5 On Your Side

Getting the Sweetest Chocolates for Your Sweetie

Posted February 7, 2008

With Valentine's Day a week away, many are struggling to answer a burning question: How will you say 'I love you' to your sweetheart?

Here's a tidbit: Chocolate sales are expected to be bigger than usual next Thursday, when more couples celebrate their love at home, rather than going out, on a weeknight. And chocolate sales should grow more in the future: By 2011, U.S. chocolate sales are forecast to reach $18 billion.

Consumer Reports, though, cautions against immediately running to the corner drug store and grabbing a foil-wrapped, heart-shaped box of chocolates that often will look and taste like wax.

Consumer Reports staffers tested nearly two dozen brands of gift-box chocolates, ranging in price from $8 at drugstores and supermarkets to $97 at boutiques.

Texture and flavor are keys to picking out the best of the varied chocolates out there: creamy milk, deep dark or white chocolate pieces, perhaps filled with fruit or even chili pepper.

"The best assortments taste fresh and are made with high-quality ingredients," Ellen Klosz, a Consumer Reports tester, said. "They had well-blended flavors that tasted real, not artificial. And you look for that ultra-smooth texture."

Nine gift-box chocolates were rated excellent, including a $43, one-pound assortment from Candinas. The assortment was also rated a best buy for its ultra-smooth milk and dark chocolate pieces with hints of fresh cream and butter.

Three other gift-box assortments of milk and dark chocolates also got ratings of very good and best buys: See's Famous Old Time, for $15 a pound; Leonidas Assortment, for $34 a pound; and Godiva, for $38 a pound.

If the chocolates are not available in a store near you, you can order them online or by phone. Be sure to factor in shipping costs. In some cases, overnight shpping can add $20 or more to the bill.

Chocolate prices are up this year, driven by higher energy and dairy costs. One brand went up $16 a box from 2007, according to Consumer Reports.

For many, though, the cost will be worth every mouth-watering bite of those chocolate delights.


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  • TarheelTurtle Feb 11, 2008

    See's choc's rock, but for the best Belgium chocolate made locally...try Chocolaterie Stam in the Chapel Hill North shopping center on MLK, right past I-40. Bob Droog owns this place and is one of only three in the WORLD to make chocolate using this technique...trust me....they have late hours and you can even get some flowers there.

  • gopanthers Feb 11, 2008

    I'll take a whole box of Scotchman's from See's Candy. They are soooooooo good. Chocolate - Carmel and Marshmellow.

  • jannita Feb 8, 2008

    Support your local chocolateer. Try Matthew's Chocolate's in Hillsborough. He's only been open since about November, but he is WONDERFUL!!!

  • wahaka63 Feb 8, 2008

    Go to Harry London's website. Out of Canton, OH. The chocolates are YUMMY!!!