Archive for the '–' Category

Oishi Hard Candies

August 21st, 2013 by Rosa

I bought these Oishi Hard Candies while I was in China (I did more than just hug pandas there!). I don’t know the package says – I’m functionally illiterate in Chinese, so only recognize the character for fruit in the description – but I did manage to find them listed on the Oishi website, where they were just called Hard Candy .

The individually wrapped hard candies came in five flavors: cool lychee, orange, lemon mint, mint, and grape. From the Oishi website, it seems like they sell those flavors individually as well.

Cool Lychee (red wrapper; white candy) was a strange flavor. It was sweet to start, then took on a very genuine lychee flavor. I could even taste the slight edge of bitterness that lychees get near the pit.

Unfortunately, the wonderful lychee flavor was soon marred by a methol minty finish. I guess that was the cool part. For me, the coolness ruined the candy.

Orange (orange wrapper and candy) was brightly sweet with a zesty citrus flavor. It was a good, if standard, orange candy flavor, and thankfully no mintiness.

Lemon Mint (yellow and yellow) started off sugar sweet. The slight lemon flavor was mild and slow to appear. Instead, it mostly tasted of menthol and made me think of cough drops. Blech.

Mint (blue wrapper and white candy) was a mentholy peppermint. Not my thing.

Finally grape (purple and purple) was sweet and slightly tart with a tannic, red grape edge and no mintiness. It was quite unlike American grape candies, which taste super artificial. Oishi’s take tasted like an actual grape.

I liked the grape, and the orange was fine, if standard. They get Os. The minty fruity hard candies, on the other hand, were too medicinal and/or weird for me and get a .

Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, O, review | Comments Off

Klondike, the Candy – Mint Chocolate Chip

July 31st, 2013 by Rosa

On Monday, I reviewed the new Klondike Caramel candy. Today, I’ll cover the other flavor that it comes in, Mint Chocolate Chip. Both flavors were free samples that I talked my way into at the Sweets and Snacks Expo back in May.

The Mint Chocolate Chip was described as “mint chocolate chip center covered in a dark chocolate flavored coating.” Like the Caramel, “chocolate flavored” coating means that the coating features palm kernel oil rather than cocoa butter, making it mockolate rather than real chocolate.

Semisweet chocolate, however, was next on the ingredient list after palm kernel oil. My guess is that the chocolate bits inside the mint chocolate chip filling are real. Honestly, why not just go real chocolate all the way?

The Mint Chocolate Chip Klondike candies didn’t travel as well as their caramel brethren. They got a bit squashed because their filling was softer.

That filling was an unnaturally bright shade of green – as you’d expect for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream! The texture was like a fondant. It was very thick and solid, yet gave instantly when bitten into and melted in my mouth like buttercream frosting.

It was quite pepperminty and tasted so sweet that it burned my throat but also had a slightly bitter aftertaste. The chocolate bits inside the filling were few and far between (note how they’re missing in that cross section), and any true chocolate flavor they could have brought was pretty effectively masked by the intensity of the mint.

I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, but I didn’t particularly care for these. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the filling, and I found the whole thing far too sweet. An .

 

Category: --, chocolate, mint, mockolate, review | Comments Off

Guest post: Hema Caramel & Biscuit Candybar Mini

May 6th, 2013 by Neil

Here’s another guest post from ex-pat friend Neil! ~Rosa

A staple of Dutch towns is the HEMA department store. I dither on its American equivalent. K-Mart? Target? Everything there is their own brand, from clothing to sausage to the carpet cleaner.

Often, when you ask a Dutch person “Where would I buy a…”, the answer is “HEMA”. I discovered recently that they have candies I’m curious about. To that end, I bought a huge bag of mini caramel & biscuit bars.

Each bar is about 3 inches long. The form is your basic, chocolate-covered candy bar. It turns out it is tough to cleanly eat these.

[Note from Rosa: Do these individually wrapped chocolate bars remind anyone else of wrapped tampons?]

The chocolate flakes fall, the biscuit crumbs drop, and the caramel threads stretch. This mess is the least of the bar’s issues.

The chocolate taste simultaneously involves acidity and salt. The caramel falls flat, flavorwise. And the biscuit is there for just texture, it seems.

