Chocolate Monday: South Bend Chocolate Company Turtles

South bend chocolate full turtlesLast week I was teaching my students allusions. I introduce a new one every day so that when my students come across with literary, biblical, historical, and cultural references in the material read, they will understand how allusions can actually enhance writing by giving the audience a comparison they understand. The particular allusion I was teaching was “sacred cow.” In addition to giving them the origin of the allusion and defining it, I also give my kids several examples to help them see how it can be used in context. The particular example I was giving at the time was something like this: Chocolate is my sacred cow. After years of living with me, my husband has finally learned that my super fancy chocolates (and really any chocolate) is off limits unless he buys it himself.

Finding out that I have what some might call an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, one of my little darlings piped up and asked if I’d ever had any treats from his favorite chocolate shop: The South Bend Chocolate Company. Years ago I’d found a little chocolate café in a strip mall with that name and stopped in for some sort of cakey dessert and some pretty decent white chocolate hot chocolate, but I hadn’t had any of their other offerings. As luck would have it, our mall recently opened a little kiosk type outlet full of tasty tidbits to try, so I promised my kids a few chocolate covered pretzels so that I could indulge in something a bit more sinful.

Although they offer quite a few different varieties of turtles–correction, most of them are referred to as caramel patties (which doesn’t sound nearly as appealing)– I decided to keep it simple and went for the four with what I hoped would be the biggest yum factor. Because I am obsessed with any combination of chocolate and sea salt, I had to have one of those in my bag. Although it is not yet fall, since that is my absolute favorite time of year, I had to get in the mood for it with a pumpkin turtle as well. I knew I had to try the classic pecan variety and just because I’ve been snacking on delicious salted cashews this past week, I figured I’d get a cashew one to round out my collection. I probably should have snagged a white or dark chocolate variety, but I was going for pure pleasure on this trip and nothing makes my taste buds happier than good milk chocolate.

My first tempting treat was the sea salt turtle. Yeah, I know, I’m usually a “save the best for last” kinda girl, but I fortified myself by getting two of these. I figured if I south bend chocolate sea salt turtleabsolutely loved them, I’d save myself another trip to the mall. And, if I didn’t, I could always surprise my husband with a chocolatey treat in his lunch the next day (yes, he often gets the rejects from my chocolate exploits–he doesn’t care, he has no real palate for it–it all tastes the same to him!). The salt grains were a bit larger than I’m used to and the first bite was really overwhelming salty, but not exactly in a bad way. It was a fairly typical turtle. The caramel was sweet and slightly stringy, which I love. The salt was the primary taste, but I liked the way it sort of got stuck in my teeth with the caramel. It was a really nice little after taste even after the treat was gone. In case you are wondering, my husband did NOT get the second one. While I won’t say it was the best turtle I’d ever tasted, it was definitely worth a second tasting. And, I actually liked it better the second time around.

Since I was off to a pretty good start, I went for the cashew turtle next. It was a rather big let down. Now, don’t misunderstand, it was perfectly tasty. However, I was looking for something to scream cashewy goodness at me and this just didn’t. I expected the salty sweetness of cashews, but the only sweet was in the chocolate and the caramel and there was no hint of salt at all. Considering how salty the sea salt one was, I was a bit surprised. I was also rather non-plussed by the traditional pecan turtle. Again, it was tasty and I’d certainly eat more of them if they were put in front of me, but nothing to celebrate. It was a bit gooier than its cashew counterpart, which I enjoyed more. The pecans also had the tiniest (and I do mean super tiny) hint of cinnamon, which I thought was cool. Although after trying the pumpkin turtle, I’m not sure if it was supposed to be there.

south bend chocolate pumpkin turtleSpeaking of the pumpkin turtle, can I just say: WOW! This one is hands down the winner of the bunch. I actually bought two of these as well, not because I was convinced I would fall in love with it, but because my husband is a HUGE fan of  Godiva’s pumpkin truffles and I thought he’d really like it (see, I’m not 100% heartless when it comes to chocolate. I almost always buy him a treat when I stumble upon a new chocolate creation). He actually had his first and his only comment was, “I like that.” That, dear readers, is why I don’t let him have the good stuff. He doesn’t get the pure chocolate joy that I do. He likes it, sure, but he’d be just as happy with a Reese’s cup. Actually, he’d prefer a bag of Skittles over just about any other candy in the world. I swear, I just don’t get him at times.

But I digress. Back to this pumpkiny bad boy! There were lovely spicy hints of cinnamon in each and every bite. The nuttiness actually added an almost crust-like taste to the treat, making this a sort of reimagined pumpkin pie bite. The caramel flavor is very subtle and really just adds to the texture of the candy. Come to think of it, it wasn’t just cinnamon that made it so lovely. I could taste hints of nutmeg as well. It reminded me of the wonderful scent that fills the house on Thanksgiving right as the pies come out of the oven. It was a small slice of autumnal heaven and I was sorry I didn’t foist the extra sea salt one off on my husband so I could have had two of these babies.

Overall:

Taste: 7/10 (except for pumpkin, that one gets a 10/10)

Appearance: 6/10

Price: 5/10 (except for that pumpkin one, I would pay WAY more for that one).

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Filed under addictions, chocolate, cool links, food, life as a teacher, married life, products, ramblings, what makes me me

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