January 30th, 2013 by Rosa
Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I end up spending more money than I mean to. They’re just so good at suckering me into making impulse buys, like this bag of their Dark Chocolate Honey Mints.
The bag was cutely decorated with drawings of bees and beehives. It also boasted that the Honey Mints had just three ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor, and oil of peppermint (and the potential for traces of milk as an allergen warning).
My 7 oz bag had 20 Honey Mints disks inside, each individually wrapped in shiny turquoise foil. They all smelled strongly minty with a sweet undertone.
Each disk was about an inch and a half in diameter. They had a lightly golden peppermint fondant center covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate.
The smooth fondant was effervescent and minty throughout. It started off with a bright burst of initial sweetness and finished with a slightly bitter astringency from the chocolate.
I think this treat could have benefitted from a little tweaking to that chocolate. It was slightly gritty, and the astringency was off-putting when I ate the Honey Mints slowly enough to notice it. A little cocoa butter in addition to the cocoa liquor would have helped with the texture.
Still, Trader Joe’s should be commended for a minimalist, fairly tasty treat that provides a less processed alternative to York Peppermint Patties (in which corn syrup is a big player). An OM.
Category: chocolate, mint, O, review, Trader Joe's |
1 Comment »
January 28th, 2013 by Rosa
Baci’s big push at Sweets and Snacks 2012 was to promote their new Bacis Whites, which is how I got these free samples. They were basically a white chocolate-covered version of their regular Bacis, which I’ve previously reviewed.
Regular Baci come wrapped in thick white foil with blue stars, while the Baci White were wrapped in thick blue foil with white stars. A bit counterintuitive that the Baci White came in blue, but oh well.
The Baci White was a dome of gianduja paste, which was made of a dry chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts. The whole thing was topped with a whole roasted hazelnut and then covered in a creamy white chocolate.
That white chocolate made for a sweeter Baci experience, as it tasted of frosting with vanilla undertones. It was definitely a high quality white chocolate, with a nicely round flavor, but I found it to be too sweet.
The treat was sweet and crunchy and nutty. I loved the roasted nutty experience, but I found that I preferred the regular Baci, which were less sweet and more chocolatey than the White version. An O.
Category: chocolate, European, nuts, O, Perugina, review, white chocolate |
No Comments »
January 21st, 2013 by Rosa
Galaxy chocolate is the UK equivalent of Dove chocolates. I picked up a couple of imported cookie-themed Galaxy bars at my last trip to Cost Plus World Market, the Cookie Crumble and the Orange and Shortcake.
Both bars were wavily segmented into 6 imprinted rectangles that broke easily around their bounds. They had a thickly creamy milk chocolate base that was sweet with just a bit of a throat-burning sour tinge at the finish.
Cookie Crumble had gritty nuggets of chocolate cookie that added a slight gritty crunch. The cookie bits were basically black in color, like Oreos, and they basically tasted like the cookie parts of Oreos.
It reminded me of a slightly nicer version of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Milk Chocolate bar, as the Galaxy chocolate base had a much more luxurious mouthfeel and was just higher quality in general. Still, it also gets an O because I found it to be a tad too sweet in the finish.
Orange and Shortcake had larger cookie bits of pale shortbread that visually stood out against the milky brown chocolate. They added a bit of crunch and grit, but not much flavor, as I mostly tasted the orange flavor in the chocolate.
There were bits of candied orange rind in the bar, which brought a nicely sweet, brightly fruit burst of flavor to the chocolate. They were my favorite part of the bar – an unusual and tasty twist that elevated it to an OM.
Category: chocolate, cookie, Dove, European, Mars, O, OM, review |
No Comments »
January 18th, 2013 by Rosa
Just when I thought the “just add bacon” trend was running its course, I got these free samples of Marich Premium Chocolates‘ newest bacon treats: Double Chocolate Bacon Pretzels and Milk Chocolate Bacon Toffee.
The Double Chocolate Bacon Pretzels were little balls about a half inch in diameter that smelled strongly of smoky meat. Each candy’s center was a crunchy pretzel ball, covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate and a thicker layer of white chocolate.
The chocolate coatings were sweet and creamy with a smoky, meaty undertone. The pretzel center added a great salty, starchy crunch that balanced out the melting sweet chocolate.
I’m torn on how much I liked these. On the one hand, sweet and salty and melting and crunchy always makes for a great taste experience.
On the other hand, the bacon aspect added a meaty aftertaste that was sort of odd. I think I may have liked this better without the bacon aspect. An O.
