Archive for the 'OM' Category

Sarris Candies S’mores

October 2nd, 2013 by Rosa

While I was in Pittsburgh for a conference, my former labmate and awesome Pittsburgh host took me to one of the best grocery stores ever: the Giant Eagle flagship. It was at least as good, if not better, than the flagship Wegmans in Pittsford, largely due to its incredible candy selection.

I picked up a few local confections from Sarris Candies. First up, this S’mores treat, which was described as ”marshmallow & graham cracker covered in our creamy milk chocolate”.

I was nervous about keeping this bar intact and unmelted throughout my travels. Thankfully, this was a hardy bar, and I unwrapped it at home to find it unscathed, with all its chocolate drizzle ribbons intact.

The outer milk chocolate shell was thick and sweet and creamy. It featured strong caramel undertones to its dairy chocolate flavor.

Inside, the 1.5 oz bar held a bottom layer of graham cracker topped with a white foamy marshmallow. The marshmallow was sweet and softly squishy, adding a nice textural contrast to the cookie and the melting chocolate.

The graham cracker cookie was quite crumbly and slightly crunchy. Its graham flavor was mildly sweet, which did a nice job of cutting the sweetness of the chocolate and keeping the treat from becoming too cloying.

I ate the whole thing in one sitting (rare for me!), partly because it wasn’t that big compared to regular candy bars. It gets an OM, and I wish I’d bought more. The Sarris website recommends microwaving these for a few seconds to make them extra gooey, which I’d like to try.

Category: chocolate, cookie, marshmallow, OM, review | No Comments »

Guest post: Lindt Lindor Panna Cotta Passionfruit

September 30th, 2013 by Neil

Note from Rosa: Here’s another guest post from expat friend Neil. He wrote this in May 2013 but only just now found the photos.

I try not to subject you to reviews of candy I’ve let expire, but I’m making an exception for this. January 2013 wasn’t that long ago, right…?

This came from a German supermarket in summer 2012. I was intrigued by the notion of passionfruit panna cotta and the all-caps dictation to “ENJOY COLD!”

I thought it’d be a bar. The eighteen individual chocolate squares surprised me. Each had a Lindt logo on top and the chocolate appeared milky, though maybe a bit dried out by the unintentional aging.

My experience with passionfruit is limited to candies and juice, so whether or not these taste of the fruit off the vine is up to a proper produce-eater. The chocolate is quite satisfactory, and the passionfruit aspect is what really shines.

There’s almost a bright, sparkling pop in your mouth a few seconds after you finish a square, which is all fruit. An OM.

Category: chocolate, European, guest post, Lindt, OM | No Comments »

Astor Belgian Chocolate – Angel Food Cake and Devil’s Food Cake

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 | No Comments »

Jelina Chocolatier – Fleur de Sel

September 13th, 2013 by Rosa

Wednesday, I reviewed Jelina Chocolatier‘s Espresso bar. Today, I’ve got a review of another of their organic chocolate bars, the Fleur de Sel. Both were free samples that I picked up at the Sweets and Snacks Expo.

Again, this bar was comprised of 15 rectangles, which came sealed in a silver wrapper tucked inside a cardboard box. This one was cutely decorated with a line drawing of a salt shaker.

The chocolate had a dry, smooth, velvet melt that felt comfortably matte on my tongue. Sprinkles of salt could be found throughout the bar, adding a bit of crunch along with a salty hit.

The chocolate had deep, dark earthy notes that occasionally found themselves set off with a hit of salt in a burst of sweet/sour/salty. The finish was intensely chocolatey and lingered pleasantly on the tongue.

I thought this would make for a great snacking bar. Simple but wonderfully chocolatey and kept interesting by the addition of salt – an OM.

Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review | No Comments »

Zoë’s Chocolate Co – The Chocolate Collection

September 6th, 2013 by Rosa

I recently received free samples of some chocolates from Zoë”s Chocolate Co., a small artisan chocolate shop that’s only 6 years old. I got a pretty brown box, all tied up with a pink ribbon, that featured four truffles from their Chocolate Collection: Black Raspberry, Mediterranean Citrus, Apple Pie, and Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel.

