Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gifts of Chocolate Paper Part 1

As you know, from time to time here on The Chocolate Cult we talk about labor, agriculture, trade, health, your rights as a consumer, and charities that are associated with chocolate.  While we primarily feature food or drink in our Sacraments, we do include other products from time to time.  Today I want to share some of the interesting chocolate paper products we were sent by the Cocoa Paper organization.  These products in particular help support Bali Insan Creative that empowers Bali villagers, particularly women, by giving them more uses for the cocoa plantations.  Cocoa Paper sent us a lot of their products so we're going to break these into groups of items over several months.

How to break these into groups was the first challenge.  Since it turns out that National Reading Month is March, I thought I'd look at the bookmarks and photo frames you could have made from cocoa tree bark.  This will be a lot of photos and few words this time around, Sisters and Brothers.  You can use one of the company's standard designs, they have over 52 graphics, or you can send them a black & white design.  Our Chocolate Cult logo is in color and I think having more variety for you all to look at is a good thing so we just asked them to send a selection you all might want to look at.  They sell to the individual as well as companies and several of their products are highly customizable.

We were sent five of Cocoa Paper's chocolate themed and other designs bookmarks.  Since the website uses metric measurements, I'll put our in American standard size since we are refusing to change over here.  These are 5 7/8th inches long, 1 5/8th inches wide and are 1/16th of an inche thick -- yes these are thicker than you might image and they have more heft to them than most of my other bookmarks in the house.

The design in on one side while the back has some information about the company and their philosophy.  As you can see they have several colors of tassels you can choose from and they can work with you figure out what to put on the back I believe, based on what their contact person, Kate, told me over a few emails.

Kate tells me that these tassels are hand woven by a lovely group of women living on a small island off the coast of South Sulawesi. These women are left alone for up to 7 months a year while their husbands go searching for fish (they are fisherman from many generations).The ladies will get together, have tea & weave tassels together. Of course money is sparse when their husbands are away so this additional income really helps them out.

They also sent us one of these folding photo frames that holds four 2 X 3.5 inch photos or pictures behind Formica covers.  These you add from the top so they can't easily slide out even if you move the frame around.  Folded up this measures 3.25 X 4.5 X 5/8th of an inch; unfolded it is about 14.5 inches long.

Buying from Cocoa Paper is supporting the cocoa farmer at the grassroots level by utilizing more of their crops than just the cocoa beans.  You get a "chocolate" product without calories that comes in a wide and useful array of goods.  By finding ways to increase profit for the farmer we help encourage them to continue their cocoa production and become more empowered in the process.  If you've ever worried about the decline of chocolate production or the rising cost of cocoa, then think of these types of products as another method to keep the growers in business.  For using more of the cocoa tree and not simply disposing of the "non-bean" parts, as well as trying to empower the farmers and villagers, these products  are Sacrament Worthy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate in April 2012

There are not that many fun food holidays for chocolate in April but we do have Easter this year for western Christians on April 8th and for the Greek Orthodox tradition on the 15th of April.

Here are some other fun food holidays you might want to note that you could use Chocolate to mark.  If you know of any others, please leave a comment and let us know.

April 3 = on this day in 1892 the Ice Cream Sundae was created

April 3 = National Chocolate Mousse Day

April 5 = National Caramel Day -- you can have chocolate with your caramel or inside your caramel

April 8 = Western Easter Traditions

April 9 = National Coffee Cake Day -- we have a post lined up for you all ready where I try a recipe from a cookbook I need to review

April 15 = Greek Orthodox Easter Traditions

April 21 = National Chocolate Covered Cashew Truffle Day -- that is one specific holiday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Cadbury Easter

My UK readers will know Cadbury and I think a fair number of my North American readers will as well.  Cadbury is a fairly old name in chocolate.  Today, in time for Easter we're going to look at two treats I found in our nearby stores.  One of them is the Cadbury Egg and one is a Milk Chocolate Bunny.  I found these are our Target store, I didn't see them any where else and that surprised me given how popular the Eggs generally are.

