Archive for February, 2008

Nestle Toffee Crisp

February 15th, 2008 by Rosa

I bought the Toffee Crisp at the same time that I bought the Coffee Crisp, but I tasted them several weeks apart. When I dug the Toffee Crisp out of my drawer and unwrapped it, I misread it as Coffee and wondered why it didn’t taste at all like coffee. Funnily enough, that what I thought about the actual Coffee Crisp.

Thankfully, the Toffee Crisp was much better than its coffee counterpart. It’s very sweet milk chocolate with rice crisps and a ribbon of caramel. The chocolate is what I would call the standard British candy bar chocolate that’s sweet and lacking the sour tinge that Hershey’s has. The rice crisps are soft and are lighter and less dense than those of a Crunch bar – they reminded me of actual Rice Krispies in terms of their airiness – and they’re all mixed in with a chocolate cream so that the bar is soft and almost crumbly in a really nice way. This stands in contrast to the 100 Grand and the Nestle Lion, which both just cover their rice crisps in chocolate.

When I think toffee, I first think of the crunchy kind that you’d find in a 5th Avenue or Skor bar. I can accept that English toffee can refer to a soft type of caramel, but then I expect a darker caramel, maybe more molasses-flavored than sugary. The toffee of the Toffee Crisp was pretty standardly unremarkable. It’s nicely sweet but otherwise has no personality.

Overall, I give this bar an OM. It’s good, and I love the soft texture, but I liked the Lion better.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Nestle, OM, review | 5 Comments »

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2008 by Rosa

A happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers out there! As great as Valentine’s Day is, I think the day after is even better because it means CANDY SALES!

Then again, I have no romantic plans for the holiday. Maybe those of you with a special someone to share it with feel differently about it. Whatever your relationship status, I hope your Valentine’s Day is a happy one.

Also, check out this sweet cover story in yesterday’s Times Dining section about milk chocolate growing more popular in the chocolate foodie world.

Category: review | 1 Comment »

Nestle Lion

February 13th, 2008 by Rosa

I think it’s time to update my favorite candies page, as I’ve found a wonderful replacement for my 100 Grand love: the Nestle Lion.

I bought the Nestle Lion from The Candy Store in San Francisco. I’ve since seen it in Austin at Central Market (where it cost half as much as it did at The Candy Store, by the way). It caught my eye because it was a chocolate bar in the international section that I had never heard of, and there were no indications on the wrapper as to what it was, exactly. One of the proprietors of The Candy Store was able to tell me what was inside; I don’t remember how she described it, but it was enough for me to want to buy it.

And now to end the suspense of what a Nestle Lion is: A wafer cookie (the kind with layers of thin wafer and cream) covered with caramel and rice crisps, all enrobed in milk chocolate. Or sheer deliciousness in candy bar form.

The thin strip of caramel was sweet and chewy but not sticky, so it didn’t get caught in my teeth. The rice crisps were extra puffy, giving the bar a great lightness that I loved. I thought the Lion was a better version of a 100 Grand because the wafer cookie and the extra puffy crisps make the Lion a less dense and more texturally pleasing bar. I also liked that the Lion had less caramel than the 100 Grand, as I get annoyed when I have to somehow surreptitiously get all that 100 Grand caramel out of the nooks and crannies of my teeth (though I’m sure for some, that’s a selling point).

I really enjoyed the Nestle Lion, even though it was still a little sweet for my taste. It was one of those bars that I had to give away the rest of, lest I ate it all myself. An OMG from me. If the caramel was a little duskier or if it came in dark chocolate, there would be no question that it would earn a ZOMG. But because I could bear to give it away, I knew the Lion fell short of my highest rating.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Nestle, OMG, review | 6 Comments »

Chocolate + Wine pairings for Valentine’s Day

February 12th, 2008 by Rosa

From wine expert, James Beard Journalism Award winner, and author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grap to Glass Natalie MacLean:

“Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire,” she observes. “What other drink is described as both ‘voluptuous’ and ‘muscular’? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist.”

The creamy flavors of chocolate go best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines, MacLean notes. She suggests wines to complement 50 chocolate dishes in her online matching tool at www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher. Just click on “desserts” to find pairings for chocolate mud pie to chocolate cheesecake.

Natalie’s top 10 wine and chocolate matches:

1. Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, France
2. Chocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy
3. Chocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia
4. Chocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal
5. Milk Chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary
6. Bittersweet Chocolate and Amarone, Italy
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Icewine, Canada
8. Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France
9. Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Framboise, California
10. Chocolate Hearts with Cream Filling and Cream Sherry, Spain

 

I can’t wait until I turn 21 and can take a wine-tasting class that will hopefully give me chocolate tasting skills as well!

Category: news | 2 Comments »

Mini Froer

February 11th, 2008 by Rosa

My friend Laura spent a semester abroad in Denmark and was kind enough to bring me back a box of Mini Froer by Carletti. Froer is Danish for frog, and Mini Froer are chocolate frog truffles. I love how Harry Potter-ish these guys are. I wonder if J.K. Rowling had visited Denmark before she wrote them into her books.


The mini froer assortment I got had four varieties: cream, mint, orange, and toffee.

The “lys med oragetroffel”, or milk with orange truffle, had a nice orange flavor. It was subtle and zesty (as in orange rind zest, not full of life zest) instead of being sweet and super citrusy or juicy, and I liked that unusual rind taste. The milk chocolate froggy shell was sweet with a slight sourness, and the filling was very soft – just short of flowing. I’d give it an OM.

“Lys med toffee” was milk chocolate with a toffee truffle filling. I think of toffee as the brittle, hard stuff. This toffee was almost like a caramel but without any stickiness. It had a nice, dark complexity, making the toffee flavor my favorite of the bunch. An OM bordering on OMG because the chocolate wasn’t of spectacular quality.

The two dark chocolate truffles were “mork med creme” and “mork med mint”, which the box translated as bitter with cream and bitter with mint. These two contained an opaque white liquid center instead of the ganache-like center of the two milk frogs. The mint flavoring was very mild, while the creme had some sort of weird aftertaste that was almost minty. In fact, I thought the creme was the mint until I tasted the real mint one (which was truly minty) and realized that it was creme after all. I didn’t like these two as much as the milk chocolate versions of the frog because the filling flavor wasn’t exactly pleasant in either case, so they get just an O.

I loved the adorable little frog designs, and the box they came in had a nice flip up lid. You can’t tell from the photo, but the frogs that adorn the lid are actually embossed on there. Still, these appear to be a fairly common candy in Denmark, like something you’d pick up at a drugstore rather than at a boutique, and I think they’re a great little treat for their price range.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, mint, O, OM, received as gift, review, toffee | No Comments »

Galaxy Smooth Dark

February 8th, 2008 by Rosa

When I was told that a sample Galaxy dark bar was on its way to me in the mail, I never expected the 125 g (4.4 oz) behemoth that finally arrived. It was ginormous!

The bar’s wrapper reminded me of Dove chocolates. A quick Googling revealed that Galaxy and Dove are actually the same company. It’s Dove in the US and Galaxy in the UK. I felt like a sham of a candy reviewer for not knowing that already, but at least I noticed the packaging similarities.

Though it’s supposed to be the same product as a Dove chocolate bar, I found the Galaxy Dark to be inferior to my memory of the Dove Dark. The Galaxy was smooth and creamy with a slightly brittle snap, but I think Dove bars are even creamier than the Galaxy, have a firmer snap, and have a nicer, smoother melt. So I’d say the bars aren’t identical, even if they’re by the same brand.

I liked the presentation of the Galaxy bar. Instead of boring straight-edged segments, the rectangular segments of the Galaxy have wavy edges with a small stylistic G on each one. The back of the wrapper promises that the Galaxy dark is “not at all bitter,” and they live up to that promise. Unfortunately, I found the bar to be not at all interesting as well. It was serviceable chocolate, but bland and boring. I ate four rectangles before I gave up on tasting anything of note.

Overall, the Galaxy bar is serviceable for snacking but not for savoring. If I’m going to indulge in chocolate, I want something that I can savor and really enjoy, not a piece of chocolate that I eat just for the sake of eating chocolate, so this bar deserves an O in my book. Those who are used to milk chocolate and are trying to train themselves to like dark may enjoy this bar. I’m giving the rest of mine away.

Category: chocolate, European, Mars, O, review | 1 Comment »

Consumer Reports on Chocolate

February 7th, 2008 by Rosa

After a little digging, I managed to find a list of Consumer Reports ratings of various boxes of chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day. I’m glad See’s got high marks.

