Archive for the 'OMG' Category

Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix

March 16th, 2012 by Rosa

A little over a week ago, I discovered the new eater of my minimal grad student disposable income: A Southern Season. It’s a megalopolis of gourmet goods: fine meats and cheeses and chocolates and pastas and pastries and spices and candy…

I wanted to eat all the things! But all the things were too expensive, so I splurged on a few high end pieces from Recchiuti and Vosges. Today, I’m starting with the high-ending-est of them all: Recchiuti’s Asphalt Jungle Mix, which was a super splurgey $19.99 for a 6 oz box.

Why the crazy profligate spending? I remembered Cybele writing positively about it and David Lebovitz raving about it. Though now that I revisit David Lebovitz’s post, I see that he’s lucky enough to be buddies with Mr. Recchiuti and didn’t have to pay for his mix…

The minimalist box calls them “a riot of burnt caramel hazelnuts & almonds, cherries two ways, and peanut butter pearls.” Let’s break them down, shall we?

Burnt caramel hazelnuts and almonds were chocolate covered and cocoa dusted. Those hazelnuts were awesomely roasty and crunchy and hazelnutty – they tasted incredibly fresh – with a tinge of burnt sugar sweetness to the finish and a overall cocoa sweetness.

Similarly, the almonds were intensely nutty and sharply crunchy. If there was burnt caramel to these, I didn’t notice it, but I still loved the intensity of toasty nuts.

Cherries one way was a cocoa dusted, chocolate-covered candied cherry. It was juicy and slightly moist and chewy, bright and flavorful with a slightly boozy finish. This was my favorite of the bunch, as it positively burst with flavor.

Cherries the other way was a dried cherry covered in dark chocolate. That cherry center brought an amazing flash of fruity sweetness that was slightly tart. It was good, but the other way was better for me.

Finally, peanut butter pearls were really fun. They were little balls of milk chocolate peanut butter with a dark chocolate center that then contained a little ball of crisped rice. A Matroyshka treat!

It started out with a creamy milk chocolate and the texture of the rice crisp, then transitioned to an extreme peanut butter nuttiness that finished with a flash of salt. Peanut butter lovers would love this.

This mix was tasty and delicious. But at $53/lb, I can’t see myself ever buying these again; they’re just too expensive. Though I did love those chocolate candied cherries… An OMG for the candied cherries and an OM for the rest.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, OMG, organic, peanut butter, Recchiuti, review | 3 Comments »

Milk Chocolate Salty Pocky

January 30th, 2012 by Rosa

I found these Milk Chocolate Salty Pocky at an Asian grocery store back home in Austin. I immediately snatched them up – salt + chocolate has always struck me as a European thing, so I was excited to see them on Pocky, a classic Asian treat.

They were basically regular milk chocolate Pocky – thin biscuit sticks dipped in chocolate – with an added sprinkle of salt. The salt crystals were small but visible, though not quite as sparkly as they appear on the packaging.

The biscuit sticks were crisp and crunchy. They tasted mostly neutral with just a bit of butteriness. Their purpose was mostly to serve as a neutral flavored but texturally interesting foil for the chocolate.

The chocolate coating was thin but creamy. It had a nice duskiness, and the salt crystals added a flash of flavor that really set the chocolate off.

These were a really simple yet wonderful treat. It’s amazing how the simple addition of a few grains of salt added so much more complexity to it. An OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar

January 11th, 2012 by Rosa

This See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar was another mall stand buy. The 1.5 oz bar was described as “chewy nougat with almonds and honey covered in dark chocolate.”

The bulk of the rectangular bar was a log of chewy nougat covered with a dark chocolate hsell. The texture was great. It was chock full of crunchy whole almonds surrounded by a lightly sweet and chewy nougat.

The nougat had the amber undertone of honey, which nicely set off the crisp, fresh almonds. The dark chocolate shell was only lightly sweet and brought a great cocoa depth to the bar.

I loved this bar. The honey in the nougat added a delicious complexity while the almonds had a great crunchy nuttiness.

The chewy nougat and the crunchy almonds and the dusky chocolate also made for a great textural mix. It was a near perfect treat.

My only complaint was that the dark chocolate shell shattered and made a bit of a mess when I bit into the bar, but it’s a minor one. An OMG.

Again, here are Cybele and Sera’s takes.

Category: chocolate, nougat, nuts, OMG, review, See's | 1 Comment »

Harbor Sweets Perennial Sweets

December 16th, 2011 by Rosa

On Wednesday, I reviewed my free sample Harbor Sweets‘s Sand Castle Dark Chocolate and Caramel Bar. Today, I’m reviewing their Perennial Sweets, another free sample that I received.

The Perennial Sweets was a box of “dark chocolates inspired by the garden.” My box of 16 contained 4 Nantucket Baskets, 4 Topiary Toffees, and 8 Sweet Irises, each individually wrapped in gold foil.

