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Taste-test, Aisle 1.

Supermarket Sweets: We Try the New Cherry and Red Velvet M&M's

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[Photographs: Erin Jackson

If you've taken a stroll down the seasonal candy aisle of your grocery or drugstore lately, you may have seen something tempting hidden among all of the heart-shaped boxes of Valentine's Day chocolates: cherry and red velvet M&M's. The packaging and tinting of the milk chocolate candies suggests that they'd be an appropriate Valentine's Day treat for your significant other, but are they worth the splurge? We tested both flavors to find out.

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You'll have to head to Walmart to try the red velvet flavor, since it's an exclusive, but it's only worth the trip if a super-sweet, vanilla frosting-flavored candy is what you're after. Had M&M's branded this flavor as such, I'd be tipping my hat, but without any discernible cream cheese flavor, naming these candies "red velvet" is a misnomer. The novelty factor was enough to convince me to go back for a second handful, but the candies are so cloyingly sweet that I couldn't make it through more than 1/8th of the package.

If you're portioning these out amongst several people who might be intrigued by a one-time taste of something different, it could be worth picking up a bag, but I'd never choose them over standard M&M's.

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The cherry flavor is more widely-available. I saw them at my local grocery store, CVS, and Walmart, priced in the $3 range... but please, don't buy any.

Ripping open the package releases a cloud of artificial, chemical-tinged cherry aroma that smells like a car air freshener, and things only get worse if you're brave enough to taste them. I was hoping the candy coating would taste similar to cherry Skittles, but what it really tastes like is cherry Nyquil. Blech.

Bottom line: neither flavor is better than the standard-issue peanut, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate M&M's, all of which are available in a Valentine's Day appropriate color palette.

About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax

Want more of the sweet stuff? Follow us on Twitter @SeriousSweets

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