The Milk Chocolate Bacon Toffee pieces were rounded, flattened cubes that were slightly larger than the Bacon Pretzels. The toffee centers were crunchy and cleaved cleanly
Tiny bits of bacon were distributed throughout the toffee and gave it a bacon-bitty flavor. Those bacon bits could be seen and tasted but didn’t change the texture of the toffee.
The milk chocolate layer was quite thick with a sweet flavor and a creamy melt. It contrasted nicely with the crunchy and salty toffee center.
In this case, I think the bacon gave the chocolate and toffee an extra dimension that elevated the overall experience. An OM.
Category: chocolate, O, OM, review, toffee |
No Comments »
January 11th, 2013 by Rosa
I remember Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme from my childhood. I think the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate are a newer addition, within the last few years.
By the way, this whole ‘n’ thing is crazy annoying. An ampersand takes up the same amount of space but is grammatically correct.
Both bars were crammed full of crunchy bits of chocolate cookie which tasted like Oreo cookies. Cookies ‘n’ Creme had a base of “creme” that was supposed to emulate white chocolate but, as Cybele pointed out, wasn’t really white chocolate, as it was mostly made of vegetable oils.
The “creme” was sweet with a slightly sour fake vanilla flavor, like canned frosting. Though it’s not a high quality base by any means, it is a classic. To me, it just goes well with the bittersweet cookie bits, but that’s probably my nostalgia getting in the way.
Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate had a milk chocolate base that had Hershey’s characteristic slightly sour tang to the finish. The milk chocolate seemed to make the cookies taste even more chocolatey.
I loved the Cookies ‘n’ Creme as a kid. These days, I won’t turn down a free miniature version of it or the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate (I got these from work), as the cookie bits are a nice departure from the norm, but I wouldn’t go out an actually buy them myself. An O.
Category: chocolate, cookie, Hershey's, O, review |
3 Comments »
January 2nd, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve reviewed a few Sanders treats on this blog already, including some of their individually wrapped Favorites that Duke’s hospital sells in its gift shop. I snagged what I believe is the rest of the line at Sweets and Snacks back in May and tasted them last November (hence the slight bloom on the dark chocolates).
Maple Pecan Butter Cream was the only milk chocolate of the five. That milk chocolate covered a maple-flavored buttercream that was full of chopped pecans.
I found it to be absurdly overly sweet. The sweetness tasted of maple syrup and brown sugar, and holy cow was it overpowering.
A few notes of caramel and cocoa from the chocolate and nuttiness from the pecan bits valiantly struggled to be noticed. If you like pecan (pronounced pee-can, of course, not puh-kahn) pie, you’d like this.
For me, way too sweet. It made my teeth itch.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Supreme was Sanders’ version of a Mounds. It had a thick dark chocolate shell around a dry coconut center.
I appreciated the greater amount of dark chocolate here (oodles more compared to Mounds), as that chocolate had a nicely mild cocoa finish, but I thought the coconut center could’ve used more oomph. It lacked nuttiness and had only a light coconut flavor.
Caramel Butterscotch was a chewy, sticky caramel inside a snappy dark chocolate shell. The caramel was sweet and buttery, and though I didn’t get the candied flavor of butterscotch, exactly, it was a still a nice mix of chocolate and caramel.
Cookies and Cream Cruncher was a disk of “ivory confectioners coating” full of little beads of chocolate cookie. It was certainly crunchy, thanks to the high density of the Oreo-flavored cookies.
The fake white chocolate was throat-burningly sweet. It tasted super artificial, like canned vanilla frosting, and was made of palm kernel oil. Thumbs down.
Finally, Mint Royale was the most strikingly colored of the bunch: a bright pastel green with a dark chocolate cocoa center. It snapped when I bit into it but also had a smooth and creamy melt.
The whole thing reminded me of mint nonpareils but with more chocolate flavor. The mintiness was mild with cocoa undertones – too mild, I thought. For something called a Mint Royale, it really needed to go for broke on the mintiness.
The Caramel Butterscotch is the only one of these that I’d want to buy and eat again, so it gets an OM. The rest were generally too sweet and/or not flavorful enough, so they get Os.
Category: caramel, chocolate, cookie, mint, nuts, O, OM, review |
No Comments »
December 19th, 2012 by Rosa
I used to love SweeTarts when I was a kid. My parents used to buy me a big roll of them to keep me quiet on long car rides and such, so I think about them with fondness.
Nestle was handing out free samples of these Mini Chewy SweeTarts at Sweets and Snacks. I don’t think they’re a new product, so I’m not sure why they were being given away, but I was happy to nab a bag.
