Archive for the 'brand' Category

Russell Stover Iddy Biddy Bunnies

March 13th, 2013 by Rosa

These Iddy Biddy Bunnies were a seasonal Easter treat from Russell Stover. My 1.7 oz bag advertised 60 pieces and noted that the bunnies on the wrapper were “Actual Size!”

The bag of chocolate smelled sweetly chocolatey, like Hershey’s chocolate syrup. The molded bunnies were, as promised, Iddy Biddy indeed – just under an inch from ear tip to bunny bottom.

Each bunny was solid milk chocolate with a thick, tongue-coating melt that felt creamy and rich. It tasted sweet with notes of dusky caramel and vanilla with a bright finish.

These were a tad sweeter than I usually like my milk chocolate, but I was willing to overlook that because their great texture made up for that. 60 pieces per bag felt like a lot, making these great for snacking. A little lasts for a long time!

These were a fun and tasty Easter treat. You could probably get the same snacking idea with chocolate chips, but something about the little bunny shapes kept me from popping more than one at a time, which is not generally how I snack on chocolate chips. An OM.

Category: chocolate, Easter, OM, review, Russell Stover | 2 Comments »

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels

March 1st, 2013 by Rosa

These chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramels are the last of my weekend Trader Joe’s candy finds. They came in a stand-up bag with a resealable zipper top.

The description on the back was loquacious: “intense and creamy, deeply flavored butterscotch caramels are tinged with sea salt and enrobed in dark, slightly bitter chocolate to offset the sweetness. That about says it all.”

The caramels were of the shiny, panned spherical variety, similar to Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels. The dark chocolate component was divine – fruitily sweet with a dusky bittersweet finish.

The caramel centers definitely tasted of butterscotch, with butterscotch’s distinctive sour tinge to the caramel sweetness. The caramel’s sweetness finished with a salty hit.

I thought the caramel centers were too sweet on their own, but when chewed together with the dusky chocolate shells, they became perfectly balanced to create an addictively chewy sweet and slightly sour and salty treat. An OM.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, review, Trader Joe's | No Comments »

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

February 27th, 2013 by Rosa

I had been eyeing these trapezoid-shaped boxed of chocolate-covered marshmallows at Whole Foods, but I’d never pulled the trigger. When I spotted a similarly shaped box of dark chocolate covered marshmallows at Trader Joe’s but for a dollar less than Whole Foods’s version, it was enough for me to add the box to my cart.

The box promised “light and fluffy marshmallows drenched in smooth, dark chocolate.” The marshmallows were boulder-shaped domes (not the flat squares depicted on the Whole Foods box).

They smelled sweet and a bit earthy from the chocolate. There was just a thin layer of that dark chocolate, and it cracked when I bit into it.

It tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with a flavor that I found reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. There was also a light graininess to its melt.

The marshmallow centers were foamy with an intense squishiness and a decent chewiness. Their sweetness was bright and had a hint of golden syrup‘s amber sweetness to it.

The dark chocolate covered marshmallows were a tad too sweet for my taste. Other than that, they were decent but on the boring side, and I have no desire to buy more or even finish the rest of my box. An O.

Category: chocolate, marshmallow, O, Trader Joe's | 2 Comments »

Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

February 25th, 2013 by Rosa

I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, so this week will be all about some new candies I spotted there. We’ll start with the PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar, which Trader Joe’s has smartly positioned as a $1 impulse buy at the cash register.

After Hammond’s PB&J Sandwich bar took a top prize at last year’s Sweets and Snacks, it seemed logical that the trend would eventually trickle down to Trader Joe’s. I’m fairly sure the Trader Joe’s was not an unbranded version of Hammond’s take, as the two bars looked and tasted quite different.

The 1.75oz bar was subdivided into 6 segments that readily broke to reveal a thin sliver of peanut butter that ran through the segment divisions. The jelly component was a red/purple translucent gel that sat on top of the peanut butter layer in the segments themselves.

That goo tasted brightly fruity with a slightly seedy finish. I noticed that seediness because the wrapper promised raspberry jelly, but I’m not sure if I would have noticed that it wasn’t a standard grape jelly.

