Archive for the 'Nestle' Category

Wonka Sour Puckerooms Gummies

February 19th, 2010 by Rosa

I bought a bag of Wonka Sour Puckerooms Gummies on sale for just a dollar (along with a $1 bag of their new Sluggles Gummies, which shall be reviewed in the future). I hope the Puckerooms’ on-sale-ness doesn’t mean that they’re on the way out! I found them adorable, creative, and most importantly, tasty!

I love the bright, colorful, slightly psychedelic-hippy-ish packaging on these babies. And I love that, when Wonka chose to make a sour gummy, they thought outside of the cutesy animal box and went with cutesy fungi instead.

The mushrooms come in three shapes and three flavors, but the shapes don’t correspond to a specific flavor. In other words, all three flavors come in all three shapes: a pointy mushroom, and bulbous mushroom, and a mushroom-cloud-y mushroom (aka a bulbous mushroom with a little stretch to the stem).

The Puckerooms are really more sour than sweet – the white sour coating is basically sugar. The chew is soft but also quite sproingy, making them fun to chomp on.

Red is cherry. I expected the somewhat medicinal flavor of artificial cherry. Instead, I found it more reminiscent of Hawaiian Punch.

Purple is grape and tastes of deep purple or black grapes. It’s like grape juice concentrate. I’m usually not a purple-grape candy person, but these were actually enjoyable for me.

Yellow-and-orange is lemon-orange and is by far my favorite. The colors are pretty, and its clear citrus zesty notes brightly sing on the tongue.

You can really only go so far with mass-produced gummies, and I think Wonka’s made it to the pinnacle with their Puckerooms. The shapes are fun and the texture is spot on. My only critique is that I wish there were more flavors. Please? An OM.

Category: gummi/gummy, Nestle, OM, review, sour, Wonka | 6 Comments »

Nestle Yorkie

September 25th, 2009 by Rosa

I often came across Nestle’s Yorkie bars during my summer in England, but I never bought them because they’re “NOT FOR GIRLS!” It wasn’t that I was intimidated by the tagline or the red-slashed purse-toting icon; it was that I believed any candy company misogynistic enough to have such a slogan, even if only tongue-in-cheek, didn’t deserve my business.

I’m just as anti-marketing solely to women (when such marketing is also done stupidly) by the way.

So how did I end up with this bar anyway? My friend Steve visited Economy Candy and was thoughtful and sweet enough to bring me back a goodie bag generously stuffed full of candy deliciousness. This bar was included in the mix.

The bar is pretty basic, just five thick segments (~3/4 inch high) of pure milk chocolate, each stamped with YORKIE in block sans-serif caps. You’d think that a no-girls-allowed bar would have some manly bits, like nuts, mixed in (I’m talking about peanuts and almonds; get your mind out of the gutter). Maybe the manliness lies in the thickness of each chunk. Girls’ jaws must be too delicate to take on that task (keep staying out of that gutter).

The milk chocolate is smooth and creamy, though it’s not as luxuriously thick on the tongue as other slightly more premium bars (such as Ghirardelli or Lindt). But that’s to be expected, as this is really more of a vending machine/checkout aisle grade candy bar.

The chocolate is sweet, with strong caramel notes, and it melts to a lingering sweet finish. I wasn’t surprised by the sugar-bomb nature of the bar, as it smelled powerfully of generic sweetness. It was too sweet for my taste. Still, it wasn’t appalling or anything, so an O.

Just to prove how sweet it was – we had a bit of a mouse problem in my house. Being smart little mice, they found their way into my candy drawer. First, my giant slab of treacle toffee (made of boiled sugar) got gnawed on and had to be trashed (I had been saving it for ages! I so love Walkers’ treacle toffee…). Next they got to a piece of taffy (made of boiled sugar).

And finally, they got into my chocolate stash. Thankfully, they bypassed my hoard of finer chocolates, included a prized Valrhona bar, and instead went straight for the Yorkie, probably due to its high sugar content (don’t worry; I photographed and tasted mouse-free chocolate).

