Archive for April, 2013

Giant Peep

April 30th, 2013 by Rosa

Okay, I know this is out of date since it’s so long after Easter, but it was too creative to not share. Apparently last Easter you could get a single giant marshmallow Peep! Serious Eats found one and had some fun…

 

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See’s Assorted Chocolates Week 2 – Day 1

April 29th, 2013 by Rosa

Back in 2009, I devoted a whole week to See’s Chocolates as I reviewed an assorted box that they sent me. This week will be another week of See’s Chocolates reviews, only this time, I’ll be reviewing a box that I bought and picked out myself in Seattle.

Today, I’ll go through the four Truffles that I bought. First up, the trademarked See’s Apple Pie Truffle, which they describe as rich buttercream with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon. This was a vaguely heart-shaped white chocolate truffle with a light brown center filling.

The white chocolate coating was sweet and took a backseat to the filling, which was quite the standout. It was extremely bright and fruity with a spot-on apple pie-filling flavor.

It tasted intensely of sweet cooked apples with just a smidge of cinnamon. I swear there was also some notes of toasted crust as well, or at least the crust of McDonald’s apple pie. It was basically a slice of apple pie distilled into a truffle. OM.

Almond Truffle was “rich dark chocolate buttercream with ground almonds”. It was a soft square of chocolate ganache covered in little bits of almond that were bound together with some white chocolate-looking butter thing.

The ganache center was sweet with a mild cocoa flavor, while the almonds in the coating were roasted and nutty. While the almonds were nice, I found them to be too tannic. They sapped all the moisture out of my mouth, so just an O.

Cafe au Lait Truffle was simply described as “rich coffee buttercream”. It had a milk chocolate coating with dark chocolate stripes for contrast.

The texture of the golden brown buttercream center was lovely – solid yet lightly fluffy. Its flavor started off strong with mocha coffee notes, lightly bitter but overall sweet, and the milk chocolate added a great caramel finish. OM.

And last for today, the Dark Chocolate Chip Truffle, “rich chocolate buttercream with chocolate chips”. This buttercream held its shape as I bit into the treat but then melted away on the tongue.

I didn’t notice any extra chocolate chips in that ganache; the texture was perfectly smooth.

It had an incredibly intense semisweet chocolate flavor which was redoubled by the dark chocolate shell. The chocolate didn’t have a terribly nuanced flavor profile, but it was deep and it was good. An OM.

Back on Wednesday and Friday with more See’s!

Category: chocolate, coffee, nuts, O, OM, review, See's, white chocolate | No Comments »

Chocolati Truffles

April 26th, 2013 by Rosa

While I was in Seattle last week for a conference, I stayed an extra day to do some sightseeing, which included a whirl around their awesome Central Library. It had crazy cool architecture, a spiral stacks, and, most importantly for this blog, a Chocolati stand.

The lady running the Chocolati stand was the nicest chocolate seller I’ve ever met. A companion and myself each got a free truffle because it was our first time visiting, and then when I couldn’t decide between which of two truffles that I wanted to buy, she gave me both for the price of one. Thanks, awesome Chocolati lady!

I ended up buying a Cinnamon Almond Aztec, a Pistachio Curry Truffle, and what I think was a Salted Vanilla truffle (my memory may be wrong, and it’s not listed on the website). They were pretty reasonably priced at $1.45 each, and I got three for the price of two.

Cinnamon Almond Aztec was described on the website as, “Milk chocolate couverture and semisweet ganache with almonds, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.” There were visible bits of almonds in the sparkling ganache – the sugar crystals mixed in were visibly light-catching.

It tasted strongly of cinnamon and sugar with a subtly acrid bite to the end. The ganache left a slight grit as it melted away. That combined with the powerful cinnamon flavor and astringency of the finish spoke to just how much cinnamon spice went into this truffle.

While I appreciated the cinnamon flavor, I found the truffle to be too sweet. I also didn’t get any nutty flavors from the almond bits, likely because the cinnamon sweetness was so strong. An O.

Pistachio Curry was “Thai curry mixed with a blend of our 71% dark chocolate and 50% bittersweet chocolate sprinkled with fresh pistachio nuts.” It was definitely a uniquely flavored treat.

The curry spices were right out of Thai takeout. They started off savory and then sweetened as the chocolate asserted itself, and the whole thing finished with just a hint of heat to the end.

Again, I felt this truffle to be too sweet for my taste, and I didn’t taste any nuttiness from the pistachio bits. An A for creativity, but an O for being too sweet.

Finally, what I think was Salted Vanilla was a dark chocolate ganache with a dark chocolate shell and a sprinkle of salt crystals on top. The ganache here was stiff with a fine grain to its texture.

It tasted lightly sweet with a great dry duskiness. The cocoa flavor was intense and was set off with a flash of salt.

This was my favorite of the bunch for its potent chocolate flavor. It was high quality but honestly, a tad boring, so an O.

I wonder if I just chose poorly from the Chocolati assortment? I tried a bite of their chocolate-covered sea salt caramel on site, and that was delicious and well-balanced. Their overall sweeter truffles weren’t as much to my liking. Clearly the best solution is to take another trip to Seattle and eat more truffles.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, review | 2 Comments »

Jelly Belly infographic

April 25th, 2013 by Rosa

Apparently this past Monday was National Jelly Bean day (oops! How did I let that slip by?). To honor the occasion, Jelly Belly made a jelly bean infographic. It’s mostly Jelly Belly-centric, but the tidbit about Christmas being the second-biggest jelly bean season was pretty surprising. I definitely don’t associate jelly beans and winter holidays.

