This Is Your State's Favorite Valentine's Day Candy

Love it for its sweet celebration of love or hate it for its sickly corporate shell, Valentine's Day isn't going anywhere. But when it comes to the most important part of the day — sweets — have you ever thought everyone around you liked trash candy? Or are they onto something you might just adopt for your own Valentine's Day treat? Candy preferences by state on V-day just might be as divisive as the holiday itself.

Take a trip down memory lane. Maybe your Valentine's cards in grade school were stuck to one Hershey's kiss after another, while on the other side of the country, someone was flush with conversation hearts. People living in different regions of the US have distinct preferences for types and brands of V-day treats. And regional preferences for certain brands are strong: according to an article from the American Economic Review, "past experiences are an important driver of current consumption," but "consumers who move after age 25 still eventually converge to the consumption patterns of their new state of residence."

The map of Valentine's Day treats by state

So decided to estimate, based on Google Trends, which treat was the most popular on Valentine's Day in which state. Heavy hitters like chocolate-covered strawberries and M&M's seemed to be clustered by region to some extent — strawberries to the East, and M&M's to the West — but other choices, like chocolate roses and Hershey's kisses, were spread out. Chocolate truffles, for example, were favored by Montana, as well as Louisiana, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Fancy!

One interesting outlier was California, the most populous US state, where people apparently bestow candy necklaces on their special someones — and only in California. We didn't even know that was a thing, Cali folk! Now, some people love those pastel conversation hearts ("be true," "call me," "be mine," etc.), but for a whole state to choose this chalky confection over sweet, rich chocolate? That's the case in Maine, North Dakota, Michigan, and Iowa — truly, you've astounded us. Meanwhile, only three states landed on the classic and romantic box of chocolates. Idaho, Kansas, and South Carolina: you're the real MVPs of Valentine's Day.