Archive for the 'holiday' Category

Chocolove Holiday Fruits and Nuts in Dark Chocolate

March 22nd, 2010 by Rosa

I bought this Chocolove Holiday bar on sale in January. Thus I think that it’s safe to assume that “holiday” is PC for Christmas. It’s described on the back as follows: “Sweet currants, tart cherries, zesty orange and spicy ginger compliment a mix of crunchy pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts enrobed in dark chocolate… This classic combination is inspired by a popular holiday chocolate in France known as mendiant.”

The chocolate itself was very mild. At 55%, it was nicely shiny and snappy and had a smooth texture and taste. It wasn’t very distinctive, but it served as a great foil for the bar’s mix-ins.

The pecans and walnut bits add a light nuttiness and textural contrast. The hazelnuts are wonderful – the best nuts of the bunch. Their distinctive nuttiness floats above the chocolate flavors.

The currants and cherries were also great – little chewy bits of sweet and tartness that brightened the bar. I think I only got a few errant pieces of ginger, and I only think I did because they were quite candied and had lost their ginger flavor.

The orange zest was my favorite add-in. It was bright and tart and citrusy and paired amazingly with the chocolate.

The fruits and nuts really made this bar. I wish the chocolate had a bit more depth and complexity instead of taking a backseat to all the additions, but it still made for a tasty combination that kept me popping more squares. An OM.

Category: chocolate, Chocolove, Christmas, limited edition, nuts, OM, review | 2 Comments »

SweeTarts Hearts Gummis

March 3rd, 2010 by Rosa

When I was a kid, SweeTarts were my favorite non-chocolate candy. I loved them in the big coin-sized rolls; in the smaller, Smartie-like rolls; and, of course, in the little paper sleeves of 3 SweeTarts each that are still ubiquitous players in Halloween and Kiddie mixes.

It somehow totally escaped my notice that my favorite brand of compressed sugar candies has since been expanded to include gummies. I picked up a bag of heart-shaped SweeTart gummies in a post-Valentine’s Day sale.

The gummies came in classic SweeTart shades of purple, pink and purple+pink. It was two hearts melding to form one. D’awww/gag. While the shapes weren’t nearly as creative as other gummies in the Wonka line, they were cute and served their Valentine’s Day role well.

The chew was firm but not stiff. In other words, they didn’t immediately yield to my bite, but they didn’t put up much fuss either. Tiny grains of superfine sugar coated the gummies, adding a bit of textural grain (while also creating a mess when I spilled the bag).

To me, the two colors tasted the same: super grapey, with dark tannins. They tasted almost exactly like purple SweeTarts, except perhaps a tad sweeter and thus rounder.

I’d like to see them in a wider array of flavors, as a whole bag of identically themed gummies gets boring after a while. Still, I managed to snack through the ~70 gummi bag on my own, though it took a couple of weeks and quite a few episodes of House. An O.

Category: gummi/gummy, Nestle, O, review, Valentine's Day, Wonka | No Comments »

Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans

January 20th, 2010 by Rosa

I was just in Target this past weekend and saw that they already had an endcap of Easter candy on display. It’s still January! Ridiculous as that was, it at least served the purpose of reminding me that I’ve been sitting on some jelly bean tasting notes from last Easter-ish (ish because I bought them after Easter. I love post-holiday candy sales!)

There’s nothing on the packaging of Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans to indicate that they’re holiday-specific. I think I caught them on sale post-Easter, though, so I’m not sure if these guys are available year-round. They’re made by Brach’s, and they boast of containing loads of vitamin C and real fruit juice.

I find the real fruit juice/pectin claim amusing, as they come in colors that are definitely not found in nature. “Hawaiian Punch” (dark red) has a deep artificial red candy flavor. I can’t remember what Hawaiian Punch the drink tastes like, but I imagine it’s similar to that.

“Fruity Juicy Red” (pinkish red, I think) just tastes generically of red hard candy, while “Green Berry Rush” (kiwi green in the back) tastes mutedly of green apple.


“Berry Blue Typhoon” (psychedelic blue) tastes of gnarly artificial blue raspberry flavors. “Lemon Berry Squeeze” (not pictured but probably yellow) had a sweet and tart lemon flavor with a cherry finish.