But then I'm not talking about the Creme Eggs because I have a shocker for you, Sisters and Brothers -- I don't like them.  Perhaps that doesn't shock you if you've been reading this blog for some time.  What does your Chocolate Priestess primarily judge all treats sent to or given to her plus the ones she buys?  Chocolate!  I want my chocolate to be chocolaty and it gets the highest marks for not just tasty but also something creates a buzz or high from the chemicals in our Sacred Substance.  Milk Chocolate rarely does that but let's give Cadbury two tries to do that to me today.

Cadbury came out some time back with several varieties of their very popular creme eggs and of those varieties my favorite was the Caramel Egg.  I couldn't find these and I couldn't find them so when I saw them in Target I snatched one four-pack up.  The box has four servings, one egg per serving, which has 170 calories made up of 4.5g saturated fat, less than 5mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 15g sugars, and 2g protein.  This has chocolate and cocoa butter but very oddly also added oils and high fructose corn syrup according to the label.  If soy is a serious problem you should know it also has soy lecithin.  The egg is large and has a star pattern on front.  It has both a cocoa and a caramel smell before I take a bite.  The caramel inside is oozing out and surprising not as sweet as I was expecting but then we've had caramels with a lot more sugars, haven't we?  I still like these a lot because the milk chocolate can hold it's own with the caramel.

There are three types of chocolate bunnies in the world -- hollow, partial filled, and solid.  Of course they can vary by type of chocolate and anything that is added to them.  I found this solid 6oz Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bunny in Target and it was less than half the price of a hollow bunny by another company that was only 1oz larger.  Of course you know which one I bought, the better buy.  This bunny is a good size at 5.25 inches long, 3 inches at the widest part, and 1.25 inches at it's thickest part.  Of course it has dairy and soy lecithin, doesn't every milk chocolate product?  It also has cocoa butter and NO added oils.  While the Egg was made in Canada for the Hershey Company, this was made in the USA in Hershey itself.  One bunny is 4 servings so the entire thing, cause I know you will eat or want to eat the entire thing, has 880 calories, 32g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, less than 4g fiber, 96g sugars, and 16g protein.  Yeah, if you eat this entire don't be gorging yourself on other things this Easter, please.  Moderation, remember?

I said it was a better buy, but was it?  Let's take a bite and find out.  It has good chocolate but also creamy scent to it and it feels cool in my hands.  I take one bite, I take one to two bites when I do any review for you, Sisters and Brothers.  It makes a soft snap when I bite off the top of the ears.  The flavor is very creamy, a hint of almost vanilla though none is listed, but the cocoa is there underneath it all.  It is a bit too milky for me but I was expecting that so I can say to my Milk Chocolate Lovers, give this a try.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MilkyWay Simply Caramel Bar

Remember my trip to CVS where I said I found some newer varieties of old favorites, Sisters and Brothers?  Well today I'm going to review the second of these three bars for you all: the MilkyWay Simply Caramel bar.  MilkyWays traditionally have what in them?  Chocolate coating, nougat, and some caramel, right?  So this then should be the same bar without the nougat.  Some folks like that nougat stuff in candy bars and chocolates, some don't. I could take it or leave it personally because I'm focused on the Chocolate, obviously.

I broke the bar open, setting aside the larger part for someone else to have as well -- Moderation at work -- and found it was as advertised: only caramel inside and no nougat.  As you can see in the photo below the caramel is very thick and it was very sticky too, a bit of a challenge to pull apart neatly.  The bar looks flatter than the regular MilkyWay and it is much stickier as well.  The caramel is both sweet and tangy but it really overwhelms the milk chocolate coating.  For that reason alone I think I prefer the regular MilkWay.

Who has tried this MilkyWay Simply Caramel bar before?  What did you think of it?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Totally Chocolate Easter Basket

Taraluna has a close relationship with Sjaak's and this means they carry a lot of Sjaak's products day in and day out, but especially for the holidays.  Easter 2012 is no exception and they sent us this adorable little Easter basket made by Sjaak's.  As you can see it is a milk chocolate basket, a milk chocolate bunny, and in this photo you see two of the three milk chocolate eggs as well as a few strands of the green recycled paper used for "grass" holding them all up.

