Archive for January, 2012

Candy Sale Cycles

January 31st, 2012 by Rosa

Via Lifehacker, the website Living Richly on a Budget has a month to month list of when different products go on sale. February and October/November are designated as candy sale times, thanks to Valentine’s Day and Halloween.

With the way candy product cycles are, post-Easter and post-Christmas are also prime times for candy sales! Just a couple of weeks ago, I managed to score a bunch of half-priced Christmas candies that were shelved right next to their full-priced Valentine’s Day equivalents.

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Milk Chocolate Salty Pocky

January 30th, 2012 by Rosa

I found these Milk Chocolate Salty Pocky at an Asian grocery store back home in Austin. I immediately snatched them up – salt + chocolate has always struck me as a European thing, so I was excited to see them on Pocky, a classic Asian treat.

They were basically regular milk chocolate Pocky – thin biscuit sticks dipped in chocolate – with an added sprinkle of salt. The salt crystals were small but visible, though not quite as sparkly as they appear on the packaging.

The biscuit sticks were crisp and crunchy. They tasted mostly neutral with just a bit of butteriness. Their purpose was mostly to serve as a neutral flavored but texturally interesting foil for the chocolate.

The chocolate coating was thin but creamy. It had a nice duskiness, and the salt crystals added a flash of flavor that really set the chocolate off.

These were a really simple yet wonderful treat. It’s amazing how the simple addition of a few grains of salt added so much more complexity to it. An OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry

January 27th, 2012 by Rosa

I bought this bag of Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry at a Bed Bath & Beyond because I needed a few more dollars to use my coupon. It turned out to be a great unplanned addition to my shopping list.

The bag described them as “smooth dark chocolate surrounding a sweetened real fruit juice piece, made from a blend of goji berry juice, raspberry juice and other select fruit juices.” They were shiny chocolate balls with these little flat jelly candy centers.

The jelly centers were comprised of two little discs. The discs were pressed flat side to flat side, then surrounded by chocolate.

The discs had a slight graininess to them. Some of them yielded instantly when bitten, while others were a little chewier. They were like a cross between a gummi worm and a fruit gem.

The fruity flavor of the discs was quite bright and intense. I’d place it as a mix of strawberry jam and cranberry juice. The flavor intensified as the chew went on.

The chocolate coating was nice but nothing to write home amount. It was slightly grainy with deep cocoa flavors. The melt could have been smoother, but it was an otherwise fine foil for the fruity centers.

These were winners solely based on the intense and tasty fruity flavor of the centers. I’d really like to try more of their line. An OM.

Category: chocolate, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, OM, review | 4 Comments »

Watch out for candy health halos

January 26th, 2012 by Rosa

Here’s a study I wish I had done: a new study in the journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science reports that consumers believe that chocolate labeled as Fair Trade has fewer calories than non-Fair Trade chocolate.

This is an example of the halo effect, in which one positive trait bleeds over and influences perceptions of other traits. Remember, Fair Trade chocolate is better for its workers but not any healthier for your body!

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Duc d’O Pates de Fruits

January 25th, 2012 by Rosa

A Belgian friend of mine in Rochester was kind enough to remember me on his latest trip back to his homeland. He brought me back a box of Belgian Pates de Fruits from Duc d’O (also available online!)

Pates de fruits, also known as fruit jellies and fruit pate, are much better than gummi candies. They’re usually made from no more than pureed fruit, sugar, and gelatin. The real fruit part is what makes them special.

The entirety of this box was made from pureed apricots plus “flavours” and “colouring”. Interestingly enough, none of these were apricot flavored. Instead, they were, from left to right in the below photo, raspberry, pear, orange, strawberry, and grape.

All of the fruit pieces were made of two half jellies stuck together and rolled in granulated sugar. The pates had a soft, immediate give, while the sugar sand added a hearty grit and crunch.

Pear was golden and pear shaped. It had a great seediness and tasted quite genuinely of Bartlett pear flavor with a slightly sweet and sour finish.

Strawberry was a little red triangle. It was mild and sweet with a lightly floral flavor and reminded me of strawberry preserves.

Raspberry was hard to distinguish from the strawberry. It was slightly darker and had a more mottled surface. It lacked any seedy astringency, though it had deeper red fruit notes than the strawberry did.

Grape looked like a golden version of raspberry. It tasted more like raspberry than the raspberry did, as it had a seedy finish. It tasted of raisins with a vibrant, fruity, slightly sour finish.

Finally, orange was a golden, puckered ball. It started with an initial hit of zesty citrus almost sourness but then mellowed out into a milder, muted orange marmalade flavor.

