Valentine’s Day Chocolate Taste Test: Russell Stover vs. Whitman’s

Posted by Sharon on Feb 11

In a recent study performed by taste testers at The Village Voice, two popular brands of chocolate candies were closely examined to determine which one reigned supreme in terms of value and flavor. Testers chose assortments of Russell Stover and Whitman's chocolates, packaged in familiar heart-shaped boxes geared for Valentine's Day shoppers.

The nation's leading manufacturer of boxed chocolates is Russell Stover Candies, a company also ranked as the third largest manufacturer of chocolates right underneath Hershey's and Mars, Inc. The sample assortment included twelve distinctly unique chocolates, even though many seemed similar at first. Seven milk chocolate varieties were filled with soft caramel, dense caramel, caramel creme, caramel syrup, "butterfinger crunch", chocolate nougat, and "bubble gum" nougat. The remaining five dark chocolates were filled with both soft and dense caramel creme, marshmallow creme, gooey caramel, and chocolate ganache.

Tasters said that the Russell Stover candies were "amped up on corn syrup," and that the sweetener made the chocolates' distinct flavors "indistinguishable." The bubble gum chocolate was deemed "disgusting." But they favored the size of the chocolates and were impressed with decorative drizzles on top. The box contained 200 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving.

The box of Whitman's chocolate sampled contained the same number of chocolates, although it provided different variations in flavor. With eight milk and four dark chocolates, filling included English toffee, coconut, hard caramel, soft caramel, butterscotch, chocolate creme, nougat, and solid chocolate.

After sampling the Whitman's chocolates, tasters said they were most pleased with the "quite tasty" English Toffee filling, also experiencing an overall "cocoa butter mouthfeel" sensation with each chocolate. They also noted that the serving sizes were healthier at 150 calories and 7 grams of fat.

And the winner is:  Whitman's Chocolate. Testers preferred the variety of flavors, the lack of a corn-syrupy taste, and the healthier serving size. Also, since both boxes of chocolate have a retail price around $5, that means the overall value is increased even greater in Whitman's favor.

Interestingly, though, Whitman's is actually owned by Russell Stover Candies. Purchased by Russell Stover in 1993, the confectionery started by one Steven Whitman began in Philadelphia in 1842. So no matter which chocolate brand consumers purchase for Valentine's Day, the profits will go to the same place.

Source:  Village Voice- Fork In The Road

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