Sweethearts (Necco)
I actually think Sweethearts are pretty gross as candy, but I am taking time out of my life to encourage you to buy them for CRAFTING PURPOSES. You can put them on like, anything. Make a crown out of them. Hot-glue one to a little pipe cleaner bent into a circle and BAM, you have a ring. All you have to do is coat it in clear nail polish coating stuff after. It’s so easy! Just make sure you don’t use any of the lame “in-touch” ones they started doing that say things like “TWEET ME.” All pipe-cleaner rings should be classy. —Tavi

Violet Mints (Choward’s)
I’m going to be a jerk and tell you that I don’t condone the use of sugar. It’s a drug. Technically I am not supposed to eat it. BUT I DO! I was born with sweet teeth. I’m in love with Choward’s VIOLET CANDIES. I have a package on me at all times…but here’s the deal: I don’t eat them. I display them in shrine/installation (usually within arm’s reach so that I can huff the heady VIOLET scent through the excellent packaging). Of course I have eaten them (for a buzz). They are a lovely confectionery mint; a chalky pale-white lavender square tablet that tastes like VIOLETS! Don Draper’s dad ate them. I assumed they were from Victorian times but they actually originated in the 1930s. Violet candies are the most beautiful thing ever. If you aren’t allowed to eat candy, I suggest displaying them in your shrine and listening to “Violet” super loud. —Sonja

Chocolate Strawberry (Ferrara)
I’d never seen this particular Valentinian variation on the Terry’s Chocolate Orange, nor had the idea of combining strawberries and chocolate ever occurred to me as something that would be appealing to people, beyond those stupid chocolate-covered strawberries they show men feeding ladies on TV commercials for bubble baths or something. This is a waxy chocolate in the shape of a sliced apple (don’t overthink it) with a perfumey strawberriness that tries to compensate for its lack of cocoa content. But I don’t care, because milk chocolate has a lot of sugar in it; plus, it’s REALLY fun to peel off the slices and put them in my mouth-face. Therefore, hooray! Candy! One note, though: the box claims, “A Special Valentine Message on Every Slice!” There are messages printed on the slices, but they are not special. One said “Love.” Another said “True Love.” These messages should be unique-ified by at least 25% in order to live up to their box promises! (I don’t actually care.) This is my first experience with Ferrara chocolates, and while I don’t want to go on record as saying it will be my last, I would prefer to hedge my future bets with alternate chocolatiers. Their website shows other stuff they make, and I get the sense that Ferrara is the fragrance-knockoff factory of chocolate. Check out their fake Toblerone! No, thanks. I have eaten a little less than half of this object, and my blood sugar is pretty high up there. But I did have fun when I ate it. It was something that wasn’t very good, but that I enjoyed. Like certain songs by the Police. In conclusion, chocolate is never a complete waste of time. Thank you, and happy Valentine’s Day! —Julie Klausner

Ferrero Rocher (Ferrero USA)
I only eat things that are really expensive and wrapped in gold, and can be purchased in a supermarket checkout line. This rule applies doubly around Valentine’s Day, when I fuel my body exclusively via Ferrero Rochers. Ferrero Rochers are spherical luxury bombs of chocolate, wafer, hazelnut cream, and chopped hazelnuts. This might sound crazy fancy (wrapped in golden foil!!), but don’t be intimidated—Ferrero Rochers are just as practical as they are luxurious. If you’ve ever wondered, “Is there a way I can dip Nutella into Nutella?” this is the candy for you. The Rocher’s crunchy outer shell is the perfect vessel for delivering hazelnut cream to your mouth without having to fuss with a spoon or a jar. P.S. Ferrero USA also makes Nutella, so when buying this candy you are also supporting the manufacture of a really important product/cause. —Jamie

York Peppermint Pattie Hearts (Hershey’s)
I love peppermint patties, so it was a fun surprise to see recently, at my local grocer, INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED HEART-SHAPED PATTIES with PINK PEPPERMINT FILLING! Because I have the willpower of a gnat, I ripped into the bag as soon as I left the store. I ate them on the drive home listening to my Heart cassette at full volume (so classy). The soft peppermint filling is a good shade of pink, and the heart shape just makes them taste BETTER. If you eat a few of these in a row, you can get a pretty good buzz going (especially if you have to do a bunch of work [at night]). If you are, however, feeling “too high” from the sugar, I suggest drinking TONS OF WATER to help flush it out of your system. Remember that. P.S. The individual wrapping is wasteful. P.P.S. I had to leave them in the car so I would stop eating them. It worked. Skillz. —Sonja

Aha! (E. Wedel)
Prince Polo (Kraft)
Mleczna Toffi (E. Wedel)

