Archive for June, 2009

Nunu Chocolates in Brooklyn

June 16th, 2009 by Rosa

Via the NY Times food section, a little blurb about a yummy chocolate shop in Brooklyn, Nunu’s. They make absinthe chocolate – sounds neat, but as it probably tastes like licorice, not for me.

From the photo that accompanied the article, it looks like Nunu’s has the same butterfly chocolate mold as Charles Chocolates (below photo). I wonder if Nunu’s are also filled with peanut butter.

And from The Moment, an accompanying recipe for chocolate salted-dipped caramels.

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Jadis et Gourmande Chocolates from Paris

June 15th, 2009 by Rosa

As promised, today begins a series of reviews of the goodies I picked up on my recent trip to Europe. First up is four chocolates from Jadis et Gourmande in Paris.

Jadis et Gourmande seems to be best known for their molded chocolate bars in the shapes of letters or objects (like ties), but I wanted to try their chocolates and truffles. I picked out four that looked good and promptly forgot what they were. Oops.

First up is the milk chocolate square covered in bits. The bits turned out to be crunchy balls of rice praline. Not just plain old puffed rice; rice praline, meaning that it was bits of puffed rice coated in a sugar glaze, a wonderful touch! The smooth filling inside was fresh hazelnut, making it more peanutty in flavor than the more familiar Nutella. An OM.

The leaf was a lovely molded truffle. It turned out to be a dark chocolate coating around a lighter ganache filling, which, as you can see from the below photo, was neither smooth nor creamy. It had a fruity tinge to it, but was otherwise meh. An O.

The two squares were both pretty great. One was a chewy, non-sticky caramel coated with dark chocolate. The caramel filling had great, deep complexity that made me wish for more. An OMG.

Last, but certainly not least, the second square, also a caramel-filling covered in dark chocolate. The caramel in this one, however, was soft and smooth and more reminiscent of a ganache in texture. It sat atop a thin layer of nut brittle that was crisp, nutty, and delectable – a crunchy sweet surprise. The combination of flavors and texture in this truffle was just impeccable and thus earns this chocolate a ZOMG!

There you have it – a selection of chocolates that nearly runs the gamut of my ratings. If you ever visit Paris, or if you’re fortunate enough to live there, I highly recommend swinging by Jadis et Gourmande for a sampling of their chocolates. If only they had an outpost in the states!

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, nuts, O, OM, OMG, review, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Back from Europe!

June 12th, 2009 by Rosa

Hi dear readers! I got back from Europe on Wednesday, which was also the day my last pre-Europe-written review posted. I just spent hours sorting through and posting my commencement and Europe photos, including my new candy photos, and I’m too tired/jet-lagged to write a full candy review.

So today, you shall get a photo tease, below the break. Special thanks to my boyfriend and traveling companion for his infinite patience as I dragged him into every candy store/chocolaterie/confiserie that we passed. And we passed LOTS.

And we’ll be back to our usual reviews on Monday. Have a nice weekend!

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Candy jewelry

June 11th, 2009 by Rosa

Via the NY Times Style Section, a jewelry photo shoot that incorporates candy!

If I’m interpreting the guide correactly, that M&Ms-like ring is $27,800. That could buy a ton of real M&Ms. Maybe even literally…

Category: news | 2 Comments »

Starburst Choozers

June 10th, 2009 by Rosa

Starburst Choozers are “fruit flavoured chews with liquid centre made with real fruit juices.” Did you catch those UK spellings? Yup – these guys are, at least for now, only available abroad.

My pack had 10 Choozers unevenly distributed amongst 3 flavors: 6 pineapple & orange, 3 orange & mango, and 1 raspberry & orange. Though the unbalanced flavor distribution was a tad annoying, the pineapple & orange were my favorite, so that worked out well for me.

Starburst Choozers are basically like Gushers, just with a Starburst chew outside. The chew was slightly stiffer than that of regular Starbursts, while the liquid centers were a cool, non-oozy goo.

Pineapple & orange had a nicely pineapple-astringent chew. It was hard to get a feel or taste for the liquid center in this chew. Still, I enjoyed this one the most, and it made me wish that Starburst fruit chews came in pineapple.

