Archive for the 'O' Category

Air Heads Bites

June 10th, 2013 by Rosa

Air Heads Bites are a new product being handed out at Sweets and Snacks. We used to sell Air Heads as a fundraiser when I was in grade school, and I have nostalgic memories of tearing up Air Heads, wrapping the bits around my fingers, and licking my fingers until I was a sticky, sweet mess. Man, I was a gross kid…

If you’re unfamiliar with regular Air Heads, they’re flat strips of fruit-flavored chewy candy in a variety of flavors. My favorite was White Mystery, a sweet and tart citrusy flavor. Cybele’s got a review, if you want more detail.

Air Head Bites turned out to be flatted balls of candies slightly smaller in diameter than a Mentos (they’re made by the same company). Because of that similarity, I expected these to have a hard shell, as Mentos do.

Instead, the outermost layer was no different in texture than the rest of the treat, it was just smooth and shiny to start. That texture was just as if you’d balled up a bit of regular Air Head: a grainy chew with no stickiness.

The Bites came in five flavors: cherry, orange, lemon, watermelon, and blue raspberry. Cherry (red) tasted like a standard artificial cherry candy, sweet and red-fruity with a bit of a tannic cherry bite to it.

Orange was a mild citrus with no tartness, while lemon (yellow) tasted like a Lemonhead and brought a little edge of tartness that hit the back of my throat.

Watermelon (green) tasted just like watermelon candies, or barely at all like real watermelon. Here it was so juicy that it made me salivate and had sweet floral notes.

Finally, blue raspberry was the classic Air Head flavor, named after something not found in nature. It had a slightly seedy candied raspberry flavor.

These guys tasted just like their original Air Head counterparts but without the sticky mess, making them a much more portable version of the treat. I would’ve love these as a kid, but I think I’ve now outgrown Air Heads’ powerfully sweet and artificial flavors. An O.

 

Category: chewy, O, review | No Comments »

Trolli Soda Poppers

May 29th, 2013 by Rosa

I found these Trolli Soda Poppers while I was trolling (har har) the candy aisles of a local gas station. I’d never heard of them before, but they’ve apparently been around long enough to warrant a “New Look!”

The Soda Poppers came in Cherry Cola, Root Beer, Orange Soda, Lemon Lime, and Cola flavors. As a whole, the bag smelled of root beer, and a faint root beer tinge tainted all of the gummis’ flavors.

Each gummi was shaped like a little soda can and imprinted with text naming its flavor. They were soft with a pleasantly bouncy chew.

Orange soda (orange) was a mild floral orange with a faintly fizzy undertone. The flavor was neither bright nor tangy, so I only found it middling as far as gummi oranges go.

Lemon lime (yellow green) was sweet with a mild citrus undertone. I wanted it to be more tart and tangy.

Cola (reddish brown) tasted mildly of, well, cola. Cherry cola (red) tasted similar with a fizzy, generically red fruity flavor.

Finally, root beer (purplish brown) was the strongest of all the flavors, hence its ability to contaminate all the rest of the gummis. To be fair, its root beer flavor was pretty spot on; it just isn’t my favorite soda flavor.

While I loved the texture of these guys, I thought most of the flavors could’ve used a lot more punch. Only an because I wanted more flavor that these guys didn’t deliver.

Category: Ferrara, gummi/gummy, O, review | No Comments »

See’s Assorted Chocolates Week 2 – Day 1

April 29th, 2013 by Rosa

Back in 2009, I devoted a whole week to See’s Chocolates as I reviewed an assorted box that they sent me. This week will be another week of See’s Chocolates reviews, only this time, I’ll be reviewing a box that I bought and picked out myself in Seattle.

Today, I’ll go through the four Truffles that I bought. First up, the trademarked See’s Apple Pie Truffle, which they describe as rich buttercream with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon. This was a vaguely heart-shaped white chocolate truffle with a light brown center filling.

The white chocolate coating was sweet and took a backseat to the filling, which was quite the standout. It was extremely bright and fruity with a spot-on apple pie-filling flavor.

It tasted intensely of sweet cooked apples with just a smidge of cinnamon. I swear there was also some notes of toasted crust as well, or at least the crust of McDonald’s apple pie. It was basically a slice of apple pie distilled into a truffle. OM.

Almond Truffle was “rich dark chocolate buttercream with ground almonds”. It was a soft square of chocolate ganache covered in little bits of almond that were bound together with some white chocolate-looking butter thing.

The ganache center was sweet with a mild cocoa flavor, while the almonds in the coating were roasted and nutty. While the almonds were nice, I found them to be too tannic. They sapped all the moisture out of my mouth, so just an O.

