Archive for May, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

May 31st, 2010 by Rosa

I just spent ~the last two weeks in Italy for a cognitive science conference, and ~the last two weeks prior to that were spent putting in lots of overtime to get ready for said conference.

I managed to write enough blog posts in advance to cover me while I was out of the country and without a computer (go me!), but I’m taking today’s federal holiday as an excuse for a day-long blogging break.

Back tomorrow! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

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Wonka Squishy Sploshberries Gummies

May 28th, 2010 by Rosa

Wonka’s Squishy Sploshberries Gummies are yet another new addition to Wonka’s Edible Garden of gummies. These, too, were in my free 16 lb bag of Sweets and Snacks Expo preview goodies, courtesy of the NCA.

I thought they were just berry-flavored gummies with foamy bottoms, until I tried one and discovered that they were berry-flavored gummies with foamy bottoms and liquid goo inside!

I do believe that liquid goo is the “splosh” component of the name. Though it could also be the “squish”, I suppose.

The Squishy Sploshberries came in raspberry, goji berry, cloud berry (apparently that’s a real thing), and blueberry flavors.

The gummies were all varying shades of a honey/amber color with a white foam gummi bottom and a gooey liquid center.

The foam gummi sort of had the texture of marshmallows and just tasted lightly sweet and fruity, while the inner liquid was thick, a bit grainy, and powerfully sweet and fruity.

Cloud Berry, the flower-shaped one, was the lightest colored of the bunch and was more yellow than orange.

I have no idea what cloud berries are supposed to taste like, but Wonka’s gummi version of it was great! It tasted like sweet white grapes, what some candy makers call muscat flavored.

Goji berry was strawberry-like in shape. While it tasted somewhat like strawberry candies, I also got some seediness to that I usually associate with raspberry candies.

The actual raspberry gummi took that seediness and gave it more depth. This one tasted more deeply of raspberry than the strawberry did and was covered in lots of bumps to look like the bottom of a real raspberry.

Blueberry looked like a weird leaf or a bunch of berries on a vine. I was blown away by how well Wonka captured the distinct flavor of blueberries – the flavor is spot on. And delicious!

I really enjoyed the Squishy Sploshberries. They were uniquely flavored, with flavors that were powerful and well done, and I loved the added flavor injection and textural contrast of the inner goo. An OM.

Category: gummi/gummy, Nestle, OM, review, Wonka | Comments Off

Books about chocolate

May 27th, 2010 by Rosa

Ever wanted a more cerebral take on your sweet tooth? Serious Eats has a round-up of 5 great books about chocolate.

David Lebovitz, whom I love, gets a nod for his The Great Book of Chocolate, and Dorie Greenspan‘s Chocolate Desserts is also noted. (Braggy aside: I adore my copy of her book, Baking: From my Home to Yours, which she signed, “With the hope that life will always be as sweet as candy.” My thoughtful boyfriend got it for me.)

And if you want a shorter cerebral take, somewhere in my computer archives, I’ve got a 14-page paper about Hershey’s, Cadbury, and Lindt & Sprungli that I wrote for a History of Food class.

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Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar

May 26th, 2010 by Rosa

I have to admit, I had a beef with this bar even before I tasted it. Its name is too darn long – it’s annoying to type out “scrumdiddlyumptious!” So I’m shortening it to WESCB, for Wonka Exceptionals Scrumbdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar.

Wonka Exceptionals is Nestle/Wonka’s new line of higher quality – and higher priced – candy bars. I got mine in my free 16 lb bag of Sweets and Snack Expo preview goodies, courtesy of the NCA.

The WESCB has “bits of scrumptious toffee pieces, crispy cookies and crunchy peanuts wrapped in milk chocolate.” It sounds pretty amazing but busy, which is also how I’d describe the crazy shiny purple packaging.

Inside, the bar was strangely segmented into different-sized pieces (mine came broken along one of the lines), each imprinted with the Wonka W. I actually like the lack of uniformity. Theoretically, you could break off an appetite-appropriate chunk.