On the plus side, I was able to use the gnawed on Yorkie bits to set a humane mouse trap and managed to catch this adorable little bugger. We had put out a store-bought humane trap – and spent weeks watching the mice dance around it. The Yorkie bar, a piece of cardboard, and a bucket did the trick in about 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, his buddy didn’t fare so well; when the store-bought nice trap didn’t work, I set out a snappy one, also baited with a bit of Yorkie. The above mouse survived because I was too racked with rodent-murdering guilt to put out anymore snap traps.

But if they get into the rest of my Walkers’ toffee stash, I might not be so nice again…

Category: chocolate, European, Nestle, O, received as gift, review | 1 Comment »

Cranberry Raisinets

July 31st, 2009 by Rosa

Nestle‘s Cranberry Raisinets have been making the rounds in the candy review blogosphere lately (check out Candy Blog and Candy Addict). A PR rep sent me some free samples, three 100-calorie packs, to be precise, along with an offer that I think you, dear readers, will appreciate. But we’ll get into that in a bit.

Calling them Cranberry Raisinets seems almost nonsensical, but I can think of linked two reasons why they’re named what they are. Calling them Craisinets would probably lead to all kinds of naming rights battles with Ocean Spray (makers of Craisins), and calling them anything else would lose the brand recognition that Raisinets brings.

That’s why we get so many variations on a theme in the candy world (and the marketing world, really); it’s far more difficult and expensive to launch a new product than it is to tag it onto an existing brand.

Still, I’m not sure exactly how much cachet the Raisinets name brings. I see Raisinets as kind of innocuous candy. Instead of being a love/hate thing, they’re more of a love/would rather eat something else thing.

I remember being a kid and trying to pick around the chocolate-covered raisins in bridge mix and feeling vaguely duped each time I mistook one for a chocolate covered peanut. For me, standard Rasinets are something I don’t buy for myself but that I don’t refuse when offered to me. I also feel the same way about raisins, by the way.

Each 100 calorie pack holds a respectably substantial amount of candy (i.e. much more than is shown in the above photo), and each Cranberry Raisinet has a relatively substantial layer of milk chocolate. It’s super thick and tongue coatingly heavy, which is pleasant, though the chocolate itself is rather one note. I thought it had a lightly sweet berry finish, but that may have been the cranberry rubbing off.

As for the cranberry inside, they were sweetly sour, which makes sense, as they’re sweetened dried cranberries. I would’ve preferred an unsweetened cranberry, as I bet a tarter tang would stand out against the heavy chocolate more (I had the same issue with Emily’s dark chocolate covered cranberries), but that would probably have less mass market appeal.

All in all, I find these an improvement on the Raisinet, thanks to their barely perceptible hint of sour. I prefer Emily’s because they use dark chocolate, but Emily’s is harder to find.

I’m torn whether to give these an O or an OM. While I wouldn’t buy them for candy savoring, I think these would really hit the spot at the movies as a decent, not too bad for you, munchable treat. But I never buy candy at the movies (too overpriced), so an O it is. But a good one!

And now, dear readers, the fun reward part for making it through the review. Nestle’s PR peeps have offered to run a giveaway through ZOMG, Candy! Five randomly selected winners will receive their own Cranberry Raisinet samples. To enter, leave a comment with a working email address and your thoughts on Raisinets or movie theater candy by noon EST on Wednesday, August 5th. U.S. readers only, please, as international shipping is pricey!

Good luck!

Category: chocolate, giveaway, Nestle, O, review | 13 Comments »

Nestle Quality Street – Part II

June 8th, 2009 by Rosa

The remaining 6 of my Nestle Quality Street reviews, continued from Friday. In case you don’t want to click back, “Nestle’s Quality Street is a variety pack of cheapo chocolates that’s pretty ubiquitous in the UK.” Onward!

Orange Chocolate Crunch (bottom left) is a flat disk of orange flavored chocolate with little crunchy bits throughout. A poor knockoff of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange Segsation, if you will. Orange chocolate can go well when it’s made with care and decent ingredients. This has neither.

