October 7th, 2013 by Rosa
Today I’ve got two more treats that I picked up in Pittsburgh from local candy maker Sarris Candies: a Pecan Truffle and a Cashew Meltaway.
The packaging on the Pecan Truffle was misleading. The image on the package showed a prettily striped square truffle treat, similar to the S’mores bar that I reviewed last week.
Instead, the chocolate bar within was just a plain rectangle, though its top was prettily wavy. The cross section wasn’t quite so chock full of nuts either.
The bar had a milk chocolate shell that was thickly creamy and quite sweet. Inside that shell was a top layer of dark chocolate truffle filling. While the truffle filling was also thick and creamy, it was softer and had a fatty feel as it melted.
Finally, there was some itty bitty pieces of pecans below the dark truffle filling. I found their taste to be on the raw side and would’ve preferred a roastier nut. Because I wanted more nuttiness from something that was supposed to feature pecans so prominently, an O.
The Cashew Meltaway had a minimalist silver wrapper with text but no pictures. Inside, the Cashew Meltaway bar looked pretty much like the Pecan Truffle – a rectangle with a wavy textured top.
Like the Pecan Truffle, this had a milk chocolate shell. Unlike the Pecan Truffle, however, the truffle filling inside the Cashew Meltaway was also milk chocolate.
I thought the truffled milk chocolate tasted more caramelly with some vanilla undertones as well. It was sweet and creamy, like the milk chocolate shell, but softer in texture.
The cashew bits were sharply crunchy and added a hint of nuttiness. I liked their nuttiness more than the under-flavored pecans.
Though this won points for being nuttier, it lost points for being too sweet after more than a couple of bites. After a while, it made my throat burn. An O.
Category: chocolate, nuts, O, review |
September 16th, 2013 by Rosa
I picked up these Astor Belgian Chocolate bars as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. It looks like they sell a variety of their signature bars on their website; I was also told that they repackage these under other brands as well.
Both bars – Angel Food Cake and Devil’s Food Cake – were lightly scored into 6 rectangular blocks that broke easily into different segments. All were striated as well.
Angel Food Cake was a white chocolate shell with a white chocolate ganache inside. The white chocolate was sweet and creamy and thick, with strong dairy notes.
The ganache had a bit of a grit to it, like it was full of dried cake crumbs or cookie crumbs. They added some crunch, along with a birthday cake/vanilla flavor.
This bar was fun but too sweet for my taste. An O for this.
Devil’s Food Cake was a dark chocolate with a bit of chocolate ganache in the center. The dark chocolate had a bit of a snap, while the ganache was softer and creamier.
This was an intensely chocolatey bar. It make me think of fudgey cake batter or rich chocolate pudding. I loved the richness and depth of pure chocolate flavor that it provided, so an OM.
Category: chocolate, O, OM, review, white chocolate |
September 4th, 2013 by Rosa
Downtown Durham recently had a gem of a store open: Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop is part butcher shop, part sandwich shop, and part pastry shop. I had the best ice cream sandwich of my life the last time I stopped there, and I also picked up a couple of ginger caramels that were made with lard (from their butcher shop, I assume).
The generously sized caramels were 75 cents each and came wrapped in wax paper. They were soft and sticky with a long-lasting chew. The caramels stuck to my teeth a bit but eventually melted away – no need for teeth picking here.
I couldn’t tell that they were made from lard rather than from butter. Though they did lack a buttery undertone, not all regular caramels taste of butter, and I didn’t miss the butter flavor. I also didn’t notice any extra porkiness from the lard.
Instead, they were sweet with a strong ginger bite. They were sweet and spicy but not painfully so, though I did get just a hint of burn in the back of my throat.
I thought these were a highly enjoyable tasty and unique treat. I don’t think I’d buy these again because ginger has never been my thing, but I did enjoy trying them. An O.
Category: caramel, O, review |
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 |