Monday, December 7, 2009

The Grand Chocolate Peppermint Finale!!

Why? Why, oh why do I keep giving Russell Stover a chance? It's just like my continued return to - clear insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Forget crutches, I should be sporting a straight jacket.

Here's RS's entry in the battle for peppermint prowess:

Unlike the usual RS filled blob, we can actually see that this is, indeed, a snowman. He is apparently hanging onto this scarf for dear life, but nonetheless, we can tell what he is. We can even see the carrot for his nose. The point of view is wrong, no snowman's nose is a sideways carrot, but still extraordinary for RS. He is made of white chocolate with peppermint chips and a dark chocolate base. The peppermint is in there, although not nearly as visible as in other offerings. And I have to say, I prefer the dark chocolate here to the milk chocolate of Ghirardelli. I know, shocking, right? But before things get crazy, the Ghirardelli chocolate is so much smoother and creamier than the RS chocolate, they still come out ahead.

But there's another entry in this peppermint pecking order:

Our friends at Dove! I have to say this may be the ugliest holiday candy bag ever - mostly grey and with the Martha Stewart stamp in blue. Ugly. It does get better, however:

LOVE the red and green polka dots!!

Now these have the right combo - dark chocolate (I think dark works best here because it offsets the sweetness of the white.) I also like the balance of the three flavors - here dark chocolate comes out on top, you taste it the most. Peppermint lovers may prefer Ghirardelli as would milk chocolate lovers. And the Ghirardelli squares are really hard not to like. But I just think the dark chocolate works best.

The only drawback to the Dove Promises is the horrible Martha Stewart "tips" on the inside. I much, much, much prefer the old cool holiday messages - things like "Let joy find you this holiday season" or "Linger under the mistletoe." Instead we get:

That says "Out of wrapping paper? Use an old map or a sewing pattern."

Yeah - I don't have any wrapping paper, but I have tons of sewing patterns (like that would look good) and maps. Martha does have a computer, right? Who has maps anymore? Maybe she owns stock in Rand McNally.

Other great tips from the wise one:

"Individually wrap ornaments in acid-free tissue for storage."

Need some more stress? Start worrying if you're wrapping the ornaments in the right paper.

Or how about this gem of genius:

"Make a plan for clearing and cleaning holiday dishes."

A plan? Are you kidding me? You need a plan to storm the beach at Normandy, not to clear the dinner table. How has anyone survived the holidays without Martha's wisdom? A better question is "How much did Mars pay her for this BS?" I would write cool inserts just for free chocolate. And they would be WAY better than Martha's. And I'm not a convicted felon.

Now this snowman kicks RS's snowman's behiney:

Wow! Even his nose is in the right place!

I found him with this gorgeous tree in Walgreen's:

These are made by Riviera Brands out of Deerfield, Illinois under the Hazelwood Gourmet label. The wrapper says they are made with Belgian chocolate. I don't know about that.

However, the snowman is way better than I expected. The peppermint is chewy rather than crunchy and the milk chocolate base is thick enough to offset the sweetness. I am shocked! The snowman is really good looking AND tastes good! What a great office gift or stocking stuffer. Well done! Hell, even unknown brands kick RS's butt.

The Christmas Tree is also not bad. It's pretty much just chocolate, but it really is festive. I think these are better than those chocolate lollipops Godiva did for Halloween. A+++ in design and B for flavor. And, if I know Walgreen's they'll probably run a sale on them soon if they haven't already. Grab some for emergency gifts. Hell - they look good enough to hang on your tree! (See - I got better ideas than Martha! Acid-free tissue - puleeze!)

Speaking of my arch enemy - Godiva - here's something I found in Belk but did not see in the Godiva boutique:

Could there be a cheesier inner wrapper? Even Hershey and Mars do better than this!

But I do like the look if the candy itself. I like the red and white chips. Here's the Godiva description:

Deliciously creamy Godiva white chocolate, mixed with cool, crunchy candy cane pieces, enrobed in Godiva dark chocolate and topped with candy bits.

Here's my description:

Some okay white chocolate with some crunched up peppermint dipped in some okay dark chocolate with some random sprinkle like things.

There ain't no "creamy" anywhere. I swear I just don't think Godiva's chocolate is that outstanding. These aren't bad, but they aren't great by any means. I think something much better is:

Now this is my kind of assortment!!! The boring chocolate Santas are the smallest quantity and the Reese's Trees are the largest! And that Martha bitch is nowhere in sight!

We'll talk trees and Santas in another post. Our present priority is peppermint:

You want creamy? This is creamy! Love the special holiday shape! Like the sparkly snowflake wrapper. (Godiva, get out of the candy ghetto with that cheap wrapper! And don't try to use old maps either.)

Peppermint Patties are an oldie but a goodie. Way cheaper than Godiva, but, to be honest, I like them better! Now, again, they can't beat the creamy Lindor truffle, but these are good.

I have to conclude with what might just be my favorite peppermint confection of the season - Harry and David's Peppermint Maltballs:

They look totally festive - Put then in a clear glass container and - bam - instant holiday cheer! (Take that, Martha!). And they taste great! The crunchy maltball and the dark chocolate all make for a great combo. Very creative use of textures and flavors and I like they way they look.

Let me conclude with a tip for Martha:

"Wrap little white lights around the bars of your cell, it is both festive and elegant."

And for Santa:

"Even if someone is chasing you with a golf club, keep your eyes toward the front of the sleigh at all times."


diane said...

My heroine once again... I never did like Martha. Why take her advice when she can't keep her own family happy??? (or together)

Denise Ryan said...

Diane, once again we see eye to eye!! too bad they involved Martha - the chocolate itself is good! Maybe they'll hire us to write for chocolate!