Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shamu and the Cherry Tree

Hi Gang! Sorry for the long break - I've been extremely busy motivating as many people as possible. (And stocking up on Easter candy!! Soon to come!)

I have to finish up the whole cherry thing - there's just no better time than the present.

Endangered Species Chocolate has a 48% cocoa milk chocolate with cherries bar. This is one of those bars that have a kumbayah component:

10% of net profits are donated to help support species, habitat and humanity. (I guess that covers just about everything.) Inside the wrapper, you can read all about the dolphin. (Too bad it wasn't the killer whale.) You get some info about dolphins and some clever ideas on how you can help save the species - example: "pick up litter everyday - trash is often confused with food by mammals." Hell, just yesterday I saw a dolphin on the side of the road trying to eat a Whopper wrapper.

Killer whales confuse stupid humans for food too. As do tigers. That's not on the wrapper.

Here's the actual chocolate, but when you're saving a species, who cares, right?

The chocolate is okay - nothing bad, smooth. But cherries? What cherries? I can't smell them, I can't taste them. I can see a few. They are there, but the flavor is completely overpowered by the chocolate. Why bother? Oh yeah - to help the dolphins. Kumbayah.

Seeds of Change has some kumbayah propaganda too - "1% of net sales are used to advance the cause of sustainable organic agriculture worldwide." It's all about the organic thing.

I love their packaging - inside are three individually wrapped bars. Much better than just one giant bar.

I like the darker chocolate (61% cacao) much better with the cherries and I can taste them better. This is a really good bar. And I have to say the Seeds of Change sales rep at candy expo was the best! She was so enthusiastic and nice!!

New Tree has lots of different flavors - this one is Blush. It's billed as "rejuvenating" (sounds like a line for spas):

These boxes are little - two inches tall - one inch wide - with three pieces inside. Cute.

Taste? Ugh. 73% cocoa - and cherry? I can't sense any cherry. The only way I can think of to describe these is bland. Bland chocolate - that's just depressing. I do not feel rejuvenated.

Chocolove is one of my favorites:

Now this isn't fair because this bar also has almonds which makes it REALLY delicious. Crunchy nuts, chewy cherries and nice dark chocolate.

I love Chocolove!!

Seattle Chocolates has the most gorgeous wrappers - I love them! Very colorful and so art deco!

This is a dark chocolate truffle bar with praline pecans and cherries.

The truffle filling gives this bar a creamy rich taste, but I can't taste any cherries. I'm sad - I had high hopes for this bar! Not very exciting.

Even Choxie has a bar with cherries:

This is a mini bar in dark chocolate with almonds and cherries.

And as with all the Choxie that has gone before - yuck. It has a cherry taste (a nice change from some of these) but the chocolate is awful.

This Choxie bar sounds great - solid milk chocolate with roasted Mission almonds, cashews and Montmorency tart cherries. The nuts are there, the cherries are there, but the bar still sucks. Choxie just isn't very good. Here, Shamu!

Looks good, but the Hershey bar with almonds is much better.

This bar has all the goodies just sprinkled on top - no cherries, but strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and white chocolate chips. It's from Hebert Candies ( and is a Fully Loaded bar. I mean that's the name, it's clearly fully loaded.

It looks pretty good, right?

And it is! Truly! But all those berries and the white chocolate make it too sweet for me. The chocolate is WAY better than Choxie. It's an interesting and good bar - worth trying. If it had nuts, I would LOVE it!!!

The Twin Bing is by the Palmer Candy company ( - not to be confused with R.M. Palmer, the maker of copious quantities of el cheapo chocolate. I read about this candy bar - it's one of those first made back in 1923. And I was prepared to hate it. I mean look at it!

