M&M’s Pirate Pearls

I’m super late to the game on this one, but oh well. I picked up these M&M’s Pirate Pearls (BUY) at a local dollar store. They were released to promote the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that came out back in May, so they’ve of course been relegated to dollar stores and the like.


I enjoy white chocolate even less than I do milk chocolate. I just don’t understand why it can be called chocolate if it’s flavored with vanilla and has no cocoa solids (thanks, Wikipedia). And, of course, it’s on the cloying side of sweet.

The packaging on the Pirate Pearls was uninspiring, but I can’t be too critical because Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow is the main attraction, and ARRR! he be attractin’ alright! I also like the cute little pirate insipred designs on the M&M’s themselves. Way to go, Mars, for doing more than just changing the wrapper and the M&Ms’ colors. I appreciate that extra mile. Finally, the bag is slightly smaller than your standard bag of M&M’s, I guess because it’s a novelty tie-in product, so Mars figured they could get away with selling smaller portions.

As far as taste goes, the M&M’s Pirate Pearls were okay. They’re just like milk chocolate M&M’s size-wise and shell-to-chocolate ratio-wise, only they’re made of a sweet white chocolate instead. I managed about a half dozen or so before I’d reached my white chocolate limit. These would be good in trail mix or something along those lines, where there’s something salty to mitigate the cloying. If you’re a white chocolate fan (do those exist?), you’ll like these a lot.

If I see these again, I might consider buying another package to stash away as a collector’s item, but probably not. If they stuck Orlando Bloom on the wrapper, however, I could be persuaded to reconsider.

Whole Foods truffles

chocolate-fountain.jpgBefore I got busy mooching free bacon chocolate from Whole Foods, I actually bought some chocolate truffles too. The flagship Whole Foods has a chocolate bar (as in a bar that serves chocolate) with the most amazing display cases. Ginormous jars of chocolate-covered nuts and fruits and malted milk balls, tantalizing slabs of fudge, chunks of chocolate bark, and various truffles and things by the piece. And the piece de resistance: a chocolate fountain.

There were little boxes of Vosges truffles, but I couldn’t remember which ones Cybele had recommended. As the little buggers were pricey (around $11 for four, I believe), I wanted to make sure to pick the delicious ones and ended up passing on those. Instead, I picked up a Fran’s salted caramel (which I’d also read about and was thrilled to discover in my hometown; I thought I’d have to make a pilgrimage to Seattle to get my hands on them) and a Mexican chili truffle for $2 apiece. Sorry for the extra-poor photos, but I took these at Whole Foods because I just couldn’t wait until I got home to eat them.

food-blog-pictures-135.jpgThe Fran’s salted caramel was my first taste of a salted sweet. It was gooood. I ate it upside down so that the coarse sea salt hit my tongue first. Rich, dark chocolate coated a dusky, smoky caramel, and the addition of salt brought out the lovely burnt-ness of the caramel. Delicious. For a poor college student, $2 a caramel is definitely too much for me to make this a repeat indulgence, but I now want to try salting cheap, mass produced caramels (BUY) before I eat them. Maybe the next time I add caramel syrup to an ice cream sundae I’ll finish it with a sprinkle of salt.

food-blog-pictures-134.jpgThe Fran’s caramel was my first salty-sweet chocolate experience; the Mexican chili truffle was my first taste of spicy-sweet, in the world of chocolates, at least. This little guy was super spicy – almost too fiery to bear. Fortunately, the smooth dark chocolate was just enough to soothe the mouth and prevent the chili burn from being too painful. Still, it left a tingle that lingered on the tongue. The outer coating of the truffle was dark chocolate with a dust of spices and a sprinkle of chili seeds on top. The inner ganache was spicy as well, and its texture was surprisingly liquid, somewhere between chocolate syrup and pudding, I’d say. It oozed a little, but it wasn’t liquid enough to flow. I’m pretty sure that I tasted cinnamon in the mix of chili spices, but my palate is not refined enough to pick out anything else. There was also a familiar spice I recognized from my family’s Chinese cooking, and it still bothers me that I can’t figure out what it is.

These two truffles were a delicious splurge. They’re too expensive for me to buy for myself again (I only bought them because it was my penultimate night in Austin before I left for college, and I wanted to treat myself), but I wouldn’t refuse more as a gift!

Edit 09/05: For their deliciousness, I hereby bestow the Fran’s caramels with a ZOMG!

Crunch Crisp

As a kid, I loved Crunch bars (BUY), with their perfect blend of sweet milk chocolate and crispy rice bits. When I got older, they became a bit too sweet for my liking, but I still enjoy the occasional miniature Crunch bar. Recently, I had the opportunity to try one of the new Crunch Crisp bars in miniature form. Yum!


According the wrapper, this bar is made from crispy wafers and chocolate creme. I only tasted sweet Nestle chocolate and didn’t notice any difference in texture to make it a creme, but it doesn’t matter. On its own, the chocolate would be a touch on the sweet side, but the toasty, crisp wafers balance the chocolate sweetness quite nicely.

food-blog-pictures-156.jpgI would definitely buy this again in a full-sized bar (and I’d try to get a better cross-section shot). I think it’s even better than the original Crunch bar because the extra wafers further mitigate the sweetness of the chocolate. I only wish I could taste the rice crisp bits on top too; they just blend in with the rest of the bar.

Chef Keem’s Handmade Texas Chocolate – Spiced Rum Raisin Chocolate

The wrapper on this chocolate claims that Chef Keem’s chocolate was inspired in Germany and perfected in Austin, TX (my hometown!). Sorry, Chef Keem, but your spice rum raisin chocolate was far from perfect. I found it bland, boring, and unremarkable.

I got this from Cassie in my birthday bag o’ candy. I think she picked it up at a local Austin restaurant that’s big on serving local and/or organic foods. Something like that. The bar looks cutely homemade, with its paper wrapper adorned with a photo of Chef Keem in his whites and cowboy hat. I doubt that this is available outside of Austin. That’s probably for the best.


The bar itself is wrapped in silver foil. Sadly, it had a poor snap, though that could have been due to the warm Texas weather. Still, we opened it indoors in a well air-conditioned home, so I don’t know if the heat was really to blame.


The chocolate was soft and sweet, so sweet that it overshadowed the bland raisins that studded it. Though the wrapper claimed that the chocolate was dark, I found the bar far too sweet to be considered real dark chocolate.

The raisin part was obvious, but neither Cassie nor I tasted any spice or rum in the bar. We both found it one-dimensional and dull. I’ll stick to chocolate-covered raisins, I think.