January 23rd, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve often benefitted from friends who travel abroad and bring me back international candy. My friends Emma and Jason recently went to Japan, and Nana and Justin just sent me yet another package, so I’ve got some new Asian goodies in the pipeline.
These Kit Kat Gran Wafers from Emma and Jason came in a box of 10 individually wrapped fingers. The box was way bigger than it needed to be, as it was only half full.
Sad because these Kit Kats were delicious! I would’ve loved to have twice as many in the box.
Unlike regular Kit Kats, the Gran Wafers were totally nekkid. As in missing an outer coating of chocolate, wafers exposed to the world. They were much thicker than regular Kit Kats as well, with five layers of wafer cookie sandwiching four thin layers of deeply dark chocolate.
The crunch of the thick stack of wafers was quite substantial. The layers in between the wafers were made of actual chocolate rather than chocolate cream, giving the whole treat a substantial depth of cocoa flavor.
I loved this extra intense twist on the usual Kit Kat formula of wafer cookies and chocolate. An OMG.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Nestle, OMG, received as gift, review |
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January 14th, 2013 by Rosa
Truffles by Coquette is a new online chocolate boutique/small business. They sent me a free box of their classic truffles for review.
The truffles came in a classy looking box with a gilded Coquette logo in the center. Inside were 12 spherical truffles, 4 each of the Colette, Annie, and Katherine.
Colette was described as “traditional French caramels with a touch of Fleur de sel de Guerande, enrobed in dark 55% cacao.” It was a snappy dark chocolate shell surrounding a limpid, liquid caramel.
The caramel was not sticky or chewy, but it also didn’t flow. Instead, it held its shape until it hit my tongue, after which it melted away in a sweetly golden pool of buttery deliciousness.
Each Colette was topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, which provided a nice flash of saltiness against the sweetness of the truffles. The dark chocolate was dusky with awesome cocoa depth and a lightly bittersweet finish that allowed the chocolate to linger.
Annie was “inspired by… the s’more. A gooey marshmallow filling is dipped in milk chocolate and topped with a miniature marshmallow.” I thought it was fun departure from the usual “classic” truffle mix.
The milk chocolate had a thick and creamy melt and tasted of sweet caramel with a dusky finish. While the mini marshmallow topper was textured, the marshmallow filling reminded me of marshmallow fluff: puffy and sweet with no chew.
Instead, it dissolved into the spot-on flavor of jet-puffed marshmallows. Overall, Annie was close to being too sweet for my taste, but I forgave it because it was so unique.
Katherine was ”filled with creamy dark chocolate ganache and then dipped in E. Guittard couverture.” Its ganache was thick with no flow, a smooth and cool, almost fatty melt with just a bit of heaviness on my tongue.
The chocolate base that made this chocolate was great. It carried a bright, cocoa fruitiness with a lingering finish of bittersweet cocoa depth.
The Colette was my favorite of the bunch. I’m a sucker for salted caramel, so it gets an OMG. Annie gets an OM for taste and inventiveness, and Katherine gets an OM as well for being a well-executed classic.
Category: caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, OM, OMG, review |
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January 7th, 2013 by Rosa
Some people get extremely worked up about how buying Mambas can mean playing a lottery for which 3 out of the 4 flavors you get. Fortunately, when they gave out samples at Sweets and Snacks, they gave them out in single-flavor packs, so I was easily able to get one each of these Mamba Sours.
Like regular Mambas, they came in raspberry, strawberry, lemon, and orange. Each flavor pack contained 6 rectangles of the individually wrapped candies, which looked identical to the regular Mambas.
The candies were softly chewy and quite sticky. They melted away if I just held them in my mouth.
Orange yielded a juicy burst of orange flavor that was brightly sweet and quite tart. The bite of tartness lingered in the finish with just a hint of tongue-numbing.
Lemon was even brighter and even more sour than the orange. It really captured the puckery flavor of a real lemon. Here, too, the sourness made me salivate.
Strawberry had lovely floral undertones that I greatly enjoyed. It carried a slight tartness but wasn’t nearly as sour as the citrus flavors.
Finally, raspberry had the seediness of artificial raspberry candies that I usually find off-putting. In this case, however, that seediness was buried in enough generally fruity flavor and that I didn’t mind it. Here, like the in the strawberry, the sourness was noticeable but mild.
I really enjoyed the intensely bright, fruity flavors and tangy tartness of these chews. The citrus fruits were my favorite, but the other two were nice as well. OMG.
Category: chewy, OMG, review, sour, Storck |
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October 26th, 2012 by Rosa
I bought these Valrhona Chocolate Covered Pearls from Whole Foods, where they were sold by weight in a little tub (yes, I know the sell by date says 01/24/2012; this review is based on notes I took about a year ago. Yes, I know that means they’ve been kicking around in my backlog for a while. No, you cannot give me grief about it, unless you always finish everything exactly when you mean to).
