Life may be like a box of chocolates, but the shapes inside suggest what you’re going to get

The owners of a Northern Virginia chocolate shop are urging customers to be aware of what’s in a box of chocolates before making a purchase this Valentine’s Day.

If the customer’s preference is chewy over gooey caramels, it might be wise to consider rectangular-shaped versus square candy from a heart-shaped holiday box.

Fleurir Chocolates in Alexandria are the experts when it comes to identifying chocolates. (WTOP/Kristi King)

“Because a rectangle, you take two bites of,” said Robert Ludlow, who co-owns Alexandria, Virginia, shop Fleurir Chocolates. “You chew, you take a bite, you chew.”

Ashley Hubbard, the shop’s other owner, agreed.

“But, if it’s a super loose caramel and you bite in, it’s just going to go down your chin,” Hubbard said.

Why Valentine's Day isn't the busiest time of year for chocolatiers (WTOP/Kristi King)

WTOP asked the shop owners to parse a People Magazine guide suggesting that the shapes of chocolates hint at what’s inside the confection.

They agreed oval chocolates tend to have soft centers, because they are filled chocolates that have goo piped in.

They also said that liquid-filled chocolates — such as cherry cordial — are often wrapped in foil to prevent them from leaking in the box if it gets crushed.

A bumpy shape is an obvious indicator that there are nuts, they said.

Chocolate is a common way to show affection to lovers, but Valentine’s Day is not the busiest time of the year at the couple’s shop.

“Theoretically, you only have one lover, one romantic partner you’re buying chocolates for,” Hubbard said.

“Yeah, you’d be in trouble if you were like, ‘I need 15 Valentine’s boxes,'” Ludlow said.

Customers buying holiday chocolates for friends and family members create high demand in December, when most people are tuned into the fact the holidays are coming.

“Plus, Valentine’s Day revolves around men being organized,” Ludlow said. “It’s two days, the 13th and the 14th, with panic stricken men streaming into the store wondering if we still have chocolate.”

Hubbard recalled stories of people on their way to a date desperately needing a gift and calling 10 minutes before closing.

“Yeah, we know. We’ve got you covered,” Hubbard said.

There is a surprising amount of information that can be gathered based on an individual piece of chocolate's characteristics. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Potential flavors found inside this box include: Passion fruit ginger, Strawberry mascarpone, pistachio praline rose water and hibiscus lemonade. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Fleurir Chocolates in Alexandria are the experts when it comes to identifying chocolates. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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