I'm picky about my holiday food. I get paralyzed with fear when the selection is too vast and usually end up mindlessly gnawing at brie rinds. So I've narrowed my priorities down to a helpful acronym for all you viewers at home. It's easy to prioritize awesome foods this holiday season with ABCDEFGHI- Appetizers, Balls (Or Food in Ball Form, nyuck nyuck), Cookies, Deny All Canned Food, Eggnog, Fried Stuff (Namely, Latkes), Gooey Dip, Holiday punch, and iPods Playing Alvin and the Chipmunks. All things you should cram into your mouth. Not included on this list are festering hunks of meat, stale supermarket rolls, anything with powdered sugar, and bowls of salted nuts.
Have you ever eaten and enjoyed a Brazil nut? No? Because they taste like pee? Yeah, that's what I thought. Brazil nuts are the leftover skulls and amputated body parts in a pirate's treasure chest of gold 'n' spoils. They're miserable and terrible and have been fondled and rejected more times than a sweater on craigslist throughout the course of an evening, and as a result of one too many tainted handfuls around holiday time, salted nuts are off the list.
I have hope, though. After eating my way through a few of these delicious turtles from Phillips Candy House, nut-based products may make it back on the holiday A-list this year. This chocolate turtle basket was whisked across the state and made its way into my hot little hands courtesy of elves at Phillips. This is an entire chocolate basket filled with dark and milk chocolate turtles. The standard order contains milk, dark, and white chocolate turtles, but I got hooked up with salted, yeeeeaahhhhh sooooon. Yes, the basket is chocolate. Solid, drippy detailed chocolate that begs to be gnawed on like a cartoon chicken wing- a one-handed, slobbery affair.
Turtles are one of those Christmas desserts that inevitably fall to the wayside, collecting powdered sugar dust along with Mexican wedding cakes and fudge of questionable origin in the shadows of homemade pies, cupcakes, and glorious Bûches de Noël. Not these, though. The milk chocolate turtles taste like the Snickers' acerbic older sister (the one majoring in philosophy) with the kick of salt backing up the sweet, smooth milk chocolate. The dark chocolate ones were tasty with the salt but would have been delicious without them as well, with a deep, rich flavor, more powerful than the milk. The milk chocolate was definitely the more balanced of the two. What really hooked me were the nuts in these. Traditional turtles are made with pecans only, but these incorporate a bridge mix ambiance into each piece, using a mixture of pecans, cashews, and salted almonds. Hot toddy, these are good. With the salt on top and the salty nuts, they provide an excellent counterbalance to the sweeter elements.
I preferred the milk chocolates to the dark only because I found that they were a little more harmonious with the other components in the candy. They amplified the burnt sugar flavors in the caramel and accentuated the individual flavors of the nuts, especially the maple-kissed pecans, where the dark chocolate stole the show and left the others behind. Not to say they weren't delicious, of course. My definition of second place is eating three instead of four. I liked these quite a lot. For $42, you get a huge amount of high-end, smooth chocolate and a pound of turtles- approximately twenty oozing, delicious creatures. The basket weighs about three pounds on its own, so you're getting the whole shebang for about ten bucks a pound. Not bad for the presentation and goods. I imagine this would be a real hit at a holiday party, especially with the edible basket to nibble on with coffee once the turtle supply has been decimated. For the sophisticated terrapin enthusiast.
Labels: 9, candy, chocolate, dessert