Tag Archives: Gift Bar

Caramell-oh boy!

IMG_4017Caramellos have always sort of been there.

Never really advertised nor lusted after, yet a mainstay enough in the Walgreens’ candy aisle that I knew they were always an option.

[Ed. note: Apparently they were advertised at one point. In a … terrifying … manner.]

In the past week, I’ve stumbled onto three.

I don’t know how they found me, but they did. I can’t say I’m mad.

Tasting Notes


Caramello 1 (a Gift Bar from the wonderful Jules Bar): Euro style

– These buggers. With their wrappers. And their CDM-style, smooth-ass chocolate.

Such convenience.

Such convenience.

– Just top-notch. I’d prefer if the caramel were a little less stringy/runny, but this is a winner right here. Also it’s rich enough that you don’t necessarily want to eat the whole thing in one sitting, which is where that swell wrapper comes in handy.

Caramello 2: U.S. style (pictured at top)

– Given my preference for CDM chocolate over standard U.S. chocolate, I was prepared for an inferior candy bar.
– I misjudged.
– The chocolate tastes and feels almost the same as the Euro-style bar. It might be, only very slightly, a little less milky in the chocolate department, but not a difference worth making a big deal about, especially compared to traditional American chocolate bar.
– Didn’t these things use to have a brown, red and yellow wrapper? What happened, guys?

IMG_4016Caramello 3: At Trader Joe’s

– This is a good candy bar.
– It’s just not as good as the Cadbury kind.
– The chocolate was a little darker, a little waxier. Much more American-style, which highlights the contrast and slight saltiness of the caramel well.
– I am starting to think I’m becoming a CDM fanboy.

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Look at my kitchen table

IMG_4004Happy weekend, friends. I’ve got a mega Passage From A Novel Without Context planned for tomorrow that will cover all the candy I’ve been eating for the past two weeks.

Before that publishes, though, I would like to formally appreciate all of who have been sending Gift Bars my way from all of the corners of the world. I’ve received packages from no fewer than six of you, from places as far as Abu Dhabi, Thailand, South Dakota, England and Hershey, Pa.

Thank you, very genuinely. I can’t wait to dive into all of this sweet, weird candy.

And also clear some of this off of my kitchen table because goodness if I people didn’t already think I was crazy …

IMG_4010Tasting Notes

– The Nestle Coffee Crisp was just splendid. Very wafery, with a hint of coffee and just the right amount of CDM-style chocolate.
– It was a very light bar. I felt like a skinny cow.

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Toy Toy: Making the Nestle Wonder Ball Choking Hazards Look Like … Something You Wouldn’t Choke On

IMG_3915When I was a kid, I would get up early so that I could watch Pokemon sitting in a blue microfiber recliner I called “The ComfortZone” every day before I left to go to school.

I’m assuming because of how ad space is sold for children’s programming [Ed. note: Any intel, Sara Bar?], there were only seven or eight total commercials that ever played; of course, in fast order, my siblings and I memorized every single one of them.

This prompted some pretty strange, automatic reactions from us each time one of these ads came on, as we would quickly repeat jingles and ad copy, and hold jerky re-enactments of the clip of “Don’t You … Forget About Me” by Simple Minds featured in the compilation CD commercial.

One of those strange reactions was in response to the jingle for the Nestle Magic Ball, where we would shout outlandish replacement suggestions* as to what was inside the many layers of the Magic Ball. Because the jingle would get stuck in your head so easily, we got the opportunity often, which was always very funny**.

*[Ed. note: Most common suggestions: “poop”, “pee”, “puke”]

**[Ed. note 2: Most hilarious suggestions: “poop”, “pee”, “puke”]

I never got a chance to ever eat a Nestle Magic ball, though. They were quickly pulled off the market because the toys they contained in their chocolate-encased Balls That Pop were almost all very definitely choking hazards. Continue reading

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I can’t Belize I couldn’t think of a better headline

IMG_3848When I wasn’t getting my head shaved, riding around in a ridiculous Camaro and being a robot during the Las Vegas/Los Angeles jaunt I recently took, I was visiting one of my best friends, Sara Bar.

She had recently returned from a wedding in Belize (of two very nice people who were unfortunate casualties of the Great Bike Adventure Debacle of 2015), and when not taking Max Bar and I to Ross Dress For Less because one of us split our pants, she showered me with chocolate bars she had procured out there.

It was a pretty tasty adventure getting through them all; I opened the last one this morning. While they all had fun little eccentricities, they pretty consistently featured the bitter notes of the cacao bean at the front of each bite, to fade away into varying degrees of sweetness as it melted in my mouth. I don’t know if that’s a trait inherent to Belizian chocolate or a byproduct of its organicness and/or freshness, but it was apparent.

My thoughts:

Cocoa Nib Crunch (pictured)
– So, I might be revealing my lack of formal candy bar education, but what the fk is a cocoa nib?
– Like, is it a part of the plant? I’m assuming?
– If they’re what I’m assuming they are out of context, the nibs served as fine, bitter crunchies interspersed within the milk chocolate, adding texture and an almost soft-serve-twist-cone commingling of flavors.

IMG_3902GOSS White with Vanilla Bean
– Never have I ever had white chocolate that tasted like it was actually chocolate. Usually it is creamy and waxy and probably just yogurt.
– Until I ate this bad boy.
– It was very much still white chocolate, but with a more natural, gently bitter flavor. Top marks. Continue reading

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“That’s Definitely the Record, Man”

IMG_3823“So, are we going to talk to them or what?”

“Dude, you know I don’t do openers.”

“I know.”


