Tag Archives: chocolate


Hey dudes, looking for something special to get your ladyfriend for Valentine’s Day? Maybe a box of chocolates, a nice bottle of red wine? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could kill two birds with one stone? Then ChocoVine is the gift for you! Especially if you want your girlfriend to break up with you after she’s done vomiting. (Protip: hold her hair back like a gentleman.)

Maybe that’s not fair. Maybe ChocoVine will actually get you laid. We’ll just have to wait and see.

When something makes me do a literal double-take at the grocery store, I know that I must own it and probably write about it. Usually this fills me with dread and excitement, two emotions that really shouldn’t go together. Such was the case with ChocoVine. It was seated at the end of the wine aisle in a small display setup. When you see something that looks like Yoo-Hoo in a wine bottle, it’s impossible not to investigate further. And that I did.

The front of the bottle reads “The taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The back of the bottle has some interesting tidbits, also. First of all, it is encouraged that you shake it well, which is something I never thought I’d read on a wine bottle. Actually, I was surprised at how little chocolate sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle. The chocolate looks pretty evenly distributed. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign.

It also advises, “Do not mix with acidic drinks!” Uh, isn’t red wine already acidic? I don’t understand!

When you go to ChocoVine’s website, the first thing you see is a black page with the words “You have to be 21 year [sic] old!” We’re off to a fine start.

There’s so much to quote from their website, so I’ll just let you read it for yourself. Here’s some choice quotes, in case you’re lazy:

“[Chocolate and wine] are also both incredibly complex and pairing them has always been a daunting process, often leading to dreadful results.”

I bet.

“The right chocolate paired with the perfect wine can create a near-orgasmic taste experience.”

I’ve had what I guess you could call near-orgasmic taste experiences before, but for $11.99 , I’m betting they didn’t exactly use the “perfect wine” and my vagina will not tingle with culinary pleasure.

“But the wrong wine opposite a too-sweet chocolate creates nothing but horror. Many have taken the challenge…and have failed.”

It’s like they’re setting me up. I don’t even need a punchline.

I have to be honest though, minus the typo on their website, there’s some other stuff on there that’s reaaaally trying to make me believe ChocoVine actually tastes good. It apparently won a gold medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute. I could take two seconds to see if this is actually a legit thing, but eh. There’s also a clip from some show on the Lifetime channel that almost made me die of boredom. The host acted like she was being paid to pretend to enjoy it, but she didn’t vomit and she kept a straight and cheery face as she drank it, so it can’t be that awful. Right? I mean, you can only suppress your gag reflex so much…right?

Okay ChocoVine, your website has done its job. I no longer expect to puke after my first sip of chocolate wine. Maybe my second, but probably not my first.

I feel I should insert a caveat here: I’m neither a chocolate snob nor a wine snob, so I’m not going to be talking about bouquets and woodsy vs. fruity and all that shit. I’m just a regular uneducated asshole and I will try to describe it to the best of my ability as a normal shlub.

First off, the smell. Scent? What do wine snobs call that? Whatever. Anyway, it smelled a lot like how it looks: Yoo-Hoo, except with an underlying tone of alcohol. It was a little disconcerting, because the smell of chocolate dominated about 80%, but then there was this alcohol finish that I would have expected to make me feel repulsed, like it had gone bad, but somehow the alcohol smell worked with the chocolate. It’s thicker than Yoo-Hoo or wine; it’s about the consistency of milk. It felt kind of weird, drinking such a thick liquid out of a wine glass.

I kind of hate to say it, but ChocoVine tastes…well, it tastes pretty good, actually. As with the smell, the chocolate dominated the flavor. I hate to keep using this analogy, but it really tasted similar to Yoo-Hoo, while having the consistency of chocolate milk. ChocoVine claims that it has the taste of dutch chocolate, but it tasted more like a chocolate analogue. Which is not unpleasant, but it lacked the depth of flavor of true chocolate. That said, it is rather rich, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I have a low tolerance for sweets, so I don’t think I could down more than what was in the glass pictured above before reaching my sweetness tolerance level.

