Archive for September, 2012

Chimes Ginger Chews – Mango

September 14th, 2012 by Rosa

This bag of mango flavored Chimes Ginger Chews were in my free swag bag at Sweets and Snacks. I didn’t visit their booth at the Expo because I don’t particularly care for ginger candy – they remind me too much of the herbal Asian remedies my mother forced me to eat/drink when I was a kid.

The chews were all individually wrapped. Inside, the actual candies were little chunks of chewy candies dusted in powdered sugar (or maybe tapioca starch, based on the ingredients list) that kept them from sticking to the wrapper. It looked like it was originally one long cylinder that had then been cut into inch-long pieces, as the ends were a bit sticky.

The candies were extremely sticky and chewy, like a cross between a caramel’s stickiness and a Starburst’s bounce. That powdered coating was a smart and necessary addition.

The first flavor that I got upon biting into the chews was that of a fresh, ripe mango. They did a great job of capturing that seedy sweet tinge that mangos have!

Unfortunately for me, the spicy burn of ginger then came through. It was a special kind of spicy – there was no heat; just a numbing, tingly sensation and the intense flavor of fresh ginger.

That gingeryness quickly became too strong for me to finish a whole chew, but I was able to notice that the mango flavor stayed through the finish and lingered a bit after, along with that numbing spiciness.

I am a total wimp when it comes to ginger candies. When I brought the rest of the bag to lab, however, the candies quickly disappeared, and ginger candy lovers gave these guys high marks.

I don’t think it’s fair for me to give these a true rating. I could tell that the flavors were genuine and tasty; I just couldn’t handle the spiciness. If you like ginger candies, I think you’ll like these, and if you don’t, you won’t.

Candy Blog’s reviewed the plain and orange flavors of Chimes and seemed to enjoy them.

Category: chewy, review | 2 Comments »

Peanut praline recipe

September 13th, 2012 by Rosa

It drives my boyfriend crazy when I pick around the peanuts in trail mix/GORP. I just don’t think plain or salted peanuts are exciting enough to be worth the calories.

Fortunately, Serious Eats has posted a recipe for peanut pralines, which looks like a great way to use up those unwanted plain peanuts and make them more delicious. The recipe is also ridiculously simple: all you need is brown sugar, water, and peanuts!

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Guest post: Cailler Sublim Lait & Caramel Pointe de Sel

September 12th, 2012 by Neil

I spent my weekend trying to win Duke basketball tickets by sleeping outside, so I’m turning things over to my ex-pat friend Neil for a couple of reviews. ~Rosa

This bar that I picked up in Switzerland has been tempting me ever since I bought it. Cailler is a Nestle brand with a long Swiss history, a fact I learned as I wrote this up (though it was probably on the wrapper. I was too excited to open it to read it).

I’m a sucker for caramel. And while I’m new to sea salt, I’m fairly convinced it’s a great addition to caramel. This bar came out as a thank-you treat for some friends, who happily agreed to play along with my photographing and note-taking.

It’d been a warm day here, and I knew we were waiting until after dinner to have the chocolate, so I let it hang out in the fridge for a while. This made the initial bar-breaking a bit challenging, but no more so than many off-the-shelf bars. Indeed, it was crunchy to the bite.

The chocolate was smooth and creamy, but in this instance it was definitely just a vehicle for the caramel. I tasted toffee, then sweet butter. It was like a really classy Heath bar! The caramel was sticky for us–it probably would’ve been more liquid if it had been at room temperature.

Fiona noted that the caramel and salt build, then there’s a chewy finish. I agreed that the salt took a while to emerge, but then it lingered pleasantly. I enjoyed the stickiness the caramel offered.

The pieces of the bar have kind of a high-tech look about them, and the shape makes breaking a bit challenging, but it’s visually appealing all the same.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience. OM for this!

Category: caramel, European, guest post, Nestle, OM, review | 1 Comment »

Special-edition Ghirardelli Bars

September 11th, 2012 by Rosa

Here’s a collaboration that I didn’t see coming: Ghirardelli chocolate; Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co., and the musical group Train. They’ve teamed up to produce a limited-edition set of dark chocolate bars, with 100% of the proceeds going to a nonprofit. You can read more about it in the press release.

Normally, I wouldn’t consider something like this to be super newsworthy, BUT I’m excited about the idea of a national brand making a wine-flavored chocolate bar. Wine flavored chocolate is delicious!

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Guest Post: Sarotti Edel-Marzipan

September 10th, 2012 by Neil

I spent my weekend trying to win Duke basketball tickets by sleeping outside, so I’ved turned things over to my ex-pat friend Neil for a couple of reviews. ~Rosa

This bar came, I think, from a supermarket in Osnabrueck, but I can’t be sure.

Here’s a secret: I’m a sucker for marzipan. I don’t know where this affinity came from. It’s just a fact. So, while shopping, I had to pick up this marzipan-filled chocolate bar, which was certainly reasonably priced.

Curious about the meaning of “Edel”, I inquired with a fluent German speaker who pointed to me to a helpful guide which explains that this has to do with the almond/sugar ratio in the mixture.

The 24-bit bar had a more intricate design than I would’ve normally expected. Flipping it over, I found evidence of possible blooming.

