Archive for January, 2013

NY Times Mag on the Hershey Bar

January 17th, 2013 by Rosa

Last Sunday, the NY Times Magazine’s Design column was on “Who Made That Hershey Bar?” Apparently, Hershey started off making caramels, but “the caramel bubble eventually burst,” so he got into chocolate. I bet that caramel bubble was delicious…

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Florida’s Natural Au’some Organic Nuggets

January 16th, 2013 by Rosa

I rarely buy candy just for snacking since I have a ridiculous stockpile. Florida’s Natural Au’some Organic Nuggets (which used to be just Fruit Nuggets; the organic part is a relatively new addition) are one of the few candies that I will buy to snack on, so I happily accepted free samples of them at Sweets and Snacks.

They came in three different mixes: Orchard Sours were apple and lemon; Berrilicious were cherry, blueberry, and strawberry; and Fruit Grove was strawberry, banana, and orange.

The nuggets were all irregularly shaped, though they were generally rectangular and about the size of my pinky nail. They were chewy and lightly grainy and melted with a slight pasty feeling.

All the nuggets within each bag looked the same, though the Berrilicious mix was a little darker than the other two and had a less mottled surface (they’re the ones on the left). They all tasted fruity and sweet with a slightly wheaty finish.

The Berrilicious nuggets were sweet and brightly fruity and tasted like blueberry and strawberry jam. The flavors were deep and mellow.

The Orchard Sours started off tasting like a mild and sweet lemon drop before developing biting notes of pear and finishing with fuji apple sweetness. For some reason pear was the first ingredient in the fruit puree ingredient list – maybe because they’re cheaper?

Fruit Grove nuggets were sweet and had airy overtones of banana and applesauce. They finished by tasting like sweet orange juice.

I like these for snacking because their fruity flavors are so intense and powerful. That intensity makes them overwhelming if you eat too many at once (like I did while trying to figure out if each nugget was one fruit flavor or many), so moderation is cautioned. An OM.

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Dolci Liberta – Chocolate made in an Italian Prison

January 15th, 2013 by Rosa

Chocablog ran a neat profile of Busto Arsizio Prison in Milan, Italy, where prisoners make chocolates that are sold under the Dolci Liberta (translation: sweet liberty) brand. According to the profile, the chocolate making keeps prisoners out of trouble, teaches them skills, and allows them to make some money. And the chocolate that they make is award-winning.

What a unique and delicious sounding social rehabilitation venture!

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Truffles by Coquette – Classic

January 14th, 2013 by Rosa

Truffles by Coquette is a new online chocolate boutique/small business. They sent me a free box of their classic truffles for review.

The truffles came in a classy looking box with a gilded Coquette logo in the center. Inside were 12 spherical truffles, 4 each of the Colette, Annie, and Katherine.

Colette was described as “traditional French caramels with a touch of Fleur de sel de Guerande, enrobed in dark 55% cacao.” It was a snappy dark chocolate shell surrounding a limpid, liquid caramel.

The caramel was not sticky or chewy, but it also didn’t flow. Instead, it held its shape until it hit my tongue, after which it melted away in a sweetly golden pool of buttery deliciousness.

Each Colette was topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, which provided a nice flash of saltiness against the sweetness of the truffles. The dark chocolate was dusky with awesome cocoa depth and a lightly bittersweet finish that allowed the chocolate to linger.

Annie was “inspired by… the s’more. A gooey marshmallow filling is dipped in milk chocolate and topped with a miniature marshmallow.” I thought it was fun departure from the usual “classic” truffle mix.

The milk chocolate had a thick and creamy melt and tasted of sweet caramel with a dusky finish. While the mini marshmallow topper was textured, the marshmallow filling reminded me of marshmallow fluff: puffy and sweet with no chew.

Instead, it dissolved into the spot-on flavor of jet-puffed marshmallows. Overall, Annie was close to being too sweet for my taste, but I forgave it because it was so unique.

