Thursday, January 31, 2008

Out Damned Spot: Queen Anne Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cordial Cherries

Queene Anne CordialsThat's a mouthful. And so are these classic candies. Queen Anne Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cordials are what the hilarious female, bee hived hair in rollers, watching her stories, would eat in a sitcom. Or a fifties screwball comedy.
The two tiers of ten cordials are filled with drippy fondant and red syrup wrapped in dark chocolate. It doesn't really matter if they taste of plastic and cardboard, and who cares how old they are, you can keep a box in your bomb shelter, and they'll taste the same as they did the day you got them.
The piquant cordials lock in a taste which sticks to your teeth long after you've come to your senses and pushed them aside.
Fools, you can't just close the flap on a box of Queen Anne's Cordial Cherries and be done with it. The creamy sweet filling clings to you like a living thing. They call to you in the night. You'll think how well one or two would go with a glass of skim milk.
"It's skim milk," you'll tell yourself. "There's even milk in the ingredients and peppermint will help with my indigestion (indigestion from eating half a box of cordials)."
The cherry cream is harder to scrape off than a bad boyfriend. You can't wash him off, he's everywhere. Drinking your beer, eating your leftover Uno's Pizza, never filling the ice cube trays...I mean the peppermint cordial cherries (shouldn't that be cherry cordials?) which have oozed onto a copy of my tenant's rights, stick to everything. I've washed my hands twice in the last 15 minutes, and I think there's a kind of Lady Macbeth thing going on with this candy.
You'll have to excuse me, I need a minute to, uh, wash up, yes, wash up and go to bed.
[Evil laugh muffled by the sound of chocolates being stuffed into mouth ends Act V Scene 1.]
WARNING: Apparently the note "REAL CHERRIES—may contain pits or pit fragments" isn't as funny as I thought. These things are getting more sinister by the minute.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


VixenEqual Time.
Meet Miss Vickers. She ain't never chased a rabbit, but she is a friend of mine. Known as the "good dog," she'll eat a cup of Rocky's bread sticks, strip the car of dog treats and every wayward piece of gum, then retreat to the back seat before you come out of the video store with that movie about pies. And she'll know, somehow, the movie is about pies. Her photo appeared in an article (which I've yet to put up) about Pet Psychic Faye Pietrokowsky, who did a reading of the old girl via email.
And speaking of chocolate (weak, no?), I picked up a bag of Hershey's Kissables in a hoarding frenzy during today's hail/snow/ice/thunder does this mean Favre's deal with the devil is back on/storm.
KissablesI know it's not a new candy, but I was attracted to these festive Valentine's Day colors. They remind me of M&M's with better tasting chocolate—actually I'd forgotten how rich and smooth a Hershey's Kiss can be. Maybe it's the new sugar unfriendly diet. Maybe it's like getting lucky after a dry spell. A long, long, dry, dry spell, but these were tasty.
The candy coating is almost, but not quite, overkill, and the crunch is fun. You have to admit, they do look good in a cookie. The candy coated mini kisses are perfectly sweet, like the regular sized kisses, and have that flavorful bite which shows someone is at least trying.
Not exactly Old Speckled Hen, but no Point Beer either. Yeah, that's right, I went to happy hour before I wrote this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Candy Coated Packer Pretzel Balls

pretzel ballsFrozen Tundra my Irish arse.
What do The Packers have in common with Candy Coated Packer Pretzel Balls?
They're green and gold
They weren't good enough to make it to The Bowl
They're lousy frozen
They're a choking hazard
It will be a week tomorrow and Cheeseheads around here are still blubbing. Mothers have cleaned the duct tape off their children, and re-raised the flags on their Packer mailboxes, further confusing the mailman.
If I have to hear another grown man weep over the loss of a football game, I'm going to duct tape them to a chair, and force feed them Packer Pretzel Balls until they've watched every Rosie O'Donnell episode of The View.
Officially called Team Colors Party Mix, this is one tiny bag of balls. They taste like those coated pretzels you find at the grocery store, only ball shaped.
For the diet conscious who wouldn't have a problem if they knew what it's like to raise seven children in a tool shed then fish Lake Mendota with nothing but a string and a rusty nail after collecting coal all day: 140 Calories for 18 tiny balls, 6g Fat, 19g Carbs. Hardly seems worth it now, does it? It took the efforts of five artificial dyes with the word "lake" in them to color this bag of nonsense green and gold.
The ho hum balls are made in Cedarburg (which used to have a good fish fry) by C.P. Twist. This company also makes something called Cheezels in party size tubs. Just what the kids need. Now wipe the snot off your face and go shovel the walk.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Emergency Chocolate