The pearls had a crunchy center covered in Valrhona chocolate that was panned and polished to a glossy sheen. They were slightly variable in size but all were around the size of a dried split pea.
Valrhona has a stellar reputation for its high quality chocolate, and these pearls lived up to that reputation. The dark chocolate had a velvety melt with a slightly smoky, deeply earthy cocoa flavor.
The center added a toasty crunch and just a hint of carb-y sweetness. The ingredients list called it “biscuit cereals”, and it was mostly made of wheat.
These guys were addictively poppable, with their delicious mix of crunchy biscuit center and smooth chocolate complexity. At $16.99/lb, they are far from cheap, but a little goes a long way if you can patiently eat them one by one. I think they’d make a great keep-you-awake-on-a-long-drive snack.
They’d also make a great ice cream topper – my mouth is watering thinking about them mixed with my favorite salted caramel ice cream from the Parlour in Durham. Mmm… An OMG.
Category: chocolate, OMG, review |
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October 24th, 2012 by Neil
As I try to recover from a week in New Orleans, ex-pat friend Knile has a couple of guest posts on deck. ~Rosa
I can’t believe I’m still eating what I bought in Switzerland nearly six months ago! I’ve been dying to tuck into this one in particular, but have held off for a rainy day. Here we are: it’s raining.
The Ovomaltine bar is produced by Wander, a subsidiary of the Associated British Foods company, which also does, yes, make the classic chocolate malt powder Ovaltine. I loved Ovaltine as a kid, and that’s meant that ever since then, I’m pleased to try new forms of malt.
The bar broke on its own when I was unwrapping it, showing that the twelve brick-like pieces were positively riddled with malt powder.
Eating it was pure joy. The milk chocolate worked very well as a vehicle for the malt, as any fan of Whoppers or Maltesers could tell you. The powder was evenly distributed and so every bite effervesced.
If you told me I had to eat six of these bars a day, I’d be a happy camper. OMG, this bar was wonderful.
Category: chocolate, European, guest post, OMG, review |
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October 19th, 2012 by CamNMere
I was at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans earlier this week, so I’m turning things over to some globe-trotting friends. Cameron and Meredith are former roommates of mine (we did lots of chocolate truffle tastings together), and they’re writing about some treats they bought on a recent trip through Japan. ~Rosa
Here’s the rest of the Meiji Gummies first covered on Wednesday.
Cameron: A bit firmer than the rest, but unfortunately the bog-standard strawberry flavor that you get from any mass-produced strawberry gummy – it tastes like cheap jam. I’m not totally opposed to it, and perhaps it’s better for a mass market product like this to go with the de facto standard, but it certainly isn’t an innovative or unique take on the flavor. O
Meredith: I have a problem with a lot of strawberry-flavored candy: I can’t stand peanut butter, and apparently over the years I’ve picked up an PBJ-mediated distaste for certain mass-produced strawberry jam flavors too.
I like fresh strawberries and some strawberry-flavored products (again, Hi-Chew comes to mind), but this sort of mass-produced strawberry jam flavor is seriously offputting to me. This strawberry gum actually had a peanut butter aftertaste for me that is almost certainly illusory, so I have to give it a highly subjective –.
And finally, the odd one out – the white grape flavor, from the Pupurun line. (Which has a particularly adorable mascot.)
Cameron: No question, this is a superior gummy to the other product line. It’s super soft, with a center that’s just barely not liquid, and the flavor is very nice and authentic to the fruit. It’s got a bit of complexity that’s similar to the difference between seedless and seeded grapes, and some wineyness in the aftertaste. OMG
Meredith: First off, I loved the texture of the dome gummy! It has a sproingy outside layer and an oozy melty inside, much like an actual grape. And its flavor is spot on in the “real grape flavor” category. Makes me want to go to the market and buy some Finger Lakes grapes! A solid OMG.
We ended up rating the Pupurun a bit higher than Rosa did – I think this is the closest you’ll get to a direct comparison, so you can maybe say that we’re a hair less discerning than your usual host!
Category: --, guest post, gummi/gummy, Meiji, O, OMG, review |
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October 10th, 2012 by Rosa
These Mint Chip Malted Milk Balls came from my free sample of Sugarfina‘s Malt Shoppe tasting flight. The flight’s “menu” described these as “refreshing malt balls… coated in dark chocolate, then rolled in mint cookie crumbles.”
The Mint Chip balls were quite visually appealing, a sea-foamy green flecked with dark cookie bits. Mine were certainly fresh, as their malted centers gave a great solid crunch when bitten into.
That malted center had strong, toasty malt flavors. I love real malt, and these malt balls really delivered.