As for the wine…again, I’m no wine connoisseur, but if I didn’t know it was red wine in there, I would have guessed it was a chocolate drink mixed with a little vodka. The booze flavor hit on the back end, but there was nothing wine-like about it. It just tasted like alcohol. Again, I would have expected that to be repulsive, but I enjoyed it. In reality, the mixing of chocolate and booze is not unusual at all. Since the explosion of flavor-infused vodkas (which I think has grown out of control), brands like Three Olives even make chocolate-infused vodkas. I’ve never had Three Olives Chocolate Vodka, but I’d imagine it tastes a lot like ChocoVine, except less viscous.

Okay, you got me, ChocoVine. You taste pretty damn good. I wouldn’t choose ChocoVine as an accompaniment to a meal, but it would make a nice dessert cocktail. I tend to prefer my liquors straight, but if you’re into chocolate and getting drunk, ChocoVine would be a fine choice. I would recommend serving it to your ladyfriend after a nice cozy dinner on Valentine’s Day. Ladies love chocolate, so serve her enough of it and you may just get lucky. I can almost guarantee she won’t puke – at least, not until the next morning.

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 hair-holding gentlemen
  • Price: $11.99 (on sale; regularly $12.99)
  • Size: 750 ml
  • Purchased at: Albertson’s #980
  • Nutritional Quirks: “Ingredients: grape wine with artificial flavor, cream and artificial colors.”  Grape wine, that’s all you have to say? Also, the lack of chocolate in the ingredients is telling.  By the way, ChocoVine is 14% ABV.

Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment

Aaaand we’re back. Just in time, too, since I have a holiday-sensitive item to review today.

I found this package of Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment at a Borders book store while waiting for a cashier to appear so that I could pay for a birthday present. I guess they’ve got a solid business model going – make someone wait ten minutes to pay for a dying form of media, and eventually they’ll grab an impulse buy. Good job, Borders – literature may be dead, but chocolate and coffee bars will live on forever.

It helped that the package was shiny and full of holiday cheer, with red and gold and snowflakes and ornaments and promises of chocolates that taste like eggnog. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but Ghirardelli makes some tasty sweets.

They make some heavy promises on the back of the package: “This season, take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite. Savor the complex symphony of intense velvety chocolate combined with delicious seasonal favorites – festive peppermint, creamy eggnog, and rich chocolate pecan pie. Let the rich flavors surround your senses. Enjoy as the chocolate pleasure lingers.”

I feel like I just had sex with the back of a pack of chocolates. Goddamn, son. Money well spent on whatever marketing team Ghirardelli paid to come up with that description of their chocolate. I’m sure millions have been spent on the study of how people react to words that are bolded. Apparently I need to slow down and melt while experiencing intense chocolate that surrounds my senses. That all seems kind of contradictory. Nothing left to do but see if these chocolates will make me…quietly orgasm, or something.


I had a minor autistic freakout when I pulled these out of the bag, because the front just said “Limited Edition Chocolate”. I thought I had been ripped off. Fortunately, it did indicate on the back that these were, indeed, Eggnog. I don’t know why this one said it on the back while the other two proclaim their flavors on the front, but whatever. Eggnog was the flavor I was most looking forward to, so I was glad that they were there.

Unfortunately, my renewed excitement quickly faded away when I actually tried the chocolate. I couldn’t find any eggnog flavor anywhere. No nutmeg, no cinnamon, no distinctive eggnog taste. The chocolate was creamy, but that’s what I’d expect from any Ghirardelli product. In fact, if it hadn’t said Eggnog on the back of the wrapper, I would have thought it was white chocolate, but even a little more muted than regular white chocolate. I would have never guessed that it was supposed to be eggnog.

Saddened that I had been robbed of the experience of tasting delicious eggnog chocolate, I moved on.

Pecan Pie

Ghirardelli actually did a pretty good job of making a chocolate that tasted like pecan pie. The pecans were plentiful and added a nice crunch. It’s sort of like a Mr. Goodbar on steroids – the chocolate is smooth and tasty, the pecans tasted delicious, and the chocolate had a very prominent taste and aroma of what seemed like a mixture of toffee, molasses, and maybe even some bourbon.  Mmmm, chocolate booze.

