Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tom Petty's new song, Ankle Deep (Highway Companion) says "Took all Winter to get through the Summer". While most of this last summer passed, melted, and slumbered by before this blog was started let me assue you that it is warm out here in the Saraha desert. Such thing as a cold desert exists, but I do not live in it. Days typically warmed up to well over 120F, and only a very foolish person would go around working in the direct afternoon sun. Lunches stretch out into afternoon naps, then to everyone moving slowly until we find a little tea to wake up lazy bones around 5pm as the suns rays have passed their zenith and come angleing in just a little more obliquly. Even as late as 7 or 8pm the temperature would stay well into the upper 90s. My area has a strange periodic weather pattern of heavy cotteny clouds that move in for a couple of days a month. Like a blanket over the land streatching as far as can be seen they trap the solar radiation down and keep the us warm all night long. Most days found me drinking well over a gallon of water, which most people in my town considers to be excessive and a little crazy. But, as long as I stay cool being the water guzzeling forigner is a rap I can deal with.

I sleep on a sorta thin ponge wrapped in a funky vein and tropical leaves pattern. "Ponge" is a term used to describe generally any longer bench like sitting cushion. Not a pillow. They can be made entirely of synthetic foam, or can have different amounts of natural fibers mixed in. I think mine cost about 8$US, and it moves easily out into my walled garden every night which seems to be the coolest place in my house. Other people sleep on their roofs, but, thats not for me. Hot summer nights open quickly to even hotter summer days as soon as the sun climbs over my 10' garden walls.

Now it is the winter season. The mercury is falling in my electric guage, and highs are currently in the 60s. I try to wear darker colors and spend time laying in the low sun as much as I can, not unlike a lizard sunning on a rock. I am told that it will only get colder from here on. The problem really isnt the low temperaturs, its the lack of external heating sources anywhere. Without a heater in my house, the shade of my inside rooms is no longer a positive trait. If the high is 60, then my kitchen might never warm over 50. I wear a lot of layers and think of my friends who are even much colder than me. I think it might take signifigantly less time than the entire winter forcasted by Mr. Petty, I am ready for summer right now.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I had planned to do some typing tonight. The topic was going to be dogs, but I think that will get delt with later. Shore version, they are not man's best friend here. Not even runner-up.
It is not completely uncommon for a Peace Corps volunteers (PCV) to be asked to help out with some translation. The paper is usually old, perhaps has a light tan stain from some tea, and might have been carried around or kept in a box for years until a suitable translator (me) has been found. It is assumed (and generally true) that a PCV has a decent command of the English language. My grasp of Berber is much weaker, but usually I am able to get the gross point across if not the finer details. Sometimes it is just a trick of remembering the right vocabulary, as I experienced today.

For some reason, a young man in town whom I talked to frequently picked today to ask me for my help in reading a letter "from a friend in Canada". He was using the word "friend" loosely, as it often seems to be. This letter was really from the Calaedonan Offshore Oil Company Ltd. Most of the letter indicates that they are a company in Canada that specializes in helping secure employment on offshore oil rigs for people (young men). This much he had grasped from the vivid pictures. I was able to help fill him on details about location (about everywhere there is oil), and money (a lot). But, the COOC are not themselves an oil company, and they want 189$ upfront to begin looking for a job placement. They also do not guarantee work. If you are beginning to think this sounds like a scam, I'll add one final detail. The very fine print (yes I was reading that) adds a quick caveat, they are incorporated in Liberia.

The biggest problem with the translation I had was figuring out how to say "these guys are going to take your money and not do anything", which is essentially how I put it. I forgot that somehow the word "mafia" is well known here. Still, even after we had discussed the letter, and that the COOC were part of the mafia (not totally unrealistic in Liberia), this young man asked me to write an email and explain his circumstances. He does not have a job, and does not have the money. But would be happy to pay them back all the money (it is another 250$ after job placement, if that miracle ever happened), after he was working.

I think what bothered me the most about this isn't that someone was trying to rip someone else off. It happens everywhere all the time. If you have never been the target of a scam operation I suggest leaving your cave. It was having to tell such a willing and eager person that this letter was not going to be the future and his ticket out of town. I do not know if the family "needs" the money, he is building their new house right now. But, a small hometown is not a great place for a young man who can see the wide world and wants to get their start in it, just on the other side of his cinderblock wall. He friendly, hardworking, smart, strong in his faith, and bored out of his mind. I am eager to help my town, but for this guy I just want to get him a job anywhere else.
I think this is a post you are going to want to bookmark and return to, as it will hopefully be contentiously updated during my service. It is, as the name suggests, a review of the candy bars and other sweets that are found here in Morocco. As I have mentioned before, people in Morocco are no different than those in the United States in their gustatory appetite for sugary goodness. Be it in the bar, or a cookie, any small town store will have a few different selections on hand. In my town, any of 3 different small stores can help fill your sweet tooth and contribute to dental decay. Even I, once a champion of "savory" am often scanning shelves looking for my favorites. Also, I kinda like checking out everything they have to offer here...When in Rome and all that.