The peanut butter was perfectly smooth on the tongue and tasted nicely roasty and nutty with a salty hit to the finish. I would guess that it was the same peanut butter from the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles, though who can be sure since Trader Joe’s sources their wares from all over the place.

The chocolate was fine but unexceptional. I didn’t really notice its contribution much, as the peanut butter was the dominant flavor here.

This bar was okay, but I wasn’t super wowed by any aspect of it, and I wouldn’t bother to buy it again. If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan, your mileage may vary, and Cybele gave it an 8/10. I give it an O.

Category: chocolate, O, review, Trader Joe's | No Comments »

Hi Chew Fanta – Orange and Grape

February 22nd, 2013 by Rosa

These Hi Chew Fantas were purchased at an Asian grocery store in my hometown. I think this is the first time that Hi Chew has partnered with another brand for their chews.

From the outside, the Hi Chew Fantas looked like standard Hi Chew fare – rectangular prisms of a colored center enveloped in an off-white shell. The Hi Chews carried a surprise, however, as the stiffly sproingy chews were embedded with bits of crunchy, compressed sugar candy that added a subtle fizzy effervescence.

Orange was tart with an undertone of zesty orange flavor that mellowed as the chew progressed and the crunchy candy bits disappeared. It did a pretty good job of capturing the flavor of orange soda, though it tasted less artificial than its soda counterpart.

Grape, too, started out sour and then mellowed out as I chewed it. It didn’t taste like real grapes, but it also didn’t taste quite like grape soda, as it was more floral and rotund.

These Hi Chews were a fun twist on the original. I enjoyed the added fizziness of the candy bits, and the flavors, as usual, were bright and intense. I hope they add more Fanta flavors to the line. An OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, Morinaga, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Hedonist Salted Caramels FTW!

February 11th, 2013 by Rosa

If y’all follow me on Twitter (plug plug plug), you already know that I’ve been bragging about Hedonist Chocolates lately. They’re a small business chocolatier in Rochester, NY, where I used to live, and they turn out many delicious confections, including a ZOMG!-worthy set of chocolate-covered salted caramels.

I love those caramels. I bought a box last year when I was back in Rochester for a visit, and they’re my go-to gift when I need to send something nice to someone who lives far away. Considering all the free candy that I get, you know something’s good when I put my money where my mouth wants to be.

Last week, the NY Times named Hedonist’s Salted Caramels one of the 10-best chocolate-covered caramels in the U.S.!! And gave them the first slot in their graphic.

I’m quite excited for Hedonist, as such high praise is certainly well deserved. On the more selfish side, I’m also pleased that some culinary heavy-hitters corroborated my impression of the caramels.

Hedonist was kept busy busy filling all the orders they received after the Times piece ran. It’s now likely too late to get these caramels in time for Valentine’s Day (unless you live in Rochester), but do yourself a favor and get some anyway. You won’t regret it!

Category: Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, news | No Comments »

Japanese Kit Kats – Kyoto Yatsuhashi

February 8th, 2013 by Rosa

This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time. I’m closing out the week with a review of a Japanese Kit Kat that is a Kyoto speciality – it’s Yatsuhashi flavored!

What is Yatsuhashi, you ask? Wikipedia to the rescue! Apparently, it’s a famous regional dessert of Kyoto that’s made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon.

The Yatsuhashi Kit Kat had classic Kit Kat‘s flaky, crisp wafers but was covered with a crumbling white coating. Alas, the coating was falling to pieces by the time the Kit Kats got to me, so I wasn’t able to get a good glamour shot.

Nana and Justin and others have sent me Japanese Kit Kats for review that all arrived in pristine shape, so I think the disintegration was due to the fact that the coating was frosting-like, whereas other coatings have been chocolate-based. Still, though it didn’t look that great, it tasted awesome!

The white coating melted mostly smoothly on my tongue and tasted like vanilla frosting made from fresh cream. Every once in a while, I hit a crunch from a grain of granulated sugar. The whole thing was topped off by a sweet cinnamon kiss that floated above the sweet and crunchy confection.

