Kilwins, a national candy and ice cream franchise, is the newest addition to Evanston's treasure trove of good eats. I ventured in for the first time after a long Starbucks study session next door to find the perfect pick-me-up: chocolate and free samples. Walking in, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices. Fudge? Ice cream? Caramel apples? How can a chocolate lover ever be expected to choose? Hopefully, this guide will highlight some must-tries for your first (but definitely not last) stop in. 

Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Apple 

Zoe Dockser

Anyone walking into Kilwins is most likely a chocolate lover - which means that the milk chocolate sea salt caramel apple is a must try. This granny smith apple is covered in caramel, THEN covered in milk chocolate, THEN dusted with sea salt. Holding the colossal apple in my hand was reminiscent of taking the first bite out of a seemingly insurmountable cheeseburger. It was daunting and messy, but I crunched through. The apple was juicy, the caramel was gooey, and the chocolate was sweet and salty all at the same time. You really couldn't ask for anything more in a caramel apple

Maple Walnut Fudge

Zoe Dockser

This was definitely not the fudge I would have normally chosen (I'm usually all chocolate all the time), but my friend ordered this one and I'm so glad she did. The maple flavor with walnut pieces was a welcome change from a traditional, overly rich chocolate fudge, but it still satisfied my sweet tooth.

The Kilwins fudge counter is also a sample-seeker's heaven. The employees were incredibly friendly and instantly began offering samples of not just fudge, but also ice cream and chocolates when we walked in the door. I definitely did not follow the unspoken one-sample-per-person rule (I prescribe by a five-samples-per-person guide), but the best part was that the employees were happy to keep handing me samples. I left feeling like I'd gotten a taste of the whole store, despite only buying a few sweet treats. 

Mud Fudge

If Moose Tracks or Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream (which Kilwins also offers!) is your go-to, this is the fudge for you. It's a vanilla based fudge with chocolate chunks and Kilwins caramel mixed in.  Again, this fudge doesn't have the overwhelming cocoa taste that I've found in other fudges. Instead, it's a rich combination of flavors that balance each other out and even serves as the perfect replacement to traditional ice cream flavors on days when the temperature forbids frozen foods (#polarvortex2019). 

Milk Pecan Tuttle

Zoe Dockser

Prized as their top selling chocolate, this is obviously a must try when visiting Kilwins. It's a beautiful mix of pecans, caramel and milk chocolate all rolled up into one delicious dessert. The caramel provides an ooey-gooey factor, while the pecans add a nice crunch. Then the chocolate coating combined with the crunch pecans make it the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

I left Kilwins with a full stomach, but also an aching curiosity for the difference between a tuttle and a turtle. I'd heard of chocolate turtles but never a chocolate tuttle. Upon doing some light internet research, I have yet to conclude any discernible difference between the two. However, Kilwins' chocolate tuttle does add to the shop's nostalgic Americana setting it aims for. 

Kilwins Original Ice Cream 

Zoe Dockser

No sugary endeavor would be complete without ice cream - even if it is 15 degrees outside. Kilwins comes fully stocked with an arsenal of original, homemade ice cream flavors, from classics like mint chocolate chip or dulce de leche to uber originals like chocolate caramel cashew or banana fudge pie. One of the best parts of my Kilwins experience was that I didn't have to choose just one ice cream flavor. Instead, I could pretend to be a 7-year-old kid with no parental supervision, happily sampling the trove of ice cream flavors nestled in the back corner of Kilwins. 

There really is nothing that a little chocolate can't fix. Especially if its sweet, salty, crunchy, and ooey-gooey all at the same time. So whether it's a post-study session pick me up or a remedy to your seasonal depression, a stop in Kilwins will leave you with a full heart and a full stomach.