Valentine's Day Chocolates

Americans spend more than 700 million dollars on chocolate for Valentine's day, according to the National Confectioner's Association.

But what's the best-tasting chocolate for the money? Consumer Reports testers have sampled boxes and boxes of chocolates to tell you.

Freshly made chocolate covered strawberries...luscious truffles...heart-shaped candies. What should you get your valentine?

But this is how Consumer Reports' taste testers feel after they finish testing chocolate.

Maxine Siegel of Consumer Reports says, "You feel completely nauseated, you have a bellyache, and you really don't want to eat anything for the rest of the day."

Consumer Reports evaluated more than 30 boxes of gift chocolates.

One of the priciest is the Richart Petits Collections Intense Ballotin. It goes for $67 plus shipping. But it wasn't the best.

Erin Gudeux of Consumer Reports says, "The chocolate coatings are chalky, and some of the fillings reminded us of soap."

Far better, but still pricey-the Norman Love Confections 25-piece Signature Gift Box, with ultra smooth chocolates and unusual fillings. It costs $49, and with shipping you'll pay more than 60.

Gudeux says, "The good news-our testers found some very good chocolates that cost far less. And you can find them in stores, so no shipping!"

Among them is the box of Ferrero Collection Fine Assorted Confections for just $11.

Gudeux says, "The truffles are flavorful, and the crisp wafer coatings and nuts add interesting texture."

And a Godiva box is a very nice choice-the Gold Ballotin- 36-piece box for 40 dollars-especially if your Valentine likes really sweet chocolates.

Consumer Reports says chocolates are best when eaten fresh.

Most only last for ten days to three weeks, another reason to enjoy them right away.

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