The Candy Girls Go on Vacation

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This week the Candy Girls didn't really get to go on vacation, but Aubrey did manage to make it out of town a couple of weeks ago to visit her home state of New Mexico. While in the Land of Enchantment, she picked up a few treats at Senor Murphy, a Santa Fe candy maker with a shop right off of the Santa Fe plaza.

Spotting the shop that she had seen so often as a kid growing up, Aubrey thought it'd be a good idea to bring back a few of the candies for the Candy Girls to review. This was never a shop that she frequented when she lived in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, as the name and general styling of the place reeks of touristy New Mexico fare. Upon further reflection, this is clearly what the shop is going for -- the name alone smacks of an attempt to poke fun of all the pseudo New Mexican food made primarily for gringos that is floating around out there.

Still, we thought it was worth a try, and our taste test revealed a few misses along with one surprisingly good, unique take on traditional chocolate bark.

Chile Cream

This shiny milk chocolate dome gives way to a thick, bright orange center that is speckled with red chile bits.

Aubrey: I don't like the milk chocolate. Liz: Blech. You get a really strong powdered sugar aftertaste. It tastes cheap. Aubrey: Like a Russell Stovers cream you'd get from the drug store or something. Liz: Yeah, I could imagine a cherry imbedded in there. Aubrey: It's spicy, but it doesn't work with the milk chocolate and thick center. I think this kind of strong chile flavor generally works much better with dark chocolate in a truffle.

Would we finish the candy? No. We did not even finish the one we were sharing.

Would we purchase again?: Why waste your time with inferior chile chocolates when there are so many good ones?

Rating: 1 out of 5

Chile Pistachio Bark

This rough and bumpy bark has a lovely sheen to it, with mounds of pistachios poking through.

Aubrey: Mmm, this is much better. Liz: Oh yeah, the dark chocolate works really well with the spice. The nuts are a little salty, too, which adds a nice contrast. Aubrey: Yeah, this one's good.

Would we finish the candy?: Yes, if the spice didn't get to us before we were done.

Would we purchase again?:Sure. This one seemed the best combination of interesting and yummy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pinon Caramel

This is a thick and chewy caramel block, with little pine nuts nestled inside.

Liz: Meh. It's really chewy. Aubrey: I don't know, I like the pine nuts in there. Liz: They do add a good texture and the caramel has a buttery taste to it. Aubrey: I think the nuts are unique and give it a complexity of flavor. You don't see pine nuts in many candies. Liz: It's not bad, but I'm not convinced a Brach's rolled in some pine nuts wouldn't taste the same.

Would we finish the candy?: It's totally benign, so there's nothing keeping us from finishing it, but nothing really encouraging us either.

Would we purchase again?: Probably not, unless we wanted something innocuously New Mexican to gift to a non-adventurous eater.

Rating: 3 out of 5

For more information on Senor Murphy, visit www.senormurphy.com.

-- Aubrey and Liz

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