Not that there is anything wrong with hot chocolate, especially if you make it from scratch--which isn't much of an effort compared to making a cake. In fact, you can make a container of cocoa mix and keep it ready to add liquid if you would like to have it handy.
But what I mean by grown-up hot chocolate is that not only can you make it, pure and simple, but a chocolate-flavored coffee is also wonderful.
As I was writing last month about colors and food, I took note that orange cups make hot cocoa taste better. Tests conducted with different-colored mugs bore this out. So if you shop at some of Tucson's stores where you can buy pieces of tableware rather than entire sets, you can easily find some mugs just for cocoa.
Another thing you can do with Valentine's Day coming is select red mugs, but make sure that the red leans towards the "warm red" rather than the "cool red" appearance. That is to say, tomato-red mugs rather than cherry-red mugs; I would use my former experience with lipstick to select the color. Several years ago I was in a women's performing group and the makeup committed had decided upon a warm-red lipstick that didn't look good on anyone, and we all hated it until the committee went to another color. So many women can tell at once if they are looking at warm or cool colors.
I have seen some beautiful red tableware at Walmart and they do sell the plates, cups, etc., by the piece; that would be one place to go and look. But just now there are so many special love-themed mugs and cups available that you might just as well wander and see a few things before you decide.
Another option if you live here in Tucson is the collection of antique shops that are mostly located along Grant Road in Midtown. You can find anything from vintage porcelain to Fiesta Ware there, and you might find something unique.
Once you have decided what to serve in, plan to entertain your valentine with this recipe for Hot Chocolate Coffee and have a few cookies on the side.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk or powdered soy milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.
Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, and it will keep indefinitely in the pantry.
To make this into a coffee, add 1 teaspoon of freeze-dried coffee to each cup as you go, or follow the package instructions, taking into account the size of your mug. Many coffee mugs are oversized nowadays, and you might want to reckon for two cups as you add the freeze-dried powder.
I don't buy or use instant coffee because years ago it was suspected to contain formaldehyde, and that has never left my mind. It simply isn't appetizing to me, and I'm stuck with it. Coffee crystals, or espresso crystals to be more precise, are often specified as an addition to chocolate baked goods, so you might also want to have a jar handy when you start thinking about chocolate goodies to make your valentine feel special next Thursday.