The WESCB was packed full of bits and pieces. Peanuts were the most predominant flavor and scent contributor, almost tricking me into thinking that the bar had peanut butter in it. They brought a deep, roasty nuttiness and a lot of crunch.

The crunchy toffee bits cleaved cleanly and added some nice dark caramel notes, while the cookie bits added further crunch.

The milk chocolate bar had a thick melt, but it was so full of stuff that the melt was barely noticeable. On its own, the chocolate was a tad too sweet for my taste, though it was definitely a cut above plain Nestle chocolate.

While I liked the idea of the WESCB, I think it failed me in execution. There was way too much peanut flavor that totally overwhelmed everything else, losing the potential of the other flavor components. An O.

Category: chocolate, cookie, Nestle, nuts, O, review, toffee, Wonka | Comments Off

Two new Cadbury commercials

May 25th, 2010 by Rosa

Cadbury has a penchant for creating some strange ads. Via AdFreak, here are two more bizarre ones of a chocolate charmer and tap-dancing cows. The latter has a weird close-up shot of the lead cow’s udder.

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Wonka Whipped Wingers Gummies

May 24th, 2010 by Rosa

Nestle’s been doing a great job of breathing new life into their Wonka lineup. While I haven’t loved everything that they’ve rolled out, I do love the creativity and imagination that’s gone into their new products.

I’m devoting this week’s reviews to the bunch of new Wonka products that I got in my NCA goody bag (sadly, I’m not heading to the Sweets and Snacks Expo [formally the All Candy Expo] tomorrow. Because I’m in Italy for a cognitive science conference. I know; my life is so hard).

These Whipped Wingers Gummies are “from Wonka’s Edible Garden,” which is a cute thematic (and psychedelic) tie-in for their new gummies. They come in four shapes – wasp, butterfly, dragonfly, and ladybug – and four flavors – pineapple, orange, watermelon, and tropical punch.

The shapes and flavors are not linked. That is, all shapes come in all flavors, and vice-versa. The gummy shapes were well-defined, with sharp etchings.

All of these gummies had a soft, creamy texture, which I take to be the whipped component. Unlike most other gummies, they were totally opaque.

Pineapple was yellow, mellow, and sweet. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was pineapple flavored, as it was rather generically sweet and fruity.

Orange was orange and had muted citrus notes. Watermelon tasted round and floral with a solid artificial watermelon candy flavor and a seedy, fruity finish.

Tropical punch doesn’t taste very punchy to me. Instead, I get the red fruitiness of strawberry, with maybe a little grape in there.

The Whipped Wingers were too lightly flavored for me. While I appreciated the idea and effort, I found them to be rather meh flavorwise because that added creaminess so diluted the fruitiness. An O.

Category: gummi/gummy, Nestle, O, review, Wonka | 1 Comment »

Pretzel M&M’s + and Giveaway!

May 21st, 2010 by Rosa

Pretzel M&M’s are the newest addition to the M&M’s lineup. Unlike many of the other M&M’s varieties that I’ve reviewed in the past, these look to be a semi-permanent, non-limited edition addition. I got to try them out for free via the NCA and also via some M&M’s PR people.

Please note the cute and clever pretzel X-ray. There are only 150 calories per bag, but my bag only had 16 M&M’s. They are, however, significantly larger than regular M&M’s.

These guys are irregularly sized spheres, each with a little pretzel nugget in the center, which is then surrounded by a thin layer of M&Ms milk chocolate and coated with the M&M’s candy shell.

The bag called them “crunchy, salty, sweet”, and that’s just what they were. Each one packed a substantial crunch, partly from the candy shell but mostly from the pretzel nugget inside.

The pretzel brings a salty hit to the treat which lingers after the M&M is gone. The chocolate is mostly just sweet in the back of the throat. It contrasts well with the starchy saltiness of the pretzel.

At first, I found them a bit too dry, and they made me miss the airiness of the now-defunct crispy M&M’s. But that dryness made me want to pop a second as a chaser, and then a third, and before I knew it, the whole bag was gone.

Pretzel M&M’s are sneakily poppable, thanks to a winning combination of sweet and salty. An OM!

