November 9th, 2012 by Rosa
My first, “Whoa, I’m at a candy convention” moment at Sweets and Snacks came when the guy at the Perugina booth sent me off with one of each of their chocolate bars. Life is good when an Italian gentleman in a fine suit gives you loads of free chocolate. Can that happen more often? Please?
I walked off with 8 bars in all, plus some Baci and their new Baci White. Today, I’m just covering the three “plain” chocolate bars.
All of the bars were 3.5 oz and came packaged in paperboard envelopes that opened width-wise to reveal (and easily release) the foil wrapped bars. The bars themselves were scored into a 2X5 grid of rectangles, each stamped with a cacao pod.
Milk chocolate had a solid snap, though its chew was soft-ish. It melted with a velvety smooth texture, but it didn’t melt in a way that coated my tongue. The flavor was all caramel and malt, like a Whopper with better chocolate and in chocolate bar form.
LUISA Dark was from the “original and exclusive recipe by Luisa Spagnoli, founder of Perugina” and was 51% cacao. It had a sharper snap than that of the milk chocolate. It didn’t melt well until I chomped it up into little bits – then it melted smoothly.
The flavors were quite intense, sweet with the fruity taste of berries. It thickened at the end of the melt and had a bittersweet finish.
Finally, bittersweet chocolate was 70% cacao. Its snap, as expected, was even sharper than those of the milk or LUISA. As I chomped through it, it cracked and dryly shattered between my teeth.
The flavor here was pure cocoa at its best. Deeply earthy, it tasted like good cocoa powder smells.
Though it wasn’t sweet for much of its flavor profile, it also avoided being bitter, making its name sort of a misnomer. Finally, it finished with just a subtle hint of sweetness.
The Perugina milk chocolate wasn’t my favorite milk chocolate – I like my milk chocolates so thick that it glues my tongue to the roof of my mouth – but I loved the flavor intensity of the LUISA and the bittersweet. A O for the milk and an OM for the other two.
Category: chocolate, European, O, OM, Perugina, review |
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November 5th, 2012 by Rosa
Now that Halloween is over, winter holiday chocolate should be making its way onto store shelves. I believe Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate with Peppermint is sold year-round in Europe (any European readers want to weigh in?), but here in the U.S. it’s a limited edition for winter. Mine was a free sample from Sweets and Snacks.
The wrapper promised “a refreshing peppermint filling.” It had a strong, pepperminty scent with just an edge of bitterness. Each square was a white peppermint fondant covered in dark chocolate.
The thin dark chocolate coating was crunchy to bite through and smooth in its melt. It had a deep cocoa flavor and finished with a light sweetness.
The peppermint fondant was soft and thickly squishy. It tasted like it smelled: pepperminty with a hint of herbal bitterness.
I found it pleasantly refreshing but not effervescent or super mouth-cooling. It was much more mild than a York Peppermint Pattie and had a higher chocolate to peppermint fondant ratio. I welcomed the change: an OM.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, mint, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
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October 31st, 2012 by Rosa
Happy Halloween! I hope Sandy hasn’t ruined it for y’all or knocked out your power.
This Sirius chocolate bar was another gift from my friends Nate and Jane, who mailed me some Icelandic candy after they got back from their awesome Icelandic honeymoon.
The wrapper was matte instead of shiny, which made the bar seem classier somehow. The back ingredients flap translated it as “milk chocolate with orange flavour.”
This bar was lightly scored into squares etched with squares with Sirius in the center, giving it a picture frame effect. The milk chocolate was soft but had a solid chew that gave way to a creamy melt.
The orange flavor in the bar was subtle and sort of spicy, more like dried orange peels than orange oil, and it lingered in the finish. It was much less in-your-face and less cloying than Terry’s version of chocolate and orange, which I appreciated.
The bar was well-balanced and quite tasty, but though I enjoyed it, I don’t like the combination of chocolate and orange enough to want it again. An O.
Category: chocolate, European, O, received as gift, review |
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October 29th, 2012 by Rosa
This bar of Sirius Karamellu Nizza (say that last part carefully) came all the way from Iceland! My friends Jane and Nate went there on their honeymoon, and they were thoughtful enough to send me candy that they bought on their trip.
The Sirius Karamellu Nizza was translated on the underside of the wrapper to milk chocolate with toffee. The bar was scored into six segments, and each was imprinted with the Sirius logo.
The milk chocolate was full of little bits of crunchy toffee bits. The chocolate portion had a thick and creamy melt and tasted lightly sweet, with notes of caramel.
The toffee bits shattered cleanly between my teeth. They had a great buttery flavor that was a nice foil to the lightly sweet milk chocolate, and their crunchiness contrasted with the melting chocolate as well.
I wish this bar was available in the U.S. It was so well-balanced and delicious – an OM. There was also a licorice version that I probably won’t review since I don’t like black licorice.
Category: chocolate, European, OM, received as gift, review, toffee |
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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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September 12th, 2012 by Neil
I spent my weekend trying to win Duke basketball tickets by sleeping outside, so I’m turning things over to my ex-pat friend Neil for a couple of reviews. ~Rosa
This bar that I picked up in Switzerland has been tempting me ever since I bought it. Cailler is a Nestle brand with a long Swiss history, a fact I learned as I wrote this up (though it was probably on the wrapper. I was too excited to open it to read it).
I’m a sucker for caramel. And while I’m new to sea salt, I’m fairly convinced it’s a great addition to caramel. This bar came out as a thank-you treat for some friends, who happily agreed to play along with my photographing and note-taking.
It’d been a warm day here, and I knew we were waiting until after dinner to have the chocolate, so I let it hang out in the fridge for a while. This made the initial bar-breaking a bit challenging, but no more so than many off-the-shelf bars. Indeed, it was crunchy to the bite.