My officemate may have put it best when saying that this is trying to be a Twix, and failing miserably. They’ve become an office snack for when I’m desperate for sugar but not discriminating on any other level. These rate a .

Category: --, caramel, chocolate, cookie, European, guest post, review | 2 Comments »

Jelly Belly Pea & Carrots

March 15th, 2013 by Rosa

I’m not sure if these Peas & Carrots mellocreme candies from Jelly Belly are a seasonal Easter treat or not. My little bag was bought at the dollar store, where it was shelved with other Jelly Belly treats. Still, peas and carrots nicely fit in with springtime and bunnies, so it would make a good Easter candy.

Most people probably know mellocreme from candy corn. The peas and carrots had the same grainy, chewy-squishy texture of candy corn, but the flavors were very different.

The orange sherbet flavored carrot cylinders were shaped like Mike & Ikes. They started off tasting like orange sherbet or an orange creamsicle, with a slight orange flavor and a strong dairy component. The finish was a little plasticky/waxy.

The peas were supposed to be green apple flavored and did a pretty spot on job of looking like real peas. They carried just the faintest whiff of artificial green apple flavor – I thought they tasted mostly really off-puttingly medicinal.

While these were a cute idea and fun to play around with, I was not a fan of how they tasted. The fruity flavors were a little off, and the downsides of mellocreme (its weird waxiness and finish) were harder to hide behind such mild flavors. A .

Cybele from Candy Blog reviewed them a year ago, if you want a second opinion.

 

Category: --, Easter, Jelly Belly, review | 1 Comment »

Vidal Sour Rainbow Pencils

December 12th, 2012 by Rosa

Vidal Candies had a colorful booth at Sweets and Snacks full of all kinds of non-chocolate treats. It looked like they carried candies that are more commonly seen abroad than in the U.S., like these Sour Rainbow Pencils that they gave me as free samples.

I ate tons and tons of filled licorice pencils in my summer abroad in England because they’re delicious! They’re tubes of fruity licorice filled with a sweet fondant.

In the case of these Sour Rainbow Pencils, the fruity licorice was comprised of four colors that reminded me of the Chrome logo: bold red, yellow, green and blue. The pencils were covered in a bracingly tart sour sugar.

The pencil as a whole tasted brightly sweet, all artificial fruitiness. The fondant that ran down the center (like graphite in a real pencil) was sweet and grainy with a bit of a squishy chew as it dissolved. It oozed out of the licorice as I chewed it.

And chewed it. And chewed it. The fruit licorice had a chew that was tough and plasticky. I was left with a shell long after the fondant disappeared.

My ideal licorice pencils have a soft, lightly rubbery chew that puts up a little resistance but soon yields. The durable plastic texture of these guys was really off-putting for me, and the pleasant fondant center wasn’t enough to counteract that effect. A .

 

Category: --, coconut, licorice, review | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Meiji Fruit Gummies Part II

October 19th, 2012 by CamNMere

I was at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans earlier this week, so I’m turning things over to some globe-trotting friends. Cameron and Meredith are former roommates of mine (we did lots of chocolate truffle tastings together), and they’re writing about some treats they bought on a recent trip through Japan. ~Rosa

Here’s the rest of the Meiji Gummies first covered on Wednesday.

Strawberry!

Cameron: A bit firmer than the rest, but unfortunately the bog-standard strawberry flavor that you get from any mass-produced strawberry gummy – it tastes like cheap jam. I’m not totally opposed to it, and perhaps it’s better for a mass market product like this to go with the de facto standard, but it certainly isn’t an innovative or unique take on the flavor. O

Meredith: I have a problem with a lot of strawberry-flavored candy: I can’t stand peanut butter, and apparently over the years I’ve picked up an PBJ-mediated distaste for certain mass-produced strawberry jam flavors too.

I like fresh strawberries and some strawberry-flavored products (again, Hi-Chew comes to mind), but this sort of mass-produced strawberry jam flavor is seriously offputting to me.  This strawberry gum actually had a peanut butter aftertaste for me that is almost certainly illusory, so I have to give it a highly subjective .