MegaChok: We start with my current reigning favorite. The MegaChok are the largest chocolate cookies I have ever seen for general sale. The filling has a dark quality that reminds one of a dove bar, while the cookie itself is bursting with partially hydronginated soybean oil. Not only is each cookie large, but they come in a long corrugated cardboard tube of about 15 cookies. MegaChok indeed! The average price is 15dH or slightly less. The cleverly designed tube does a great job protecting the MC from undesired crumbling when packed away on long trips. It also means that the MCs can be passed around easily, they make a welcome accompaniment to any social gathering. As a bonus, with 10 proofs of purchase, you can send in for a free Burt and Ernie Tshirt. Because they are produced by X your tshirt will be en Espanole! The only major drawbacks are that if you want just one MC you will be carrying around the rest of tube for some time. Also, limited availability can lead to wondering city streets in vain.

Marko: Like its far-traveling namesake, this candybar brings with it a certain worldliness; it is a copycat of the 3 musketeer candy bar. Otherwise it is unremarkable. The nougat layer is slightly dry (could have been the desert heat). This is topped by not a bad caramel layer. One bonus is that unlike regular milk chocolate with its rather low melting temperature, the "chocolate coating" does not melt on fingers as quickly on hot sunny days. This coating is also a little darker in flavor than that of its americium counterpart. The wrapper warns that "OCCASIONALLY THIS PRODUCT MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUTS" which is good news, unless you are allergic to our friend the groundnut. Wide availability and a low price of 1-1.5dH means the Marko comes in handy in a pinch. Do not tell Mars candy company about this low priced treat, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Rialto- Madison "Arome Frise": Trying something different with this one. A "live" tasting, I am sampling this one as I write. To be honest, Im not sure if the name is Rialto or Madison. Both have prominent space on the package. But, Madison is stamped into the strawberry flavored cracker, that has been "enrobed" in chocolate product. I will assume that this is a tribute to the early American President, and not to the capitol of Wisconson. A quick note, frise is Arabic for Strawberry, a flavor that is very popular here. For around 1.5 dH it is not a bad snack, and goes well with an afternoon coffee. In each package you get 3 of these enrobed crackers, which is a nice plus. However, where these really "robed" they would be mooning the eater, because the backside is left bare. Not enough chocolate. Also, they are putting to the test the "fake chocolate doesn't melt in your hands, or anywhere else" theory. The strawberry flavoring is very good, shockingly so. Overall, not a terrible choice is the time is right. Ill be looking for other Arome's as I rome.

Tagger - This bar finds a smooth harmony between a rich chocholate coating, and the almost umbiquitous candy wafer. I am not sure exactly why these crunchy wafers are so popular here in Morocco, but this summer I went to a 4 day wedding and ate approximately 2 per tea, which was about something like 4 times a day. 2x4x4=32 wafers during the feasting wedding. It was a bit of overkill for me, and I was apprehensive when I first opened up the Tagger. But, after my first bite I was pleasently suprised. The dry sugery crunchyness was well under control with a more creamy than normal filling, and the coating further helped to neutralize dusty flakyness that seems to be both flavor and shirt covering bother. An excellent product by the "Biscuiterie Industrielle Du Moghrieb".

Rebeca - I was looking for an after dinner snack that would complement my sandwitch and go well with the wine we were drinking. Im not sure what brought me to this little bar, it might be the starting resembalance to Mounds. Almond Joys have something these lack, but otherwise they are excellent. Any fan of coconut will find these to addictive and they will want to pick up at the local store. A cute bonus is that each package contains two smaller bars, keeping in the tradition of the Mounds/Almond Joy empire. They have a somewhat limited availabity, but a savey hunter is sure to find them in any larger sized market town.

Gougti - Ill admitte that I was initially aprehensive about picking up a candy bar with a name that I was completely unable to pronounce. You might noticed that many of the others reviewed have easy English names. Im not sure why this is, but a person could tell themselves this is an Italian import and feel rather cultural while eating it. As if being in Morocco wasnt an internatioal experience enought. The package is rather dull and boring which might put an inexpericed muncher off. But, like a book and its cover, one would be foolish to think that the package would dictate the quality of what was inside. Unless you like eating candy bar wrappers and I dont, you should focus on what really matters. This is a wonderful candy bar, one that I expect Ill be hunting down in villages and towns for the next two years. It has a base of substantial and hearty almond nougat. This isnt the light and fluffy stuff, fans of that will have to go elsewhere. If this nougat was part of the Cambells soup line, it would get advertized by monster NFL linebackers and their mothers. Almost a meal by itself. On top, on the sides, and on the bottom you will find a slightly dark chocholate that gives a pleasing complement to the nougat. Like a backup singer, it provides a depth of flavor without distracting from what you origially came for. Bonus: the price is right on the wrapper, 2dh. Hard to argue with that, even if you dont speak a word of Arabic, Berber, or French.

