Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's All About The Chocolate

I don't know why I have this song in my head. The first (and only) time I had ever heard it was when I was teaching in Japan. I was in a karaoke bar with some friends and co-workers, when one of the Japanese managers at the school I taught at sang this song.

As we (Hubby, The Student and I) sat around the dining room table sampling chocolate this evening, this song was in my head.

Anyway, since this week is The Student's last week with us before he goes back to university, I took him to the Chocolate Works. See how excited Little One was to be going to the Chocolate Works? Okay, she gets super excited every time we go for car rides.Is it just me, or does she look like she's grown a lot in the past week!?!

The Student dropped $50 on chocolate, which is not too difficult to do. He's very thoughtful. He bought lots of chocolate for his parents. Wonder if Little One will be as thoughtful when she gets older? Just kidding.His loot consisted of everything from Tiramisu hot chocolate (I didn't see that! I would have bought some if I had!) to Tickle Berries. In case you're wondering, Tickle Berries are chocolate covered cherries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries! They are YUMMY!!!

Since it is my personal quest to try every single type of chocolate that the Chocolate Works makes, this week I present to you...
Almond Cranberry Bark (white chocolate), Almond Cranberry Bark (milk chocolate) and S'more Bark.First up is the white chocolate Almond Cranberry Bark. If you know me well, you'll know that I am a white chocolate lover. There's just something about that milky, sweet taste that reminds me of the white chocolate Easter bunnies I used to get as a kid at Easter. I guess I just love everything that reminds me of my childhood! White chocolate brings me back to those days of running around the backyard with my brothers and cousins, looking for Easter eggs on a nice, cool, crisp, sunny Spring day.

I just love this almond cranberry bark. The cranberry is really noticeable with the white chocolate. The almonds add a really nice crunch.I was kind of torn between which I liked better. It was a tough decision, because the milk chocolate almond cranberry bark was equally delicious. Subtle, smooth, silky, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate with the sweet yet tart cranberry and the crunchy almonds...who could resist that? I may like this bark better than the white chocolate bark, but for contrasting flavours, you can really notice the cranberries with the white chocolate bark. Last up is the S'more Bark. I got this one with Hubby in mind. When we had ESL students the summer before Little One was born, Hubby had a camp fire and made S'mores for the students from South Korea. S'mores remind me of being a kid and camping in my friend's backyard. S'mores are the quintessential childhood treats! My students were glad that they were introduced to S'mores.

The S'mores bark made me think of my husband, I brought some home for him.Yup! Just as delicious as the original S'mores treat! Silky milk chocolate covering mini marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles were absolutely divine! Two thumbs up for this one!

This evening was all about chocolate. If you happen to live near me, you'll be seeing me walking up and down our highway with Little One or doing some sort of manual labour in hopes of working off tonight's chocolate! ;)

It's all about the dum dum duh dee dum dum...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sugar Rush

There's a new kid in town, and this new kid is Boo-Bah-Lou Candy Cabin. I used to get my fix of candy from my childhood from my enabler/promoter of bad habits, Jeanna. Just kidding, Jeanna! ;)

Boo-Bah-Lou has all the candy from my childhood, as well as novelty items. Since this week is The Student's last week with us, we went for a drive and hit up Boo-Bah-Lou for a sugar fix.

Now I know where the phrase "Like a kid in a candy shop" came from! Adults, teens, and kids of all ages were going gaga for candy. It's amazing how much candy The Student and I purchased even though we don't normally eat much candy! I guess it's a novelty thing.

The Student purchased items he had never tried before. He said that as a kid, he LOVED Nerds. This particular combination of Nerds was new to him. He was also curious about Razzles. I think the part about it being the candy that turns into gum was particularly interesting to him. Oh, and isn't that the biggest Tootsie Roll you've ever seen?
I purchased Whoppers for Hubby, Cow Tales for my friend's Mom, and a few other confectionery delights to share and sample with everyone in the household.

The Student and I are both big Chronicles of Narnia fans. In the book, there is mention of Turkish Delight. Of course, being in a candy store one would probably find Turkish Delight. There it was, so we had to get some.

The Student and I gave it two thumbs down. I don't get it! The candy wrapper says that it's "Full of Eastern Promise"! It's full of awful jelly ickiness! Perhaps jelly candies are an acquired taste. I'll tell ya, it's a taste I haven't acquired. Not a fan. It wasn't just the jelly texture that threw me off. It was the actual taste. I couldn't make out if it tasted more like roses or cherry to me. This is weird, because I have a very acute sense of smell and taste.

