Friday, August 12, 2011

Diary of a Chocoholic

Note to self - after eating chocolate, remember to check lips in mirror. A chocolate-smeared mouth might look good on a toddler but on a fully-grown adult, it's a little less adorable!

I have to confess, this blog was originally about only one chocolate but then I found some more chocolate that was worth talking about so this has been building since Christmas last year.

These first two chocolates, Premium M&Ms were originally bought as last minute Christmas presents.

I found these in our local shopping centre in a small cart (Lolly Castle) which sells a selection of international goodies that aren't found on the shelves of our local supermarkets; Pop Tarts, Babe Ruth bars, Junior Mints, all types of unusual Pringle-like, non-Pringle reconstituted potato snacks, and they're my lone supplier of Dr Pepper, the only carbonated softdrink to which I'm addicted. (So much so that before they started importing them, I tried to make my own version after my first trip to America where I drank it almost every day but that's another story!).

The plastic bag was inside a light cardboard sleeve but I was obviously so keen to get into the chocolate that I didn't bother about the packaging! : )
The candies themselves had a similar textured sheen that was reminiscent of tie dyeing.

There were two varieties, Triple Chocolate (Dark, Milk & White) and Mint.

We were curious as to what they would taste like.

I have to admit to a little disappointment with these. The reason most of us buy candy-coated chocolate is for the satisfying crunch as you bite through the shell. (Aside from the subtle added flavour and extra sugar that you're ingesting that is!) That satisfaction was sorely missing here. The exterior was as soft and yielding as the centre chocolate and the "shell" didn't taste much different to the inside.

That said, I'm glad I had the chance to taste them and they did look sooooo pretty on the table.

Meiji Melty Kiss - Green Tea Chocolate
Since discovering green tea icecream (served with a sweet slice of orange following my first Japanese meal ever), I have LOVED green tea in practically anything - straight (although I do prefer it with Jasmine and particularly the Dilmah brand); icecream of course, cake and now ... chocolate!

The pack opens to reveal cute individually wrapped portions, all very ironically "green".

This unwraps to a single, cocoa enrobed perfect cube
 ... which slices smoothly to reveal an equally smooth green fondant-looking interior.
Discovered by Wag, I expected these to be too sweet or gritty or have that dryness some powder-based icecreams develop when they've been in the freezer just a little too long. They were dainty, about the size of standard dice, the cocoa wasn't enough to choke you if you breathed in at the wrong time (in case you worry about such things!) but just enough to give it the bitterness that a fine chocolate should have.
The ingredients list was a little scary but even though green tea is only the 7th ingredient, the taste was very true. (Don't be put off by the cheese powder. Think of it like the cream cheese in cheesecake - as a the silent partner in a balance of tastes!) I rather suspect that the core ingredient is white chocolate mixed with a green tea powder.

I would definitely buy these again if I came across them.

Hot Chocolate - Lindsay & Edmunds

Ah, winter is upon us - an off season of cold, wet, windy days (my memory of winters in Sydney is of brisk but sunny days and showery nights, not so this year!) that can only be salvaged by a cup of steaming hot chocolate.

Chocolate stores have flourished in Sydney. If you can get along to the ones which serve the hot liquid kind - Boon, Lindt, Max Brenner to name a few - just to breathe in the cocoa dust hanging in the air, it's a nice way to relax and de-stress. (The shopping comes later!)
But if it's too wet to venture out, you need some of these:

 When I picked these up, I assumed they were a dark chocolate lollipop! How elegant, I thought, a way to eat chocolate so it doesn't melt on your fingers! Everyone knows of course that these are for melting in hot milk and you can control the degree of chocolate by varying the amount of milk!
I have never been a huge hot milk fan before but watching the dark chocolate melt into the milk and sniffing the aroma which arises from the steam then wrapping your hands around the mug and feeling the contents glide down your throat is pure heaven.
Not to mention the great night's sleep I had afterwards! Thank goodness there are 4 in a pack!
Willy Wonka Exceptionals Collection.
In general, I dislike American chocolate. I was always intrigued by Hershey's because they were "the" American chocolate, much like Cadbury's or later on Nestle were considered the Australian household standard. But just because they're a household name doesn't mean it's the best chocolate.
I had long moved away from milk chocolate which is why I was surprised that I even picked up this block of Willy Wonka Exceptionals Triple Dazzle Caramel but I have to admit that I was "dazzled" by the holographic packaging which shimmers and chnges colour depending on the angle of the light.

