Valentine's Day means big business for Lexington chocolatier

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) Mike Mayo is the chocolatier at the Cocoa Mill in Lexington. And right now he’s making chocolate-dipped strawberries.

“They don’t keep very long," he explains, "So we have to be careful with shelf life.”

It’s a specialty they do only a couple times a year, like for Valentine’s Day, because this week is a big one in the chocolate business.

“With Valentine’s," says the shop's owner, Linda de Maria, "We have about a week to do all that business. So it’s quite a hectic time here at Cocoa Mill.”

But the strawberries aren’t what make the holiday for them. It’s the truffles, packed in an edible chocolate heart box.

Mayo says: “That’s our big ticket item. We sell more of those than anything else on Valentine’s Day.”

And he – with a little seasonal help – has to make them all. By hand.

“It takes about a week to make a batch of truffles," he says. "And I make around 11,000 at a time.”

Because each box holds around a dozen, and they sell hundreds of boxes.

“So it goes on and on," de Maria sighs. "Plus, that’s just what we sell in the hearts. We have to keep two shops filled.”

And that keeps Mayo very busy.

“I like it, you know. It’s busy," he says. "I like it.”

As for de Maria? “I’ll sleep a lot next weekend, I tell you. It’s the recovery time.”