Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Visit to Jungle Jim's for Chocolate

Back in October of this year, our Chocolate Fruit Acolyte and I went to Ohio for a convention that didn't go very well but this blog is not the place to discuss that since it involves my fiction writing not chocolate.  As a way to try and cheer me up, Rene told me about a grocery store that was like an amusement park that she had been to a few times.  It wasn't far from the convention so we headed there before driving home.  I was looking forward to their amazing chocolate selection.

Now I was not prepared for Jungle Jim's International Market, Rene's words just couldn't get my mind to grasp what I was about to see.  It was very much like an amusement park.  Let's see some photos so you can see what I mean.

Approaching the shop from parking lot.

The Exit looks like a ride at an amusement park.

And we get a bit closer.

And a bit closer.

There's the Entrance.

But once inside look at everything.  We go to this section by turning to our left after we went into the entrance you see in the above photo. There was more ahead of us but we had limited time and energy.






Inside finding chocolate proved more of a challenge than I was in the mood for. I was deeply tired and emotionally annoyed by the convention and it had been awhile since Rene's visit. She took me to the Candy section but as you'll see below it really wasn't chocolate.

Sign over Candy Section.

The Candy Section had this big display of Movie Tyme treats that might look familiar if you ever go to the movies.

It also had a huge Jelly Belly dispenser section to the left of the movie treats.

No, these characters did only only point to MM products. I didn't show you everything that is in this section, Sisters and Brothers cause I was looking for this unique collection of chocolates.






Next to the candy section was the bakery and we had a chat with the manager there who passed on my information to a wonderful lady I talked to a couple of weeks later. But that's getting ahead of myself, Sisters and Brothers. Here's some photos of their bakery.

It was before Halloween, just a few days before so they had these decorated caramel apples.

The bakery section also had special displays for other smaller, speciality bakeries.  You can see a bit more of the candy section in the background to give you a sense of where things were.




We were told to head across the store (not a small adventure) to find a chocolate aisle.  To be honest, it was still confusing and while we found individual nation aisles.  Some of these had chocolate but the staff in this section was no help; they took us from one section to another but did not seem to grasp that we were looking for an aisle of just chocolate.  In this photo you can see the "England" display above our heads, Robin Hood cause, you know, he's Robin Hood!

Finally we found a staff member who walked us over to the chocolate aisle, that we marked and looked at for a while.  Here you can see that while it was impressive it also reminded me a good deal of the chocolate aisle at a local international foods market not far from my house that I've reviewed here before.

The aisle was fairly long so let's keep walking down it, shall we?

And we'll keep walking and check out all the Cadbury, more than I've seen elsewhere in the shops I've visited so far in the USA.  Lots of Lindt chocolate as well be I do see that brand far more often and we've been featuring it a lot this past year plus.

Another chocolate display in this section near the end though this is not the end of the aisle.  I wanted to leave you all something to explore.  Oh look, a piece of my finger.  I actually did OK with the photos considering these were on my cellphone.

We also wandered back into several of the nation sections of the store but ultimately returned so I could buy three chocolate products that you see here.  One of these, from France, that I've all ready looked at for you all.  So that leaves these two products to briefly discuss.

Blanxart's Chocolate Negro from Spain is a 62% cacao 1.7oz bar.  This is simply chocolate -- cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla, nothing else.  It tastes great because nothing interferes with our Sacred Substance in this treat.  The wrapper appears to be recyclable and is quite easy to remove.

The Nougat Passion from Italy's Quaranta, is a soft nougat filled with nuts covered with a darker chocolate layer including tiny pieces over the top weighing 3.5oz.  There is a very stuck on layer of white paper on the bottom of this that took a bit of effort to remove; don't eat it.  The bottom nougat layer is very sticky as well so have a handy wipe ready.  The bulk of this is a very dense nougat with with slivers of almonds that overwhelms the dark chocolate top layer.

The woman from Jungle Jim's that I talked to later said that perhaps in the future they'd like to invite me out to visit them more fully or send me products to do features about.  If that happens, we'd be honored to cover them again.  Have you been to Jungle Jim's International Market, Sisters and Brothers? What did you think? Do you have an international food market in your city that can even come close?

2 comments:

Sean O'Leary said...

I miss Jungle Jim's. What an awesome store! World Market tries real hard, but it's got less space than Jungle Jim's deli counter seating area. I would be a happy camper if they would open one even as far from Madison as Chicago, Milwaukee, or Twin Cities.

I particularly miss their selections from Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Israel. Each of those sections (except maybe Britain) are fairly small, but give a good cross section of foods and treats. On the "domestic" side, about the only part of the store I haven't swooned over has been the live crustacean tanks (I'm not big on eating bugs, much less bringing them home myself).

Their selection of hotsauces alone is worth the trip- and I don't do much in the way of capsicum- just for the variety: they range from mild tomatillo-based salsas to weapons-grade distillations sealed in lead with the seal of Solomon holding the liquid ifrits at bay.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Sean, sounds like you had a lot more time to explore than we did. Makes me want to go back even more hearing about your experiences. Thanks for sharing.