Archive for December, 2008

Chow’s Year in Food 2008

December 30th, 2008 by Rosa

Last year, Chow’s Year in Food review mentioned the proposed changes in the definition of chocolate. This year, Chow’s Year in Food discusses “chocolate-flavored candy-type” items.

Remember, chocolatey does not equal chocolate! Though I should note that I rather enjoyed the 5th Avenue.

And, like last week, I’m taking the latter half of the week off for the holiday. See you in 2009!

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Vosges Naga Bar

December 29th, 2008 by Rosa

I’ve reviewed Vosges several times on this blog now, so it’s no secret that I love the brand but wish that it were more affordable. Then again, I guess it would be less special if it weren’t a splurge.

The Naga Bar, comprised of “sweet Indian curry powder, coconut flakes, and deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao,” is certainly special, thanks to its unique combination of ingredients. The blurb on the back boasts, “named and inspired by the tribes of Northeast India, taste the flavors of toasted milk, sweet Indian curry, nutty coconut, and an overall sensation of warm, rounded spice.”

Like all the Vosges bars in my mini library, this bar came sealed inside a silver bag inside the above box, which did its duty of preserving each bar’s flavors and preventing flavor mixing. Visually, the bar is quite pretty with all those abstract curves in its molding. The bar has a strong curry smell and a softish snap (it is milk chocolate, after all). There’s a slight graininess in the chocolate due to the coconut flakes, which are tiny and thin but still visually noticeable.

The curry flavor is definitely present, though it doesn’t taste as strongly as it smells. The coconut flakes pair well with the curry. I don’t know about the word “warm” to describe the spices, as I associate “warm” with the heat of chili spiciness, but I do get an overall mellow spice feel. It reminds me of Thai coconut curry.

Finally, the milk chocolate was on the sweet side but not overly so. I’d give this bar an OM. It’s nice, and I highly recommend it for the unique novelty factor, but it’s not a bar I would revisit for snacking purposes.

Category: chocolate, coconut, OM, review, Vosges | No Comments »

Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2008 by Rosa

Dear readers,

I am back in Austin enjoying time with my family, and I’m taking the rest of the week off. Have a happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate, and I’ll see you on Monday!

Category: news, not candy | 1 Comment »

Best cookies EVER

December 23rd, 2008 by Rosa

This is only tangentially related to candy: I just discovered the best cookies ever.

From the Chicago Tribune’s cookie contest, 2nd place (only 2nd?!) winner: Dorie’s Dark and Stormies. They are a chocolate revelation when they’re still warm and gooey out of the oven.

Category: news, not candy | 2 Comments »

Lindt Orange Intense

December 22nd, 2008 by Rosa

I’m a big proponent of Lindt as a great not-too-expensive-but-still-nice bar for a good chocolate fix. Their Excellence bars are, yes, excellent, and range in price from $3.50 (at the Lindt store on 5th Avenue in NYC) to $1.50 on sale once at Wal-greens (I totally took that opportunity to stock up on my beloved Lindt Chilli bars). Basically, when I want to snack on and savor chocolate but without taking the time to thoroughly and slowly taste it, I reach for Lindt.

I’m not a huge fan of the orange and chocolate combination. I know it works for Terry’s and for chocolate-covered orange peel and for lots of truffle-makers out there, but it’s just not one that especially appeals to me. The same goes for Lindt’s Orange Intense bar.

Had I read the packaging more carefully, I would’ve noticed that the bottom left corner claimed “fine dark chocolate with pieces of orange and almond slivers”. But I didn’t, so I was surprised to find thin bits of almond scattered throughout the bar. Pleasantly surprised, though, as the almond added a nice crunch with just a hint of almond nuttiness. It was just enough to make you take notice but not so much so that it overwhelmed the chocolate or orange.

The chocolate definitely smelled of orange, and the bar’s finish was all citrus as well. To me, it tasted more of orange oil than of an actual orange or of orange zest – a bit more artificial and a bit less zesty, to put it in other words.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad bar. The chocolate, like all Lindt Excellence bars, was wonderfully creamy, and the flavors were well balanced overall. But I’m just not an orange and chocolate fan, so an OM for this bar.