The basket may seem small at 3.25 X 2 X 2.5 inches but it is solid milk chocolate made the Sjaak's way -- certified organic and fair trade, no artificial ingredients. It has been moled to resemble a wooden basket to some degree.

The bunny is 1.75 X 1 X2.5 inches and he is a milk chocolate shell over a milk chocolate filling.  This bunny is crouching down, his ears back, and there is seem running along his back wehre the two pieces were put together.  This is similar to the dark bunny you can find online as well.

The eggs are also milk chocolate shells over milk chocolate filling and they measure about 1 inch long and about 0.75 diameter at their widest.  They are wrapped in blue, pink, and magenta foil.  As you can see they have a cracked shell pattern on them.  There are also dark chocolate versions of these you might want to check out.

Since this is a retailer feature not a chocolatier feature, I'll just say that the milk chocolate is the exact quality I expect from Sjaak's -- creamy yet very much chocolate, with a strong cocoa fragrance, that melts slowly in your mouth because of its purity.

Taraluna is a great woman-owned business where everything they sell in turns empowers those people who make the items you buy.  Whether it is chocolate or something else, we have never had a bad product from Taraluna.  I urge you all, Sisters and Brothers, to check them out and seriously consider buying this completely chocolate Easter basket.  While it may seem small, it is delicious from start to finish and the "grass" is recyclable or better yet, reusable for other decorating needs you may have later in the year or even next Easter.  Taraluna also has Easter items that are not chocolate in case you are interested in that as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peeps & Whoppers Easter 2012

To start off the general product reviews for 2012's Easter, let's look at two treats: Peeps and Whoppers.  This review was pre-written around Easter last year so you'll need to tell me, Sisters and Brothers, if you have seen these treats this year.

Peeps are those color marshmallow treats that I always saw around Easter time and then no other.  In the past decade they've started making Peeps for Halloween, Christmas, even Valentine's Day but Easter is where they started.  Two years ago I saw them start to add chocolate to their treats.  Last year, I found this "Dark Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Mousse flavored Marshmallow".  How's that for a long name?  The figure here is weird looking, I have to pretend it's a chick or duck or whatever.  It is made with real dark chocolate plus cocoa and two of them, they came in a 2-pack is one serving so having one, which is what I did has 55 calories primarily composed of sugars.  I shared the other with our Milk Chocolate Acolyte and he said "Nicely done, Peeps" when he tried it.  I tried the marshmallow part separately and I thought it was grainy in texture but it did have a light mousse like flavor underneath the intense sugar.  The dark chocolate on the bottom was nicely bitter and the dominant flavor once I had that point.  I'd agree this was "nice" but not great.

Whoppers are not something I associate with Easter, with any holiday really.  I associate them with movie theaters because that's where I always saw them.  I associate them with our White Chocolate Acolyte who loves them almost more than white chocolate.  For Easter they've made these very vaguely shaped egglike versions that are about 1 inch long.  I found them in a 10oz bag with 7 servings of 12 eggs each.  Eating one is like 16 calories.  This one that I tried tasted exactly like a Whopper should -- big on the malted flavor with a nice foundation of milk chocolate which reflects the artificial flavors not the chocolate since the only cacao product in here is cocoa the fifth ingredient on the list.  They didn't even use cocoa butter but added oils.  For shame!

Have you seen this yet in your stores, Sisters and Brothers?  If you have had them, what is your impression of their flavor and chocolate content?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recipe: Green Velvet Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

It isn't St. Patrick's Day any more, that was two days ago.  I debated whether or not I should write this post or pre-write it for next year.  Then I realized that I see other blogging re-promote old posts all the time so I can always remind you of this post next year, too.  My ancestors were Irish, some of them, but since we aren't Catholic we never did anything particularly sacred for the date.  Green is one of my favorite colors so even wearing that is no big deal - it goes with is ever-changing hazel eyes and auburn hair so I wear the color and variations of it a lot.  However, I won a prize from the Chocolate Moosey blog and I wanted to give Carla her due for hosting this giveaway so I decided to post this anyway.  As you can see via Carla's neat blog I was sent decorative items for cupcakes, green food dye, peppermint and vanilla extras all from McCormick.  They also included several sheets of recipes for St. Patrick's Day and I used one for Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes as inspiration for my own dessert.