Cafe au Lait Truffle was simply described as “rich coffee buttercream”. It had a milk chocolate coating with dark chocolate stripes for contrast.

The texture of the golden brown buttercream center was lovely – solid yet lightly fluffy. Its flavor started off strong with mocha coffee notes, lightly bitter but overall sweet, and the milk chocolate added a great caramel finish. OM.

And last for today, the Dark Chocolate Chip Truffle, “rich chocolate buttercream with chocolate chips”. This buttercream held its shape as I bit into the treat but then melted away on the tongue.

I didn’t notice any extra chocolate chips in that ganache; the texture was perfectly smooth.

It had an incredibly intense semisweet chocolate flavor which was redoubled by the dark chocolate shell. The chocolate didn’t have a terribly nuanced flavor profile, but it was deep and it was good. An OM.

Back on Wednesday and Friday with more See’s!

Category: chocolate, coffee, nuts, O, OM, review, See's, white chocolate | No Comments »

Chocolati Truffles

April 26th, 2013 by Rosa

While I was in Seattle last week for a conference, I stayed an extra day to do some sightseeing, which included a whirl around their awesome Central Library. It had crazy cool architecture, a spiral stacks, and, most importantly for this blog, a Chocolati stand.

The lady running the Chocolati stand was the nicest chocolate seller I’ve ever met. A companion and myself each got a free truffle because it was our first time visiting, and then when I couldn’t decide between which of two truffles that I wanted to buy, she gave me both for the price of one. Thanks, awesome Chocolati lady!

I ended up buying a Cinnamon Almond Aztec, a Pistachio Curry Truffle, and what I think was a Salted Vanilla truffle (my memory may be wrong, and it’s not listed on the website). They were pretty reasonably priced at $1.45 each, and I got three for the price of two.

Cinnamon Almond Aztec was described on the website as, “Milk chocolate couverture and semisweet ganache with almonds, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.” There were visible bits of almonds in the sparkling ganache – the sugar crystals mixed in were visibly light-catching.

It tasted strongly of cinnamon and sugar with a subtly acrid bite to the end. The ganache left a slight grit as it melted away. That combined with the powerful cinnamon flavor and astringency of the finish spoke to just how much cinnamon spice went into this truffle.

While I appreciated the cinnamon flavor, I found the truffle to be too sweet. I also didn’t get any nutty flavors from the almond bits, likely because the cinnamon sweetness was so strong. An O.

Pistachio Curry was “Thai curry mixed with a blend of our 71% dark chocolate and 50% bittersweet chocolate sprinkled with fresh pistachio nuts.” It was definitely a uniquely flavored treat.

The curry spices were right out of Thai takeout. They started off savory and then sweetened as the chocolate asserted itself, and the whole thing finished with just a hint of heat to the end.

Again, I felt this truffle to be too sweet for my taste, and I didn’t taste any nuttiness from the pistachio bits. An A for creativity, but an O for being too sweet.

Finally, what I think was Salted Vanilla was a dark chocolate ganache with a dark chocolate shell and a sprinkle of salt crystals on top. The ganache here was stiff with a fine grain to its texture.

It tasted lightly sweet with a great dry duskiness. The cocoa flavor was intense and was set off with a flash of salt.

This was my favorite of the bunch for its potent chocolate flavor. It was high quality but honestly, a tad boring, so an O.

I wonder if I just chose poorly from the Chocolati assortment? I tried a bite of their chocolate-covered sea salt caramel on site, and that was delicious and well-balanced. Their overall sweeter truffles weren’t as much to my liking. Clearly the best solution is to take another trip to Seattle and eat more truffles.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, review | 2 Comments »

Guest post: Viba Mandel-nougat

April 24th, 2013 by Neil

Here’s another guest review from ex-pat Neil while I try to catch up from being out of town for most of last week. ~Rosa

Recent trips to Germany & Austria have refilled the never-empty pantry here. I’ve tried the Viba Mandel-nougat which came from one of those countries (sorry, I should take better notes while shopping!)

I was expecting a crunchy single bar from this. Instead, I got 3 mini-logs, each about the size of my thumb, with a flattened, patterened underbelly of the chocolate base. They looked dried out; this was fortunately not the case.

The texture is much softer than I expected. I think if I’d squished and poked any of the pieces before biting in, that would’ve been obvious. The majority of each piece seems to just be slightly hardened nut butter. While the label tells me that it’s almond-based, it never tasted overwhelmingly of almonds, more like halfway between cashews and peanuts.

