Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Valentine's Day!!

I just did a quick search of this blog, and I was shocked to find no official celebration of Valentine's Day and its candies. I work to rectify that oversight here:

Valentine's Day is likely (still a little reluctant to bad-mouth other holidays) the best holiday out there with respect to candy. Perhaps this is because the holiday is so very commercial, almost certainly evolving in a boardroom somewhere, as ad execs sought to siphon off more late winter money from consumers. With an eye already to the markets and a cultural tradition of men giving chocolates to women as a sign of affection, Valentine's Day's close association with candy was a foregone conclusion from the get.

Still, faithful readers might wonder, why do I hold aloft a holiday that is so closely tied to chocolate? Haven't I argued that chocolate is best though of as 'food,' and don't I consistently trumpet the powdery, the fruity, the chewy, the gummi? Well, yes, I do, but the crucial point is this: these preferences are not mutually exclusive to this holiday.

First, as I have said at an earlier date on this blog, the SweeTart heart is the world's most perfect candy. You will remember that my love affair with SweeTarts began early in my life. The addition of the SweeTart heart was a powerful moment in my formative years, and indeed, the form continues to improve. This year, the heart has become flatter, more rounded and includes more varied and whimsical love-related expressions. The rounded, flatter shape allows for lengthier chomping sessions (as jaws and teeth are not as fatigued).

These classic, less-teeth-friendly morsels will always have a place in my heart (huh? HUH?).

In addition, the last few years have seen the SweeTart heart fold in the orange flavor one finds in the traditional SweeTart package-- a welcome reunion. Finally, the value one gets in a SweeTart hearts package is ridiculous. Until the last year or so, one could get a 7-oz bag for .99, and even now, the 1.25 cost is very reasonable. (Think of paying .79-.89 for a regular 1.8 oz roll of SweeTarts). Indeed, this candy alone makes a compelling case for Valentine's' supremacy in the holiday candy racket.

But the brilliance does not stop there! A second boon to the season comes in the form of jelly/juju hearts. Again, I have covered the greatness of jellies on this site. And, similar to SweeTart hearts, jellies are among the best candy values to be had. The jelly hearts are no exception. One often gets 10 ounces or more for .99! I say "often" because the jelly heart is difficult to nail down as a singular object. First and most notably, there are both cherry-flavored and cinnamon-flavored varieties widely available. This is a great benefit, as the cherry heart is great, and the cinnamon heart puts one in mind of the cinnamon bear, one of candy's real pleasures. Also, main-stream corporations like Brach's and Necco produce these hearts, but they are also produced in generic form by places like CVS-- this healthy competition allows for subtle variations in the form, while maintaining a relatively consistent flavor. Finally, one can find both unadorned jelly hearts and ones covered in sugar. For those (like me) who enjoy the classic chew of a plain jelly, we have plenty of choices; and for those who like a textural contrast, sugar-covered hearts exist.
These originals have that nice imperfect veneer that is so very enticing. Like Edward James Almos.

But the Valentine's candy experience is not defined alone by good values and heart-shaped goodies. There are, of course, the afore-mentioned chocolate options aplenty. The more recently produced Reese's heart is just one of the more awesome developments.

Not the item, but that this pic is on google images is kinda telling.

And let me say again for the record that I fucking love chocolate. The eating experience is different, but a good chocolate is hard to beat. Most would agree that Valentine's is most associated with the box of chocolates, a special kind of eating experience. If variety is the spice of life, then the Whitman's Sampler is the spice rack of candy. Just glad there aren't any coriander-flavored dark chocolates up in there.

Look at that. It's so classic and sleek. It makes me nostalgic for something I never experienced. Simulacra, ya'll.

I could go on and on, and I am sure I will on this blog. But it is enough to say that Valentine's is a special time of the year and should have its own Peanuts special or some shit.

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