I don't need an excuse to buy sweet treats, especially chocolate, but when there is one, I feel it's almost my duty to buy a heaping mountain and give them a good home. In addition, since I've never spent Christmas in Russia, I thought to myself, "Self, you need to buy as many goodies as possible and test them for your faithful readers."
I've been seeing lots of different boxes with various holiday decorations scattered throughout the stores, so I picked out a few and dumped them out on the counter.
The first was a moderately sized gift box filled with only Russian-made sweets.
It was chocolate-heavy (always a plus) and filled with variety. No piece was repeated.
The next Christmas box on my list is a "happy meal-esque" looking treasure trove, but instead of fries and a burger, it's filled with something so much better...more chocolate.
The enclosed consists of three of the most well-known Russian chocolate brands, Krasny Oktyabr (Red October), Babayevsky, and Rot Front (named after the Roter Frontkämpferbund or "The Alliance of Red Front Fighters" who served under the Communist party of Germany).
Since Alyonka is my favorite Russian chocolate and since this box was filled with them, it has to be my favorite collection.
The signs around town aren't wishing people "Merry Christmas," instead, they read,
"с Новым годом" (Happy New Year). The sweets also follow suit.
This little container had lollipops, and fruit candies, mixed in with a few chocolates.
It was definitely a random mix, with Russian and other European brands thrown in. I love Chupa Chups, a Spanish lollipop company. If you ever see some, I highly recommend them. This was my least favorite bunch. I'm not a big fan of fruit or hard candies.
Now, the next chocolate isn't Russian. It actually hails from Finland and is extremely popular all over Scandinavia. My siblings and I grew up on this stuff.
Dumles are toffees covered with a thin layer of milk chocolate. They are creamy and melt in that oh-so-satisfying way that only proper toffee can. I brought some to Arizona for my students one year and they went bonkers for them. The best part was when they kept asking for more in various pronunciations of the word.
On to the bars. My favorite Russian milk chocolate bar, and I've had my fair share throughout the past few months, has to be Alyonka. With its unmistakeable wrapper, I can't help but think this is the epitome of Russian chocolate.
The bar was created during the Soviet-era and rumor has it that the drawing of the young girl is based off of one of the daughters of a former factory worker. Since, many women have come forward, claiming to be the doe-eyed child, but none of the claims have ever been confirmed, so it still remains a mystery to this day.
I love dark chocolate and I love Babayevsky's the most of all. If you ever see a bar, grab it, open it, and lavish it. You'll have no regrets.
I mean, just look at that deep, dark, smooth pile of bliss.
Did I miss anything? I think my sweet tooth is very pleased with me, as I've hoarded of stockpile of chocolate that should last until June (key word is should).