for the love of chocolate

Your password for chocolate? April 19, 2008

Filed under: news — cacaobug @ 12:45 pm
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Another brick in the wall
Would you tell a stranger your password for a bar of chocolate? In a recent survey, 21% of passersby in a London subway station did just that—they told researchers their computer password in exchange for a bar of chocolate. The previous year it was a whopping 64% who gave up their passwords. What I’d like to know is just what kind of chocolate are they offering these people?

Thanks to Princesse Chocolat for posting the photo at right to flickr.

(Source: Scientific American’s News Bytes of the Week)


Mint Crisp M&M’s April 14, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 10:05 pm
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Mint Crisp M&M's

This must be my lucky day! Right on the heels of my cherry M&M’s find, I discover mint crisp M&M’s in the frozen foods section of my local grocery store. Why they chose that particular aisle to feature these limited edition M&M’s is beyond me, but I’m glad they did, because I wasn’t actually shopping for candy today. (On second thought, maybe the frozen foods section isn’t so crazy after all?)

This time I simply couldn’t wait until after dinner to try my bounty. Upon arriving home, I eagerly tore into the medium-sized bag. Of course, I read Sera’s review earlier today so I had an idea of what to expect, but my experience with the cherry M&M’s left me feeling a tad trepidatious. Fortunately, my worries turned out to be unfounded, as the mint crisp M&M’s are a solid contender in the novelty M&M’s candy category.

At first the mint flavor seems a bit strong, but after several M&M’s it mellows out. In fact, the mint adds an interesting dimension to the semisweet M&M chocolate. Reading the ingredients, I note that, unlike the cherry M&M’s, the flavoring in these M&M’s is natural, not artificial. Happily, the crisped rice adds the perfect amount of crunch (see cross section here) to the already crunchy M&M shells.

My only complaint is with the irregular sizes. The mint crisp M&M’s range from tiny (as in quite a bit smaller than normal M&M’s) to large (as in peanut butter M&M size). The large ones have the perfect ratio of crisped rice to chocolate, while the small ones, in contrast, seem ill proportioned and lacking in substance.

Overall, the mint crisp M&M’s are a winner! If you like M&M’s and enjoy the taste of mint and chocolate, I think you’re going to love these.


Wildly Cherry M&M’s April 10, 2008

Filed under: chocolate candy — cacaobug @ 7:58 pm
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Wildly Cherry M&M's Package by princess_of_llyr on flickrI’ve been desperate to try the limited edition Wildly Cherry M&M’s ever since I read about them in Sera’s review on Candy Addict. After months’ of looking (I kid you not), I found them today at my local Walgreens. And on sale at that!

After dinner, I giddily tore into the medium-sized bag. Pouring the M&M’s into a bowl, I detected a faint cherry aroma. These M&M’s are a bit more rotund than the ordinary variety, but otherwise they’re similarly sized. They come in two colors: deep red (like a very ripe Bing cherry) and light red (like a—you guessed it—less ripe Bing cherry). Honestly, they’re pretty to look at!

So how do they taste? Well, let me start by saying I’m not a huge fan of cherry-flavored candy. The overuse of artificial cherry flavoring in children’s medicines pretty much soured me on cherry flavoring at a young age. I do enjoy the taste of maraschino cherries, though, and Sera really seemed to like these M&M’s, so I was determined to give them a fair shot.

On my first M&M, the cherry flavor made its presence known. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was distinct. In fact, the chocolate of the M&M reminded me of the flavored chocolate of a Frango mint. A handful of M&M’s later I’m still tasting cherry, only now the novelty is starting to wear off. I decide to stop for a minute and that’s when it hits me—the artificial cherry aftertaste. Oh, dear. Memories of cough syrup start rushing back and I quickly reach for a strong dark chocolate to clear the taste.

I really do like the way they look, though. Perhaps I’ll keep them in a glass bowl on my desk. Then I can appreciate the colors while I share them with my colleagues.

Thanks to princess_of_llyr for posting the above photo to flickr!


The Chocolate Gallery April 6, 2008

Chocolate CaramelsHave you heard of The Chocolate Gallery? It’s a small chocolatier in Goleta, Calif. Apparently they’re best known for their novelty chocolates—personalized chocolate telegrams, gold foiled coins, chocolate molded into various sizes and shapes, from dinosaurs to computer accessories. They also make more traditional chocolates, however, and it was these that I recently had the pleasure of sampling.

I started with a pair of dark and milk chocolate chews. Although I’m not generally a fan of caramel, I have to admit I was impressed. The centers were neither too salty nor too sweet, and they perfectly complemented the rich, smooth, creamy milk and dark chocolate exteriors.

Next up were the meltaways and truffles. Not unexpectedly, the exteriors were similar to those of the chews. A surprise was waiting inside, though! Instead of a simple texture, the interiors were simultaneously smooth and granular. Or alternately smooth and granular? It’s difficult to describe, but it created a most interesting mouthfeel. And bonus—the truffles were enormous!  [UPDATE: not all of the meltaways/truffles had this unique texture.  Perhaps it’s limited to certain flavors?]

Chocolates from The Chocolate Gallery can be purchased in-store or ordered via the web or phone. I recommend using the first page of their web site to navigate the categories of their online catalog, as the myriad of product listings can be overwhelming.