There were three varieties to choose from but I was really keen to find a great caramel because there had been many disappointments - too chewy, too hard, too fudgey, not salty enough, etc., etc., etc.!
This was none of those. The chocolate was thin, the caramel delightfully runny without dripping and with just the right amount of saltiness.

Having discovered these at the Star City grocery store, I have been trying to find a retailer closer to where I live. The only information I could find online (apart from some overseas reviews) was an article on the US launch in 2010 (a real life Golden Ticket promotion!) and this Australian online confectionary seller The Professors which sells something which looks like the product but in packs of 12.
So it appears that these have been imported for the sole benefit of overseas guests staying in the Star City hotel. Ah well, I'll have to make a special trip out to Star City and hope that they haven't sold out by the time I get there! Yes folks, it's worth it!

Which brings me to a last minute discovery:
Midnight Crunch - Dark Chocolate with Quinoa!

I'm sure by now, you'll have heard of this South American pseudo-grain (it's actually a member of the beet, spinach or tumbleweed family of food groups) which is highly appreciated for its nutritional value. Judging by the truckloads of quinoa which have marched off the shelf and how it's been adapted to our western taste buds (quinoa chips, quinoa porridge, quinoa bread, etc.) obviously few people dislike this grain as much as I do, but having tried it a couple of times, I just can't bring myself to like the texture nor the taste.
So what appealed to me about this product was that someone had finally presented me with a pleasurable way to swallow this wholesome grain. Were this not one of three flavours produced by the cutely named Alter Eco Fair Trade company, one would think that they were riding the wave of the quinoa gravy train.

Removing the outer packaging reveals a stark white wrapper which peels to reveal the delicate block.

As you can see from the photo, all the crispy bits congregated at the bottom of the bar (or top of the mould so it was obviously light enough to float). As a lover of chocolate crackles, rice crispies and other crunchy treats, I would have liked a bit more of the quinoa rice puff mixed in but perhaps they were aiming these at a more general market which would prefer the chocolate over the quinoa.
For a chocolate which contains no dairy, I was surprised at how smooth this chocolate tasted. The quinoa/rice crisp didn't add any more or less flavour than a rice crisp alone and the knowledge that the addition of the quinoa was helping to make the whole thing a smattering more healthy was a little tick on the side for me. 
Mostly importantly, I would definitely buy this chocolate again.
Phew! What a long blog! Think I need to have some chocolate now! :D


  1. Wow, what a comprehensive review! At the moment, all chocolate looks good to me, but I'd love to try the quinoa choc - just to say "but it's healthy!!"

  2. My husband loves chocolate with crunch treats !! I'd love to try quinoa chocolate! It seems to be healthy version of choc. Where can i buy it? How much is it? Thank you for good info!!! It seems to be a perfect way to get my husband eat somthing healthy!!!

  3. What a range of chocolate to cover everyone's tastes. I've never looked at the ingredients list on Melty Kiss but I remember seeing it on shelves when I lived in Japan. It is a bit scary!

  4. Hi Belle & Kate, I found the Quinoa chocolate on the counter at my local health food store, well worth trying.

    Hi Lorraine, what's scary is that these are only the highlights of the chocoolate I ate in the space of 6 months! And it wasn't all for research! :D

  5. All of the chocs look great. I must admit I am a massive meiji fan!

  6. Don't worry - if I blogged about every chocolate I ate in six months the internet would run out of room ha ha. Premium M&M's - say what? I know you weren't impressed but as an avid M&M devourer I'd love to give them a go.

  7. Thanks Sara, I definitely haven't touched the tip of the iceberg on that brand yet. Will have to go scouting my favourite Asian food stores.

    Hi Keely, good to see someone new commenting, I linked to your blog as a result and I love it! I'm looking forward to reading it on a regular basis.

  8. i didnt even know these premium m&ms existed! the green ones look like mini dino eggs haha!

  9. Hi Sugar! They certainly do remind me of dinosaur eggs! If only real dinosaurs were so tiny! I haven't seen these anywhere since then, only at the Lolly Castle and only last Christmas! I'll be keeping my eye out this year too now. Even though I didn't like them, there's been a lot of interest as a result of the blog! Nice to hear from you! :D