Hello!!! Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done? If you haven’t, I’m here to let you know one thing. I have been finished with mine for weeks. It’s ok, you can hate me. I understand. I too used to be one of those people who waited until December 24th to get going. Ok, no I wasn’t. I just said that to make you feel good.
But I know there are some of you out there, avid gourmands all, surrounded by the same, who still need to get some treats for each other. So I, Momma J as I am known to my kid in laws (yeah, the title makes me laugh too; feel free to giggle) am here to help you. So prepare to get hungry.
Recently, I was sent some absolutely wonderful chocolates from a company called Twice The Vice. They make alcohol infused (aka “spirited”) chocolates ranging in price from $28.00 to $44.00 dollars and they are well worth every penny. Yep, you read that right. Booze and chocolate… together. Thus the name, obviously. Is there a woman out there who isn’t totally excited right now though? 😛 As I already said, these are wonderful. I had to force myself not to gorge on them. If you are looking for a splurge, this is it. The outer shell of chocolate is thick and breaks neatly when you bite it. It is rich with no artificial flavor at all, just pure chocolate. The box I got was “The Classic Cocktail Collection” and had four flavors- Pina Colada, Mint Julep, Margarita and White Russian. The White Russian is my favorite. There is a definite Kahlua “bite” to it. The ganache in all the flavors is smooth, rich and creamy. If you have a chocoholic to buy for (or just love good quality chocolates yourself), go to Twice The Vice. You will NOT be disappointed. This ranks up there in the top two chocolate experiences of my life. And yes, good chocolate IS an experience, not just a dessert. Go to his site asap!
Next up is Raley’s Confectionary. I love this company too. Just looking at the candy takes me back to my childhood. How many of you, every Christmas, had a bowl full of various hard candies sitting there in the livng room, ostensibly for guests when they came over, just waiting to be swiped by you when your mother wasn’t looking?
If you are one of those people, you’ll love this candy. Even if you weren’t, you’ll love this candy. Besides being beautiful to look at, it tastes great. I was sent three bags, each about 3 ounces. That sounds small, but this is hard candy, remember. That three ounces is a good amount of candy and it is so intensely flavored, one or two of the small pieces is sufficient. This candy is true art in its way. On the right, you can see that that is “The Christmas Mix”. The piece at the middle left spot has the word NOEL in it. Now, this is not imprinted on each piece, it goes all the way through the candy. I’ve seen the technique done before and it is an amazing talent. So many of this type of candy can be bland however. NOT Raley’s Confectionary. Wesley makes sure his candy has a LOT of flavor. The Christmas Mix is my favorite of the three bags I was sent. You open it and a light peppermint scent wafts out but that’s not the only flavor in there, just the most strongly scented. There is also an eggnog flavor, which I loved. It tastes exactly like a glass of eggnog, minus the brandy 😛 The above mentioned Noel is Figgy Pudding flavored. He touches all Christmas bases here lol. The Tutti Frutti is a yummy mix of strawberry, blueberry and banana. This man has so many more flavors I want to try that I can’t even count them, such as Grapefruit, Lime, Kiwi (yes, he has a Kiwi flavor!), Blackberry (one of my all time fave flavors in ANYTHING), Peach and Pumpkin Spice among others. The bags are small enough to give a child for a Christmas stocking stuffer, yet flavored so well that that same small bag will make an adult candy hound quite happy. Go… right now… check out Raley’s Confectionary. You need his candy. Honest.
Next up are some delicious Truffle Bars from Seattle Chocolates sent to me by a lovely lady named Casey. She sent me four bars- Birthday Cake Batter, Candy Cane Crunch, Lemon Ice and San Juan Sea Salt. All of them were fantastic.
Each of the beautifully wrapped bars is 2.5 ounces and sectioned into 4 nice thick sections, each section a perfect treat, so the 2.5 ounce bar can last quite a while. The San Juan Sea Salt is a milk chocolate bar with sea salt and toffee bits. The salt flavor is mild, just a little tantalizing bit in each bite you take, nothing overpowing as some salted chocolate candy can be. The toffee bits add a nice crunch to the bar and a well rounded caramelly flavor. This was probably my favorite. The Lemon Ice is a white chocolate bar and I love both white chocolate and lemon so I was excited to see this one in the package. When you open the bar, you can smell the lemon; YUM! The white chocolate is good quality. This isn’t a cheap piece of chocolate. It’s creamy, mildly sweet and milky and the bar has crunchy lemon bits throughout adding a nice tang and texture. The Candy Cane Crunch is a seasonal bar. The first thing you smell is peppermint when you open it, but if you put it up to your nose, you get a wonderful deep dark chocolate scent. This bar smells like Christmas 🙂 The dark chocolate is wonderful; not too dark, which I personally don’t like. This is a fairly mild dark chocolate. The peppermint is JUST enough, not overpowering the chocolate, but not wimpy either. The Birthday Cake Batter was my least favorite. Still delicious, but just not as good as the others in my humble opinions. The chocolate outer shell was still a wonderful quality and flavorful milk chocolate but the birthday cake part was rather bland; just a vague sweet flavor and a touch of crunch. Bottom line though? There is still time to get some of these for Christmas. So go… shoo… get over to Seattle Chocolates and buy some Christmas treats. Feel free to buy me the Rainier Cherry Truffle Bar, the Coconut Macaroon Truffle Bar and the Panoramic Pecan Truffle Bar. And throw in a few of the San Juan Sea Salt- they were my favorite 😀
Now we have is something I tried for the first time this year- Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Jo Jos. I know many of you have had these already, but for those who haven’t, nows the time. They won’t be at Trader Joes for much longer this year and then you’re out of luck until next year.
If you like a certain brand of chocolate sandwich cookies, you’ll love these. They put the other ones to shame. These are covered in a thick layer of dark chocolate; a mild one here too, which I love as I mentioned. I don’t care for bitter dark chocolate and this is nowhere near that. It is smooth, creamy, not too sweet and downright dangerous to your waistline… aka yummy! The chocolate is covered with crushed peppermint candy- just enough t give it that crunch and a delicious peppermint flavor that mingles with the chocolate, not enough to overpower. The cookie itself is a crunchy chocolate peppermint wafer with a creamy peppermint flavor center. These are well worth the four dollar price tag and would make a cute addition to a cookie tray if you want to cheat and say you made them :-P. I won’t tell if you do.
Last but not least for this Christmas Edition of Ramblings And Reviews are something easily found but delicious. They are a new edition this year to the
Lindt truffle line and in my opinion, one of their best yet. These seem to be exclusive to Wal Mart, in the seasonal aisle.
Lindt makes wonderful budget priced truffles and these are no exception. When you open the bag, you immediately get hit with a wonderful chocolate orange scent. I am pretty sure I spent five minutes with my face practically hidden in the bag. The thin outer shell of the truffle is a mild, sweet dark chocolate. The inner ganache is a sheer melt in your mouth delight. Literally; you bite it and it just melts. The chocolate orange flavor is fantastic. Just one of these is more than enough to satisfy because they are so flavor filled, so a bag should last a while. I bought two bags and fully expect to still have some next Christmas lol. Maybe. If I can control myself.
Well, that’s it for the Christmas edition of Ranblings And Reviews. I’ll close this with the best Christmas photo ever- Joshie being Santa. Was he adorable or what?