When this past summer began, my wife instituted Disney Mondays. We were both passholders at the time, and she decreed that Mondays would serve as little getaways to start each week off right. We could turn our pockets inside out and dump the currency from our respective money-holding accessories into the giant Mickey Mouse shaped coffers located on Main Street together.
Good times were had.
But toward the end of the summer we let our passes expire. There was still one weekend left before we returned to our classrooms and began the ten month long process of slowly poisoning ourselves with the daily inhalation of Expo marker fumes, and we weren’t ready to throw in the José Carioca beach towel just yet. So we struck out toward Orlando anyway, passes be damned. We ended up at Old Town in Kissimmee. It’s an outdoor shopping place with weird tourist shops, restaurants, go-carts and such for the kids, and thrill rides (including the Sky Coaster which remains the scariest attraction I’ve ever been on).
After wading through stores with names like Black Market Minerals (totally aboveboard), Knives &Things (things = very ornate dragon statues), and Kandlestix (with a k AND an x!), we stumbled across Chocolate Kingdom. (Everything in Orlando is a kingdom, an experience, or a world.)
Chocolate Kingdom is an “interactive chocolate factory tour” run by Schakolad, the company behind a chain of franchised chocolate boutiques that operates in the eastern half of the United States. I like Schakolad. We bought our wedding reception favors from them. They make good chocolate
Now, when I hear “chocolate factory tour,” I picture a purple suited lunatic leading me through a crazy surrealist fever dream of a candy factory accompanied by some memorable, a-hole children. However, this seemed to be more of a chocolate exhibit wedged into some previously vacated retail/office space. Though I did hear some loud a-hole children yelling from somewhere inside the place.
As magical as it seemed, we didn’t take the tour.
But in their lobby/gift shop, I found this bottle of Cocoa Cola. It’s a chocolate soda made especially for, and available only at, the Chocolate Kingdom. I was sold.
So the nosegrope, isn’t exactly cocoa or chocolate. It’s more a middle ground between Tootsie Rolls and Yoo-hoo. Which I guess aren’t really that far apart to begin with.
The flavor isn’t exactly cocoa or chocolate either. It directly reflects the nosegrope. It’s chocolate in its most artificial state. It’s a very sweet, carbonated version of either of the two products mentioned above. Take your pick. I’m not sure if any actual cocoa or chocolate made it anywhere near this beverage in either the design or the manufacturing stage. There are real chocolates being sold in the lobby only a few feet away, but that’s about as good as it gets.
It also leaves a heinous, metallic yet plasticky (is that even possible?) aftertaste that lingers for what seemed like forever.
And look at the color of that soda. Who in their right mind takes the time to create a chocolate soda and doesn’t color it to look like chocolate? Seriously. Is a rich chocolatey brown color too much to ask? The bottle is brown. The label is brown. Chocolate and cola are both brown! But instead, you went with this weird non-color. I have to taste Tootsie Rolls while looking at the sickly off-yellow of mildly hydrated tourist pee? Who’s in charge of this kingdom?!
This was a disappointment. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was something more than a cheaply flavored novelty soda. They do sell real chocolate after all.
The good news is you’ll probably never encounter this soda. But if you should find yourself in Old Town, after you leave The Groovy Store, buy a Coke, open it, leave it in the wonderful smelling Chocolate Kingdom gift shop, and comeback for it in an hour. It’ll be way better than Cocoa Cola.