Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's still before eight, but what the heck!

Earlier today I wrote a product review of After Eight chocolates for another site. I thought I'd tickle your tastebuds by reprinting here at the Ramblings!

I was given a box of After Eight chocolate mints the other day, and as I sit here tapping away on my keyboard the shiny green box stands open to my left tempting me to eat another of its wickedly scrumptious contents.

I can't quite remember how many After Eights there are in each box, about eighty I think. Whatever, there are currently far less in mine! There is something really special about those wafer thin squares of chocolate with their gooey minty fondant filling. It's not just the look of them that entices me to slip another one from its little brown envelope and into my mouth, it's also the tantalizing aroma which caresses the senses and renders me helpless to resist.

Some people I'm told enjoy their After Eights chilled. As far as I'm concerned imprisoning them in a fridge is tantamount to chocolate abuse. They become bendy and chewy. The flavours diminish and their sumptuousness declines. The noble After Eight need to be served at room temperature. Your fingers should sink into the glossy ribbed chocolate case as the minty filling dribbles down your chin. A sip of fine cognac between each one only adds to the sensuous experience.

After Eights have been around for as many years as I can remember. Certainly they have been a constant and welcome guest at my dinner tables since the seventies. Try as they may, their creator, Nestles has never come up with a better way of presenting the jewel in their crown. They make stick-like After Eights, round podgy After Eights and even now (I can't bear myself to say this) milk chocolate After Eights. But they are just not the same. Over the years there have been many pretenders and imposters. Supermarkets have tried to muscle in on the post dinner experience by producing bland copies. The world's best known confectionary manufacturers have tried to come up with an alternative but to no avail. As for Ferrero Rocher and those Dr Oetker chocolate truffles, they will always be the bridesmaids, never the bride.

And now for something special. Melt a few After Eights in a pan, let it cool, then fold in some thick cream. Spoon the glorious mixture into individual bowls and chill for an hour or two. Before serving poke a raw one into the top like a sail then garnish with fresh mint leaves. Yummy! When you've eaten them make some strong coffee, pour a brandy and open a new box of After Eights!

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