Saturday, April 24, 2010

Simply Divine Candy Shop

While on a trip recently, your Chocolate Priestess was on the lookout for chocolate shops and chocolatiers, and she found a lot of nothing, frankly, but that's for another post.  I did find a nice big candy shop in downtown Cedar Rapids Iowa called Simply Divine and went in for a visit.  "Pete," the shop owner, is a very vibrant lady who gave me some of their fudge to try, so I'll be revealing that to you all today.  In a regular review I'll be sharing their truffle collection with you all as well.

"Pete" shared four types of the fudge they sell at the shop and on their website.  Since these photos were taken "on the road," you may notice variations in quality not normal for The Chocolate Cult.  First up was a Snickers variety.  This has four layers to it.  The bottom and top are a milk chocolate fudge with peanuts on the top.  The lower middle layer is a sort of vanilla nougat style of fudge with peanuts mixed right into it, but on top of that is the fourth layer, made of caramel.  Cutting a small piece reveals interesting differences in the textures, with very soft nougat but the peanuts, of course, hard and unyielding.  The different flavors all combine to make a "Snicker" that is actually better than the candy bar this is named for.  The caramel is sweet, the nougat tangy, and the chocolate creamy and slightly bitter with a nutty crunch.  Excellent.

Second is a "Cookie Dough" variety that has visible pieces of chocolate chips and cookie dough in the bulk of the fudge, which has a vanilla fudge center. This is topped and rests on two darker chocolate shells with walnuts also on the top.  These top and bottom shells make it impossible to slice off a piece, so I just bite off a corner and am immediately eating walnut chocolate chip cookie dough that tastes just like what I'd expect if I was making these cookies at home.  Since I can't share this with the Milk Chocolate Acolyte, who has a nut allergy, and I doubt anyone else on our trip will want to share my germs, I'm forced to eat the entire thing for you all.  You need to try this, Sisters and Brothers; you really, really do.

Third was this "Peanut Butter Cup" type of fudge, which is huge and has three tiers.  The top and bottom are a chocolate layer, but the top has two actual peanut butter cups in it as well; the middle tier is peanut butter fudge, which makes this a difficult piece to take just a sliver from to sample for you all.  The peanut butter layer is creamy and soft, the bottom chocolate layer is milk chocolate and sweet, and the top layer has the interesting but slightly dry peanut butter cups.  The result is a huge bite that I think must make any chocolate and peanut butter lover very happy.

Finally a "Bailey's Irish Cream" flavor that's good year-round, not just in March. This piece of chocolate fudge has a green and chocolate crosshatch of lines across the top.  It has a cocoa and sweet smell, but also a hint of Bailey's as well.  Taking a sliver of it, I find it slices easily.  It has a smooth, creamy taste and texture and melts quickly in my mouth.  The cocoa is overwhelmed by the Bailey's in a short amount of time, and like all fudge it is very sweet.  A nice twist on plain chocolate fudge that you should savor unless you want a nasty sugar rush from eating it too fast.

If this looks like the fudge for you, check out Simply Divine.  They have a lot of other varieties of candy, including a full array of truffles that they sell directly to customers and to local restaurants as well.  "Pete" tells me they are the largest candy shop for 400 miles around unless you go to Chicago.  While I found 7 chocolate shops along that trip, there are long stretches of miles where I found nothing at all, so when you see one, stop and thank them for being there and helping you enjoy the Sacred Substance.

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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