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March 19, 2007

Review: Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids

A while back I got a package of all three varieties of Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids in the mail. In all of the mess of the past couple of months (work, rabbit, family, working on getting the new digs and all that goes along with that) I sort of neglected them. See, I’m not exactly a big Altoids fan. There is something to the texture that I just don’t much care for so I tend to stick to Ice Breakers for my mint fix and Caribou Coffee Hoof Mints for my cinnamon fix. Eventually I took them to work with me to share them around and see how they are. I ended up pretty surprised by them.

The three varieties are Peppermint, Cinnamon, and Ginger – three flavors that all pair well with chocolate. The packaging is a nice variant on the standard Altoids tin and is pretty well filled with mints. They all have a nice coating of chocolate on them that make them look a bit like Junior Mints, only smaller. And under the chocolate is your standard Altoid so you get a nice little hit of chocolate and a crunchy, curiously strong mint. The breakdown is as follows:

Peppermint: I’m not a big fan of Altoids by themselves. I crunch mints and the texture doesn’t do it for me. The taste I like fine. They aren’t all I’d like them to be but they’re pretty good. Until you dip them in chocolate. Then they become some sort of chocolate and mint equivalent of crack cocaine. These things are addictive. I’ve gone through two and a half tins of the Peppermint in the past two weeks and I’m probably buying another tomorrow. It has a good strong hit of mint and the entire thing balances out almost like a crunchy York Peppermint Pattie. I absolutely love them so I’m giving them an 8.5 out of 10.

Cinnamon: I love crazy hot cinnamon mints and these, while strong, aren’t the crazy strong cinnamon I usually go for. And in this case it’s probably a good thing. If it was a hotter cinnamon it might not go with the chocolate so well. And it does go with the chocolate very well. I don’t like it quite so much as the Peppermint, but I’m a true peppermint addict so you can read into that what you will. I’ll call these a nice 8 out of 10.

Ginger: I’m not going to finish the tin. I just ate my second to make sure that memory of the first I ate was accurate (sadly it was). The taste seems like there is something more to it than Ginger. There is Ginger there but there is also something else like orange peel and it was something I really didn’t expect or care for. There is still a good bit of Ginger to it and some heat at the end, but I just didn’t enjoy it. Just not digging it. Maybe it’s just me, but yuck. I can only offer this a 4 out of 10. Just…. yuck.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids scores two really good hits and one really painful miss. The Peppermint and Cinnamon varieties are both worth seeking out if you like this sort of thing. However, I can’t recommend the Ginger unless you already like Ginger Altoids.

Alternate Takes:
Candy Addict
Candy Blog

March 8, 2007

Make Mine Chocolate! Again!

Easter is fast approaching so it's about time for me to pull out the old soapbox and once more talk up a good cause (using the mighty copy and paste).




Make Mine Chocolate is a campaign organized by the House Rabbit Society against the giving of live rabbits as Easter gifts. People equate rabbits with Easter so what would be a more appropriate gift to give on Easter morning than a rabbit? It may fit the theme, but it really does an enormous amount of harm. People are often unprepared for the ten-year commitment of caring for a rabbit and the initial interest in a pet rabbit can dry up quickly. So, shortly after Easter, rabbits start to make their way from being Easter gifts to being unwanted and abandoned. Humane Societies and shelters see a huge influx of rabbits after Easter and it's not like they don't already have too many to handle. People adopt dogs and cats at an amazing rate compared to rabbits and rabbits come in right behind dogs and cats as the most abandoned animals to find their way into shelters. Right now there are more than twenty rabbits at the Capital Area Humane Society here in Columbus and many more in foster care.

The message of the Make Mine Chocolate campaign is that rather than dooming more rabbits to shelters (often leading to euthanasia) or abandonment in the wild (which is a death sentence) people should consider giving a traditional chocolate bunny for Easter instead. And if somebody absolutely has to buy a live rabbit as a gift then for goodness sake adopt one.

Give chocolate and save a life.

Make Mine Chocolate
House Rabbit Society Easter Message

March 6, 2007

Chocolate EVERYWHERE

So I'm in the process of going through my apartment and throwing out the items that I don't want and boxing up the items I do want in preparation for a planned move next month and I just can't get my mind around the amount of chocolate that I'm finding. EVERYWHERE. Because I consider a tiny amount to be a proper serving (a little chocolate goes a long way) I have a huge number of partially eaten chocolate bars all over the place. I had a bunch in a bag on my desk (for munching while on the computer), maybe ten in a drawer in the kitchen, another few in a bowl on the kitchen counter, and a couple just laying on the counter hiding under the chaos that ensues when preparing to move. I have nearly as many half-finished bars as I do whole bars!

And that's another problem. I have so many bars begging for my attention but I'm spending most of my spare time boxing up my life (and throwing away the bits that aren't worth moving). When I reach a stopping point I'll crash with a little chocolate that I have trouble enjoying because the rabbit, possessed of a sweet tooth even worse than mine, jumps in my lap to try and get a taste. God forbid I eat something sweet and not share, but I can't share the chocolate because it's bad for her. She has to settle for a raisin. But the end effect is that I get a bite or two of chocolate before I have to put it aside again. I'm just not getting my normal chocolate intake and it's making it hard to blog.

I do, however, have ample opportunity to savor a little chocolate while I'm at work. It isn't the best environment for reviewing chocolate since I don't have the luxury of sitting back and writing down my thoughts like I would at home, but it does allow me to get some chocolate in me and there is always a lot of chocolate out there to try. It's just more likely to be candy or what the grocery store near work tends to think of as quality chocolate. It may not be the best chocolate in the world but I do get to try new things like the Hershey's Cacao Reserve. It's not Valrhona, but it's certainly better than I used to expect from Hershey.

So things are likely to be slow around here for a bit, though I do have a few things in the works. It's also getting close to Easter and that means I have some holiday-related business to take care of.