So you received a box of chocolates—but do you know which filling is which? Use this chocolate guide to figure out which candies you really love.

By Heath Goldman
Updated January 06, 2021
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Chocolate box guide - what's inside a box of chocolates and how to tell
Credit: Getty Images

Life has its share of mysteries, but the contents of a box of drugstore chocolates (think Russell Stover or Godiva) doesn't have to be one of them. Fortunately for chocolate lovers everywhere—and recipients of the classic Valentine's Day heart-shaped box of chocolates—most follow the same plan, largely for practical reasons. Read on for our guide to all the chocolates in your chocolate box, so you can easily find and remember your favorite candies (and skip the ones you can't stand).

First, remember that square and rectangular chocolates typically have crunchy or chewy centers: "Fillings like caramel and toffee cool on large slabs, then are cut at right angles and dipped in chocolate," says Tom Ward, the president and CEO of Russell Stover. Circular and oval treats almost always contain soft fillings, such as ganache or cream. Nut candies have easy-to-read bumpy surfaces. And a shiny foil wrapper signals an ooey-gooey liquid center, like a cherry cordial. (The foil protects against leaks.) See, you do know what you're going to get. Sorry, Mama Gump!

For a guide (with pictures, of course) to your chocolate box, see our chart below. You'll be picking your favorite candy from the rest in a snap.

Chocolate Box Guide: How to Decode a Box of Valentine’s Day Chocolates
Credit: Written by Heath Goldman; designed by Rebecca Hart

The Ultimate Guide to Your Box of Chocolates

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Chocolate box guide - types of chocolates (toffee or caramel-filled chocolates)

1 Square and rectangular chocolates

Square or rectangular chocolates are almost always toffee- or caramel-filled. When toffees and caramels are made, they're hot and liquidy. They get spread out on large slabs to cool and are cut into squares before being dipped into chocolate so nothing is wasted.

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Chocolate box guide - types of chocolates (ganache or cream-filled chocolates)

2 Circular and oval chocolates

Rounded chocolates are filled with ganache or cream. Think milk or dark chocolate truffles, vanilla cream, and raspberry cream. In production, the soft centers get scooped or piped into circular rounds and then drizzled with chocolate.

Chocolate box guide - types of chocolates (nut candies)

3 Chocolates with bumpy surfaces

If the surface isn't smooth, it's probably a nut candy. They're basically lumpy piles of nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, or cashews) held together with a chocolate coating. Sometimes they come in paper linings, like peanut butter cups. 

Chocolate box guide - types of chocolates (foil-wrapped chocolates)

4 Chocolates wrapped in a shiny foil wrapper

If the wrapper is foil, the chocolate probably has an ooey-gooey liquid center, like that of a cherry cordial. (The foil protects against leaks.)

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