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!