The Joys of Chocolate!!

Trufa_de_chocolateHey gang!  You thought you were rid of me, right?  Snork!

Cassondra had technical difficulties with power outages in her area, so her blog didn’t get posted for today.  Instead, you get MEEEEEE!!!  Bwahahahah!

So, let’s talk chocolate.

I just read an article that said that people from other parts of the world think we here in America have terrible chocolate.  Having been in Hershey PA for a baseball tournament recently, and going through the neat-o presentation they do on making chocolate, I’m thinking we use waaaaaay too much sugar for most people’s taste.  Grins.  (This from a woman who loves sweet tea more than anything…)

Europeans, the article said, want their chocolate dark and with a slighlty bitter edge.

Asian countries prefer a milk chocolate, but not nearly as sweet as we like it.

And yet, somehow, M&Ms are universally loved.  Go figure.Candy-Peanut-MMs-Wrapper-Small

I’ve tasted some very high-end chocolate from Switzerland, and I know Caren has had that too, having visited the Swiss.  It ISN’T that sweet.  It’s very chocolate-y but, to our sugar-jaded American tastebuds, its bland.  I’ve also had some very dear chocolates from a famed New York chocolatier who was called upon to provide chocolate to the Queen last time she was in the US.  (One of their claims to fame!)  It too was not sweet, but it didn’t have that slightly bitter aftertone that some of the Swiss chocolates did.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Have you had Chocolate from other parts of the world?  

How did it compare to our Sees, Whitmans, and dime store chocolates?  Too bitter?  Too sweet?

Do you love M&Ms?  I believe the green ones assist in the laborious editing process.  (They are far better for editing than the yellow ones, let me tell you!)

What’s YOUR favorite color of M&M?

What’s your favorite chocolate brand, and DO tell us the good brands from outside the US!?

Do Americans use too much sugar?

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  • Minna says:

    Have you had Chocolate from other parts of the world? Yes, some American chocolate brands included.
    Do you love M&Ms? Yes, and we now get some M&Ms here in Finland. The crispy one seems to be the latest addition, but still, no peanut butter M&Ms.
    What’s your favorite chocolate brand?
    Do Americans use too much sugar? You are not the only ones who use too much sugar.

  • Deb says:

    Hey, Jeanne! Two days in a row, yay!

    I do not like dark chocolate and much prefer milk chocolate. I have had Dutch chocolate and Swiss chocolate, and even though smooth, still not sweet like chocolate here. Thanks to Helen, who sent me several packages, I’ve had real Tim Tams and they are superb! Also, thanks to Anna S. I’ve had true Cadbury chocolate and they are also superb! My daughter was ever so thankful to her for sending us a large prize of different Cadbury chocolates. 🙂

    I like M&Ms and have found recently that I prefer the peanut candies. Favorite color? Hmmm, well, blue just doesn’t seem to fit in the package. I miss the tan colors. Remember when the red ones, including jello and koolaid, weren’t made for several years in the early 70s because the red dye was thought to cause cancer? As a kid, that didn’t seem right to leave out red.

    When visiting Denmark, my mother took Hershey bars for treats and as a little thank you when visiting others. I mean, how much more American can you get than a Hershey’s bar? Huh, most were not impressed and one young cousin was offended because he thought we’d made the presumption that Danes didn’t know what chocolate is and they have good chocolate, so said he. Yes, it was good, but not the sweetest chocolate by any means. BUT, then again, thanks to Denmark, I discovered Nutella, and was so happy it made its way to American markets.

    • Deb says:

      Oh, I also have to add that I love peanut butter and chocolate together. Yum. I’ve been known to be desperate enough to melt milk chocolate chips with a tablespoon of peanut butter. (Desperate as in too late to go to the store to get my fix.)

    • Cassondra says:

      Deb, wow, you’ve had a lot of different chocolates. I’ve had some amazing truffles from Harrod’s in London, and I think they were every bit as sweet as ours. The quality of the chocolate though–that was just outstanding. I’d never had chocolate that good before.