The only weirdness with the giveaway in terms of St. Patrick's Day was the inclusion of Peppermint instead of Mint... maybe I'm silly but when I think mint for this Irish holiday I don't think peppermint which I associate more with winter and Christmas.  Granted March should be much colder than it has been but still.  Instead I used some Creme de Mint I had in stock to give it a bit of a kick of the mint I wanted along with some Creme de Cocoa to increase the chocolate.  My goal was to get green cupcakes that did NOT taste like food dye.  Making cupcakes was my goal, the enclosed recipe was my inspiration, and this is what I did with all of these items Friday night so that we could enjoy Saturday with semi-homemade treats.

1 box German Chocolate Cake mix (lighter color makes it easier to dye)
1 oz bottle of green food coloring
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup Creme de Cocoa
1/4 cup Creme de Mint
1/3 cup cocoa powder

1. Prep oven for cupcakes and line your pan with the cups.  The ones from McCormick were paper but normally I use foil cups.

2. Mix together the water, oil, and eggs with the boxed cake mix.  The batter will be thick at this point. I used this Betty Crocker mix because it was on sale and I had a coupon.  I debated a darker chocolate but realized the dye wouldn't work as well.  I really dislike tasting the dye in such holiday foods so I wanted to avoid that if at all possible.

3.  Add in the creme de cocoa and creme de mint.  Mix thoroughly then add in the cocoa powder.  I used this cocoa that a few friends of ours gave me when they visited last month.  It is lighter in color than the normal cocoa I use so I choose it again with the "no dye flavor" goal in mind.  It worked really well.

4. Dump the entire one ounce bottle of food dye into the batter and mix it well.  You'll need to scrape the bowl several times to make sure all of the batter is colored evenly.  As you can see it is a fairly dark green but still very green I think.

5.  Spoon into the cups.  I used 1 and about half another spoon full, using our soup spoons for the job.  This made it easy to control the amount and I think they turned out fairly even.

6. Bake for 20 minutes at the temperature the mix tells you.  No, really, 20 minutes was just perfect for my oven but maybe you'll need a minute more or less.  Even with all that dye the toothpick should come out clean when you check the cupcakes for doneness.  They got a touch darker in the oven but I stil think they turned out a pretty green color.  You should get 24 or more cupcakes depending on the size you make.

7. Decorate with frosting as you like.  We made half, one dozen, with plain white frosting and I added dyed shamrock candies to these.  Not a good idea since the dye on the candies was very strong and that made me sad considering how much I did not want my cupcakes to taste like dye.  The other dozen we used light green frosting on and the little shamrock flags that came from McCormick.  To be fair, my husband frosted the cupcakes because his hands have always been far steadier than mine when it comes to frosting or decorating any baked good.

Finally we had our cupcakes and we enjoyed them!  Note: the mint flavor was very light so the next time around I'm going to leave out the creme de cocoa and just put in a half cup of the creme de mint.

What did you bake or make or buy for St. Patrick's Day, Sisters and Brothers?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Italian Easter Bunny

For one final featured review, we turn again to PastaCheese before Easter for a lovely selection of holiday chocolates. Your Chocolate Priestess lived in Italy from August 1990 to May 1991, my junior year of college, and my spring break was right before Easter; just like this year though I don't have spring break any more.  I don't recall seeing chocolate bunnies when I wandered around Sicily during my spring break or as I went out and about in Roma itself but I did see these amazing, huge, hollow Easter Eggs; I bought one, cared for it and brought it home to my parents at the end of my year abroad.  See even before The Chocolate Cult I could save chocolate for a purpose though we devoured it within a few days once I did get home.  No huge egg to reveal to you today but I do have this Venchi Milk Chocolate Bunny to show you.  We've looked at Venchi chocolate before so I won't repeat information on that company in this feature.

