August 30th, 2013 by Rosa
I recently received a free Kooky Kid Crazy Candy Gift Box from the folks at Candy Crate. They repackage candy into themed boxes (or crates?) or care packages. The box I got had lots of sugary treats, including some e. frutti gummies.
The Gummi Pizza contained 5 “slices”. At first glance, the blobs of toppings looked weird – unnaturally bright, and what pizza toppings are purple anyway?
When I looked more closely, however, it turned out that the green blobs were little peppers, purple was olives, yellow was a teeny mushroom, and white was garlic, maybe? Surprising level of detail here!
The gummis had a foamy bottom with a slightly soft foamy chew, but the rest of the gummi had a fairly stiff chew. The flavor was mildly sweet and fruity, with citrusy floral notes.
The Sea Critters gummis were SweeTart colored sea turtles, though it looks like they also come in other creature shapes and colors. They were soft and uber squishy with the same foamy texture of the pizza bottoms.
Their flavor made me think of SweeTarts, though I’m not sure if it was just the suggestive power of the coloring. They were sweet and slightly tart, and I swear the gummi had fizzy notes, though that could have been just how the foamy gummi melted in my mouth.
These gummis were pretty fun and tasty. I think kids would get a kick out of the fun shapes, and the flavors, while safe and unsurprising, are decent enough. An O.
Category: gummi/gummy, O, review |
August 26th, 2013 by Rosa
Last May at Sweets and Snacks, I snagged a couple of beautiful chocolate bars from Splendid Chocolates. One was Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, and the other was Milk Chocolate with Ginger and Pink Himalayan Salt. I’ve got the first one on deck today, and I’ll save the second the review for Wednesday.
The Splendid chocolate bars immediately stood out because they were visually striking. The Milk Chocolate was prettily swirled with a white chocolate, and the whole thing was sprinkled with toffee bits and salt crystals.
While the underside of the bar was all swirly and pretty and allowed to peek through the packaging, taking the bar out of the cardboard box revealed that the other side of the bar was segmented into 24 rose-stamped rectangles.
The white chocolate swirl turned out to be superficial. It was just a drizzle on the underside of the bar rather than swirled throughout.
The milk chocolate’s melt was thick with a slight graininess. To me, it tasted uber sweet and on the edge of cloying, but I don’t like super sweet chocolate.
There were great caramel/toffee notes to the milk chocolate, even in the bites without toffee bits. I’m not sure if they were from the milk chocolate base itself, or if maybe the presence of the toffee managed to infuse the chocolate with its flavor.
Giant sea salt crystals were relatively sparsely sprinkled on the underside of the bar. You can see how the majority of the sprinkled ingredients was toffee bits. I didn’t get any in the bites that I took, and I gave away the rest of the bar before I realized that I’d missed out on a key ingredient.
At any rate, I’d already made up my mind that this bar was nice to look at but too sweet for my palate. An O from me, though I should note that no one with whom I shared the bar complained about its sweetness.
Category: chocolate, O, review, toffee |
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 |
August 12th, 2013 by Rosa
I inherited the remains of this box of Hokkaido Pumpkin Chocolate from Emma, who got them from a friend. I was amused that pumpkin-headed mascot appears to be named Yukky.
The pumpkin chocolates were all individually wrapped with a little window through which you could see the pumpkin shaped candies within. Some were jack-o-lantern shaped, while others were just pumpkins.
The pumpkins were made of orange-hued white chocolate sprinkled with bits of crisp rice-like objects. Those bits gave the chocolate toasted puffed wheat notes that were immediately present from first bite. They eventually gave way to a grittiness when the chocolate was gone, from their husks perhaps.
The white chocolate had faint notes of roasted autumn squash. It was just lightly sweet and mostly vegetal in flavor. I missed the spices that usually come with pumpkin desserts in the U.S.
While I appreciated the beauty of the treat, the flavor wasn’t my thing. While I usually complain that U.S. sweets are too sweet, this Japanese one wasn’t sweet enough. An O.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, O, review |
August 7th, 2013 by Rosa
Mars was working hard to promote their new M&M‘s Chocolate Bar at Sweets and Snacks this May. They kept a never-ending supply of them in the press room, and I snagged one for review (plus a few more as gifts; free candy is the only payment I get for all this blogging).
