Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Know your gold foil-covered chocolate coins! Our three testers are chocolate experts in their own right: Marilyn Mueller, owner of Terracocoa, a Chantilly supplier of chocolate novelties, cakes and artisan chocolates who prefers that such coins melt fairly quickly on the tongue; Max Cutler, 13, of Bethesda, an experienced gelt consumer and discriminating chocolate fan who thinks "there ought to be a law" against the dark chocolate coins because "they're just too bitter"; and Food section staff writer Candy Sagon, whose name alone earns a berth at any confectionary taste test we hold. The panel rated the coins in three categories: whether they were better for eating or playing, how they tasted and an overall score of 1 to 5 (tops).

On this page is a wrap-up of the 13 brands* tested, listed in order of the panel's preference. You might want to call ahead for availability; over the weekend, we noticed the gelt was going fast.


SEE'S CANDIES , four-ounce bag, $3.05, available at See's Candies kiosks in major area shopping malls till Saturday (check locations online at http://www.seescandies.com/ ); or call 800-347-7337 to order

Sweet and milky, good chocolate flavor, melts quickly; the foil coin design gives it a slight edge over Godiva

GODIVA , about $8 for a 1.75-ounce mesh bag; available at Godiva stores, kiosks and at http://www.godiva.com/ ; also at Eatzi's, 11503-B Rockville Pike, Rockville (301-816-2020)

Fancy, mild, creamy


MADELAINE (of Rockaway Beach, N.Y.) COINS , $12.99 per pound, at Chocolate Chocolate, 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-466-2190; MADELAINE BAG OF 100 COINS , $12, also at Fran's Cake and Candy, 10396 Willard Way, Fairfax, 703-352-1471

Mild, good break, nice but not very chocolaty

TRADER JOE'S COINS OF THE WORLD , five-ounce bag, $1.99, at Trader Joe's stores

Rich but not overly sweet, doesn't melt

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