“Mango Passionfruit Squeeze”  (yellow-orange with orange speckles; the prettiest ones, I think) had a decently authentic mango finish to the flavor, with that slight seediness that you get as you eat closer to the pit. Finally, “Orange Ocean” (orange) just tasted sweetly of muted citrus.

While there was nothing wrong about these guys, per se, I found them generically sweet with flavors that were too weak to hold up in the strong Easter jelly bean market (check out a 2008 round-up from Candy Addict; Cybele from Candy Blog has also reviewed loads of them).

Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans get an O, with the caveat that it looks like they may have been reformulated since I bought them – Candy Warehouse has a photo of them with far more speckles than mine had – so they may taste different now.

Category: Brach's, Easter, jelly candy, O, review | No Comments »

Halloween Party Ideas From Serious Eats

October 27th, 2009 by Rosa

Via Serious Eats, an adorably photo-graphed recipe for homemade candy corn. If you start now, you’ll just make it in time for Halloween!

Also via Serious Eats, a method for making chocolate balloon bowls. Great for putting out candy – like homemade candy corn – at a Halloween party.

Category: Halloween, news | No Comments »

Peeps – Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Cats

October 26th, 2009 by Rosa

Yet another treat from my NCA Halloween goodie bag: Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Cat Peeps! I write about Peeps a lot, but I’ve never actually formally reviewed them. I feel like they’re a candy that’s so ubiquitous that people already know all about them.

I decided to give these guys a review – if a short one. They not only look different from the standard chick/bunny peeps but also taste different as well.

Chocolate mousse is a good moniker for these. They look like it, taste of it, and even share a similar fluffiness.

They’re basically soft, fluffy, cocoa powder flavored marshmallows coated in fine granulated sugar. They have a sweet finish, but they’re Peeps; they’re supposed to be sweet!

Nothing extraordinary, but fun! Worth a try if you’re a Peeps or marshmallow fan, and definitely helpful for future Peeps dioramas. An O.

Category: chocolate, Halloween, Just Born, marshmallow, O, review | 3 Comments »

Bat Dots

October 21st, 2009 by Rosa

Bats!! I have an affinity for bats. They’re a special tourist attraction in my hometown of Austin, for starters. And last year, a bat once somehow made its way into my New Haven apartment on the last day of Thanksgiving break. My now boyfriend (then just a friend) made fun of me for completely freaking out about it giving me rabies.

Later that night, he got a call from home – his mother had found a dead bat in his bed, and he may or may not have been sleeping with it all Thanksgiving break. He ended up needing rabies shots, just in case. How’s that for karma?

Anywho, on to the candy! These Bat Dots are a Halloween special. They’re blood orange flavored (vampire bats!). I LOVE the little orange smiled, juice-dripping, winged Dot on the box.

Sadly, the actual candy isn’t nearly as adorable. But it is delicious! And it is as black as it looks on the box. I love the color. I can see parents totally taking advantage of this to not have to share with their kids by pretending that they’re licorice.

They’re soft and slightly sticky. Though they give instantly when bitten into, they have a nagging tendency to sometimes stick to the crannies of my teeth. But I should expect that; normal Dots do that too.

It’s sweet with a round citrus flavor. It’s wonderful, spot-on orange. There’s no citrus tang or tartness, but it’s still clear that it’s citrus. I found these super addictive and kept popping them. I wish these were available year-round, and I’ve got to buy these up before Halloween is over! The dilemma – to buy them now or hope they’re not sold out and go on sale after the holiday?

An OMG. You can check out Cybele and Sera‘s take on these and the rest of Dots’ Halloween line.

Category: Halloween, jelly candy, OMG, review, Tootsie Roll | 2 Comments »

Dove Promises – Dark Chocolate, Almond Dark Chocolate, Tiramisu, and Blackberry Caramel

February 6th, 2009 by Rosa

About a month ago, I gave two types of Dove chocolates, their Dark Chocolate Promises and their Dark Chocolate Mint Flavored Caramel Promises, a bad review. They were mailed to me as a contest prize, and they showed up bloomed and sub-par. Well, Dove saw my review and asked if I would give them a second chance if they mailed me more chocolates. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me, and as before, I was happy to give the offending chocolate another try. Dove sent me a generous box of samples that included several of their Promises line, and it all arrived in pristine, unbloomed condition.

