeten the blow, don't waste your good candy on a bad break-up.

While men and women may have specific preferences, the results of NCA's survey show that candy has a place in everyone's heart on Valentine's Day. "Everyone appreciates classic Valentine's Day gifts," says Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association. "Candy is a romantic classic, and can be very personal, reflecting the individual tastes of the person you love."

"NCA's survey reveals some interesting insights into what men and women want this Valentine's Day," says Carole Bloom, spokesperson for fellow industry group the Chocolate Manufacturers Association and author of several chocolate cookbooks including Truffles, Candies and Confections, Chocolate Lover's Cookbook For Dummies, and All About Chocolate . "Chocolate is a clear favorite that everyone from couples to companions can enjoy. While some people might celebrate Valentine's Day in an intimate setting, others might consider hosting a chocolate tasting or a chocolate and wine pairing party to experience a range of tastes, textures and aromas."

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