It has a cherry flavored center surrounded by chocolate, wrapped in a ball of chopped peanuts in chocolate. It looks kind of creepy. I made be the only person alive who likes this, but I do! I took one tentative bite and then ate the whole thing! I can't explain it. Maybe I confused it with food.
It's no gourmet treat (that's not a real cherry in there) and it's not something I would buy again, but I gotta tell you, I liked it way more than I thought I would. It must be the peanuts? I have no explanation.

Did you have any idea there was so much cherry and chocolate candy out there? I'm not a huge cherry fan, but the ones I can't stop eating are the cherry cordial Hershey's Kisses! I love them.


Try new things - you never know what you might really like.

As always, don't judge a candy bar (or Bing) or anything else by its appearance. Things can look ugly and still be awesome. It's what's on the inside that counts.

And finally, don't get in the mouth of a killer whale.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Easter Preview from the Beach

Hi Gang! I'm down in Myrtle Beach speaking for the SC School Board Association and how great it is!! I arrived late last night to find chocolate covered strawberries, Hershey's Kisses, Oreos, and Godiva liqueurs in my room. (I didn't even try the liqueurs - the last thing I need to do is drink the night before a speech. Since I never do, I'd probably feel awful in the am. Nice - a hungover speaker. Yikes!) AND my room was a suite on the 20th floor with a spectacular ocean view. It just doesn't get any better than this! (I better rock the house when I speak for them in about two hours.)

I do love my job - and you can love your work too. You know the secret? Find something that makes the best use of what you do best. Chances are you enjoy doing whatever that is - we like to do things that make the most of our strengths. Don't know what that is? Read Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. Your biggest barrier is going to be you - you'll think you can't do it. You'll come up with every excuse in the book - I'm too old, there's too much competition, the economy's bad, blah, blah, blah. I'm sitting here looking at the ocean telling you you can. But not if you don't try. Not if you don't work hard. Not if you give up. The real work is on you.

Okay - quick chocolate update. I have soooo been scoping out the Easter candy - and I have found chocolate covered Peeps (both milk and dark) - they will be reviewed soon. My Sorbet Sistah Tracy (aka Sassy) hooked me up with my first Reese's Egg of the season - thanks, Sassy!! Damn I love those things!! Oh - my Sorbet Sistah name is Sporty (no surprise, huh?). I need to get a new pic of all the Sistahs. We've been getting slack on our dessert eating.

I'm hoping I see more creativity than I have so far in this year's Easter candy. Dove has some egg shaped peanut butter Promises. Russell Stover has their usual crap - sorry, I'm just sooooo disappointed in them! I'm hoping Palmer will come through with something really festive. It's early in the game, my friends! Please let me know if you see anything new and exciting. I guess I should say eggsciting. Ugh. The pun is the work of the Devil.

Off to earn my strawberries!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Valentine's Day candy is half price!! But it's going fast - so if you want any - get out there! And CVS has some crazy deals on Easter candy. I got some Snickers Eggs and some Reese's Pieces Eggs for eight cents! I have no explanation for it, but I was thrilled. I also am clearly insane in my candy consumption but that's another matter.

I've reviewed these before and I'm standing by my earlier review.

They have a cherry taste (obviously there ain't no real cherries in there). If you like cherry, I think you'll like these, but I prefer regular M & Ms. These are not so great. But, hey, I always like it when companies try something new. So, go Mars!

Now look at these - new from Harry and David:

They are called Glimmers and come in assorted flavors. (I have a bag of caramel Glimmers for a future post.) This bag is cherry, blueberry and raspberry and they are shimmery! Look at how pretty they are! For some reason the shimmer here doesn't bother me like it did on the Fling bar. I think it bothered me there because they took it away when they made it a Three Musketeers bar. It was a hokey, girlie thing and it still pisses me off!

But these are all about the shimmer! They are a LOT like the premium M & M's, but yet not. The flavors are completely different.