The Purple One (first row, 3rd from left) is unlabeled to create a sense of mystery, though an asterisk does warn that it may contain nuts. It turned out to be a milk chocolate shell containing a flowing, nearly liquid caramel and a hazelnutty paste. Creative in composition, at least comparatively, but meh with Quality Street’s cost-cutting execution.

At first thought, Vanilla Fudge (top right corner) sounds oxymoronic, but a quick googling reminds me that fudge need not be chocolate flavored. This piece tasted neither of vanilla nor of chocolate fudge. No good.

The Toffee Finger (second row, far left) is the same sticky, jaw-achingly chewy toffee of the toffee penny, just in stick form and covered in a thin layer of milk chocolate. The finger shape does make eating it a bit more manageable, so points for that, but it loses all of those points because of the terrible, barely-even-qualifies-as-chocolate-ness of the coating.

Toffee Deluxe was highlighted on the box as being new. It’s slightly darker than the other toffees and a bit more buttery, more like the Brach’s Milk Maid style of caramels we’re used to in the states.

And finally, the Orange Creme. Oh the orange cream – a bitter dark chocoalte coating over a white, grainy paste that’s “orange” flavored – never again, the orange cream.

It’s laughable how this assortment has the word “quality” in its name, as it’s anything but. It’s not horrible, spit-it-out chocolate, but it is bad, take-one-bite-and-you’re-done chocolate. The chocolate base of everything is just blah and blech. Save your money and go elsewhere. Nestle’s Quality Street has the dubious distinction of earning my very first rating. Congratulations!

Jim from The Chocolate Mission, on the other hand, rather enjoyed these. Maybe it’s a British thing, as there must be a reason why they’re practically in institution there?

Category: --, caramel, chocolate, Nestle, nuts, review, toffee | 4 Comments »

Nestle Quality Street – Part I

June 5th, 2009 by Rosa

Nestle’s Quality Street is a variety pack of cheapo chocolates that’s pretty ubiquitous in the UK. There are 12 different kinds. The back of the box lists them all and asks, “What’s your favourite?” I only have notes on 9 of them (shrug), so we’ll do 3 today and 6 on Monday.

The Toffee Penny (2nd row, furthest right) is a flat, round piece of toffee in a copper wrapper (hence the penny moniker). It’s super sticky, jaw-achingly chewy, and not that exciting, flavorwise. Good toffee, like Walkers, has flavor nuance and complexity. This guy, not so much.

The Caramel Swirl (bottom row, 3rd from left) is a gooey, flowy caramel covered in blah chocolate. I wonder if its nubby shape is meant to evoke a Rollo. I don’t like Rollos much, and I didn’t care for this guy either.

Strawberry Delight (bottom right corner) is a dark chocolate with a terribly artificial cherry flavor. Even though I’m pretty bad at distinguishing between artificial red fruit flavors, I get more cherry medicine bite from this.

So there’s a start. We’ll do the other 6 that I have notes on tomorrow: toffee finger, the purple one (that’s actually what it’s called), orange chocolate crunch, orange creme, toffee deluxe, and vanilla fudge. No rating yet, as I want to keep you in suspense until Monday, but I think you can guess where this is going.

Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, review, toffee | 1 Comment »

Japanese Kit Kats, part II

March 30th, 2009 by Rosa

I’m sure I left y’all on the edge of your computer chairs last Friday when I promised weird Japanese Kit Kat reviews. Here are the remaining three in order of escalating weirdness.

Apple and chocolate aren’t an unheard of combination, but I’ve not enjoyed it in the past. In the Kit Kat iteration, it’s less bad, but it’s still not good.

Visually, it seems just like a normal Kit Kat. Though it smells strongly of Fuji apples, it initially tastes mostly of chocolate. Then the apple comes in. It’s weird and unpleasant and kind of earthy, more like an apple core than an apple. A .

