Well. It seems that I've started eating chocolate again. Not sure what flipped the switch, but I've tried a half dozen different things these last two weeks and it's nice.
The first thing I have to address is that the Coconut M&M's that I love so much have finally found their way to stores in Columbus (at least the stores I go to). Even better than their general availability is that they are every bit as good as I remember them being. Very lovely. I even got some more people to try them and they were very positive about them as well. I'm not sure how many bags I'm going to stockpile, but given it's Limited Edition nature I think I had better get some to slowly devour over an extended period of time. I'm digging these way more than I was digging the Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's back in their Limited Edition days (I remember them as much better than they seem to be when I eat them now - so sad) so I want to make sure I have some to hold onto until they wise up and release these as a normal product (fingers crossed and all that).
But that's not the only thing I've run across in the stores lately, oh no. I found Dark Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! I've been eager to get a big fat batch of them to try and was pleased to grab a bag at the store today when I was picking up my lunch. The short version is that there is something there that reminds me of something else and I don't know what. Until I get that weird deja vu taken care of I'm not in love. I really do love the original because I like the balance between the chocolate and the grainy peanut butter (not too sweet - the magic trick to working with peanut butter and chocolate). The peanut butter is the same, of course, but the chocolate is ringing a bell somewhere in my mind and as it's really cluttered in there it sometimes takes a bit to zero in on things.
I've been getting a little chocolate action with my beer lately, as well. I've decided that my favorite style of beer is the Impreial Stout and it's one of those styles of beer that have some lovely stray flavors going on. They quite often have a nice bit of chocolate and coffee as part of the natural flavor makeup and a number of them go that extra step and slip a little (or a lot) of chocolate into the mix. There have been a great number of chocolate stouts released in the past year and I've been enjoying the heck out of them. As one who loves stouts in the first place adding some extra chocolate to the mix just makes me a ridiculously happy camper. My most recent chocolate beer was a Chocolate Cherry Porter that they were serving up this past Friday at Barley's Smokehouse, my local favorite for beer and one of my top picks for BBQ as well. They gain bonus points in my book for recently having had Southern Tier Mokah on tap (so good).
What else? I know I've been eating chocolate like it's going out of style. Oh, yes. Amano. I was lucky enough to have a box of chocolaty love show up on my porch with a nice mix of the Limited Edition (oh, dear, am I going to capitalize that phrase all the time?) Montanya bar and a pair of milk chocolate bars of the Jembrana and Ocumare varieties. I've only taken one hit of the Montanya so far and I don't remember what my impressions were, but the milk chocolate bars? Well, I generally avoid milk chocolate because I've been exposed to so much bad milk chocolate, but this, I must say, is not in that category. These are some fabulously tasty bars. I've yet to sit down and think about them overly much, I've really just been happily chewing away at them. They are some darn fine stuff and a great addition to their line of bars. If they don't disappear before I manage to actually collect my thoughts on them I will try to do a review.
I've also been snacking a little on my Amedei stash. So far I'm prepared to state that I love all of the goodies I've got (Toscano Black, 9, and Porcelana). Beyond that I've got to say that while Porcelana is really exceptional and everything, but I prefer 9 to it and to their Chuao as well. Of course between the three you really are dealing with some of the best bars of chocolate in the world so it's all just degrees of awesome. I would like to do a review, but I want to do a full roundup of the three big dogs and I only have two right now so that will have to wait.
And speaking of awesome world-class chocolate I've been gnawing away at a couple of bars from Michel Cluizel. I may not be able to go to the amazing little store they had in New York any more (and my soul cries in agony at the loss), but I can still enjoy a bar of their chocolate. The bars I've been snacking on are the Hacienda Los Ancones and Vila Gracienda and they are both really excellent. I'm particularly in love with the Los Ancones. With the way I'm eating them (irresponsibly given the cost - they ain't cheap) I figure I should probably post a review at some point.
So that's what's going on in my little world o' chocolate. I'm eating chocolate again and am enjoying a nice variety of stuff ranging from candy to the finest bars of chocolate in the world. I'm still working on my thoughts on chocolate and wine and once I have that put together I want to take a look at what's going on in the chocolate world (like that low calorie non-melting Vulcano that Callebaut has in the works). And I hope to throw a review or three up as I go.