A couple months ago I won a box of 101 different varieties of imported European chocolates from a charity auction. Despite the fairly ironic acquisition given my current focus on healthy living and weight loss, it was one of the more interesting things I've ever "bought." Opening this box for the first time was a sight to behold of joy and wonder—I've never seen so much potential deliciousness in such a tiny space. I sort of have a thing for packaging, and almost every item in the box was packaged beautifully and enticingly.
It actually worked out pretty well, diet-wise. I had no intention on eating 101 bars and boxes of chocolate myself, so I planned to give much of it away to friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family at Christmas. Most of the different varieties in the box I've gotten an opportunity to taste, which has frankly been a pretty exciting experience. The box had everything from plain chocolates to hollow chocolates filled with creme or liquor, to chocolates flavored with fruits or spices or even curry powder, to chocolates made with ground vanilla beans or coffee beans or chili peppers or any nut you can think of, to bars of marzipan (ugh), white chocolate, and a couple yogurt-based confections that didn't really include any chocolate at all. Not all of it was delicious—the old maid of the box was the Hachez-brand cherry tomato and salt dark chocolate. A couple people have tolerated it, but most have found it absolutely revolting. It was one of the first opened, and I still have some left. There was one bar of 99% cocoa super-ultra-dark chocolate, which tastes like plastic at first, until it melts, at which point it tastes like cigarette butts. But, I'd say that at least three quarters of the stuff I've tried has been at least pretty good, and it all tastes so different from the sort of chocolate and candy that you find in the US. Most of this was from Germany, but there were entries from Switzerland, Belgium, France, Africa, and a few other places too. It was actually kind of exciting having all of the packaging being in German—not being quite sure what to expect when any given bar was opened was part of the fun.
Probably about a quarter of the chocolates in the box were absolutely amazing, to the point where I'd consider finding a way to get more of them in the US to have and share again (and in some cases I didn't really want to share after I found out what they tasted like). Overwhelmingly, the best ones were from Lindt and Ritter Sport, so if you ever find yourself in Germany, and you like chocolate, I'd strongly recommend keeping an eye out for those brands. (Ritter Sport's website lists many US grocers that supposedly carry their products, and you can buy some of the Lindt chocolates online directly, though shipping is exorbitant.)