Favorite Thing Friday: International Chocolate Day

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In honor of International Chocolate Day, it’s only fitting to show some love for chocolate. I consider chocolate a food group as my muse cannot function without the nourishment of milky chocolate decadence.  There’s a stash in my desk at work, in a bowl on the kitchen counter, in a basket in the pantry, and a few other hidden locations (so my husband can’t find it). I never know when my muse needs a kickstart, so better to be prepared than caught empty-handed!

My favorite chocolate candies tend be of the plainer variety, because I don’t like a lot of interference with my chocolate. However, peanut butter is the one exception to that rule. There’s nothing quite as tasty as creamy peanut butter and smooth milk chocolate. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Before my drooling gets out of control, here’s my list of Top Ten favorite chocolate candies:

10. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar

No muss. No fuss. Just plain chocolate at it’s best.

9 . Kit-Kat (full size and bites)

For a lighter dose of chocolate this candy bar is perfect. Plus, it’s fun to break it apart!

8. Cadbury Double Decker

I first experienced this mammoth of a candy bar while in London. The bottom is lined with biscuit pieces which serve as the anchor for a thick layer of chewy, creamy nougat.  Then, a nice layer of chocolate holds it all together. Yummy on (literally) so many levels.

7. Dove Promises Silky Smooth Caramel Milk Chocolate

The name says it all. These little pieces of chocolate covered liquid caramel melt in your mouth. And who doesn’t love the quotes inside the wrappers??  Yesterday, I got one that read: Love fearlessly.  Now, those are words to live by!

6. Hershey Nuggets – Almond and English Toffee

This is one of the rare occurrences where I like nuts mixed into my chocolate. The almond, toffee, and chocolate work together to make the perfect salty/sweet snack.

5. Godiva chocolate truffle

It’s Godiva. Enough said.

4. Cadbury Dairy Milk

Another U.K. delight, Cadbury Dairy Milk has a different texture from U.S. chocolate. Instead of a silky smooth finish, it’s thick and takes longer to melt. The taste, however, is absolutely fantastic. There’s nothing like it!

3. Hershey’s Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Eggs

These tasty eggs only come out at Easter. I inhale them until they pull them off the shelves. They are like giant M&Ms with a perfect chocolate/candy shell ratio.

2. Mint M&Ms (Holiday Version)

When I’m not inhaling chocolate eggs, I’m eating too many mint M&Ms.  The milk chocolate variety of Mint M&Ms only comes out at Christmas, which means I load up on large bags so I snack on them all year long.

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Hands down, my favorite candy. I love all varieties of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, from the teeny tiny to the Big Cup. There’s something special about the flavor of the peanut butter and the perfect amount of chocolate. Best. Candy. Ever.

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What’s your favorite chocolate or candy? (or snack?)

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c.b.w. 2013

Minty M&M Plea

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Every holiday season, I look forward to the limited release of mint M&Ms. Aside from Reese’s peanut butter cups these minty delights are my favorite candy.  Or at least they were until a few years ago.  Initially, the mint variety was the same size as the standard plain chocolate M&M.  When Mars, Inc started to play around with different flavors, they also introduced a new larger size.  I’m usually the first in line for larger chunks of chocolate, but not when it comes to M&Ms. There’s a little something I refer to as the candy shell-flavor-chocolate ratio.  If one element of this equation is off, the whole piece of candy is ruined. Perhaps, I am being too picky and technical, but I take my chocolate pretty seriously.

In the case of mint M&Ms, the new larger size totally throws off the overall aesthetic and taste.  Part of the problem is how each piece of candy is different from the rest.  Some are large and lumpy and others are smaller and round.  This is what screws up the aforementioned ratio.  In a regular bag of M&Ms, every piece is exactly the same size (with exception to a rare anomaly) and I can always count on each one tasting just like the rest.

The small standard size M&M. Every piece is the same size and tastes like all the rest.

In a minty bag, I never know what I’m going to get.  The large, lumpy pieces have too much mint flavoring and a thicker candy shell that detracts from the chocolate.  On top of that, the candy shell sometimes has a weird aftertaste.  The small, round pieces vary between achieving the perfect taste ratio, but more often than not they lack a strong enough sense of mint.

The larger minty M&Ms. No two are exactly alike in size or taste.

I miss the standard size mint M&M.  Every piece was beautifully proportioned to the candy shell-flavor-chocolate ratio.  I can deal with new color introductions and the constant addition of new flavors (i.e. pretzel, coconut, cinnamon*), but please stop messing with the ratio!  I understand that some flavors require a larger size to accommodate flavor fillings, however this does not apply to mint. Mars, Inc., I beg of you please, oh please, return Mint M&Ms to the original size!

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*This was not a good idea.  Yuck.

c.b. 2011

The Junk Food Tourist

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When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is sample the local junk food.  I’m not talking about fine pastry cafes or bakeries, even though they are worth a visit.  What I’m after is the convenience store, grocery store check-out impulse buy food, i.e. candy bars, chips, snacks, etc.  Pretty much anything in a plastic wrapper!  Granted, this habit does not bode well for my waistline, but my sweet tooth always goes home happy!

During my recent trip to London, I kept with my tradition and sampled everything from candy to teacakes.  Being the dork I am, I saved some of the wrappers as souvenirs to safeguard my fond snacking memories.  Beneath each photograph, I’ll get into the yummy details of each goodie.  Try not to drool.

Mars Bar – A chocolate bar filled with nougat and caramel.  It’s a lot like a Milky Way, but much sweeter.  The caramel is thicker so it doesn’t drip in strings as you eat and the nougat is smooth and creamy.

Galaxy – This chocolate bar is my new favorite.  It’s solid milk chocolate that melts like velvet in your mouth.  It’s thick and creamy, yet strangely light.  Best yet, the sweet factor satisfies the most ardent sweet tooth without causing a sugar rush headache.

Double Decker – This is the ultimate snack bar!  It’s huge at about two inches thick and its packed with all sorts of goodies!  The bottom is lined with biscuit pieces which serve as the anchor for a thick layer of chewy, creamy nougat.  Then a nice layer of chocolate holds it all together.  I won’t admit how many of these I ate . . . let’s just say it was plenty.

Crunchie – The interior texture of this chocolate bar defies my powers description, so I had to research it online to find out just what is inside of this thing.  According to Cadbury, the interior is a “toffee sponge.”  However, don’t let the word “sponge” sway you into thinking its soft.  Crunchie gets its name from the rigid crackle you get every time you take a bite.  Running through the center is a line of honey – not liquid – which gives this candy bar a musty sweetness.  It’s weird, but very tasty.

Dairy Milk – The ultimate solid milk chocolate candy bar.  It’s a lot like a galaxy bar, but not as moist.  The chocolate crumbles as you break it apart, but it melts with sweet decadence once you pop it in your mouth.  I must mention that Dairy Milk in the UK is quite different from what Cadbury produces for the U.S.  While the same brand, the chocolate in the States does not taste the same, nor does it have the same consistency.  So honestly, I have a great excuse for bringing home a stash of these candy bars.

Strawbs – The Haribo brand of gummies is well-known within my family, but I’ve never seen this particular variety.  Each gummie is a little strawberry, but has the flavor of a typical gummie bear.  These were a nice break from all the chocolate I was eating and it was nice that they didn’t melt in my purse.

Click for more goodies . . .

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