One of the Valentines Day chocolate offerings at Ralph Rotten's...

One of the Valentines Day chocolate offerings at Ralph Rotten's in Lake Ronkonkoma. Handout

What little girl doesn’t remember getting that heart-shaped box of Russell Stover chocolates her daddy bought her from the drugstore for Valentine’s Day? At the time, the cheap, yet heartfelt sentiment seemed like a gift fit for a princess. That’s because little girls love their daddies and their chocolate.

Last year, my daughter was too young to have chocolate (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children do not eat chocolate until after the age of 1 due to potential allergies), but this year her ‘dada’ will certainly get her a little treat. I’ll insist he bypass the CVS for something with a little more taste and imagination. Here are some options from some local confectioners that won’t break the bank.

You really can’t go wrong with a heart-shaped lollipop and all four shops I spoke to carry them. They range in price from $1.50-$3.99 depending on size and decoration.

5th Avenue Chocolatiere in Valley Stream also carries lip-shaped pops in red, pink or white and sell for just $3 a piece. There are also a variety of teddy bears holding hearts ranging in price from $12-$20. And if you want your little Valentine to find a treat inside a treat, the shop offers chocolate jewelry boxes complete with a top that opens to reveal little foiled hearts and other small delights. Price ranges from $12-$25.

At Schwartz Candies in Carle Place, you can choose lollipops in the shape of teddy bears holding hearts or solid chocolate Hello Kitties and Cupids. All are priced $3 and below. Or if you really want to be adventurous (and maybe a bit gluttonous), you can choose from a variety of their famous chocolate-covered marshmallows in flavors such as Schmore and Caramel Bottoms. They sell for $29.50 a pound.

Both The Sayville Chocolatier in Sayville and Ralph Rotten’s in Lake Ronkonkoma carry chocolate covered gummy bears (about $5.99 per half pound). And while I dare suggest forgoing chocolate, Ralph’s also has other gummy treats including gummy sour hearts and lips. Other options at Ralph’s include chocolate covered pretzels (white, milk or dark) with red sprinkles (about $1.50 per piece) and an Xs and Os chocolate figurine for $3.99.

Obviously chocolate should be given to kids in moderation just like any other food or drink that’s full of sugar. So should I be afraid that my toddler’s first taste of chocolate on Valentine’s Day will keep her bouncing off the walls or eventually collapse into a chocolate coma? Absolutely not. Who do you think I’m taking to the Chocolate World Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum Sunday, March 3rd?