This bunny can stand the trip from Italy to your house because it is enclosed in a tough plastic case that fits the form perfectly.  My first fear when I saw this was: "Great, now I'll need help opening it" but that wasn't true.  See the indent on the left side of the bunny's head.  The sides of the plastic case open very easily at that point and a similar point on top, it pops up and then you can pop it closed again to seal it away.  That's what I did so that I could save what I didn't need for this feature for Easter itself.  This casing is also very strong; I tested it by dropping it as you see in the photo on the counter, on the floor, and finally I threw it hard onto the floor a few times.

Why did I do that to this poor defenseless 100 grams chocolate bunny?  To test the casing but also so I could break it just enough to show you that it is a hollow bunny.  Hollow bunnies are very common in the Midwest where I grew up.  You can also see a little seam along the top of the bunny that goes all the way around him.  That's where the two molded sections were put together and the result when you do this type of mold is generally hollow or you then fill it with something.  If an Italian Easter bunny was filled with anything, I'd be willing to bet it was hazelnuts; they have them everywhere!  I'm glad it was simply hollow.

Obviously I took this final photo before I broke it, so here you can see the Venchi bunny freed only to be eaten by me and later my friends and family at Easter time.  I like that you can see the tiny tail, all four feet, a hint of fur pattern, and that the ears are separate.  I think it looks adorable... I'm a cold hearted person who broke it up and tried it for you all any way.  The bunny is about 5 inches tall at it's highest, 2.25 inches at it's widest, and weighs 100g.  Note that I didn't take photos of both sides but they are not identical, on the one you can see the hunch is slightly more prominent while on the other side the chest is a bit larger.  That's a nice detail too but what do my other sense reveal?  It has a very creamy fragrance with a strong scent of vanilla and cocoa under all of that.  It has no added oils, only cocoa butter, cocoa mass, sugar (the first ingredient), whole milk powder, soy lecithin, natural vanilla.  The bunny is cool in my fingers and does not melt enough though our weather is unusually warm.  The ear that I broke off makes a soft snap when I take a bite.  The first flavor I get is this creamy sweetness but as I chew more of the cocoa comes out.  Letting it melt in my mouth pulls out more of the vanilla but once more the cocoa's nature grows stronger over time.  To maximize the chocolate's cocoaness, let it melt, don't chew it; this will also make it last longer.

Right on the front page of PastaCheese you'll see a special for their chocolates which oddly does not include this little Italian bunny but does include these huge Easter eggs I remember from my year in Roma. Why a company would send us a product to feature that you can't buy, Sisters and Brothers, I have no idea. I can't recall the brand of Easter egg I bought when I was in Italy, so I can't say those on their site would be good now.  I wish this Venchi bunny was there; if it were available in dark chocolate that would be even better.  Let me know if you find this little guy anywhere at all.

Check out PastaCheese if you like because I can say that so far everything they have sent us was very good Italian chocolates.

286891_$10 off $75 Order - Chocolate Cult

Thursday, March 15, 2012

MARS Easter Options 2012

We've seen egg shaped and bunny shaped candies for Easter since probably before your Chocolate Priestess was born in 1969.  Today I want to look at two MARS treats that I have seen available in our local stores for years now.  This post was pre-written last Easter so that I've have things for you to read before the fabulous Sacraments we've been featuring as we approach Easter 2012.  As always, if you aren't Christian, don't worry you can still go buy to your heart's content but let's see if these two particular treats are worth your money and your body.

We'll start with Snickers Eggs which came in a 6 pack of 1oz eggs.  Each has 150 calories made of 4.5g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 1g fiber, 15g sugars, and 2g protein.  It has peanuts, milk, soy and lots of added oils and some artificial flavors.  Hmmm... Immediately you know that I wish it was less preserved and less added ingredients but I'll try to give this a fair shake by trying one.  A half egg, and each of these is half of a solid treat we have seen from other companies, measures 2.5 X 1.5 X 0.75 inches.  As I hope you can see, it has three bands around it of etched and indented chocolate to suggest a decorated egg.  It has a very balanced scent of peanut and milk chocolate.  Inside is a solid, creamy nougat with a ribbon of semi-soft peanut butter at the top both of which easily over power the chocolate surrounding them making this exactly like most Snickers candy bars I've tried in the distant past.