Reine - Bouyed by the success of bars withforign sounding names that I couldnt pronounce, I picked this up while waiting for a bus to leave. Sadly, this bar is not the size of a telephone pole, and I was done long before we left the station. Also sadly, I had picked up a Coke to complelement my breakfast of champions, and had made a wrong choice. This is a cafe bar. The ideal location to enjoy would be at any of the numerous coffee shops that dot the country. A mistake I will not make again. The claim of a "Hazelnut Nougat Bar Coated with Chocolate Flavour" is right on the money, and it wont take much o buy this. I paid 2dh, and that seems high. A dark coffee and a relaxed atmosphere would be perfect to savor the warm sweet hazelnuts. The chocolate flavour could be much improved, perhapes with real chocolate, instead of the faux coating provided. All the same, a delicous choice for those looking to get off the pure sweet and sticky route.

Moreno - Im guessing Italian influence again. This bar sounds like a sport car you might find James Bond driving before his Aston Martin. Or sexy shoes. Either way, you would be close to the experience found here. The "Moreno Milky Compound Chocolate Coated Bar with Carmel" delivers a sugar punch right to your pancrass. I am unsure if this milky compound can be found on products from Bifa, but I hope they use it more often. I love carmel and if any complant might be had with this bar, it would be a shortage of carmel. Its a smooth ride all the way, and wide circulation makes these easy to pick up no matter where you find yourself.

Lelio- "Kit Kat on Steriods". I dont think they are looking for an ad man, but if they were, I've got the perfect pitch for this candy bar. You just heard it. Excelo corporation starts with the Kit Kat base, and thats a good start. Then they wrap it in a carmel layer that like dark energy can be detected with sensitive equipment (your tounge in this case), but is generallyinvisable and will probaly remain a scientific puzzle for decades. At least I think this layer exists here, it certainly seems to aviod being spotted by the my naked eye. On top of this, the bar was blasted with crisped rice then smothered in chocolate. The end result does not have the super sleak aerodynamic shape that is more common with candy bars, rather it looks like something crafted by a pre-school class on their "in the kitchen" field trip. Sadly, unlike Kit Kat, they come only one to a package. Overall, a good trip away from nougat land.

Tito- It was early morning really, but I felt like I had been traveling for a long time already. Something about 2 hours on an unpaved road over the mountains that wears a body out. I knew I would need a little pick up. A little something to help face the day. Some people like smoking. Thats a dangerous habit, saturated fat is much safer. Of the many places you might find a candy bar, the worst places are on the carts of men who stand around near taxi stands or in the middle of market. A real store might be expected to have something good a Marko for example, but these men get stuck with the most meager selection of the uglyist candy. Im not entirely sure how this happens. Often they become arranged in a somewhat attractive colorful geometric pattern, as though this will offset what everyone knows is questionable food. This candy bar came from one of those men, and was one of those candy bars. But, I was determined to have a great day, and lack of selection was not going to hold me back. The package looks like it will contain peanuts. It has an artists rendition on a peanut on the front, I had never though how one might find some difficulty depicting peanuts. Im pro-nut myself, so this looked good. I did not see any peanuts. All I could find was a solid hunk of chocolate riding a thin cookie. Like a portly man who has taken up surfing. But, like the Double Mint twins, there were two to be had. The package says to "Keep in a cool and in a dry place". Always sound advice. Unexpected goodness finds us everyday. On that day, it found me in the Tinjrear grand taxi stand. It can find you too, just buy a Tito.

Lix- The good people at Prestige Food can be questioned for a few choices on this bar, but overall Im going to give them passing marks. My first Lix was in Fes, but sadly it never made it into the review. I have had the wrapper from my second Lix laying in my kitchen for the last two months. So long that I have forgotten where it even came from. Lets call it what it is, it's a Snickers bar. Straight up, this fills a hunger you might have. If it doesnt, you can buy two, or four. With the going exchange rate you can probally eat most of your fat and sugar allocment for less than a US dollar. If it doesnt cure your hunger you must have a tapeworm. The most intersting part of the Lix isnt the bar itself. It is the blue panther that takes a swipe at you, the consumer, from the wrapper. Does this suggest that there might be some violence caused by the bar, on par with an attack from one of these large cats? I havent experienced it. Also, why is this panther blue? Was black too scary? Or to normal? Questions to ask our friends at Prestige.

Biscuit Caramel- When you name something as simply as this, it seems that the next step would be to perfect what was inside. If you bite into something like a "Marko", there are no preconcieved notions about whats there. It could be anything, your mind is like a blank slate able to judge the bar on taste alone. But, with this name, you have some ideas before the wrapper is off. So I think the Bimo company should work to make the best caramel biscuit possible. Their work has resulted in the exact opposite. The bar is an ugly conglomerated mess, haphazardly covered in chocholate. The biscuit itself might have been make with the same recipe used for the hardtack that Columbus set sail with. I had to beseach Santa Maria to help me finish back whatever this was, enjoyable it wasnt. You might expect me to discusess the carmel layer. I would, but couldnt find it. Avoid, even if its given to you for free.

Tito Blanc-There are a lot of sequals that do not live up to the original. They might get more money thrown at them, better press and packageing. But something is missing. That magic that made the first is missing from the second. But, that does not stop us from buying anyway. Well, I at least have important scientific work to do, but, if you should happen to think that the quality found in the Tito can also be found here you are wrong. Its not. Unless you are an unreasonably large fan of white chocholate, this bar should be regulated to the second tier of purchesses. Interestly, the package features what look to be puffed rice exploding out of the bar. Im not sure if this is a feature or a warning. I did not notice any kinetic aspect when I was eating. I did find a slightly fruity flavor with the chocholate. It was in general rather dry with a dairy milky subtle tinge.

