We Tried Popular Valentine’s Day Chocolates. Find Out Which Brand We’re Sweet On.
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As February 14 nears, we can't help but wonder what's the best Valentine's Day chocolate? We put nine brands to the test to find out which we would give (and love to get!).
When Valentine’s Day comes around every year, couple start dreaming up romantic dinner plans and many friends put together fun Galentines Day parties. While I like a nice dinner and a night out with my friends as much as the next gal, I’m all about the chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
And can you blame me? The second February hits, every supermarket, drug store and shopping mall is packed to the gills with chocolate options—it’s so tempting! I certainly have no problem trying them all, but it’s important to me that all the husbands, wives, friends and the like know which brands are best for giving to their sweethearts this Valentine’s Day.
So this time around, I rounded up nine brands of Valentine’s Day chocolates—a few major names and a few lesser-known—to test their candies in time for Valentine’s Day gift-giving. Along with a crew of dedicated taste testers, here’s what we tried: Fannie May, Ghirardelli, Godiva, Hershey’s Pot of Gold, Kilwin’s, Lindt, Russell Stover, See’s and Whitman.
Find out who got our top honors!
Best Value: Russell Stover
“The chocolate is just so smooth.”
When it comes to Valentine’s Day chocolate, Russell Stover is a classic, and for good reason! When we dove into this box, we all found the chocolate to be exceptionally smooth. Many testers remarked on the depth and quality of the dark chocolates especially, so fans of rich dark chocolate, this box is for you!
Also worth noting is that this slim, seven-ounce box packed 11 different varieties. Of these, the coconut creams and coconut clusters were given the highest praise. Other highlights included the caramels and molasses chews. Unfortunately in this box, there were a few misses. The nougats and strawberry cream candies got low marks on taste.
Overall, though, if you’re looking for a solid box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day and don’t have a lot of dough to spare, Russell Stover is an excellent option that all chocolate lovers can appreciate.
Most Impressive Assortment: Kilwins
“Oh gosh, this is really, really good!”
There’s something to be said about a show-stopping gift—you know, the kind that sort of takes your breath away? That’s how we felt opening the giant heart-shaped box from Kilwins. From the very start, you could tell that this box of candy was leaps and bounds above the others in terms of assortment. We gobbled quite a few pieces down immediately, but there were at least 20 different kinds of chocolates inside—perfect for people that want to try it all.
With that many options to choose from, we got to work tasting. We found the high quality (and price tag) of this chocolate to be obvious. The white chocolate was creamy and delicious—not just super sweet. The dark chocolate had an incredible depth of flavor and the milk chocolate was so, so smooth.
As for the fillings, we found them to be delicious, though there were a few misses. The peanut butter filled chocolates were luscious and creamy, without some of the grittiness you get in cheaper peanut butters. The caramel was perfectly gooey, the kind that gives you those long ribbons when you take a bite but never sticks to your teeth. That made the turtles and other nut-filled goodies just sing. The big misses here were the fruit-flavored candies—your raspberry cremes and cherry cordials. A few testers thought they were a bit artificial, but with such a huge selection, it’s easy to dive back into the box and try pieces of toffee (amazing) or nut cluster (also exceptional).
Best in Show: See’s Candies
“I love that these look homemade.”
Coming in at the very top of this taste test was California-based See’s Candies. While lesser known than Russell Stover and Ghirardelli, See’s turned out to be a formidable competitor in this taste test!
Looking at the selection of chocolates, we were immediately impressed by the variety. The box wasn’t just full of your standard caramels and turtles—this box of candy included molasses chips, chocolate-dipped walnut squares, chocolate truffles and much, much more. A few notable favorites included the scotchmallow, a pillowy, homemade marshmallow set atop a wedge of butterscotch and all cloaked in milk chocolate. Another tester remarked on the amazing quality of the marzipan, a candy you don’t typically find in most assortments. Personally, I couldn’t get enough of the mocha truffles covered in chocolate sprinkles—they gave the candy just that extra bit of crunch and texture to complement the creamy center.
This brand came in tops when it came to taste and variety, but what made us love See’s just a little bit more than it’s ultra-polished friends was that the candies looked homemade. One tester said, “I could imagine someone’s grandma dipping these chocolates in her kitchen.” It was that handcrafted feel that really put these over the top. Are they better than our homemade Valentine’s Day chocolate recipes? Well, you can be the judge.
Variety is paramount
Our top Valentine’s Day chocolate picks all had terrific assortments—at least 10 different kinds of candies to satisfy your sweet tooth. With lots of options to choose from, it made tasting these brands much more exciting and it we had a lot of fun sharing our favorites with one another. Now picture that with your sweetie, and it just becomes all the better.
You don’t need to spend big bucks (but it doesn’t hurt to splurge!)
One of our favorite Valentine’s Day chocolates—Russell Stover—cost under $10. We love that you don’t have to break the bank to get some good candy for the year’s sweetest holiday.
That being said, our two priciest brands—See’s and Kilwins—both claimed top spots, too, for superior taste and excellent variety. Since these are on the more expensive end, I wouldn’t buy them for a spur of the moment chocolate fix, but they both really stand out as being special occasion gifts. And what’s Valentine’s Day if not the ultimate chocolate occasion?
Of course, this test is just the tip of the chocolate iceberg! To get you started on your own chocolate quest, we asked our Community Cooks to recommend their favorite local chocolatiers. If this doesn’t inspire you to take a road trip, I don’t know what will!
This blind taste test was performed by our staff and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own and have not been influenced by advertisers.