Archive for May, 2008

Smarties Bubble Gum

May 30th, 2008 by Rosa

I did not know that Smarties Bubble Gum existed until I fished it out of a tub at an Asian grocery store (which is probably why it was all water-spotted). I’ve never seen them sold elsewhere, but maybe it can be found at a penny/bulk candy shop of some sort?

Smarties Bubble Gum is quite similar to Razzles, in that it starts out like candy but ends as gum. Thankfully, unlike Razzles, Smarties Bubble Gum does not have a weird, medicinal aftertaste. The different colors of the Smarties Bubble Gum sort of have different initial flavors. By sort of, I mean that they seem to have slightly different levels of sugary, generic fruit flavor. Once it turned into gum, the little flavor it had quickly dissipated.

Texture-wise, the gum is nice and soft, more like Trident or Orbit than flat-sticked gum. Though I liked the Smarties Bubble Gum more than I did Razzles, I still didn’t exactly like it. In the end, it’s not worth it, despite the novelty factor. An O.

Category: compressed sugar, gum, O, review | 1 Comment »

Viva Chocolato

May 29th, 2008 by Rosa

On Tuesday, while I was en route to England, Viva Chocolato was having a ribbon cutting ceremony back home in Austin. Mayor Will Wynn (isn’t that the perfect politician name?) was in attendance to help celebrate the 10 Austin female-owned businesses – the Viva Divas – that went into putting Viva Chocolato together and to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Center for Child Protection.

Why am I telling you about this after the fact? Because I missed an event celebrating chocolate and women in my hometown. Because there were truffle and wine pairings featured at the event. Because the last ribbon cutting ceremony I went to was for the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, and while that was supposedly far more glamorous (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, P-Diddy, John Mayer, Josh Grobin, and Alicia Keys, who rode past us on a golf cart, were among the celebrities in attendance), we were there to perform, not to indulge in free chocolate.

Anywho, I can’t wait to revisit Viva Chocolato when I get back from England now that they’re seemingly through with their initial development phase.

Category: news | No Comments »

Liberty Orchards’ Classic Fruit Chocolates

May 28th, 2008 by Rosa

After my review of Liberty Orchards’ Aplets and Cotlets, which were a gift from my friend Rita, posted, her mother left a comment promising to bring me the chocolate covered version next. And, lo and behold, when Rita’s parents visited her at school, they came bearing a box of Liberty Orchards’ Fruit Chocolates. Hooray!

They came in a box of fifteen, three each of five different varieties: orange delight, cherry and pecan, apricot and walnut, raspberry and pecan, and strawberry and walnut. Basically, they were the same fruit pate from the aplets and cotlets but with different fruits, sometimes studded with different nuts, and covered in milk chocolate.

The orange delight was my favorite. It was the only one without nuts, and had a bright orange flavor that went nicely with the chocolate coating. Cherry and pecan was serviceable cherry pate, apricot and walnut was softer in texture and flavor (due to the apricots and blander walnuts) than the others, raspberry and pecan had a nice bite of raspberry to it, and the strawberry and walnut had a bright berry flavor.

Again, these fruit pates are a more subtle and natural treat than the in-your-face sweetness of artificially flavored fruit candy. I really enjoyed them, as did the friends I shared them with, so I’m awarding an OM for the lot.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, received as gift, review | 4 Comments »

UK Candy Recommendations?

May 27th, 2008 by Rosa

This afternoon, I’m flying to London, then busing to Cambridge where I will spend the next two weeks (I get to be a research assistant for the Autism Research Centre. Hooray!). I’m excited, of course, since I’ve never been to Europe before.

Any particular suggestions for candy to check out while I’m on the other side of the pond? So far the only must-taste on my list is Thornton’s Chocolate Smothered Toffee, which Melanie Dunea of My Last Supper authorship told me she would have for her last supper.

Category: news | 3 Comments »

Dars Milk Chocolate

May 26th, 2008 by Rosa

Another Japanese chocolate courtesy of my friend Michael, Dars Milk Chocolate wins for coolest packaging. The pink dot on the box is a chocolate temperature gauge. From what I could tell (some Japanese characters are taken from Chinese, so I could puzzle out the meaning), purple is too cold at 19 C or lower, the bright pink was just right at 22 C, and the light, nearly white pink is too hot at 25 C or higher. My dot was bright pink, meaning that I kept the chocolate at just the right temperature.

The chocolate itself comes sealed in foil and arrayed in neat rows on a paper tray, and each chocolate is stamped with the word “DARS” on it. They were perfectly sized for tasting, about the size of my first thumb knuckle.

Like other Asian milk chocolates that I’ve tasted, the Dars had strong caramel notes. The melt was smooth, rich, and creamy, and overall, a nicely elegant treat from Japan and a milk chocolate that I can actually enjoy. An OM from me. It also gets bonus cool points for the temperature gauge, though that wasn’t factored into its taste rating.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, OM, received as gift, review | 1 Comment »

Giant Chewy Nerds

May 23rd, 2008 by Rosa

This Easter, Nestle/Wonka introduced a new jelly bean: Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans. The candy blog world pretty much raved about them (Candy Blog and Candy Addict were just two who gave them high marks). When I picked up a couple of bags in post-Easter sale season, I loved them too, but because they had already been so written about, I saw no need to add my voice to the chorus.

Until now, that is. Easter is all about rebirth – resurrection from a religious standpoint, spring and green things and baby animals from a non-religious perspective – and, fortunately for candy lovers, Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans have been reborn as Giant Chewy Nerds (for the record, the Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans I bought; the Giant Chewy Nerds were sent to me from Nestle). The Giant Chewy Nerds packaging may not be as cute without the bunny eared Nerds characters, but the candy itself is the same and just as addictive.

As Candy Addict Blog noted, these are ridiculously addictive. They have a soft jellybean inside covered with a thin, hard, bumpy, crumbly flavored Nerds shell. I really think it’s the textural contrast between the crunchy shell and the chewy inside that make these so darn hard to stop popping in your mouth.

Pink is strawberry, a sweet and fruity/floral flavor with a lightly sour tinge. Grape is artificial, grape-soda niceness. Green I thought was green apple (Candy Addict says its watermelon), which I found to be the weakest of the bunch. Too much sugary sweetness, not enough tart, fruity flavor. Orange was tart and tangy and orangey and delightful. The yellow lemon is my favorite of the bunch, a strong and bright lemon juice flavor that’s not at all floor-cleaner artificial.

These get an OMG from me. I personally think they could go even more sour or a little less sweet, but they’re deliciously addictive as is. While I’m glad that they’re back, I don’t think I would buy them again for purely selfish, lack of self-control issues, as it frightens me how quickly I can chomp through a bag of these. And then I feel ill and guilty. Incidentally, the sales rep who sent me these also included a bunch of SweeTarts in the package because she’d read about how I loved them. I have the same issue with SweeTarts in that I’ll eat too many at once and then will feel sick.

Category: chewy, Easter, Nestle, OMG, review, Wonka | 11 Comments »

Cadbury Rube Goldberg

May 22nd, 2008 by Rosa

From the New Yorker Goings On blog, an awesomely elaborate Rube Goldberg for smashing Cadbury Creme Eggs:

Edit: The embedded video screwed up my site layout, so here’s the link instead. I’ll figure out this technology thing, someday.

Category: news | No Comments »

Meiji Porte Hokkaido Milk

May 21st, 2008 by Rosa

I got a box of Meiji Porte Hokkaido Milk candies (available from Amazon or J-list) along with several other Japanese candies courtesy of my friend Michael. They were so delicious that I immediately thanked him for bringing them into my life.

I would call these candies vanilla creme over a light chocolate cookie with a thin chocolate shell, all dusted in cocoa powder. J-List describes them as “a Hershey’s Kiss shaped snack that is filled with a finely whipped white milk chocolate and covered with a delicious chocolate, with a air-infused layer of chocolate on the bottom and powdered with cocoa powder.”

The vanilla layer is sort of weirdly textured. It’s not creamy or foamy, but it does melt on the tongue. That must be the “finely whipped” part. It tastes of fresh, sweet cream. The chocolate cookie layer is super airy and crunchy. I loved it, but my roommate thought it a bit stale. The cocoa power that dusts the outside is sweet, not bitter like I expected.

My box had 12 individually wrapped candies inside. I shared a few and ate the rest, and I wish there were more. The deliciate flavors and the great textural combination earns these an OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Meiji, OMG, received as gift, review | 3 Comments »

All Candy Expo starts today

May 20th, 2008 by Rosa

Today marks the official beginning of the All Candy Expo in Chicago, and I’m in New Haven. Boo! But I’m with my friends working on a thing for band, which is more important than stuffing my face and suitcase with more candy that I could ever eat. Mmhmm…

The All Candy Expo is a big convention where candy makers and distributors and sellers advertise their wares to buyers and press, like candy bloggers. Basically it means oodles and oodles of the latest and greatest candy being given out for free. Candy Addict bloggers will be going (their All Candy Expo archive), while Cybele from Candy Blog is taking this year off for a change (her archive). Cybele also has a great post describing exactly what the All Candy Expo is.

Do I wish I could go? Of course! But the All Candy Expo is an annual thing, and my bright college years are running out, so the latter takes precedence. Of course!

Category: news | No Comments »

Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate

May 19th, 2008 by Rosa

After my Earth Day round-up of environmentally friendly chocolates left them off, I got an offer to taste some Terra Nostra Organic chocolate, which I eagerly accepted. They sent me a Ricemilk Choco, an Intense Dark, a Double Dark Truffle, a Robust Dark & Roasted Almond, and a Satin Milk Truffle.

The Ricemilk Choco (below) is made with ricemilk rather than dairy milk, making it gluten and dairy-free for those on special diets. It was the only one of the five to come sealed inside a thin foil wrapper. The melt was quite smooth but neither creamy nor thick on the tongue, and the taste was sweet, but innocuously so. I felt that the ricemilk chocolate had no flavor complexity to it, which made it kind of ho hum. Still, I wouldn’t have known it was made with rice milk, making it a great substitute for milk chocolate. And it was the only bar marked as Equitrade, meaning that they not only pay a living wage but also give back by donating money for literacy or food programs.

The Satin Milk Truffle (below) was made from 41% cacao, and according to the label, 100% renewable energy. Neat. It was sweet milk chocolate with a slightly darker cocoa center, though I noted no textural difference between the two layers. The melt was thick and wonderfully tongue-coating, but the flavor had a slight, almost sour middle.

The Double Dark Truffle (60% cacao) was similarly two layered with a less noticeable truffle middle. Visually, it was sort of dull for a 60% cacao bar, but it had the expected sharp snap. Tastewise, I found it to be sweet and floral.

The Intense Dark (73%) had an extremely sharp snap and a fairly dry melt. It was not very sweet and had a slight fruitiness to it. I got a slight duskiness overall, with just a hint of banana to the finish.

The Robust Dark with Roasted Almonds (60% cacao, below) had fresh, nutty almonds evenly distributed throughout the bar, which tempered the sweetness of the chocolate quite well.

With the exception of the Ricemilk, which I would give an O because I don’t have to eat dairy free chocolate, the rest earn an OMG overall. They make a good snacking/savoring chocolate, but the lack the extreme complexity of the Amano single origin bars that now set the standard for me for tasting chocolate. Still, they get bonus points for being organic and for participating in fair trade and sustainable energy practices, so their borderline OM/OMG gets bumped up to the higher rating.

Category: chocolate, fair trade, nuts, OMG, organic, review | No Comments »