Archive for December, 2012

Holiday Break

December 24th, 2012 by Rosa

Hi readers,

Happy holidays! I’m taking a hiatus through the holiday season. See y’all in 2013!

In the meantime, I’ve started a science blog, Beyond the Abstract. Check it out!

~Rosa

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Ritter Sport – Yogurt

December 21st, 2012 by Rosa

The Ritter Sport Yogurt is an elusive chocolate bar. Its more common brethren, like Milk Chocolate with Cornflakes or Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, are easily found in many major grocery stores in the U.S., but I’ve only ever seen the Yogurt in the wild in specialty fine food stores, random NYC bodegas, or Europe.

According to Ritter’s U.S. importer, the Yogurt is one of the worst sellers in the U.S. A travesty!

People, it is time to make the Ritter Sport Yogurt happen. Fro-yo shops pepper America’s strip malls, tangy plain yogurt from Greece and Iceland is all the rage with the probiotic set, and Ben and Jerry’s has recently combined both trends in their new Greek frozen yogurt line.

The stage has been set: America is ready to take their chocolate with some tang.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ritter Sport brand, their bars are notable for their signature square shape. Fun fact: the square design came about because regular rectangular chocolate bars fell out of sporty gents’ sport coat pockets, so Ritter created a fatter square bar that would stay put during sporty occasions. And thus, the Ritter Sport was born!

Like all full-sized Ritter Sports, the Yogurt bar is a grid of 16 smaller conjoined squares. Breaking the bar across one of the columns reveals the “refreshing yogurt filling” promised by the wrapper. Its creamy whiteness stands out prettily against the light brown of the milk chocolate that sandwiches it.

The milk chocolate is throat-coatingly thick and lingers as it melts. It breaks softly instead of snapping and tastes of sweet cocoa with some caramel notes.

The yogurt filling’s texture is a little softer and squishier than that of the milk chocolate. It also has a thinner melt that disappears on the tongue. The filling tastes tart and tangy, like a really nice Greek yogurt.

The yogurt’s tartness is a great foil for the thick sweetness of the chocolate and helps lightens up the treat. Together, the taste is reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “refreshing”, but since when is chocolate supposed to be refreshing, anyway?

After a few too many squares, the milk chocolate’s sweetness becomes cloying and creates that lovely, sticky sugar-overload feeling in the back of the throat. I’d like it more if the chocolate’s sweetness was turned down a little, but I can’t complain too much. A whole bar contains 135% of the recommended daily dose of saturated fat, so anything that keeps me from scarfing down the whole thing in one sitting is a good thing.

As far as I know, this is the only yogurt chocolate bar on the U.S. market. I wish it was easier to find! If you’re lucky enough to come across one, I highly recommend that you buy it. And then mail it to me. A ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, European, review, Ritter Sport, ZOMG! | 5 Comments »

European-style Nougat Recipe

December 20th, 2012 by Rosa

If you’ve got some spare time around the holidays for an intense candy-making project, check out Liddabit Sweets’s recipe for European nougat, via Serious Eats. They’d make a great holiday treat!

If you’ve never had European-style nougat, it’s very different from the nougat you find inside mass-produced candy bars like Milky Ways in appearance and taste. It reminds me of chewy meringues, and it’s a delicious treat.

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Mini Chewy SweeTarts

December 19th, 2012 by Rosa

I used to love SweeTarts when I was a kid. My parents used to buy me a big roll of them to keep me quiet on long car rides and such, so I think about them with fondness.

Nestle was handing out free samples of these Mini Chewy SweeTarts at Sweets and Snacks. I don’t think they’re a new product, so I’m not sure why they were being given away, but I was happy to nab a bag.

The Mini Chewies were psychedelically colored pellets, each about the size of my pinky nail. They’re the same flavors as regular SweeTarts, just a different shape and size and texture.

They had a crunchy shell with a center chew that was grainy and bouncy. Its texture reminded of gumballs, only the Mini Chewies dissolved as I chewed them.

Red/pink was malty and sour. Artificial red fruit flavors all taste the same to me, so I’m just taking a stab and guessing that this was supposed to be artificial cherry.

Orange tasted of citrus zest with a mellow orange fruit flavor and a sour finish. Yellow was similarly zesty but tarter and lemony.

Green was an uber-sweet candied apple, and purple was a medicinal-tasting fake grape. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of fake grape candy.

These weren’t bad, but I’ve definitely outgrown the super sweet and artificial nature of these guys. An O.

Category: chewy, Nestle, O, review | Comments Off

A twist on holiday chocolate bark

December 18th, 2012 by Rosa

Serious Eats has a recipe for what they’re calling crack, which is basically just saltine crackers covered in chocolate and, if you’re in the holiday mood, crushed candy canes. I’ve never had chocolate-covered saltines, but I do enjoy chocolate-covered matzo, which has a toastier, wheatier flavor than saltines.

We used to make chocolate-covered matzo in the dining halls around Passover – chocolate chips from the ice cream/waffle bar, nuke for a few seconds, spread over matzo, sometimes sprinkled with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch… Those were the days!