In orange & mango, both flavors were distinguishable. Mango overpowers at first, then gives way to a tart orange. In raspberry & orange, it’s all the taste of seedy raspberry, with a slightly plasticy aftertaste.

I wish I could buy a pack of all pineapple chews (I guess they do make a pineapple Hi-Chew for that). The pineapple & orange get an OM, the orange & mango gets an O, and the raspberry & orange gets a –. Overall, I give the pack an O, as I doubt all packs are as favorably flavor imbalanced as mine was.

Category: chewy, European, O, review, Starburst | Comments Off

Flying Spaghetti Monster Candy

June 9th, 2009 by Rosa

Ever wanted to eat a deity? Here’s a site where you can buy FSM (flying spaghetti monster) candy.

It looks like it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it on your own. I’d use Haribo Sour S’ghetti and gummi eyeball candy.

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Nestle Quality Street – Part II

June 8th, 2009 by Rosa

The remaining 6 of my Nestle Quality Street reviews, continued from Friday. In case you don’t want to click back, “Nestle’s Quality Street is a variety pack of cheapo chocolates that’s pretty ubiquitous in the UK.” Onward!

Orange Chocolate Crunch (bottom left) is a flat disk of orange flavored chocolate with little crunchy bits throughout. A poor knockoff of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange Segsation, if you will. Orange chocolate can go well when it’s made with care and decent ingredients. This has neither.

The Purple One (first row, 3rd from left) is unlabeled to create a sense of mystery, though an asterisk does warn that it may contain nuts. It turned out to be a milk chocolate shell containing a flowing, nearly liquid caramel and a hazelnutty paste. Creative in composition, at least comparatively, but meh with Quality Street’s cost-cutting execution.

At first thought, Vanilla Fudge (top right corner) sounds oxymoronic, but a quick googling reminds me that fudge need not be chocolate flavored. This piece tasted neither of vanilla nor of chocolate fudge. No good.

The Toffee Finger (second row, far left) is the same sticky, jaw-achingly chewy toffee of the toffee penny, just in stick form and covered in a thin layer of milk chocolate. The finger shape does make eating it a bit more manageable, so points for that, but it loses all of those points because of the terrible, barely-even-qualifies-as-chocolate-ness of the coating.

Toffee Deluxe was highlighted on the box as being new. It’s slightly darker than the other toffees and a bit more buttery, more like the Brach’s Milk Maid style of caramels we’re used to in the states.

And finally, the Orange Creme. Oh the orange cream – a bitter dark chocoalte coating over a white, grainy paste that’s “orange” flavored – never again, the orange cream.

It’s laughable how this assortment has the word “quality” in its name, as it’s anything but. It’s not horrible, spit-it-out chocolate, but it is bad, take-one-bite-and-you’re-done chocolate. The chocolate base of everything is just blah and blech. Save your money and go elsewhere. Nestle’s Quality Street has the dubious distinction of earning my very first rating. Congratulations!

Jim from The Chocolate Mission, on the other hand, rather enjoyed these. Maybe it’s a British thing, as there must be a reason why they’re practically in institution there?

Category: --, caramel, chocolate, Nestle, nuts, review, toffee | 4 Comments »

Nestle Quality Street – Part I

June 5th, 2009 by Rosa

Nestle’s Quality Street is a variety pack of cheapo chocolates that’s pretty ubiquitous in the UK. There are 12 different kinds. The back of the box lists them all and asks, “What’s your favourite?” I only have notes on 9 of them (shrug), so we’ll do 3 today and 6 on Monday.

The Toffee Penny (2nd row, furthest right) is a flat, round piece of toffee in a copper wrapper (hence the penny moniker). It’s super sticky, jaw-achingly chewy, and not that exciting, flavorwise. Good toffee, like Walkers, has flavor nuance and complexity. This guy, not so much.

The Caramel Swirl (bottom row, 3rd from left) is a gooey, flowy caramel covered in blah chocolate. I wonder if its nubby shape is meant to evoke a Rollo. I don’t like Rollos much, and I didn’t care for this guy either.

Strawberry Delight (bottom right corner) is a dark chocolate with a terribly artificial cherry flavor. Even though I’m pretty bad at distinguishing between artificial red fruit flavors, I get more cherry medicine bite from this.

