Archive for the 'O' Category

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 »

Anastasia Confections Creamy Coconut Patties – Original and Key Lime

March 20th, 2013 by Rosa

I bought these two packs of Creamy Coconut Patties at the dollar store for – you guessed it – $1 per pack. One was regular/original (“dipped in real dark chocolate”), while the other was key lime (but also “dipped in real dark chocolate”).

Each Coconut Patty was heartily sized, 1.75 inches square, and there were 2 per pack in a cardboard tray. They were like topless Mounds: squares of moist coconut patties with the bottom and sides coated in a thin layer of dark chocolate.

The original had a plain, sweetened coconut patty that was pure white. The coconut was confettied and smooshed together, which gave the whole thing a sushi-like look.

The coconut had a nice texture: lightly moist, soft, squishy, and a bit squeaky between my teeth. It tasted sweet and floral with a strong nutty and fresh flavor.

The dark chocolate component was minimal and mostly got lost in the coconut patty. When I ate it by myself, it was sweet and fruity.

While the patty was great for the first bite or two, the sweetness of the coconut quickly became overwhelming. More chocolate to temper that sugary sweetness would’ve helped, I think.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Dollar Store treat. The original gets an OM, as long as you eat the patties in multiple sittings.

Key Lime was just like the original, only the coconut was a fluorescent lime green. The patties had the same sweetly nutty coconut of the original but finished with a fruity lime zestiness.

The lime flavor paired with the coconut and hint of chocolate was a set of flavors that I found more weird than pleasant. I ate most of the original patties on my own, but I haven’t taken more than a bite of the Key Lime ones. An O for the Key Lime version.

Category: chocolate, coconut, O, OM, review | Comments Off

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

February 27th, 2013 by Rosa

I had been eyeing these trapezoid-shaped boxed of chocolate-covered marshmallows at Whole Foods, but I’d never pulled the trigger. When I spotted a similarly shaped box of dark chocolate covered marshmallows at Trader Joe’s but for a dollar less than Whole Foods’s version, it was enough for me to add the box to my cart.

The box promised “light and fluffy marshmallows drenched in smooth, dark chocolate.” The marshmallows were boulder-shaped domes (not the flat squares depicted on the Whole Foods box).

They smelled sweet and a bit earthy from the chocolate. There was just a thin layer of that dark chocolate, and it cracked when I bit into it.

It tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with a flavor that I found reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. There was also a light graininess to its melt.

The marshmallow centers were foamy with an intense squishiness and a decent chewiness. Their sweetness was bright and had a hint of golden syrup‘s amber sweetness to it.

The dark chocolate covered marshmallows were a tad too sweet for my taste. Other than that, they were decent but on the boring side, and I have no desire to buy more or even finish the rest of my box. An O.

Category: chocolate, marshmallow, O, Trader Joe's | 2 Comments »

Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

February 25th, 2013 by Rosa

I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, so this week will be all about some new candies I spotted there. We’ll start with the PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar, which Trader Joe’s has smartly positioned as a $1 impulse buy at the cash register.

After Hammond’s PB&J Sandwich bar took a top prize at last year’s Sweets and Snacks, it seemed logical that the trend would eventually trickle down to Trader Joe’s. I’m fairly sure the Trader Joe’s was not an unbranded version of Hammond’s take, as the two bars looked and tasted quite different.

The 1.75oz bar was subdivided into 6 segments that readily broke to reveal a thin sliver of peanut butter that ran through the segment divisions. The jelly component was a red/purple translucent gel that sat on top of the peanut butter layer in the segments themselves.

That goo tasted brightly fruity with a slightly seedy finish. I noticed that seediness because the wrapper promised raspberry jelly, but I’m not sure if I would have noticed that it wasn’t a standard grape jelly.

The peanut butter was perfectly smooth on the tongue and tasted nicely roasty and nutty with a salty hit to the finish. I would guess that it was the same peanut butter from the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles, though who can be sure since Trader Joe’s sources their wares from all over the place.

The chocolate was fine but unexceptional. I didn’t really notice its contribution much, as the peanut butter was the dominant flavor here.

This bar was okay, but I wasn’t super wowed by any aspect of it, and I wouldn’t bother to buy it again. If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan, your mileage may vary, and Cybele gave it an 8/10. I give it an O.

Category: chocolate, O, review, Trader Joe's | Comments Off

Moonstruck Chocolate Bar – Dark Chocolate Chile Variado

February 20th, 2013 by Rosa

On Monday, I reviewed Moonstruck‘s Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Toffee bar. Today, I’m covering the Dark Chocolate Chile Variado, which is the other bar that I nabbed at the movie theater.

According to the Moonstruck website, the Chile Variado is a dark chocolate that’s infused with ancho and chipotle chiles. In this case, the dark chocolate was a 68% cacao base.

This bar was decorated quite differently from the milk chocolate one. By comparison, the Dark Chocolate Chile Variado was rather plain. It was scored into 8 rows, most of them glossy and smooth, and was stamped in the center with, “Share if you dare”.

The dark chocolate had a brisk, sharp snap and a dry break. It had just a hint of sweetness with a cocoa flavor that was deep and earthy.

The chiles made themselves known by adding a dry, acrid spiciness. The heat started off as an undertone of spiciness, then swelled into a firey blaze that burned in the back of my throat and made my tongue tingle.

This bar was tasty in small doses but quickly became painful in larger, more continuous bites. While this was tasty, I prefer Lindt’s take on chili chocolate. An O.

 

 

Category: chocolate, O, review | Comments Off

Kabosu Caramels

February 6th, 2013 by Rosa

This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time.

According to Nana, limes are a Kyushu specialty, so it makes sense that they’d have a candy to highlight it. My box of these Kabosu Caramels was generously stuffed with little parchment paper-wrapped squares of caramel.

It was great that there were so many caramels, but when they all spilled out of my box, it was impossible to get them back in.

The pale green caramels felt rock hard to the touch and were initially quite hard to bite into. With a little determination and trust that they wouldn’t break my teeth, I eventually got them to break off with a slight grain.

Once I got to chewing, the stiff chew softened as it melted. The caramel had a sort of grainy texture. It reminded me of a Tootsie Roll, except that it melted more readily.

The candies started off with a creamy undertone, then became brightly sweet with a yogurty lime flavor and a hint of zest to the finish. They reminded me of key lime pie or lime flavored yogurt because of the added dairy feel to the flavor.

I would’ve preferred a more fully fruity candy, as I felt the dairy creaminess diluted the great lime flavor. Still, they were enjoyable and definitely a unique treat. An O.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, O, received as gift, review | Comments Off

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

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 »

Perugina’s Baci White

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 | Comments Off