Choxie Lady

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.)
Thanks…

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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?)

The Verdict?

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.

Categories:

Global

26 comments

  • Thank you David. I have several friends for whom a trip to Target spells Saturday and this is good news indeed.
    I have decided that you are my new best friend in Paris. You replace a fortune teller, so that will tell you how much I appreciate what you tell us here. I hardly even know who is Carmen Electra, so I am particularly happy that you have saved me the time to find out.
    Here in Italy I can buy cheap towels that you can see through, or expensive towels that are satisfactory. I’ve brought 24 white cotton USA towels, bleachable, thirsty and at $10 each, a great outlet buy.
    Designer toilet brushes never entered my mind before. It ranks somewhere near to Ms Electra in terms of mind pollution.
    What’s with the socks? Don’t you like thin, yellow socks?
    Corn tortillas, si! Target PM? Che cos’é?
    The rest you could easily find if you’d just come to Italy. You are overdue, I believe. Abacchio is in season.

  • I am so relieved to know I’m not the only one who comes out of Target with a full cart at each visit to the US! I’m always a sucker for the candy and the over the counter drugs…could use some Sudafed now, in fact (sadly).

    Loved reading your review, though – witty as usual!!

  • Ack…trying chocolate from Target! You’re much braver than I. Although I guess I could be put to the test if it was work related.

    I’ll be flying into Paris in late June…what would you like me to bring? ;-)

  • David,

    You are awfully close to being arrested by the parentheses police. I’ve never seen so many!

  • Judith: I see you’re culturally-deprived living in Italy. It’s unfathomable that you don’t know who Carmen Electra is. Get thee to a People magazine!

    Meg: While the over-the-counter drugs are cheap and plentiful in the US (those bottle of aspirin with 5000 tablets come to mind…), I’m sure you’ve tried some of the remedies available here. Although usually you go in for ‘le conseil’ and come out with 5 or 6 bottles of pills, or wax ‘pellets’…

    Kung Foodies: I’m always game to try new chocolates, regardless of price. Luckily my suitcase was packed ’til bursting so I’m set for a while, although get back to me in a month or so..

    Chris: That’s the beauty of having a blog. Anyone can write in whatever style they want…it’s free!
    And those aren’t parenthesis, they’re lopsided smiles. : )

  • Ahhh you bring laughter to my life!

    Absolutely!!! No trip to the US is complete without a Target AND a Costco expedition! I’ve got the Michael Graves’ designer kettle and measuring spoons. Functionally they pale in comparison to the OXO measuring spoons, but they look cool.

  • the pretzel “pure milk chocolate” actually looks very good. if the chocolate is decent the mix of peanut butter and/or caramel with a salty pretzel is a sure hit in my life, at least.

  • David,
    I laughed for several minutes, thanks. The people in Target are smart by using one word (sophisticated) that gives them lots of money (not sophisticated) and to their CEOs big bonuses (sophisticated contracts) and to the shareholders nice dividends (sophisticated people). thanks for the sophisticated (last time i use the word) chocovic site.

  • Man… I missed all that?
    I did my run through Target this trip too, but the smell always gets me when I walk it…

    So I quickly ripped through, gathering my asprin, and jeans for my hubbie,some shirts and underwear and socks for me!

    I also got some of those great CD’s they make of relaxing music.

    This trip.. the APPLE shop got me, they fixed my laptop for less than the 700 Euro they wanted here with just a memory upgrade, so I treated myself to a Video IPOD.. want to start Podcasting this year!

  • Thanks so much for the Choxie report – I have wondered about those dubious looking chocolates. Being a designer, I could appreciate the cute packaging but the goods inside were too scary to consider. Growing up in Southern California, trips to Target 10 years ago were something of a shameful secret – it was actually embarassing to get “caught” there by someone you knew – God forbid! Nowadays, being a mother of two in Seattle, I too make the rounds (shamelessly) and never end up out of there for less than $100 (not including the popcorn special – it is actually cheaper to buy a coke and a popcorn at 99 cents than it is to just buy pocorn at a buck twenty-nine. What’s up with that???)
    Thanks for your site! I’m so glad to have found it.

  • David,
    Have you heard of the new Reese’s bar called Take 5? It has PB, pretzels, and caramel and is probably cheaper than Choxie bar. They’re addictively tasty. I don’t now if they’re available in France though.