      I like dark chocolate, but like you, I miss the tan M&Ms, and I do remember when red disappeared! I was not impressed when they started using blue. I never liked blue Koolaid or suckers though, either. Hmmm….maybe I’m prejudiced, although blue is a favorite color of mine. Blue drinks, blue food–just doesn’t seem right. *grin*

  • catslady says:

    I must admit I don’t care for dime store chocolate so I do draw a line lol. I’ve learned to like the dark chocolate since they say it’s better for you and some are more bitter than others. I think my husband likes chocolate more than I do but I never turn it down lol.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Catslady!

      I have developed a taste for better chocolate now that there is more of it available here. And I always go for darker chocolate now, and favor the less sweet kinds.

      I never craved chocolate when I was younger, and would choose other flavors of ice cream always. Now that I’m older I like it more and find it hard to resist chocolate cobbler or hot fudge cake and such. Tastes change I guess. :0)

  • sandyg265 says:

    I don’t like mass market American chocolate. It can’t even be sold as chocolate in other parts of the world. I like dark chocolate, preferably on the bitter side. I buy Lindt since it’s widely available in the US. Also Aldi has their own brand of chocolate which is imported from Germany. It’s good and reasonably priced.

  • Cassondra says:

    Sandy, I’ve never had the Aldi chocolate. I’ll have to look for it.

    I like SOME of the mass market chocolate, but I’m not a buyer of candy as a rule, so don’t get much of it. Now I tend to buy organic dark chocolate bars and just have a square now and then. Although just every now and then I get a taste for a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and nothing else will do. I like the bite-size ones because the chocolate to peanut butter ratio is higher on the chocolate end. I eat one, and that’s enough. Taste satisfied.

    We recently got a standalone chocolate store here. First ever in our town as far as I know. She makes her own chocolate, then makes the candies out of it. OMG. Can I just say, Oh. My. Gosh!

    • Deb says:

      I shop at Aldis and their chocolate is good! Imported German chocolate; makes sense since the company started in Germany. Aldis has a lot of German products from coffee to bread to chocolate.

      • Cassondra says:

        Deb I never go to Aldi, mostly because it’s so out of the way. I’ll have to try to make a trip there and check out their chocolates and German-oriented stuff!

        • Deb says:

          Sorry to blow up the notifications, but I just want you to know that I save a lot of money at Aldis. (You have to have cash or a debit card.) For example, I bought frozen hamburger for $2.99/lb when I stopped in there yesterday since I was already in Cedar Rapids (about 45 min. from where I live).

          • Cassondra says:

            Deb no need to apologize! We love chatting with all of you. That’s why we do this. *grin* Everybody I know who shops at Aldi says they save bunches. I really do need to make more effort to go there. Especially now that I have something specific to look for–the chocolate!

          • Helen says:

            Hi Deb

            I too shop at Aldi here in Oz and yes save heaps and I too love their chocolate 🙂

            Have Fun

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi all, and huge apologies for not being able to post my blog when I should have.

    Second, huge THANKS to Jeanne for putting up this post!

    You’ll get the post that was meant for today, but it’ll be next time probably, as I have a second blog day this month.

    I’ve had to go into town to answer comments because of power and internet issues at the house. It’s being worked on, but not fixed yet. Hopefully soon though.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Cassondra! Hope it gets fixed soon! Isn’t it amazing how dependent we become on these crazy things? :>

      And happy to help – you’ve done it for me before, as I recall! Grins.

  • Cassondra –

    I hate it when the internet is out, even without a power outage. You feel so isolated. Hope everything is working again soon. Sounds like you had some powerful storms in your area.

    I like chocolate perhaps a bit too much. I have a sweet tooth and US chocolate fits the bill. But really, for me, it’s about the fillings that make the candy. Cheap chocolates mean cheap fillings like fruit fondant – I can pass on that. But good chocolates have wonderful melt-in-your-mouth fillings. I love those.

    M&MS – they’re like a staple. They make great room decorations when placed in a glass container…but they disappear fast! Too good to last. 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Donna, it’s not storms. That’s what’s weird. Yesterday was a gorgeous day here. Partly cloudy, blue skies in between. Hot and humid like Kentucky in the summer.