This was a bit of a disappointment. There’s not a ton of flavor overall, and very little sweetness. It’s almost hard to know that the chocolate is there, except that said base is a bit more rigid than the nut portion. In each piece, I discovered some slightly crunchy bits that were either nuts or crystallized sugar, but more likely the latter.

The Viba Mandel-nougat was not my best find, but I’m sure it was inexpensive, probably less than a Euro or two. I wouldn’t buy it again. If somebody had just handed it to me and not told me it was almond, I would’ve been a bit happier. It wasn’t terrible, though, so I’ll give it a nice basic O.

Category: chocolate, European, guest post, nougat, nuts, O, review | No Comments »

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites

April 19th, 2013 by Rosa

To be honest, these Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites didn’t sound that tasty to me, but my local Trader Joe’s was promoting them all over the store, so I picked up a bag.

Why not? I like chocolate-covered coconut, and I like mangos. Mangos and chocolate and coconut all together could be good?

The resealable stand-up bag described them as “soft, chewy coconut candy bites with a tangy mango addition, covered in rich, dark chocolate.” The bag smelled incredibly fruity and sweet, almost cloyingly so.

The candy bites were 1.5 inches by 1 inch rectangles that were just over half an inch high. The center was a yellow-hued smoosh of moist, shredded coconut.

The dark chocolate shell was mild with a hint of sweetness and a dryly fruity, bittersweet finish. While it tasted great by itself, it was totally overwhelmed by the coconut mango center. Also, it melted into my fingers as I held it, which was a little annoyingly messy.

The center had the squeaky texture of shredded coconut and the piquant tartness of dried mango. The mango flavor was bright and sweet and dominated the treat; I didn’t get any coconut flavor notes, just texture.

While I liked the chocolate in isolation, and I liked the flavor of the mango, the whole thing just didn’t come together for me. I think it was the texture of coconut without any coconut flavor that threw me off. I have no desire to finish the rest of the bag, so an O.

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

Walker’s Assorted Toffee

April 15th, 2013 by Rosa

I love Walker’s toffees, so when my friends Emma and Jason asked me if I wanted any candies from England, I asked for some Walker’s. They brought me this box of Assorted Toffees (and also a box of After Eight thins).

The Assorted Toffees were English cream toffee, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, banana, and eclair. Eclair was in the last set of Walker’s Toffees that I reviewed four years ago, but the rest was new.

English cream toffee had a smooth and creamy melt and a super sticky chew. The flavor was incredibly buttery and sweet with rich, fresh dairy notes.

Plain chocolate had a thin dark chocolate shell. That chocolate’s flavor was on the bitter side of bittersweet, but as I chewed and chewed and chewed the caramel, the buttery golden sweet flavor of the toffee took over.

Milk chocolate was just like the plain chocolate, only with a thin milk chocolate shell rather than dark chocolate. It had just a slight, mild chocolate flavor.

I was dubious about eating the banana toffee since I hate artificial banana flavor. Fortunately, the banana flavor of this toffee, which came from a flavored cream center, was a pretty accurate representation of a real banana, so I could tolerate these (though they weren’t my favorite).

Finally, the eclair toffee was hiding a bit of (probably fake) chocolate in the center. The chocolate was dusky and sweet, with a bittersweet chocolatesque Tootsie Roll finish that toned down the buttery flavor of the toffee.

I think these still pale in comparison to the darker burnt flavors of Walker’s treacle toffee that I love so much. Still, I enjoyed chewing through their sweet buttery flavors. An O for the banana, and an OM for the rest.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, O, OM, review | 1 Comment »

Dark Roca (and other Rocas quick-hit)

April 10th, 2013 by Rosa

Last year at Sweets and Snacks, the Dark Roca won a Most Innovative New Product award. I picked up some samples of the Dark Roca and other Rocas, and like the Albanese Rainforest Gummi Frogs, I just found my tasting notes in an old notepad.

The Dark Roca (second from the left) was a dark version of the classic Almond Roca: a piece of chocolate almond toffee coated in dark chocolate and decorated with a few chocolate squiggles.

The chocolate toffee center was lightly sweet with a buttery finish. It cleaved cleanly but then got a bit chewy and stuck in my molars.

The whole thing had a great cocoa flavor, while whole almonds hidden inside added a lovely nuttiness. The dark chocolate that covered the toffee had a great deep dark chocolate duskiness.

I loved the cocoa depth of this treat – from the dark chocolate coating to the chocolate in the toffee, the whole thing was infused with a great cocoa depth. An OMG.