First up, another shot at their Dark Chocolate Promises. This time, I got a much larger bag that arrived in fine shape. The individually foil-wrapped bite-sized chocolates had a lovely melt that was thick and creamy. It had a dusky finish with slightly dry overtones, making it solid, affordable, and portion-controlled snacking chocolate. An OM.

Dove also sent along a big bag of their Almond Dark Chocolate Promises that were packaged for Valentine’s Day. The Promises were heart shaped and wrapped in gold and pink heart-printed foil, and the messages inside these were more romantically themed than their usual inspirational fare. The pieces of almond inside were tiny, which I appreciated, as it meant they were too small to get stuck in between your teeth. The Dove dark chocolate was the same as in the Dark Chocolate Promise, and it paired nicely with the nutty, roasted almond flavor, earning them an OM.

Dove also sent along their Tiramisu Promises (at my request) and their Blackberry Caramel Promises (a nice surprise, not at my request). As you can see from above, both are square dark chocolates with a gooey caramel inside. The caramel of the Tiramisu had a strong coffee liqueur flavor that was quite tasty, if a tad on the sweet side. An OM.

The caramel of the Blackberry Caramel (possibly packaged for Valentine’s Day? It seems strange that it would always be patterned with hearts) had an overarching bright sweetness to it that tasted a bit seedy and a bit artificial. This wasn’t for me and only gets an O.

Dove’s Promises can’t compete with the high end truffle makers that charge upwards of $50 a pound, but they definitely hold their own against the usual riff-raff that clogs the seasonal aisle of the supermarket around Valentine’s Day. They’re a solid buy and quite worth their pricetag (especially when they’re free).

Category: caramel, chocolate, Dove, Mars, nuts, O, OM, review, Valentine's Day | 2 Comments »

Len Libby Chocolates

July 11th, 2008 by Rosa

Back in March, over spring break, a few friends and I visited Len Libby while we were in Maine. Because it’s not every day you’re within driving distance of a life-size chocolate moose. Meet Lenny (and a mama bear and her cub made from solid dark chocolate):

Though we’d dropped in just to see Lenny, and though I’d just tasted my chocolate fill at Haven’s Candies, I couldn’t leave one of Maine’s main chocolate stores without buying something. I walked out with a few chocolate eggs (remember, the visit was just before Easter) and two chocolates.

The right chocolate was (I think) a molasses chew. The nougaty filling was a bit on the stiff side, but that may have been due to the cold weather. Flavorwise, the chew was unexpectedly dark, with liqueur/rum notes and a light fruitiness. An OM.

The left chocolate was also some sort of chewy nougat thing, the name of which I can no longer remember because I didn’t bother to write it down. Oops. But it wasn’t that interesting. It was softer than the molasses chew with berry notes. An O.

I realize that reviews of seasonal Easter chocolate isn’t very helpful in July, but I’m pretty sure Len Libby makes non-egg versions of these chocolates. By the way, Len Libby sells a wide assortment of chocolate eggs; I just picked out three to buy and took tasting notes on two (the milk peanut butter wasn’t especially interesting).

I picked the milk and caramel marshmallow (right most, unwrapped) because I hoped it would be like the See’s Scotchmallow that I love so much. Sadly, it couldn’t compare. The sweetness of the milk chocolate overpowered everything. An O.

I chose the dark chocolate and coconut (bottom left) with trepidation. I’ve never liked Almond Joys or Mounds bars, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this. Surprise! It was delicious. The nutty coconut flavor was fresh and paired wonderfully with the dark chocolate. And, unlike in lesser chocolate/coconut bars, the coconut was a smooth paste without that fake graininess that I can’t stand. An OMG.

So, Len Libbey is worth a visit if you’re in the area. If I remember correctly, they had free samples out; I was just too full from Haven’s to take advantage of them.