Emergency ChocolateWarning: After a recent near death experience—the most serious threat was the ER staff interrupting me as I tried to watch the playoffs—this is even less a comprehensive candy review than usual. Maybe that's why the TVs are so high, so in case something goes terribly wrong you can watch the Cowboys lose one last time as you rise to your maker. I'm assuming rise. Am I assuming too much? My dead Irish grandmother, btw, would have smacked T.O. upside the head for blubbering on national TV like that. Am I being too harsh?
Shaky Transition
So for Christmas I wrapped up three bars of Bloomsberry & Co. chocolate. My sister the nurse got the Emergency Chocolate (she's been on this "Do. Not. Bring. Any. More. Sweets. Into. This. House." kick), so it seemed fitting. It's an Emergency, enjoy. Guido, the nephew in high school, got a bar of Instant Gratification, and my mother, the candyholic forever trying to cheat death by eating cereals that should come baled, got a 3.5 ounce bar of 100% Guilt Free Chocolate.
Other popular Bloomsberry titles include Eat Me, BoChox, and the undoubtedly popular Oral Pleasure (34% cocoa). Oral Pleasure says it's "For internal and external and internal and external use." Eewww. Bloomsberry & Co. is from New Zealand, where I guess they need a sense of humor.

My Trip To The ER
Convinced tainted cherries and a junk food jamboree were responsible for an Alien level belly ache, I toughed it out for two hours Sunday morning before slipping on my Crocs, making sure I had on clean underwear, and driving to my favorite ER. (This hospital serves Babcock ice cream and bakes the blueberries right into their pancakes.)
You could drop dead in triage, where they were more concerned about the parking lot than the doubled up rag that could barely lift her head to watch the Chargers at Colts in the waiting room. But once those sliding doors admitted you into the ER, it went from Kansas to Oz. The cable reception was good, the remote was within reach, and the drugs came quickly and often. I was optimistic despite being offered opiates like a tray of potato knishes. Or maybe because I was being offered opiates like a tray of potato knishes.
No one seemed too interested in my wax baggie of tainted cherries. They made me drink a pitcher of "contrast" and put me in this humming ring that reminded me of the Stargate bred with a copy machine.
I got laughs when I asked "Could I get meds-to-go so I can watch the last game at home?" I was being serious. Just before I went into surgery to get my appendix out I asked, "Are you sure it's not just a little gas?" Still not kidding.
It wasn't gas, and now I have an unreasonable fear of fresh fruit.
This counts as Day 11.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brent's Fiery Beer Brittle

I came across this peanut brittle while looking for chocolate beer and Monroe's Lazy Mutt at Brennan's.
"Monroe, what was from the Monroe Brewing Company," I kept asking myself. No, not the frolicking Fat Squirrel or meandering Spotted Cow. The New Glarus Brewing Company is of course in New Glarus, the town that banned The Pints—ironic, no?
Lazy Mutt is made in the town that brought us Huber, as in: *"I'm drinking Huber because I'm out on Huber Law."
Perhaps more famously known as the Joseph Huber Brewing Company (among others), the brewery is now the Minhas Craft Bewery. No more Joseph Huber, but some young Kanook with a degree in petroleum engineering (eh?) named Ravinder Minhas is the new Monroe Brew King.
The point of all this: Fiery Beer Brittle, although made in Napa Valley, beer capital of the world, is made with Brennan's Cellars Amber Beer. The packaging looks like an inviting bottle of wine, but if you close your eyes and try real hard, you can almost taste the beer. Almost. You mostly taste chili de Arbol powder and savory brittle.
I can not stop eating this stuff. First I sampled it with reservation and the idea I'd give it to someone with a palette for spicy snacks. As the days went by, a wayward nibble turned into a small bite, which gate-wayed into way too much.
At first I was trying to wash off the thick dust of chili pepper, even patting the candy dry to get to the sweet, sweet brittle. But after three pieces for breakfast this morning, my dalliance was over.
Initially reminiscent of Guatemalan Insanity Peppers, the Fiery Brittle became more of a Narnian-Arrakis Turkish spice melange. I became hooked.
They tried to make me go to sugar rehab, but I said no, no, no.
*Huber beer was so cheap you could get a case for $3.46, return the bottles for your deposit, $3.46, and buy another case. It wasn't what you'd call "premium" beer. The joke was, it contained so little alcohol that prisoners on work release could drink it and return to jail sober.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Necco Chocolate Sweethearts

