I have a real weakness for cheap chocolate. Sure, I like the hoity-toity super dark stuff, but I won’t pass up M&Ms, or dark Mars bars, or Twix. I’ll even eat Hershey’s kisses, provided they’re the almond kind. (I’ll pass on plain Hershey’s bars, thanks.) I’m never more tempted to eat cheap chocolate than when I’m shopping at Russian groceries, all of which sell a big selection of candy. The quality varies, but the varieties are breathtaking: my little local store must stock at least 15 kinds. Some have been on the market since the Soviet times, others are new, many have baroque names. Anyone up for a mishka kosolapiy (clumsy bear) or a ptichie moloko (bird’s milk)?
In this third part of my series on stuff you can buy at Russian/Eastern European groceries, I will sample and review Russian candy. My goal is to taste my way through all of the God knows how many varieties and produce the definitive hierarchy of Russian sweets. (A hierarchy of American candy bars can be found here.)
This one’s called “Condensed Milk.” It’s actually dark chocolate-covered…something. The filling is off-white, grainy, and tastes kind of nutty and super-sugary. A C list-candy: good mostly when you crave a sugar boost.
The name means “little trunks with condensed milk.” Little trunks--aww! This one’s for the A-list: a soft, creamy, slightly lemony filling, covered with dark chocolate. A little too sweet, but I don’t mind.
Rachki! That means “crawfish” in Russian, but for some reason a lobster is pictured on the wrapper. What does this candy have to do with shellfish? I suspect “rachki” refers to the crunchy, hard exterior; inside is a crumbly chocolate-nut filling. Eh. I’ll eat this if I crave sugar and nothing better is around. C-list.