Katherine was “filled with creamy dark chocolate ganache and then dipped in E. Guittard couverture.” Its ganache was thick with no flow, a smooth and cool, almost fatty melt with just a bit of heaviness on my tongue.

The chocolate base that made this chocolate was great. It carried a bright, cocoa fruitiness with a lingering finish of bittersweet cocoa depth.

The Colette was my favorite of the bunch. I’m a sucker for salted caramel, so it gets an OMG. Annie gets an OM for taste and inventiveness, and Katherine gets an OM as well for being a well-executed classic.

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Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme and Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate

January 11th, 2013 by Rosa

I remember Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme from my childhood. I think the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate are a newer addition, within the last few years.

By the way, this whole ‘n’ thing is crazy annoying. An ampersand takes up the same amount of space but is grammatically correct.

Both bars were crammed full of crunchy bits of chocolate cookie which tasted like Oreo cookies. Cookies ‘n’ Creme had a base of “creme” that was supposed to emulate white chocolate but, as Cybele pointed out, wasn’t really white chocolate, as it was mostly made of vegetable oils.

The “creme” was sweet with a slightly sour fake vanilla flavor, like canned frosting. Though it’s not a high quality base by any means, it is a classic. To me, it just goes well with the bittersweet cookie bits, but that’s probably my nostalgia getting in the way.

Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate had a milk chocolate base that had Hershey’s characteristic slightly sour tang to the finish. The milk chocolate seemed to make the cookies taste even more chocolatey.

I loved the Cookies ‘n’ Creme as a kid. These days, I won’t turn down a free miniature version of it or the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate (I got these from work), as the cookie bits are a nice departure from the norm, but I wouldn’t go out an actually buy them myself. An O.

Category: chocolate, cookie, Hershey's, O, review | 3 Comments »

McSweeney’s Candy List II

January 10th, 2013 by Rosa

There have been a lot of York Peppermint Patty commercials telling people to “get the sensation”.

McSweeney’s came up with a few fun twists on these sensations that probably wouldn’t have made for good commercials.

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Mamba Duos

January 9th, 2013 by Rosa

These Mamba Duos were free samples that I snagged at Sweets and Snacks along with Monday’s Mamba Sours. From their Amazon listing, it looks like they were a limited edition Mamba flavor.

Fittingly enough, there were two flavors of Duos, and two flavors in each Duo. The wrappers were decorated with funny-looking Frankenstein fruits.

Like the regular Mambas, there were six individually wrapped candies per pack. The candies were softly chews that became quite sticky while being chewed.

Watermelon Apple was pink and yellow striped. It mostly tasted of that especially artificial Jolly Rancher candied watermelon flavor with a bit of apple juiciness to the finish.

Raspberry Peach was pink with a yellow swirl. It started off with a mild red fruit flavor and some raspberry seediness.

The flavor then evolved into the fuzzy sweet juiciness of a ripe peach. That peach flavor was delicious – it would make for a lovely Mamba flavor all on its own!

I enjoyed the texture and flavor intensity of these chews. The peach half of the raspberry-peach Duo was my favorite. An OM for the set.

Category: chewy, limited edition, OM, review, Storck | Comments Off

McSweeney’s Candy List I

January 8th, 2013 by Rosa

Do y’all remember when Reese’s had an ad campaign about there being no wrong way to eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?

McSweeney’s came up with a few very wrong ways. Like “while playing the role of Southern General Stonewall Jackson in a Civil War re-enactment, when you know you should really be loading your musket.”

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Mamba Sour

January 7th, 2013 by Rosa

Some people get extremely worked up about how buying Mambas can mean playing a lottery for which 3 out of the 4 flavors you get. Fortunately, when they gave out samples at Sweets and Snacks, they gave them out in single-flavor packs, so I was easily able to get one each of these Mamba Sours.

