The duck and I have a history of trying to buy seasonal chocolate too late (which, in Germany, equals about a month into the respective season). So, when we discovered an image of limited edition pumpkin spice Schogetten online in early autumn, the duck spent every grocery shop scanning the chocolate aisle. To no avail. Instead, we found Christmas-themed Veganz chocolate. Upon further inspection of the bookmarked image, we realized that, though we consider pumpkin spice an autumn flavor, these Schogetten were part of a limited winter edition trio – together with a white cinnamon- and a dark mint candy cane variety. We love cinnamon. And after last summer’s lemon cupcake debacle, we decided to also give the dark variety a chance to help us trust Schogetten again (you never know). The more chocolate we try, the better the chances of finding one we love, right? We still had to find these limited-edition chocolates. And it took us months to locate a store that carried all three. At least we got to buy them on sale. After searching for so long, the duck and I were thrilled to finally hold these chocolate cubes in pretty boxes in our wings and hands. Now we only had to try them – for this year’s first super-specific taste test:
Our friend Y moved to Wales some time ago. The duck and I haven’t managed to visit her yet. But, after she sent us a postcard with a recipe for Pice ar y maen, an enticing Welsh treat, the duck and I knew we had to try it. It only took us well over a year and the passing of the best-before date of the dried currants we had imported for this sole purpose. Despite our unreliable baking skills, the result was worth it. When we devoured our first portion of Welsh cakes, the duck and I almost felt as if we were in Wales for a moment. Five smug powdered sugar flakes for a successful imaginary jaunt to Wales ✧✦✧✦✧
Now we only have to get our physical bodies onto the sofa/spare bed in our friend’s Welsh house. I’m sure that after we eat real Welsh cakes, the duck and I will revoke the favorable rating of my baking attempt. Until then, I will be the one who made the best Pice ar y maen the duck has ever eaten. Ha!
P.S.: I promise the next post of this sort will celebrate a snack we ate outside our home!
In case you were wondering, this isn’t a typo. Neither is it a sad attempt at finally being considered hip kids (I can’t speak for any of the other titles the duck and I have come up with, though). Veganz is a German food brand that focuses on plant-based products and strives toward increased sustainability. Usually, Veganz is too pricey for our stingy little hearts. When we found that they had added two Christmas-themed chocolate bars to their range, however, the duck and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to expand our non-dark vegan chocolate experiences. At first, we wanted to go with “Organic White Baked Apple” because we had never tried vegan white chocolate and had some leftover regret about dropping last year’s plan to do a completely apple-themed Christmas treat taste test. When we saw that “Organic Gingerbread Magic” sports a gianduja base, another version of vegan chocolate we’d never tried before, the duck and I agreed to splurge. Paying a combined non-discounted 5+ Euros for two Christmas-themed 80-90g chocolate bars to celebrate our favorite season for German snacks was totally fine… we had to repeat to ourselves over and over. Veganz might be too cool for discounts, but the duck and I aren’t too cool for new taste experiences. So, here are our subjective thoughts on two of the fanciest chocolate bars we’ve invested in:
It’s no secret that duck and I love pretzels. Just thinking about them is relaxing for us. That’s why they made it into our story about Cat, our hat-selling dog, that our friend A. helped us come up with in our early days in Tokyo. So, when we learned about Bäckerei Kaffee Linde in Kichijoji, we were super excited to try their German pretzels. They even had a designated pretzel day with an attractive discount on our baked bringers of happiness. Naturally, this became one of the duck and my favorite shops in Tokyo. One pretzel day, we decided to get an extra pretzel for our lovely housemate Mm. She wasn’t there when we got home, so we left it on the dining table together with a short note in our best Japanese (concerning the Japanese language, our “best” is the average person’s “terrible”). We knew that, when it comes to pretzels, there’s no need for many words or small talk – Cat conversed with the pretzel shop owner using nothing but images! As expected, Mm understood the note. And the duck and I like to think that that day, the universal pretzel fan club gained a new member. 5/5 pretzels for a baked love most pure! ♥🥨🧡🥨♥
Strictly speaking, the picture doesn’t even show a snack the duck and I enjoyed at home (though there was a pretzel in our bedroom when I snapped this quick shot of Mm’s pretzel-to-be). This might be a new low in our series about foods we’ve eaten outside our home.