Also, who knew that the most popular Jelly Belly flavors were so different by country? I wonder what makes Asia love Lemon Lime and Australia love Bubble Gum?

jellybelly_infographic_02

jellybelly_infographic_03

 

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Guest post: Viba Mandel-nougat

April 24th, 2013 by Neil

Here’s another guest review from ex-pat Neil while I try to catch up from being out of town for most of last week. ~Rosa

Recent trips to Germany & Austria have refilled the never-empty pantry here. I’ve tried the Viba Mandel-nougat which came from one of those countries (sorry, I should take better notes while shopping!)

I was expecting a crunchy single bar from this. Instead, I got 3 mini-logs, each about the size of my thumb, with a flattened, patterened underbelly of the chocolate base. They looked dried out; this was fortunately not the case.

The texture is much softer than I expected. I think if I’d squished and poked any of the pieces before biting in, that would’ve been obvious. The majority of each piece seems to just be slightly hardened nut butter. While the label tells me that it’s almond-based, it never tasted overwhelmingly of almonds, more like halfway between cashews and peanuts.

This was a bit of a disappointment. There’s not a ton of flavor overall, and very little sweetness. It’s almost hard to know that the chocolate is there, except that said base is a bit more rigid than the nut portion. In each piece, I discovered some slightly crunchy bits that were either nuts or crystallized sugar, but more likely the latter.

The Viba Mandel-nougat was not my best find, but I’m sure it was inexpensive, probably less than a Euro or two. I wouldn’t buy it again. If somebody had just handed it to me and not told me it was almond, I would’ve been a bit happier. It wasn’t terrible, though, so I’ll give it a nice basic O.

Category: chocolate, European, guest post, nougat, nuts, O, review | No Comments »

Robyn Lee taste tests Pockys (and knockoffs)

April 23rd, 2013 by Rosa

Serious Eats’ Robyn Lee wrote up a verrrry thorough blind tasting of Pocky and its various chocolate-covered biscuit stick imitators. To give away her punchline, Pocky came out on top!

Robyn, I am in awe of your Pocky photography skillz, as the above was the best that I could do. Also, I hope someday someone tastes all the Pocky varieties all at once, because there are a bazillion of them. I have only covered a few.

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Serious Eats with a Charles Chocolates tour

April 22nd, 2013 by Rosa

I was at a conference last week, so I didn’t have time to get a full review up today. Sorry guys! Instead, check out the chocolate porn from Serious Eats’ tour of Charles Chocolates in San Francisco.

Also, you can see my past reviews of their products here and here and here and here and here and here. Phew! Also my interview with the eponymous founder here.

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Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites

April 19th, 2013 by Rosa

To be honest, these Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites didn’t sound that tasty to me, but my local Trader Joe’s was promoting them all over the store, so I picked up a bag.

Why not? I like chocolate-covered coconut, and I like mangos. Mangos and chocolate and coconut all together could be good?

The resealable stand-up bag described them as “soft, chewy coconut candy bites with a tangy mango addition, covered in rich, dark chocolate.” The bag smelled incredibly fruity and sweet, almost cloyingly so.

The candy bites were 1.5 inches by 1 inch rectangles that were just over half an inch high. The center was a yellow-hued smoosh of moist, shredded coconut.

The dark chocolate shell was mild with a hint of sweetness and a dryly fruity, bittersweet finish. While it tasted great by itself, it was totally overwhelmed by the coconut mango center. Also, it melted into my fingers as I held it, which was a little annoyingly messy.

The center had the squeaky texture of shredded coconut and the piquant tartness of dried mango. The mango flavor was bright and sweet and dominated the treat; I didn’t get any coconut flavor notes, just texture.

While I liked the chocolate in isolation, and I liked the flavor of the mango, the whole thing just didn’t come together for me. I think it was the texture of coconut without any coconut flavor that threw me off. I have no desire to finish the rest of the bag, so an O.

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

Kit Kat Art

April 18th, 2013 by Rosa

Via AdFreak, Australia celebrated its limited edition white chocolate Kit Kat by having an illustrator melt them down and paint them into posters. The effect was quite stunning, as you can see in the below video.

The full set of all 50 posters can be found in this Facebook album from Kit Kat Australia.

Category: news | 1 Comment »

Trader Joe’s Laceys Cookies – Dark Chocolate Almond

April 17th, 2013 by Rosa

Cookies? Why am I reviewing cookies on my candy blog? Because these Laceys Cookies are more or less made out of almond brittle and chocolate, so they’re basically candy. Plus they’re freakin’ delicious.

The Laceys were two rounds of thin almond brittle cookies, about 2.5 inches in diameter, sandwiching a generous layer of bittersweet chocolate. Flour was near the end of the ingredients list, and I really couldn’t tell that there was any flour in these at all in terms of texture or flavor.

The cookie portions were sweet and crisp with a solid crunch. I’d guess that they were about 50% chopped almonds and 50% butter toffee/brittle.

The generous proportion of almonds brought a wonderfully roasted nuttiness, and the cookies finished with a toasted butteriness from the toffee. That toffee cleaved and crumbled without any hint of doughy cookieness.

The bittersweet chocolate center had a great duskiness to it and a light sweetness that didn’t overwhelm the cookies. Instead, it complimented the nutty butteriness of the toffee cookies.

A delicious, quickly disappearing treat – OMG.

Category: chocolate, cookie, nuts, OMG, review, toffee, Trader Joe's | No Comments »