Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas candy, ranked

How should you rot your teeth? Let me count the ways.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM

A helpful tool for prioritizing, whether you've just dumped out your stocking or are plotting your shopping list for post-holiday drug store candy sales.

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1. Icy squares
What is going on here that makes these foil-wrapped pieces of crack so melt-in-your-mouth buttery? Lots of edible oil products? Poison? Who cares! I would spread these on toast, hell, I'd use them as toothpaste if that were an OK thing to do. Thank you Germany, for the best invention since the coffee filter.

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2. Ferrero Rocher
These sexy Italian chocolate nesting dolls—filled with a hazelnut inside hazelnut cream inside a little wafer shell—really do it for anyone who's into texture or delicious things. Ferrero Rochers are kind of like if Gushers except classier and dairy based, and anything with a surprise filling wins.

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3. Toblerone
A small version of the Swiss Alps in chocolate-nougat form. If this represented real life at all, my dream job would be working as a guide on this mountain range, but it's not, so my dream is to receive the massive 4.5 kilogram version of this bar.

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4. Lindt Lindor
Because Swiss Chalet is never wrong, and if something's good enough to be paired with a Festive Special, it's A-OK in my books. Yet another chapter in my upcoming thesis on how many things the Swiss do right.

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5. Toffifee
Best name, best nutty surprise, easiest to eat the entire tray without noticing. I'm really into boxes of chocolate that only have one layer because I can keep my curiousity at bay (my aunt recently scolded me for skipping to layer two before finishing layer one). Toffifee keeps it simple, chewy, chocolatey and addictive. And it's a really fun word to say.

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6. Quality Street
If you're hating on Quality Street it's probably because by the time you've gotten to the tin, it's after it's been raided of the good stuff and only the royal blue wrappers (AKA the coconut ones) remain. But think about the strawberry delight, the toffee penny, the green triangle thing —it is quality, man.

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7. Terry's Chocolate Orange
This very British fruit shaped chocolate is actually made in Poland. The citrus-meets-sweet isn't a blend for everyone (apparently there was a Chocolate Lemon at one point in the '70s too, which failed) but if you dig it, what's not to love about these heavy, edible weapons? Whack and unwrap a Terry's to take out your "I've been spending too much time with my family" rage.

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8. Clementines
Nature's candy is the biggest canker-sore-causer there is, but thank god for the wooden boxes of tiny oranges, they might just be the only thing standing between you a case of holiday scurvy.

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9. Chicken Bones
Before we get to what's good about these things, may I rhetorically ask why anyone would model a sweet after the innards of a bird? Replacing the marrow part with chocolate doesn't make it less gross to think about, Ganong. True, cinnamon and chocolate make a great match and despite the whole chocolate marrow thing, these do taste good. But they'll slice and dice the inside of your cheeks if you aren't careful. Dissolving one of these in your mouth is basically like sucking on a pink Lady Bic.

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10. Candy canes
This is what desperation tastes like—peppermint. The traditional striped shepherd's hooks are often left behind, broken and crumbly, but will do the trick in a post-holiday sugar crash.

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11. Barley candy
Also known as barley toys AKA clear toys AKA the stickiest, worst idea for toys ever, barley candy should rank higher for me based on nostalgia alone. But aside from the cute factor, and all of those childhood memories, in comparison to most things on this list these festively shaped treats are kind of like when my mom would trick me into believing plain yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup was dessert I should be excited about. Looking to these for a candy fix is a lot like desperately eating Baker's chocolate to try and satisfy your need for sweet.

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12. Humbugs
These waxy, striped hard candies win Most Likely To Be On Your Grannie's Coffee Table, but they're also most likely to be coated in a unintentional gummy layer because they're rejects from Christmases past being re-gifted. Only a sucker like Scrooge would like these sad excuses for festive treats.

What's YOUR favourite holiday candy? Let's discuss in the comments.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Battle for the best gingerbread house

Robie Street Station hosts this holiday build-off

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 1:51 PM

A gingerbread house to aspire to
  • A gingerbread house to aspire to

Halifax’s newest breakfast joint, Robie Street Station (2394 Robie Street) has decided to put the grocery-store-bought, cardboard-tasting gingerbread house kits to shame. In the spirit of the season the diner’s hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Contest in which it’ll provide an assembled, and homemade house, two freshly baked gingerbread people, handmade frosting, assorted candy and two cups of hot chocolate to fuel your inner Debbie Travis.

The decorating showdown starts at 5pm next Tuesday, December 9—but to give the gingerbread-makers time to prepare, you have to register by Sunday (your tasty materials cost $50). First prize is a “fun pack” to help you survive and enjoy a snow day.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Bertossi Group sells its fleet of restaurants

After 30 years of Bertossi eats, Dean Leland and Hakan Uluer take over

Posted By on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi
  • Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi

It's fitting that when I catch Stephanie Bertossi on the phone she's at The Bicycle Thief with her husband and business partner of 30 years, Maurizio Bertossi, putting the finishing touches on the restaurant's Fire & Ice bar, which will launch this Friday. Even today, after announcing that they're selling all four of their successful restaurants, they're still working their asses off.

"Someone asked me today, 'so will you have time for lunch now' and I said, 'Probably not'," laughs Bertossi. The Bicycle Thief, il Mercato, Ristorante a Mano and La Frasca Cibi + Vini will now belong to Dean Leland, The Bertossi Group's general manager and former Empire Theatres VP, and Hakan Uluer, a longtime employee who manages The Bicycle Thief.

"We're very happy. And two better people couldn't do it, Hakan is Mr. Hospitality and Dean is such a phenomenal business person," says Bertossi of the decision. "They're super strong, committed and love the business just as much as we do."

Bertossi says the shift is part of her and Maurizio's succession plan, but that they won't be vanishing—the pair will stay onboard as consultants, to "create, design and do all the crazy fun stuff." In the end, she says, it was all about fit, and Leland and Uluer were perfect.

"We're in a people business," she adds. "I love working with them, and they get it. Or they get me."

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Vol 27, No 4
June 20, 2019

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