Archive for October, 2008

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest

October 7th, 2008 by Rosa

From alert reader Lauren, a tip-0ff about a Scharffen Berger/TuttiFoodie.com Chocolate Adventure Recipe Contest. The twist? Recipes must feature an adventurous ingredient, such as basil, jicama, mango, matcha, etc.

To give you an idea of what they’re looking for, last year’s winner was a recipe for “Scharffen Berger Wasabi Pom Poms,” a combination of chocolate, wasabi, and pomegranate seeds.

Category: news | Comments Off

Crunch Ball Crispy Candy

October 6th, 2008 by Rosa

My friends Nana and Justin have been living and teaching English in Korea for I think a year and a half now? I’ve been following their adventures in Asia through their blog, in which they’ve done a great job of chronicling the different cuisines they’ve had the opportunity to try.  They also ran a few features involving themselves drinking weird stuff. They were kind enough to send me a package of candy, and though there were no weird drinks, there was the weirdly named “Crunch Ball Crispy Candy.”

Methinks the name lost something in translation. The bag made the candy look like peanut flavored hard candy. The crunch part could refer to the hard candy, and the ball clearly refers to the shape… but what makes it crispy? I usually associate crispy with chips and fried things, not candy. Hmm…

It turns out that these candies are basically little balls of peanut brittle. Heavy on the brittle, light on the peanut, which is great for me, as I hate getting bits of peanuts stuck in my teeth (which is also why I’m not a big fan of nuts in candy in general). They cleave just like traditional brittle does, and like traditional brittle, it sort of gets packed in the molars. The peanut bits are pretty small, but they definitely bring their nuttiness to the ball. The prominence of the brittle makes these fairly sweet but not so sweet that I couldn’t eat more than one in a row.

Flavorwise and texturewise and conveniencewise, these guys are great, and they get an OMG from me. Thanks, Nana and Justin!

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, nuts, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

Flake trio – Dark, Praline, and Dipped

October 3rd, 2008 by Rosa

Cadbury Flake is a UK bar that’s chocolate folded in on itself in thin sheets, which adds a textural component that changes the melt and mouthfeel, not unlike how aerated chocolate seems to taste different. It’s also really popular as an ice cream topper. This summer, I saw lots of British people and foreign tourists walking around eating an ice cream cone with a little Cadbury Flake sticking out of the top. I never bothered to try the plain Cadbury Flake, but I did try three of its many variations: the Dipped, the Praline, and the Dark.

The Flake Dark is just a normal Flake but made with dark chocolate (44% to be exact). For dark chocolate, it is way too overly sweet. Unsurprising for a mass made bar but still disappointing. It was also pretty waxy. Still, it did at least taste like cocoa, which is more than can be said for many Hershey’s products these days.

The Flake Praline (below photo) fared somewhat better in my taste test, but it still wasn’t great. As far as I could tell, it was a normal milk chocolate Flake with its base dipped in a praline/hazelnut/chocolate mixture. The Flake texture still comes across, only this time it comes with a tinge of hazelnut flavor and crunch. Still, the thing was overly sweet. I often have that issue with chocolate + hazelnut combinations but usually still manage to enjoy the two together. In the case of the Flake Praline, not so much.

Finally, we have the Flake Dipped, which is a Flake bar dipped in  chocolate. The dipping didn’t do much for the taste or the texture, but it at least contained the Flake crumbles (the previous two were rather messy and shed chocolate bits everywhere). I found the chocolate to be too dry with a sour finish, unusual for U.K. bars.

Overall, I found the Flake line to be pretty disappointing, which is why I never bothered to try the original. If its jazzier versions were bad, the plain milk chocolate version could only be worse. You can also get Flakes in miniature bits as a soft serve topping (at KFC, I think?). I tried them that way and was not impressed. An O for this mediocre trio.

Category: Cadbury, chocolate, European, nuts, O, review | 4 Comments »

China food scandals hit candy shelves

October 2nd, 2008 by Rosa

I grew up eating White Rabbit candy. Sad that they may now be unsafe.

Category: news | 4 Comments »

Baskin Robbins Soft Candy

October 1st, 2008 by Rosa

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I’m hard pressed to choose just one (I’m a horribly indecisive person), but for me, mint chocolate chip is definitely up there. I used to hate it when the dining halls would put out pistachio ice cream because it was always a dead ringer for Andes mint chocolate chip. I would happily start to scoop myself a dish, only to discover that, blech, it was pistachio. Thus, when Baskin Robbins offered to send me samples of some of their latest candies, I was happy to see that they included a package mint chocolate chip soft candy.

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The mint chocolate chip soft candy came individually wrapped in a pink foil bag in a cardboard, movie candy-like box. I could smell the mintiness through the silver wrapper. The candies were shaped in little rectangular blocks, slightly smaller than Hi-Chew blocks. Volume-wise, I’d guesstimate them to be about the same as Starbursts. The wrappers were slick with grease when I picked them up, and unwrapping them revealed the shiny, greasy, unnaturally green Baskin Robbins candy within. The greasiness was off-putting, and the color was slightly alarming, but in retrospect, mint chocolate chip ice cream is also pretty unnaturally colored.

The candy had a soft, non-sticky, vaguely grainy chew. I think the greasiness strongly contributed to the non-sticky factor. Taste-wise, the candy was quite minty and fake chocolatey. I thought it did a great job of capturing mint chocolate chip ice cream, since the chocolate chips in the ice cream are chilled and in such small pieces that they don’t quite taste like normal chocolate does. Despite the greasiness, I rather liked these guys. I’ll never stick them in my pocket or purse for fear of leaving a grease stain, and I’m not compulsively polishing them off, but I think I’ll keep the rest of the box for myself. If they weren’t so greasy, I’d give them an OM, but because they are, they get an O.

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In addition to mint chocolate chip, I also got a box of very berry strawberry soft candy. Though the boxes were the same size on the outside, the strawberry one was heavier and had more candies inside(my mint chocolate chip box was only 2 oz, unlike the 3.1 oz box in the professional PR photos from Baskin Robbins). I guess the strawberry ones are cheaper to make, somehow.

The strawberry candies were the same size, had the same texture, and were just as slick with grease as the mint chocolate chip ones. They also had a much stronger smell (of artificial strawberry rather than of mint, of course) that was immediately perceptible upon opening the bag. And they tasted like they smelled – of super sweet, super artificially fruity strawberry ice cream. I don’t really like strawberry ice cream, so I was pretty ambivalent about the Baskin Robbins candy version, and they get an O.

Elsewhere in the candyblogosphere, Monica tried these and their sugar-free counterparts at CandyAddict, and Cybele tasted the mint chocolate chip.

Category: chewy, mint, O, review | 3 Comments »