It’s the night of Valentine’s and as I am writing this, I am sitting on my couch wrapped in my fuzzy red blanket, quietly reminiscing about Valentine’s past and the fun and sweet Valentine’s memories I made today and over the past week. Decked out in dangly heart earrings, heart printed socks, and my little red jacket, I spent the day with my other half where we enjoyed heart shaped veggie pizza, cookies and cream Hershey Kisses, and dvd episodes of Big Bang Theory. A day of love and fun much like any other, but special, loving, and heartfelt nonetheless. Valentine’s Day is quite the commercial occasion, yes, but it’s also a day to acknowledge and reflect on love in all its beautiful forms. It’s a day to have fun and a day to remind all of us of all the people, pets, and things in our life that warm our hearts and bring us joy.
In that vein, humour me while I rattle off some reasons why I love Valentine’s:
- everything is decked out in red, pink, and white (and the occasional purple)
- everything is printed with cute hearts
- Valentine’s restaurant menus are fun to look at (not so much fun to pay for, but fun in a creative and thematic way!)
- Valentine’s themed accessories and jewelry fit effortlessly into my wardrobe (I wear heart necklaces and earrings, and both my rainbow and hot pink-and-gray heart printed argyle socks all year round)
- Valentine’s themed stationery, kitchen, home decor, and baking accessories are too darling not to love
- the classic “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” Simpsons episode is one of the best things to ever grace cartoon television
- kiddie Valentine’s in general (don’t tell me you never gave your friends and classmates Lion King, Disney Princess, Looney Tunes, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Animanics, Winnie the Pooh, Hello Kitty, and/or Casper the Friendly Ghost valentine cards!)
- my best friend, who’s a kindergarten teacher, gets to celebrate Valentine’s with her little ones in kindergarten party fashion complete with crafts, edible goodies, and the quintessential paper baggy card exchange
- Valentine’s desserts. Enough said.
- it is yet another occasion ridiculously devoted to chocolate! Unless you are like my best friend and allergic, this works in your favour.
And it is here that I will focus on Reason #10. Everyone is a different type of Valentine’s candy person. Some get giddy over the cheesy conversation hearts while others will enjoy the bright red spicy cinnamon hearts by the fistful. Then there are the chocolate enthusiasts. You know who you are. The ones who will scarf down an entire box in one night, or the folks who show up at the shops first thing in the morning on February 15th, ready to roll with a shopping basket and a thirst (or rather, appetite) for chocolate on sale. In those chocolicious moments, the whole world is right. For some, there is no better way to express love than saying it with chocolate.
I fall under the second category. The culprits? Cookies and cream Hershey Kisses and any and all M&Ms. You are all aware of my love affair with M&Ms and the pride and joy that is my M&M tin collection! Imagine my happy dance then when I found a brand new, heart-shaped M&Ms candy tin for Valentine’s Day! With my favourite green girl M&M on it! In my chocolate universe, it doesn’t get any better than that. I know chocolate sales are ubiquitous the day after Valentine’s, but I’ve been through many heartbreaking situations in my life where I would hem and haw about an item, wistfully walk away for the time being, and come back to it only to find it gone. It’s an awful habit of mine and given how dearly beloved these M&Ms tins are to me, there was no way I was about to take that chance again. Especially considering they were only available at Pharma Plus drug stores!
In addition to the heart-shaped tin and the coconut M&Ms I love so much, I found myself mint dark chocolate ones too! After paying a visit to Yonge Market a few weeks ago (where I found the coconut M&Ms at their least expensive last summer – only $0.99 a bag!) and finding out they didn’t have any of the coconut ones, I made my way back to Uncle John’s Candy Shack on Mount Pleasant Rd. I picked up a baggy of coconut M&Ms and was absolutely ecstatic when I found out they had new mint dark chocolate ones!
I’ve been so jealous of my American counterparts who have special flavours like strawberry and raspberry, so it felt so nice to find a new flavour I had never encountered before. They’re $1.49/bag and although the price has gone up by $0.10 since last summer, it’s still less expensive than several other candy shops around the city who sell them for $1.59, $1.79, and even for $1.99! I am dying to rip open all my M&M candy packages and devour all the goodness inside, but part of me really wants to save them to use for cookies. Who knew Valentine’s could put me in such a chocolate predicament? If I bake them in cookies, you will see them and hear about them. If I eat them all, you’ll just see a very happy me. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, from my heart to yours!
Uncle John’s Candy Shack is located at 635 Mount Pleasant Rd. between Eglinton and Davisville Ave., just north of Manor Rd.