With the New Year upon us and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking candy. Every year, millions of Americans shower their sweethearts with treats such as chocolates, candy hearts and other confections. Why not get your sweetie something other than the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates this year? Denver has several candy shops in which you can find some unique and delicious sweets for your valentine.

Hours: Mon – Thurs 9:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri – Sat 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sun 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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Though this store is now a chain with stores in all over the U.S. and Canada, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory had its humble beginnings in Durango, where the factory still exists. Home to quite possibly the best caramel apples in the city, this is the place to go for a sweet fix. The store offers fudge, chocolates and caramel and candy apples that are made in the store with traditional cooking utensils. Boxed chocolates and other confections from the Durango factory are also available. Take your Valentine to the store and let him (or her) pick out a treat, or stop in and buy a gift box for that special person in your life.

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Hours: Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If you’re dating someone who isn’t into chocolate, check out Hammond’s over by the Denver Merchandise Mart off of I-25 and 58th. Founded in 1920, this Denver staple specializes in hard candies, but also offers caramel covered marshmallows, caramels, chocolates and a host of other candies, including lollipops and candy canes. For a fun Valentine’s date, you can also tour the factory. Learn some Colorado history, some candy tips and tricks and wrap it up with a heart-shaped lollipop.

Hours: Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Roberta’s is a family-owned and operated store in the Highlands. Offering candies of all kinds, including truffles in many different flavors, Roberta’s is a fun and cheerful place to shop for candy. With gift boxes starting at $10, there is something in here for the chocolate lover in your life. Looking for something different? Pick up a chocolate pizza and surprise the one you love with something new. Roberta’s takes online orders as well.

Hours: Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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With a huge assortment of truffles and chocolate candies, See’s is the place to go for chocolates. This store offers free samples, its famous Scotchmallows, toffee, peanut brittle and much more. See’s allows its customers to make their own box, which allows for more customized and personal gifts. This will help win brownie points, since you can select the candies that your sweetie will like rather than the ones that will be left in the box with one bite taken out of them. See’s will also allow you to customize your packaging, so you can be a little more creative than just the standard heart-shaped box.

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Hours: Tues – Fri 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.;

Every chocolate connoisseur knows that chocolate and coffee go hand-in-hand. Owned by Erich Dietrich, a master chocolatier and pastry chef who grew up in Germany, Dietrich’s is more than a candy shop. Dietrich knows his craft and it shows. The shop also offers coffee, pastries, breakfast, brunch and lunch. Come for brunch and stay for the candy. With a wide selection of assorted chocolates from handmade European truffles to chocolate covered strawberries, this place is not only a great candy shop, but also a nice place to take a date. As a bonus, every plate comes with a free truffle.

More places to get your chocolate fix in Denver

Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.