The chocolates themselves reminded me of cameo jewelry due to their oval shapes and raised (really molded) decorations. As with the Sand Castle bar, I was impressed by the detail captured by the molding, as well as the lack of air bubbles in the chocolate.

The Nantucket Basket was a “rich, dark chocolate with dry roasted almonds” with a pretty basket of plants as its molding. The thick oval of chocolate was snappy with a smooth melt.

The chocolate carried a hint of cherry sweetness and was studded with whole almonds. While the almonds were nutty with a nice roasted flavor, they got bitter at their gritty end. I thought they were a tad too tannic.

Topiary Toffee had a potted tree decoration and was described as “rich, dark chocolate with almond butter crunch.”

It was also thick with a solid snap, and though the dark chocolate looked identical to that of the Nantucket Basket, I thought it tasted just a hair sweeter and had a thicker melt.

I expected the almond butter crunch to be dispersed throughout the treat as little nuggets. Instead, there was a big triangular slab of almond butter toffee hidden inside.

The toffee was simply lovely and paired well with the dusky, thick chocolate. It had the just-shy-of-burnt sugar taste that I love with just a hint of nuttiness. It cleaved cleanly, shattering into shards of deliciousness when bitten into.

Sweet Iris, “rich, dark chocolate with raspberry crunch,” was markedly thinner than the other two. Each Sweet Iris well held two chocolates while the Nantucket Basket and Topiary Toffee were one per well.

The Sweet Iris smelled extremely fruity. There was a light grit to the chocolate that I thought maybe came from raspberry seeds or bits of dehydrated raspberry but actually were bits of “lemon crunch,” according to the ingredients list.

The dark chocolate had a nice cocoa duskiness from the chocolate and a brightly sweet fruitiness. It was nice but a bit too artificially fruity sweet for my taste.

The Topiary Toffee was my favorite of the bunch and gets an OMG, while the other two get Os. They get high marks for prettiness, though. If I owned a bed and breakfast, I’d leave these on the pillows.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, OMG, review, toffee | Comments Off

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels

November 18th, 2011 by Rosa

Cybele reviewed Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels about a year ago, which first put them on my radar. The little bag nearly escaped my notice in the store. It was near the checkout counters in impulse buy territory.

The caramels were beautiful round balls with a captivatingly glossy sheen. That outer coating quickly melted away when I held the caramel in my mouth, but I much preferred to bite into them.

When I bit into it, the outer shell yielded easily with a soft crunch as it splintered, then melted smoothly. The inner caramel was initially soft and then quickly became chewy.

The caramel and chocolate were amazing. The chocolate had a great cocoa depth with a lovely, dusky finish, and the caramel had a smooth butteriness with some light rum notes and a butterscotch finish.

The combination of the two was absolutely stellar, a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. The sticky caramel mixed well with the smooth chocolate, and the dusky cocoa flavors played off the buttery caramel.

I loved the complexity of this treat – far better than Milk Duds – and can’t wait to pick up another bag. An OMG.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, review, Trader Joe's | 3 Comments »

Javaz Dark

November 11th, 2011 by Rosa

Here’s the second of the two bags of Javaz that I found at Cost Plus World Market. I reviewed the milk ones on Wednesday, and today’s review is of the dark version.

As I noted on Wednesday, Javaz are chocolate covered coffee beans that are then covered with a shiny sugar shell. The milk ones were lovely, and the dark ones even more so.

With their deep obsidian shells lightly flecked with bits of white, they could be little marble pebbles. Just check out that lovely sheen!

Thankfully, they’re much more edible than actual pebbles. The dark chocolate was a bit stiffer than the softer milk chocolate. Otherwise, the textural combination of sugar shell crunch and coffee grit was similar to that of the milk Javaz.

The chocolate had a lightly sweet fruitiness in its body and a slightly smokiness to the finish. I think the deepness of the chocolate made for a better foil for the bitterness of the beans.

Each complimented the other, so that the bitter astringency of the coffee was reduced and the fruitiness of the chocolate was amped up. For me, this was an addictive combination. An OMG.

Category: chocolate, coffee, fair trade, OMG, review | Comments Off

Sanders Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel

October 12th, 2011 by Rosa

Sanders Fine Chocolates was not a brand that I was previously familiar with. I was in the Duke Hospital getting a prescription filled and saw several displays of Sanders chocolates in the hospital gift shop. Even better, I saw that they were being sold in single servings, perfect for a candy blogger!

I picked up a Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, a Peanut Butter Crispies, and a Milk Chocolate Pecan Titan. I’ll review the former today, and the latter two on Friday.

The Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel (bottom left corner of below photo) was quite pretty out of the wrapper, with the bright sea salt crystals contrasting against the well-tempered milk chocolate.

The caramel, however, wasn’t quite as photogenic as it was on the wrapper. I didn’t get the enviably gorgeous pull that was depicted.