Oranjis-I was not expecting much when I bought this. You might wonder why I would even get a bar that I thought would be a dude. I am a hard worker, thats why. I think there may be some diamonds in the rough of Errachidia provance. This bar has kept alive that belive. The overall appearence is nothing much. Rather like the biscuit caramel, it defies a simple shapely discription. Oval? Longer than an oval, more rounded than a rectangle. And covered I think in crisped rice. Of the same general shape as the Lilio. If you are adverse to ugly sights, close your eyes. I dont know many people who taste with their sence of sight anyway. But, there are those who do, and what a strange world that would be to live in. Just relax your mind and try to enjoy the taste sensation in your mouth. Whats so good is inside anyway. Orange jelly, and it's done so right. Not to much, not spilling onto your coat while you sit on the bus. Not so small that you feel like launching a search and rescue unit to locate it. Just right. Goldielocks. It advises you to "eat soon after opening". I can think of few reasons why you would open it, then wait around. Even with a bad candy bar this would be a poor option, and with something this good the warning is well intentioned but I think will hardly ever be useful. Everyone will eat and enjoy immeditatly. Then throw the wrapper on the ground and walk away, satiated.

Maxbar-I think the original reason for this post was to talk about Moroccan candy bars and sweets. Now some might construe that to mean, ones made in Morocco. Some might think I am talking about ones available here. Both camps are right, but do not expect a discussion of Snickers which are availble in the Magrib. The Maxbar hails from Turkey. EU membership is looking dim for Constantinble, it is a good thing that this bar is not expected to smooth over the tricky issues like Cypus and an proactive military. Like Turkey itself, it is caught between two worlds. It leans modern and progressive. The package is bright, shinny. Indeed the sexy lettering is what caught my eye. The almost boisterous name sealed the breakfast purchess. But, at the same time it is being held back by both tradition and a lack of current resources. Who could expect the "max" when candy bar R/D could never rival that of more developeded nations? An unexciting nougat layer is covered by a boring carmel. Nothing terrible, but nothing amazing. This is all enveloped in what is labled as "milk chocholate". It might indeed be as advertised, but that does not make it good. Can we expect that bringing it into the fold might spur more development? Should we overlook current short commings and hope that they will be improved in the future? Its up to the consummer.

Tablette Choco Bam- It is hard to say what flight of fancy caused me to pick this up. I think it was an impuls buy and it found its way into my sack with two loves of bread. The name does not really let you know, but this is a coconut flavored bar. That is all it is really. Just faux-coconut chocolate. I have never really heard of real coconut chocolate, so I am guessing this is about as close as one might get. Unimpressive is one word. Maybe you are a huge fan of "noix d coco", and if so you might enjoy this more than I did. It reminded me slightly of the white chocolate in the Tito Blanc. Overall, it was spead out like a thin Herseys Bar. To quote Groucho Marx "The food was terrible, and so little of it".

Tonga "Gaufrette fraise"-There are at least two diffeent flavors of these at my local store. If you can find something at my store in town, that is a sign that it is so widely available that it should be found almost anywhere. Maybe in major cities this is even seens as "slumming it". But, Im pretty sure my rural wafers are enjoyed and appriciated everywhere in Morocco. And why not? They are endoreced right on the front by a Moroccan soccer player. And they are without a doubt some of the better wafers I have had. Im not usually a fan of the dry and bland wafer, to many disapointing experiences in gradeschool I think. But, these were done well. Leave it to Moroccans to perfect this craft. Wafer, cream, wafer, cream, wafer, cream, wafter. Thats a lot to read, but it fits in your mouth with a suprising ease. You will find yourself a little shocked how quicky the 3 bars that come in each package will disapear, especially if you have some friends around. Considering that thelyave a shelf life of an entire year, I am hopeful that my local store's stock will move slightly quicker in the future. Mine were on the cusp of experiatiion. Nothing worse than stale sugar.

Faithful readers might have noticed a lack of updating. I assure you I have been hard at work getting a cavity (trip to the dentist in June said I was clean), only the will to write was lacking. However, I have started knocking though my stockpiled wrappers and hope to do some fresh research for you soon.

Tito Cookies- Ive been eyeing these for some time, trying to decide if they would prove to be a wise investment. A dirham is a dirham after all. In search of a cyber cafe snack, I seized on these in a moment of chocholate avoidence. There are some candy products that feature differnt colors because they attempt to represent a variety of flavors. There are also some candys who have a lot of colors because they look pretty. These cookies are the latter. Each cookie is rather pleasently hard and not unenjoyably plain. Not a super sweet hockey puck, but more of a plain pecan sandy. The rainbow colored sweets that stud each cookie may or may not be chocolate, but it is impossible to tell. A package has 4 cookies each which is a nice feature, the kid next to me in the cyber was the happy recipient of one and he seemed to give it a good review. Strangely the package cartoon characture of perhapes an Arabic man as the other memebers of the Tito family. Overall, I will be buying more.

