Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cheap Easter Chocolates

A few years ago I started seeing these chocolate crosses appear in stores before Easter.  As a trained ancient historian, I was confused.  Why would anyone make chocolate in the form of an instrument of execution?  As a Christian I was offended.  Was the desire for money so great that we belittled the symbol of salvation by turning it into chocolate?  This year, because of my duty as your Chocolate Priestess, I spent as little as possible at our nearby Dollar Tree to review some of these products that combine religious symbols with chocolate for Easter.

You're heard of Palmer I'm sure.  They make a lot of different molded chocolates and sell them very cheaply for almost any major holiday you can imagine in the USA.  I picked up this "Hear My Prayer" double crisp treat. There is cocoa in this, far down on the list of ingredients, so I can review it.  It comes in a plastic and paper package that lets you write "To" and "From" on the back and unfolds to a little prayer or good wish for the receiver.  Eating the entire hands equals 220 calories, 11g saturated fat, 70mg sodium, <1g fiber, 24g sugars, 1g protein, with 2% calcium and iron.  Honestly this isn't healthy so it better taste great to make it worth your time even at only a dollar. 

The praying palms are 3.75 inches long and 2.5 inches at it's widest.  They have no scent which I find incredibly scary.  On the back you can see the dimples of the crisp rice inside.  The hands have some details, likes for veins and wrinkles for the knuckles so some effort went into what it looks like.  The lack of scent still concerns me.  With a sigh I take a bite just for you all, Sisters and Brothers.  Waxy and sugar hits my tongue and fills my mouth.  YUCK!  There really is not other way to review this.  I don't care how tight your finances are this is worse for your child, loved one or self than giving them nothing for Easter.

You may not have heard of Dairy Good from Dutchtown novelties and I can't find a website for them but they made this "Candy Cross" in the "chocolaty" version.  The white version by the way we could not review here but this one has cocoa at least.  One cross in this simply paper and plastic box has 300 calories, 16g saturated fat, <5mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 34g sugars, 2g protein, and 4% calcium.  Again, this is not very healthy so it better taste great. 

The cross is 5.25 inches long and with the cross beam of just over 3.5 inches.  It has a wood grain design on it and a gathering of flower at the cross point of the beams.  This also has no scent and with the horrid memory of the last candy in my mouth I gird myself to try this out for you, Sisters and Brothers.  This is just as sweet as the previous but not as waxy.  It is slightly better than the Palmer but honestly I strongly urge you to spend a dollar or two more and get something else.

The Milk Chocolate Acolyte has this to report about a chocolate bunny I bought him at this same store on the same day. This is his first written report so he'd gotten a bit wordy in his enthusiasm.

"The Easter season being quite a busy time of year here at the Chocolate Cult, the Chocolate Priestess has assigned me, in my capacity as the Milk Chocolate Acolyte, the task of reviewing a beautiful chocolate bunny. I am certain that many of us recall from childhood the books of Beatrix Potter, with her tales about the adventures of animal characters, illustrated with her exquisite watercolor paintings. Probably the most famous and beloved of these books is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and I certainly remember it well. Even the opening words of the story can cause the story to unfold anew in my memory: “Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.” The Frankford Candy & Chocolate Co., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (http://www.frankfordcandy.com) has produced a line of chocolate Easter bunnies in the likenesses of these four famous rabbits, officially licensed by Frederick Warne & Co., who owns the copyrights to the Beatrix Potter characters (http://www.peterrabbit.com), and here we have the first of the rabbits, Peter’s sister Flopsy.

The chocolate is solid, not hollow, and is in the form of a bas-relief, flat on the back and molded on the front into the three-dimensional image of a picture that could have come from the book. (This precise picture does not actually appear in the book, however.) Flopsy is depicted with her shawl and a basket for gathering blackberries, looking down at a small bird that sits at her foot, calling up to her (perhaps requesting blackberries). Both rabbit and bird stand upon a label, also made of chocolate, which is the only way that we would know which rabbit this is, since nowhere on the box does it say what is printed in raised letters in the chocolate: “FLOPSY.”

The Frankford Company is perhaps best known for making some of the candy related to the “Harry Potter” films (no relation to Beatrix, obviously). They make a variety of other candies based on characters from books, movies and television, as well as various Valentine’s Day and Easter chocolates. I was a bit optimistic about this product after seeing the attractive box it came in and noticing that it was officially licensed rather than used without permission, but seeing some of the other Easter products the company produces is slightly lowering my expectations.

The chocolate melts only slightly in my fingers as I hold it up and smell it, and although my sense of smell is not as acute as the Chocolate Priestess’s, I detect only a slight aroma of milk chocolate when I bring it near my nose. The list of ingredients on the label is fairly short: sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, milk, soya lecithin and PGPR (emulsifiers), vanilla and salt. Taking a bite from Flopsy’s ears with a solid snap, I let the chocolate melt in my mouth, and I can tell why sugar is the first ingredient, because this chocolate is very sweet. The Chocolate Priestess agrees with me that this is sweet and creamy milk chocolate, not artisan quality of course, but certainly superior to the other Easter products she has also been reviewing today. I quite enjoy it, though at 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) there isn’t a lot of it, but then it wasn’t very expensive. I am a bit worried about the high saturated fat content of 7 g, which is 34% of the saturated fat I should have today if I eat the whole thing. It is, however, free of trans fats."

So at the end, of the three molded Easter candies I got for $1 at the Dollar Tree, only one was actually worth that money.  Yes, you can save money for the holidays but please don't sacrifice taste and health to do so.

So I'm not accused of picking on other Christians, on Wednesday I'm going to try three products I found in my local Kroger for the Jewish Passover. 

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

6 comments:

stuc said...

thank you for your lovely review! i received the 'hear my prayer' double crisp this season as a gift. i no longer feel any need to open and taste it. all hail the Chocolate Priestess for your sacrifices!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, stuc.

The bunny we got for The Milk Chocolate Acolyte was the same price at the Dollar Tree and a much better product. There may be good tasting chocolate in religious symbols out there but I have yet to sample them.

If you or anyone else know of such a company or chocolatier willing to submit their products for review, please point them here for next Easter season.

LeyaS said...

Where can I obtain the molds - especially the praying hands for cupcake decorations

TheChocolatePriestess said...

LeyaS, thanks for reading and commenting but I honestly don't know. Since we don't sell things here on The Chocolate Cult and I have never been sent any molds to try, I can't offer a solid suggestion.

dege7575 said...

If you google the address for Dutchtown Novelties (PO Box 1723 Reading PA), you will find that this address is for RM Palmer. Their information is:


www.rmpalmer.com/


R.M. Palmer, Co | PO Box 1723 | Reading, PA 19603 | 610 372-8971. Privacy Policy. Quality Assurance Pledge.

This was copied and pasted right off google... hope this helps. Their hours of operation are 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

That's an interesting comment to leave, dege7575, but we do background information for companies we feature, this was just a regular review.

Palmers has yet to be brave enough to send us their products and if the quality is no better than this, I know why. We don't pull our punches in our featured reviews just because a company sends us a product.

If they have something that is quality chocolate, they are more than welcomed to send it to us for a feature, we turn no company away but we are always honest in our observations and reporting about the labels.

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