Two thumbs down!!!

Hubby had never seen Popeye Candy Cigarettes before. What?!?! As a kid, we used to get those all the time! Well, not all the time. Every once in a while, we'd save our allowance and head to the corner store (depanneur, in French...since we grew up in Montreal). We'd pay 50 cents for 50 Swedish berries or 50 gummy bears or gummy worms. We'd also load up on various flavours of licorice (both the flat kind and the shoe string kind). I think my fave was the grape, followed by mint.

I also purchased Bubble Yum bubble gum in Hershey's chocolate flavour at Boo-Bah-Lou's. Chocolate flavoured gum seems just so different to me. I haven't tried it yet.
Of course, I'm a sucker for novelty items and had to get this Tootsie Roll lip balm. I can tell ya that it smells just like Tootsie Roll! You almost want to eat it. Not sure if it's a good idea though, because Little One keeps trying to eat her mama's mouth!
Not a big fan of jelly beans, but I do like Jelly Belly jelly beans. I think it's the whole gourmet flavoured aspect of it. It's not your ordinary jelly bean flavours. Remember I told you about my acute sense of smell and taste? Well, you can blindfold me and let me guess which flavour of Jelly Belly jelly beans I'm sampling and 99% of the time I will get it right. My ESL students find it amusing and amazing to witness that. Yes, it's one of my many hidden talents. LOL! The Fun Dip and the Fuzzy Peaches didn't last long at all. The Nieces were over for a movie night and devoured the candy! A night of Twilight and Fuzzy much more can you ask for?
Little One wanted in on the candy action too. She's a cheeky little monkey! She was inching her way towards the candy! She was originally placed on the play mat with her head in the opposite direction and she was on her back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crazy for Craisinets!

Fresh from Wisconsin...
It's four different flavours of Pixy Stix, Harry Potter Drooble's Best Blowing Gum (turns your mouth blue!), and Craisinets!

Jeanna is always such a doll with her witty comments and wicked sense of humour. She's also known for her far reaching knowledge of candy and chocolate (and all that other good stuff). When Jeanna asked who would like to review Craisnets, I jumped at the opportunity. Who am I to refuse chocolate?
I almost didn't get my hands on the Craisinets, since Little One's pudgy little baby hands went straight for the package of milk chocolate covered "craisins"!!
Oooooh! I had to rescue the lovely drool soaked packet.
First off, I LOVE cranberries. I LOVE craisins. I LOVE chocolate (as long as it's not tooooo sweet and not tooooo much). Craisins + Chocolate = a match made in Heaven! Right?
Well, the Craisins sort of survived the trip across the border. They were pretty much "intact" still, but sort of looked like melted bunny droppings by the time they arrived at my house.
Here's a close up for your viewing enjoyment. See? They really do look like bunny poop! Hubby claims they look like deer droppings. Either way, don't let their appearance fool you.
Brought to you by the famous NESTLÉ company are these tiny bundles of goodness. I remember as a kid, we'd get NESTLÉ RAISINETS as a treat once in a while. I think my grandparents and my Mom would sometimes trick us into thinking we were having the real thing. I think most of the time they just got chocolate covered raisins or yogurt covered raisins from the Bulk Barn. Anyway, chocolate or yogurt covered raisins were always a favourite of mine.

While I generally like NESTLÉ products, this one wasn't on top of my list. The chocolate was good, but not stellar, and the craisins were just okay. Perhaps I have been a tad spoiled by having our local chocolatier (The Manitoulin Chocolate Works) so close by. I have a confession. I am a chocolate snob. The Craisinets get a 3 out of 5 stars for me. Am I being too harsh?

Can't wait to test out the Harry Potter Drooble's gum! It's cotton candy bubble gum! The package claims that it turns your mouth blue!

Thanks, Jeanna! You da best!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let There Be Chocolate!

Oh, the things I do for my blog readers! :)
Gadget Girl, Little One and I headed to the west end of the Island for a trip to the Farmers' Market, a picnic by the water, and then off to the Chocolate Works we went! How could we not swing by one of our favourite spots? The place was bustling with tourists and locals alike. People flock from far and wide to sample the delectable chocolate treats!