I have to say, the Pecan Pie square was one of the most complex chocolates I’ve ever had. The depth of flavor is really quality and everything plays together well. Nothing gets overwhelmed. The delicious milk chocolate, the pecans, the complex mixture of flavors that make up pecan pie filling, they were all perfectly married into that one chocolate square. While I was expecting to love the Eggnog and go “eh” at Pecan Pie, quite the opposite has occurred. I don’t crave chocolate often, but this would be one of my top picks to reach for if I was in the mood for chocolate. Good job, Ghirardelli.

Peppermint Bark

This is definitely the most Christmasy of the three candies. When you open the wrapper, you’re hit with that strong candy cane peppermint smell that screams presents and blinky lights and ornaments. It looks fun, too. The little pink flecks let you know that there’s really candy canes inside! My inner child hops up and down.

What I wasn’t expecting, but was a pleasant surprise, is that Peppermint Bark has a milk chocolate base. Let’s face it, it’s hard not to nail mint and chocolate. They go together like buffalo wings and ranch sauce. I think Ghirardelli steps it up with the crushed candy canes inside, though. They add a fun crunch and intensify the peppermint flavor. Peppermint Bark tastes a lot like an upgraded version of Andes Crème de Menthe chocolates – you know, the ones with the green stuff sandwiched in between two layers of chocolate. But Ghirardelli’s chocolate is of a higher quality and the peppermint is more intense and tastes more like real candy cane than just simulated mint. I realize that candy canes themselves are made out of artificial mint flavoring, but it’s…different. It’s candy cane!

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I’m sad that I didn’t get to taste eggnog in chocolate form, but the Pecan Pie really surprised me and the Peppermint Bark was nothing but Christmas fun. I would put these out beside the homemade chocolate chip cookies and the bowl of red-and-green M&Ms. I’d just cross the “Eggnog” off the wrappers and write “Snowflake” or something instead. Then people would just think it was white chocolate and not be all disappointed like I was. Snowflakes and white chocolate don’t really have anything to do with each other, but that’s okay. It’s keeping with the Christmas theme. Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment are a solid addition to your holiday festivities.

Oh, and by the way – Merry Christmas!

Limited Edition Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Holiday Chocolate Assortment

  • Eggnog Score: 2 out of 5 disappointed elves
  • Pecan Pie Score: 4.5 out of 5 happy chocolate-loving reindeer
  • Peppermint Bark Score: 4 out of 5 minty fresh snowmen
  • Price: $8.99
  • Size: 7.03 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Borders Books and Music #0069
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains corn flakes.  Wait, what?

Pop-Tarts Limited Edition Choc-o-Lantern Frosted Chocolate Fudge Toaster Pastries

Pop-Tarts didn’t just put out Pumpkin Pie as a seasonal offering – they also created Choc-o-Lantern Frosted Chocolate Fudge! Okay, so it’s not a new flavor – Pop-Tarts already has a chocolate fudge toaster pastry – but this one has orange frosting and bat and ghost sprinkles! Other companies should take note – all you have to do to get love and adoration from Halloween fans is turn your product orange and black (or a vague approximation of black) and toss on some sprinkles and you’ve got it.

“Choc-o-Lantern” is a little weak, especially considering there’s nothing pumpkin-shaped on the actual Pop-Tarts, but they threw a picture of a chocolate pumpkin on the box to make it more acceptable. As with many re-purposed holiday foodstuffs, it’s the appearance that makes the product. Pop-Tarts delivers on the box, with spoooooky trees, bats, and little cartoon eyes that look suitably frightened by the toaster pastries. There’s also a splattering of slime in the corner, telling you the quantity of toaster pastries because, hey. Slime. Halloween!

The fun continues on the back of the box. Pop-Tarts urges you to “dig” into their “graveyard”! Halloween is the one holiday that I accept, even welcome, cheesy puns. The graveyard consists mainly of an unhealthy amount of chocolate pudding, some candy corn, and some Pop-Tarts, but I like the setup. I especially like the ghost lollipop in the background, frowning very emphatically and making an “I dunno, whaddaya gonna do?” gesture with his ghost arms. I assume he is unhappy with the pudding graveyard and also making the hands-up shrugging gesture to show that he takes no responsibility for its creation. I don’t blame you, ghost lollipop. I blame the obviously shitfaced Jack-o-Lantern candy bowl behind you.