I was in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for some Polish food, so I decided to finally check out Slodycze Wedel, a candy store that sells tons of bulk Polish candy and chocolate bars by Poland’s oldest confectioner, E. Wedel. The dude at the register was not into my “thing” of buying just one piece of a few kinds of bulk candy, so I ended up choosing three candy bars to try. The first was AHA! The big surprise (AHA!) is that this is NOT CANDY, but cookie. It’s three very thin and crisp sesame-seed cookies in a packet disguised as candy. It is not bad. Sorry to ruin the surprise (not candy). The next candy I bought was PRINCE POLO. I bought him because he’s Prince Polo. Prince Polo is another fucking cookie, people. He is not a total liar, though—he says right on his wrapper that his flavoring is “artificial.” This is an airy wafer cookie with aspirations well beyond his station. So at this point I think maybe I am not understanding some basic things about Polish sweets and I hope that the third thing I have chosen is not cookie, but candy. I open my E. Wedel Mleczna Toffi (E. Wedel’s Milky Toffee) and cry tears of relief…not cookie! Actual candy! This is one of those European chocolate bars like Milka where the company adds some kind of solid milky thing to a mix of chocolate and caramel. When broken in half, the texture reminds me a bit of Peppermint Pattie, though it’s much thinner. The caramel part is liquid, like in a Caramello, but this caramel has a flavor that’s more butterscotch than pure caramel. I can’t tell if I liked this, or just liked that it was not cookie. —Kristen Richardson

Twizzlers (Hershey’s)
Twizzlers are one of the best-looking candies out there. Their enticing twisty redness is appealing even in those big tub containers they sell them in, and what food ever looks good in a tub? But why isn’t it more widely acknowledged that they suck? It’s easy to describe how: there isn’t enough candy flavor in them. Chewing a Twizzler is like chewing wax in the shape of candy. Or the cartilage from inside your ear, if your ear was six inches long and shaped like a fusilli. When you eat the first one in the package, you think, That was ALMOST good; maybe the next one will give me the strawberry satisfaction I was hoping for. So you eat the next one and again, it reminds you of what a good candy would taste like, but it’s like you’re hearing music coming from another room that’s not quite loud enough. And so on until the package is done and you think, What was that about? Now I want some candy. Twizzlers look like candy but do not taste like candy. We must stop Twizzlers. We must expose the truth. Now look at my hand. There are two Twizzlers. One is red and one is blue. Bite into the red Twizzler and continue to live in your stupid dream of a phony pretend life. Bite into the blue one and admit the truth that Twizzlers suck, and be free. —Ira Glass

Whittaker’s Original Peanut Slab (J.H. Whittaker & Sons, Ltd.)
This tasted like a bunch of rotten peanuts in a bad chocolate brick. (And yes I checked the expo.) —Anaheed

Whittaker’s Original Coconut Slab (J.H. Whittaker & Sons, Ltd)
What is it with Whittaker’s and these SLABS? Well guess what. This one is kind of delicious. I recommend it to anyone who wants to eat something that looks like a brick and tastes like a tropical vacation. (Which is everybody.) —Anaheed

Red Cinnamon Imperial Hearts (Primrose)
The say that scent is one of the strongest memory triggers there is, which is probably why even a slight whiff of cinnamon makes me think of red tissue paper and glitter glue and those paper Spider-Man Valentine’s cards you can get at the grocery store—you know the ones. Is it even possible to make it through the first half of February without ingesting a ton of cinnamon hearts? It doesn’t even matter if you actually like them. (But seriously, what kind of sick person doesn’t like cinnamon hearts?) They’re part of the Valentine’s Day experience—the best part, because they don’t revolve around stupid heteronormative expectations and are way cheaper than fancy chocolates. Cinnamon hearts for all!!!!! —Anna

Silky Smooth Milk and Dark Chocolate Promises (Dove Collection)
These foil-wrapped chocolate squares bear the distinction of little messages printed inside the foil—things like “Do what feels right” and “Happiness looks great on you.” I wish said messages were less predictable/corny and more entertaining/confounding, like those Bazooka Joe comics that come (came?) with Bazooka gum—or, hey, how about actual promises!—but what can you do. Confession: I once kept a Dove Promise inspiring-quote wrapper on my desk for at least a year at work. Anyway, Dove don’t lie: the chocolate is silky smoo0ove. —Susannah Felts

Cherry Ripe Dark Cherry (Cadbury)
Does a bunch of chewed-up maraschino cherries mixed with coconut flakes and dunked in chocolate sound good to you? Then you will love this. Normal people: you will not. —Anaheed

Dubbel Zout (K&H Gustafs)
I’ve been addicted to double-salted licorice since I was a kid. As a teen, I rode the bus home from ballet school reading The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole and sucking on double-salted licorice. I’d say 99.999% of the population hates it. But whatevs! It’s for special people with special tastes. Salted licorice comes in many, many varieties and in every shape imaginable (including farm animals, and once I found E.T.-shaped ones). My standby is in the shape of a tiny hockey puck and has the letters DZ stamped on it. I cannot describe its powerful taste except for the words black and salt. I buy it in Dutch delicatessens and fancy British candy stores (with the shopkeepers shaking their heads). This sick treat originally hails from Finland and Norway. P.S. Once I fell asleep with one in my mouth. —Sonja

