Bedré makes me want to eat milk chocolate.
Now, look, I get that I’m a food snob and all, but the honest-to-blog fact is that I’m just not much for milk chocolate. My hierarchy of chocolates goes like this:
Dark → → → → → Milk → White
Dark is my number one by a long shot with milk coming in a distant second and white chocolate as...is it even really chocolate? I can name so many other sweet treats I’d turn to before white chocolate that it’s a wonder I even remember what it tastes like.
But then there’s Bedré. Any maybe I’m biased (in fact, I know I am in all sorts of ways), but there’s something about this Oklahoma-made chocolate that has my taste buds all topsy turvy.
Most milk chocolate, at least the kind I’m most often presented with, is way too sweet and a little grainy. Hershey bars, for instance, hold little interest for me. It’s just so basic. So one-note.
I’m not a man opposed to sugar, but as I’m rapidly aging (and not well), I find that sugary treats really need to be “worth it” to make the cut against all the equally decadent savory dishes on which I like to feast.
Milk chocolate vs. a plate of fat-covered carbs? No contest. Load me up with crawfish etouffee over rice or a big bowl of linguine covered in bolognese sauce. I don’t need dessert the way I need those indulgent dishes of savory goodness.
And yet, when presented with a Love Bug basket from Bedré, where dark chocolate makes, at best, a cameo appearance, I was still buzzing with excitement. That’s because all milk chocolates (and white chocolates) are not made equal. There can be smoothness and subtlety and a sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor when quality is the aim. And Bedré aims for quality.
One can’t-miss option are the Meltaways. They change up the “featured” flavor each month, but you can always count on finding a sampler of the classic flavors including caramel, raspberry, hot fudge and peanut butter.
The quality of the exterior chocolate is solid, sweet and creamy as it melts on the tongue, revealing different texture and flavors, depending on which you choose. Caramel is gooey, not chewy, and raspberry really feels like raspberry jam with crunchy little seeds. Peanut butter is a bit more solid, but it’s hot fudge that really holds its shape once you break through the outer shell.
These are miniature versions of Bedré’s larger chocolate bars and, frankly, I like the meltaways better. Can I take down an entire chocolate bar? Absolutely. And I’ve done it more often than I should. But Meltaways are perfect individual servings. You can bite them if you’d like, but they’ll also fit in your mouth whole so you can experience the full range of flavors as the square gently dissipates.
White chocolate is never my favorite, but in the grand tradition of Bedré’s chocolate-covered potato crisps, I decided to give the White Fudge Twists and Heavenly Crunch Clusters a try. Salty and sweet go together so well that even subbing in white chocolate works.
The Heavenly Crunch Clusters are a mix of coconut, pretzel bits and pecans gooped together with white fudge and it clicks. The crunch, the various textures, the flavors: everything here has its place and the end result is fantastic.
White Fudge Twists are crunchy corn cones (similar to a musical-themed snack you might find at the gas station) covered in white fudge. I mean, I don’t think they’re buying brand-name corn cones for these, but they might as well be. And, yeah, chocolate-covered potato crisps (you know the ones) are still my favorite, but these little jerks are definitely in the conversation. Sweet, creamy white fudge and that semi-sweet/semi-salty extruded corn flavor of the twists make a dynamite combination.
There were also milk chocolate hearts and roses on sticks, which I get from a design perspective, but didn’t make much of a difference in how I ate them. The main difference between these and the Meltaways, besides the stick, is that these didn’t have a different flavor in the middle.
For whatever reason, the Love Bug has disappeared from Bedré’s online shop, but you can still cobble together all the component pieces. The big bag o’ Meltaways is still available here, however.
And, as I noticed at Homeland recently, Bedré products can be found at retailers all over the state. So if you're looking for last-minute Valentine's Day gifts, these beat the pants off those heart-shaped boxes you pick up in a panic at CVS.