Next up, Muscat grape. Or, more specifically, Muscat of Alexandria. I don’t really know if a Muscat grape is any more special than the white seedless grapes you’d pick up at your local supermarket, and I also don’t know what makes Muscat of Alexandria special enough to warrant its own wikipedia entry. Or its own Kit Kat flavor.

I also don’t know why people thought grape flavored chocolate would be worth making. This bar is white chocolate with a pale green tinge, at once pretty and alien. I think it smells more like lychee than grape, but the taste is white grape all the way through. Would you want to eat grapes and white chocolate in the same bite? I wouldn’t, but I did try this bar, and I didn’t like it. Another .

Finally, the mystery flavored Kit Kat. I don’t know Japanese, but I know some Chinese, and there’s a lot of character overlap. I could make out the characters for “university” on here, which didn’t help at all. I guessed that it was candied sweet potato with black sesame seeds. Cassie had no clue, and my boyfriend thought it may be tofu. We consulted my friend Michael, who lives in Kobe. Turns out I was sort of right; it is sweet potato and sesame.

The “university” part was to signal that it was a limited edition bar, released for exam session when Japanese students test to get into universities. Just goes to show you how candy can teach you about other cultures. Can you imagine an SAT Kit Kat being sold in the U.S.?

This was another white chocolate bar, tinged pale yellow. It was slightly nutty with toastiness that may have come from the wafers. I don’t really get sweet potato, exactly. The white chocolate is the most prominent flavor. Another .

Thanks for the flavor adventure, Cassie! I enjoyed tasting them, even if the flavors weren’t that enjoyable. Guess there’s a reason they’re not widely available outside of Japan. Now, if only I could find a soy sauce flavored Kit Kat

Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Nestle, novelty, received as gift, review | 6 Comments »

Japanese Kit Kats, part I

March 27th, 2009 by Rosa

When my friend Cassie went to Japan for a fun trip with her boyfriend (so jealous, by the way), she offered to bring me back candy. I eagerly requested Kit Kats. Why Kit Kats, a run-of-the-mill candy that’s all over the U.S.? Because the Japanese make about a zillion Kit Kats in strange flavors, and I wanted in. Cassie obliged, for which I am grateful. I’ll review the two normal ones today and make y’all wait until Monday for the weird ones.

Based on the packaging, this bar was either strawberry or strawberries and cream flavored, both pretty standard flavor combinations that go well with chocolate. I’m guessing that it’s strawberries and cream, based on the bar’s lovely, creamy shade of pink. All the boxed Kit Kats Cassie bought came in packs of four fingers separated into two individually sealed packs of pairs. Good for freshness; bad for the environment.

Like all Kit Kats, this was chocolate over crisp wafers. The strawberry was white chocolate that smelled lovely and floral. The strawberry flavor was sweet and genuine, which I appreciated, even though I found it overly sweet. An O from me, but I think others would like it more.

The Kit Kat Cookies that Cassie brought me was just one long, slightly larger finger. After I tasted it, I wished that I had a four pack of them. It was my favorite of the bunch, basically a normal Kit Kat with an extra layer of chocolate cookie.

The milk chocolate was nice and dusky, making me think that Nestle treats the Japanese better by selling them nicer chocolate. While the cookie layer doesn’t add much to the texture, it really deepens the cocoa flavor of the bar. Highly enjoyable and OMG-worthy.

Have a nice weekend, and come back on Monday for the weird flavors!

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Nestle, O, OMG, received as gift, review | 2 Comments »

Butterfinger

December 15th, 2008 by Rosa

Nestle had quite the coup when they enlisted Bart Simpson (and the rest of the Simpsons) to shill their Butterfingers. Everyone knows that nobody better lay a finger on Bart’s Butterfinger. I find that to be a shame, as that’s helped Butterfinger overshadow the similar, but better, 5th Avenue bar (review of that to come on Wednesday).

The Butterfinger’s tagline promises that it is crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery! I actually don’t think the filling tastes much of peanut butter. It’s more of a butterscotch, with a buttery sweetness to it. And while it is crunchy when you bite into it, it’s also quite crumbly. The layers don’t hold up too well, and they get stuck in the nooks of your teeth, where they then harden and become a social faux pas in the making.

