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Merci Chocolates & A Food Gal Giveaway

I admit that a drug store is not the first place I would think of to buy fine chocolates.

But Merci has me just about eating those words.

The German-made chocolates are available at select drug stores, including CVS. They are definitely a cut above a lot of chocolate confections found in the bins there.

Recently, I had a chance to try an 8.8-ounce assortment of its European chocolates, which retails for about $13.

The flat box opens up to reveal small ingots of chocolates in seven varieties. Each is individually wrapped in cellophane, so you can put a bunch on a candy plate to let guests choose their favorite.

The slender bars are coated in either smooth milk or dark chocolate. They have wonderful mouth-feel and are small enough to satisfy a chocolate craving without going overboard.

Among my favorites were the Dark Mousse, which has a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth filling akin to an U-No bar. The Hazel-Almond is the perfect pick for nut fans like myself, what with its profusion of crunchy bits of nuts. The Coffee and Cream, which sports a dark top layer and a white bottom one, tastes very much like a shot of espresso with milky foam on top.

Who knew drug store chocolates could be so gourmet?

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win an 8.8-ounce assortment of Merci chocolates, along with a fun “Red Carpet Kit.” It includes four champagne flutes, popcorn containers and a list of tips for making toasts.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 2. Winner will be announced March 4.

How to win?

In light of the recent spate of awards shows filled with acceptance speeches, tell me whom you would most like to give a meaningful thank-you to and why. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“It would have to be Holly Hayes, a dear friend and great editor who passed away a few years ago at a much too young age. When I was a news reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, she took a chance on me, choosing me for the paper’s next food writer/editor, even though I had never covered such a beat before. When so many others doubted her decision, and even I wondered whether I could do the job adequately, she believed in me. I owe any and all success since then to her. She recognized in me something that I didn’t even see yet. For that, as well as her kindness, thoughtfulness and good humor, I’ll always be grateful.”

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