Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sweetness From Seattle

I thought all Asian candy was made from rice paper, crickets, and fish. Not so. Jodi sent me some myth busting treats from the Seattle Uwajimaya which held up to road trip torture on a sun fried day in April. (Okay, I love Hi-Chew, which was sent along for the ride. It was the only candy that melted, which doesn't make sense except that it melted at Miller Park. It would have been more fitting if it had choked somebody then fell apart in September.)

Meiji Apollo Straw ChocI had to eat several Meiji Apollo Chocolate Strawberry candies to assure they were cricket free. No arthropoda of any kind, no top melt, just perky smooth chocolate with a healthy kick of strawberry.
The little ridged cones are big enough to pop in your mouth or decorate a large pastry. They're willing springtime travel candy that will leave a tell tale glop if you pose them on a hot steel railing, but why would you do that?
I love how they smell, all strawberry on top and chocolate bottomed. They come alive in your mouth (eww) and take turns treating your tongue to strawberry and cocoa.
The Meiji Apollos are pretty, described as "umbrellas" or "cones" or "mountain-shaped." I especially like the mountain image from JBOX.com, which says the candy is made to look like a mountain of chocolate covered in strawberry snow.

Dars Bitter ChocolatePossessing the mind and taste of an eight-year-old boy, I'm not a dark chocolate fan. But I liked these Dars Bitter Chocolate pieces (made by Morinaga, the Hi-Chew people), they didn't have an overwhelming bite and harbored a soft infusion of bitter chocolate.
The box opens neatly from the right with a sturdy tray full of silky pieces sliding out handily. I'm close to calling them luscious or decadent, giving the Dars box an "A" for presentation.

Dars Bitter ChocolateThe Dars held up incredibly well to warm weather travel without sacrificing taste or appearance. I'm eating them days later and they still look great...wait...gone now.
Another dark chocolate candy of a different color is the Kuroi Chocoball, also by Morinaga. They look like small Whoppers with a super charged cocoa smack. The inside is wafer crunchy with Oreo cookie overtones and an intense chocolate rush.

Kuroi ChocoballsIt took reading glasses and a strong light bulb to see the Kuroi ("black" in Japanese) Chocoball label and the Kyorochan icon. (Kyorochan is the parrot on the box. It had a 91 episode deal with Japanese TV.) Thank you, Wikipedia.

Kuroi ChocoballsFunny, I can see how this is the candy of an animated parrot. It's deceivingly rich with an airy center and comes off as fun and addictive.
If Kaboom and Count Chocula aren't enough to jump start your day, slip a few Black Sugar Chocoballs in your cereal bowl and see what happens.

Sauk City FrankyDon't wet your drawers Jimmy, Franky here is a Bichon Frisé, not a poodle.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Traveling Sugar

Chocolate licoriceChrissy sent me treats—fancy chocolate covered licorice, crunchy chocolate espresso beans, gorgeous Pecan Caramel Waves, milk chocolate Bear Claws, and ahem, M&M's type Old Age Pills—from the Mantoulin Chocolate Works in Northern Ontario, where there are bears, chocolate bears.

Chocolate Bear ClawThis is what can happen when you shoot chocolate bear in Wisconsin in April (I like to think where there's sun, there's melting chocolate).
Today it snowed and Friday it's going to be 80˚, go figure.

Pecan Caramel WaveYou can still see how pretty this Pecan Caramel Wave (i.e., turtle) is. Tell me you wouldn't grab it and shove the whole thing in your mouth no questions asked? Although the fancy chocolate covered licorice held up well, I think the wave was the tastiest. I like how it already looked melty.
Which got me thinking, which candy travels best?

Red VinesYou can go to a camping store to see what they repackage and stamp their own brand name on, or hit the road, stop in a town along the way, and see what holds up.

SnapsWhat's your favorite road trip candy?
It's got to stand up to the elements, be accessible to a lone driver, easily shared with passengers, stay solid after being holed up in the car for hours, and of course taste good.

And speaking of elements, if you're road tripping to Devil's Lake, look out for these

ElvisSorry, not Elvis, I mean these

GnatsThose specs on the rocks and in the air are bugs, lots and lots of bugs. There are so many crowding the air that Ranger Dave says they're choking people's car engines. They moved a Honda Fit from a South Shore parking lot to the Devil's Doorway. They're drinking cans of Red Bull and defacing trails signs. Guess what they did with the name "Tumbled Rocks?"
I'd leave the candy in the car.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Basket Case

The family Easter basketIt's time to throw restraint, diets, and dental care to the wind. In other words, Lent is over and the Easter Bunny has gone bat shit crazy.

