Valentine’s Day Conversation Hearts

I am very particular with my candy, especially the candy that evokes fond memories of my childhood. This fondness is made even more so by the fact that these candies are only available for a short time each year.

The Brach’s Valentine’s day conversation hearts are one of these special candies. I can only buy them for four weeks or so a year. They have to be the Brach’s brand also, as I do not like the kind the brands that taste like Necco Wafers or Sweet Tarts.

I prefer the large size but the small will do if that is all that is available (see, I can be flexible). One year they tricked me by making the small hearts a completely different texture. Instead of the softer chalkiness that I had come to like and expect, these were a smoother, harder texture.  Fortunately they must have received complaints because they were back to normal the next year.

Now, the Brach’s brand of candy has been getting harder and harder to find over the last few years. The brand was purchased by Farley & Sathers Candy Company, but for some reason they don’t seem to be making the Brach’s candy widely available. Even when I can find it, it is usually confined to only one store/chain in the area.  This, combined with the seasonal nature of my favorite candy, gets very frustrating.

So I was excited to see the Brach’s conversation hearts at my local store, and purchased three packages of the large hearts. I could hardly wait to get home.  I opened the package and went for my favorite color, the green. It historically has had a sort of wintergreen flavor but now it is fruit flavored, lime I suppose. All the flavors are different and I don’t like them. That is when I notice on the package some new labeling  “Our Best Flavors Ever”.  How has that been determined? Did they do an extensive country-wide sampling, focus groups, taste tests in the malls, what? Or is this self proclaimed? Notice the bag also states “classic flavors”.  Which is it?

I emailed customer service expressing my disappointment in the flavor change, and suggested they might consider changing back to the original Brach’s flavors (why buy a brand and then not use the formula?). I received back a nice form letter apologizing for my dissatisfaction, which of course did not address my actual complaint, along with three $1 off coupons on Brach’s candy. Since my other favorite of theirs are the Easter Fiesta Eggs, also hard to find, I won’t know for another few weeks whether I’ll get to use the coupons. Stay tuned.