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May 18, 2008

Quick Hits: Vosges Calindia

Well. Tonight I'm tackling the Calindia Bar from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. The bar features Indian green cardamom, walnuts, and dried plums in 65% cacao dark chocolate. I hate when situations like this arise. Exotic spices and my life have rarely crossed paths. I had to pull up the Wikipedia entry for cardamom because I just had no clue. It was some exotic spice. I'd heard of it. I can't say I've never eaten anything containing cardamom. I just wouldn't have known if I had. So I had a little lack of background when it came to this bar. Just so you know that I'm coming at this from a totally left field place of total ignorance.

Ignorant or not I can still cough up an opinion of the thing. And my opinion is that it's tasty. I guess cardamom is kind of like ginger (which, apparently, it is related to) and nice. And there are walnut bits and chewy little plum bits. And chocolate, of course. I suppose that kind of goes without saying. But the combination of these elements is a good thing. It's got a nice zing to it from the cardamom and the walnuts and plums make for a nice change in texture and flavor. Very tasty. I like it. Yeah, I know, I don't have a lot intelligent to say here. That's why this isn't a full-blown review. 8.75 out of 10. Yummy!

May 17, 2008

Review: Snickers Adventure Bar

I never really know quite what to do when it comes time to review something that I dislike. It doesn't happen a lot. I'm disappointed and unimpressed on a regular basis, but for me to try something chocolate and just plain dislike it is rare. It always takes me by surprise and the reaction I have in real life is far from what I feel I can allow myself to post. If it isn't offensive then it generally channels something from one of my terrible and oft geeky loves. This reaction did amuse me, though. I can sum up my impression of the bar just as I did the first time: "Wicked nasty Snickers!" I'm not saying it's awful, I just don't want it in my mouth again. Ever.

So what is this bar to offend my delicate palate so? Simply put, it's a Snickers bar with some coconut flavor and supposedly some exotic spice. It's a limited edition affair put together as a tie in for the upcoming new Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The bar looks normal enough, but I could smell a whiff of coconut about it as soon as I cracked the wrap. The coconut took a moment or two to actually show up in the taste, though. And those exotic spices? I'm still waiting for them to show up and it's been a few days since I washed the taste of this thing out of my mouth.

So what's my problem with it? It's just a Snickers with a little coconut flavor along for the ride. What could be wrong with that? Well, call me an insane purist, but to me EVERYTHING is wrong with the concept. I do not want coconut in my Snickers. It has no place there thank you ever so much. I like chocolate and coconut together and even chocolate, caramel, and coconut together (as in those evil Samoa cookies the Girl Scouts are trying to kill me with), but I just can't reconcile nougat and coconut. It feels wrong. Taste-wise it isn't terrible or anything, it just isn't my bag. I like normal Snickers and the coconut, to me, ruins a good thing. I can't say it's bad, it just isn't an improvement or even as good as the normal one. It's a moderately interesting variant, but it does nothing for me.

So, falling back on the concept that this entire blog is a work of opinion, I present the score as I see it - how it rates on my personal scale. I consider a normal Snickers to be a good 7.5 out of 10. This isn't as good. I'm calling it a 5 out of 10. That's not to say that you won't like it. If you like the idea of coconut in your Snickers then it's a good bet you'll like it. Me, I'm just not liking it and am going to give away my remaining bar.

Tomorrow I'm going to discuss the Vosges Calindia bar in all it's cardamomiful glory (it's like a cardamomarama). After that I'm going to discuss my irrational love for the Starbucks Chocolate Chocolate And Tea Tasting Squares. Then maybe I'll hae some sort of coherent thoughts on the subject of beer and chocolate as opposed to just a couple of pairing that I like.

G'night!

May 10, 2008

Quick Hits: Mint Crisp M&M's

Hey, I finally found some of the Mint Crisp M&M's action (more candy - real chocolate will be posted this week - I promise)! Packaging feels kind of busy with a background of some ruins and the logo and Green and Indy. For those who haven't had a chance to try them yet what you have is a batch of slightly larger than normal green and white M&M's with a single big rice crisp in the middle of each. Oh, and they're minty (like you couldn't guess). They have a nice minty aroma lurking about them and a nice mint flavor. There isn't a ton to say about them beyond they're being crispedy crunchedy M&M's with a nice hit of mint. Not mint like the York Sensation or anything, but a nice quality mintiness. My only gripe is that the chocolate is kind of backseat on this ride and when you go to the effort of trying to notice it it just doesn't seem all that remarkable. Still, not bad. And overall they're a nice snackedy snack kind of deal so I'm giving some decently high marks. Solid 8 out of 10. Tasty.

Coming up: More Indiana Jones promo limited edition chocolate! And then a little cardamom (and I'm having a tiny bit of trouble coming up with a good adjective to describe having the flavor or aroma of cardamom - cardamommy don't work - caramomacious? cardamomiful?).

May 5, 2008

Quick Hits: Starbucks Vanilla Bean Truffles

Ok, I'm taking a new tack on things. The mini-reviews that I have done in the past are now being sort of formalized into a regular sort of thing. It's not necessarily that I feel a product isn't worth a full review. Sometimes it might be, but sometimes I might just not have a lot to say about something. Or I might just be feeling lazy (most likely). Anyway, the idea is this: don't read too much into me giving something a Quick Hit as opposed to a full-blown review.

First of the quick hits is the first piece of the Starbucks Chocolate collection that I've sampled, their Vanilla Bean Truffles. The description from the label reads as follows:

Sweet and dreamy vanilla from Madagascar meets exquisite dark chocolate in a lovely pairing
Sounds like a winner. Packaging is a foldy cardboard affair made from at least 35% post-consumer waste (nice) and the individual truffles are wrapped in little wraps so you can have as few or many as you like.. A quick check on the label reveals that there is real vanilla in it, not just vanillin. And when you bite into one of them you will see loads of lovely vanilla bean specks running around in it. Taste wise the chocolate is not super intense, but is nice and pairs well with the vanilla. The "ganache" is white and there is no white chocolate along for the ride so I'm guessing that the palm oil listed in the ingredients plays it's role here. But it tastes good. Tasty, convenient, and not over-expensive. Seems we have a good start for my experience with the Starbucks line. 8.0 out of 10 is what I'm calling it and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the collection has to offer.