Like regular Mambas, they came in raspberry, strawberry, lemon, and orange. Each flavor pack contained 6 rectangles of the individually wrapped candies, which looked identical to the regular Mambas.

The candies were softly chewy and quite sticky. They melted away if I just held them in my mouth.

Orange yielded a juicy burst of orange flavor that was brightly sweet and quite tart. The bite of tartness lingered in the finish with just a hint of tongue-numbing.

Lemon was even brighter and even more sour than the orange. It really captured the puckery flavor of a real lemon. Here, too, the sourness made me salivate.

Strawberry had lovely floral undertones that I greatly enjoyed. It carried a slight tartness but wasn’t nearly as sour as the citrus flavors.

Finally, raspberry had the seediness of artificial raspberry candies that I usually find off-putting. In this case, however, that seediness was buried in enough generally fruity flavor and that I didn’t mind it. Here, like the in the strawberry, the sourness was noticeable but mild.

I really enjoyed the intensely bright, fruity flavors and tangy tartness of these chews. The citrus fruits were my favorite, but the other two were nice as well. OMG.

Category: chewy, OMG, review, sour, Storck | Comments Off

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates – Classic Truffle Collection

January 4th, 2013 by Rosa

One of my favorite things about Hedonist Artisan Chocolates is that they shake things up a lot and trot out different truffle flavors every season or so. I’ve been so busy reviewing all of their different truffle collections that I’m only now getting to reviewing their classic truffle collection. I no longer live in Rochester, so these were free samples that they sent me.

The five classic truffles flavors are Milk, Bittersweet, Hazelnut, Espresso, and White Mint. The first four were dipped, while the White Mint was rolled.

Milk is about as classic as it gets. Hedonist’s take was smooth and creamy all over. The soft milk chocolate ganache center had a thin melt, while its milk chocolate shell had a soft break and a thicker melt.

It tasted of sweet and dusky cocoa with a great chocolatey finish. Sometimes I find pure milk chocolate truffles to be too sweet, but this had a really well-balanced sweetness level that was not at all cloying.

Bittersweet was prettily decorated with a few green leaves. Its texture and flavor was drier than the milk version. The cocoa flavor ran deep with earthy tones.

This truly lived up to its name – it teased just a hint of bitterness, but then a light sweetness came and chased that hint away. Really well balanced!

Hazelnut was sprinkled with bits of hazelnuts and salt. It tasted of dry cocoa with a gianduja nuttiness.

Chocolate and hazelnut is a classic combination for a reason – the roasted nuttiness of hazelnuts paired well with chocolate here.

Espresso was topped with a roasted coffee bean. The ganache had a light grit and astringency from the ground coffee that was mixed into it.

Its coffee flavor was really powerful, and the truffle tasted like the scent of fresh roasted coffee beans. I enjoyed the interplay between sweet chocolate and slightly bitter coffee here. Some coffee + chocolate treats go too sweet, into Mocha Frappuccino mode, but this was nicely restrained.

My one complaint was the coffee bean topper. I found it super bitter and astringent to chomp into. I’m not a coffee drinker, so my taste buds were wiped out by eating a solid coffee bean.

Finally, White Mint was a white chocolate rolled truffle dipped in milk chocolate and then dusted with cocoa powder. Its ganache was smooth and creamy with a luxurious-feeling fatty melt.

The center ganache had the creamy vanilla undertones of white chocolate scented with mint. That mintiness was not effervescent (a la York Peppermint Patties). Instead, it reminded me more of mint leaves, with a slight herbal note.

I thought these were a solid set of classic flavors (though the white mint was a bit more out of the ordinary). Personally, I like Hedonists’s adventurous flavors more – part of why I love them so much is that they’re not afraid of unexpected truffle flavors, like goat cheese!

Still, these were quality truffles that were clearly made with care. An OM (and a great gift idea for your more culinarily unadventurous loved ones!).

 

 

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, mint, nuts, OM, review | Comments Off