You can boil almost anything down to the most basic element. Christmas, for me, can be boiled down to peppermint. I like the Starbuck's peppermint mocha so much that I bought a liter of their peppermint flavoring to make them at my house (four dollars a pop at Starbucks is a bit much too pay regularly). One of my all-time favorite treats this time of year is peppermint bark. It comes in plenty of shapes and sizes, but they are not all created equal.
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My first choice for peppermint bark would be any of the original broken shard type candy made with quality ingredients. I have had good and bad alike. I like it with the broken up bits of candy cane as well as with the small peppermint candies that aren't hard-tack. I like it in my Ice Cream (Haagen Dazs peppermint bark). It is a sick addiction, but I live for the seasonal treat. All of these quality products disappear from the shelves before the ground thaws, making me wait until the following Christmas rolls around.
This year I have discovered a new variation of the treat. Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark. I have a candy dish on my counter that is normally stocked Dove Dark Chocolate with Almonds. I like the creamy texture and rich flavor of Dove products. While shopping at Wal-Mart earlier this week, I discovered the Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark which was on sale for $2.50 for a bag of approximately thirty. That is less than ten cents per piece...not bad for quality chocolate.
Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark is constructed a bit differently from traditional Peppermint Bark. The candies are molded into the traditional Dove shape. The base is made from my favorite Dove Dark Chocolate, which is a rich deep chocolate. The top layer is made of Dove White Chocolate (which I am less fond of) with small pieces of peppermint embedded inside. Based on the strong peppermint flavor, I would guess that there may be some added peppermint flavoring. The combination is a powerful burst of peppermint inside a rich dark chocolate. The peppermint burst might even be a wee bit overdone for some palates.
Not to sound like a strict traditionalist, but there is something homey about Peppermint Bark that is broken into chunks with crushed peppermint sticks adhering to the top layer in without uniformity. The Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark does an excellent job of mimicking the taste, but it just isn't the same. I love Dove chocolate, and have already gone through three bags, but it would be nice if they came out with a version that doesn't come individually wrapped and shaped like the rest. It would actually make a great stocking stuffer in a collectors tin.
Dove chocolates are also known for the bits of wisdom printed inside each foil wrapper. For the Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark, we get Christmas ideas from Martha Stewart. The rather generic sayings normally go unread by me, anyway. Having said that, the Stewart sayings are retarded. "Use fishing wire to hang wreaths" or "string lights along eaves and walkways." Duh. I think I can figure that stuff out on my own. Good thing the sayings have nothing to do with my rating.
Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark comes individually foil wrapped with about thirty pieces to each bag. The candies fit nicely in my candy dish, so it does provide a nice alternative to the less than sterile situation you would have with visitors reaching into a tin and "breaking a piece off." As nostalgic as that is, the convenience of Dove Chocolate Peppermint Bark combined with the excellent quality of their chocolate comes in at a solid four stars.
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