The Mini Chewies were psychedelically colored pellets, each about the size of my pinky nail. They’re the same flavors as regular SweeTarts, just a different shape and size and texture.
They had a crunchy shell with a center chew that was grainy and bouncy. Its texture reminded of gumballs, only the Mini Chewies dissolved as I chewed them.
Red/pink was malty and sour. Artificial red fruit flavors all taste the same to me, so I’m just taking a stab and guessing that this was supposed to be artificial cherry.
Orange tasted of citrus zest with a mellow orange fruit flavor and a sour finish. Yellow was similarly zesty but tarter and lemony.
Green was an uber-sweet candied apple, and purple was a medicinal-tasting fake grape. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of fake grape candy.
These weren’t bad, but I’ve definitely outgrown the super sweet and artificial nature of these guys. An O.
Category: chewy, Nestle, O, review |
No Comments »
December 14th, 2012 by Rosa
I bought this bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bites at the dollar store because they had a big “New” banner. I don’t think there are other mass-market “milk chocolate covered miniature marshmallows” out there.
Opening the stand-up, resealable bag unleashed a strong and sweet milk chocolate scent that reminded me of a milk chocolate Hershey’s bar. The chocolate that covered the miniature marshmallows was similarly sweet and Hershey’s milk chocolate-like.
The chocolate cracked around the marshmallows when I squished them or bit into them. Its melt was grainy and carried a slight sour tinge.
The marshmallows were soft and pillowy with a neutral sweetness. I love jet-puffed marshmallows when they’re warm and toasted to bring out their caramel notes, but just plain puffy sugar doesn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t find these to be terribly exciting.
I’m not sure what these Mallow Bites are supposed to be for. They’re too sweet for just plain snacking, and I think they’d melt into a gooey mess as baking mix-ins. Maybe they’d be good in snack mixes?
I think my favorite part about the Mallow Bites was the big CHOKING WARNING on the back instructing us to Eat one at a time. Don’t be gluttonous!
An O because they’re reasonably tasty, but they’re too sweet, and I don’t really get what they’re going for.
Category: chocolate, marshmallow, O, review |
4 Comments »
December 10th, 2012 by Rosa
I’ve written before how, when I was a kid, Ferrero Rochers were the pinnacle of fine chocolate. These Ferrero Raffaellos are in the same vein as the Rochers, but without those golden wrappers and tiny stickers, it just isn’t the same!
Like Rochers, Raffaellos are spherical wafers filled with ganache and coated with chocolate. The wafer shell was lightly crispy and served as a great foil for the creamy white chocolate center.
The center ganache was sweet and rich with vanilla notes – very frosting-like. There was a blanched whole almond hidden in the center that added a great crunch and nuttiness.
The whole treat was covered with a thin layer of white chocolate and rolled in dried shredded coconut that made a mess. I found the coconut to be disappointing – it was too dry and didn’t add any flavor.
I don’t recommend deconstructing the Raffaellos during the eating process, as the inferior dried coconut really needed the creaminess of the ganache center to balance out its dried out flavorless-ness.
Popping one whole, however, yielded a reasonably tasty mix of flavors and textures, so an O.
Category: coconut, Ferrero, nuts, O, review, white chocolate |
No Comments »
December 5th, 2012 by Rosa
These Brookside Dark Chocolate candies were free samples that I picked up at Sweets and Snacks. I got mini bags of their Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate, and Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry, which I’ve previously reviewed.
All of these were little discs of flat jelly candies coated in dark chocolate. Some of those jelly discs were placed back to back to make full spheres, while others were left as little half spheres.
Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry may be the same product as Trader Joe’s Powerberries, which I’ve also previously reviewed. If they are the same, I was wrong about the Powerberries being abnormally-shaped Brookside candies, as the Brookside candies were similarly variable in size.
The dark chocolate coating was slightly grainy with a mild sweetness. Their centers had a mellow blueberry flavor that was jammy, like blueberry preserves.
While the fruitiness was nicely light and sweet, it wasn’t bright enough to cut through the sweetness of the chocolate. This was my least favorite of the three Brookside products, so an O.
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate’s center tasted more of cranberry juice than pomegranate. Like the Goji with Raspberry, its bright fruity sweetness really nicely cut through the chocolate, making it a harmonious flavor pairing.
I think the Goji with Raspberry are my favorite Brookside flavor, but the Pomegranate ones come in a close second. They’re just a tad more tannic. An OM.
Category: chocolate, jelly candy, O, OM, review |
3 Comments »