      I don’t know for sure but I think a wreck took out a pole, or a farmer cut a line or something. Got home late last night, went to post the blog and nothing. Stores with wifi in town were already closed so I stayed up til the wee hours hoping it would come back on, then finally gave up and crashed.

      I just got word that it’s fixed though (they call when you’ve reported it, to let you know it should be on) So now I get to pack up and drive back home! *grin* Frustrating time, but all is well.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    M&M peanuts are one of my very favorites. Also love the BUNS candy bars with all the nuts and vanilla cream covered in chocolate. Haven’t had much experience with chocolate from other parts of the world.

    • Cassondra says:

      Ohhhhh…I LOVE peanut M&Ms! They’re my favorite. I don’t go so much for the plain ones. But if they’ve got a peanut, they’re just about my favorite off-the-shelf candy.

  • Hi Jeanne! Hi Cassondra! Cassondra, what a complete pain about your power issues.

    Jeanne, fun blog. Actually I remember the first time I tasted American chocolate. My boss went to the US on holiday and brought back a whole heap of Hershey stuff. Nuh, not my cup of tea. All I could taste was sugar. I do however like Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco – it’s more European in style to my taste. Actually I prefer Smarties to M&Ms although I’ll happily eat M&Ms if they’re presented to me! Lately I’ve been crazy on Ferrero Rocher – it’s got wafer and a nut as well as the chocolate so it’s a lighter eating experience. Which means I can eat more. Hmm, how did that work out for me? Not so well! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, I love the Ferrero Rocher chocolates. And for that exact reason–they’re light and not so all-fired sweet. Love the wafer component.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Jeanne and Cassondra,
    I like American chocolate(loved the Whitman sampler when I was a kid), but do think some European chocolates taste better like Leonidas from Belgium. Kraft makes the Cadbury brand(Hershey makes them) chocolates here in the states and many say that it’s not as good as the ones made by Cadbury in the UK. One of my favorites is Maltesers. They similiar to Whoppers here in the states.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jane I like the Cadbury chocolates too, but have never had the UK style.

      Ohhh…Whitman’s Samplers—the staple of my childhood Christmases. My grandfather’s attorney always sent him a sampler box, and I always looked forward to it. Loved the nuts and carmels, hated the creams. Blech.

  • Helen says:

    Hi All

    Chocolate what a grea topic 🙂

    I have not tried much chocolate from overseas although I did get some Godiva chocolate once and it was delicious here in Oz of course Tim Tams are the best and then there is Cadbury and Lindt which are my favourites and I prefer milk chocolate and I do love M&M’s and I don’t have a favourite colour I love them all LOL. I am more than happy to be a taste tester for chocolate from around the world 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen, I think you hit the nail on the head….wouldn’t we all love to be a taste tester for chocolate!

      I love the Lindt truffles. I have to avert my eyes when I pass them in the stores!

    • Deb says:

      Helen the Chocolate Taste Tester! I’ll join you in that job. Hopefully, we won’t look like Lucy and Ethel in the Chocolate Factory episode of I Love Lucy. 😉

  • Amy Conley says:

    Well sorry Cassondra. Was having pproblems, thought it was my phone.

    Yes, Americans eat too much sugar, but not just from chocolate, it’s in everything. But other than my Pepsi Ones, I will not buy anything without real sugar. It’s a bit like “low fat” foods, they take out the fat and add sugar. Most low fat foods have more calories, read the label, I kid you not.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had any chocolate from anywhere in the USA. GIRADELLI is Italian, but it’s made in San Francisco, and I love it, and it is not as sweet as most American chocolate.

    Greem M&M’S are my fav. Used to hear they made you horney. LOL But if the also help reach deadlines, you may end up with enough to last you a lifetime. 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Haha! Amy I think we all need to send Jeanne green M&Ms to help her write more books, don’t you?

  • Amy Conley says:

    PS, I just heard about a study where dark chocolate and red wine can lower your chances of getting dementia.

