Food Finds: Pure Dark - Chocolates

YUMMY Chocolate! An entry for my food finds - I have discovered the pleasures of this new line of chocolates called Pure Dark - from of all companies, Mars, Inc. What a shocker! The chocolate is pretty good - not as absolutely fantastic as my local favorite - Naked Chocolate in Philadelphia, but delightfully good nevertheless. Actually, I should be more open-minded. I think because the chocolates are made by Mars - I'm biased to think that they aren't SUPER FANTASTIC and the GREATEST chocolate I've ever had. The truth is, the chocolates are a good high quality dark cocoa; it's luscious and the packaging is great. I like Mars' chocolates. I love M&M's and have been especially into the new, "Limited Edition" flavors like the Transformer's Strawberry Peanut Butter and the summer offering of Coconut. My druthers would be that the coconut would have real meaty pieces of coconut in them and the chocolate would be darker. I'd like the strawberry flavoring in the Transformers M&M's to be more assertive, but hey, the candies are good so who am I to complain?

Anyway, these Pure Dark chocolates were a gift from our friends Rob and Lynnette. Rob works in R&D at Mars. We visited with them a week ago and he had this bag of chocolates for us - food for the foodies. I had heard that Mars was producing an upscale line of chocolates and that there was a retail boutique in Manhattan, but I had yet to learn about the candies. Rob to the rescue! Inside the goody bag was a delicious assortment of bark, slabs, coins and nibs. A taste and texture sensation for every mood. Tropical Mango Macadamia Nut Bark; a moody Almond, caramelized Nibs and Dark Cherry Bark; a serious 1/2 inch thick slab of dark chocolate with caramelized nibs; dark chocolate coins with cardamon and cinnamon. And my favorite odd treat - caramelized cocoa nibs. A taste cross between an almost burnt almond blended with a jolt of espresso and dusted with pure dark cocoa. Crack chocolate to get you hooked on an serotonin hit of cacao bliss. I just discovered this morning that the nibs are amazingly good mixed into my morning non-fat Fage Greek Yogurt - making another food find even more amazing.

Here in Philadelphia, we've been spoiled by the likes of 3 Naked Chocolate Cafes; our home-grown 130 year old Shane's Chocolate confections; we were home to the original Goldenberg's Peanut Chews - oh how I miss that dark chocolate and molasses snap of the original candy. We can now boast of Max Brenner's, Chocolates by the Bald Man - an establishment that you have to see, taste and experience to believe - sort of like an upscale Willy Wonka Chocolate Cafe Coffee House with a side of chocolate theater for good measure. I'm not sure that I'll order Pure Dark off the Internet but I sure will go to the store if and when I'm in New York City again. I may however, be very tempted to keep the Pure Dark Chocolate cocoa nibs in my rotation of treats - they are the perfect pop 'em in your mouth pick-me-up that I need and they are the perfect biking fuel, better than a Cliff Bar giving a bigger energy rush than what that odd glucose GU gunk gives you. In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying my stash of chocolate goodies and very much appreciate Rob's thoughtful gift to us. I may become a fan of M&M Mars just yet - and give up my Hershey Kisses ways.

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