Category: caramel, chocolate, coconut, Easter, holiday, marshmallow, nougat, O, OM, OMG, review | No Comments »

Giant Chewy Nerds

May 23rd, 2008 by Rosa

This Easter, Nestle/Wonka introduced a new jelly bean: Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans. The candy blog world pretty much raved about them (Candy Blog and Candy Addict were just two who gave them high marks). When I picked up a couple of bags in post-Easter sale season, I loved them too, but because they had already been so written about, I saw no need to add my voice to the chorus.

Until now, that is. Easter is all about rebirth – resurrection from a religious standpoint, spring and green things and baby animals from a non-religious perspective – and, fortunately for candy lovers, Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans have been reborn as Giant Chewy Nerds (for the record, the Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans I bought; the Giant Chewy Nerds were sent to me from Nestle). The Giant Chewy Nerds packaging may not be as cute without the bunny eared Nerds characters, but the candy itself is the same and just as addictive.

As Candy Addict Blog noted, these are ridiculously addictive. They have a soft jellybean inside covered with a thin, hard, bumpy, crumbly flavored Nerds shell. I really think it’s the textural contrast between the crunchy shell and the chewy inside that make these so darn hard to stop popping in your mouth.

Pink is strawberry, a sweet and fruity/floral flavor with a lightly sour tinge. Grape is artificial, grape-soda niceness. Green I thought was green apple (Candy Addict says its watermelon), which I found to be the weakest of the bunch. Too much sugary sweetness, not enough tart, fruity flavor. Orange was tart and tangy and orangey and delightful. The yellow lemon is my favorite of the bunch, a strong and bright lemon juice flavor that’s not at all floor-cleaner artificial.

These get an OMG from me. I personally think they could go even more sour or a little less sweet, but they’re deliciously addictive as is. While I’m glad that they’re back, I don’t think I would buy them again for purely selfish, lack of self-control issues, as it frightens me how quickly I can chomp through a bag of these. And then I feel ill and guilty. Incidentally, the sales rep who sent me these also included a bunch of SweeTarts in the package because she’d read about how I loved them. I have the same issue with SweeTarts in that I’ll eat too many at once and then will feel sick.

Category: chewy, Easter, Nestle, OMG, review, Wonka | 11 Comments »

Candy Backlog #1: Russell Stover Halloween chocolates

January 7th, 2008 by Rosa

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (why wait until January 1st to change your life for the better?), but I’ll still take advantage of 2008 to clear out some old candy reviews to make room for all my new ones. These guys are from Halloween (oops), but I think the reviews will still be useful, as Russell Stover will just remold and repackage these for Christmas (trees, nutcrackers), Valentines (hearts), and Easter (eggs).

Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin

When they say orange, they mean orange. The innards are unnaturally brightly orange, almost highlighter-like in its fluorescence. The marshmallow is nice, fluffy, and foamy, the way I think marshmallow in chocolate should be, but it has a weirdly artificial, almost medicinal taste. An O.

Strawberry Cream Pumpkin

Unlike the orange marshmallow and the caramel & marshmallow pumpkins, the outside of this pumpkin was completely smooth instead of being textured. Perhaps it needs the thicker chocolate shell because it contains cream instead of marshmallow. Unfortunate, the milk chocolate shell was too sweet, and Russell Stover chocolate isn’t that great. With such a thick layer of chocolate coating, you can really taste its inferiority.

As you can see, the strawberry cream looks just like marshmallow. It’s light and fluffy but not foamy. Therein lies the dividing line between marshmallow and cream, I guess. Flavorwise, the strawberry was light and unremarkable. Another O.

Peanut Butter Ghost

Again, I’d like to point out how the color orange has come to be associated with peanut butter thanks to Reese’s marketing. The Russell Stover packaging is cute enough, even if I think the chocolate inside looks more like a nun than a ghost.

Usually I don’t like it when peanut butter overwhelms the chocolate it’s accompanying, but it works in this case because, quite frankly, I find Russell Stover chocolate (at least the kind they use to cover their regular cheap eats) to be boring. Consequently, it was great that this bar tasted strongly of peanut butter. The filling was pretty nice and had a super nutty finish. Its texture was quite smooth, without the crumbly grit of the peanut butter you’d find in a Reese’s. I do wish it were a little saltier.

An O, though I liked this one much more than the pumpkins it shares a review page with. I think it would warrant an OM when it’s on sale post-holidays.

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