    • Cassondra says:

      Amy they’re also both very good for your health in other ways. My husband, STeve was told to eat a square of dark chocolate each day to lower his blood pressure, and a bit of red wine every day brought his “good” (going simplistic here) cholesterol levels up when nothing else would.

      All things in moderation, I say!

  • Jeanne,

    I’m an AMERICAN chocolate fan, but I do like the dark version of Milky Way and Godivas.

    M&M’s and the editing process go hand in hand, or should I say, Hand and MOUTH? hehehe

    Have you seen the LARGE M&M’s? Oh baby!! More chocolate in each one.

    GREEN. Say no more!

  • pjpuppymom says:

    I fell in love with Swiss chocolate when I spent a summer there during my teens. It took me a long time to get used to the taste of American chocolate again after that summer.

    I love Peanut M&M’s. I like the yellow ones. 🙂

    I’m partial to the chocolates I make at home. I use chocolate from a supplier in Georgia and have fallen in love with their recipe, in particular the dark chocolate. It reminds me of good European chocolate. I’ll be busy in a few weeks making chocolates to take to RWA.

    The best truffles I’ve ever had are from a small shop in Michigan, a couple miles from where I grew up, called The Chocolate Garden. They are all hand made and the taste and texture are exquisite. They make them daily and ship orders to customers all over the world. They are not carried in any stores. You can only order them directly from the source. My favorites are the Dark Chocolate Orange and the Solera Double Gold, a milk chocolate truffle spiked with a local winery’s award-winning Solera Cream Sherry. I’m sitting here drooling just thinking about them! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Oooooooo! PJ!

      You may be my new best friend and my new worst enemy all at the same time!

  • Uhm, you know the Peanut M&M’s are male, right? 😉

    They’ve got nuts.

    Yes, I did just go there. 😉 😉

    • pjpuppymom says:

      LOL! I had a co-worker several years back whose wife had a baby boy. Instead of passing out cigars at work, he distributed Hershey with Almonds bars. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Aaaaaaalmond Joy’s got nuts.
      Mounds don’t.


      I saw a photo on facebook of two babies–twins–side by side. One had on an Almond Joy onesie. The other had on a Mounds onesie.

      I had to repost it, I thought it was so cool!

  • Becke says:

    Chocolate, what’s not to like?

    I had a colleague from Switzerland and in her opinion our chocolate was not good.

    Have you had Chocolate from other parts of the world? – yes, but you never know if it’s authentic or just hype. Since I haven’t traveled to Europe, I’ll answer no.

    Do you love M&Ms? I believe the green ones assist in the laborious editing process. (They are far better for editing than the yellow ones, let me tell you!) I’m not too much on plain M&Ms, but can definitely get into peanut M&M. Heavens, have you ever checked the calorie count on those little suckers?

    What’s YOUR favorite color of M&M?
    Any color except the brown. As a child I left those for last and often threw them out.

    What’s your favorite chocolate brand, and DO tell us the good brands from outside the US!?
    1-Dove-dark chocolate
    2-Lindor- chocolate-peanut butter

    Do Americans use too much sugar? Well there would be a reason we are near the top of the heap in obesity. But I think the rest of the planet is catching up.

    • Cassondra says:

      Becke, I saved the brown ones until last also! But the colors were prettier together, to me, when they also had tan. I suppose tan is not as festive as blue, but there’s just something about blue food…..

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    >>”Do you love M&Ms? I believe the green ones assist in the laborious editing process. (They are far better for editing than the yellow ones, let me tell you!)”<<

    LOL You do know the green M&Ms are considered aphrodisiacs, right? 😀 I guess we know what scenes you're editing, Jeanne.

    I like the yellow ones myself. *adjusts slightly tarnished halo*

    • Cassondra says:

      Marcy if your halo is tarnished, mine is in the shop for repairs, and has been for more years than I can count!

      Just sayin.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    In the middle of a big project but had to weigh in on my favorite subject! 😉

    Hubby is a KitKat fiend and swears the British ones taste better than the US ones. When he was growing up in Detroit he made regular jaunts across the Bridge to get them in Canada. Now we go to Cost Plus World Market to get all the Japanese flavored ones.

