Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means Target turned into a pink and red wonderland of candy like, three weeks ago. Much like Halloween, the only reason why this holiday really rules is because you get to eat sweets, judgement free! And we all know what the best kinds are: chocolate. Forget love and flowers, I’m in it for the Snickers, the iconic See’s assorted box of chocolates, and Godiva’s truffles. I am all over it, guys. And before you go, “But wait, Gina, what about gummy bears and those sour watermelons they used to sell all the time at Blockbuster? What about cookies and ice-cream?” I want you to hear me out. Chocolate is hands down the best sweet treat of all time because:

1. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

Whether it’s a Reeses pumpkin, a chocolate-covered marshmallow in the shape of a snowman, or an adorable little Dove heart, chocolate has a way of gorgeously presenting itself.

2. It can be filled with caramel.

Whoever first combined caramel and chocolate should be given an award. Caramel by itself is already a divine gift, but to be smothered in rich chocolate? Brilliant. Lindt chocolate bars are always a winner in my book.

3. Chocolate is nutritious.

Chocolate is good for your heart, haven’t you heard?! It supposedly also eases PMS, so hey, don’t mind if I do. All you health freaks can also dip your fruit in chocolate, too. Strawberries dipped in chocolate are easy to make, but you can always stop by your local Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a batch.

4. All it takes is a little bit of peanut butter.

Peanut butter is chocolate’s next best pairing after caramel. Rich, filled with protein and sugar, peanut butter and chocolate is more addictive than Tumblr. And I mean, come on. You can’t go wrong with a big old Reese’s cup.

5. Things can get nutty.

Need a little bit of crunch in your life? Well then you must love nuts. Almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, the choices are endless. You could go with a good old Hershey’s milk chocolate almond bar, but I can’t say no to a Snickers or some peanut M&Ms.

6. There are low-cal options, too!

I’m terrible. I know. I shouldn’t be writing about chocolate when like half of us (including myself) vowed to eat better this year. But I can’t help it! Chocolate is my thing, my vice, my kryptonite or whatever. However, you can make good choices when it comes to chocolate. Skinny Cow chocolates are delicious and half the calories. BOOM.

7. Chocolate sometimes has bacon in it.

I know the bacon trend is on its way out (bacon will be in my heart always…literally), but I can still appreciate a nice piece of chocolate that has a bold hint of bacon. Decadent, yes. Maybe a little too much, probably. But is it worth it? Absolutely. If you haven’t tried Chuao’s Maple Bacon bar yet, you should stop everything you are doing and order one now.

8. Spicy chocolate!

Obsessed with Sriracha? Well, you’re in luck. You can enjoy it in your chocolate now. Buy some here or to experience other flavors of spicy chocolate, try Chuao’s Maya Chocolate or their Maya hot chocolate. It’s sassy. It’s bold. It’s amazing.

9. Orange Kit Kats exist.

Introduced to me by my fiancee, I am now hooked for life. If you like Terry’s chocolate orange, you will love these. Orange Kit Kats (not to be mistaken with the Halloween Kit Kats) are hard to find (I’m pretty sure they’re made in the UK); lately I’ve been driving to my nearest World Market, but I know you can order them online if need be. Just image a regular Kit Kat but with rich milk chocolate blessed by subtle orange zest. So good.

10. Kinder chocolate is awesome (but sometimes illegal).

If you’ve never tried Kinder chocolate, then you are missing out on everything good. This stuff is incredible. Kinder is this milk chocolate that has a creamy center and sometimes comes in the form of Santa, a crunchy wafer bar, or a chocolate ball with toys in it (but I’m pretty sure those are illegal in the U.S., so just have your European friend smuggle them in for you, not that you heard that from me). You can find Kinder chocolates at World Market, Bed Bath and Beyond, or you can just order them here.

11. There is a lot of chocolate in brownies.

If I need a serious pick-me-up, I’ll make myself a batch of brownies and wash it down with milk (in my case, Soymilk). Brownies contain way more chocolate than cake and their texture (chewy, thick, perfect) is unbeatable. The best part is that all you need is a box of brownie mix, some eggs, and you’re golden.

12. You can drink it.

One of the best ways to keep warm is to drink a cup (or two) of hot chocolate, right? Okay and here’s the deal. We all know most packaged hot chocolates suck (except maybe Abuelita, but that comes in a brick). In order to get that really creamy hot chocolate, you need to either get Land o’ Lakes hot chocolate, or go to 7-11. Seriously. 7-11 hot chocolate is the bomb. Spruce your mug up with a cinnamon stick or whipped cream. Or both.

13. You’ll never know what you’ll get.

Have a Forrest Gump (I had to!) moment and buy yourself a box of See’s chocolates.

I know I’m not the only choco-fanatic, so what are some of your favorite chocolates?

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