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January 20, 2007

Comfort Chocolate and a Mini-Review

I always feel guilty when I ignore the blog for a few days, but this time I have a more valid excuse than usual. I’ve managed to pick up my annual winter cold and when I’m sick I just don’t really eat a lot of chocolate. It just isn’t on my list of comfort foods. And the more I think about it (and I’ve been thinking about it a lot the past couple of days as I’ve been dealing with this stupid cold) the more I’m sure that I couldn’t fit anything but chocolate confections or candy on the list. My sense of smell is poor at best and right now it’s non-existent. Over the past year I’ve come to expect more from chocolate and I don’t think that I could really appreciate good chocolate right now with my sense of smell more impaired than usual. A brownie or a chocolate chip cookie (fresh and hot – mmmm…. I think I need to bake) I could work with but really good chocolate would be totally lost on me right now. It’s kind of sad that as important as chocolate is to my daily life I can’t seem to fit it in while I’m sick. The only chocolate I’ve had since the cold set in has been some Mint Dark Chocolate Kit Kat Minis. Which brings me to a mini-review! One without a picture. Sorry about that.

Mint Dark Chocolate Kit Kat Minis
It’s interesting; Kit Kat is apparently spelled with a space in the US and without a space in the UK. This is based entirely on observation of the US and UK Kit Kat sites. I just noticed when I was trying to figure out whether I should stick a space in there or not. Anyway, on to the candy. These are cute! I haven’t tried any Mini Kit Kats before but I like the size of them. It’s a good two-bite snack size. The wrappers aren’t anything terribly special or anything, but it’s what’s inside that counts. The actual Kit Kat is, of course, darker than the standard milk chocolate variety and it has a nice minty smell to it. With the minty aroma I was worried these would be overly minty (or worse; overly sweet!) but while it is fairly strong it isn’t too strong (or too sweet!). The mint chocolate on the outside is nice and plentiful but kind of distracts from the cookie a little, though not enough to make me dislike it. I still prefer the original – it is one of my perennial faves – but this is a very good limited edition. I’ll score it a 7.75 out of 10. This may be a bit hard to find now (I waited until the holiday clearance and paid a whopping 75¢ for a bag) but if you hit the bargain stores you might find some being closed out.

January 14, 2007

Sealed With A Kiss

HersheysKissesStamp.jpgThe US Postal Service has announced their new Love stamp, the 23rd in the series. Normally this wouldn't be worthy of mention around here, but this year is different. This year they are commemorating the 100th anniversary of Hershey's Kisses with an extra special Love and Kisses stamp! Neat! I love to have special stamps as opposed to the generic ones and these are great and, of course, have chocolate on them! If you still use stamps then these are a very cool option.

Press Release

January 9, 2007

Review: Bubble Chocolate

Bubble ChocolateOne of the great things about the chocolate market right now is that there is a lot of new and interesting product finding it’s way onto store shelves. One of those products is Bubble Chocolate, an new line of aerated chocolate bars which helps to catch us in the US up with our friends in other parts of the world. They’ve had Aero for a long time but we in the States were left without aerated chocolate until now (at least I haven't found any). Bubble chocolate is bringing us the aerated love in three varieties: Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and Coffee Milk Chocolate. Tonight I’m going to tear into some samples I got in the mail and see just how they stack up.

Aerated Chocolate
So just what is the deal here? The simplest way I can think of to describe aerated chocolate is to say that it’s bubbly. You take a mass of tiny chocolate bubbles and somehow make them into a bar (and oh, how I would LOVE to see how they do it – I love seeing how things are made and this just has me curious). It’s sort of like pumice. Full of tiny little holes. As such it has a really interesting texture to it. It sort of collapses under your teeth and on your tongue. It’s quite nice.

Dark Chocolate

Once glance inside the wrapper and it’s clear that this is, indeed, dark chocolate. It’s a pretty dark chocolate color and smells nice. Flavor-wise it isn’t terribly complex. It is light and sweet for a dark chocolate with a light bright note to it but what really stands out is how creamy it is for a dark chocolate (Cybele noticed the same thing so I’m not imagining things here). Given its sweetness and the fact that it isn’t overly bitter or sour it is a very accessible dark chocolate and in spite of my tending away from those sorts of things I found myself really enjoying it. It’s a solid 8.25 out of 10 as far as I’m concerned.

Milk Chocolate

As one might expect this one is a fair bit sweeter than the dark chocolate bar and has a safely non-sour, milk chocolate flavor. It’s quite creamy and extremely smooth. I snuck a bite of an Aero for comparison and I think I like this better. As far as milk chocolate goes I like this a lot and, of course, it has the whole texture thing going for it. I’ll call it an 8 out of 10 and something I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at in the future.

Coffee Milk Chocolate
Now I have a love/hate relationship with coffee chocolates. They all sound so good to me but a lot of them are just too strong for me (which is strange since I adore chocolate covered espresso beans). This, however, is just right for me. The aroma is light, but all coffee. Taste-wise it has a really nice balance between a reasonably sweet and creamy milk chocolate and a nice mellow coffee and the combination is really nice. Very yummy stuff worth a nice 8.25 out of 10.

So what we have is a product that has not only a nice gimmick but some good chocolate as well. Bubble Chocolate is available nationwide, though I can say I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a store. Anyway, it’s a neat texture and the chocolate is tasty stuff and it’s cheap to boot so if you run into it it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.

Cybele at Candy Blog Reviewed these back in July and you can read her review here.

January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

It’s funny. As excited as I get at the prospect of the post-holiday sales it took me until Saturday to finally get out and start looking for some bargains. I didn’t end up buying much. I got a bag of Mint Dark Chocolate Kit Kat Minis, a bag of Reese’s Miniatures (guilty pleasure of mine), and a half dozen Russell Stover Marshmallow Caramel Santas (which are wonderful in spite of bearing little semblance to Santa - apparently the non-caramel ones look more like Santa but these are barely recognizable as human). And that’s it. The only other chocolate I picked up this past week was a tin of the York Mints that I ran into at a gas station while out hunting for Amish furniture. They’re pretty good though I find them a little less minty that I would like (I’m an Ice Breakers addict so I like my mints really really minty).

But the biggest thing I found while out shopping this week was a cache of M&M’s Pirate Pearls! Three big bags of them, which, sadly, is all I’ve seen for months. There seemed to be no push to coincide with the release of the Pirates DVD and no matter where I looked I was unable to find even a little tiny bag. The ones I ran into this week were at a Drug Mart (Sawmill Rd up near Powell in case anybody in the Columbus area is looking). I’m thinking that drug stores, closeout stores, and the internet (hit up Amazon, Yahoo Shopping, and froogle) are probably the best bets for finding them now. I wish I had good news, but I’ve been looking for weeks and haven’t had a bit of luck until now.

Aside from all of that I’m trying to resurrect my recipe for raspberry truffles. I wrote down some notes when I made them the first time, but I can’t believe the notes I wrote are even close to correct. They call for a whole stick of butter, which I find very hard to believe. Anyway, these were some dangerous truffles. I wanted to get back to the base recipe I once had and share it with everybody, but I’m kind of starting from square one again. So, if I ever get it back to a point where I consider it acceptable I’ll be posting it. In the meantime I have a few items that I need to talk about.

Anyway, Happy New Year all!