Chocolate SweetheartsDay 10, Yes I'm still doing this, Chocolate Necco Sweethearts: You know them, you've thrown them around the classroom, it's one of the cheapest Valentine's Day candies in existence, it's the Necco Conversation Heart, chocolate style.
Chocolate is actually listed in the ingredients along with a couple gums and five different dyes. If you took a handful of regular Sweethearts and let them soak in the bottom of a carton of chocolate milk (along with a bit of chalk)—long enough to flavor but not long enough to disintegrate—you'd have a chocolate conversation heart. I can't tell you what happens to the conversation.
It's interesting that Necco comes up with ten new sayings and a theme each year, because the chocolate heart on the bottom left clearly says "Mug Me," and another declares "Maniac." I like the inclusion of the gay community with the "Love Boys" heart, although I don't understand one that says either "Now Mancat" or "Mow Moron."
Not crazy about the nagging "Call Home," or the desperate "Marry Me"—wouldn't "Have You Been Tested" or "I Hope You Choke On This" go better with the pragmatic "Get Real."
Did you know there's a conversation heart plant just east of here in Pewaukee? I didn't.
Not worth a drive through a foggy tornado or the inevitable flooding, but 110 Calories a box (almost two "full" boxes fit into one) and as much sugar as you'd expect, make the Necco Chocolate Sweetheart a decent Valentine's snack which tastes better than it needs to.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Welcome To Wisconsin

I have to drive through fog practically every day as it is, but enough with the 100 car pileups, killer icicles, and weather already. And a tornado warning? I hear it's mostly FIB bound, but after the season da Bears had they don't need another disaster.
Ba da dum.fog docksPostscript: At least six tornadoes spun through southeastern Wisconsin after I posted today. At least three in Kenosha County, and another one flattened a town near Milwaukee. Get them, smoke them, pour another one, have your fun now, roll in the mud with a redneck, and sing along with REM—it's Armageddon people, and southern Wisconsin is ground zero. Must be Satan collecting on that deal he made with Favre.

Day 9

Cocoa Deli Rocky RoadWhere was I?
Ah yes, the Twelve Days of Christmas, or Chocolate—either way it ended Saturday, the Epiphany being Sunday. My mother referred to the holy day (between bites of the forbidden Christmas fudge my sister banned from her house because "we are all on diets") as "Mini Christmas." At which point I heard my grandmother scream, "Why dida we waste alla da money ona da private's eschool" from the big Italian table in Catholic Heaven.
So the Epiphany, aka, Mini Christmas, was Sunday, which made me think it was time to haunt the melting Walgreen's Christmas aisle to see if they had completely cleared out the birth of our Lord for the fat little naked guy. No, not Danny DiVito, and I'm still sans limoncello.
There were surprisingly few Valentine's Day items, although I did come across the tub o' Cocoa Deli Rocky Road Clusters pictured above. I'd show you the unwrapped candy photos, but they look a scosh too much like a Christmas present the dog would leave. The chocolate doo drops were so bad, that after one bite I decided to ditch them in a snow bank.
Those Cocoa Deli Popsicles were to die for; someone even wrote me Jonesin' for some long after Belgian chocolate popsicle season was over. Cocoa Deli Rocky Road Clusters, not so much. They're not worth .99 cents of the $6.99 asking price. They taste like stale Chunkys, look nothing like the picture on the tub, and I left them as after dinner mints for indiscriminate squirrels. A few nibbles reminded me of eating the paper that sticks to melted chocolate, then solidifies, then you find it weeks or possibly months later, and eat it when you think no one is looking.
Not that I've done that.