I've come to realize that Christmas is a time for sugary, commercial chocolate. As much as I would like it to be, it is not a time for worldly, fine chocolate that can only be found in specialty shops. It's about getting back to our chocolate roots, when we were kids and our eyes grew big at the sight of a box of Turtles or AfterEights nestled under the tree on Christmas morning. For those of us who love to constantly try new kinds of fine and single-origin chocolate on a daily basis, Christmas can be a time we let our child-like sweet tooth run wild again by gorging on all those gooey, melty sugary "chocolates" that began our chocolate cravings in the first place.
I used to hint at family members that I would only like expensive, high quality specialty chocolate for Christmas. I would e-mail out links to websites where they could purchase it, print a list from a website and circle the chocolate I wanted to try, or simply mention the shops that sold fine chocolate that I had yet to try. But it was always to no avail. Nowadays I don't bother hinting and and I just rely on myself to buy my fine chocolate. Let's face it, I can't expect my family members to know what chocolate I have tried and what chocolate I have not tried. So I just go with the flow at Christmas and enjoy the commercial chocolate that materializes at Christmas time.
This year, I was pleasantly surprised by receiving a Lindt PETITS DESSERTS Milk Chocolate Mousse bar. My sister-in-law is nearly as much of a chocoholic as I am, and she is probably the best one for understanding that I like to try chocolate bars that I have not yet tasted. And since she is also pregnant right now (as am I), she understands that there are a few months in a pregnancy where dark chocolate is harder to digest. So she conscientiously bought me this 140 gram Lindt bar to tackle my current cravings for the sweeter stuff.
Lindt has done a great job with the flavour and texture of this chocolate bar. It is creamy, slightly bubbly inside and unbelievably smooth. I believe that the secret to any good milk chocolate is the addition of hazelnuts. Milk chocolate is always meltier, smoother and tastier when hazelnuts have been added to it. Cocoa Camino has done the same with their organic 100 gram milk chocolate bar, which makes it one of the best organic milk chocolate bars that I have tasted. Another great commercial chocolate for the family at Christmas time is GuyLian - the original Belgian chocolate sea shells. The manufacturers have also added hazelnuts to these truffle-like treasures which make it so addictive to nearly every member of the family. Lindt also knows this secret and has intelligently added it to their mousse bar.
Now if you are one of those people (like me) who care about what is in your chocolate, I suggest that you don't read the ingredients list for the Lindt mousse bar. Lindt has added hydrogenated vegetable oil hydrogenated palm oil and artificial flavour, among other unpronounceable ingredients. I am disappointed in Lindt, since they always advertise themselves as a manufacturer of chocolate with superior ingredients. They often add artificial flavours to their chocolate, and I find the addition of hydrogenated oil to be crossing the line. In this day and age, people are conscious of their health and hydrogenated oil is one of those things many of us try to keep out of our diet. If most margarine manufacturers have figured out that "non-hydrogenated" is better for us, then why can Lindt?
However, since I believe is that Christmas is a time for extra-sweet, overly commercial chocolate with all sorts of additives, then I guess this chocolate bar is appropriate for the day, and likely it is a lot better than some of the other chocolate candy that I could be eating instead. And what the heck, it tastes great. So a big thank-you to my sister-in-law for helping me sooth my cravings today and giving me a luscious, milky, hazelnuty treat for Christmas day!
Merry Christmas everyone! May the holiday season bring you something sweet and tasty and, of course, chocolaty.