“So, we think the both of you are absolutely adorable. Can we buy you a drink?”

(squinting in recognition) “Were the two of you at CVS earlier today? And, like, fighting over him buying you a candy bar?

[Ed. note: Any input/suggestions on better openers is welcome and encouraged.]

****** Continue reading

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A Marvellous Way to Kick Off A Vacation

IMG_3746My colleague Aussie Mike Bar just returned from a two-week sojourn to his native Sydney. Having taken an interest in this little Piece-Breaking project I’ve begun, he brought back his favorite candy bar: the Cadbury Marvellous Creations.

You’d imagine my trepidation towards noshing on a candy bar that consisted of what looked to be pop rocks, M&M’s and jelly beans blasted into CDM by means of a chocolate cannon. [Ed. note: Logistically I am very curious how this cannon delivers said candy blast without itself becoming the very candy it’s blasting.]

There’s also this matter of “beanies”, which Mike was unable to explain and I think is just a fun way to say jellybean, but also definitely shouldn’t belong in a candy bar because jellybeans and chocolate why?

Jelly. Popping. Candy. Beanies.

Jelly. Popping. Candy. Beanies.

But then you eat it, and it’s like Mardi Gras in your mouth. There are trumpets and fizzies and melties and chewies. All of the flavors blend together into this party that should have gotten broken up by the cops hours ago, but the neighbors are pretty cool and remember back in the day when they used to do the same thing.

It’s really, really fun and really, really good. I have no idea why.

… So good, in fact, that I’ve decided to take a few days in Las Vegas to gamble on some basketball and think it over. I’ll still be eating candy, but updates until Tuesday will be a bit more sporadic. Oh, and keep an eye out on Thursday … there’s a special treat on its way.

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Atrophy is the Worst

IMG_3742You know those nature videos where a bear emerges from his/her cave after months of inactivity from hibernating, then struggles, all wobbly and disheveled until it moves around a little bit and secures food, quickly regaining its strength to resume its awesome life?


The short run I went on Monday night was literally that process only in reverse order. Yuck.

Much thanks to Nate Bar for the gift bar.

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Red Redundancy

IMG_3696My Sister Bar is allergic to red food dye. Gives her all sorts of yuck yucks on her arms and face.

It’s definitely a bummer, but in terms of food allergies, it’s relatively harmless (though I’m sure she’d have words to say about that); she doesn’t have to carry an Epi-pen around or tell servers at restaurants that she can’t have red dye.

She just can’t drink Mountain Dew: Code Red or eat red sno-cones. Kool-aid is off the table, as are other things of that nature.

Something else of that nature: red velvet cake. Continue reading

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High marks for PDXgiftbar

IMG_3658Howdy, friends. I’d like you to meet Rebekah Bar.

Rebekah and I met nearly a decade ago at the World’s Greatest Journalism School. We lived down the hall from each other, shared a great number of classes and were supervised by a self-important nerd who initially introduced himself as “Shinobo”.

Credit: Callie Zilk

[Ed. note: If you are going to read one of the words in there as negative, please make sure it’s “self-important”, not “nerd”. Hodor.]

After our schooling, we both went our separate ways. I ended up going towards South Carolina; Rebekah, further west.

She’s now settled in Portland, Ore., and for the last couple of years, has just been slaying it with her blog PDXfoodlove, a conversation on cooking, cocktails and life in the northwestern corner of the contiguous 48. PDXfoodlove served as an inspiration for starting Breaking Off a Piece, and is just a delight to visit — in its imagery, in its design and in its content. I owe my favorite sandwich — the avocado-based chicken salad BLT — to her, and have impressed [Ed. note: “impressed”] at least four separate people with recipes I found on her site.

Because she is as generous as she is creative, she sent two Gift Bars my way in support of BOaP. My thoughts are as follows; once you’re finished with those, though, head on over to PDXfoodlove and check it out. Continue reading

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A Passage From A Novel Without Any Context: Valentine’s Week Edition


“… I know, right? Let me guess, your favorite Alt-J song is ‘Left Hand Free’, too, isn’t it?”

Sarah laughed as she passed Dental Hygeine/Toothbrushes. Kelly was such a prick and she loved it.

“Let’s go see if there’s any cheap Valentine’s Day candy left.”

“Oooo good idea.”

The two girls strolled beyond Greeting Cards and took a right at Seasonal. They found shelves mostly bare, with a section of consolidated red-and-pink toward the front of the store. It was marked with blue sheets of paper displaying 50% OFF VALENTINE’S ITEMS in toner consistent with that of the 5-cents-a-copy machine close to Photo. Three plastic-wrapped bulk packages of Easter baskets waited patiently next to it.

Blue was a curious choice, Sarah thought as she approached the sale.

The girls scanned the picked-over racks. A man coming from Batteries noticed the sale and smiled. He walked toward the girls, stopping his cart alongside them. His two, non-descript black velcro shoes stood in direct contrast of the four Chuck Taylors they were adjacent to.

“Looks like we had the same idea! Save on the good stuff!” The man smiled at them.

“Yup. The good stuff,” Kelly deadpanned. “Gotta save on it.”

With a slight groan, the man bent over to reach the bottom shelf, loosened a $15 $7.50 Russell Stover Peanuts-themed box of chocolates from its packaging, straightened back up and continued on toward Pain Relief.

IMG_3618Also a big thank you to Angela Bar for the Raffaello treats that proved just the appropriate sooth to Giannis not doing particularly well in the dunk contest. For those wondering on how they taste, they’re reminiscent of a Ferrero Rocher, just if you swapped all the chocolate with things that are white.

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