    I am a dark chocolate addict and while I do like Dove Dark and Lindt 70%, I do prefer European or Asian chocolates. My boss brought us all Russian chocolates from St Petersburg after his last trip but I found it quite bland; and the Laura Secords and Ganongs that my Canadian friend sends for Christmas are very similar to US chocolates. But I love a Cadbury Fruit & Nut (and Chunky, too, I’ll admit), Meiji Black (Japan) and Schogetten (Germany), which I’m eating as I write this. Asher’s chocolate covered grahams are my extra special treat. But the very best chocolate I ever had was from Spain! My former boss brought me a box of Vilaplana truffles from Barcelona for minding the store during their cruise, and a richer, smoother, more delicious chocolate I have never had before or since.

    And I’m with you on the blue M&Ms, Cassondra. I was hoping for purple as it was a tastier color and matched the rest of the colors much better, IMHO. Have you tried the new Birthday Cake Flavor M&Ms? They’re … interesting.

    And in a bizarre coincidence, we also had a truck back into a phone pole at my workplace and knock out our phone and internet service for two days this week. I didn’t mind so much not spending all day on the phone with customers, but it was a pain not being able to run credit cards or process checks. We are going to have a boatload of catching up to do once they get it fixed…

    • Cassondra says:

      EC, I have NOT tried the Birthday Cake M&Ms, and I must say, I find the idea a little offputting. Not that I wouldn’t try it. I certainly would.


      You know…when you overcomplicate things,
      I’m not sure it always works.

      Cookie Dough flavored ice cream is a good example. I think, if you’re going to do that, you should just chow down on the cookie dough.

      That said, you have an impressive chocolate resume, and I want you to be my guide through all things chocolate from this point!

  • Ah! La Duchesse, you speak of one of my favorite things – chocolate!

    My very favorite type of chocolate is any type of Cadbury’s chocolate! YUM!! I have had British Cadbury’s, Aussie Cadbury’s (La Divina Cadbury is my drug dealer of choice!) and even Canadian Cadbury’s thanks to Kim Howe. Which is my absolute favorite? Only further research will decide. American Cadbury’s is not bad, but it doesn’t compare to the overseas versions.

    I’ve had chocolate in Austria – Mozart keugels are to DIE FOR! I’ve had chocolate in Germany, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Holland, Spain. I like it all! That’s the great thing about chocolate. It is hard to mess it up. The chocolate in Holland is super sweet!

    • Cassondra says:

      Louisa, you may have coined a standard.

      Chocolate–it’s hard to mess it up.

      Just sayin.

  • Jeanne and Cassondra–what a fun topic!

    Yes, I’ve had chocolate from other parts of the world but am not sufficiently sophisticated to make a comparison. I like Cadbury’s milk chocolate caramel bar. A lot.

    My favorite M&Ms color varies. I keep coming back to red a lot, or blue. I prefer the non-crunch kind, if it matters.

    My favorite chocolate brand is Godiva. I enjoy their “white chocolate,” which I know is not really chocolate, peppermint bark at the holidays.

    Yes, in general, I think Americans consume too much sugar.

    • Cassondra says:

      Nancy, that peppermint bark stuff is really, really, REALLY good.

      It’s addictive.

      I should stay far away from it.

      That is all.

  • Alyn says:

    Okay, that’s it! I’m going to have to try some Cadbury from overseas!

    To my knowledge, I haven’t had any overseas chocolate unless you count Pocky sticks. I love Pocky sticks!

    I used to love M&Ms and the ones with Peanuts were my favorite. Now that I am older, I find I can only eat them if they’re baked into a cookie.

    I love Godiva and Lindt chocolates.

    I don’t know if the US uses too much sugar or not in their chocolates. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do.

    • Cassondra says:

      Alyn, Godiva and Lindt. Thos are my favorites too!

      Hey…it may have too much sugar, but itthe bottom line is…don’t touch mine if you want to live! *grin*