Pretty, shiny, sparkly! They are chewy rather than crunchy - no hard candy shell. And MUCH more fruity than the M & M's. I have to say, these are really, really good. Holy smokes! They are much better than I thought they would be. Why do I doubt you, Harry & David? Cherry is pink, raspberry is red and blueberry is, well, blue. The fruit taste is stronger than the chocolate taste, and the blend is good. Harry & David does a great job with their chocolates and these are no exception. I'm impressed.

Now let's get to the real fruit!! This Harry and David assortment has chocolate covered cherries, blueberries and peaches.

An autopsied cherry:

See the layers? Cherry, chocolate, and a red coating. I'm not going to pretend to know what the red coating is made of. Overall effect? Tart -which is good - the way a cherry should be. The chocolate and the red mystery layer add a nice sweetness. I like these - a lot. I can tell they are addictive and I'm already convincing myself of the antioxidant content of the cherries.

Here's a peach:

Peach, chocolate, and white coating. The blueberries were too small to autopsy. I can only do so much. These are good too, although a little sweet for my taste. I can still taste the fruit, which is really nice, but it's mighty sweet. I don't know if a dark chocolate would work here though - it might overpower the delicate peach flavor.

The blueberries are also good - nice and tart. But these were kind of puny. I get these at A Southern Season and they are much bigger. Flavor is great in both.

I found this assortment in World Market:

This assortment contains (starting with the pink and moving clockwise) pink strawberries, raisins, orange mangoes, Bing cherries, white apricots, and cranberries. I autopsied a cherry and a strawberry and you can see we've got the same layers as in the Harry & David fruits.

The red mystery layer is much thinner here and the chocolate thicker. These are not as sweet, or quite frankly, as good as the Harry and David ones. These cherries don't even taste that tart. Also there's an an odd aftertaste. You would think the increased chocolate would help, but it's not a great chocolate. BOO!!!

This one is more like the Harry & David chocolate to mystery layer ratio. And it is horrible. Truly horrible. Too sweet with a fake strawberry flavor. Also has a weird aftertaste. Ewww! These are all bad - the mango thing was also all orange stuff - no chocolate center with a tiny bit of mango. Apricot also has a funky aftertaste. The only two that were edible were cranberry and raisin and that was because they were covered only in chocolate. Avoid these like the Swine Flu.

I found these at Trader Joe's:

They look more like the World Market cherries than the Harry & David cherries. These are MUCH better than the evil and heinous World Market ones, but they are still not as good as the H & D ones. Their coating is cherry flavored in that weird maraschino cherry way. And you don't get that tart H & D cherry taste. I'm surprised at how much H & D is standing above the rest.

These are Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered cherries:

No red mystery layers - just cherries and dark chocolate. But taste? These could be giant chocolate covered raisins for all I can tell. There's no cherry taste at all. The chocolate is good, but it's so strong it completely overpowers the cherries. H & D kicks butt in this competition!

Now these don't have anything to do with cherries. But they were what I found in Trader Joe's for Valentine's Day.

Aren't they gorgeous?

Chocolate is so pretty! I love chocolate. And these are delicious - look at that creamy, dark chocolate truffle filling. Wow!!! These are a must for you dark chocolate lovers - that creamy center is to die for! Trader Joe's comes through after all!!

I think the best chocolate covered fruit enhances the fruit flavor. Only in the Harry and David chocolates could I still taste the fruit. The best partnerships are like that, aren't they? One person doesn't completely overshadow the other - both work to bring out the best in each other. Good friends listen to each other. Happy couples divide up work so one doesn't carry the full load. Love isn't about giving everything and losing yourself. It's about finding the person who brings out the best in you.

Or maybe it's just about covering yourself in chocolate.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate, Cherries and The Wolfman

Let me warn you all right now that this blog posting is not for the faint of heart. The autopsy photos are extremely gruesome. Please beware!

My buddy Chris and I went to see the perfect Valentine's Day movie yesterday - The Wolfman. Hearts (and other internal organs) were ripped out. Gypsies made wild predictions about love and being doomed. And the heroine tried to save the beast (also known as the bad boy) with her love. The outcome was the same as it is in real life, but for those of you who haven't seen the movie yet (or for those of you still in denial about your own relationships), I won't spoil it for you.

