Everytime I go back to the United States, I’m certain to spend a good part of one day wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles at Target.
(And can everyone please stop correcting folks when they say “Target”, with “Tar-jay“, which was somewhat funny…about 10 years ago. But we’ve all heard it a zillion times before, and people expect us to laugh in response, but it’s hard to muster a plausable chuckle anymore, so let’s give it a well-deserved rest and go back to calling it Target, please.)
In France, prices for everyday items like towels and bath mats are outta sight and it’s worth lugging back an extra suitcase full of sundries, une valise géante, stuffed with corn tortillas, horizontally-lined notebooks, sunscreen, 12-packs of socks, bottles of Target PM, and a Michael Graves’ designer toilet brush.
Or two. Just in case. I mean, you never know.
One of the newer items at Target is a line of ‘upscale’ chocolates, whatever that means.
I guess it’s chocolate that’s either supposed to be of higher-quality, or has a certain je ne sais quoi. I had completely forgotten about it when I made it to the cash register, my shopping cart overflowing with DVD’s, socks, a pistachio-green yoga mat, mini-marshmallows (I need to count out how many are in a bag for a project, believe it or not), a 2007 monthly calendar (they only have weekly and daily calendars here…and who knows when I’ll be back), when I spotted some colorful boxes of Choxie, which Target states their new line of chocolate bars will “…satisfy the most sophisticated chocolate palates.”
Aside from the people wolfing down corn dogs and gulping down giant Cokes in the snack bar (and damn them to hell…they were out of my favorite: popcorn!), it wouldn’t be stretching the truth too much, nor would I be giving myself a ill-gotten pat on my back, to say I was perhaps the most sophisticated palate in the joint at that particular time of day (aside from my craving for Target popcorn, that is…) I felt like they were talking just to me, and me alone. So I knew I had to use my ‘upscale palate’ for a higher purpose and give those choxie chocolate bars a try.
The first was the hot chocolate bar: deep, dark truffled chocolate with chipotle chili heat.
First off, I have no idea what the heck “truffled” means…so I guess I can’t be all that sophisticated after all now, can I?
*Sigh*, how the mighty fall…
I assumed it suggests some rich heavy cream has been whipped in, but the only dairy item listed was butter “oil”. Sounds kinda greasy.
It was also cautioned on the packaging that my chocolate bars be kept “away from amateurs” as they were indeed intended for only the “most sophisticated of chocolate palates.” Not wanting to sound like a snob, but I think that might preclude an inordinate number of people who were Target shoppers that afternoon, including the girl who held up the Carmen Electra’s Fit To Strip erotic video workout DVD and attempted her own rendition for her boyfriend, who encouraged her, in the video aisle while I, along with several other sophisticated Target shoppers, watched in amusement. (Ok, maybe they were amused. I wasn’t. I don’t know what’s worse; considering buying a Carmen Electra workout video, or performing your own version of her moves in the Electronics Department.)
Getting off my high horse, safely back in the car, I snapped off a bite and took a taste. It was fine. Nice, not too intimidating or offensive. The heat of the chipotle chiles was spot-on; not feeling the heat at first, but the lingering warmth of smoky chili followed shortly afterwards.
Next up was the peanut butter pretzel bar: creamy peanut butter, pretzel twists and roasted peanuts, inside pure milk chocolate. (Apologies about all those lower-case letters, but that’s how they’re printed on the package.)
What should bother you more than writing in all lower-case letters is the words “pure milk chocolate”. What does that mean? “Pure” as opposed to “impure”? If you think about it, milk chocolate itself is actually “impure” chocolate, having been ameliorated, desecrated if you will, with milk. So why not call it as it is? I mean, does anyone buy a Carmen Electra DVD because she’s ‘pure’? Would we buy Fit To Strip if it came with some assurance of purity?
I think not.
Ok, maybe some of us would. Just keep it to yourself.
Anyhow, the pretzel bar was pretty good. The ‘pure’ milk chocolate was truthfully enrobing a nice, gooey filling of peanut butter, encasing the whole pretzel twists tucked inside. It was good, although you could buy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, slice the whole she-bang in half lengthwise, slip a pretzel in, and call it a day for about one-third of the price. Then you could buy another pair of socks, perhaps. Or another designer bathroom brush.
Finally there’s mint cookie crunch: dark truffled chocolate (damn them, how dare they use the word “truffled” again…there’s so little respect for the truth nowadays) with a cool mint candy and chocolate cookie crunch.
I’m enamored with all things mint and dark chocolate, such as thin mints and Girl Scout cookies. And the last time I was in San Francsico I saw a tribe, or whatever they’re called, of Girl Scouts being rousted by the police for trying to sell their cookies in an ‘unauthorized’ location. What is wrong with a world that punishes cheerful, enterprising young ladies presenting their delicious baked goods in a public venue, yet allows Carmen Electra to make exercise videos and appear on their packaging, in various states of undress, without any regard for public decency, while evoking impressionable young girls, and perhaps a few boys, to follow in her tawdry footsteps?
This minty bar rated not so well on my sophisticated chocolate-palate meter; it wasn’t minty enough for me. I found the quality of the chocolate a little lacking as well. I mean, it’s hard to be so sophisticated, but the chocolate was lame. (Imagine if Carmen feels a bit lacking, having to hawk all those silly videos wearing those ridiculously skimpy outfits. How does that girl do it?)
If you’re looking for bargain chocolates, you could do worse.
However you could also do better.
Each Choxie bar weighed in at 2.5 ounces and sold for $1.50 to $1.80. But if you lived near a Trader Joe’s store, you could pick up a 3 ounce bar of Chocovic’s Ocumare chocolate (one of the best chocolates I’ve tasted) for $1.79. And presumably they don’t sell Carmen Electra workout videos there either, so think of what else you’d be saving?
But finally the real test. The “If-I-Keep-It-On-The-Counter, Will-I-Pick-At-It-Incessantly-Until-It’s -Gone?” test. Sure enough the chipolte and the mint chocolate bars sit sadly neglected, but the peanut butter-filled tablet is gone.
Now if only I could say the same for Ms. Electra.