Along with flowers, the box of chocolates has become the default Valentine's gift for men everywhere. No matter how strict their diet, most people do still love chocolates.
For the test I decided to only include boxes of chocolates costing less than €10, and that looked presentable enough to give as a gift.
My panel of four (three women and myself) judged the chocolates first on presentation and then in a blind test. Milk Tray was the only easily identifiable brand, but still scored well.
Lidl JD Gross Pralines Selection, 28 sweets (18c each), €4.99
Well presented, with the prettiest selection of shapes and flavours, excellent value and high quality. 8/10
Aldi Choceur Irish Handcrafted Chocolates, 16 sweets (31c each), €4.99
Good presentation on the outside but once the outer packaging is removed you are left with a very plain white box. Good selection of chocolates, not unlike Lidl in style. Good flavours. 7.5/10
Lily O’Brien Heart Box, 12 sweets (83c each), €9.99 (Dunnes)
Honeycomb crispy hearts and sticky toffees were two flavours. The most expensive chocolates in the test but beautifully presented in a heart-shaped box. Fine quality, good chocolate, but poor value for money. 7/10
Milk Tray, 40 sweets (9c each), €3.99 (Tesco)
The chocolates we all grew up with so they have the benefit of familiar flavours and nostalgia, and cheap as chips. Retro and kitsch, but still holding their own. 6.5/10
Butlers Chocolates, 24 sweets (29c each), €6.99 (Dunnes)
Overly simple presentation. Too many white chocolates, but not a bad selection. 6.5/10
Tesco Belgian Chocolates, 15 sweets (35c each), €5.24
Dull packaging. Rather typical of Belgian chocolates — creamy and rather heavy. Not to our taste. 6/10
Thorntons Chocolates, 30 sweets, (23c each), €6.99
Largest box but poor presentation. The chocolates were our least favourite with insipid truffles the dominant flavour. 5/10