Let's just say we had a great time AND helped out a good cause. We smuggled in a box of Peanut Butter Patties Girl Scout cookies. YUM!

They were gone by the time the movie started, but what the hell. Hey - I TOLD you this was going to be gruesome!

Of course, the dreaded Valentine's Day is over and I still have candy to review. There is just too much candy and too little time. For the next couple of days, we're talking cherries. That kind of goes with President's Day (George Washington chopping down the cherry tree and all). I see chocolate covered cherries at Christmas too, but Valentine's Day seems to be their big holiday. Never have I seen so many displays of cherries. So here we go!

These are all cherry cordials. From Wikipedia: a cordial is a type of candy in which a fruit filling is placed within a chocolate shell. Wise Geek says there actually has to be a cherry in there (or I guess a blueberry if we were talking about blueberry cordials) which is preserved in cordial, a sweet liqueur or sugar syrup for the nonalcoholic version. Who am I to say which definition is right? All these seem to fit one of the definitions, so I'm going for it.

Let's start with Cella's. The box says that since 1864 Cella's has been devoted to only one thing - producing the very best quality chocolate covered cherries. They go on to say that their creation is unique - "selected cherries are surrounded by a delicious 100% clear liquid". Woohoo! 100% clear! I just love the taste of clear!

Yikes! This autopsy was messy! My subject kept bleeding out. There's the infamous 100% clear liquid. All I could think when I ate this was, "Good God, these are sweet!" I have to confess, they are way too sweet for me. One every 10 years or so would last me.

If I thought Cella's were was only because I hadn't yet had a Queen Anne cherry:

AAIIEEE! What a mess! We've got clear liquid, pink goo, some cherry guts - this looks like something out of The Wolfman. And that pink goo is the sweetest stuff on the planet. I am so going into a diabetic coma. Are these made for 12 year old boys? Surely these are too sweet for adults! I'm freaking out at their sweetness and I'll eat frosting out of the can! Get some silver bullets and kill these things!

Now for the sake of this blog, I had to try one of each of the "flavors." Dark chocolate was the best only because it offset some of the sweetness. I couldn't tell the difference between burgundy and milk chocolate - they tasted exactly the same. The ingredient list is exactly the same. I have no idea. Maybe there's a burgundy cherry? I think my heart rate is through the roof with all this sugar. Dear God.

Now look at these babies! From one of my favorite chocolate makers, Perugina:

Not so messy. Simple. All about the cherry. These absolutely destroyed the other two. These tasted like cherries and delicious chocolate. These are what a chocolate covered cherry should be. These were amazing.
Okay, Chicago (both Cella and Queen Anne cherries are made in Chitown) - you might need to step it up just a bit. Maybe create a less horrifying line for heath nuts or foodies? I mean once you've tried Perugina, these two are an embarrassment.

If you want to try Perugina, I found them in World Market. They are fabulous!!

These came out at Christmas in a different bag - red with white snowflakes:

But they are exactly the same on the inside:

And I have to tell you, I like these! I mean there are no real cherries involved and they are light years from the Perugina cherries, but for 20 calories each, I think they blow those real chocolate covered cherry death bombs away! Those are 70 calories each and they make me feel kind of ill they are so sweet.

I am proud of Little George Washington for manning up and admitting he chopped down the cherry tree. I think our lesson for the day is to take responsibility for your actions. And along with that theme, I am going to take responsibility for eating all these chocolate covered cherries and hit the gym.

In fact, I think if everyone in American could man (or woman) up and take responsibility for themselves, we'd be in a much better place. That's my political message in honor of the day. That and eat more chocolate!

More cherries are coming!! More cherries are coming!! (No George, not the British. Maybe the Chinese, but not the British.)