It sorted of reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a crunchy Snickerdoodle, except that the vanilla frosting coating had a dairy freshness to it that made it even better. Yet again, I must lament that the Kit Kat flavors available to us in the U.S. are pretty lamely tame in comparison to what’s available in Japan. An OM.

For alternative takes, check out Eataku’s review (which clued me in on the proper name for this treat) or Jim’s Chocolate Mission (which helped confirm that I had the right name for these guys).

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), cookie, Nestle, OM, review | 2 Comments »

Lotte Sasha Chocolate – Matcha

February 1st, 2013 by Rosa

This box of Lotte Sasha Chocolate is the last of my Asian goodies from Emma and Jason. No worries if you want to read more Asian candy reviews here – I’ve still got a few more Japanese treats from Nana and Justin to write up.

A quick googling shows that Sasha Chocolate refers to the unique and pretty way Lotte’s chosen to package this chocolate. My box had 16 individually wrapped rectangles made of wavy chocolate stripes of green, brown, and white.

I’m only guessing that these are matcha flavored. I recognized the character for tea on the box, and they’ve got that distinctive pea green color of matcha. Plus they’re from Japan, so matcha seems like a good educated guess.

I could feel the individual threads of chocolate break when I bit into the chocolate, though the rectangle broke as a whole with a sharp solid snap. It had a smooth and creamy melt. The texture was somewhat thick, but it didn’t linger and coat my tongue like some extra thick milk chocolates do.

The chocolate flavor was quite pleasant – lightly sweet with fruity overtones that hit high notes against the milk chocolate undertones. The finish had a hint of lightly bitter herbal grassiness, which was the only clue that it was tea flavored chocolate.

I liked these more than I thought I would. I haven’t liked matcha-flavored chocolates in the past, but these won me over because they went easy on the matcha and were easy on the eyes. An OM.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, Lotte, OM, received as gift, review | 5 Comments »

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

January 30th, 2013 by Rosa

Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I end up spending more money than I mean to. They’re just so good at suckering me into making impulse buys, like this bag of their Dark Chocolate Honey Mints.

The bag was cutely decorated with drawings of bees and beehives. It also boasted that the Honey Mints had just three ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor, and oil of peppermint (and the potential for traces of milk as an allergen warning).

My 7 oz bag had 20 Honey Mints disks inside, each individually wrapped in shiny turquoise foil. They all smelled strongly minty with a sweet undertone.

Each disk was about an inch and a half in diameter. They had a lightly golden peppermint fondant center covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate.

The smooth fondant was effervescent and minty throughout. It started off with a bright burst of initial sweetness and finished with a slightly bitter astringency from the chocolate.

I think this treat could have benefitted from a little tweaking to that chocolate. It was slightly gritty, and the astringency was off-putting when I ate the Honey Mints slowly enough to notice it. A little cocoa butter in addition to the cocoa liquor would have helped with the texture.

Still, Trader Joe’s should be commended for a minimalist, fairly tasty treat that provides a less processed alternative to York Peppermint Patties (in which corn syrup is a big player). An OM.

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

Perugina’s Baci White

January 28th, 2013 by Rosa

Baci’s big push at Sweets and Snacks 2012 was to promote their new Bacis Whites, which is how I got these free samples. They were basically a white chocolate-covered version of their regular Bacis, which I’ve previously reviewed.

Regular Baci come wrapped in thick white foil with blue stars, while the Baci White were wrapped in thick blue foil with white stars. A bit counterintuitive that the Baci White came in blue, but oh well.

The Baci White was a dome of gianduja paste, which was made of a dry chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts. The whole thing was topped with a whole roasted hazelnut and then covered in a creamy white chocolate.

That white chocolate made for a sweeter Baci experience, as it tasted of frosting with vanilla undertones. It was definitely a high quality white chocolate, with a nicely round flavor, but I found it to be too sweet.

The treat was sweet and crunchy and nutty. I loved the roasted nutty experience, but I found that I preferred the regular Baci, which were less sweet and more chocolatey than the White version. An O.

Category: chocolate, European, nuts, O, Perugina, review, white chocolate | No Comments »