  • At least in France you don’t have to live through the Choxie TV ads; they’re visually interesting (all the new Target ads are pretty cool-looking), but that “ch-ch-ch-ch-CHOX-ie!” song makes me want to drive ch-ch-ch-ch-CHOPSTICKS into my ears…

  • Your post is great! I love it! I’ve tried Choxie as well and I agree with going to Trader Joe’s for the really good stuff. Anything sold at Target will be commercialized and by no means gourmet!

    ~Dianka
    http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/

  • I value your opinion on these, as the ads annoyed me enough to be a turn-off. Still need to pick up ‘The Chocolate Connoisseur’ so I too can consider my chocolate palate sophisticated.

  • I skip over the ontario/Michigan border a couple times a month to pay homage to Target. When I lived in Cali, I shopped there on almost a daily basis. Candyblog has reviewed the choxie line extensively. Did you happen to try the Take 5 bar? Those are awesome.

  • Huh.

    You know, I walk by those Choxie displays every time I’m in Target (I’d say monthly), and pause for a moment, deliberating…

    Then, the F’ING STUPID-ASS “Ch-ch-ch-Choxie” song comes rip-roaring into my brain, and I have to turn away before it becomes a repeater.

    Sounds like I’m not missing too much. Good deal.

    F
    PS – The only time it’s still appropriate to “Frenchify” Target is when it’s a Greatland store, wherein it becomes pronounced “Tar-jay Gre-lain”. Cos’ what the F**K is Greatland all about??

  • Only ten years of “tar-jay”? Please they’re barely started. We were doing the “je se pe-nay” version when I was a kid in the ’60s!

  • I wonder if the chipotle version might not be tasty embedded in brownies…the Dagoba version is, and is even more expensive. This might be my weekend experiment. Thanks for the review.

  • I’m glad we don’t get those Choxie ads here in Paris. Just the few samples you’ve all left in my comments have given me a taste of the horror of it all.
    I think Target should fabricate all the bars like the peanut butter & pretzel bar; chocolate embedded with big chunks of things, like marshmallows, nuts, mints, coffee beans, gooey things, etc…and stop trying to mimic fancy hi-end chocolates for ‘sophisticated palates’.

    PS: I was trying to explain to some French friends why in America we (well, some of us…) “Frenchify” things like Tar-jay, Gar-bage, etc….and they just kept looking at me, perplexed.

  • (it’s chipotLe, not chipoLte)

  • Have you ever tried Aldi’s chocolate? It’s pretty good, they have dark chocolate hazelnut bars.

  • I have to admit the first time I saw a Choxie commercial I was intrigued and amused. But now, after months and months of the same commericial… I can’t get the sing songy words “chocolate champaaaaaaaign” out of my head. I received some Choxie for christmas, it is definitely not “chocolate with moxie” (unless of course they mean amoxacillin, which I think I needed after eating it). I got a box of 8 “truffles” which were little decorated squares of plastic flavored chocolate, and they didn’t match the clever flavors. I have never in my life thrown away a box of chocolates with any left, let alone 5 left. They were disgusting…

    In the Target chocolate aisle I now run from the Choxie completely and grab a Green and Black’s Maya Gold or wait until my next Trader Joes trip…

  • The next time you’re at Trader Joe’s you should try the dark chocolate covered pretzels. No peanut butter, but the chocolate is decent and punctuated by the salty crunch of the pretzel. TJ’s also has pretzels covered with milk chocolate…whether it’s pure or not is anyone’s guess.

  • Do you think a Carmen Electra exercise video would make it to your door or be swiped by mail elves?

    Thank you for doing a public service by trying the Choxies – I’ve speculated trying them but just couldn’t bring myself to it. You are a brave man. Perhaps I should throw caution to the wind more often . . .

    To Kiki in Seattle, I swear Target has the shopper-with-young-children market base down cold. You have to WORK at getting out of there under $100. I swear the items call to me and when I turn away, jump into the cart.

    That toilet brush does sound intriguing. This is a dangerous (though very funny) blog!

  • Amen on retiring “Tar-jay”.

  • What an excellent and highly amusing post! Brought back memories of my own ex-pat days and annual summer stock up trips home (though marshmallows never made it onto my shopping list, corn tortillas yes, but not marshmallows). I think American pop culture is more horrifying when you’ve been away from it for awhile. Living here I’ve learned to simply tune Carmen Electra out (didn’t know she had a video), but that re-entry shock is something fierce.

    Oh, and I believe it is Girl Scout troop, thought I think I prefer tribe.