When you were a child, were you ever taken to a store that sold expensive items yet didn’t bother to protect them behind, say, glass? Perhaps it was a music shop where guitars and flutes and bongos stood out like playmates in the schoolyard, beckoning you to touch them with your Chupa Chups-holding hands?
Or maybe it was lighting store where glittering chandeliers dangled just above your pig-tail-adorned head, time but begging to be swung from like the Tarzan you think you could be, if only you tried talking to monkeys.
When you were a child in a store like that, were you ever told to “Look But Don’t Touch”? Because I certainly was.
And now I find myself, several years down the track, writing a chocolate review with a similar phrase in mind: “Look But Don’t Judge”.
The Curious Chocolatier Holiday Spice Milk Chocolate with Pecans and Cranberries
You might be wondering why I can’t judge and discuss the pros and cons of this chocolate with you, the way I have with almost every chocolate to have passed my lips lately. The long answer is that as a sociologist, I know I have to be upfront about any personal biases that could impede my perception of phenomena/events/people/beliefs/experiences/and now chocolate. I know that, sometimes, these biases may entangle me in their webs and affect my Sense Of The World.
That’s the long answer. The short answer is: orange oil.
In the post about my disastrous peppermint rice pudding attempt, I mentioned that I can’t stomach orange flavours. That’s why you’ve never, nor will you ever, see me reviewing orange chocolate on this blog. I normally check the ingredients of flavoured chocolates before purchase and yet, because this bar was given me by the lovely L-Izzle, I did not.
I must be absolutely clear about one thing: this is really nice creation, both aesthetically and, insofar as I can tell, flavour-wise. The chocolate itself is a lovely caramel colour and looks gorgeous offset with plump, ruby cranberries and light-brown roasted pecans.
The aroma is lovely and Christmassy, reminding me of pine needles and spiced cookies. The pecans are fresh-tasting and not at all stale, providing the soft buttery crunch that pecans are known for. The cranberries are soft, not desiccated, and pleasantly sweet with just a slight tinge of tart*.
But, friends, I couldn’t eat more than three squares of this. I tried, really I did, but I’m simply hyper-ridiculously-terribly-hyper-hyper-aware of even the slightest hint of orange in chocolate. Think of how Hugh Hefner is hyper-aware of all big-bosomed blondes in his vicinity, or how the hosts of The View are hyper-aware of possible silence in their conversation and endeavour to fill it with high-pitched shrieks.
That’s me with orange. I’ve given tastes of this chocolate to other people and not only have they found it lovely, they can barely tell the orange from the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla also found in the bar. Sadly, for me, the orange is omnipresent. All I can say is that this bar is aesthetically gorgeous, that I’m almost certain it’s delicious if you don’t mind orange flavour, and that I hope you don’t think less of me for bringing Hugh Hefner and his droopy skin into your mind.
* I wonder if that’s an apt description for my socks-n-stocks combination?