If you’d like to try them for yourself, they’re slowly being released around the country. M&M’s has a Facebook app to help you track where they’ve been spotted (if you’re not scared by all of Facebook’s privacy craziness).

OR you can try to win some free bags via me, via the M&M’s PR people. Just leave a comment here telling me which is your favorite variety of M&M’s by midnight on Friday, May 28th, EST. I’ll randomly select 2 commenters to win 2 free bags each! Good luck!

Edit 05/30: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Maureen and Stephen, who were randomly selected as the winners!

Category: chocolate, giveaway, M&M's, Mars, OM, review | 37 Comments »

Serious Eats and Licorice

May 20th, 2010 by Rosa

As I’ve made pretty clear on this site, black licorice is not my thing. I avoid it at all costs and thus never write about it.

If you are a black licorice fan, however, Serious Eats has got you covered with a post reviewing all 15 kinds of licorice available out of the bulk bins at Dean and Deluca.

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Ooh La La Candy Cupcakes

May 19th, 2010 by Rosa

Ooh La La Candy isn’t a candy company per se. Rather, they’re a candy packaging – or repackaging company – with the tag line, “Style and Taste.” Their wares include candy greeting cards and candy gift boxes, which are pretty cute and clever.

What really caught my eye, however, were their candy cupcakes. I got to try a couple for review: Peanut Butter and Jelly and Cupcake Couture.

The candy cupcakes were really just cutely and cleverly packaged bags of candy. The candy is encased in plastic wrap and then taped to a cupcake liner with a hidden lift.

The cupcake liner is, in turn, taped to the bottom of a clear display box. I had some issues getting the cupcakes out of the box for photographing without totally crushing the paper liner and ruining the cupcake shape.

Peanut butter and jelly was a mix of peanut butter chips and blueberry (or grape jelly? The website itself is confused, but the letter I got said blueberry) jelly beans topped with a non-branded peanut butter cup.

I don’t think the jelly beans taste like blueberry or grape jelly, but they do taste sweet and like a dark fruit. When eaten alone, they have a musty undertone, but that disappears when they’re eaten in combination with the peanut butter chips.

The pairing of the jelly beans and the peanut butter chips is surprisingly spot on. There’s some textural disparity, as the chips sort of melt and crumble while the jelly beans are chewy, but the flavor mix is a harmonious blend of sweet and salty and fruity and nutty.

Cupcake Couture was composed of black and pink Sixlets (I didn’t even know they came in those colors!) and was topped with a big pink gumball. My gumball placement was a bit off-center, which gave the cupcake an invitingly jaunty look.

The color combination was super chic. Sixlets aren’t exactly the pinnacle of fine chocolate – they’re spherical chocolates with a crunchy candy shell and a funny poor-quality-chocolate aftertaste – but they look great in Ooh La La Candy’s hands.

In the end, with Ooh La La Candy, you’re really paying for the packaging rather than for the candy. Since they don’t actually make the candy, I don’t think it’s fair to give them a rating (though the peanut butter and jelly combination is inspired!), but I will say that the candy cupcakes are seriously cute and charming.

These cupcakes aren’t something to buy for yourself; they’re meant to serve as gifts or party favors to coo over. If you wanted to save money or use your choice of candy, I don’t think it would be too difficult to make your own version (I can just imagine some Bridezilla forcing her bridesmaids to make 500 candy cupcakes in her wedding colors).

And if you want to save money but are too lazy for candy arts and crafts, Ooh La La Candy has been kind enough to set y’all up with a ZOMG, Candy! discount code. “ZOMG” as a coupon code will get you 20% off your entire order anytime throughout the summer, and it can be used on top of their current 10% off 3 or more cupcakes promo.

Category: chocolate, jelly candy, novelty, peanut butter, review | 1 Comment »

Ode to Frango Mints

May 18th, 2010 by Rosa

Jennifer McCoy, the pastry chef of Craft (that’s Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio‘s restaurant), waxes rhapsodic about Chicago’s Frango Mints on Serious Eats.

I reviewed Frango Mints a couple of years ago (wow! It’s been that long?!) and loved them.

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