BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- For many folks, the perfect Valentine gift is chocolate. Easy for the giver and makes almost everyone happy.

Chocolate is big business. $1.7 billion was spent on candy last year. Fifty-eight million pounds of chocolate was purchased for Valentine’s day.

So if your sweetie has a sweet tooth, chocolate will definitely make them happy and you can do it cheaply.

Think outside the box here (you know which box!) and bake some gourmet brownies or a chocolate cake from scratch. You can buy Ghirardelli chocolate, sitting right next to Nestle’s, or Hershey’s chocolate in the grocery store.

I found an easy candy recipe for fudge and it is on the back of the Marshmallow Fluff jar. And chocolate chip cookies are a perennial favorite at my house and the recipe I like is on the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag.

If the kitchen is not where you want to be, consider one of those heart shaped boxes of candy. About 40 million will be sold this Valentine’s day. You can get them most everywhere, even in hardware stores.

There are many chocolate shops in the Boston area where you can find some wonderful delights. You can pick your Valentine's favorites.

A bag of individually wrapped chocolates works for me. Put a bow on the bag and you are good to go. Hershey, Dove, Ghirardelli, Godiva and Lindt all have bags you can find in most stores.

I like buying the Lindt chocolate because they are produced locally in Stratham, New Hampshire. They also have an outlet store there which appeals to my thrifty side. You can get some of their truffles and stick one in the kids’ lunch as a treat.

Another local candy maker, Necco, makes the candy sweethearts that kids spend hours reading and trading.

Also, Jeff, my favorite is a Reese’s peanut butter heart. Just saying………………

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