Regalo's- The package looks great. If the gataux inside was half as good as the package, this would be a great thing to buy. First, I should mention that the heat is now such that many candies come premelted. Not just soft, but undistinct and smushed into the wrapper. This is one of those. But, it was still clear the innovation here. A wafer base with hazlenut cream globs on top totally wrapped in "chocholate". Each little hump of hazle provides a mellow bust of creamy flavor. This would be a much better product in the winter, I will revisit it then.

All Right!- If one was to name a candy bar, there might be the temptation to really play up the quality. "Amazing" "Delicous" or "Tasty". But, the makes of the All Right were more honest and realistic in their nominclature. This is another fairly middling product in the Snickers mold. The package excitedly boasts that it is "covered with chocolate taste". A bit of international flavor, this was made in Brazil. What caused the good people of Kala Maguna to sell Brazilian Snicker ripoffs and not a more homegrown copy, I do not know. It also has an American style nutrition chart (17% of your satfat), so perhapes you too can find the All Right! somewhere in the states. This bar came helpfuly refridgerated.

Pacimo (Bananna or Orange). I do not know how to make the "c" into one of those french letters that sounds more like an "sh". But, it should have that. This is fairly unique in the world of candy bars. Notably because it lacks a certain solidness that is suggested by the word "bar". Pillow would be more appropriate. The verbose package says it is "milky cocolin coated banana flavour cream filling with nougat bar". Im not sure what cocolin is, nor vwhere the nougat was. Simply put, this is a line of marshmellow filling impregnated with brightly colored syrpe jelly, wrapped in "chocolate". The orange was decent, but the bananna flavor was extreamly fake and not very good. Not unlike the flavor of banana Runts, but without the fun authentic shape. If you are looking for something a little different, this might be a good choice. It avoids being one of the many trite imitations that seem to proliferate, and stakes out its own sweet niche. I have seen a cherry flavor, and will report back when I can. Product of Turkey.

Gotcha!- When I think of this I am reminded of the old funk song "I Gotcha", which amoung other places had a nice role in the cult classic "Reservoir Dogs". In the song the object of adoration is beseached to "give me what you promised me". This bar does just that. As advertised it is a "delicious chocolate flavour coating with Wafter, Caramel, and Cereal Centre". Nothing sneaks past you, it is all right there to be enjoyed. In a previous review I admonished a bar for looking like a sweet version of Frankenstein, being pieced together from several different parts seemingly leftover from other candies. While the Gotcha! shares this, I think it rises above. The sum of the parts is much greater than the individuals. Puffed rice cereal isnt that great anyway. One nice thing is that the wafter gives the gotcha a solidness that sometimes isnt found on warmer days with some others. But, like the hollow bones of a bird which give strenght but are still light enought for flight, this core does not weight down the bar as some pasty nougats can. Yet, this amalgeration smothered in carmel does still gives stomach satisfaction. Also similar to birds, Im not sure how it does it. The smart people at Seville Products Ltd located not in Spain but in the UAE will hopfully find a way to use their home megaport of Dubai, to get this candy bar to the USA.

O-LA. I suppose this name should sound kinda sexy. ooooo-la!. Not since 7-up has the hyphen played such a central role to the name of a product. In this case it is essential, an ola would be toally different. Sadly, my rambleings about this name is the extent of intersting elements of this bar. A sexy shiny wrapper stuck on a Marco, a sad lack of improvment and innovation from our friends in party town Dubai. Under the delicous heading of "hydronated vegitable fat" it lists; palm, palm kernal, shea, and illipe. Interesting we are requested to keep this bar out of direct sunlight.

itto (regular or Maxi)- I am embarrised to admitte in very late july that I ate these over Easter. Found in a box at my local store, they were nothing special. If memory serves correctly large but thin and flat disks of chocholate cookie. I felt they could use a a nice center, it would be intereting to try them as part of an ice cream treat in the vein of something I used to assemble at DQ. The cleverly named "Biscalas" (after their major product and the mountain range of Moroc), did not provide a "maxi" quality cookie, though a nice spot of sweet that promises not to melt is always nice and thoughful for the weather found here.

Tango- If any cookie can claim to be ubiqutious to the Moroccan hanout, it is the Tango. 4 cookies, 1.5dh right down the block. Nothing special, yet comforting and calming. It is probaly the artery thickening amount of oil that helps slow down the pulse, but it might also be the familur two toned sandwitches from my childhood. We have all at one time been the recipiant of a pair from massive and cheap Always Save flat of cookies, and a cup of fruit punch as some sugary pavlovian reward for finishing a school day. Nothing says family like coming down from a huge sugar high right when Dad crosses the threshold, and it is good to see that the experience can be global. We are advised to keep these cookies in a cold place, but I assure you that they could be stored inside an oven without any noticeable change. It is worth a mention that Morocco seems to have a stronger propensity for naming things after cities in Morocco, or in the case of streets after Kings. The makers of Tango, Bimo, can be found in Casablanca Bld Chefchaouni. Any guide book will let you know that Chefchaoun is in the heart of the Rif mountains, the type of place known for people getting the munchies. Is this just chance that the Bimo company is here, or was it clever planning.

