Pros: Huge delicious berries; wonderful chocolate; quick delivery; freshness
Cons: Highly perishable!, expensive
Rating: 5 out of 5
First posted 2/14/2005
Shari’s Berries produces perhaps the most perfect Valentine’s Day, birthday, or anniversary present for a loved one the planet has ever seen. At least, that you can buy in a store, and assuming the loved one likes chocolate and strawberries!
I can’t remember where I first heard of Shari’s, but I adore strawberries and chocolate, so the appeal was immediate. A little over a year ago our car broke down in 50-below-zero (Fahrenheit, taking wind chill into account) weather and my mother was kind enough to come out and pick us up, as well as loan us her car for the night until we could get a rental; to thank her we sent her a box of Shari’s Berries. Not long thereafter we just had to get some for ourselves after hearing her rave about them, and it looks like it may become an annual tradition–we just had this year’s supply.
The website is easy to deal with (it’s also easy to remember: berries.com). You can search by price, which is handy given how expensive these things are. If your budget is limited I recommend sticking to a very occasional half-dozen “ordinary” chocolate-dipped strawberries. The choices get fancier and more expensive from there, including options with teddy bears, jewelry boxes, special gift boxes, cookies, cheesecake, truffles, strawberries done up to look like long-stem roses, “tuxedo strawberries” that have chocolate decorations that make them look like they’re wearing tuxedoes, bridal favors that come in bride-and-groom designs, and more. The range of things available is delightful–it ensures that you can order every year and get something new each time if you don’t mind spending the money on it, but you can also stick with the basics if you don’t want to spend a fortune and just want a taste. Sign up for the email newsletter; it includes special holiday items and regular coupon discounts.
Berries are always shipped overnight–they’re extremely perishable. They’re also packaged very carefully to avoid breakage, and I’ve always had them arrive in perfect condition. It’s recommended that you eat them within 12 hours, although I’ve found 24 hours works. Make sure if you’re sending them to someone that the recipient will be around to get the package!
I’ve occasionally pondered the fact that we could make chocolate-dipped strawberries for a lot less money for ourselves, but there are several reasons why I’d probably keep ordering from Shari’s occasionally. One of these is that I’ve never, ever found strawberries like these in the stores before. Shari’s manages to get these huge, sweet, flavorful berries year-round that just knock my socks off. They don’t freeze them, they don’t add any preservatives or sugar–it’s just berries and chocolate. (And yes, there are sugar-free chocolate-dipped berries for those who want them.) The chocolate is of a delightful quality, and the designs are attractive and elegant. Each package comes with a free gift card, and it’s never hard to find an item in their catalog to suit the occasion.
In short, I heartily recommend Shari’s Berries, whether you want to say “thank you” or “I love you” to someone special, or you just want to treat yourself to a little taste of heaven. I’m just sorry I didn’t get this review up in time for Valentine’s Day!