An Autopsy of the Russell Stover’s $5 Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box

For some mysterious reason, it always becomes a buyer’s market for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate on Feb. 15. Russell Stover’s classic $5 box drops down to $3.99. That’s a perfectly adequate amount of perfectly adequate candy for a perfectly adequate price. And since pharmacies always overstock them for desperate last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers, there are always plenty left over.

Unfortunately, unlike its fancier candy box counterparts, the $5 box lacks a map of its contents. You’re diving blind into a murky pool of chocolate flavors. To help our readers, we took the plunge ourselves. Here’s a chart of the candy and what we thought of ‘em.

No. 1: Dark Chocolate with Caramel Filling. Did Will Smith flash me with a Men in Black neuralizer or was this candy so forgettable my brain simply refused to process the experience? Either way, I have no memory of how this candy tastes.

Nos. 2 and 3: Milk Chocolate with Mystery Filling. There’s no way to know what’s in this. Peanut butter? Caramel? A peanut butter-caramel blend? They’re worth trying, but not quite tasty enough to eat both.

No. 4: Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Nougat Filling. In a box of mediocrity, this was a standout. Don’t let your significant other take it from you no matter how much you love them.

No. 5: Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling. Essentially the same as no. 1. Caramel and chocolate are a fine combo, but this piece is as forgettable as the endless stream of Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers on your Instagram feed every year.

No. 6: Dark Chocolate with Marshmallow Filling. Unquestionably the best piece in the box. It’s so good you’ll wonder why Russell Stover didn’t just fill the whole box with marshmallow-filled chocolate. But then it might actually be worth more than $5.

No. 7: Milk Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Filling. This piece is a chocolate lover’s dream. For normal people, though, it’s way too much chocolate. Give it to your significant other, and say something corny like “it’s extra sweet, just like you” to distract them from how bad it tastes.

No. 8: Dark Chocolate with Toffee Filling. How many people know what toffee actually is? And of those people, do any have friends? My guess is no. Give this piece away.

Nos. 9 and 11: Butterscotch Butterfingers. The filling is hard to place at first crunch. But the discerning taste buds of grandma candy-munching BTRtoday music writer Elena Childers identified it as butterscotch. Crunchy butterscotch. Yes, you should skip these.

Nos. 10 and 12: Dark/Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Filling. The legendary H.B. Reese changed the world by combining chocolate with peanut butter. Apparently Russell Stover never got the two-ingredient recipe. This is the candy equivalent of the Hangover sequels—sometimes you just can’t recreate the original magic, even if all the same ingredients are there.