Next we have the Milky Way Bunnies that also come in a 6 pack of 1oz bunnies this time.  Each has 160 calories made of 7g saturated fat (whoa!), 5mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 15g sugars and 1g protein.  This has dairy, soy, added oils and sugars, and artificial flavors.  This is a bunny who is looking very pleased with himself - waving at us, a toothy lope-sided grin, and holding an egg fast to his tummy.  He measures 2.5 X 1.5 X 5/8th inches so slightly smaller than the eggs.  He has a sweet, caramel like milk chocolate smell as you'd expect from Milk Way.  Inside are two layers of caramel, the lower one is firm and has kick to it while the top oozes out and delivers a very sweet tastes that turns a bit sour after a few moments.  I can taste the chocolate more here than in the eggs but that sour turn is a turn-off for me and seems very unlike the Milk Ways I recall.

Between the two of these choices which would you pick for taste?  Now which would you chose for a slightly healthier option?  That's why you have to practice Moderation and share these even if you want them all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar

Not long ago I saw a few new varieties of some candy bars I grew up eating on sale in one of our nearby CVS stores.   We have two of these places within a mile of my house and they are much more an a block and a half apart.  I'm surprised they have survived for years now but depending on the direction you are traveling maybe it is easier to get to one over the other.  One is certainly larger than the other even though the smaller one is a free-standing building with a Minute Clinic in it.  I found these at the larger CVS on sale as "buy 2, get 1 free."

The 3 Musketeers brand has been around a lot time as you may recall from our Old Time Candy features. This is a new take on that bar which is actually two bars of cookie bottoms with some of the chocolate cream and then covered in milk chocolate.  The milk chocolate and the fluffy part is very familiar to those of you who have eaten 3 Musketeers but the cookie part tasted stale and the crunch, well, I don't really want that when I eat a 3 Musketeers, do you?  The cookie part was also very moisture absorbing and dried my mouth out. Yes, I remembered Moderation and gave the other bar to another person.

Have you tried this?  What did you think about it compared to the traditional 3 Musketeers?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Old Time Candy Part 2

This Saturday Sacrament returns to that huge "Chocolate Lovers Box" from Old Time Candy.  There will be two more featured reviews to follow but today we're going to focus on 10 more candy bars from the collection that I hope some of you, Sisters and Brothers, will have a few comments about.  Our first foray into this four part review talked about the purpose of this shop but today I want to let you know about the packaging of the candy.  This was minimally packed with the box itself wrapped in plastic but then the candy bars took up all the space in the box.  The shipping box had Earth Aware air pillows holding the box and cushioning it; these are made rom "at least 95% Pre-consumer recycled material" that you can see in this photo.

Today I'm being aided by our main Chocolate Coconut Acolyte as she reviews three of the ten bars we're looking at.  These three in fact: Almond Joy, Mallow Cup, and Cup O'Gold.  Two of these I've heard of and two of these she heard of -- the same two. Neither of us was familiar with the Cup O'Gold from Hoffman's so I'm looking forward to learning more about that one in particular.The words in italics below are from her, our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte, I've only changed the fonts and added in her own photos as well as some historical information.

Cup O' Gold bar measures 2.5" across and 1" thick. The filling is like marshmallow cream with coconut mixed in but it's not a liquid as the picture on the wrapper would lead you to believe. The combination of milk chocolate, cream and coconut makes for a very sweet bar.  Cup O'Gold is a product from the 1950s, originally created by the Hoffman Company and now distributed by Adams & Brooks.  Information about the the Hoffman Company and the original Cup O'Gold is stretchy therefore I can't give further information.   If anyone has sources I couldn't find, please let me know.

Mallo Cup is very similar to the Cup O' Gold but is slightly smaller, measuring 1.75" across and only 0.5" thick. The filling is a little more dry and there's only a hint of coconut flavor/texture.  Mallo Cup was introduced in the late 1930s where it became the most notable treat offered by Boyer Brothers, Inc.  Today, Boyer Candies, operated by Consolidated Brands, offers two varieties of Mallo Cups, the original in milk chocolate and a dark version as well.  The principal ingredient is marshmallow not coconut so I'm even surprised that our Acolyte could taste it but the coconut is right there on the label.