Tito Tartelettes (Chocolate or Cherry)- The name tartelettes brings to mind some girls I used to know, perhapes the Tito mascot is meant as a baffle. You get 2 per package, which is double the norm. On occasion, it might be possible to get 2 for the price of one but it has always seemed more a matter of luck than personal shopping skill. Ive long felt it is only the grist for urban legond. Each one is a little bigger than the average cookie, but Ive never found that to be prohibitive or even unenjoyable. Fancy scalloped edges dress them up a smidge, but underneath everyone is the same. Not being shy or bashful, these open faces are a welcome change from the typical games playing required to make a real assessment of what is inside. Again, a little more than the average, a smooth unblemished delisous pool of filling awaits. Any flavor is good, I dont hold prejeduce and suggest you dont either. Afterall, how often can you ravish one then move onto a second?

Maximum (Hazelnut or Coconut)- There is officially a new king in town. Ruling over other candybars with a sweet benevalence, this is a high priced produce 2dh (a quarter). It excells in everyway. The chocolate is smooth and milky. The crisps are crunchy without being to pronounced. The cream filling is like silk and in both cases is just sweet enough to be enjoyable without being overly chemical. It is easily the best coconut product I have stumbled on. At one point I thought these contained carmel, but I was only so excited by the smooth flavors that I was confused. I was first intorduced to these in Rabat, and at one point made a 15 minute detour just to get to them. There are things worth walking for, and this is one of them. Not sure if I would suggest 10,000 miles, you should just take the plane. The package lets the worried customer know that it does not contain pig fat, something that is a comfort devout followers of Mohammad, Abraham, and Vegitarism. Produced in what was once Constantinople, the AKP should stock every PX with these and some good coffee and grateful generals will come around to a new more Epicurian view of seculerism. Alturnative joke, these are so good that Pope Benidict would turn into a liberal traitor to reunite with Eastern Orthadoxy.

Coco Moon- This is a small quirky bar that I found in the Errachidia bus station. Lonely Planet calls Errachidia "a boring town", and as you can guess strange things collect together in a raggedy place such as their bus station. The Coco Moon is one of those, its wrapper is so thin it seems the makers hoped to save a tiny centime somehow. Much like Errachidia, the CM is boring with unexciting flavor betraying what is expected to be tropical and intresting. Produced in Egypt, one can hope for much more. Note: candy dealers in the bus station are sharks, not great guys nor even remotely knowledgeable about the coming and going of the buses.

City Cocomis- Also bought in Errachidia, a person could hope that a good candy could be found in the style of "Mounds" (note; somtimes I want nuts with my candy, but in this case I do not). This is equally uninteresting as the CM. I am not sure why the name is has "city" in it, there is nothing urbane to be found here.

Sorf- It is possible that the name of this bar is Surf with an umlot above the U, it is difficult to tell from the label, which features a man wind surfing on the front and two curious ditto "wave" marks on top of the O. Another of the Mars variety, simple with nougat, carmel wrapped in chocloate. But, something went wrong here. This is not the tasty and simple treat that you might expect. It is dry and unsweet. My bar was also crushed (but unmelted). It might look like a slick and professional, but avoid.

Roxy- By the Simsek company this is an interesting addition to any meal or a quirky snack. For those wishing to try something a little different the Roxy offers sweet vanila nougat studded with fruit wrapped in "chocholate". A close reading of the label shows the flavors of strawberry, orange, apricot, quince, and raison. It takes an imaginative person with excellent vision to realize that the ugly pear shape on the front is a quince. 1.23% in a fruit powder, a very exacting person must be behind this. Overall, if you are looking for something that doesnt have peanuts or carmel in it a good choice. Limited avalibility can make this a hard to find.

Fito- My parents came and noted (with minor apprehension) the amount of candy I was eating, and the lenghts I would go to find new things to try. One place that I have still not fully sampled is the grand taxi stand of Azroe. The town is tucked up in the Altas Mountains and is the meeting place for highways from both Fes and Meknes and stands as something of a gateway between being almost in the big cities or almost in the rural country side. Im about...8 hours south, but I try to make a quick sample any time I am in the town. The Fito is a strawberry nougat bar. Right away, your interested I can tell. Its a little different, isnt it? Just one flavor, and trying to do it well. If you are or were a fan of the Quick bunnys strawberry syrup in your milk, you will want to make a visit to Azroe. Strawberry is one of those flavors that have become so egregiously warped by modern chemicals that it can be difficult to say if something is "authentic", but one can say if the fake is on its own merits good or bad. This is pretty good. It says it has crisped rice, but I did not find that to be a major factor. This does Cairo proud.

Merendina Mini- I was in a debate with some volenteers about this. I can sum up my argument as "disapointing". First, its not really a candy bar, but a strange cake like bar. It proports to be a double layer with some choco between, like something special mom baked up for a birthday. You know you were impressed by the second layer, we all are. But, dont be here. The front of the package has a quirky graphic with arabic writing which I think is trying to say that it is a soft cake inside. Or that if you want, you can crush the cake. I found mine to be dry, and the chocolate to be insufficent. The lable shows the cakes to be riding a wave of coca, but thats just not the case. A baby wading pool is more accurate. If you have an incredible need for cake, I suppose this might work. Otherwise, stay away.