On tasting, the chocolate seemed dried out. The marzipan was okay but not a deep enough flavor to meet my demands – nor my expectations, based on the guide.

Thoroughly unimpressed with this. It’s a .

So sad! It’s a gorgeous looking bar, inside and out. Love the black and white look on the chocolate and the spangled pants and turban on the dude in the moon! Sounds like Neil got a bar that’s past its prime; marzipan has a pretty short shelf life. ~Rosa

Category: --, chocolate, European, guest post, nuts, review | 1 Comment »

Dorval Crispy Thins – Hazelnut and Orange

September 7th, 2012 by Rosa

I got to have a nice chat with the folks at Dorval at their booth at Sweets and Snacks. Even though my swag bag already had a box of their orange chocolate thins, they gave me a second box of hazelnut thins at their booth.

The chocolates came in a gold tray with three wells that each contained 6 of the flat, oval thins, and the whole thing was sealed in a clear cellophane bag for freshness. I was impressed at how well the packaging protected the thins – not a single one broke, despite being banged around in my carry-on luggage all the way from Chicago to Durham.

The thins certainly lived up to their name. Each was about 2 inches across at their longer diameter and probably no more than about a quarter centimeter thick at their thickest point.

The chocolate ovals were liberally dotted with little rice crisps that brought a wheaty, toasty crunch. They had a sort of stale texture, so more like puffed rice.

The orange thins reminded me of Terry’s chocolate oranges, with a creamy orange oil flavor. I found it a little artificial and on the edge of cloying, but the low chocolate to crisp ratio helped keep that in check.

The hazelnut crisps were more to my liking. There the chocolate was creamy with mocha notes to the finish and a nice nuttiness that complimented the chocolate in an understated way.

As far as I could tell, the hazelnut was a flavor addition to the chocolate. I didn’t notice the texture of any actual bits of nuts.

I especially liked the natural portion control of these – it feels like a large amount of chocolate on the tongue but is so thin that it isn’t too much. An O for the orange and an OM for the hazelnut.

Category: chocolate, Dorval, nuts, review | Comments Off

Me-targeted Kinder ad?

September 6th, 2012 by Rosa

My friend Neil sent me this photo of a billboard that he took in Bremen, Germany.

Clearly Kinder is trying to suck up to me, all the way from Germany!

Okay, maybe not. As best as I can tell, Kinder Surprise is now promoting special pink eggs with girly toys. I don’t love the idea that girls only like things that are pink, and some of those toys look body dysmorphia promoting, but at least they’re recognizing that little girls are a consumer base as well.

Now if they could just replace those midriff-baring fairies with some butt-kicking and fully-clothed scientists and doctors and such…

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate

September 5th, 2012 by Rosa

These disks of Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate (what a mouthful!) caught my eye at Trader Joe’s. They looked suspiciously similar to Taza’s Mexicanos (previously reviewed here), and Trader Joe’s is known for unbranding and selling name-brand things at a discount.

The Trader Joe’s version was $3.99. Taza Mexicanos currently run just shy of $9 on Amazon but are only $4.50 on the Taza website. The size and shape of both versions are the same, and both contain two disks to a package.

Underneath the wrapper, the disks look pretty similar, with light wedge scoring that doesn’t quite reach the center. The Taza version is on my Flickr page, and the Trader Joe’s version is below.

The Trader Joe’s chocolate was described as “a traditional Mexican-style chocolate stone milled in small batches.” That’s a pretty good description of what Taza does.

Finally, the Trader Joe’s ingredients were just organic cocoa nibs and organic cane sugar. Looks just like Taza’s Cacao Puro to me. I’m going to go ahead and call it – they’re the same.

Mexican-style chocolate is a totally different texture sensation than American chocolates. The disks here snapped easily and cleanly along the scores, revealingly their granulated consistency.

The chocolate had a finely gritty texture that squeaked a little between my teeth but didn’t leave any sediment behind. It was sort of like what eating wet fine-grained sand is probably like, only far more delicious and pleasant.

It had an intoxicating woody scent. The flavors were cleanly sugary sweet and grassy with a fruity raisin flavor and ended with a slightly bitter/astringent cocoa bean finish.

With such simple ingredients, this was chocolate at its most pure! My only complaint was that the astringency lingered, so I kept breaking off more bits to try to wipe the astringency from my mouth. The disk disappeared more quickly that way!

The unadulterated flavors of this chocolate made it a great taste experience. An OM.

 

Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review, Trader Joe's | 2 Comments »

S’mores alternative for grilled dessert

September 4th, 2012 by Rosa

Up until I read about them on Serious Eats, I’d never before heard of grilled banana boats. Apparently all that you have to do is slit a banana, shove it full of sweets and goodies, and stick it on the grill. I would like one with chocolate and speculoos spread, please!

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Labor Day means no labor

September 3rd, 2012 by Rosa

Today’s a U.S. Holiday, and even though Duke isn’t taking it for students, I’m taking it for blogging. Mostly because I bet most of you are too busy having fun to look at things on the internet.

Enjoy the holiday if you get it, and see you tomorrow!

Category: news | Comments Off