Well, that’s nothing a delicious pretzel won’t fix! 😀
It’s time for another subjective
snack chocolate review! After our personal (not officially a) summer variety disappointment, the duck and I decided to go with a safer bet this time: Milka‘s “Weiße Luflée” variety. When we saw the design on the wrapper, we knew this chocolate was destined to become our end-of-summer snack review. Even though only one of us enjoys swimming, we both like the idea of little sailboats swaying in a rose-colored ocean toward a golden sunset (we hardly witness a sunrise, so this color scheme signifies dusk in our books). Not to mention the cool breeze that inadvertently comes with being near the ocean (and our evening at the beach memories). Add a flock of seagulls, and the duck and I are off into another imaginary adventure! Personally, I’m wary of holey chocolate, but that didn’t prevent the duck from energetically throwing a bar of “Weiße Luflée” into our shopping basket. We had a general idea of what we would be getting into, anyway:
This summer is hot. Whenever the duck and I think about chocolate in summer, we usually imagine it chilled and devoid of cocoa solids (like the mango and passion fruit-flavored white chocolate Ritter Sport variety we reviewed two summers ago). So, when we saw the new line of limited edition Schogetten, called Caketime, it was easy to choose which one to review. Strawberry Cheesecake sounded delicious, but milk chocolate with a strawberry and cream cheese filling was too similar to the Konnichiwa chocolate we reviewed recently. The duck and I liked the idea of Mocha Tart until we realized that the mocha and cocoa cookie filling was enveloped by (not) dark (enough) chocolate, which would likely disappoint our subjective taste buds. Lemon Cupcake, the variety we chose to go with, sports a lemon-flavored skimmed milk yogurt filling with shortbread chunks covered in white chocolate with a thin milk chocolate bottom (like the pistachio Schogetten we tried last year). In hopes that we had found our new favorite snack, the duck and I paid full price for our chosen chocolaty confection and prepared for another successful subjective summer sweet survey: Continue reading
The duck and I love the saying that “good things come in threes.” We also love chocolate. So, as soon as we espied a new Ritter Sport chocolate variety called Konnichiwa at the grocery store, we knew this meant the third chocolate-based subjective snack review of the year. The pink wrapper features images of a maneki-neko (a beckoning cat figurine said to bring good luck to its owner, often found placed at the entrance of Japanese businesses) and cherry blossoms, together with cherries and almonds, the primary flavors of this chocolate bar. The duck and I felt like Ritter Sport knew how much we miss Japan‘s seasonal snacks, especially the spring-themed ones (even those that advertise sakura but are basically cherry-flavored), and created this variety exclusively for us. After some research, we learned that Konnichiwa is part of a trio of new location-based chocolate bars. Buenos días seems to be the white mango passion fruit chocolate we reviewed in our vacation Ritter Sport review two years ago (we should get a full-size bar sometime if only to find out whether the new name will make it even tastier). Hey there features salted caramel crisps, something the duck and I have slowly learned to look out for before buying any new chocolate. The blurb on the Ritter Sport product site for Konnichiwa confirmed what we had expected going by the design of the packaging: This chocolate bar is based on the beauty and transience of the Japanese cherry blossom, probably the most prominent symbol (and our favorite photography subject) of Japanese spring! Even though we were a bit skeptical about the fruitiness of it all, we couldn’t wait to subjectively review this chocolaty German Japanese spring-themed snack:
This is a photo the duck and I like to look at whenever we need a reminder that terrible days have the potential to end sweetly:
Two years ago, I shared a photo from a spontaneous Shinjuku pancake afternoon with our sugar-appreciation-pals. I also mentioned that on the way home, my ankle was hurting so badly that I was moving at a painful pace of 600 mph, meters per hour, that is. Fortunately, the duck (who had waddled ahead and was waiting for me at the front door while listening to a whole episode of The Truth) and I had a movie night with our housemates to look forward to on my slow waddle home from the station. Once we saw what Mm had bought for the occasion – fancy cakes and mixed nuts, a true delicacy in expensive Tokyo – the duck and I were a bit ashamed for only contributing popcorn. Despite that shame and my aching ankle (that was responsible for more than one mistimed tear as we watched the action movie we had decided on), I have fond memories of this movie night nearly four years ago ♪
5/5 popcorn kernels for our kind, exceptional housemates and a positively memorable evening ♪
(0/5 sneaky tears for the post-Akita ankle pain)
The duck and I miss our time in Tokyo. I would even put up with another week of not being able to walk and the constant risk of drowning in my own tears of pain if that meant a few cozy days at our Tokyo place filled with movies, housemate chats, and all those delicious Japanese treats ♥
Last fall, the duck and I discovered a Milka chocolate bar variety that we had not seen before; it featured a mouthwatering saturated image of an apple pie! As I was about to place a bar in our shopping basket, the duck reminded me of past failures and suggested I take a good look at the packaging. And, lo and behold, there was some clearly declared caramel in the mix! I decided to do some research.
The apple pie chocolate is part of a limited edition run of Milka chocolate bars. There are two more varieties. The duck and I knew right away which one we wanted to try: Coffee and cookies – the stuff our dreams are made of! The one featuring caramel popcorn – a proper nightmare scenario for me – was a hard pass. Since we haven’t yet done a chocolate-related taste test this year, the duck and I saw this limited edition discovery as the perfect opportunity for another one of our super subjective chocolate reviews:
After writing about thirteen traditional German Christmas treats and subjectively reviewing three of them in the past two years, the duck and I decided it was high time we tried a few more baked Christmas goods – this time, some we had never tried before. At first, we wanted to review apple-cinnamon heart cookies and a baked apple Stollen, both from the 2021 Bahlsen (a German cookies and cakes brand) Christmas lineup. We couldn’t find this particular Bahlsen Stollen anywhere (we were looking too early). But we did find Lidl store brand mini baked apple Stollen during one of our October grocery shops. Then we remembered the Bahlsen mini Spekulatius with milk chocolate we had seen during our apple Stollen search and decided that those sounded much more awesome anyway and grabbed a bag of those instead of the apple-cinnamon cookies. Now we had a new, even more exciting, theme for this year’s German Christmas treat taste test: Mini snacks! While we would not eat apple Stollen and chocolate Spekulatius in the same sitting (with us being decidedly peculiar when it comes to mixing fruit and chocolate flavors), those two treats promised to be a perfect representation of the fruity and the chocolaty side of German Christmas treats. Here’s what we thought: