Archive for July, 2008

Diamonds? Chocolate? Why not both?

July 17th, 2008 by Rosa

Got a spare $1,250 lying around? Who doesn’t, right? Clearly you want to spend that money on a dozen chocolates: 4 covered in 22-carat gold, 4 covered in pure silver, and 4 accented with diamond. You can find the Royal Collection at Cocoa Gourmet.

Kind of makes the gold-flake covered pralines (photo above) that Melissa from Viva Chocolato gave me look like small potatoes.

Category: news | 2 Comments »

Maynards Wine Gums

July 16th, 2008 by Rosa

Wine gums are a very British sweet. They’re firm (really really firm) gummies that aren’t actually wine flavored, despite their name. Check out the Wikipedia article about them for more. I’ve seen rolls of these in every convenience store I’ve popped into in search of UK candy finds. They also come in bags (and in knockoff brands) that I’m considering trying, as I think my roll wasn’t very representative of wine gums, overall.

My roll had yellow, red, and orange wine gums. Green is on the wrapper, so I wonder if I managed to miss them. As I mentioned earlier, they’re really firm gummies with a springy chew. They remind me of Dots, but without Dots’ tendency to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth.

The yellow was lemon, with a tangy citrus aftertaste. Red wasn’t very flavorful. It had a bit of cherry-ness to the finish. Orange was also lacking in flavor. I think there was a bit of orange taste that lingered after the sweet was gone, but maybe the color just made me think there was.

I found these to be a disappointing O. You can see Cybele’s take here (she got more colors than I did).

Category: European, gummi/gummy, O, review | 2 Comments »

Stride Gum Commerical

July 15th, 2008 by Rosa

That has nothing to do with gum. As explained by AdFreak.

It’s quite intriguing and awesome and intoxicating, especially when other people join in. Watch for the demilitarized zone in Korea just shy of the 2 minute mark, and my hometown of A-TX just after.

Oh, and the Stride Gum part pops up at the very, very end.

There’s still so much of the world I haven’t seen!

Edit: For the record, I wrote this post over a week before the NY Times published their piece on it.

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Lily O’Briens Chocolate Bars

July 14th, 2008 by Rosa

Lily O’Briens was extremely generous in the array of chocolate samples they sent me. I got a ton of their delicious truffles, and I got two sets of their luxury bar assortments. Ten bars of chocolates was more than I could ever eat, so I shared one set plus my second honeycomb crisp and sticky toffee bar (because I had a box each of the honeycomb crisp and sticky toffee truffles). I kept the remaining milk, organic milk, and organic dark bars to taste.

The organic milk bar (photo below) had a surprisingly great snap for milk chocolate. It had a thick and creamy melt as good milk chocolate should. I got strong vanilla notes in a bar that was sweet, but not too sweet.

Compared to the organic bar, the non-organic milk bar was lighter in color and less sweet. Its flavor was duskier; I got strong caramel notes. It was also much thicker than the organic version, throat-coatingingly creamy that lingers in the back of the throat.

Finally, the organic dark (photo below): the smell was sharp and a bit acidic, which was reflected in a sour tinge to the flavor. It was quite dry, giving the bar a crisp snap.

I enjoyed the milk bars and would give them an OM. As for the dark bar, it was nice, but I’ve had better, so an O. for that. Either way, I haven’t heard any complaints from the 7 beneficiaries of the bars I gave away.

Category: chocolate, European, O, OM, organic, review | 1 Comment »

Len Libby Chocolates

July 11th, 2008 by Rosa

Back in March, over spring break, a few friends and I visited Len Libby while we were in Maine. Because it’s not every day you’re within driving distance of a life-size chocolate moose. Meet Lenny (and a mama bear and her cub made from solid dark chocolate):

Though we’d dropped in just to see Lenny, and though I’d just tasted my chocolate fill at Haven’s Candies, I couldn’t leave one of Maine’s main chocolate stores without buying something. I walked out with a few chocolate eggs (remember, the visit was just before Easter) and two chocolates.

The right chocolate was (I think) a molasses chew. The nougaty filling was a bit on the stiff side, but that may have been due to the cold weather. Flavorwise, the chew was unexpectedly dark, with liqueur/rum notes and a light fruitiness. An OM.

The left chocolate was also some sort of chewy nougat thing, the name of which I can no longer remember because I didn’t bother to write it down. Oops. But it wasn’t that interesting. It was softer than the molasses chew with berry notes. An O.

I realize that reviews of seasonal Easter chocolate isn’t very helpful in July, but I’m pretty sure Len Libby makes non-egg versions of these chocolates. By the way, Len Libby sells a wide assortment of chocolate eggs; I just picked out three to buy and took tasting notes on two (the milk peanut butter wasn’t especially interesting).

I picked the milk and caramel marshmallow (right most, unwrapped) because I hoped it would be like the See’s Scotchmallow that I love so much. Sadly, it couldn’t compare. The sweetness of the milk chocolate overpowered everything. An O.

I chose the dark chocolate and coconut (bottom left) with trepidation. I’ve never liked Almond Joys or Mounds bars, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this. Surprise! It was delicious. The nutty coconut flavor was fresh and paired wonderfully with the dark chocolate. And, unlike in lesser chocolate/coconut bars, the coconut was a smooth paste without that fake graininess that I can’t stand. An OMG.

So, Len Libbey is worth a visit if you’re in the area. If I remember correctly, they had free samples out; I was just too full from Haven’s to take advantage of them.

Category: caramel, chocolate, coconut, Easter, holiday, marshmallow, nougat, O, OM, OMG, review | No Comments »

Worst Candy Ever

July 10th, 2008 by Rosa

According to Asylum. The Idaho Spud is number three!

Category: news | 1 Comment »

A few chocolates from Cocoa Bella’s assortment boxes

July 9th, 2008 by Rosa

I’ve been sitting on these reviews for ages. The chocolate truffles were leftovers from the first Calhoun College chocolate tasting I hosted. That’s right – leftovers. We had that much chocolate overload. From Cocoa Bella’s Exotic Assortment comes a Van Coillie Kastanjes, a Christopher Elbow Rosemary Caramel, and a Lillie Belle Farms Cayenne Caramel. Another Lillie Belle Farms chocolate, a Jamaican Spice Caramel, came from the World Select Assortment (photo below).

Accoring to the guide, Van Coillie Kastanjes (top left) is from a Belgian chocolatier that consists of “Whole Walnut & Coffee Caramel.” The thin chocolate shell was made of sweet, well-tempered chocolate with fruity notes and a lovely, creamy finish. The center contained a whole walnut swimming in sweet caramel that had no butter or burnt sugar notes. As for the coffee part, I didn’t notice it. And I didn’t miss it. The truffle was lovely.

The Lillie Belle Farms Jamaican Spice Caramel (top right) was a pretty molded dark truffle filled with a smooth, creamy caramel that was slick rather than sticky. The guide didn’t give much hint as to what it was beyond “Jamaican Jerk Spiced Caramel.” I’ve never had proper Jerk Spiced anything (this fairly recent NY Times Dining article lists some places I’d love to try to track down, if I ever get a chance to), so I didn’t know what to expect. What I got from the truffle was a flavor reminiscent of chai tea and cloves with just a hint of heat.

The other offering from Lillie Belle Farms was a Cayenne Caramel (bottom circle) was billed as “Spicy Hot Caramel,” and boy was it! The caramel within the prettily decorated shell was smooth, creamy, and buttery before it turned WHOA spicy. The spiciness was throat burning and lasted for at least 30 seconds. It was one of the more adventurous truffles.

And last, but not least, a Christopher Elbow Rosemary Caramel, “Fresh Rosemary Steeped in Caramel.” And it was just that – rosemary-flavored caramel inside a chocolate truffle shell, a unique flavor combination that really worked. By the way, my photo of the truffle doesn’t do it justice. It was a beautiful, luminescent green.