Tito Noir- For fans of old French art house films, this is tempting. Or more so than "blanc'. Nothing will come as a suprise here, it is in the style of Tito regular and white. It is hard to find dark chocolate here, so this is a good selection if you can locate it. The "huge lump of chocolate on a thin cracker" is a good business model, no reason to change it when you have a winner. If I had to rank the three, this would be the winner, with regular chocolate runnerup and white last. But, a persons own chocolate preference should take presidence.

Tura- Everytime I stray from a "real candybar" into the cake department it seems I find disapointment. It might be possible that packaging and shipping and all this defys the nature of a good cake making it impossible to create what I am looking for. But, this isnt even close. The lead up is good. A small cake with chocolate filling. In theory it keeps hands clean, wont cause major problems when melted, and will be sweet without being heavy. Much like the Merendia it was dry and the chocolate was miserly. Because I always have faith, I will keep up the search for a good chocolate cake/brownie here in Morocco, but until then stick to a good domestic product such as anything from the Little Debbie line which (along with my mothers excellent cooking) brought me though adolecence mostly unscathed.

D'Milk- I am unsure if the name of this candy bar is supposed to be somehow French, or to have some "hip" conotation. Either way, it does not seem to work. But, its more important what is in the wrapper I think. The bar adverts that it has a malted milk element, and Ill be honest that made me very apprehensive. I was picturing a giant Whopper, my candy kryptonite. But, thankfuly not the case. It was instead a slightly melted but smooth and yummy carmel chocholate and nougat treat. In the style of the humble Mars bar, but somehow (the malted milk?) different and delicous. This will need to be retried in a cooler time this winter, but a winner for sure.

Dinero (Chocholate)-I spied some new gattofrites at my local store. Its not hard to notice a huge stack of anything that wasnt there before on these shelves. The gattofrites is an area of sweet that has grown on me in my time here, and I sometimes like to induge myself. For no real reason, Im weak. I thought I would check, what flavor are these new ones? In the "what the heck are those?" kinda silly conversation I have here a lot, it was discovered they were chochlate. Yes! chocolate! I want it! I have it! I took them home, sat down to make some lunch and while it was cooking pulled my nrw prize out. Indeed, the label shows a large bowl of chocholate pudding, some choclate squares, and what I think are cocoa pods/beans. My first bite first reaction was "well now, what the hell flavor are these?". So devoid of flavor were they that the previous knowledge both spoken and pictoral was driven from my mind. Any suggestion that these were supposed to have any interaction with my taste buds was rended moot by an stuptifing blandness. Almost impressive. These should have been served for desert in "My Dinner with Andre". If turned into a vaporous element, they would be a Nobel Gas. If psycoanalysized, would have dreamt of mother wheat from feelings of inadaquacy. Transposed into musical score, would not even have been light jazz more likely white static. Even these jokes give to much credit, the mental idea of something of anything is more than the nothing that these are. You get the idea. They come in 4 squares, instead of the more common long rectangle. This could be an interesting feature, but somehow adds to the boringness. Also, you feel like you are getting less in a package. They do feature several layers of frosting and frite, which is visually appealing but leaves the user wondering with even more curiosity where the love is. Dinero is Spanish for $$$, and the rich textural thoughts that this language of passion conjures up on the wrapper zing more than what is inside. Maybe there are other flavors.

Tito Cookies aux dragees- The name makes me think these cookies have some element of dragon about them. I don't suppose one would eat a dragon, but if you did, I'm sure good things would happen. Consult Harry Potter. What these do have are multi-colored choco chips, which are almost on par with dragon. The explosion of color really sparks up a cookie, esp when the best cookie available is only going to get a B grade. I appreciate the innovation and high quality craftsmanship the people at Tito bring to every product they make and thus give them the title "The Kiebler Elves of Morocco". The cookie itself is dry, but not excessively so. It reminds me of a pecan sandie almost. Light and enjoyable.

Tito Cookies- I'm not normally one to judge a book by its cover, but the cover of these cookies is warm and inviting. The cookies are no longer warm, but almost beg to be bitten. Two or three bites will do. These are excellent in milk; I think they even improve on the taste of the milk itself. Similar to the above review, the Elves know not to screw up a fairly decent thing.

Twice-First I will say that no matter how low the US is scoring on standardized math tests, Morocco is scoring lower. Then again, we also have you know...a bazillion dollars more to spend much of which is utilized on silly tax cuts and unsilly bombs. That aside there is no reason why Twice should encounter the mathematical issues it does. The package shows a single long cookie biscuit with two tunnels of chocolate, covered in more chocolate. The package also claims this as being "two" biscuits. Its not, its only one biscuit with two parts. Twix has two. One, then another one is two. This is just one cookie that a person could split into two parts, were it fairly simple to break cookies longitudinally (its not). However, a bigger issue was awaiting me. No chocolate. Perhaps the "twice" was also a reference to the chocolate one would find, but I never even got the once. To quote a fellow who has little skill in math or language, our own 43rd President, "There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."!"