Category: chocolate, Lindt, nuts, OM, review | 2 Comments »

Chewits Fruities

December 19th, 2008 by Rosa

I have my last final exam of the semester today. A week ago, my friend Rita, already done with all her finals and term papers, packed up and went to England and Scotland. I’m quite jealous of her, both for being done so early and for getting to go to the UK, which I love. And not just because it has candies we don’t get in the U.S., like Chewits Fruities.

If you can’t make out the blurry writing, Chewits Fruities are “assorted fruit flavour jelly bean sweets”. Is calling something a jelly bean sweet redundant? Not in this case, as the Chewits Fruities aren’t exactly jelly beans. Instead, their candy shell is quite hard and cracks upon biting, much like the shell of a Skittle. The inside is sort of like that of a jelly bean, but it’s much springier. Basically, there’s a much bigger textural contrast between the inner and outer layers of the Chewits Fruities than there is in regular jelly beans.

They came in six flavors. Orange was orange, I think, but it did seem to have light peach notes. Light orange had more tang, so I’d call it tangerine. Yellow was flavorless, green tasted faintly of lime, pink was strawberry, I think, and red was a bright cherry.

Overall, texturally fun, but flavor-ly blah. I give them an O, though they may be worth picking up just to try their mix of textures. After all, even with the exchange rate, they’re a cheap check-out line impulse buy.

Category: European, jelly candy, O, review | No Comments »

A Parisien Chocolate Tour

December 18th, 2008 by Rosa

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. From the NY Times Travel section. Anyone wanna contribute to the Rosa goes to Paris and gorges on chocolate fund?

Category: news | No Comments »

5th Avenue

December 17th, 2008 by Rosa

On Monday, I reviewed the Butterfinger. Today’s review is of the 5th Avenue, a highly similar but less well known peanut butter bar made by Hershey’s.

The 5th Avenue is “crunchy peanut butter in a rich, chocolatey coating”. If you’re new to the candy blogging world, you should know that “chocolatey” is candy marketing speak for “not made of real chocolate”. Yum… Still, it fared better than most mockolate bars did.

The peanut butter layers of the 5th Avenue were nice, crisp, and peanut buttery. As a bonus, they didn’t get lost in the nooks and crannies of my teeth like the Butterfinger’s did. And the chocolately coating was super sweet but actually wasn’t that bad, especially compared to that of the Butterfinger. At least the 5th Avenue’s coating had some cocoa flavors to it.

All and all, the 5th Avenue turned out to be a nice combination of salty and sweet, though I personally would’ve tempered the sweet just a bit. I give it an OM, though it may have the advantage of framing effects, as I tasted it alongside the Butterfinger.

And if you want a second opinion, here’s Cybele’s take on a head-to-head match-up of the two.

Category: Hershey's, mockolate, OM, peanut butter, review | No Comments »

Grace Jones’s Chocolate Head and Chocolate Covered Anything Day

December 16th, 2008 by Rosa

Grace Jones had her head made in chocolate to promote her upcoming album. Meeting/eating a chocolate version of yourself – kind of creepy; kind of awesome.

Also, the folks at Emily’s Chocolates would like you to know that today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. They make some good chocolate covered anythings and have informed me that they are sending me more chocolate covered anythings to review. Look for those reviews to post next week or so.

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Butterfinger

December 15th, 2008 by Rosa

Nestle had quite the coup when they enlisted Bart Simpson (and the rest of the Simpsons) to shill their Butterfingers. Everyone knows that nobody better lay a finger on Bart’s Butterfinger. I find that to be a shame, as that’s helped Butterfinger overshadow the similar, but better, 5th Avenue bar (review of that to come on Wednesday).

The Butterfinger’s tagline promises that it is crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery! I actually don’t think the filling tastes much of peanut butter. It’s more of a butterscotch, with a buttery sweetness to it. And while it is crunchy when you bite into it, it’s also quite crumbly. The layers don’t hold up too well, and they get stuck in the nooks of your teeth, where they then harden and become a social faux pas in the making.

The worst part of the Butterfinger was the fake chocolate coating. It was way too sweet, had no cocoa flavor whatsoever, and completely ruined what was already a mediocre bar. An O. And yet, the Butterfinger seems to be doing well enough to have inspired many spin-offs.

PS: Happy birthday, Dad!

Category: chocolate, Nestle, O, peanut butter, review | 1 Comment »