Monday, February 8, 2010

Tower of Sweets

FTD is primarily known for flowers and their delivery around the world, but they also offer other gifts, including a decent selection of chocolates they retail.  Your Chocolate Priestess received a double value gift certificate from one of her credit cards and used it to buy one such gift from FTD.  This was the "Red Roses Tower of Sweets," which is three boxes of four types of chocolate treats plus a photo frame.  This arrived exactly as scheduled, but you should know that shipping costs are outrageous from FTD.  Instead of being based on weight or cost of the gift, these are just flat fees depending on if you want it delivered during the week or on a weekend.  This meant that I spent about 2/3 of the what this tower cost on postage.

Let's get the non-chocolate out of the way for this gift.  The box on the side is the almost 6 by 7 inch picture frame.  This was quite disappointing because it is made of sturdy cardboard and plastic.  OK for putting a photo in but, not a terribly wonderful gift, certainly not one you'd want to give as a separate gift.  In fact, the the boxes the treats come in seem to be made of the same material, which makes them sturdy reusable boxes that stack inside one another, but not a high-class frame.

Let's start with the top box, the smallest, and see what is inside.  Buried in crinkled white paper are six red foil wrapped milk chocolate hearts which measure 3/8" deep and about 1.25" in length.  These have a chocolaty but also a waxy smell to them, and since there are no nutritional or ingredients lists, I can only guess this means this chocolate has artificial additives.  In terms of tastes, it has that mass-produced Easter Bunny flavor to it, but it does melt and coat your mouth in creamy chocolate flavor.

In the middle box are two types of treats.  First, four little 60% Dark Chocolate squares from Ghirardelli, who are sending us something to review next week right before Valentine's Day, so I won't review them here.  Second there is a box of four "French Chocolate Truffles" made with cocoa (far down on the list of ingredients) but also a lot of artificial flavors and colors, and they contain 0.3 g of trans fat.  The truffles are also individually wrapped in gold foil bags, which you see in this photo along with an unwrapped one.  The truffle has a cocoa scent and is rather pinched looking, like it was grasped at the top and squeezed a bit when it was made  There is a dusting of cocoa on the outside of the chocolate, which has a 1 inch diameter.  This is a semi-soft treat which melts in my mouth.  The rush I get, though, is really more sugar, moving downward from my mouth into my bloodstream.  This just does not compare well at all with other French style truffles we've seen on The Chocolate Cult.

An 8 oz. bag of "Chocolate Covered Pretzels" is packed in the biggest box along with more of the white crinkled paper.  This also contains the ingredients and nutritional information; it has more chocolate than the truffles, frankly.  One ounce, or 1/8th of the bag, has 150 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, less than 1 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 2 g protein, and 2% of the calcium and iron an adult needs daily.  Each pretzel is about 1.5 inches across and has raised lines of chocolate over it.  These appear to have suffered some damage in transport, since they have scuff marks and some are broken. This is just a normal risk when you get something delivered instead of delivering it yourself.  These have a very strong cocoa scent to them, but they feel sort of waxy, probably from the added vegetable oil listed in the ingredients.  The pretzel has a good crunch to it, and the chocolate is about average tasting for this type of treat, but the salt becomes overwhelmingly the primarily flavor.  Not as good as other pretzels we've had here on The Chocolate Cult.

I'm just not impressed by this particular gift option from FTD, Sisters and  Brothers.  For the price the quality is just not good enough.  While there were plenty of pretzels, the other chocolates didn't have enough to really be worth their share of the cost.  The frame was disappointing, but I do like the reusable and stackable boxes.  Add in an incredibly high shipping & handling cost, and I think you can find a better deal out there for your Valentine's Day gifts.  Look through our "Saturday Sacraments" and "Special Sacraments" sections to find some of these other options.

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

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