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 |
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January 24th, 2014 by Rosa
I think it’s safe to state that Jelly Belly is tops in their field of creatively flavorful jelly beans. Instead of resting on their laurels, they never stop innovating! Their newest product are Draft Beer flavored jelly beans.
I was quite excited to be surprised with free samples to review. I was more excited that they came with an adorably tiny beer mug, which made for a fun photoshoot.
The beans were striking right out of the package in two ways. One, they had Jelly Belly’s new jeweled look in a beautiful gold tone, and two, they had a strong, distinctive scent (regular Jelly Bellies don’t smell).
These amber nuggets smelled boozy and yeasty, like beer does, but also sweet and floral, which made it smell more like beer that had gone a little funky. Or, I guess, like beer that hadn’t finished fermenting and turning its sugar into alcohol.
The Draft Beer beans tasted like a sweetened blonde beer. It started off sweet and honeyed, and then took on a little fermented yeastiness. There was no bitter bite to the end, which I appreciated since it is candy, after all.
I’m a cocktail person, not a beer person (surprise, surprise, I have a sweet tooth), so I wouldn’t buy these for myself. They do, however, win points for novelty, and I can think they’d be a fun gift for beer aficionados. An O, just as a matter of personal preference.
Category: Jelly Belly, jelly candy, O, review |
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January 6th, 2014 by Rosa
Lotte’s Koala March are “chocolate crème filled cookies” that can be found in Asian grocery stores in America. I recently got a free box from the folks at MunchPak, along with Koala March competitors Hello Panda (which I will review later).
The pillow-shaped cookies are imprinted with adorable pictures of koalas in various garbs and doing different activities. The biscuit portion was dry, crunchy, and airy, with just the barest hint of sweetness.
Each hollow cookie had chocolate in its center. Though it was depicted as limpid on the package, the chocolate filling wasn’t quite so fluid in reality. Instead, it was softer than solid chocolate but not quite a ganache, and it tasted of lightly semisweet chocolate.
The mix of crunchy plain biscuit and semisweet soft chocolate was quite tasty, and it was fun to look at the different koalas and try to guess what they were doing. Where is the be-suited koala off to, I wonder? An OM.
Though I could do without the silly “trading cards” that were built into the packaging:
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Lotte, OM, review |
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December 16th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramallows last week. I was super excited to think that I’d caught a new product that resembled my beloved See’s Scotchmallows, but it turns out that they were around last year as well.
The long, skinny box described them as “pillowy marshmallow bites with a layer of rich, silky caramel, enrobed in dark chocolate.” There were 10 Caramallows in the box all lined up in a row.
While most were rectangular with a vertical line across them, some were more irregularly shaped. Each had a bottom layer of caramel topped with a square of marshmallow and all covered in a dark chocolate shell.
The Caramallows were far softer than Scotchmallows and squishily yielded to my bite. The dark chocolate shell was quite nice, a high quality chocolate that was lightly sweet with a fruity finish.
The bottom layer of caramel was softy chewy and sticky. It tasted sweetly buttery rather than scorchy or burnt, and it had a mild butterscotchy flavor.
The marshmallow was squishy and foamy in texture. It had a sweetly mild flavor with a light vanilla airiness.
These were tasty enough, but they aren’t a suitable Scotchmallow replacement. The fact that they were so soft throughout made them seem insubstantial compared to Scotchmallows, and Scotchmallows have much more complexity of flavor. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, OM, review, Trader Joe's |
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December 9th, 2013 by Rosa
I recently received a free box of treats from MunchPak (more details on that tomorrow), including this bag of Sour Skittles. They’re not a new addition to the Skittles line-up, but they do now feature green apple instead of lime.
The other flavors were cherry, orange, lemon, and grape – the same flavors of regular Skittles but coated in sour sugar sand. That sour coating was sharply tart and quite piquant, but it disappeared once it dissolved, which only took a few seconds.
Orange and lemon (yellow) were both extremely tart to the start, then mellowed out into sweet citrus flavors. Lemon had some zestiness to it, while orange was more subdued.
Green apple was less sour and quickly gave way to the juicy sweetness of candied green apple flavor. It tasted like apple juice, but a bit more tart.
Cherry was tart at first, then tasted like artificial cherry candy. It wasn’t medicinal, but it still didn’t do much for me since I’m not a red fruit candy person.
Finally, grape started off tart, then tasted just like a juicy grape Popsicle. I usually don’t like grape flavored candies, but the grape Sour Skittle was elevated by the sourness.
The Sour Skittles were more exciting than regular Skittles, and I even liked the Green Apple flavor more than I thought I would (I really liked Lime Skittles!). An OM.
Category: chewy, OM, review, sour, Wrigley's |
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December 6th, 2013 by Rosa
North Carolina has a great chain of drive-thru restaurants, Cook-Out, that feature an elaborate variety of milkshakes. I like Heath bar bits in my Cook-Out milkshakes, so I jumped at the chance to buy these Heath Pieces when I saw them on the shelf.
