Valentine's Day

The Only Chocolates to Buy at Costco

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: a katz)

Maybe you loved the Valentine’s Day card exchange as a kid and go all out with a fancy dinner every February 14, or maybe you’re over the commercial holiday and its pushy marching orders for “romance.” Either way, I think there’s one thing we can agree on: Any excuse to buy some chocolate is always welcome.

And if you want to stock up on loads of chocolate, well, you know where to go. Your standby and mine, Costco, is there waiting with its multi-pound boxes and bags of all things chocolate. The warehouse isn’t your spot to buy a jewel-box container of hand-crafted chocolates for your one true (and very discerning) love. But if you’re shopping for a long list of sweethearts (your SO, BFF, coworkers, etc.) or just want to stock up, Costco has options.

Unlike so much of the rest of their offerings, where you get one or two options in any one item, this time of year at least Costco is rolling out the chocolate brigade. So which do you choose? Reader, I — and some willing friends — tried them all so you don’t have to. There’s one choice you can’t go wrong with.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

How We Picked the Costco Chocolates

First, the contenders. Actually, before that, let’s talk criteria: What constitutes chocolate for this throwdown?

Number one, it has to look presentable as a gift, either in the overall packaging or as an individual chocolate. So, while M&Ms are certainly chocolate, a bag of them isn’t exactly giftable for an occasion that’s capitalized like Valentine’s Day (that said, peanut M&Ms are my fave and I would be thrilled to receive a large bag of them as a gift any time of year). And secondly, it has to be all about decadence. So, fruit dipped in chocolate? You’re out. Chocolate as a gift is about indulging yourself. Save fruit for the smoothies.

Our tasting panel consisted of yours truly, my husband who’s never met a chocolate he didn’t like, a couple of our food- and wine-obsessed friends, their toddler, and their extremely discerning 6-year-old we’ll call O (this kid and I agree on everything).

The Best Chocolate You Can Get at Costco

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares, $12 for about 48

This is a shiny metallic gold bag with just shy of a pound-and-a-half of individually wrapped squares (about 48). Give the whole bag to one person or divide the squares up into a few goodie bags. After lots of shockingly disappointing chocolates, tasters perked up when we took our first bites of these chocolates. What we loved the most: the variety! We loved the options and, while the sea salt caramel was the clear favorite, we wouldn’t be mad if we were gifted any of the four flavors. The only ding against these is that they’re pretty ubiquitous these days, so the group worried they wouldn’t seem special enough. Our advice: Sweeten the gift with a heartfelt handwritten message in a card and you’re good to go.

What We Thought of the Others

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Bouchard Belgian Chocolatier Snickerdoodle Bites, $8 for 1.1 pounds

This is a praline “filled with a snickerdoodle milk-cinnamon cream and topped with brown sugar.” It’s a 1.1-pound bag of individually wrapped cute little bon-bons with pretty little labels. Sadly, these things are way too sweet; they’re basically a kid’s sugar bomb breakfast cereal. Even an actual child thought it was too sweet. O’s response? “Next!” And my neighbor’s 2-year-old took one bite and pushed it away.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Edward Marc Chocolatier Caramel Medallions, $10 for 22 ounces

The description for these reads, “Soft, thinly poured caramel drizzled with with our signature chocolate.” It’s a 22-ounce box with four packets, each of 16 cookies with half dark chocolate with sea salt, half with caramel fudge. The package says it’s made with sustainably sourced cocoa, and unlike some of the others, they don’t taste of preservatives. If you want to give these, though, you basically have to repackage them.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Ferrero Rocher, $13 for 48

Here we have a 21-ounce clear, beveled plastic box displaying 48 individually gold foil-wrapped chocolates “surrounding a whole hazelnut within a delicate, crisp wafer.” This is by far the most dazzling presentation, as far as buying your mass-market chocolates in bulk goes. Ferrero Rocher has made a name for itself, but our tasters were surprisingly not impressed. I thought these things were supposed to be decently fancy, but they tasted like stale air.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Lindt Lindor Assorted Chocolate Truffles, $11 for 50

Another grocery store staple, this is a champagne-ish colored bag with a little clear window allowing a peek at the colorful individually wrapped truffles (in five flavors) inside. They were fine. (“Meh” was the consensus around the tasting table.) They seemed more like what you’d expect in a bowl at an accountant’s office than in your Valentine’s gift (and the difference in these and the comparably priced but far tastier Ghirardelli when tasted side by side was striking!).

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Hawaiian Host Aloha Gems Milk Chocolate, $17 for 28 clusters

Lastly, we’ve got a double package of a traditional chocolate box (awash with the colors of a Hawaiian sunset) bearing a pound each (28 clusters) of a macadamia nut covered in “premium” milk chocolate. Maybe get these if you’re surprising your love with tickets to Hawaii? This would be a fun box to tuck the ticket in. One taster found them “pleasing.”

Do you agree with our tasters? Which of these chocolates would you like to receive for Valentine’s Day?