The caramel tasted great, though. It was creamy and sweet, cool and buttery. It didn’t ooze when I bit into the chocolate, but it got stickier as I chewed it and it warmed in my mouth.

The chocolate was standard but added a nice contrast to the caramel. Its flavor was really punched up by the thick salt crystals.

All in all, this was a great treat in a small, unassuming package and tasted just as good as sea salt caramels that cost twice as much (or more). An OMG.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Enstrom’s Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee

September 23rd, 2011 by Rosa

I received this box of Enstrom’s Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee as a free sample from the manufacturer. Apparently they’ve been making their toffee by hand for over 50 years!

The box’s description called it “the perfect blend of sweet cream butter, pure cane sugar, and California almonds, drenched in creamy milk chocolate and sprinkled with crushed almonds.” The box itself was quite pretty, a cream-colored lid with a deep chocolate-colored bottom.

The toffee came in giant slabs that were a bit unwieldy. It was covered in chocolate that was, in turn, covered in crushed almonds. The almonds were so thoroughly pulverized that they were practically almond dust, so breaking apart the thick slabs was a messy affair.

The toffee was thick – thick enough to have whole almonds fully embedded in it. It cleaved and crumbled cleanly with a pleasant crunch. And, importantly for toffee, it had a minimal “getting-stuck-in-your-molars” aspect.

The toffee was the star here, and it definitely shone. It was buttery and sweet with lovely caramel notes and tasted scorchy, just shy of burnt.

The almonds within the toffee added a wonderful nuttiness; I believe they were toasted to bring out their flavor. The chocolate was mild with a sweet sugar finish and minimal cocoa flavors, while the crushed almonds on top were so finely ground that they didn’t contribute much more nuttiness.

I love a good toffee, especially one that doesn’t leave me trying to discretely pick bits of candy out of my teeth. The flavors and texture were perfect here; my only complaint was that it was a bit messy to parcel out.

I brought this into work to share, and it quickly disappeared. A clear OMG winner.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OMG, review, toffee | 2 Comments »

Eiffel Bon Bons

September 16th, 2011 by Rosa

When I was in middle school and high school, we used to sell these little bags of Eiffel Bon Bons to raise money for French Club and the National French Honor Society. I think I ate as many bags as I sold – they were so addictive!

I found larger bags of strawberry and apple Bon Bons at Cost Plus World Market and had to immediately snatch them up for reviewing (and eating).

For the record, it was my first foray into the wondrous global grocery that is CPWM, and holy cow did I come home with loads of candy! Those will be making appearances in the coming weeks.

The Bon Bons were little nuggets, slightly larger than thumbnail-sized. Strawberry was pink and apple was a pale lime green. Both had white centers.

They were all coated with a light dusting of fine powdered sugar. They could be held in the mouth and dissolved, but I never had – and still don’t have – the patience for that.

Instead, I like to chew mine up. The chew starts off almost stiff and works the jaw for a chomp or two, but it softens quickly. The texture then becomes almost Starburst-like, but with a coarser grain.

Strawberry was sweet with a bright, floral fruitiness. It tasted like strawberry candy concentrate: a strawberry gummi bear with the flavor turned up to 11.

Apple had the flavor of a Granny Smith apple, only it slightly sweeter and not as sharp. There was still a mild sourness, but it never approached levels of puckeriness.

Like the strawberry, the apple flavor was intense and super concentrated. And somehow, the flavor never dissipated as my chewing continued.

The best part of these is the chew. The texture slowly morphs as the bright, intense flavors explode and fill the mouth.

They’re just as addictive as I remember them being, though I have less tolerance for the compounding effect of their sweetness these days. Still, an OMG.

Category: chewy, European, OMG, review | 4 Comments »

Haribo Fruity-Bussi

August 24th, 2011 by Rosa

Haribo Fruity-Bussi are the fruity corollary to the Jogi-Bussi that I reviewed on Monday. They were the same mix of gummi, foam, and goo as the Jogi-Bussi, but not yogurt-based. I far preferred these.

The three fruits on this wrapper were orange, raspberry, and pear, though all the gummies were shaped like little round, knobby raspberries/blackberries.

Orange tasted sweetly acidic with an orange tinge. The goo was nice and thick and beautifully oozy. It had a wonderfully zesty sharpness that was quite enjoyable.

Green was pear. It combined the mellowness of Fuji apples with a light peariness.

Red was raspberry. Raspberry is a tricky fruit flavor to nail, but Haribo did a pretty good job. These tasted darkly red with a great berry seediness.

The bland foam bottoms of these contrasted with the fruity, flavorful sweetness of the gummies. Still, the foam wasn’t as objectionable as that of the Jogi-Bussi since the Fruity-Bussis were much more flavorful.

The goos were the best part of these gummies. They tasted of concentrated fruitiness with a great viscosity that let their ooze coat and linger on the tongue. An OMG.

Category: European, gummi/gummy, Haribo, OMG, review | 1 Comment »