Cocoa Bella does a great job of bringing together well-made and interesting chocolates from all over the world. A ZOMG! for the boxes. I only tasted a fraction of them, and not every one was ZOMG!-worthy alone, but taken as a whole, they’re an indulgent chocolate adventure. Like many fine things in life, they don’t come cheap, especially with shipping. I wish I had had the chance to drop by their brick and mortar shop while I was in San Francisco. But I can look for the truffles at other specialty chocolate shops (I still have the guides), and I can ask to host more chocolate tasting parties next year…

Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, review, ZOMG! | 1 Comment »

Emily’s Chocolates Contest and Coupon

July 8th, 2008 by Rosa

Emily’s Chocolates makes goooood chocolate-covered cookies and fruits and nuts. They also make a chocolate covered fortune cookie that I’ve seen on the shelves of Walgreen’s but have yet to try.

fortunecookiebox.jpg

Right now they’re thinking ahead for the holidays and running a contest soliciting possible holiday fortunes to put inside their cookies. You don’t win anything if your fortune is chosen except for bragging rights and a first name, last initial credit, but everyone who enters any fortunes gets 15% off online purchases at Emily’s Chocolates’ website. A pretty sweet deal for minimal effort, I’d say.

Category: news | No Comments »

Gummi Sushi

July 7th, 2008 by Rosa

More Japanese candy fun thanks to my friend Michael, this time in the form of Gummi Sushi. The Japanese are quite good at coming up with cute things (Hello Kitty much?) and clever things, and they certainly haven’t skimped on cuteness and cleverness in their gummis. Better yet, unlike the gummi hamburgers or pizzas that you can find at most party stores,the Gummi Sushi actually tasted good.

I like the cartoony sushi chef guy on the packaging and the clearly illustrated instructions on how to eat sushi gummies. Just in case you couldn’t figure it out for yourself. And I liked the little pictures of fruit – an apple, a cantaloupe melon, and a strawberry – on the bottom to help those of us who love Japanese candy but can’t actually read Japanese.

The gummies themselves are sealed inside a second bag and arrayed on a plastic tray so you can marvel at the cuteness of the gummi shrimp and rice and things. The gummis are sweet and fruity smelling, with a scent that reminds me of those little lychee gelatin pots.

The gummis are very soft (a case of good double-bagging!) and slightly greasy to the touch. And they’re so cute! Red is strawberry, white is apple, and orange is cantaloupe. While the apple and strawberry go well together, the melon flavor of the cantaloupe is so strong that it’s not so good for pairing. A sweet concept with a sweet and tasty execution earns these an OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), gummi/gummy, Meiji, novelty, OMG, received as gift, review | 3 Comments »

Charleston Chew – Chocolatey

July 4th, 2008 by Rosa

I’ve already reviewed the vanilla version of the Charleston Chew once with tepid results. So why do they warrant a re-review? Because I’ve tried them in chocolate (not much of a difference and certainly not worth mentioning), and I’ve tried them frozen. Frozen Charleston Chews are a candy revelation if you’ve only had the non-frozen version.

The Chocolatey Charleston Chew features a thin chocolate (probably mockolate) shell around a light chocolate nougat-y filling. Like its vanilla brethen, the nougat is soft, yielding, and just slightly sticky. I wish the “Chocolatey”-ness of the bar came through better. It could definitely use amping up in the chocolate flavor realm. An OM.

But wait! There’s more! Pop the Chew in the freezer, forget it’s there for a while, and rediscover it later. Now frozen, the Chew cleaves like toffee when you bite or break it, but once in your mouth, it melts into that pleasant chew. It’s an awesome textural change, and suddenly this mediocre bar becomes something quite addictive, deserving of an OMG.

A few more notes – the Charleston Chew is relatively low cal and low fat and lasts a long time if you eat it frozen, making it a pretty diet-friendly indulgence. And Yale Med School’s dining hall sells them at room temperature and out of the freezer. I had a nice chat with the guy running the register when I complimented them on their thoughtfulness. Clearly, Yale Med knows their stuff.

And finally, happy Independence Day! Won’t be much celebrating of that here in England, I’m sure, so you readers in the states will have to have a veggie burger for me.

Category: chewy, chocolate, nougat, OM, OMG, review, Tootsie Roll | No Comments »