Chocolate Monday: Hawaiian Host Maui Caramacs

caramacs closed boxIt is no secret among my students that I’m a chocoholic. In fact, I’d say my love of chocolate gets brought up in class at least once a day. Usually, either by my Advanced Placement kids (who have had me for two years in a row, feel they know me pretty well, and like to give me a hard time) or by me as an example for some vocabulary word or allusion we are learning. Every day we learn the origin and meaning of a new allusion in hopes that someday when they run into the allusion in something they are reading or watching, they’ll know what it means. For example, the other day our allusion was “Siren Song.” For those who don’t know, this is a reference to the Sirens of Greek mythology who were beastly monsters, often disguised as beautiful women, who lead sailors to their deaths with their irresistible songs. So, when someone refers to something as their siren song, it is that temptation they just can’t turn away from that leads to their destruction. Since I like to give my students practical examples, I brought up the fact that chocolate is the siren song to my diet. They all get it and are amused by how many examples I can truly create based on my chocolate addiction.

Now, I’m not bragging or anything (ok, maybe I am, just a teeny bit), but my AP kids and I have some pretty darn good relationships. So good, in fact, that they even bring me in treats now and again. Just last week I was offered donuts by two different students and despite really wanting them, since I’d already had breakfast, I did the right thing and turned them down. But then, on Friday of last week, one of my little darlings came in with a box of chocolates for me. Yes, that’s right, almost an entire box of caramacs up closeMaui Caramac chocolates. She opened them, took one out for herself, gave one to her friend, and then handed me the other ten. I was rather flabbergasted. Usually I get offered a piece or two, but not an entire box of chocolates. I thanked her profusely for the treats. Of course, that’s when she threw in the catch. She begged me to move the class discussion over Their Eyes Were Watching God one day later because she and another student were going to be on a college visit the day of the discussion and they both wanted to be a part of it. I agreed to think about it and she agreed to leave the box of chocolates in my room.

And it sat there all day. I’m not going to say I’ve never moved a deadline before, but in 15 or so years of teaching, I’ve never had a student actually bribe me to do it. I’ve had them offer hypothetical bribes of $20 or $50, but no one has actually ever shown up with the cash and waved it under my nose. But this, this was chocolate. And it was sitting right there on my podium, just staring at me. It was hard to avoid. I’ll admit it, I caved. Not just for the chocolate though. I was already contemplating moving the date since several people were going to miss both of the scheduled discussions due to college visits (that’s the problem with teaching highly motivated, academically gifted kids, they all have ambition), and by moving each one by one day, I’d avoid all the kids who’d be gone. This meant not only that everyone could participate, but that I wouldn’t have to grade the papers I make them write when they miss a discussion. Everybody wins! And, I get chocolate to boot!  caramacs in the box

The chocolates in question were sent to my student by a relative who lives in Hawaii. Her entire family actually used to live there when she was younger, and since she still has family there, they send her care packages all the time. I remembered her offering me these same chocolates last year, but then I’d declined.

Now, I love a good turtle and these looked to be a macadamia nut version.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of macadamia nuts. Growing up in Southern California they were everywhere. My folks loved them and snacked on them all the time. I found them to be kind of bland. Plus, when they are baked into cookies, they often get sort of waxy and mushy, which I’m not a huge fan of. Give me an almond or a pecan any day. Those are strong, tasty nuts! But, they were something new and I’m always up for a new chocolate adventure. The chocolate shell doesn’t have a lot of flavor. It’s sweet, but not overly so. The caramel is super sticky and very chewy. Even warmed to room temperature it took a lot of chomping to get through. It’s also sweet and slightly buttery, but doesn’t have the creaminess I love in a caramel. The macadamia nuts are pretty innocuous. They add the tiniest hint of crunch, but honestly the caramel is really what gives this candy the texture. There really isn’t a salty taste from the nuts, no crunchy texture and no real flavor from them, so I’m not sure what purpose they serve other than to set these candies apart from regular turtles, therefore making them exotic and possibly peaking people’s curiosity. I found them a bit bland. If they hadn’t been given to me, I wouldn’t have sought them out.

The good news is that if you like macadamia nuts and you either live on the West Coast or visit airports in Chicago, New York, Texas or Boston, they are pretty cheap. A box of 12 runs $4.25. However, considering their relative scarcity for most of the country, the shipping charges make them really not worth it in my book.


Taste: 4/10

Appearance: 3/10

Value: 5/10 (if you can get them without shipping, they are only like .35 cents each)

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

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