I love Ghost Lollipop and Shitfaced Jack-o-Lantern Candy Bowl, but my heart really belongs to Seriously Bored and Somewhat Indignant Vampire Toaster. He resides on Pop-Tart’s website, and his facial expression seriously contradicts the assertion that the fact he is delivering to you is “super fun”. While I find the fact useless, since I will never plant a pumpkin, I think Vampire Toaster is being a little melodramatic. You have a job to do, Vampire Toaster, and you’re doing it. Try to muster up a little enthusiasm. After all, you are a toaster AND a vampire, and while that makes you the coolest toaster ever, you’re still not above dispensing pumpkin-growing facts.

My Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts didn’t exactly have the plentiful and uniformly-arranged bat and ghost sprinkles like the ones on the box, but we all know that marketing doesn’t equal reality. I was just happy that some of them slightly resembled bats and ghosts and weren’t just black and white blobs. The orange frosting was sufficiently bright and seasonal. As for the taste, I was surprised to find I rather enjoyed them. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but the fudge filling was quite acceptably fudgy and rich, especially decadent when warm. It made me wish I had a glass of eggnog and it was about 30 degrees cooler outside.

I also found the chocolate pastry to be softer than other Pop-Tarts I’ve had. Usually, the edges are hard, and I would just nibble them to the edges of the filling and throw the rest away. These were soft all the way through, and tasted very similar to chocolate graham crackers. The icing and the sprinkles added a little extra crunch and sweetness.

Once again, Pop-Tarts Limited Edition Choc-o-Lantern Frosted Chocolate Fudge is just an already-existing flavor with a bit of Halloween flair, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock. The warm fudge is like comfort food, the soft pastry reminds me of chocolate graham crackers from my childhood, and the bright orange frosting and admittedly haphazard sprinkles complete the Halloween package. After eating just one, I feel like I’ve gotten my chocolate fix for the next three months, but I think chocolate and Halloween lovers alike will enjoy these Pop-Tarts.

  • Score: 4 out of 5 bored vampire toasters
  • Price: $2.69
  • Size: 22 oz. box containing 12 toaster pastries
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirks: One pastry contains 10% of seven different vitamins and minerals.  I now consider Pop-Tarts health food.

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar and 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars

I should have mentioned this in my last post, but the Coconut M&M’s, Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar and 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar were all released this month from Mars. The Coconut M&M’s were a re-release, but the latter two are brand new offerings. I bought all three at the same time, and apparently there was some sort of promotional coupon for doing so, but the cashier at my local convenience store and I had some language barrier problems, so when I looked at the receipt when I got home, there were all kinds of mysterious discounts.  I guess I got one free for buying all of them at once.  Who knows.

The point is that these guys are kind of related, and while Coconut M&M’s got a whole website for me to make fun of, both Milky Way and 3 Musketeers don’t even mention their new products on their website. Way to promote, guys. So, with little information to go off of beyond the wrapper and my own taste buds, I decided to combine the two into one review, since apart, they would probably be pretty short reviews. Consider it a twofer!

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar

Milky Way Simply Caramel is described on the wrapper as “Real milk chocolate surrounding nothing but rich delicious caramel”. For any of you out there who grew up with parents who refused to allow you any sugar, never went trick-or-treating, and grew up to be the same kind of hippy douchebags as your parents, a regular Milky Way bar is a thick layer of nougat topped by a thinner layer of caramel, all coated with milk chocolate. Simple, tasty, familiar. So basically, all they’ve done is removed the nougat, leaving caramel to stand on its own.

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar Cut

I probably should have tried to pull the bar apart instead of cutting it, to better represent the gooeyness of the caramel, but I used a knife, so deal with it. Trust me, though, it is gooey. Very gooey. The caramel is super thick; chewing it will get you nothing more than a bunch of teeth coated in caramel. You have to sort of roll it around in your mouth, letting the caramel and chocolate melt and slide down your throat. It’s very akin to eating one of those Brach’s Milk Maid Caramel Cubes, except you get the chocolate in there, too. You gotta work at it. You can’t just muscle through this candy bar, unless swallowing a big hunk of caramel whole is your thing, in which case, that’s just weird and I hope you choke on it.

