Fast approaching is the most anticipated (read: dreaded) day of the year for countless people across the globe. A day of unconditional love. A day of romanticism. A day of roses and teddy bears and gourmet meals and, wait for it — my ABSOLUTE favorite — a day of nonstop candy consumption. Valentine’s Day is pretty cool because it’s ranked second, behind only Halloween, among days when you can stuff your face with candy without being judged. And trust me, Valentine’s Day is MUCH better because you don’t have to wander aimlessly from house to house like a beggar collecting candy from your neighbors. You don’t even have to get dressed up in a promiscuous costume (although some of you may decide to — that’s none of my business).
Now, most other articles may include complex recipes to cook for your significant other, romantic date ideas, guides to the “perfect gift” or scandalous tips for your Valentine’s night. Not this one. No, this article contains the facts that we REALLY care about: which candy is the best candy to buy for this festive occasion. Nothing is quite as nerve-wracking or intimidating as wandering down the multiple Valentine’s Day aisles at Target, with floor-to-ceiling displays, debating what candy you should buy. With what seems like an infinite number of options, all of which look the same, it is difficult not to crack under the pressure. But now, you will not majorly disappoint your significant other this holiday season with your candy selection, as you have this handy guide to direct you and simplify the decision-making process.
My expert judgment of candy was based upon a number of scientific, objective and totally unbiased traits, including, but certainly not limited to: packaging, size, cost and taste. All opinions henceforth are my own and are by no means endorsed by any company (although, if any candy company mentioned eventually reads this and is interested in sponsoring my insatiable candy habit, feel free to contact me). So without further ado, here is my definitive rankings, from worst to best, of the six brands of candy that I sampled for this upcoming Valentine’s Day!
LOWER TIER CANDIES
Brach’s Conversation Hearts — $3
I felt that I had no option but to include this clichéd candy that for some reason is the Valentine’s equivalent of candy corn. I never have liked Conversation Hearts, but felt that I would be doing the readers a disservice by omitting this “classic.” After revisiting this candy after a long hiatus, I can say that without a shadow of a doubt, this is the worst candy to buy for your S.O. this Valentine’s Day. These chalky, rock-like, sugary hearts are sure to disappoint. They are difficult to find in small packages, so unless you are filling a large bowl at the dentist’s office, avoid this sad excuse for a candy. If Valentine’s Day candies were playing dodgeball at school recess, Conversation Hearts would undoubtedly be picked last and would be the first to get pegged in the face. ’Nuff said.
*Honorable mention for best quote on a heart* — So Fine
*Honorable mention for worst quote on a heart* — Whuz Up? (Really? Is it 1999? C’mon.)
Hammond’s Cupcake Flavored Valentine’s Old Fashioned Popcorn —$2
I was oddly drawn to this unique snack in the candy aisle and decided to see if it would offer a different taste than the stereotypical gift of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. However, today I was reminded of the hackneyed saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Readers: chocolate is certainly not broken, and if it ever were, for the love of God, PLEASE never attempt to fix it with cupcake flavored popcorn. These are two flavors that were never meant to mix. This is the Frankenstein’s Monster version of a snack. Although it may allure you while wandering around the candy aisle, please continue walking and shop for chocolate like a rational human being.
MIDDLE TIER CANDIES
Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups Heart —$5
Quick Story: Last week my friend asked me if I wanted to watch Ghostbusters. It’s a classic movie that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, so I obliged. A little over two hours later, I was content with it, but not overly impressed, as I had already seen it many times. This is a metaphor for these chocolates. You pretty much know what you’re getting yourself into when you buy them, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These are definitely a good purchase if your girlfriend/boyfriend is a big Reese’s fan, as the box has about 25 pieces, but otherwise, redundant and boring. Overall, a decent product for Valentine’s Day.
Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate Assortment —$5
This option definitely would have made it to the top tier had Ghirardelli not been as skimpy with their chocolate allocations. This box only had 8 small squares, with choices of milk chocolate with caramel filling, dark chocolate with raspberry filling and dark chocolate with mint filling. The chocolate was delicious, and the individual wrapping was convenient, but again, there was simply not enough chocolate to make this a worthwhile purchase, unless you are a firm believer in the notion of quality over quantity.
TOP TIER CANDIES
Lindor: Milk and White Chocolate Truffles —$6
The packaging on this treat was undoubtedly the main reason I indulged in this relatively pricey candy. Compared to the competitors, this box just grabbed my attention and begged me to buy it. I couldn’t resist and ended up paying for these appetizing beauties. Even though I already made a reservation for two for my Valentine’s meal, I’m considering calling the restaurant back to change it to three seats —that’s how visually appealing this candy is. However, once I got past the packaging, I was disappointed to find under ten total pieces of candy. I’m not sure if these come in larger quantities, but I would certainly consider supersizing this purchase as I easily finished these delectable treats in a single day. Moral of the story: size DOES matter this Valentine’s Day.
Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates-$10
I’m not surprised that this was my favorite of all purchases, as it truly is the classic Valentine’s Day gift. The red, heart-shaped box. The variety inside. The intricate, confusing guide to understand where each piece of candy is located within the box. Without this tradition, I’m not sure that Valentine’s Day would continue to exist. I’m sure that any individual that you buy this for will be overly exuberant at the sight of this gift and will appreciate your thoughtfulness. This treat can be savored for multiple days and even shared with friends. If you are only going to buy one gift for your significant other this holiday season, I urge you to invest in this timeless item. My personal favorite is the Molasses Chew, while my least favorite is undoubtedly the coconut. While you may be able to tell your date that “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” this doesn’t apply for coconut.
SUGARY SNACKS WITH A SERVING SIZE OF ONE
And for all of you that unfortunately (or fortunately) are single this Valentine’s Day, I made sure to look for some candies that you would enjoy, in addition to the aforementioned choices. So, here are some candies that you can consume while sitting home alone and binging Netflix:
The Perfect Man Chocolate Bar–$4 and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Cupid–$3
For anyone craving companionship (pun intended) this Valentine’s Day, the search is over. There is no effort involved in scoring these almost-human dates, and you know for certain that you’ll have zero trouble getting them to come back to your place. Both chocolates are shaped like humans, yet taste like heaven. And for those of you that are feeling adventurous, why not buy both and get a little crazy? It’s Valentine’s Day—you deserve it.
While these chocolates may not provide the same value as the touch of another human being, they’re undoubtedly cheaper than having a real date. So, while you may feel guilty waking up next to a bunch of wrappers of a chocolate man, it’s probably better than the guilt of waking up next to a real stranger.
I hope that these expert opinions will help to guide you as you navigate through the aisles of Wegmans or Target, filling your cart with an unnecessary amount of candy to impress your date. Regardless, once Tuesday is over, and the stress of Valentine’s Day has come and gone, we all can finally begin looking forward to our REAL favorite holiday of the year: Wednesday’s Clearance Valentine’s Candy!