We here at Bliss applaud innovation.
For example, we take note and give a standing O when it involves the marriage of chocolate, almonds and hedgehogs, white chocolate and asparagus, and a 1.5-pound chocolate Bean boot with a peanut butter tread.
We’re not even making these up.
Today we’re off on a virtual road trip of the most delicious variety. Because: Easter! And empty Easter baskets needing to be filled! And we’re hungry!
What better time to see what sort of chocolatey awesomeness awaits in Maine candy stores?
Our candy criteria: made in Maine, innovative and has to be able to fit in a basket. Calories didn’t weigh into it, thankfully. They don’t count on holidays, anyway.
We’re saying that with you in mind, chocolate-dipped-and-covered-in-sprinkles-whoopie pie …
• Almond date hedgehogs, Black Dinah Chocolatiers, $9.50 for three
These almond-stuffed, chocolate-covered dates have beady white chocolate eyes and coconut shavings as bristles on their backs. They look just as adorable, and delicious, as all that sounds.
• Peanut butter peepers, Black Dinah Chocolatiers, $9.50 for three
These dark chocolate, organic-peanut-butter-stuffed vegan frogs are gorgeous, painted purple, gold or green. So pretty they look more like tiny pieces of art than something you’d eat, but our money says you’ll be jumping into them.
• Edible Easter basket filled with edible candy grass, Maine Gourmet Chocolates, $13.95
Frankly, this Auburn chocolate shop had us at edible candy grass. We also love the idea of an edible basket — one less wickery thing bound for a lawn sale or the trash after the kids/pets/parent trample it at 2 in the morning.
• Chocolate salmon, Monica’s Chocolates, $2.50
Solid fish-shaped treats in bittersweet, milk or white chocolate. Salmon not your taste? This Lubec chocolatier also makes bears, skis, ski boots, dolphins, orca whales, starfish, lobsters and crabs. For those people who find chocolate rabbits so passe.
• Floppy-eared solid chocolate bunny, Dean’s Sweets, $8.50-$22.50 (small, medium or large)
It’s not until you see a sweet-faced chocolate bunny with one ear cocked to the side that you realize, hey, chocolate bunny ears are always crafted straight up and side-by-side. Mind blown! Some days, it takes so little.
• Chocolate-dipped whoopie pie, Old Port Candy Co., $4.99
A Maine whoopie pie dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles. Want to be someone’s favorite aunt/uncle/grandparent? This will do it.
• White chocolate asparagus, Byrne & Carlson, $18 for three
Asparagus made from white chocolate and filled with hazelnut praline. We’re not entirely sure what hazelnut praline is, but we believe the world would be a better place if more vegetables were filled with it.
• Praline eggs, Byrne & Carlson, $10
A real eggshell lined with dark chocolate and filled with hazelnut paste and crunchy pearls. According to the site, you crack and peel the shell like a hard-boiled egg and then slice with a sharp knife. So. Cool. It makes us want to crack every egg we encounter looking for chocolate.
• Easter Twinkie, Len Libby, $4.95
Twinkie double-dipped in milk chocolate and iced with an Easter design. Twinkies are good. Twinkies plus chocolate are the best thing ever. It’s pretty simple math.
• Large Maine hunting boot, Wilbur’s of Maine, $21
Milk chocolate L.L.Bean-esque boot coated in peanut butter confection on the sole and upper. Solid chocolate, it weighs in at 1.5 pounds — or “sharing size,” according to Wilbur’s site. In other words, “We will not be held responsible if you eat it all by yourself and end up with chocolate-induced hallucinations.” Been there.
Best find: Chocolate-dipped Peeps, Len Libby, $5.50 for five
Peeps are Easter. Chocolate is Easter. It only makes sense to pair the two. The sprinkles are just for added sugar.
Think twice: Chocolate lover’s umbrella, Wilbur’s of Maine, $25
Brown umbrella covered in pictures of candy. The site calls it “the perfect gift for your chocolate lover.” Um, no, that would be chocolate. Don’t go putting this in some Easter basket and expect a squeal of delight unless there’s also real chocolate accompanying it. (See the dozen items above.) A quirky umbrella and a pound or two of Maine-made amazingness? For that, you’ll get a standing O.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who know dogs can’t eat chocolate but figure the wicker basket is dinner) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Solid chocolate boot from Wilbur’s of Maine, $21. At 1.5 pounds, it’ll be the highlight of your Easter basket. And your Easter breakfast.