Friday, April 30, 2010

Outlet Find #2

The second chocolate shop I found just really a chocolate shop unlike Harry & David's which sells a wide range of foods.  This was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory outlet in the Tanger Outlet Center in Williamsburg, Iowa.  As you can see in the photo to the left it was night time when we visited this outlet mall and this shop is located at the end of the eastern side of the back strip of stores.

The nice lady there the only shop keeper on our Spring trip that didn't feel she had the power to make an offering to The Chocolate Cult so they are only getting this basic product review for the four items I bought.  To the right you see the entrance to the store from inside of it and some of the displays along the side -- it was a narrow but long layout so not too many folks could comfortably fit in at once there.

I bought two varieties of their "Sea Foam" candy which I was told is like their version of honeycomb candy which I know I've reviewed at least once from the Pilgrimage to Nashville last fall with the Chocolate Coconut Acolyte.  These are huge pieces, 2.5 X 1.75 X 0.5 inches in dimensions.  One is covered in milk chocolate and the other in dark chocolate as  you can see in the photo to the left. The milk chocolate has a sweet scent while the darker is only the chocolate.  Both are very crunchy and have a multi-layered sweet, hard center that has a strip of honey between two lighter but crisp layers.  The milk chocolate adds to the sweetness while the bitter dark chocolate helps counter it well.  Personally I prefer the darker but it will be a matter of your taste.

The two peanut butter cups I got were both milk chocolate but one, the larger one with the butterfly in sugar frosting is the regular while the smaller one is sugar free.  The regular measures 2 inches across on the base and is 1.25 inches deep while the sugar free is almost 2 inches across the base but rises to only  0.75 inches tall which makes it feel like perhaps 60% of the weight of the regular.  And yet it costs more which is sadly not uncommon for sugar free products.  Why is it that things which are supposed to be better for us or for specialized diets get away with costing more?  As a historian, your Chocolate Priestess knows this was not always the case because fatty and more rich foods, less healthy ones, used to be only within ready reach of the wealthy who in turn suffered illnesses we now associate with poverty and inexpensive foods.

Enough of my complaining, how do they compare in terms of our senses?  The sugar decoration really covers up the chocolate for the regular cup until I peel back the wrapper to sniff the side but the milk chocolate is very evident to my nose for the sugar free.  The sugar free has a very thick shell of chocolate with a semi-sweet peanut butter center that doesn't have the sad sugar free yuck you can easily find in mass produced and readily available products you can find in most stores these days.  Since I don't know what if anything has been substituted for sugar be wary of eating this quickly since most of those substitutions have affects on your digestive system.  The regular peanut butter cup is hard to cut a piece from because of it's size but I don't think I want to open my mouth wide enough to take a bite directly from it.  This is actually two layers of peanut butter filling and three layers of chocolate when I cut off a piece.  It tastes much creamier and sweeter than the sugar free which isn't so surprising.  I actually think the chocolate itself is a stronger flavor in the sugar free variety.

As you can see, I was seriously limited by my budget in terms of what I could try here but there are dozens and dozens of varieties of chocolates, cookies, ice cream, drinks, and candies just in this one store.  I wish the store manager had been able to make us an offering but perhaps in the future they will send us something else so we can feature them on a Saturday Sacrament.

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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