Friday, December 30, 2011

ChocolateBet: December 30, 2011

Chocolates of the Day:

2 pieces
Russell Stover Candies, Inc.
1.) Coconut - Dark Chocolate - Good - Good +
2.) Caramel - Milk Chocolate - Good
Weight: .5 oz. + .434 oz. = .934 oz. (26.6 g.) for 2 pieces
Calories: 126.6 calories in 2 pieces
Cost: $9.99 total bag/package for 4 different chocolates
Purchased from: Walgreens, in Palo Alto, CA

Are you all sick of reading about chocolates yet? I hope not, because this past week, I passed the "I've-eaten-more-than-1,900 different-chocolates" mark (over a period of more than five years). When I started this chocolate adventure, I thought I'd run out of chocolates to try. However, there is almost no chance of that happening. So, join me as I carry on this daily practice into 2012.

On to today's chocolates: two, individually wrapped pieces from a large, Russell Stover (based in Kansas City, Missouri) assortment bag that contained four different flavors. I chose the Coconut and Caramel pieces -- because this is Day #6 of Chocolate + Coconut + Caramel Theme Week. Of the two, I preferred the Coconut covered in dark chocolate; however, eating both pieces together seemed to improve the flavor of both.

Russell Stover is (according to their website) the largest manufacturer of boxed chocolates in North America. Russell Stover and his wife Clara first cooked up small batches of chocolates in their Denver, CO, bungalow in the 1920s; the company has evolved significantly since then. I've found the quality of Russell Stover chocolates to be fairly consistent over time. This may or may not be because of preservatives, or rapid turn-over on store shelves (resulting in fresher chocolates). As companies grow this big, I'm guessing they have all their production and delivery processes down to a science. According to a Funding Universe article (from more than 10 years ago), Russell Stover maintained their own line of refrigerated delivery trucks, to help ensure freshness.

ChocolateBet: December 29, 2011

Chocolates of the Day:

1.) 1 serving
Trader Joe's
Golden Caramel Swirl in French Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Cream (Super Premium)
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1/2 cup (100 g.) / 1 Quart (946 mL)

Calories: 260 calories
Cost: $4.49 total container
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Mountain View, CA

I'll kick off today's entry with a random observation: It's impossible to do a Chocolate + Coconut + Caramel Theme Week without thinking about German chocolate cake frosting. If it didn't already exist as a wonderful complement to chocolate cake, then someone would have to invent it.

What do you call chocolate + vanilla + caramel + ice cream? I'd call it a great start. Now, to make this Trader Joe's  Golden Caramel Swirl ice cream an official entry for Day #5 of Chocolate + Coconut + Caramel Theme Week, I sauteed some chopped pecans with coconut shreds in a tiny pan. The result: a great German chocolate topping for ice cream. Unfortunately, my sloppy pan-to-dish presentation and this photo don't do this dessert justice.

2.) 1 piece
Russell Stover
Coconut Wreath
Good +
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.)
Calories: 140 calories
Cost: $0.50 for 1 wreath
Purchased from: Walgreens, Palo Alto, CA

To amp up the crunchy coconut quotient today, I also enjoyed this Russell Stover Coconut Wreath. Russell Stover has been cranking out chocolates since the early 1920s; and the company's chocolatiers have been experimenting with chocolate, coconut and caramel for quite some time. For a brief moment I felt like I was eating a round, upscale coconut version of a Nestle Crunch bar. This wreath also went well with the above Trader Joe's caramel ice cream.
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