The worst part of the Butterfinger was the fake chocolate coating. It was way too sweet, had no cocoa flavor whatsoever, and completely ruined what was already a mediocre bar. An O. And yet, the Butterfinger seems to be doing well enough to have inspired many spin-offs.

PS: Happy birthday, Dad!

Category: chocolate, Nestle, O, peanut butter, review | 1 Comment »

Baby Ruth

December 1st, 2008 by Rosa

The Baby Ruth is one of those unexceptional bars that are always around but rarely noticed. So unexceptional, in fact, that reviews of it are rare in the candy blogosphere. Jim’s got one up on Chocolate Mission, but he’s a UK reviewer and probably doesn’t really know the cultural impact – or lack thereof – of the Baby Ruth in the US.

So why review the bar if it’s so inconsequential? Because with this review, I can fill a need. I’m sure many of you, while browsing the candy aisle or waiting at the checkout counter, would see a Baby Ruth and think, “Gee, I haven’t had one of those in ages. I can’t even remember how they taste. Maybe I should pick one up!” After this review, dear readers, you will know better. You’re not missing anything.

The outer coating of the Baby Ruth is a thin layer of a bland, unexceptional chocolate. I think it’s actually chocolate, but I could be wrong. It doesn’t taste like much at all.

Inside the chocolate is a mix of a bland, caramel-nougat type thing that is heavily studded with whole and half peanuts. The caramel-nougat type thing, like the chocolate, is bland. The peanuts have a good crunch, at least, but not much flavor.

Overall, the Baby Ruth just needs a big dose of oomph in the form of more flavor. More saltiness from the peanuts, more sweetness and burnt sugar notes from the caramel-nougat, and more chocolate taste from the chocolate. As it is, it gets a big goose egg of an O for being so boring.

Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, nougat, nuts, O, review | 3 Comments »

Nestle Smarties

September 24th, 2008 by Rosa

I’d read about Nestle Smarties on candy blogs before (Cybele has a nice Smarties v. M&Ms post, and Candy Addict wrote about them as well), and I’d even eaten a few in lab (before the days of M&Ms colorworks, Smarties were apparently better suited as food rewards), but it wasn’t until I got to England that I finally got to have the full Smarties experience.

If you haven’t realized by now, UK Smarties are a far cry from the Smarties you can buy in the US, which can lead to confusion in candy novices. While US Smarties are compressed sugar candies (I’ve previously reviewed the Giant version), UK Smarties are chocolate candies in a panned sugar shell, like M&Ms.

Nestle Smarties, however, differ from M&Ms in a few key areas. Most importantly, the orange Smarties are lightly flavored. I always save my blue M&Ms for last because they are my favorite, even though I know that M&Ms all taste the same. I just like the blue ones better and have had to defend myself to many a perplexed friend. In the case of Nestle Smarties (which recently brought blue back; they had dropped it when they stopped using artificial coloring but then found a natural blue in cyanobacteria. Yum?), the blue doesn’t actually taste blue. Only the orange one tastes like anything (orange; duh), but at least people can’t say, “But they all taste the same!” about Nestle Smarties.

Nestle Smarties are also thinner, flatter, and more irregularly shaped than M&Ms are. They also have a more muted color scheme, possibly due to their use of natural colorings, and the coloring is less evenly distributed, causing some Smarties to look lightly mottled. Finally, Nestle Smarties have much thicker shells than M&Ms do, which mutes the chocolate flavor a bit.

Smarties, like M&Ms, also come in a mini form. Also like mini M&Ms, they’re a popular ice cream topping. My roommate, who spent her summer in Uganda, brought me a Smarties bar, which is basically the Smarties version of an M-Azing bar – mini-Smarties in Nestle milk chocolate – that was decent for a mass milk bar. Overall, I still prefer M&Ms to chocolate, just because I like the thinner shell, but there was nothing offensive about the Smarties. A solid O.

Category: chocolate, European, Nestle, O, review | 1 Comment »