The bar is basically a milk chocolate bar embedded with mini M&M’s. M&M’s had tried selling something like it back in 2004 as the M-Azing bar, but it never really caught on then. I guess they think the market is ready now?
The chocolate was scored into 8 pieces and imprinted with the same image of Red being swallowed by melted chocolate that’s on the wrapper. I personally find it a bit morbid and not nearly as cute as M&M’s pretzel effort.
The milk chocolate of the bar tasted just like the milk chocolate center of a plain M&M: dusky and thick with a sour tinge that burned my throat. Plenty of mini M&M’s were distributed throughout the bar and revealed themselves by staying whole when the bar was broken apart.
The mini M&M’s crunchy little shells were a nice addition to break up the texture. I also appreciated the nice splash of color that they brought.
I enjoy milk chocolate M&M’s because you get the fun of melted or crunching away the chocolate shell, but I don’t find it to be high enough quality to prefer to eat it in giant chunks like in this bar. An O.
Category: chocolate, M&M's, Mars, O, review |
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July 29th, 2013 by Rosa
When I was a kid, I remember those “What would you do-oo-oo? For a Klondike Bar?” commercials being ubiquitous. Just typing that in has the jingle playing in a loop in my brain…
At the Sweets and Snacks Expo in May, Flix Candy was showing off their new Klondike candies. I got a free sample of each flavor, Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip, for review. I’ll cover the Caramel today and save the Mint Chocolate Chip for Wednesday.
Caramel was described as “caramel center covered in a milk chocolate flavored coating.” Regular readers of the blog should hear alarm bells right now: “chocolate flavored” is a euphemism for “not actually chocolate”. In this case, it’s palm kernel oil instead of cocoa butter.
Because of that swap, the mockolate had some greasy looking spots. It didn’t make much of a flavor impression, as the caramel really dominated the flavor profile.
The caramel was soft and sweetly chewy with a light butterscotch finish. It got stuck in my teeth a bit but easily dissolved away with a little time.
I found this inoffensive. The caramel was okay, if not the best, and the mockolate wasn’t noticeably fake, beyond the greasy sheen that it imparted. Still, there are better mass market chocolate covered caramels out there, like Riesens. An O.
Category: caramel, mockolate, O, review |
June 21st, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve never been a big fan of candy companies that refer to candy as a guilty pleasure. Why can’t it just be a pleasure, without all these extra hangups? As long as you’re not eating as much candy as I do, you’re probably fine.
Skinny Cow, with its ridiculous svelte cow logo, clearly markets itself to dieting women. This package of their caramel filled chocolates, which they were handing out as free samples at Sweets and Snacks, was clearly labeled as containing 130 calories.
It also claimed to be “velvety milk chocolate and luscious caramel”. All for 130 calories? I was skeptical…
The package contained 3 pretty chocolate squares, each lightly imprinted with the words Skinny Cow. The caramel inside was thin and runny with a slight grain to the texture.
The chocolate was grainy as well – definitely a few hours of conching shy of being velvety. It was extremely sweet, to the point of being throat burning.
The caramel was similarly sweet, but it also packed a heavy hit of saltiness, which was a nice surprise. It helped bring a little more interest to treat, and it provided the flavor of something besides just SWEET.
Still, I’d rather have one really high quality chocolate covered caramel than three of these guys. Quality over quantity! But if you prefer quantity, or if you absolutely need know the calorie count of what you’re eating (made easier when your food is factory made!), these wouldn’t be a terrible compromise. An O.
Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, O, review |
June 19th, 2013 by Rosa
The Lovely Candy Company was a new (founded this year!) candy company that made its debut at Sweets and Snacks last month. They make gluten-free licorice, caramels, and fruit chews (gluten-free was a continuing trend from 2012 to 2013), and I grabbed a couple of free samples of their caramels for review.