So there’s a start. We’ll do the other 6 that I have notes on tomorrow: toffee finger, the purple one (that’s actually what it’s called), orange chocolate crunch, orange creme, toffee deluxe, and vanilla fudge. No rating yet, as I want to keep you in suspense until Monday, but I think you can guess where this is going.

Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, review, toffee | 1 Comment »

Gummi Bear Surgery

June 4th, 2009 by Rosa

I like to play with my food and candy sometimes, but this Gummi Bear surgery involving Xacto knives goes a bit too far.

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Photo via Instructables.com.

Category: review | Comments Off

Das Lollipops

June 3rd, 2009 by Rosa

I receive press release emails fairly frequently. The one that I got from Das foods was more eye-catching then most. Read for yourself:

“What’s your flava?  Man Bait, Naughty Ginger, Fab-O-Pom or Caramel Me Happy? They may sound like names you’d have if you worked for an “escort” service, but they are not. Instead, they’re the inspired flavors of Das Foods’ chic and unique new brand of delicious lollipops that will launch nationally next week at the All Candy Expo in Chicago, May 19-21.”

I gave these babies a test drive on my drive from New Haven to Rochester. They definitely helped keep me awake with their extreme lollipop flavor novelty. That’s also why the remaining photos are courtesy of Das, as I couldn’t photograph them while on the road. As an added bonus, I tasted them without access to the press release materials (quoted below in italics), so I didn’t know what I was eating while I ate it.

Fab-O-Pom: “A pomegranate and orange lolli that’s good and good for you.  It’s a sweet and tangy fusion of heart-healthy real pomegranate extract and fragrant orange oil with tiny pieces of orange zest.

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The lolli is a pale, translucent salmon flecked with bits of brown. It smells strongly of orange. The flavor is deep citrus, like a blood orange, while the finish has a bit of a bite to it, probably due to the pomegranate component. The brown flecks eventually wind up studding the surface as the lolli melts. They taste like bits of fruit leather or candied orange peel. I like this, despite the two air bubbles it contained. An OM.

Caramel Me Happy: “A caramel and lavender lolli made with caramelized cane sugar and indulgent chewy Das Salty Caramel mixed with real lavender extract and tiny crystals of Fleur De Sel sea salt for a trendy, delicious sweet and salty treat.

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This smells just like a salted caramel. It’s reminiscent of a deeper, more complex butterscotch candy with burnt sugar notes. The lollipop itself is not perfectly smooth; rather, it’s very finely textured. I enjoy the salted caramel flavor, but I’m a bit thrown by the mismatch between texture and taste. I wish I could chew this lollipop! I’d much rather have a Das salted caramel, so an O.

Naughty Ginger: “A ginger and lemon lolli that’s sweet, tangy and tantalizingly spicy all at once.  Small bits of wickedly spicy candied ginger are complemented by all-natural lemon extract.  And the ginger works double time; it tastes great AND soothes an upset stomach!

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Whoo boy is the ginger smell strong! This lolli is super, super gingery and super, super spicy. I got in a few licks, just enough to note the strong ginger flavor with a very light, sweet undertone of lemon, but couldn’t keep eating it because it was just too spicy for me. It left my mouth tingling. I’m a ginger wuss, so this guy wasn’t for me, but I bet ginger enthusiasts would appreciate it. A .

Man Bait: “A maple bacon lolli that’s a fiercely delicious combination of real smoky bacon bits and delicious maple syrup providing an all-at-once savory and sweet sensation.

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Like the Naughty Ginger, this lollipop was too much flavor for me to handle. It smells like maple syrup with a hint of meat undertone. That’s pretty much how it tastes as well. It’s pretty sweet from the strong maple sugar flavor, and that plus the smoky meatiness from the bacon bits and the lollipop nature/hard candy texture does not compute in my brain. I felt a bit ill and couldn’t keep eating it. A from me.

Out of all four lollipops, Fab-O-Pom is the only one that I would want to eat again. They are all, however, a fine flavor effort. They taste exactly as promised, and the flavors are strong, vibrant, and concentrated. While the ginger and bacon pops weren’t for me, ginger and bacon enthusiasts would enjoy them, making those the pops a great novelty gift. And at $0.50 a pop (har har), they’re an affordable gift as well.

Category: --, hard candy, novelty, O, OM, review | 1 Comment »