Zoogo Kiddies mini swissroll strawberry- This sounds like a sentence by a small child, to whom you could feed this roll while on an outing to the zoo and thus really use this product for its intended purpose. I ate it at the Iminchil Wedding Festival, which turned out to be only slightly less than a zoo, and also full of kids (PCVs). It did live up to its name of "mini", in size and flavor. It's made by "Euro Cake", but produced by Do Freeze LLC in Dubai. Outsourced manufacturing? Middle East takeover of the snack food industry? The package is covered in a circus of cartoon animals, sure to provide entertainment much longer than the swissroll. This product Halal, in case you were worried.

Joy-There are some girls names joy, but I've though it was unwise to name people after characterizes that they might or might not have later in life. Chastity always seemed to be playing with fire. In any case, when you have a final product you can get a better if it deserves such a name. This does. To be honest, these are cheap, basically on par with a Tango. But, they have an honest and simple smiley face printed on them which communicate the essence of this taste treat. That you should eat it, and be filled with a certain type of serene happiness.

Voyager-One of my more favorite bars. The voyager starts with a standard cookie base with a wide Mississippi River sized groove down the middle filled with a stream of very good Carmel. Then covered up with chocolate. I know its simple, but somehow the combination works out very well. Difficult to find, but well worth it.

Snoopy au fraise-There is an unspoken rule in the world of 1dh cookies. 4 per package. But Biscatlas breaks this rule, providing a scant 2. They are slightly larger, but still insufficient to make up for the slight. Each side of the cookie does have a strange smiley face stamped into it, which doesn't turn my frown in any direction.

Gotcha! (Update)-Loyal readers heard it here first, that the Gotcha! Was the bar to beat? Recent discussions with PCVs have shown strong support that the best bar in Morocco is this one. People throughout the Errachidia and Ozzazzate provinces are going out of their way to find it and enjoy. Don't you feel special to be a trend setter?

Bito-Picasso said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the people over at Covertina (Egypt) must know the fine product being stamped out in Casa by Tito. They tried for a certain innovation of flavor, the Bito features Mango Nugate with Crisped Rice covered in Chocolate. The rice isnt necessary, but I suppose it cuts costs or something. Its impact was negligible; it was difficult to taste it. I had the assistance of 2 other PCVs in tasting, and we all agreed that this needed some more work.

Genoise Classic- The Dolce Madre makes me think of the superior baking of my own sweet mother, which is far better than any snack cake by this company. It costs a whopping 2dh, but you do get more medioracaty then a person might normally find. A basic dryish two layer yellow cake, wrapped in chocolate. The package claims that it contains only .2% chocolate, which is impressive. I must have been eating a lot of other stuff instead.

Marty- We are basicly talking about a Gotcha! These seem to be gaining popularity in my region, while the Gotcha! is being appriciated by more and more PCVs due in no small part to my prostatalizing. Not a bad bar overall, but Im sticking to the original.

Island- Were awards given out for each type of candy bar, this would win in the "coconut filled" catagory. It features an engaging triangle shape, bucking a trend against flat top candy bars such as the Palarmo and Marco. The Bakers Pride logo claims to be both "Delicous" and "Nutricious". I am not going to call up BP in Oman, but who are they fooling? This has the nutritive value of a stick of butter, only with better flavor. It contains (can be trust BP?) more coconut than sugar. I think this says something positive about the bar, and wish I could find it in more places than an out of the way store in Rissani. If you want one, email me and I will give you directions.

Green Apple- Rabat is known for its worldly, European like tastes. With that in mind I tried this different flavor. Fool me once... If you like the idea of hard green apple nougat covered in chocolate, then this bar is for you. If you think that sounds unappatizing, you will not be suprised. I am an intreped traveler, so I took the bullet. I was unimpressed. If I wanted to have the flavor of Europe, I would go there. I went to Morocco instead.

Chocolate Extra Fin Noisette- The first red flag should be that Im buying candy whose name I can not find. I can not say "go to the store and get me a Take 5". This is like the can of carrots that calls itself "carrots". The wrapper is nearly the same color of green that Van Gaugue used to indicate that he was...having some mental stability issues. A smallish bar that was as claimed, chocholate with hazlenuts. 3 sections, easy to share with Friend 1 and Friend 2. It weighs in at a paltry 20g's. Contains "cocoa mass". This is not the same as cocoa butter, or powder. A mystery. This poor choices was suggested by a friendly store owner, but in retrospect I think he was desperate to move some merch that other, wiser consumers were avoiding.

Mesho- The worst bar to make me want another. A simple premis, crispies with carmel covered in chocolate. But, like in so many other cases, the carmel was AWOL. Its name was at the roster, but when the important time came it was not to be found. The chocolate, a thin film hardly covering the crispies. I would have to say, Egypt, get your act together and produce some good candy. On the other hand, Ive bought them again. And liked'em.

Mejora- I appriciate a good try. Here is an honest attempt to create a chocolate bar (with almonds). Good try, A for effort. A while ago I had a friend request I look for "good chocolate". I realized that our definations were going to be different. This would not pass her test (she wanted a snickers). Nor do I consider it great chocolate, but its passable. I found it has that soft yet not smooth texture more associated with sugar and veggie oil.. That darker taste that I like was less evident. Also, not to complain about size, but its small. Almonds were a nice touch.