Almond Joy measures 2.5" long by 1" wide by .75" thick. Usually I prefer dark chocolate with my coconut to offset the sweetness, but in this case, I don't mind it so much as the Almond Joy filling isn't as sweet as most coconut confections.  It's also the one with the most coconut presence of any of these three.  I usually don't like nuts in my chocolate as I don't like to mix sweet and salty flavors. However, the almond is a very mild flavor and doesn't compete heavily for the flavor in this bar.  Almond Joy candy bars were brought to the market in 1946 but the history the chocolate and coconut candy bars goes back to 1919 when the Peter Paul Manufacturing Company created the first bar they called "Konabar."  This idea sparked the "Mounds" (1921) and then the "Almond Joy" bars.  In 1978, Peter Paul merged with Cadbury Schwepps;  this merged group was then bought out by Hershey in 1988.

Our Chocolate Fruit Acolyte also gave me a hand with these three candy bars: Raisinets, Chunky, and Cherry Mash.  The last one neither of us have heard of before.  Two have raisins, relatively inexpensive fruit and the other should have cherry but lets see if it does.  The words in italics below are from her, our Chocolate Fruit Acolyte, I've only changed the fonts and added in her own photos.

Hailing from St. Joseph, Missouri, Chase's Cherry Mash hit America's candy scene in 1918. Unassuming milk chocolate mixed liberally with Maraschino cherries. The initial whiff of cocoa is immediately overwhelmed by the powerful cherry scent. The peanuts provide a coarse texture, something for the crumbly chocolate to cling to, giving this strong fruity sweet a surprisingly gentle cocoa finish. According to their website, Cherry Mash is the third oldest candy bar in the U.S. and even has its own song. The 135 year old Chase Candy Company continues to operate as an independent business supplying treats that - while only regionally famous - are now available world wide. Definitely worth a taste if you haven't heard of them before (not being from the central midwest, I had not).

My favorite film-watching candy, bar none. These sweet little nuggets of chocolate have barely any scent at all, owing to the confectioner's resin that gives each piece a shiny gloss and prevents them from melting all over your salty fingers in the movie theater. The California raisins within are surprisingly tart and chewy, no doubt a calculated move to satisfy all the tastebud highlights when consumed with movie-style popcorn: sweet, sour, and salty. Created in 1927 by Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company, they are now distributed by Nestle and are the corporation's third best selling confection in the U.S. The chocolate itself is a slightly grainy milk variety; nothing too complex to detract from the plump raisin goodness. The tart fruit is the take-away flavor here, mellowed only slightly by the milk chocolate.

A relative newcomer to the world of popular American chocolates, the Chunky was born in the 1930s. Created by Philip Silvershein in New York, the bar was marketed through Wrigleys (the gum company) and eventually snapped up by Nestle in 1984. Chunky was my personal favorite candy bar for many years and I still crave it now and then. The thick volume of chocolate is part of the attraction; it's heavy, it's powerful, it's serious indulgence. You know you're biting deep into something delicious rather than nibbling a little cracker-thin slip of chocolate. This milk chocolate trapezoid has a syrupy scent, reminiscent of dark rum. The star feature is the chocolate: dense, sweet, and easily gnawed into shards that melt in your mouth. Studded throughout are fat raisins, less tart than the Raisinet fruits, and smooth chunks of peanuts. The original bar featured Brazil nuts and cashews; wish I could have tasted it then! The raisins and peanuts still provide enough foil to keep a mouthful of chocolate from being texturally overwhelming while still making the Chunky bar a rich experience to savor. They may be out of fashion in our ever-downsizing world, but I love Chunky bars and I always will. There, I said it.

All of their hard work means that I only have four more candy bars to reveal to you today, Sisters and Brothers.  For Part 1 of this four part feature on Old Time Candy I randomly selected 10 bars but this time I picked four more that continued some of the trends above -- two individually bagged treats, a treat I'd never heard of before, and an old favorite of mine.

