Attention Chocolate Addicts: Kisses Deluxe Fulfills All Your Sweet, Gluten-Free Fantasies

Hershey Kisses are the classic candy — simple, tasty, and wrapped in that lovely, shiny foil. The company has now outdone itself with a new Deluxe candy, which is double the size of the original and comes wrapped in decadent gold foil.

Get ready to pack on some winter weight.

Hershey Company announced the Kisses Deluxe on Tuesday, and its description is utterly mouth-watering. The Huffington Post aptly called it a “one big, juicy makeout session”: a roasted hazelnut in the center, creamy ganache swathed lovingly over that, and all coated in the familiar Hershey’s chocolate shell, this time spotted with crunchy rice crisps.

If that sounds pretty fancy, it’s meant to be. Kisses Deluxe is being hailed as a major innovation for Hershey, which only recently began to make its cute little chocolates a bit more interesting, Hershey Kisses’ senior associated manager Adam Borden told USA Today.

“It took 55 years just to change the color of the foil. Then it took another 38 years to put something inside the milk chocolate. We’re getting better, but it does take us a little while to tinker with something that is iconic as a brand Milton Hershey founded himself.”

This is the biggest leap the company has made since Kisses with almonds 25 years ago and marks the first time they’ve increased the candy’s size. But the confectioners have branched out from their original plain chocolate before, the New York Daily News noted. Previously, there have been pumpkin spice, caramel apple, caramel-filled, cookies and cream, candy cane, mint truffle, and vanilla crème, among others.

The company tested out Kisses Deluxe in China two years ago, where customers prefer their chocolate less sweet and creamy. They loved the hazelnut-filled jumbo Kisses, too — to the tune of $100 million in sales. Hershey’s swapped out wheat crisps in the Chinese version for rice — making the Deluxe gluten-free — and now the confection will be available in the U.S.

It’s tastiness aside, Kisses Deluxe pushes Hershey’s into the premium chocolate market, an arena that has proven pretty profitable for other companies. They earned $7.4 billion in sales last year, but premium chocolate makes up 8 percent of all chocolate sales.

Luckily, Kisses Deluxe won’t have a hefty price tag to match, making it even more dangerous to chocoholics.

“Our focus around this was not to come up with something that wasn’t available to a broad range of gift givers,” Borden said. “We really decided we wanted to focus on different price points and different sizes that encompass the different ranges people were looking for. But not make it so luxurious that it was really out of reach for most consumers.”

Kisses Deluxe is being marketed as a fancier holiday gift and is available starting November 5 and running through Valentine’s Day. You can get a three- or four-piece bag for a buck or $1.25, respectively. A gift-size of 15 is barely $4; 35 of them will set you back $10.00, and 75 Kisses Deluxe in a jewelry box costs $32. That option is only available online.

Kisses Deluxe will be in grocery stores, drugs stores, and, of course, Amazon. After they disappear from shelves after Valentine’s Day, they’ll be back next holiday season.

So what’s the verdict on the taste? The Huffington Post wasn’t terribly impressed. After noting the gold foil isn’t edible, Kisses Deluxe was compared to the apparently superior — but quite delicious — Ferrero Rocher. But the taste tester complained about the giant Kiss’ lack of a chocolate core and disappointing creamy center.

Guess you’ll just have to buy 75 of them and see for yourself.

[Photo Courtesy Rick Sause Photography / Shutterstock]