Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour

My mom was looking through a magazine she got at the New Hampshire liquor store of all places last year around this time and came across an ad for the Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour. However it was the last weekend it was being offered and it was sold out. So going on this tour was a year in the making.

Once we finally figured out where it was and how we order tickets we asked my friend Sara and her mom if we could possibly make a weekend out of it and stay at their house in New Hampshire. They of course said yes. Sara's mom's friend Donna also came and my best friend Julia and her mom came along with us as well.

We had tickets for the 2pm tour in Jackson, Nh so we left Wolfeboro about 12:15pm to head up there. After an hour and 20 minute ride we arrived at Nestlenook Estate and Resort.
Once we were there and parked we got to walk through the estate which was exactly what you would think a cute little winter resort would look like. You could go ice skating, sleigh rides around the property or just enjoy your stay there. We went over to check in for our tour 
which was inside an enclosed gazebo 
that had a sleigh inside for photo ops as well as a lovely fire going. We got our tickets and of course our jingle bells to wear on our tour, and our first chocolate which was chocolate covered coconut, took some photos in the sleigh
  and headed outside to get some hot chocolate which was delicious! Then we headed over to wait for our sleigh.

We got on and got settled under our horse blankets and met Issac our tour guide who was very nice!
  Then we were off on our way to the first stop The Inn at Jackson! Where two lovely little girls greeted us with some yummy white chocolate cranberry almond candies.
Then we were off to our next stop. We slid up to Backcountry Bakery & Cafe where a nice woman came out ready to give us our treats.
 She approached up with a huge tray of brownies. We learned that they were double chocolate espresso brownies. 

I love brownies so I had to take a bite. They were good but the espresso flavor was too over powering for me, which did not stop me from eating the whole thing later that night. 

We said our thanks you and started on over to The Wentworth Inn.

Where again we were greeted by a lovely lady bringing us chocolate chip cranberry cookies dipped in chocolate. Oh how I love chocolate!!
 I saved that for when I got home after dinner. Even though I am not a fan of cranberries it was quite tasty!

After our fellow riders were saved from Mikey and Butch the horses on the sleigh behind us we were off again and pulled up to J-Town Deli where there was a large basket coming towards us with all these little white bundles. We couldn't wait to see what this was going to be.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that they were homemade nonpareils. I tried one right away and they were pretty good. I saved the rest for later.

I was most excited for our next stop because we had past it on the way out and because of it's name The Snowflake Inn. I love all things related to snowflakes! They also had their porch all decorated for Christmas with Santa and all.
Then another tray was approaching us and when she came to our sleigh all I heard was Kahlua balls and I was sold!
The great thing is that they had another option for those that didn't want the alcohol ones. They were white chocolate dipped pretzel sticks. Some of us got one of each but I only got the Kahlua ball which I ended up having enough trouble eating cause I kept dropping it haha. But it was still worth having to pick it up three times.

The last stop was probably my favorite chocolate while on the sleigh. We pulled up to Flossie's General Store and emporium
We were greeted by a very homely looking man with a basket. 
It took some coaxing to find out exactly what kind of truffles they were. But he finally told us they were Chocolate Truffles which turned out to be amazing!
Then it was time to head back to Nestlenook Estates. We got off our sleigh and then had a little photo shoot with our horses Fred and Pete.
Then we toured the grounds after we all got some more hot chocolate to warm us up after having those blankets on and now being totally exposed. It really was a beautiful place to be.
If you are interested in going on this tour (which I highly recommend) next weekend is already sold out but they do have openings for December 22nd so get them while you can! Call 1-800-866-3334 otherwise your tour will be a year in the making as well cause you will have to wait til 2013.

Foodie Penpal Reveal!

So I know this is a tad late but I wanted to share my November Foodie Penpals Package. My package came from Marla all the way from Milwaukee! I opened the package and she had written a lovely note and I started to read it. I got as far as her telling me that she sent me some Root beer that is locally made in Milwaukee. I stopped reading and had to find it. Now mind you it was my husband that was overly excited about this. I have mention that Foodie Penpals package opening has now become a family event. I was able to find the root beer which Marla had so nicely wrapped in newspaper and in a plastic bag. Which ended up being a good idea because some of the root beer leaked through the bottle top. I am not a fan of root beer but I tried it none the less but my husband was in his glory!
I then came across the beer chips which again my husband was thrilled with. I also am not a fan of beer but again tried them and they were very subtlety flavored. My husband enjoyed his snack for the night of Root beer and beer flavored chips.
I kept digging and found chocolate covered raisins which are one of my favorites! I was thrilled but knew better then to dig into them. I saved them for a snack at work later in the week.
I then came across these and was quite sure what to think.
Just from reading it I was a little weary thinking that it wasn't actual chewing gum but something else. However it is in fact chewing gum and is an acquired taste but not too bad.

Next up was cheddar popcorn. The flavoring was pretty good and again became something my husband enjoyed snacking on only because he beat me to it after we had opened it.
I then pulled out something called Halvah.

I had no idea what this was so I of course turned it over and started to read the label. I was a little turned off by the fact that 1/2 the bar was a serving and it 330 calories. Meaning that I either had to eat this as a pre-workout fuel and make sure I just take a bite otherwise it would basically be a meal or take micro bites over the course of several weeks.

Then I found a bunch of little ginger candies at the bottom. If any of you have read my previous foodie penpal posts you might have read the one that I got dried ginger and that I really didn't like it manly because ginger is generally spicy and that is not me.
I however like to try everything thinking it might be different so I tried these but they just aren't for me.
This was next. At first I thought it was some kind of chocolate and then I realized it was instant coffee or cappuccino. Since I don't drink coffee I gave it to my grandmother who absolutely loved it! So I guess that was a nice surprise for her and helped share the foodie penpal experience.

The last food object I found has got to be my favorite.
Cinnamon Cookie Spread!!! It is delicious! I have to make sure I eat it in small batches cause it isn't exactly good for you but who can help themselves? I might just have to find out if I can get this around here!

Marla was also nice enough to send me some food related magazine from Milwaukee.

It was fun to able to learn a little more about the food & dining experiences in milwaukee in relation to what we have in Worcester/surrounding areas.

All in all this was a package that was well shared and forced me to try new things. I would to say special thanks to Marla for putting this together for me!! Also thanks to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for organizing this program and keeping us all linked every month!

Now for the fun learn how to sign up for yourself for next month!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by January 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest this month!