Planning Ahead: Top 5 Special Edition Valentine's Day Candies

As a control freak proponent for celebratory compartmentalization, I always get annoyed when corporations want to combine holidays for the sake of marketing purposes, or worse yet, glaze over one festive date in favor of promoting another. This tug-of-war happens frequently between Valentine's Day and Easter, for although these two holidays are at least a month apart, I see that many food manufacturers forgo issuing theme V-Day treats and skipping straight into pastel and bunny confections. Kudos to the companies that produced the following five candies, which are all only about Valentines:

5. Pink Heart Peeps. Use these heart-shaped Peeps as adornment for some Valentine's Day cupcakes or as floaters in hot chocolate. There's also chocolate-covered versions if you want something even sweeter than that standard Peep marshmallow.

4. Hershey's Milk Chocolate XOXO Bar. This chocolate bar is doubly sweet: first, because of its creamy milk chocolate flavor, and second, because it's a nostalgic reminder of the days when people HAND-WROTE LETTERS and to save space but not skimp on sentiment used "XOXO." Pull aside the the average middleschooler and I'm willing to bet s/he will not recognize "XOXO" as meaning "hugs and kisses" ("LOL", however, an entirely different story). Give this same child a Hershey's XOXO Valentine's Day bar and you're providing education as well as sustenance.

3. Valentine's Day Mystery Flavor Fun Dip. Well, if love can be mysterious, why shouldn't V-Day Fun Dip also be? This Fun Dip may leave you guessing about its taste, but if you receive it as a gift from your paramour you'll be less uncertain about the flavor of your relationship, as each packet comes with a cute Valentine.

2. Reese's Hearts. Does this heart-shaped Reese's taste different from Christmas tree-shaped Reese's or pumpkin-shaped Reese's or Easter egg-shaped Reese's? No. Do I care? Also no. The brand's trademark combination of a creamy mound of peanut butter enrobed in milk chocolate is fundamentally good, and the seasonal shape just enhances the fun.

1. Junior Mints Hearts. Gone are the days when Junior Mints were exclusively movie-theater candy. I like to think that at some point the Tootsie bigwigs were like, "Shit, Valentine's Day--we gotta get in on that action." And so they did, not only by reshaping their beloved mints into hearts, but also by changing (some) of the fillings from white to red. Now, that's a chocolate Valentine's Day candy that satisfies and makes your breath smell good.

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