I also probably shouldn’t have left the candy bar in my special picture-taking place while I went to check out the photos and start the review on the computer. Silly me, thinking a cat would take no interest in a chocolate and caramel bar. A few minutes after that picture was taken, the plate was on the floor, the top half was nowhere to be found, and my cat was licking his lips compulsively. I marveled at how a cat could eat that much candy bar that fast, but the intrigue evaporated approximately 30 seconds later, when he barfed up a giant, half-chewed piece of caramel and chocolate. So I guess he is one of those guys mentioned in the paragraph above. I’m glad he barfed instead of choking, but I do want to choke him a little bit for almost ruining my review.

Perhaps I should thank him for taking half, though, because there’s no way I could finish this whole candy bar on my own. The combination of chocolate and caramel is obviously tasty, but it is so rich. The caramel is very thick, and sweet, and each bite takes about three minutes to fully melt in your mouth. My jaw and tongue were exercised to their limits on the one half that I ate, and I felt like I was going into sugar shock.

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar is a tasty choice if you’re in the mood for a candy bar. Caramel and chocolate always go great together. But you’d better have a friend (or cat) that’s got a serious hankering for some caramel too, because Simply Caramel ain’t playing around. If I had to choose between Simply Caramel and the regular Milky Way bar, I’d choose about one fourth of the Simply Caramel. But if someone had a gun to my head and demanded that I eat the entire bar, which, by the way, happens so often it’s getting ridiculous, I’d go for the original Milky Way. I’m not terribly fond of nougat, but its inclusion in the original Milky Way makes the candy bar lighter, and lets the caramel come through without you feeling like you just sucked your way through an entire bag of those caramel cubes. So, give it a try with some of your caramel-inclined friends, or wait until the fun size version comes out, because that would be the perfect portion of the Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar.

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars

Quite the departure from an original 3 Musketeers bar, 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars are described on the wrapper as follows:

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars Description

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t exactly know what chocolate truffle means. I’d imagine they aren’t literally truffles, as in, the fungus that pigs are famous for finding. So I looked it up! According to ehow.com, they are not, in fact, truffles, but are called that because the cocoa-dusted ones resemble truffles.

Okay then.

I like the use of the word “enrobed”. I imagine the 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars wearing a silky milk chocolate smoking robe, a glass of scotch on the table beside it as it sits in its red velvet, high-backed chair before the fireplace, nonchalantly smoking his fine wooden pipe. 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars is the shit, and it knows it.

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars Cut

Anyways, the bars look pretty much like they do on the wrapper. Kind of enticing, really. They smell very rich and chocolaty, a much higher quality of chocolate than you’d typically find when sniffing a candy bar. This could be the chocolate truffle coming into play.

When you bite into the bar, it gives very easily, and the texture is very delicate. There’s a fun little snap when you hit the crisp. The crisp bottom part of the bar is much lighter than, say, the crisp of a Kit-Kat, and it plays well with the smooth chocolate of the truffle part.

I’ve never had a chocolate truffle, so I can’t honestly say if 3 Musketeers has hit the mark on the taste, but it’s definitely tasty. Satiny, and with a more refined taste and texture than the chocolate you’ll find in most other candy bars. The crisp part doesn’t really have much of its own flavor; instead, it takes on the flavor of the truffle, and adds that little crunch that plays with the smooth chocolate.

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bars are quite different than other candy bars. I feel like I should hold my pinky out while I bite into the bar; it’s light and delicate, the chocolate is silky, and it melts quickly and easily in your mouth. It’s like the polar opposite of the Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar. I’ve got more of a salt tooth than a sweet tooth, so I don’t buy candy bars often, but if I did get that rare chocolate craving, this would rank high up on my list when it came time to decide what impulse item to buy. If you’re in the mood for chocolate, but don’t want anything too heavy and also don’t want to go down the more expensive road of fancier chocolates, I would definitely recommend you try a 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar.

Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 jaw workouts
  • Price: $1.19, $1.00 on sale
  • Size: 1.91 oz. bar
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: Cats can swallow it whole.

3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar

  • Score: 4 out of 5 times I had to think of a synonym for the word “smooth”
  • Price: Free, I guess?  Something here was free.
  • Size: 1.1 oz. pack of 2 bars
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: 85 calories per bar ain’t bad.  Also: smooth.