Unpacked Easter candyThe scary thing is I got more Easter candy immediately after this photo was taken.

Sour Patch XploderzLet's take a closer look at one of my favorite items from the sugar nest, Sour Patch Xploderz. They have all the charm of a Sour Patch Kid with the gross squirt of Freshen Up gum. Xploderz can clear the palette between mouthfuls of chocolate while you pretend you're eating fruit—fruit called Raspberry Lemonade Rush, Grape Berry Surge, Cherry Berry Bash, and Apple Strawberry Burst.

Rainblo Bubble Gum EggsAlso fun and palette clearing, Rain•Blo Bubble Gum Eggs. I like the option of chewing, rather than inhaling one's cane.

Hubba Bubba GlopThis is another fun and squishy item. The strawberry flavor could be a little more subtle, then again would you be putting something called "Glop" in your mouth if you wanted subtle? I love how the gum is egg shaped with a gooey red yolk and the bunny head is removable for use elsewhere. Use you imagination.

Easter Cow Pie
Cow Pie unwrappedSome later additions to the basket were inexplicably hard to find Cadbury Mini Eggs, delectable Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Eggs, Easter Cow Pies, and one uneaten Pecan Puddle. (The image above is an Easter Cow Pie, not a Puddle.)

Giant Cheetos Packs
Giant CheetosIt's strange that the only thing catching my fancy at Walgreen's this year are mini packs of Giant Cheetos (I wanted them for Guido and was thrilled to find them giagantisized).
Maybe I was too full of candy spillover to notice my beloved chocolate coconut nests, but I never found them.

AndyThis year I discovered that Good & Plenty look great in pink plastic eggs and may appease black licorice jelly bean thieves like Guido here. (I'd eaten a bag of black only beans long ago and wanted to move on selection wise.)

Chris's Easter BasketThis is the basket I made for his brother, I used an inexpensive Rubbermaid container ($1.99) and packed it full of candy. That's solid sugar beneath the top layer, son.
Note the Lindt Chocolate Carrot and Mini Chicks. I don't know what they taste like because they were too much of a hot commodity to unwrap and sample, but they look great and Lindt is one of my favorite commercial chocolates.

MilkyWay BunnyI've become convinced that Easter may soon overtake Halloween as the number one candy holiday. Take MilkyWay Bunnies for instance (go ahead, take one).
The rich chocolate aroma smacks you upside the nose when you tear a bunny open and all that caramel comes dripping out, begging you to ravish it on the spot—I won't show you the inside, it's too much.

MilkyWay BunnyI lied. They look and taste richer and fudgier than a MilkyWay candy bar. Maybe it's the shape and size, but it seems as if there's even more luscious caramel spilling out. Like the candy bar, they lend themselves to being frozen.

This year's Best of the Basket: Pecan Puddles, MilkyWay Bunnies, Sour Patch Xploderz (not for everyone), Lindt Milk Chocolate Carrots and Chicks, Reese's Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Eggs, Giant Flaming Hot Cheetos, bubble gum, and as always, Cadbury Caramel Eggs of any size.
I wouldn't get Chewy Sweetarts Minis again.
And the Worst of the Basket: Little Debbie Easter Egg Brownies
MIA: Russel Stover milk chocolate coconut nests
Best One Stop Shop For Easter Candy: Tarjé
Most Pathetic Display of Easter Candy For a Grocery Store of Its Caliber: The Hilldale Sentry
Best Find at a Gas Station: Cadbury Mini Eggs at Kelley Williamson Mobil

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crisis Averted

Fetching my nephew Guido and his friend Io home for Easter gave me the opportunity to drag their baggy pants wearing, boxers hanging out arses through Boo and The Baraboo Candy Company.

That gave me the opportunity to find out if the lack of Claws locally meant the end of Badger Claws everywhere.
No, no it doesn't. Stay tuned for an update after Easter.
(Is this thing on? Does anyone care that the Badger Claw was an endangered species for a day?)
They have other stuff too.

