Recently in Chocolate Candy Category

When the topic of chocolate candy arises (as it so often does), it's usually in the context of eating it. Most of us chocoholics are content to let the confectioners do their jobs. If candy-making comes up at all, we assume a process that involves a double boiler, careful tempering, and copious taste tests.

On the X-Choc Weirdness scale, the combination of chocolate and Pop Rocks may not, at first thought, register as high as, say, chocolate and bacon (delicious!) or chocolate beet cake (shudder). After all, Pop Rocks are just candy, right? And candy + chocolate = good. Right?

But then those second thoughts come sidling in, and you realize just how weird the whole idea really is. Seriously, think about it: Pop Rocks, those silly candy stones that explode on your tongue with -- let's admit it -- decidedly unpleasant sensations. Could chocolate possibly make that better?

Well, let's see.

I've found the rainbow of Japanese Kit Kat flavors to be a thing of awe and wonder ever since I first heard about Baked Corn, a popular flavor in the Hokkaido region of the Land of the Rising Sun. Who'd have thought that anyone would actually try combining corn and chocolate?

Well, I should know better: after all, there's such a thing as chocolate sauerkraut cake, which actually tastes kind of good. So why not Baked Corn Kit Kat bars?

Recently, someone went and invented the chocolate haggis. Seriously. Now, just think about that for a while, and try not to shudder. But do keep this in mind: it's better than it sounds!

Then again, it would have to be.

A little revelation here: haggis is not Your Humble Writer's favorite dish.

Since its debut at Chicago's Candy Expo in June 2006, bubble chocolate has become a favorite treat among American chocoholics. A star turn on The Today Show along the way certainly didn't hurt. A taste sensation in Europe since the 1940s, it's taken a while to jump the pond -- but rumor said it was worth the wait.

That being the case, we decided recently that it was about time for us to determine whether it is, in fact, extreme enough to become an X-Choc favorite. After extensive research, we decided that it is indeed; and in this article, we'll tell you why.

Caramel, fudge, and cherry crème are hardly unusual chocolate flavors. In fact, you find them in every box of Christmas candies, right alongside other standbys like mint, coconut, and orange crème. If you're dealing with a really adventurous company, you might find something like chilies or cereal crunch hidden in your chocolate delight. But that's not the end of the story when it comes to chocolate flavors!

Fusion cuisine, the newest trend in cooking, means blending flavors that don't traditionally go together and, well, seeing what happens. In the world of chocolate, that means some pretty interesting ideas, ranging from pop rocks buried in chocolate truffles to olive and balsamic vinegar laced treats.

We don't often think of Japanese chocolate. Belgian, Swiss, French -- sure. Or Japanese fish, for example. But Japanese chocolate?

The Japanese chocolate obsession has a slightly unusual origin. On this side of the Pacific, we're used to thinking of Valentine's Day as a time for men to lavish affection on women -- or, in the words of my brother, "This thing's a lot more important to girls than guys, huh?" In Japan, however, Valentine's Day is a time for women to give chocolate to men. Not necessarily significant others, either: coworkers, friends, employers, what have you. And it's ALWAYS chocolate -- not a flower in sight.

Because they're such good people, kindly chocolatiers have recently introduced excellent low calorie, low carb chocolate for the diabetics and Atkins dieters among us. Don't scoff -- your old pal Pete can testify that it's scrumptious. Yet it does have its perils, and that's what I'll tell you about in this particular article.

Chocolates, gourmet chocolate bars named for how they might change your personality, or at least affect your mood, with a simple bite.

Keep in mind that chocolate alone -- even without New Tree’s holistic infusion of natural extracts and chic flavors -- contains phenylethylamine, which secretes so-called “happiness hormones” into the chocolate-lover’s unsuspecting body and psyche. These hormones -- serotonin, endorphins and dopamine -- can improve your overall well-being.

Besides, chocolate tastes good, which makes me very happy.

Can a chocolate bar make you feel tranquil? Renewed? Sexy? Beautifully packaged little chocolate bars from New Tree Chocolates promise just that, so I recently conducted an unscientific taste test to determine if these chocolates could transport me into biologically-ignited moods, after a few delicious bites.

Delicious is the operative word here, because New Tree Chocolates are delicious. All of their dark chocolate bars boast 73 percent cocoa, so that could explain the high you feel after eating New Tree. The milk chocolate bars contain 33 percent cocoa.