Friday 9 June 2017

Trio, Kinder Egg, Pokemon and Centre Parcs present: A Chocolate Extravaganza!*

I had a review written but I need to do some shit for it and don’t have time, so instead: here’s some chocolate
And so I realised that I’ve got a shitload of noteworthy chocolate hanging around my house, mostly in my extension. Do I usually keep chocolate in my extension? Yeah, actually. Isn’t this titillating? By ‘noteworthy’ I mean chocolate you can’t just walk into a paper shop and buy all year ‘round, stuff that’s limited to a specific place or time of year or stuff that’s just unusual, special chocolate. Some of it I’d been meaning to talk about on here, some of it is getting featured to pad out the post – so yes that’s what we’re doing today, talking about some assorted nummy treats, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Centre Parcs Chocolate Bars!
These have been sitting in an alcove waiting for their AFB Tribute since I got back from Centre Parcs this year, but depression was there and when I my mood was a little bit better I still couldn’t think of a way to stretch my love for these out into more than a paragraph or two, oh well, they can shine here. Centre Parcs has been having exclusive chocolate bars made for them since I’ve been born and although the packaging has changed - when I was wee they came dressed like a Kit-Kat used to, foil covered with a paper wrapper worn like colourful pull-over now they come in these very upmarket art-deco boxes with a sealed-for-freshness wrapper because fun is now allowed when you want to appeal to adults -  but the bar inside has remained mostly the same, eating one in the little kitchen area of a Centre Parcs villa is a straight passport back to childhood. No, wait, can I just rant for a moment about changing the Kit-Kat packaging? Because I’m not over it, I know that it keeps them fresher; I know that they’ve been like in America for years, I also don’t care because 1) I don’t like change 2) replacing something iconic with something practical is never satisfying 3) they’re less satisfying to open and harder to share/break, two things that Kit-Kat had going for it and the latter being a major factor in the bar’s concept and advertising 4) Kit-Kats that aren’t slightly stale and chewy taste weird 4) I don’t like change.  
Back to these holiday camp bars then: The best way to describe these is if a Yorkie and a Toblerone had a baby but the offspring was creamier than both, Centre Parcs is very much a European holiday resort and their chocolate bars are very much European chocolate, a little bit more cocoa, a fresh feeling in your mouth afterwards even from the ones that aren’t mint, they somehow manage to taste like walking in Centre Parcs. I actually bought four bars to bring home with me for me (I bought bars for my family too, I’m not a bastard, just a pig) but I couldn’t hold out until after I wrote the article and one of the standard milk chocolate ones disappeared. I’d like to say it was because my willpower was lowered by heavy depression but we all know that’s bullshit so I’ll tell the truth – I just couldn’t wait any longer, I needed to taste Centre Parcs. I made that sound way dirtier than I wanted it too.

Pokémon Easter Egg!
I don’t have much to say about this one, I just wanted to show you the box while I still have it to show off. The egg inside is just standard Easter egg fair and the bonus bar is just a… brown Milkybar, all good and tasty but not Pokémon-y in the slightest so not that noteworthy. The box however is stunning, all stock artwork but all so adorable stock artwork and really reminiscent of the Pokémon merch from Gen 1 so it massively tickles my nostalgia bone(r). What I think I really like with it though is that it’s covered in Pokéballs, so many Pokéballs, of different types, the Master Ball is on here multiple times, glee! I’m an oddly large fan of the Pokéball, I tend to have these items that I weirdly latch onto and become an iconic representation of the franchise , the TCRI canister for TMNT, the Pokéballs for Pokémon, the Green Lantern battery for DC Comics, the Egg Prison from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sonic… am I a freak?

See these still have the proper foil and paper packaging - up yours Kit-Kat, Trios kick it old skool.
I really meant to write about these when they first came out because I was so excited McVite had put Trios back on the shelves… but stuff happened then more stuff happened and I left my first pack in someone’s car and it turned into a swamp of chocolate, toffee and nostalgia. They weren’t best pleased but were much happier after they’d eaten misshapen Trios straight from the fridge because Trios can never fail to make anyone my generation or older happy.

Trios are actually really nice, you know Millionaire Shortbread? These are kinda On the Dole Shortbread and all the better for it, Millionaire Shortbread always seems to have an air of pretentiousness to it, none of that with a Trio. They’re a small (lunchbox and/or afternoon tea sized) chocolate covered biscuit with a spreading of surprisingly sweet toffee. They’re really tasty and they’ve been gone for too long, the biscuit isle genuinely hasn’t been the same without ‘em and I have no idea how kids who take packed lunches have managed on just Break Aways and Penguins, I fucking hate Penguin Bars. But more than the biscuit people remember the bloody advert and without it I don’t’ think there would have been such a strong desire to see Trio return that McVite had to cave in make a ‘limited edition’ re-release of it. For the young and foreign Trio used to have a little cartoon girl shouting ‘treeee-o! trreeee-o! I want a trio and I want one now’ to the tune of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte. Yeah people in America forever associate that with Beetlejuice, we forever associate it with small chocolate biscuits. This advert was on all the time and is up there with the fucking Milky Bar Kid Theme and the Red Car/Blue Car Milky Way Song as being a Double Mint Gum Jingle level ear worm – I don’t think I can physically sing the right words to Day-O, it’s always treeee-oh, treeeee-oh.     

 Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Santa!
“You haven’t had this in your extension since Christmas have you dwitefry?” no, don’t be stupid, I’ve had in my bedroom since New Year’s Day, and trust me that’s not the oldest thing we’ve got to talk about. As the huge and obvious reduced sticker should give away we got a big pile of these when they were reduced after X-mas, I say we I mean ‘my mum’ who bought me a stack for no other reason that she knows I love Christmas themed candy. I really do, it is a simple pleasure but one that gives in great quantities, I don’t really have a good explanation for it, it makes me feel like a child yes but that doesn’t really explain my blind preference for Christmas confectionary over most other forms of the stuff, somehow cheap chocolate just tastes the best when it’s dressed like an elf.
Santa here – and doesn’t he look great in Dairy Milk white and purple? I’m not too down with the Dairy Milk iconography taking over ALL of Cadbury’s bars (I miss Cadbury’s Caramel having its own identity the most, poor Caramel) but it really suits Saint Nick here – Santa is filled with little cubes of Dairy Milk, they’re not a regular bar divided up, they’re more life half an ice cube – but of Dairy Milk – closer to Roses in proportion. They’re really bloody nice, like a shot of expresso for chocolate, which is why this is my last Santa. “That’s pretty good dwitefry, it IS June after all” thank you imaginary friend but you didn’t see how many of these we bought.

Pocky Chocolate – 9 Pack!
This HAS been in my extension since Christmas, in fact it was a Christmas present from a friend who is going to kick my arse when she finds out I haven’t even opened it yet but in my defence…I got so used to seeing it on the side I forgot it was something I could eat. It’s not a great defence but it IS the fault of the Pocky - it just makes such a good display piece. Look at it! It’s twice as tall as a Ninja Turtles figure and looks like a poster in a Japanese subway.
Of course I’m assuming that everyone knows what Pocky is because they’re very popular with the sort of tragic nerds and Japanophiles I spend a lot of my life with. They’re a very popular sweet from Japan that have become very popular with nerds and Japanophiles, they’re sold in boxes like giant candy fags and are a thin stick of biscuit half-dipped in chocolate, candy or yoghurt – imagine an unlit sparkler, but it’s edible (and non-flammable) and you’ll have the perfect mental picture, they’re so nice even the mango one is delicious (it tastes like Solero ice creams, so good). I could (and do) eat them continuously all day, just graze on Pocky and nothing else, which is actually a pretty good – and pretty cost effective – plan for conventions. It was a really good Christmas present for me; it’s just so picturesque that my brain sees it as wall art and not a snack. I promise I will eat these soon.  

Giant Kinder Surprise!
My friend bought me this at Easter, she knows me well. Some people can be very negative about Kinder chocolate, they say ambiguous things like ‘it’s fucking horrible’ and ‘it tastes like soap’, deluded fools. I kid, I does have a really unusual texture and while waxy isn’t quite right it IS very smooth, like polished smooth, but that’s one of the things I like about it, it just feels lovely in my mouth (shut it). See, This is my favourite chocolate, not just my favourite type of chocolate but the large size Kinder eggs brought at Easter is my favourite chocolate ‘bar’ of all time. Why? I like the taste of it better than all the others. Simple as.
“What? Not the toy?” eh I’m 50/50 on Kinder Egg toys, I pretty much worship the hand painted figurine lines they used to release (my faovurite’s the second turtles series, the Caribbean holiday theme one) and consider them some of the best mini-figures around but the build-it-yourself toys have never done much for me, often it was the style of sculpt as much as their flimsiness, just not to my taste. Still I got Twilight Sparkle in this one:

And I am not touching the Alicorn debate, not even after this amount of time. I’m torn on the new packaging for these big Kinder eggs by the way: while I do miss the older, more grandiose foil packaging (that foil was SO DAMN LOUD, it cracked and creaked at a volume that implied something roughly elephant sized) because of both nostalgia and because of how damn fancy it used to look the current design turns the Easter egg into a literal plus sized Kinder Egg and that’s really what I’ve always thought of it as and wanted it to be, plus I just like things that are much bigger or much smaller versions of something but otherwise exactly the same, you’ll have to just blame Toy Biz’s X-Men line until can think of a way to articulate why.

Centre Parcs Milk Chocolate Coin!
When does a coin get so large it stops being a coin and becomes a medallion? And when does a medallion get so large it stops being a medallion and becomes a dining plate? I can’t believe I still have this; I bought this at Centre Parcs early last year. As proof of my poor diet I keep my chocolate in the salad draw and this has been in there the whole time, shining at me. I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, the thought of a giant PINK chocolate coin stamped with Centre Parcs is just so wonderful. I swear I’ll eat his soon, I will, I will get over it and act like an adult, until then though I’m going to have another Trio.

*Om nom nom* treeeeeee-oh *nom nom nom” 

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