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October 22, 2007

Back to Godiva

I'll admit I have mixed feelings about Godiva. Most of the problems I have with them are philosophical and stylistic and not worth going into. The thing is that no matter what problems I may have with them I always end up going back for more.

The first thing I love about Godiva is a biggie: free chocolate. I’m not a cheapskate or anything, but I do love getting something for nothing and Godiva are always there to supply me with a fix. Having signed up on both the website and in the store I get notices of free tastings and other in-store events and sales but more importantly I get coupons. Coupons for some serious free chocolate. This month I’ve had a coupon for three free pieces of their Chocoiste collection and another for either a can of cocoa, a box of biscuits, or a bag of coffee. Makin’ out like a bandit. And the best part of it all? It’s consistently good stuff. People can fault Godiva all they like (and believe me, I do), but they are very consistent and really pretty good. It may not be as good as your favorite chocolatier (nowhere near mine), but my favorite chocolatier isn’t in the mall. They have that convenience factor going for them. When I’m out shopping and I want a chocolate fix I know I can swing in for a marzipan heart or raspberry cordial and leave happy. Convenience, consistency, and quality. They may not be the best, but they’re solid all around.

So while I was out getting my free chocolate action going I decided to take the plunge and try their new Dark Chocolate Raspberry Chocolixir. So we have their standard dark chocolate blended icy beverage but with an added shot of raspberry syrupy stuff. It’s icy and chocolaty and not quite as sweet as I had expected, but really quite tasty. I’m not sure I dig the little grains of actual chocolate running around in it (gives it a grainy feeling beyond the normal grain of the ice), but it sure is tasty. I usually don’t hit things like this very fast, but I ended up with a solid brainfreeze while working on this one. Good stuff. Expensive, but good. I'll probably have another some time, but for now I'm looking forward to hot chocolate season. It's about time to get my cocoa on.

October 16, 2007

Review: Starbucks Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino

You know, I’m just not much of a coffee person. I like a cup on a cold morning now and then, but we’re talking a couple of times a year. I’ll take tea or juice over coffee any day and even over hot chocolate most days (I prefer to eat my chocolate). What I do occasionally enjoy are iced coffee drinks. On a hot day a nice icy coffee drink hits the spot like few other things. And if you like that kind of thing you eventually are forced to turn to Starbucks.

I’m not going to go on about the good or evil of Starbucks. This isn't the place for it. They’re everywhere and there are a lot of places where if you want a cold coffee drink of some sort they are your only option.

So they have these bottled Frappuccino drinks you can get pretty much everywhere. They’re essentially coffee, milk, sugar, and flavor (chocolate for preference) with a handful of other stuff along for the ride. And they’re not bad in a pinch. Well, they have a new limited edition for the winter season in the form of the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino.

So what’s new here? Well, they switch up the normal chocolate in your mocha for a little of the dark stuff and add some extra peppermint to the mix. Sounds tasty, right? Well, it is. It’s sweet and creamy and minty. The mint is a nice addition to the whole thing and of course chocolate is always a wonderful thing. There could be more chocolate, though. And I really am not getting any sort of dark chocolate vibe from it either. But it’s still pretty darn good.

So, while I’d prefer not to get a bottled coffee product at all this is a pretty good stuff. It’s not something I’ll drink every day, but when I need a quick fix it’s a good option. I’ll give it a 7.5 out of 10. It’s good. I wouldn’t go quite so far as great, but, as I said, I’m not a coffee person. It will take me quite a while to finish off the rest of the four-pack in my fridge.

Speaking of the fridge.... I looked all over creation for a single bottle of this that I could buy and it just wasn't happening. But every grocery store I've looked at had them in the four-pack. I really didn't want four of them, but sometimes sacrifices must be made in the name of chocolate.

October 8, 2007

Review: Lindt Excellence 85%

Every so often I’ll grab a bar of chocolate at the grocery store to snack on at work and usually I don’t think twice about it and just eat my way through it. Now and then, though, I end up eating something that surprises me. The most recent bar to do this was the Lindt Excellence 85% bar.

Now I have had Lindt before and usually not thought twice about it. This is probably because I tend to consider them one of those dependable chocolate you can just munch on and enjoy. That and I might sort of hold those Lindor Truffles against them (they're actually good - I just know what I want in a truffle and they just aren't quite it). Whatever the reason, I wasn’t really thinking about the bar as a possible review target. It was just something I was going to chase my lunch with.

After a couple of days of snacking on the bar, though, I found myself impressed and interested. The bar is expectedly strong. It is also somewhat simple. There is an earthy element to it and some hints of red fruit, but mainly it offers a pure chocolate flavor and lots of it. What really impresses is that for an 85% bar it has no bitterness at all (not like the other bar I’ve been eating lately which is really bitter) and is very smooth. I’ve found a lot of high percentage bars to be rough on the mouth and this isn’t like that. This is pure chocolate flavor, start to finish and there are no negatives to mar the experience.

So what’s the bottom line? It hits a strong chocolate flavor, isn’t bitter, and is really smooth. What’s not to like? It earns a solid 9 out of 10. I can find this bar in most of the big groceries in town and it kind of floors me that I never gave it a try before now.