Black Raspberry was “white chocolate ganache blended with locally grown preserved black raspberries and topped in a rich dark chocolate.” The square truffle was visually striking, with its magenta dried fruit topper and violet ganache.

That ganache was incredibly smooth. It tasted sweet and lightly fruity with mild berry notes, and it finished with cocoa flavors from the nice dark chocolate. The dried fruit chip was crystallized and added a flash of sweet and intense fruitiness to this understated truffle.

Mediterranean Citrus was described as “white chocolate ganache infused with a sweet Mediterranean citrus topped in dark chocolate.” Its ganache was also perfectly smooth and was a creamy white in color.

It tasted of orange oil rather than orange juice or zest. It was a great citrus pairing with the dark chocolate that coated it, even though it lacked any juiciness or zestiness.

Apple Pie was a caramel: “Fresh, local apples cooked to perfection with apple pie spices and combined with caramel and roasted pecans.” The beautiful dome held a jammy filling with tiny bits of apple suspended within it.

It tasted like cinnamon and, well, apple pie! I didn’t notice any specific pecan bits or flavor, though there was a bit of tannic bitterness to the finish that may have been due to the added nuts.

Finally, the one with a mouthful of a name, Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel, was “a bit of creamy milk chocolate … mixed with our liquid caramel and amplified to a delicious intensity.” The liquid caramel was smooth and limpid with an intense buttery sweetness.

The generous sprinkle of jagged sea salt was just right to set off the sweetness of the caramel and milk chocolate. I didn’t notice the addition of the pinot noir, but I still loved this caramel.

Zoë’s chocolates were gorgeous to behold and delicious to indulge in. I give the Pinot Noir Caramel an OMG, while the rest get OMs.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, OMG, review, white chocolate | No Comments »

YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks + Giveaway

August 23rd, 2013 by Rosa

Is there a different between gummis and fruit snacks? The former is definitely a candy and is usually viewed as an occasional treat for kids, whereas the latter is often found in school lunch boxes.

To me, they’re basically the same, though fruit snacks get a health washing. I think it’s because they can usually brag about being made with real fruit juice.

Case in point, YumEarth Organics’ (formerly Yummy Earth) fruit snacks. In addition to containing real fruit juice, they brag about being 100% natural, organic, and without artificial dyes.

I got some free samples to review, and permission to do a giveaway as well. More on that later…

The fruit snacks came in banana, cherry, peach, and strawberry. They were firm and dry on the outside, so that they almost had a shell, like what you get when candy gets dried out.

The fruit jelly immediately and cleanly yielded to my bite. The texture was firm with zero bounce, like a grainless fruit pate.

Banana (yellow) was mild and brightly sweet, almost tart in flavor. It had just a hint of banana flavor, enough so that I could tell it was the banana fruit snack (though the shape clued me in as well), but not so much that it was artificially off-putting.

This was the best banana-flavored candy or gummy that I’ve ever had. Usually I hate banana candies, but I loved this.

Cherry (pink circle) was also sweet, fruity, and lightly tart. It had a deep red fruit finish to the end and managed to avoid any cough syrup notes.

Peach (orangey circle) was sweet with a spot-on peach flavor. It was sweet and floral, and so close to the real thing that I could practically taste the peach fuzz.

Finally, strawberry (pink triangle) had the same fruity sweetness of the other gummis, plus a mild and floral strawberry undertone.

By avoiding the use of artificial ingredients, these fruit snacks from YumEarth managed to pack a ton of intense and delicious flavors into tiny packages. I give them an OM.

If you’d like to give these a try, YumEarth is letting me give away two bags of their back to school snack packs to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite lunchbox snack to pack for your kids or from when you were a kid.

I will randomly select one reader from the comments. Continental U.S. readers only, and contest closes a week from today, at 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, August 30th, 2013. Good luck!

EDIT: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Caley on being my randomly selected winner!