Gummi Army Guys
Easter Cow Pie
Penny Candy
Gummy EarthwormsYou can bet you'll see more of those Earthworms later.
[Not pictured, but eaten, Pecan Puddles, the best of the best]

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Burn Down The Mission

I can't say why the candy filled Jesus egg from Bee International makes me laugh, but it does, more so than milk chocolate prayer hands, or Walking With Jesus gummy flip flops. When I found the edible pastel crosses inside I was in stitches.

Jesus Egg candy crossesMaybe it's like laughing in church even if it means you're going straight to hell with A-rod and Madonna. Most likely it has something to do with our second grade Bible, a horror show so graphic it would make Tarantino cringe.
I wonder if our teacher, an old-school penguin with steel knuckles and a knee length key chain laden with the scalps of second graders, would find the Jesus egg inspiring or offensive.
This is the nun who threw chalk and candy at us in tandem, making solving problems on the blackboard both delicious and confusing. She locked Miguel Marx in the trap door near the flag in the corner and told stories about errant altar boys and sacks of bloody hosts. She was like Stephen King with pronounced chin hair.

Jesus EggWould Jesus find Christian candy funny, or would he burn down the mission. I guess you can't go through that kind of shit without a sense of humor, but I've been afraid to eat the candy crosses until tonight, thinking how annoying an eternity with Madonna would be.
Some of the crosses are too hard and threaten to chip your teeth. They're too sweet, with a tart and sometimes "off" after taste (which in all fairness could have come from any number of places). Maybe they really all taste the same, but you know how colors can trick you.

Candy crossesThere is a difference in texture from color to color and I think the blue tastes like berry.
There was a small cellophane wrapper on the outside of the egg saying it's distributed by Bee International, whose Web site will not come up. It also says "Recommended for Children 3 Years and Older."
No. Just, no. The crosses are tiny little choking hazards I wouldn't trust with well insured adult teeth.
I did find this gem which talks about Bee Inc.'s failure to comply with a small parts regulation in regards to other candy filled products.

Inspiration Easter doveIf you must have a Jesus egg (or the one I found next to it with a flame shooting out of a dove's head), dump out the killer crosses and fill them with jelly beans.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Maybe I'll Announce The Winners Before Monday

Almond M&Ms
I changed out of my jammies and into my Easter bonnet just to thank everyone for playing the M&M's Word Verification game. Okay, I didn't do that, but cousin Rita did in the photo below.
You came up with some good ones, but Jodi and Lisa won, deal with it. They're getting whatever hasn't already been eaten as soon as I get around to sending it. Do I know how to throw a contest or what.

Rita, Chris, Beesh,Toni,Jeanna, Kathy, Patrick
Lisa (Lisa's Chaos) won for:
My sponge screisols on the glass as I try to get it clean, dang Mud!
She's one helluva photographer, order her prints here.

Jodi (Will Work For Noodles) won for:
My ver is drosc, which almost sounds like Droste (okay, maybe not, but close, very close) and it's very hard to think of a word that works in a sentence (other than m&m's) that either begins or ends in "m".
She's one helluva writer, download her book or get it in print from Amazon.

Chris, Jeanna, KathyI also liked Chrissy's (Random Thoughts And Musings From The Island) :
Mmm...Mmmm...Mah dawg's name is Rosco but for this comment we'll call him Rosteo. He's one 'mazin dog-o. He luvs a good canoli or a wicked kringle. This stupid sentence has turned into a limerick gone awry. I'm gonna go now. Yes, I am.

Roscoe and Frisbee
Mommy Wizdom's: "More chiess please, monamie?"


Jill's (The Adventures of Lil Mouse)...
my word verification is maupeted, which I take to mean as 'what you get when you use a muppet as living room flooring--maupeted'
...was creative and disturbing.

Thanks to Teague who wrote:
Maybe I'll go to ritne to see the candy of a school marm.

M&Ms Easter chicksVerification words I'd like to introduce into the English language:
horch - half porch
ettjizzi - body fungus
skyted - nicked, snatched

jigrate - to dance like Elaine Benes
holog - miniature pre hologram technology
daygo (I kid you not) - the look you get when sated by Italian food

Almond M&M's and Easter Chick photos courtesy of Kevin at Weber Shandwick
Thanks to
Chocolate Snob for the Little Britain clip find