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April 4, 2007

Mini-Review: Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream

After hitting over a dozen grocery stores I finally found two pints of the elusive Ben & Jerry's Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream ice cream (yay!). I've looked all over but wasn't finding it anywhere. I used the Ben & Jerry's Flavor Locator and maps generated by the Colbert Nation and still had no luck. I've been dying to try it since it was first announced in February but at long last I finally have my hands on (and spoon in) some.

Americone Dream is vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl all wrapped up in a lovely package with the highly amusing Mr. Colbert's face on the label. Oh, and all of Colbert's proceeds are going to charity! As I love ice cream, waffle cones, chocolate, and caramel it sounded like a natural fit for me. Like I do with most ice creams I left the fat-bomb on the counter to warm for a ten or fifteen minutes to soften and then popped the lid. First impression is that it is FULL of caramel and cone bits. This is a good thing. Second impression arrived via spoon and was equally as good as the first impression. Tasty tasty stuff. The caramel is soft and flowing and the waffle cone bits are plentiful and chocolaty and it's all quite tasty. The third impression came after another four or five bites and wasn't quite as good as the first two impressions. I like it a lot, but I do have one minor complaint. The waffle cone bits are a soft crunch. I'd like one more texture in there with a crunchier crunch like nuts of some sort. But that's just me and I'm picky like that. Heck, the nuts (or whatever) might have a detrimental effect on the flavor combination so I could be totally off base. Just seemed to me that it would be nice to have a more solid crunch.

So, what's the bottom line here? Well, I'm not going to give it a score. I don't generally review ice cream and this doesn't have a ton of chocolate going on in it so I'm going to just sort of generalize. If you like Ben & Jerry's ice cream (some don't - especially those who don't dig the superfat style of ice cream) and you like waffle cones and you like chocolate and you like caramel.... well it's hard to go wrong with this. It's darn good stuff if you happen to like this sort of thing.

April 3, 2007

M&M's Pirate Pearls ARE BACK!

Chocolate Obsession is pleased to announce...

Pirate Pearls are BACK!

While I was out looking for that darn ice cream I can't find I noticed something interesting on top of the big freezers. There was a line of boxes of M&M's - Pirate Pearls and LOTS of them. We're almost two months out from the release of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie but the tie-ins are showing up in stores already. Those of you who have been dying for a fix, well, the dry season is over. You might need to wait for the Easter candy to get out of the way, but you should be able to find them in stores again any time now.

Just thought y'all might like to know.

Hmmmm..... I should have looked to see if they changed the packaging any, but I was in a hurry to get home to the rabbit. She gets grumpy if she is forced to wait for her dinner.

Chocolate On The Move

All the madness of trying to pack up my universe for the impending move is starting to slow down. Most of my stuff is in boxes and ready to go. The biggest task left to go is the cleaning (ugh). This means that I have some time to spare for chocolate again.

Possibly the most fun out of the whole packing business has been finding random, half-eaten bars of chocolate and trying to figure out what they are. Some are pretty obvious from looking at the bar itself (which I've tried to avoid - it takes the fun out of guessing) and some I can only stare at blankly until I taste them and, hopefully, figure out just what it is I've got in front of me. Some bars are easier to guess than others because of their ingredients. Some have an unmistakable aroma (Sao Tome I can spot by taste and smell now). Some I really have to sit and taste and think about. They're the most fun for me. When I can only carefully consider the taste of the bar to determine what it is I really find myself challenged and I think it's a good learning experience. I'm getting to the point that I can spot a few regions by taste and I can at least narrow down to the producer of the chocolate in most cases pretty quickly. I may make an ongoing game out of this for myself (it almost already is one) and randomly bag and tag small pieces of chocolate (carefully adjusted to have no sign of the company logo or any trademark shape) and every so often just grab one and take a shot at guessing it. Right now I'm working off of memory and the bars themselves. Having an answer key to refer back to would be nice.

Beyond sneaking bites of random bars that I've found (everywhere) in the process of cleaning and packing I've mainly been looking for the Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream ice cream (with chocolate covered waffle cone bits in it! and caramel!) and snacking on whatever I find at the grocery store when I don't find the ice cream. It's really beginning to frustrate me. I've been to about a dozen stores looking for it and can't find it anyplace. I'm beginning to think that Columbus just isn't getting any (which is a distressing thought - I want to try this!). I've got a handful of stores left to try but the map at the no fact zone reports sightings at both Wal-Mart and Weiland’s here in town (I figure if the Wal-Mart in Grove City has had it then it's worth a shot to try the one up the road from me) so I've still got a shot. I'm going to hit one tomorrow and the other probably Thursday or Friday. After that I'm stuck with the unpleasant prospect of having to head for the nearest Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop (which is in Dayton, I think) to get a taste and if I'm going to go that far then I may as well just head for Cinci and hit Jungle Jim's and one of the B&J shops down there.

Beyond the ice cream the only things of note that I've eaten lately are a Hershey's Cacao Reserve Arriba (Ecuadorian single origin 50% cacao dark milk chocolate) and a Ghirardelli Intense Dark Mint Bliss (60% dark chocolate with, of course, mint). I'm pretty impressed with how far Hershey's has come in the past year. The ingredients list is very simple and straightforward and the chocolate is pretty nice. The most interesting thing about it (to me, at least) is that it is manufactured for Hershey's by a third party in Germany (one possibility comes immediately to mind). I'm half surprised that they outsourced and didn't outright buy another chocolate maker to take care of their new lines of chocolate. Hershey aside, the Ghirardelli was pretty ok. Not amazing, but they also went light on the mint. Kind of surprising to find subtle use of mint oil, but they did it. It's a decent snacking bar, but out of their Intense Dark line I prefer the Citrus Sunset (with orange bits and caramel crunch). It came from the regular grocery, though, and it's nice to find something better than the standard Hershey bar there.

Easter is this weekend! And that means Monday is SALE DAY! Not planning to buy much (since I'd just have to move it to the new place in a couple of weeks and I don't want to have to move anything else) but I'll probably nab a couple items here and there. Keep in mind that the best sales will start somewhere around Wednesday. What they can't move at 25% off they'll start to push at 50% off or more!

That's all I've got for now. I have a new Vosges Goji Berry bar that I'll probably review this week since I've been curious about goji berries for a while now. Then a little post Easter action is likely and then I'm moving. This will probably be a very slow month here at the blog, but I'll hopefully pick things back up once I'm all moved in.

In case I don't get the Vosges review up this week I'll take this opportunity to say "Happy Easter!" and to (once more) remind everybody that rabbits are not toys nor are they disposable. Give chocolate!