It is my mission to sample every item in the shop for you, my dear friends, family, blog buddies, and readers. Over the course of three days, we taste tested a few chocolate goodies. Hubby helped me sample the chocolates. You didn't think I'd eat all that chocolate by myself, did you? Plus, Hubby has very discriminating taste buds when it comes to sweets. He's the sweets expert in this household.
Up first is the Coconut Bar. Before I tried The Chocolate Works' coconut treats, I was never really a coconut fan. The Chocolate Works' chocolate coconut treats have really, really converted me though! I am now a loyal fan of the Coconut Bar!

Unsweetened coconut with a hint of vanilla and coconut cream, nestled amidst delicious milk chocolate just melts in your mouth. The tactile sensation is almost a spiritual experience. I kid you not.

Hubby says that of all the chocolates we tried, his favourite has got to be the Coconut Bar. Of course, Hubby loves anything and everything coconut. He claims to be an expert in chocolate/coconut treats and says that this coconut bar is one of the best coconut chocolate bars he has ever tried. I have to agree with him on this one. The Coconut Bar gets five out of five stars!

Up next is the Oreo Extravaganza. For Oreo cookie lovers, this takes the Oreo cookie experience to the max! The ever popular Oreo cookie is dipped in milk chocolate and beautifully drizzled with white and dark chocolate. FANTASTIC!!! It's a delight for all senses! Five stars out of five.

My Mom is a fan of macaroons. This macaroon is a little slice of heaven. Premium quality chocolate envelopes this mound of coconut goodness. Chocolate sprinkles add to the aesthetics. This is the perfect little macaroon. Actually, it's not so little. This macaroon is pretty big!

Just as an example of how good this macaroon is, when I brought it over to my parents' place, my Dad said, "Oh! Chocolate!" and my Mom quickly snapped, "Hey! That's mine!".
I've always been interested in sampling the Pecan Caramel Wave. The Pecan Caramel Wave looks so beautiful. It's just so visually appealing. I sent one over to Jeanna @ The Wisconsin Candy Dish in her box of goodies from The Chocolate Works. I've also sent a few Waves to other friends across Canada and the U.S., but I have never tried one. I decided now is about the right time to dig into that ooey-gooey caramel goodness.

Gadget Girl loves the Pecan Caramel Wave. She said she loves caramel, which would be fitting since the Wave is all about the caramel. Hubby and I shared half a Wave. We'll save the other half for later. Hubby's review: "The Caramel Pecan Wave is perfect for anyone who is a caramel lover. It's just so rich with caramel!"

I noted the pecan. I love pecans. The Wave reminded me of a better quality and more visually appealing Nestle Turtle. I swear, the Caramel Pecan Wave is edible art! It truly is! It's so beautiful that you almost don't want to eat it! I said almost!

My verdict? Love the chocolate and love the pecans. However, like Hubby said, it is perfect for anyone who is a caramel lover. There's a lot of caramel in this treat! :) I think this is one of the reasons Gadget Girl loves The Wave so much! 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. If I loved caramel, I'd give this a perfect score though. There was a bit of a debate going on at the testing table! ;) Gadget Girl will have us tell you that you must try the Caramel Pecan Wave because it's "sooooooo goooooooooood"!!!
The owner of the Chocolate Works let me try the chocolate cream cheese cupcake.
Though I love to bake, I don't normally eat baked goods. Why? Oh, I don't know. I love creating things, but not necessarily eating what I bake. Read between the lines: sweets and baked goods= calories and inches on the waist!!! HOWEVER, this has got to be THE BEST cupcake in the world! I couldn't even wait to get home! I ate it as soon as we left the Chocolate Works!

The chocolate cupcake was moist and delicious. The frosting and chocolate sprinkles just perfected the piece. To my surprise, in the center of the cupcake there was cream cheese and...chocolate chips!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Okay, it's a good thing we live on a farm and have a lot of physical work to do! We're going to have to work off all this chocolate! :)

Remember...If you're on the Island, stop by the Chocolate Works! They've also got a great assortment of coffees, teas, jellies, mustards, and other goodies!

**Amendment: Hubby and I just finished the rest of the Caramel Pecan Wave and we have changed our verdict. It is absolutely divine! Five out of five stars! Why is it that we all of a sudden love it? Hmmm...I don't know. Perhaps it's because we had time to sample it little by little. It's a fairly large sized chocolate treat. It's very decadent! Glad that Hubby and I shared it! If I had to eat it by myself, it would probably last me a week!**