I also picked up Peppermint Roca (dark chocolate decorated with white stripes; lightly minty against the buttery toffee; an O), a Mocha Rocha (toffee studded with bits of coffee beans that gave it a strong, roasted coffee flavor, also an O), and Roca with different types of nuts (I think cashew and macadamia? Each tasty in their own right). The Dark Roca was easily my favorite of the bunch.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, OMG, review, toffee | 1 Comment »

Skittles Darkside

April 1st, 2013 by Rosa

Skittles Darkside are a new addition to the Skittles line. They’ve apparently been around since January, when Cybele reviewed them on Candy Blog, though I only caught them recently at a gas station pit stop.

The tagline for the Darksides is “the other side of the rainbow”. The flavors were Dark Berry (purple), Pomegranate (red), Forbidden Fruit (blue), Midnight Lime (green), and Blood Orange (orange).

Dark Berry tasted like generic berry candies with a slight seedy undertone. They reminded me more of the UK’s purple Skittles, which are supposed to be blackcurrant flavored.

Pomegranate was seedy to start with a tinge of pomegranate/cranberry juice flavor. It lacked any bitterness or tannic flavors that I’d associate with true pomegranates.

I have no idea what Forbidden Fruit was trying to be. It had a strong perfumey floral flavor, with a start that was almost bubblegummy.

Midnight Lime was zesty to start. It tasted like a darker version of the lime that used to be part of the regular Skittles line-up but lacked the regular lime’s brightly acidic tartness.

Finally, Blood Orange had a great zesty orange depth but was far darker than the regular Skittles’s bright orange. Instead, it had a darker, juicier finish with just a flash of tartness at the end.

I felt pretty meh about these. I think the Blood Orange was the only that I really enjoyed. The others were okay but not outstanding. An O.

Category: chewy, O, review, Wrigley's | 3 Comments »

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates – Corned Beef and Cabbage Truffle

March 25th, 2013 by CamNMere

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates whipped up a special batch of Corned Beef and Cabbage truffles that they gave out as a free St. Patrick’s Day treat. My friend and former Rochester roommate Meredith got one to try and review. ~Rosa

I wasn’t planning to do anything (or really leave the house at all) for St Patrick’s Day, but I woke up to find my social media informing me that beloved local establishment Hedonist Chocolate was offering free corned beef and cabbage truffles all day. Uh, what?

Hedonist is only a couple of blocks from home, and I’m not one to turn down a one-off gustatory challenge. Nor to turn down the opportunity to stock up on their phenomenal salted caramels, which are perfect for bribing myself to finish writing projects at work. I picked up an extra caramel in case I needed a chaser for the corned beef and cabbage truffle.

(Cameron did the photography, but lacked the intestinal fortitude to participate in the tasting experience. His loss?)

I’m happy to say that the caramel chaser lives on in my chocolate drawer for another day when its services are more urgently needed. The corned beef and cabbage truffle had a thin milk chocolate coating, with an even thinner layer of dark chocolate lining the bottom of the truffle.

The coating easily gave way to the creamy ganache filling, which had a sweet frosting texture with a hit of savory-salty flavor. Much of that savoriness came from little nubs of meat embedded in the filling:

Though the corned beef I’ve had in the past was texturally closer to pulled pork, these nubs were firm and chewy, like bacon. This seems like probably a wise textural choice (though now I am envisioning delicious pulled-pork-truffle collaborations between Hedonist and Sticky Lips BBQ, and ok now I really want that to happen).

The corned beef did have more of a briny flavor that came through mostly in the aftertaste, but otherwise if I hadn’t been paying close attention I might have just assumed it was a bacon truffle. The cute little blob on top of the truffle was candied corned beef, hitting the same delightful sorts of salty-sweet-candy-chewy notes as candied bacon. I would happily have eaten a whole tray of these.

I couldn’t detect any textural evidence of cabbage (again, a wise choice!) but it did contribute a vegetal, garlicky funk to the filling that was more pronounced in the aftertaste than in the initial flavor. It wasn’t actually bad by any means — it was fairly subtle, and I just finished off an embarrassingly large supply of generic milk-chocolate discount truffles from the post-Valentine’s sales so the complexity of cabbage-chocolate was surprisingly welcome.

But I think the truffle would have been better overall if it had just focused on the corned beef, which had plenty of complex savory flavors to offer. As it was, I think some of the smoky meatiness might’ve gotten lost in the sour cabbage aftertaste.

I can’t imagine a more competent execution of this concept, and I consider making a corned beef and cabbage truffle that is not only edible but actually sort of good a pretty remarkable feat. That said, it was still pretty weird. Grading on a bit of a novelty-chocolate curve, and taking into account that delicious candied beef topper, I’d give this truffle an O.

Category: chocolate, guest post, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, limited edition, novelty, O, review | 2 Comments »