I wish pates de fruits were more prevalent in the U.S. They’re great, concentrated bites of real fruit flavor, a refreshing departure from the usual fare of artificially flavored and sweetened gummi bears and worms. An OM.

Category: European, jelly candy, OM, received as gift, review | Comments Off

Cybele’s Fancy Food Show Recaps

January 24th, 2012 by Rosa

Last week, Cybele was at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. She took some great photos and wrote some jealousy inducing recaps. You can check them out here, here, and here. Sort of wishing I’d moved to California for grad school instead…

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Surf Sweets Fruity Hearts

January 23rd, 2012 by Rosa

I received a bag of Surf Sweets Fruity Hearts as free samples from the manufacturer. The press release said that they were launched in time for Valentine’s Day, though it was never explicit about whether these were a limited holiday edition or not.

They were, however, explicit about touting all the benefits to the Surf Sweets line. These are organic, gluten-free, and vegan. No big surprise: they’re available at Whole Foods.

The Fruity Hearts were watermelon and cherry flavored. They were difficult to visually distinguish. Both were pink though my lighting made them look red in the photo; the watermelon was a slightly lighter shade.

The texture reminded me of fruit gems. They were soft enough for me to easily bite right through, exposing slick and shiny surfaces.

There was a slight sproinginess when I chewed them. The surface was covered with a crunchy granulated sugar that added a nice textural contrast.

Watermelon was sweet and floral with a brightly fruity finish. It reminded me of a mellow, more natural version of a watermelon Jolly Rancher.

Cherry was also brightly fruity but had a darker edge with plummy notes. It reminded me of cherry Popsicles.

I enjoyed the texture and flavor intensity of these. Watermelon and cherry aren’t my favorite candy flavors in general, but these are seasonally appropriate choices.

It’s nice that Surf Sweets takes extra care with their ingredients, but it’s even better that their organicness and wholesomeness doesn’t come at the expense of deliciousness. An OM.

Category: gummi/gummy, OM, organic, review, Valentine's Day | 2 Comments »

Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels

January 20th, 2012 by Rosa

These Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels were an expensive (I think ~$7?) impulse candy buy from my last Trader Joe’s run. They came in a round plywood tub with a lid, sort of like a hatbox.

The tub described them as “buttery, soft chewy caramels with imported French sea salt.” It had two sealed pouches of individually cellophane-wrapped caramels.

Be prepared for some serious teeth picking if you decide to chew these up. They’re incredibly sticky and impossible to eat in polite company.

When held on my tongue, they were buttery and smooth, though constant vigilance was still required to keep them from adhering to the backs of my teeth. When eaten this way, they left a greasy feeling on my lips.

They tasted lightly sweet and mostly of butter with a hint of butterscotch flavor. There was a slightly salty hit at the end that brought just the tiniest edge of sourness.

For me, they were too one-dimensional and way too sticky/chewy. The salt just wasn’t pronounced enough, and I wish the caramel was deeper and more complex.

They were a fine treat, but there are better caramels out there. An O. Cybele liked them more than I did, so your mileage may vary.

 

Category: caramel, O, review, Trader Joe's | 1 Comment »

Cacao Adventuring

January 19th, 2012 by Rosa

Via LongForm.org, here’s a neat story from Outside magazine about cacao hunting in the Amazon rainforest. Now I want to try this Cru Sauvage chocolate magic, but it definitely don’t come cheap.

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Cheese and Chocolate Pairings

January 17th, 2012 by Rosa

I actually grew up disliking cheese. Thanks to my Asian parentage (cheese is not a thing in China) and public school lunches, I only knew cheese in Kraft singles form and square pizza slice topping form.

When I got to college, however, my cheese horizons were expanded thanks to some food-loving roommates. After graduation, I moved to Rochester and basically ate my way through Wegman’s incredible cheese selection.

Though fine chocolates are often sold with nice cheeses, it had never occurred to me to eat the two together. As in, in the same bite together.

This waxing rhapsodic post about pairing chocolate and cheese on the Kitchn, however, sent me rushing to top a chip of 64% Valrhona from my candy stash with a chunk of creme fraiche cheese from the fridge (how’s that for a foodie snobby sentence?).

The result was funky and sweet. While it was an interesting experiment, I don’t think the sum was greater than the parts. I may try it again the next time I impulse buy a chunk of fancy cheese, but for now, I’ll be consuming separately.

Have any of y’all ever tried the chocolate + cheese combination? Am I just picking the wrong chocolate or cheese for it?

Category: news | 3 Comments »