I got one Original Chewy Caramel and one Chocolate Swirl Caramel. The samples that I got were loose, so the photos of the packaging shown here were from Lovely.
Both caramels were wrapped in wax paper. They were soft and sticky, and a few bits of caramel got left behind on the wax paper upon unwrapping.
The Original Chewy was a pretty golden brown, and it was indeed chewy, with a small amount of teeth sticking. They tasted sweet with a slightly fruity sour tinge to it.
The flavor was quite similar to that of Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels, more on the sweet and buttery side rather than the scorched and bittersweet. I prefer the latter type of caramel, but if you like the former, these make a nice alternative to Brach’s that’s with better ingredients.
The Chocolate Swirl was a pretty swirl of the Original golden brown and a darker cocoa brown. Its texture was similarly soft and chewy.
The Chocolate Swirl had a great cocoa depth of flavor. It didn’t taste of chocolate; it tasted of intense dark cocoa powder. I appreciated the deep cocoa complexity here.
The Original was nice, but I prefer my caramels with a darker complexity, so an O. The Chocolate Swirl, on the other, brought plenty of cocoa complexity, and they get an OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, O, OM, review |
June 14th, 2013 by Rosa
DeMet’s Turtles were another candy trying to make mini happen at Sweets and Snacks. They were handing free samples of their Turtles Minis, so I, of course, grabbed a little bag to review.
Despite my efforts to pick a bag that didn’t feel smushed (some of the sample bags obviously contained one large stuck together clump), my Mini Turtles looked less than pristine once I opened the bag.
To be fair, they had been packed and repacked into a variety of bags between the Expo floor and my candy photo shoot table, so I wasn’t surprised when they emerged a little worse for wear.
I think that’s going to be a problem for all of these unwrapped mini candies – without the extra padding and barriers of individual packaging, things are going to get scuffed. The Mini Turtles were especially affected because they oozed caramel and got stuck to each other.
Turtles is actually a trademarked name for these pecan-covered-in-caramel-and-dipped-in-chocolate treats, though I’ve seen “turtle” used generically in Mom-and-Pop candy shops. It is, after all, a cutely accurate description of the treats’ general shape.
The Mini Turtles had a super sweet milk chocolate over a chewy, sweet caramel. I found them both to be pretty one note (aka sugary) here and wished for some more flavor complexity out of them.
I was especially disappointed in the pecans. Really good pecans have a distinctive nuttiness to them, especially if they’ve been toasted. The pecans in my Mini Turtles were so bland that I wondered if they were actually walnuts, and they were sparse to boot.
I’ve had much better versions of Turtle-esque treats by other brands. Hammond’s Piggy Backs, for example, use higher quality ingredients and are a far superior (though also much more expensive) treat, and Lamme’s Longhorns are a hometown favorite.
At the mass market price that they’re shooting at, these Mini Turtles’ simplistic flavors just can’t compare. I could forgive them the eh chocolate and caramel, but the whole point of Turtles are the nuts! And the nuts here are bland. An O.
Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, O, review |
June 12th, 2013 by Rosa
One of the big things at Sweets and Snacks last month was miniaturized versions of larger treats. These mini versions were different from fun-sized candy bars that you see around holidays. Instead, they were unwrapped and packaged loosely in a larger bag.
The Hershey’s booth was passing out free samples of King Sized bags of Kit Kat Minis. In the rest of the world, Nestle makes Kit Kats; in the U.S., they’re made by Hershey’s.
By my guess, it took about 4 Kit Kat Minis to equal one Kit Kat finger. Each little mini was stamped with the Kit Kat logo.
They tasted just like regular Kit Kats, only with a higher chocolate to crispy wafer ratio. The milk chocolate was uber sweet with a sour tinge to the finish – very Hershey’s in flavor.
The crispy wafer centers added a pleasant crunch and helped mitigate the super sweetness of the chocolate. I used to love Kit Kats as a kid, but they’re now too sweet for me (Kit Kat Darks are better in my book).
If you like regular Kit Kats, these should be a buy for you – unless you have portion control problems. The unwrapped format makes them easily poppable! An O.
Category: chocolate, cookie, Hershey's, O, review |