And finally, the odd one out – the white grape flavor, from the Pupurun line. (Which has a particularly adorable mascot.)

Cameron: No question, this is a superior gummy to the other product line. It’s super soft, with a center that’s just barely not liquid, and the flavor is very nice and authentic to the fruit. It’s got a bit of complexity that’s similar to the difference between seedless and seeded grapes, and some wineyness in the aftertaste. OMG

Meredith: First off, I loved the texture of the dome gummy! It has a sproingy outside layer and an oozy melty inside, much like an actual grape. And its flavor is spot on in the “real grape flavor” category. Makes me want to go to the market and buy some Finger Lakes grapes! A solid OMG.

We ended up rating the Pupurun a bit higher than Rosa did – I think this is the closest you’ll get to a direct comparison, so you can maybe say that we’re a hair less discerning than your usual host!

Category: --, guest post, gummi/gummy, Meiji, O, OMG, review | Comments Off

Guest Post: Japanese Tiramisu Chocolates

October 15th, 2012 by CamNMere

I’m currently at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, so I’m turning things over to some globe-trotting friends this week. Cameron and Meredith are former roommates of mine (we did lots of chocolate truffle tastings together), and they’re writing about some treats they bought on a recent trip through Japan. ~Rosa

Hello folks! It’s a pleasure to be here.

I recently schlepped a 40-something pound duffel bag of candy and snacks back from Japan, at the instigation of my travel companion and co-taster Meredith. Customs gave me some pretty weird looks! We’ll be picking a few of the gems from the pile to share with you over the next couple of posts.

Today’s selection is Tiramisu Chocolate and Maccha Tiramisu Chocolate. The packaging lacks an English translation of the brand name, and searching by radical helpfully provides “former time pioneer”. If anyone knows the answer, I’m all ears!

The gold symbol on the right proclaims that they were a 2011 selection by Monde Selection; I’m unaware of how reputable that organization is.

On to the candy! Tiramisu Chocolate’s up first.

Cameron’s Notes:
It smells like cocoa, dark and powdery, but it doesn’t come through in the flavor – the cocoa layer on the outside is very thin. The almond in the middle is quite nice – the crunch is right on. I’d guess they probably dry-roasted the nut from the flavor and crunchiness.

The middle tiramisu layer dominates the flavor and lingers nicely, but it is not as almondy as I would hope and is instead very buttery. I’d prefer this treat to be a hair sweeter and have stronger nut flavor, but overall it’s pretty tasty. An OM – I’d eat these happily, but there are a lot of things I would buy instead if I saw them on the shelf.

Meredith’s Notes:
I am a huge sucker for any sort of coated almond confection, so I had high expectations for the tiramisu almonds, and they mostly delivered. I thought the middle “custard” layer might be yogurty based on its appearance, but it had the more neutral flavor and slippery mouthfeel of a vanilla buttercream, providing a satisfying contrast with the almond crunch.

Based on its name, I also expected some sort of coffee flavor to come through at some point, but I guess that referred more to the layered construction than the flavor, which was 99% butter-almond, 1% cocoa, 0% coffee. Though not complex or wildly innovative, these almonds are a solid contribution to the coated nut domain. OM.

On to the Maccha flavor!

Cameron’s Notes:
The maccha is undetectable to my nose. Notably softer than the cocoa flavor, to its detriment I feel – doesn’t nail the crunch nearly as well. The maccha powder is quite bitter – comparable to a dark chocolate, but lacking the complexity to back it up. It eventually ends up at the same butter flavor as before.

There’s a nice moment where the two flavors balance, but it’s fleeting, caught between the overly aggressive initial maccha flavor and the rather bland butter aftertaste. I like maccha in other contexts, but these are clearly inferior to the cocoa flavor.

Meredith’s Notes:
As an even bigger sucker for matcha-flavored anything, I found the matcha tiramisu nuts disappointingly weird. The unsweetened matcha powder coating the nuts completely dominated the experience and left an astringent, musty aftertaste in my mouth and nose.

I bravely sucked all the bitter powder off a second nut so that I could evaluate the inner regions of the confection without the confounding surface mustiness. Indeed, the matcha flavor was much more balanced and subtle in the buttercream layer. This would have been a much better treat if the matcha-infused buttery layer had been rolled in cocoa instead of matcha. A from me too.

Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), guest post, nuts, OM, review | 4 Comments »

Ghirardelli Intense Dark – Cabernet Matinee

September 26th, 2012 by Rosa

I found this Cabernet Matinee bar from Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark line at Cost Plus World Market. It was described as, “dark chocolate infused with a hint of natural blackberry and cabernet flavor”, which sounded awesome. I thought it would be wine-flavored chocolate, though it turns out cabernet could just refer to the grape.

Unfortunately, the execution did not live up to my expectations. For starters, the “natural blackberry” scent was overwhelming sweet and fruity as soon as I unwrapped the bar. It was akin to being attacked by a Bath & Bodyworks saleslady.

The chocolate had a nicely thick, tongue-coating melt that lingered in the finish with a light, boozy bitterness. I suppose that I was the cabernet component.

The rest of the bar’s flavor profile, however, was more attack of the awfully artificial berry sweetness. If I wanted potpourri flavored chocolate, well, I’d just eat potpourri.

My high hopes for this bar were dashed. A . [editied 11/19/2012 per the comments to clarify: this bars gets a, which is not a letter grade. It is a poopy grade]

Category: --, chocolate, Ghirardelli, review | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: Sarotti Edel-Marzipan

September 10th, 2012 by Neil

I spent my weekend trying to win Duke basketball tickets by sleeping outside, so I’ved turned things over to my ex-pat friend Neil for a couple of reviews. ~Rosa

This bar came, I think, from a supermarket in Osnabrueck, but I can’t be sure.

Here’s a secret: I’m a sucker for marzipan. I don’t know where this affinity came from. It’s just a fact. So, while shopping, I had to pick up this marzipan-filled chocolate bar, which was certainly reasonably priced.

Curious about the meaning of “Edel”, I inquired with a fluent German speaker who pointed to me to a helpful guide which explains that this has to do with the almond/sugar ratio in the mixture.

The 24-bit bar had a more intricate design than I would’ve normally expected. Flipping it over, I found evidence of possible blooming.

On tasting, the chocolate seemed dried out. The marzipan was okay but not a deep enough flavor to meet my demands – nor my expectations, based on the guide.

Thoroughly unimpressed with this. It’s a .

So sad! It’s a gorgeous looking bar, inside and out. Love the black and white look on the chocolate and the spangled pants and turban on the dude in the moon! Sounds like Neil got a bar that’s past its prime; marzipan has a pretty short shelf life. ~Rosa

Category: --, chocolate, European, guest post, nuts, review | 1 Comment »

Koppers Gummi Bear Dips – Natural Orange and Natural Raspberry

August 31st, 2012 by Rosa

Like Wednesday’s chocolate covered gummi bears, these Gummi Bear Dips were free samples given to me by the folks at the Koppers booth at Sweets and Snacks. They came in two flavors, orange and raspberry.

Orange was “real Swedish gummi bears covered in creamy orange coating.” The orange coating was actually yellow in color, while the bear inside was a translucent gold.

I think the center gummi was a slightly larger version of the milk chocolate covered gummi bear (the left to right order in the below photo is naked-fied raspberry, milk chocolate covered, and orange). It was similarly bouncy in texture, with the same light, generically sweet fruitiness.

The thick and stiff orange coating was quite creamsicle-y, with a flavor that was heavy on the cream. The orange contribution was just a light citrus oil tinge. I don’t know if the orange coating actually improved the bear, but it didn’t hurt.

Raspberry looked like it would just be a differently flavored equivalent of the orange dips: the bear was the same size as that of the orange, only red instead of gold and with a strong and sweet fruit flavor. I think cherry?

The raspberry coating, however, was intolerable. It tasted super fakely sweet with medicinal bitter notes and a grainy melt. I couldn’t stand it and really had to fight through the distaste to get that naked gummi photo above.

Candy raspberry and I just don’t get along, I guess. I appreciate that Koppers was trying to do something new with these guys, but I thought the dip factor was innocuous for the orange (an O) and detrimental in the case of the raspberry (a ).

Category: --, gummi/gummy, O, review | Comments Off