Category: giveaway, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, OM, organic, review | 12 Comments »

Sour Punch Punchies

August 16th, 2013 by Rosa

These Sour Punch Punchies were being heartily promoted at Sweets and Snacks, and I snagged a free sample to review for y’all. The wrapper called them “soft, chewy, and sour candy”, and they came in lemon, strawberry, tangerine, blue raspberry, and green apple.

Each Punchie had a fun little face printed on it. They were like spherical jelly beans with an extra thick sugar shell. That grainy shell cracked easily, revealing a chewy jelly center.

Lemon (yellow) was bright and tart with a zesty overtone reminiscent of Lemonheads. It finished with a sour lemon flavor.

Strawberry (red) was extremely floral and surprisingly tasty (I usually don’t like strawberry candies). Unfortunately, it finished with a heavy plasticky note.

Tangerine (orange) had a tartness that intensified as I chewed it, and it developed a great tanginess as well. There was just a hint of plasticky finish, but it was minimal.

Blue raspberry (blue) was about what you’d expect from blue raspberry, a flavor not found in nature. It was extremely sweet and fruity without any seediness, and again, that plasticky finish.

Finally, green apple brought a decent hit of tartness to start and a strongly sweet fake apple flavor. The plasticky notes were pretty apparent here as well, as they are in the green apple Sour Punch Straws.

I found these to be a fun sugar rush, despite the sometimes plasticky notes.  I definitely prefer them to Sour Punch Straws, and they pack more flavor than most Jelly Beans. I’m torn between an O and an OM – I’m feeling generous, so OM.

Cybele also covered them on her blog, and gave them 7/10.

Category: jelly candy, OM, review, sour | No Comments »

Escazú Chipotle Chile & Vanilla

August 9th, 2013 by Rosa

Escazú Chocolates is another chocolatier that’s practically in my backyard. How did I not know that there were so many local chocolate makers right here in the triangle?

I’d seen them before at Whole Foods and the coffee shop by my gym, but I’d never picked them up because I already have a sizeable chocolate backlog. Fortunately, a friend decided to thank me for some pet-sitting by giving me this Chipotle Chile & Vanilla bar.

The 74% cacao bar was segmented into 24 rectangles. The chocolate broke easily but without a true snap. Its melt was thick for a dark chocolate, velvety in texture but not tongue-coatingly thick like milk chocolate.

The dark chocolate had a fruity flavor with strong, plummy raisin and fig notes that lingered in the finish. The chipotle sting melted into a tingling burn that also lingered on the tongue and in the back of my throat.

I loved the complex intensity of this bar and am now eager to try the rest of their line. An OM.

Category: chocolate, OM, review | No Comments »

Lovely Caramels

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.

LC_Caramels_7oz_Bag_OL

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 | No Comments »

Russell Stover Caramel Apple with Peanuts

June 16th, 2013 by Rosa

I got this Russell Stover Caramel Apple with Peanuts as a free sample at the Russell Stover booth at Sweets and Snacks. There was also a version without nuts; this is just the one that was handed to me by the nice booth representatives.

The wrapper described this as “naturally apple flavored caramel, peanuts, and milk chocolate”. It was an apple shaped chocolate shell filled with caramel and coated with chopped peanuts.

The caramel was soft and sticky, with a substantially chewy pull. It tasted sweet with a subtle hint of green apple tartness, a flavor that was reminiscent of Tootsie’s Caramel Apple Pops.

The milk chocolate was on the sweet side, while the crunchy peanut bits brought a strong nuttiness. When all the ingredients were together, the apple undertones got a bit lost, though the mix of chocolate, caramel, and peanuts was pretty good in and of itself.

Overall, I found this to be a creative treat that was tasty and made me nostalgic for fall. To be fair, I have an inordinate love for caramel apples, so this especially suited my tastes.

My one nitpick is that not all of the chopped peanut bits were anchored to the chocolate, which made this a messy treat if you weren’t careful. An OM.

Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, OM, review, Russell Stover | 1 Comment »