We'll start with the Goobers, roasted peanuts covered by milk chocolate.  The individual bag is 1.38oz and the label brags this has "5 grams of protein," the same amount of saturated fat by the way.  1.38oz in this case is 46 peanuts, some of them doubled up and held together by the milk chocolate.  Obviously these are crunchy but also the roasted peanut flavor is the final flavor though the chocolate is the initial burst you get.  These are not salty at all so it tasted a lot like a peanut butter with chocolate added to it.  It is made with both cocoa mass and cocoa butter so this is the real deal and for a mass produced candy it had a lot fewer added ingredients and preservatives than I thought it might.  I discovered the Goobers were introduced to the USA in 1925 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company, a Philadelphia based family company started in 1911 by two brothers.  Many of their creations became and continue to be movie theater treats; that is how I know Goobers.  Nestlé makes the candy today after acquiring the mother company in 1984.

Oh, KitKat, someone wrote a song about you and we are working on an interview with that songwriter and musician but today you are my old favorite for this review.  The precursor to this well-known candy bar was created in London and the South East by Rowntree in 1935.  After a few name changes, KitKat was born after World War II.  Since 1988 it has been produced by Nestlé, licensed by Hershey, but still in the Rowntree factory; how's that for multinational candy.  We have the original variety of milk chocolate over wafers however if you look at the ingredients this only lists chocolate not cocoa butter so it is much less of our Sacred Substance than other candy bars have been; a fact confirmed by the very weak chocolate scent. Regardless I still like snapping the sections apart and crunchy down on it but this really isn't enough chocolate to fully satisfy, it's mostly the sugar and wafers you want if you go for this treat.

You might have guessed when I showed you the photo of the four candy bars I was going to reveal that the m&m's would be my old time favorite.  Actually I've always found m&m's to be more candy shell tasting than chocolate so while I might eat them if someone had them out, I'd not buy them for my own use unless I was baking with them.  m&m's is an example of two chocolate families coming together to make one new candy bar; the name comes from the Mars heir who joined forces with Hershey's Murrie to create these candy coated milk chocolates, introduced to the market in 1941.  This collaboration between Mars and Hershey used the Hershey chocolate, an important consideration Hershey's power in the chocolate ration of the period.  Yup, even chocolate was strictly rationed as were all things in most of the world as it prepared for or were all ready involved in what we now call World War II.  They sacrificed for war back then, they didn't have the luxury of cheap or wide selection as we do today even when we have two or three war fronts.  But I digress, sorry, Sisters and Brothers.  These m&m's do have chocolate mass and cocoa butter so it is real chocolate; the sweet candy shell overwhelms purely from the amount of it.  This 1.69oz individual bag has 57 pieces in it in red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown.  I don't know about you but when I eat them, I eat by color since it doesn't taste like chocolate any way.

Finally we turn to a candy bar I have never heard of before: Nut Goodie from Pearson's, the company that originally created it in 1912.  This may seem similar to the Bun Bar we looked at last time because it is the same company.  Pearson's actually was acquired in 2011 by the Brynwood Partners VI, L.P., the fifth company to acquire Pearson's, but they continue to use the Pearson name for their candies just as the previous owners have.  Profits over the years have risen and fallen but a return to original recipes seem to have made the difference in the mind of consumers who are buying these treats once more especially in the midwest.  The Nut Goodie is milk chocolate (made from chocolate liquor and cocoa butter), peanuts, with some soy and artificial maple flavoring.  The bar began as 2oz but now is only 1.75oz; such downsizing is very common with candy bars since people resist paying more when cocoa prices rise.  The maple flavor is in soft nougat sort of filling you can see in the photo, the peanuts are halved and over the top, while the entire thing is covered in milk chocolate.  The peanuts and milk chocolate are the starting flavors but the maple becomes stronger with each chew until it is the final essence you can taste.  Slightly sticky and crunchy, this is a lot of variety in texture as well as flavor.  It could be more chocolaty however to fully satisfy us here on The Chocolate Cult.

Another 10 chocolate treats available from Old Time Candy.  When was the last time you had any of these, Sisters and Brothers?  Remember use the link below or along the right hand side to check out their selection and you'll also be helping out The Chocolate Cult so we can continue to bring you essays, reports, and reviews.

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