October 16th, 2014 by Rosa
It’s fall, and here in the U.S., that means pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING. Seriously, Trader Joe’s October Fearless Flyer is about 90% pumpkin stuff. One of their seasonal pumpkin products includes these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels.
The box described the caramels as “dark chocolate with a smooth pumpkin spiced caramel filling sprinkled with real Hawaiian sea salt.” Each shiny dark chocolate square was covered with a little squiggle of milk chocolate, then topped with a generous sprinkle of rust-colored sea salt.
That dark chocolate shell shattered as soon as I bit into the caramel, revealing a limpid viscous caramel center. The chocolate had a thick melt and lots of caramel notes.
The smooth caramel looked liquid but didn’t quite flow. It had a slight grain to the texture and a strong pumpkin spice flavor that was nutmeg dominant. Though the caramel was sweet, it was nicely countered by the saltiness of the crystals it was topped with.
These were tasty, but I don’t think they needed the extra pumpkin spice hit. If you’re a pumpkin spice fiend, however, you’ll love these. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, review, Trader Joe's |
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October 13th, 2014 by Rosa
When I saw The Impulsive Buy‘s “Spotted On Shelves” feature on these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups, I had to zip out to Trader Joe’s and get some to try for myself. I had previously loved the chocolate bar version of these, so I was excited to try them in cup form.
The cookie butter cups came in a plastic tub of about 27 cups (I only have an approximate count because I’m not sure how many cups my boyfriend snuck after I opened the tub). Each was individually wrapped in gold foil, which was good. I needed something to slow me down so I wouldn’t plow through them all at once.
The dark chocolate shell was stiff and of an uneven thickness around the edges. It melted smoothly and fattily in my mouth, with a barely sweet dark chocolate duskiness to the flavor.
The speculoos cookie butter paste in the center was dry and lightly cinnamony. It took, had just a hint of sweetness with a strong oat-y cookie flavor. It tasted more like the imported speculoos cookies I bought once, rather than like Biscoff’s or Trader Joe’s sweeter, more crumbly version.
I loved these. They weren’t too sweet and had lots of flavor complexity, with the cinnamon oatiness playing off the dark chocolate. I’d take them over a traditional peanut butter cup any day. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, cookie, OMG, review, Trader Joe's |
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August 22nd, 2014 by Rosa
This is the second bag of Haribo gummies that I bought while in Switzerland. They caught my eye because I’ve never seen them in the U.S., and they had a giant Neu sticker on it, which made me think that they were, well, New.
Google translate tells me that Bärchen-Pärchen means Bear Couple. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it in English. The male-looking bear says he’s Sauer, and the female-looking bear says she’s Süss, which I took to mean that these bear couples are Sour and Sweet.
There were there different sets of bear couples: red/blue, orange/green, and yellow/purple. The firmly bouncy gummies were quite cute if you think that they look like bears that are holding hands.
They also looked like conjoined twins. In the case of the yellow/purple pair, the purple visibly leeched into the yellow, which made it look like the yellow bear was stealing the purple bear’s life-force.
Yellow was the Sour of its pair, a piquant lemon that was sweet, yet puckeringly tart. It made me salivate. Purple was Sweetly mellow and artificially grapey (thankfully without any unfortunate fake cough medicine allusions).
Orange was the Sour of orange/green, and it too, was puckeringly tart but with orangey undertones to the citrus. Green was candied green apple, with the flavor of apple juice.
Red (or pink if you held it up to the light) was the Sour of the red/blue pair. I think it was supposed to raspberry, as it had a bitey undertone to it, and it wasn’t as tart as the yellow and orange bears.
The blue half was sweetly fruity with an undertone of fresh blueberry to the flavor that developed as the chew progressed. I was surprised at how well this captured the flavor of real blueberries, as most blueberry-flavored candies just taste like sugar.
These were a fun twist on a classic treat. An OM.
Category: European, gummi/gummy, Haribo, OM, review, sour |
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August 18th, 2014 by Rosa
Today and Friday, I’ll review some Haribo gummies that I bought while in Switzerland. First up is Orangina P!k. I know Orangina is a fizzy orange drink that’s available in Europe. No idea what the P!k means (and why it’s not a Pik).
At any rate, it’s pretty clear that these are supposed to be gummified soda bottles, though I think they also look like chicken drumsticks when turned to the side. They came in yellow, pink, and red (no orange, despite the name!).
The gummies were covered in sour sugar and had a wonderfully firm, sproingy chew. Red was tart to start from the sour sugar, then sweetly fruity. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a mild cherry or fruit punch flavor.
Pink was strawberry, maybe? Again, sweetly fruity, but with more floral notes that played off the tartness.
Yellow was citrusy. The color suggested yellow, but the flavor was mellow with no acidity or pithiness, so I think it was the classic orange flavor of Orangina.
I loved the strong fruity flavors and bouncy texture of these guys. They were just the right amount of tart. I wish I’d bought an additional bag, or three. OMG.
Category: European, gummi/gummy, Haribo, OMG, review, sour |
August 11th, 2014 by Rosa
I’m lucky enough to have recently returned from a trip to Switzerland. We were mostly hiking the Alps, but I made sure to make some time to buy Swiss candies, including lots of chocolate.
First up, this fancy Lindt Passion Chocolat – Caramel & Fleur de Sel. It was described as “accord parfait du chocolat noir et du pur caramel,” which my rusty high school French translates as, “a perfect agreement between dark chocolate and pure caramel.”
The chocolate had a prettily artisanal look about it, with a little cellophane windowpane through which to view the bar. The top side was generously sprinkled with caramel and fat grains of sea salt, while the bottom was imprinted with the scripted Lindt logo.