Starburst Squirts Crazy Babies (The Wrigley Company)
I bought these candies because (a) they are called STARBURST SQUIRTS CRAZY BABIES (best name ever, and, side note, please call your next band CRAZY BABIES); and (b) there is a picture of a baby squirting blood from its belly on the bag. They DO NOT TASTE GOOD AT ALL, but who cares? There’s a picture of a baby squirting blood on the bag! —Anaheed

Lovey Gummy Tummies (Trader Joe’s)
The only thing worse than your first heartbreak is your third heartbreak from the first heartbreaker! First it was Gummy Tummy Penguins, then it was Bunny Gummy Tummies and Friends (you can read my fascinating opinions on those abominations here)—and now, adding insult to Valentine’s Day, Trader Joe’s has once again left me holding the bag; only this time it’s a bag of Lovey Gummy Tummies. Believe me, I didn’t buy TJ’s sweet-talking on the packaging at first (“Give me one good reason why I should after everything!!!”), claiming that these gummies were made especially for me in “a small factory in France”—there was no way to prove that short of hiring a private investigator—but the last line, “Each heart has a fluid, fruity center that pleasantly melts in your mouth,” seemed sincere, and it was something I could judge for myself. Before you could say “congestive heart failure” I opened the bag and was immediately overwhelmed by the sweet medicinal smell of “natural cherry flavor” and felt like I’d been transported to an old-timey hospital. Actually, did you see that episode of Downton Abbey where the farmer has dropsy of the heart and they have to stick a crazy needle in his chest and drain the fluid out?! BLUUUURGH!!!!! Well, that is what biting down on TJ’s Lovey Gummy Tummies’ goo-filled heart reminded me of. And those cherry lesions tasted as medicinal as they smelled. Listen here, TJ!!! You’d better not try calling me just because you haven’t got anything better to do on a Saturday night—my reply is no! Unless you have something special planned for St. Patrick’s Day. —Kevin Townley

Conversation Heart box (Russell Stover)
These are small heart-shaped boxes with stupid words on them: “U ROCK” and “QT PIE.” SOLD! Once in a blue moon I’ll buy a small box of Russell Stover’s for novelty’s sake and because I like the little boxes (for storing little things). Andy Warhol used to eat them and I, like Andy Warhol, can’t have candy in the house because I’ll eat it till it’s gone. OK. So I open up the “U ROCK” box to find…THREE chocolates! Three. Total rip. I love a box of chocolates ’cause it’s like: WHAT WILL THIS ONE BE? Unfortch, these just disappoint: #1 was hard caramelly/teeth destroyer. #2 was a thin layer of “chocolate” covering more soft caramelly teeth destroyer with an undertaste of cherry? I can’t. The final chocolate was a “cup” shape (Reese’s ripoff) but with nothing in it…just more of the same with flakes of coconut. Bo-ring. In closing, Russell Stover chocolates are all about the packaging. I probably should’ve gone for the “boy valentine”: a heart-shaped box with textured basketball façade/veneer. —Sonja

Knusperflakes (Ritter Sport)
Ritter Sport makes the best milk chocolate I’ve ever tasted in my life. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t—this German company blows away everything else I’ve tasted, including Godiva (please note that I will still accept Godiva whenever Ritter Sport isn’t available, and even when it is if I can have both). It comes in lots of different varieties, with fillings ranging from gross, as in their Rum Trauben Nuss variety, which is filled with rum-soaked raisins, to sublime, like my favorite variety, Knusperflakes (the German word for cornflakes). It’s chocolate and cereal, aka two of the best snack foods ever, in one pretty yellow package, and it’s impossible to share with other people because it’s too delicious. Texture-wise, it’s like a Nestlé Crunch, but it’s not as cloyingly sweet and dry. —Amy Rose

Milo (Nestlé)
It’s a brownie topped with caramel and chocolate crunchies, all dipped in chocolate. You can’t really go wrong with any of that, but I felt about this candy bar the way I feel about Sandra Bullock: totally medium. Like “so what?” Like “who cares?” Like this Emoji face: —Anaheed

Elementary school valentines
I read over this post and decided it wasn’t VALENTINE’S DAY-y enough, so I googled “sexy chocolate” and got a lot of links to weird MySpace pages—MySpace pages that are somehow active, despite the fact that they are MySpace pages. This filled me with such confusion that I curled up into the fetal position and started missing the simplicity of childhood, which made me think of the BEST Valentine’s Day candy of ALL, and that is the kind you pass out in elementary school when everyone decorates paper bags with chicken scratch and doily hearts. Love is so innocent and harmless back then, the only things you really know you love are your pets and your pajamas and the candy you get on Valentine’s Day. And so, I recommend those little valentines from the grocery store that come with Scooby Doo suckers and stuff like that. It doesn’t even matter if the candy itself is bad, because it’s the sentiment that counts. God, I’m deep. BRB, gonna go put this on my MySpace page. —Tavi