Category: news | 2 Comments »

Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas – Pink Grapefruit with Grapeseed

December 17th, 2012 by Rosa

I’ve said many times on this blog that there aren’t enough grapefruit candies out in the world. There are, at least, Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas that come in pink grapefruit with grapeseed, which I bought at Whole Foods.

The bag makes all kinds of health claims: “made with organic sweeteners”, “natural sources of antioxidants” (from the grapeseed extract), and “great tasting and good for you”. Whole Foods in a nutshell, I’d say.

I’m always dubious about health claims made by highly processed foods. Do people really want their candy health-washed? Organic sugar is still sugar; it can still give you cavities and diabetes.

These were gummy pandas rather than gummi bears, but the panda part wasn’t so obvious. They had bigger eye spots, which just made them look surprised or myopic to me.

The deep pink pandas had a firm, bouncy chew, which is my favorite kind of gummi texture. They started off sweet with the underlying tanginess of a nicely ripe grapefruit.

Further chewing intensified the sweetness and added a mellow tartness. I missed grapefruit’s bitter edge of pithiness that Albanese’s version has, but these were still great in their own right.

I give them an OM, with the caveat that they are expensive gummies. Whole Foods premium!

Category: gummi/gummy, OM, organic, review | 1 Comment »

Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bites

December 14th, 2012 by Rosa

I bought this bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bites at the dollar store because they had a big “New” banner. I don’t think there are other mass-market “milk chocolate covered miniature marshmallows” out there.

Opening the stand-up, resealable bag unleashed a strong and sweet milk chocolate scent that reminded me of a milk chocolate Hershey’s bar. The chocolate that covered the miniature marshmallows was similarly sweet and Hershey’s milk chocolate-like.

The chocolate cracked around the marshmallows when I squished them or bit into them. Its melt was grainy and carried a slight sour tinge.

The marshmallows were soft and pillowy with a neutral sweetness. I love jet-puffed marshmallows when they’re warm and toasted to bring out their caramel notes, but just plain puffy sugar doesn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t find these to be terribly exciting.

I’m not sure what these Mallow Bites are supposed to be for. They’re too sweet for just plain snacking, and I think they’d melt into a gooey mess as baking mix-ins. Maybe they’d be good in snack mixes?

I think my favorite part about the Mallow Bites was the big CHOKING WARNING on the back instructing us to Eat one at a time. Don’t be gluttonous!

An O because they’re reasonably tasty, but they’re too sweet, and I don’t really get what they’re going for.

Category: chocolate, marshmallow, O, review | 4 Comments »

Whimsical Candy Garden

December 13th, 2012 by Rosa

Via Neil, check out this whimsical series of photos of a candy garden featuring Mike & Ike flowers and Pop Rocks fertilizer. Maybe I should take up candy gardening as a hobby – reviewing certainly leaves me with enough random odds and ends of all kinds of candy!

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Vidal Sour Rainbow Pencils

December 12th, 2012 by Rosa

Vidal Candies had a colorful booth at Sweets and Snacks full of all kinds of non-chocolate treats. It looked like they carried candies that are more commonly seen abroad than in the U.S., like these Sour Rainbow Pencils that they gave me as free samples.

I ate tons and tons of filled licorice pencils in my summer abroad in England because they’re delicious! They’re tubes of fruity licorice filled with a sweet fondant.

In the case of these Sour Rainbow Pencils, the fruity licorice was comprised of four colors that reminded me of the Chrome logo: bold red, yellow, green and blue. The pencils were covered in a bracingly tart sour sugar.

The pencil as a whole tasted brightly sweet, all artificial fruitiness. The fondant that ran down the center (like graphite in a real pencil) was sweet and grainy with a bit of a squishy chew as it dissolved. It oozed out of the licorice as I chewed it.

And chewed it. And chewed it. The fruit licorice had a chew that was tough and plasticky. I was left with a shell long after the fondant disappeared.

My ideal licorice pencils have a soft, lightly rubbery chew that puts up a little resistance but soon yields. The durable plastic texture of these guys was really off-putting for me, and the pleasant fondant center wasn’t enough to counteract that effect. A .

 

Category: --, coconut, licorice, review | 1 Comment »

Holiday Candy Giveaway from Temptation Candy

December 11th, 2012 by Rosa

The folks at Temptation Candy, an online candy store, would like to give one of my readers free holiday candy. How awesome is that?

The holiday giveaway candy includes Ghirardelli chocolate squares, Starburst and Jolly Rancher candy canes, Jelly Belly Christmas chocolate malt balls, and more! A full list can be found on their blog.

To enter this contest, leave a comment on this post about what candy is most tempting for you by 11:59 PM EST on Friday December 14th. I’ll randomly select one winner from the commenters.

U.S. readers from the 48 contiguous states only, please, and make sure you leave a valid email address in the mail field. I will only use that to contact the winner to ship his/her prize, hopefully in time for Christmas!

Also, don’t forget the Merci Chocolate giveaway closes this weekend!

Edited 12/15/2012: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Sam!

Category: giveaway, news | 16 Comments »