The dark chocolate was creamy with a smooth and thick melt. It had a nice cocoa depth with a slight fruitiness that was highlighted by the occasional flash of salt.
The caramel bits were plentiful and brought a nice, clean crunchiness to the texture of the bar. They tasted sweet, with buttery toffee flavors that took on a slight toasted scorchiness as they melted away.
I found this to be a well-balanced treat that was surprisingly well-made for a mass-produced bar. An OMG.
Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Lindt, OMG, review |
July 9th, 2014 by Rosa
Lindt Lemon is the newest chocolate bar in Lindt’s Excellence line-up, billed as “dark with citrus pieces and almond slivers”. I received a free sample from Lindt for review.
Alas, the overnight shipping, cold pack, and insulated bag couldn’t stand up to the North Carolina heat, so my sample arrived melted and not as photogenic as it could be. Fortunately, it still tasted awesome!
The dark chocolate had a thick, matte melt that was broken up with a slight crunch from the thin almond slivers. I also came across the occasional piece of lemon zest covered in a grainy sugar.
At first, the bar was sweet. Then, a bright, effervescent lemon zestiness came through, tempered by nuttiness from the almond slivers. It finished with a cool, citrus sweetness.
This bar was incredibly well balanced in both flavor and texture. I loved how the bright fruitiness played off the dark chocolate, resulting in a refreshing treat. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Lindt, nuts, OM, review |
July 7th, 2014 by Rosa
These British Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons were a surprise international treat in the free sample MunchPak that I received a while ago and am still slowly munching my way through.
The buttons were little thumbnail-sized disks with a flat side and a domed side. Their flat side had the scripted Cadbury logo imprinted on it.
They were the perfect size and shape to slip onto my tongue and smash against the roof of my mouth. Doing so caused the buttons to dissolve into a tongue-coatingly thick and creamy puddle of milk chocolate.
The Cadbury’s milk chocolate was quite sweet, with dusky caramel flavors amidst the cocoa. As far as mass-produced milk chocolate goes, I much prefer Cadbury’s to the sour milk tinge of Hershey’s.
The buttons were a fun diversion that were well-sized for slow savoring. An O because I probably wouldn’t buy them for a snack – there are better milk chocolates out there, especially if you’re willing to spend an extra buck or two – but I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered to me for free.
Category: Cadbury, chocolate, European, O, review |
April 18th, 2014 by Rosa
On Monday, I reviewed the mango, grapefruit, and lychee FruTips that I bought in China. Today, I’ll review their regular flavor assortment.
The regular FruTips were the same size and texture as their specialized flavor counterparts, and they also contained lychee flavored jellies (white). You can refer to Monday’s review for my notes on texture and the lychee FruTips.
Yellow was lemon. It tasted tart and zesty with lots of bitey lemon zest flavors. Orange was orange and tasted of candied citrus. It, too, was quite zesty, but its flavor profile was more rotund and orangey.
Green was apple and tasted like apple juice. Pink was strawberry, which was floral and sweetly tasty.
Finally, purple was blackcurrant, which is not a flavor we usually get in the U.S. It had intense, seedy tannins with almost menthol-y undertones that gave it some bite.
Nearly six years ago, I wrote a review of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles that may be the same product as these, except this time around, I really liked them. I’m not sure if the Chinese ones were fresher or a different formulation, or what, but I think they’re worthy of an OM.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, Nestle, OM, review |
April 14th, 2014 by Rosa
As previously mentioned, I’m way overdue for a review of Nestle FruTips from China. When I was in Shanghai this March, I bought of couple of fresh tubes to cover today and Friday. I’ll start with the Mango, Grapefruit, and Lychee tube.
The FruTips were thumbnail-sized flat disks that were covered in gritty sugar sand. The chew started off mostly soft with a bit of tension, then became softer and stickier as I chewed. The texture was smooth and felt like limpid jelly on my tongue.
Grapefruit was a white with a greenish tinge. It was tart with a slight pithiness that highlighted its bright citrusy grapefruit flavors.
Mango was a pale orange. It was round and floral with nice flash of tartness at the end, and it tasted of the tropical seediness of ripe mangos.
Finally, Lychee was white and tasted just like real lychees, though more like canned lychees than fresh ones. These were sweetly floral and addictively tasty.
I wish these were available in the U.S. They’re a great combination of flavors that we usually don’t get in American candies, and I enjoyed their intense fruit flavors and chewy texture. An OMG.
According to Wikipedia, these guys may be available in Canada. They may be the same thing as Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, which I had reviewed before in a different flavor arrangement but didn’t care for at the time.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), gummi/gummy, jelly candy, Nestle, OMG, review |
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January 27th, 2014 by Rosa
Hello Panda is Meiji‘s answer to Lotte’s Koala’s March: cream-filled cookies imprinted with cute animal cartoons. I got a couple of boxes to try in my free MunchPak samples, first in Strawberry and the following month in Double Choco.
The Hello Panda biscuits were either round or round with ears, like teddy bear heads. The Strawberry version was vanilla biscuits with strawberry cream, while Double Chocos were chocolate biscuits with “choco” cream.
Compared to the Koala’s March, the Hello Pandas had a more substantial crunch and a greater cookie to filling ratio. Strawberry’s biscuit was lightly sweet, while the center strawberry cream had the texture of a solid frosting and a floral sweetness to its artificial strawberry flavor.
The chocolate cookie of the Double Choco was darker in both appearance and flavor. It had a slight cocoa bittersweetness, like a mild Oreo cookie, and its chocolate filling was creamy with a slightly greasy feel.
I liked the Double Choco better than the Strawberry, which was too artificially floral for my taste. I did wish, however, that the Double Choco had more intensity of chocolate flavor and wasn’t quite so greasy. An O for both.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Meiji, O, review |