And check out AOL’s slideshow of boxed chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Excuse me as I drool into my keyboard. And Bonus Points to Rosa the Candy Reviewer for recognizing the cover slide as Vosges!

And finally, speaking of Vosges, you can find my Vosges review over at HeatEatReview’s Food Review Weekly #2.

Category: review | 2 Comments »

Das Caramels Chai Latte

February 6th, 2008 by Rosa

I had previously enjoyed reviewing the classic version of the Das Caramelini caramels, and Alicia and Joanna liked the lemon & honey and ginger & pistachio, respectively. When Das Foods sent even more caramel flavors for us to review, I was quite excited to get to try the Chai Latte.

The spices that comprise Chai tea can vary. In the case of these caramels, they were cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mmm. These caramels smelled quite fragrant and delicious. Like the classic caramels I had gotten to taste earlier, they were slightly greasy to the touch but smooth and creamy in the mouth. I love how Das really gets the texture right – the caramel is soft and pliable. It’s just enough to get a little stuck in your teeth, but not so much that you’re still picking caramel out of your teeth ten minutes later.

The salt taste in these is strong, and I’m not quite sure how much I liked the combination of chai and salty. The first one I tasted was too heavily salted and spiced, and I was still tasting chai tea in my throat ten minutes later. It made me not want to keep tasting these.

But because I love candy, I tried them again the next day and didn’t have the same issues. I think the first one I ate was just a bad luck flavoring anomaly. Still, I don’t quite love the salted chai flavor, and I prefer the salted classic caramels to this chai latte flavor. I gave the salted classic an OMG; these warrant an OM. But I’ll still polish off this box, even if it doesn’t disappear as quickly as my classic box did.

Category: caramel, OM, review | No Comments »

Childhood Candy Search + Contest Update

February 5th, 2008 by Rosa

When I received two “help me remember this candy from my childhood” requests in the same day, I decided that I would devote a post to the topic. Unfortunately, I’m of limited help in that area, mostly due to the fact that I’m not that old, so I thought I’d share my readers’ questions and invite y’all to comment. Also feel free to comment with “help me remember this candy from my childhood” requests of your own.

Ankur asks, “When I was a kid, about 15 years ago, we used to sell this candy in school fundraisers. It was saltwater taffy, and the best flavor was cherry. It came in a package the size of a KitKat and the pink on the outside. Inside was a flat piece of saltwater taffy wrapped in wax paper, and it had indentation/cuts in it like a plain Hershey bar. I’ve been looking for days to find the name, and I can’t. Can you help me?”

Melissa wants to know, “I am trying to remember a childhood favorite chewy candy, like a Starburst (in shape, texture, and wrapping), but watermelon flavor (the whole package). The outside was green while the inside was red. Both were chewy, even a little oily in texture, which was probably the watermelon flavor. Any idea of what this was called?”

If you have any possible solutions for Ankur and Melissa’s candy woes, leave a comment. If we solve the candy mysteries, I’ll be sure to pass it on to them.

In other news, Lesha is the lucky winner of the chocolate candy calendar giveaway. I’ve recently come into some Ghirardelli coupons for free chocolate, so I’ll do another giveaway for those soon-ish. Stay tuned!

Category: news | 4 Comments »

SweetRiot Nibs

February 4th, 2008 by Rosa

Dark chocolate covered espresso beans are one of my favorite candies, so I thought I’d enjoy SweetRiot’s Flavor 70, roasted cacao nibs covered in 70% dark chocolate with a hint of espresso. And fortunately, I did.

The cacao nibs were smaller and not as crunchy as I imagined. I thought they’d be the size of espresso beans, but they’re much smaller and unevenly sized and shaped. The chocolate covering was dark, glossy, and slightly sweet with a bitter coffee tinge. The nibs are small and softly crunchy (if that makes any sense). Unlike roasted espresso beans, they don’t get gritty and stuck in your teeth, which is nice.

I also like the decorative tin the nibs come in. It’s great for slipping in your purse or pocket for a quick chocolate fix. And the tiny size of the nibs forces me to slow down and savor the chocolate.

I love the taste and packaging of the SweetRiot nibs. My only issue is the price. My review sample was free; otherwise it’s $40 for a case of 12 on their website, which makes them rather pricey. I give them an OM. I’m going to hang onto my tin for refilling, in the hopes that SweetRiot will someday sell their nibs in little bags or tubs.

Category: chocolate, OM, review | No Comments »