The outer mint layer was creamy with light peppermint flavors, while a thin chocolate layer could be found between the mint and the malt. The flavor balance was great, with the toasty malt center playing counter to the pepperminty coating.
The whole thing tasted like an awesome mint chocolate chip malted milkshake. I loved them. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, mint, news, OMG |
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September 28th, 2012 by Rosa
A little while ago, I was delighted when Hammond’s Candies offered to send me some free samples from their catalog. I was even more delighted to get some caramels and these Piggy Backs in the mail a week or so later.
The Piggy Backs were like giant, generously-sized turtles weighing in at 2.2 oz. Each was about half an inch thick and nearly the size of my palm. They were individually wrapped and sat in fluted paper cups.
My dark chocolate version was almond and caramel, while the milk chocolate version was pecan and caramel, but the dark also comes in pecan and the milk comes in almond.
The dark chocolate almond and caramel Piggy Back was lovely! The almonds brought a great roasted nuttiness that was strong enough to stand up to the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate. They added a great textural crunch and just a slight tinge of bitterness to balance all the sugar.
The generous layer of caramel was sticky and chewy and sweet, while the dark chocolate was on the sweet side for dark chocolate, with a smooth melt and a fruity, dusky finish. An OMG for an awesome mix of flavors and textures.
The milk chocolate pecan and caramel Piggy Back was more mild all around. Pecans are a more mild nut, and here they brought a softer crunch and a fattier nutty feel.
The lighter nut let the sweetness of the caramel come through more, and the milk chocolate had a nice caramel sweetness to it as well. I really liked this, but I liked the dark chocolate almond more, so an OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, Hammond's Candies, nuts, OM, OMG, review |
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September 21st, 2012 by Rosa
I found these Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars on my last trip to Cost Plus World Market (thanks for the birthday coupon!). I nearly missed them – they were shelved a ways away from most of the store’s other candies – and I’m glad that I saw them and picked up a box.
I chose the Cara Mella flavor because it was the most tempting: “All natural Valencia peanut butter center and creamy caramel covered in dark chocolate.” Yes please!
The box contained two decent-sized, individually wrapped bars. Mine got a little squashed – a few dribbles of caramel peeked through the cracked dark chocolate shell. That dark chocolate had a wonderfully dusky and deep cocoa flavor with a lightly sweet finish.
The peanut butter center was topped with a layer of caramel, and the two combined in a salty-sweet dream. The caramel was sweet with a slight burnt sugar tinge and a salty hit to the finish. It was sticky and chewy and got stuck in my teeth a little.
The peanut butter center had bits of rice crisps that added a great crunch. That, along with some tiny bits of peanuts, provided a nice textural contrast to the chewy caramel and melting chocolate.
Finally, the peanut butter flavor itself was great. Its roasted nuttiness was strong enough to stand up to the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel.
I had blanched a bit at the $2.99 price tag, but I shouldn’t have, as it works out to $1.50 for each 1.5 oz bar. A little pricier than Snickers bars, sure, but definitely a good buy for the quality that you get. An OMG for an addictive mix of textures of flavors.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, peanut butter, review |
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July 2nd, 2012 by Rosa
Jelina Chocolatier was one of the most interesting booths for me at Sweets and Snacks. At the time, they were a Canadian chocolate company looking for a US distributor. I hope they managed to strike a deal to get themselves sold in the US!
Their line of chocolate bars included many intriguing offerings. Luckily for me, they were generous in offering me free samples of what I thought were their two most interesting bars, a Honey Nougat Milk Chocolate and a Maple Crunch Milk Chocolate.
Both bars came in a shiny, sturdy silver bag inside an un-dyed cardboard paper box – probably a calculated move to play up their wholesome Fair Trade factor – with quaint little line drawings representing the contents. The chocolate bars themselves were formed into a 3X5 lightly scored grid of rectangular pods.
Honey Nougat had a soft break along its segments. The milk chocolate base was thick and creamy with strong caramel notes.
The nougat bits added a light toffee-like crunch. Those honeyed bits had a pure, amber sweetness that reminded me of Lyle’s golden syrup. It added just the right touch of sweetness.
Finally, there was some tiny bits of almonds dispersed throughout the bar. They didn’t add much nuttiness, but they did contribute to the crunch factor, along with the nougat bits. An OM.
Maple Crunch was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. The milk chocolate also had a soft break, but here it tasted sweeter with less prominent caramel notes.
The bar was full of slightly grainy bits of maple sugar that added a wonderful, surprisingly sturdy crunch. I didn’t think it would be possible to mix maple sugar into melted chocolate without melting the sugar as well, but I guess it is.
The deep brown sugar tones of the maple syrup sugar paired well with the sweet milk chocolate. I loved this for its unique flavor and texture. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, fair trade, nougat, nuts, OM, OMG, review |
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