Heath Pieces are another extension of the Hershey’s Pieces line. For a long time, it was just Reese’s Pieces, but they’ve since added other chocolate bar flavors that I’ve previously reviewed, including York Peppermint Patty Pieces and Almond Joy Pieces.
Heath bars are chocolate and toffee (previously reviewed here), and the Heath Pieces are “milk chocolate and toffee candy in a crunchy shell.” The conveniently resealable bag was full of spherical candies in a trio of fall colors – light brown, dark brown, and golden yellow.
Most of them were M&M shaped, but a few irregular Pieces slipped through the quality control check and came out with funky shells. Those shells were crunchy, as were the bits of toffee within.
The Heath Pieces were quite sweet, with caramel milk chocolate flavors and a scorchy, buttery undertone from the toffee. Some Pieces had larger toffee bits than others, so the chocolate-toffee balance varied from bite to bite. I preferred the toffee heavy bites.
I simultaneously found them too sweet and so sweet that they were a bit addictive and quite poppable. I may buy them again for ice cream mix-ins in the future, so an OM.
Category: chocolate, Hershey's, OM, review, toffee |
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December 2nd, 2013 by Rosa
I love gingerbread and gingerbread cookies. When The Impulsive Buy posted photos of Gingerbread M&M’s and Gingerbread Twix, I went hunting for them both at my local Walmart. Alas, I was only able to find the M&M’s; no Twix.
Though the Gingerbread M&M’s were not explicitly packaged with a “limited edition” tag, Red is wearing a Santa hat, so I’m pretty sure they’re a seasonal thing. They came in classic Christmas colors – red and green – plus brown, for some reason.
The Gingerbread M&M’s were irregularly sized. Most were larger and more rotund than regular M&M’s, so they had a slightly higher chocolate to shell ratio.
I found these to be… interesting… tasting. They tasted of chocolate and spice, but not any identifiable gingerbread spice that I’m used to – no cinnamon or ginger or cloves.
Instead, they tasted kind of muddy and dirty. After I had a few and really let the flavor build, I realized that it tasted like dark molasses. Its muddiness lingered in the finish.
These weren’t horrible, but they fell far from the mark of what I think gingerbread chocolate should taste like. An O.
Category: chocolate, Christmas, limited edition, M&M's, Mars, O, review |
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November 18th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this Ritter Sport Winter Edition Caramelised Almond at Cost Plus World Market, along with last Friday’s Caramel-Orange. I was lucky to nab the last one of these that was on the shelf!
This solid milk chocolate bar was generously embedded with bits of caramelized almonds. Those nuts brought a slightly crystallized crunch to the texture of the snappy chocolate.
Those almonds had a toffee flavor from the caramelized sugar that they were toasted in and brought a strong roasted nuttiness. They paired well with the sweet milk chocolate, making this bar a crunchy, nutty, burnt-sugary, chocolately treat.
I think I would’ve liked this bar a bit more if it had been just a little less sweet. The milk chocolate had a hint of sour tinge and throat burn, but it was mild enough that I could get over it and focus on the great caramelized almond bits. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, nuts, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
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November 15th, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve raved before about how Cost Plus World Market is a fantastic resource for new and unusual candies. I recently visited and found two Winter Edition Ritter Sports by accident – they were shelved far away from the regular Ritter Sports and other chocolates.
In fact, they weren’t really shelved at all; I found them in some sort of remaking displays purgatory.
I got the last Winter Edition Caramelised Almonds (which I’ll cover next week) and one of many Caramel-Orange that were left. Alas, they were out of Coconut Macaroon.
The Caramel-Orange had 16 squares of a milk chocolate sandwiching a golden brown caramel-orange ganache. The filling was thick and grainy and tasted of orange oil with a brown sugary finish. The citrus flavor was intensely fruity and orangey but without any tartness.
I found it a bit too sweet, and its finish took on a bit of a sour tinge. The milk chocolate was sweet as well, which only added to the sweetness of the overall treat.
I’m glad that I tried this, but the orange oil wasn’t enough to bring down the sweetness factor. An O.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, O, review, Ritter Sport |
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November 11th, 2013 by Rosa
The See’s Candies stand has returned to my local mall for the holidays! When I saw it, I had to pick up a few of my favorite Scotchmallows, which are currently available in Christmas tree shapes, and I got this Butterscotch Pecan Bar while I was there.
The bar had a milk chocolate base, a generous layer of butterscotch sugar paste, and a topping of pecan quarters and halves. The butterscotch was the brown sugar and vanilla buttercream from their Butterscotch Square: a little grainy and super brown-sugar sweet.
See’s Butterscotch is the sweetest confection that I still love to eat. I think the brown sugar notes tone down the sweetness and keep it from becoming cloying.
The pecan bits were crunchy and nutty and did a great job balancing out the extreme sweetness of the butterscotch sugar. Finally, the milk chocolate base added a sweet milk chocolate flavor to the finish.
The chocolate was just an afterthought, though. It wasn’t super noticeable in the wake of all the other flavors going on.
The whole treat was like an extra decadent bar of pecan pie, only without crust. And let’s face it, crust just gets in the way of the good stuff. An OM.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review, See's |
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