The chocolate was smooth and creamy, but in this instance it was definitely just a vehicle for the caramel. I tasted toffee, then sweet butter. It was like a really classy Heath bar! The caramel was sticky for us–it probably would’ve been more liquid if it had been at room temperature.
Fiona noted that the caramel and salt build, then there’s a chewy finish. I agreed that the salt took a while to emerge, but then it lingered pleasantly. I enjoyed the stickiness the caramel offered.
The pieces of the bar have kind of a high-tech look about them, and the shape makes breaking a bit challenging, but it’s visually appealing all the same.
Overall, a very enjoyable experience. OM for this!
Category: caramel, European, guest post, Nestle, OM, review |
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September 10th, 2012 by Neil
I spent my weekend trying to win Duke basketball tickets by sleeping outside, so I’ved turned things over to my ex-pat friend Neil for a couple of reviews. ~Rosa
This bar came, I think, from a supermarket in Osnabrueck, but I can’t be sure.
Here’s a secret: I’m a sucker for marzipan. I don’t know where this affinity came from. It’s just a fact. So, while shopping, I had to pick up this marzipan-filled chocolate bar, which was certainly reasonably priced.
Curious about the meaning of “Edel”, I inquired with a fluent German speaker who pointed to me to a helpful guide which explains that this has to do with the almond/sugar ratio in the mixture.
The 24-bit bar had a more intricate design than I would’ve normally expected. Flipping it over, I found evidence of possible blooming.
On tasting, the chocolate seemed dried out. The marzipan was okay but not a deep enough flavor to meet my demands – nor my expectations, based on the guide.
Thoroughly unimpressed with this. It’s a –.
So sad! It’s a gorgeous looking bar, inside and out. Love the black and white look on the chocolate and the spangled pants and turban on the dude in the moon! Sounds like Neil got a bar that’s past its prime; marzipan has a pretty short shelf life. ~Rosa
Category: --, chocolate, European, guest post, nuts, review |
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August 15th, 2012 by Neil
Hey readers! I’m on my last day of pseudo-vacation up in New Hampshire, so check out this post from ex-pat Neil in the meantime. ~Rosa
I had time to kill in a German train station, and I needed some spare change to use the bathroom, so I bought these Haribo Turtles. They set me back 1.90, which seemed reasonable at the time, but in hindsight seems a bit excessive.
Curious about the variety provided, I dumped out all the turtles and counted. My bag contained 4 green/yellow, 7 red/pink, and 13 orange/orange individuals. While much has been written about the distribution of M&M colors, the statistical analysis of Haribo products will need some more data collection before we can do any turtle-tests. Flipping the turtles onto their backs revealed a lighter section that I expected to be creamy or marshmallow. Nope! Just regular Haribo Gummi.
I found the orange guys to be sour in a bad way at first, like something that had gone “off”, rather than something naturally sour, and not much of any orange fruit taste. Each required lots of chewing, without much flavor payoff.
The red/pink sort were sweeter, again with no discernable flavor, but better overall. The green/yellow endangered population became even more threatened when I found out that they were my clear favorite. The combination of sweet and sour was perfect, exactly what I’d hoped for. A number of citrus flavors really shone through.
These are fun to eat. The filling isn’t as fruity & tasty as the bag promises, but the red turtles are satisfactory and the green/yellow ones are a delight. I’ll give this product an O. May the turtle flavor odds be ever in your favor.
Category: European, guest post, gummi/gummy, Haribo, O, review |
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August 10th, 2012 by Neil
Here’s another great guest post from my ex-pat friend, Neil. Jealous that Zotter is so easy for him to get! ~Rosa
I didn’t even have to travel out of the country for this one! I found the Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (“Nut mix”) in a new organic gourmet shop in town. I was looking for a cookware store, then discovered that the cookware had disappeared and food had gone in its place. Quite a surprise, but a welcome one.
The packaging made me think it was one of those world music CDs. Perhaps this was intentional. While the bar itself was a disc (is that geometrically possible?), the similarities ended there.
This fair trade, organic combination of hazelnuts, hazelnut nougat, cashew nougat, walnuts, and milk chocolate was a bit broken when I took it out of the packaging. This made the task of figuring out where to start that much easier. I was most intrigued by the center circle.
The milk chocolate of the main disc was very plain and light. While the surprisingly large nut chunks were distributed somewhat unevenly, they were tasty and added an appreciated varied texture.
It turned out that the center disc was cashew nougat! It broke off as though it would be crispy but was very pleasantly creamy. I wished the whole thing had been cashew nougat.
The predominantly boring milk chocolate really underwhelmed though, so I’ll give this whole piece an O. The company has a whole line of Mitzi Blues, so maybe I’ll track down some more. It’d give me an excuse to visit that delicious shop again…
Category: chocolate, European, fair trade, guest post, nuts, O, organic, review |
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July 27th, 2012 by Rosa
Kraft was showing off this Crunchy Salted Almond Toblerone at Sweets and Snacks this year. They were melting it down and giving it out as fondue samples. I managed to charm my way into a free sample for review from the nice ladies at Kraft.
This Toblerone was described as “Swiss milk chocolate with salted caramelized almonds and honey and almond nougat.” For comparative purposes, regular Toblerone is described in the same way, just minus the salted caramelized almonds part.
While regular Toblerones are already pretty crunchy from the nougat bits, this was even crunchier with the added bits of almonds. Those almond bits were variable in size and definitely asserted their presence in both flavor and texture.
They added a strong crunchiness and intense nuttiness. The hit of saltiness that they brought was also quite noticeable.
The honey nougat bits were candied and sweet with an interesting squishy/squeaky texture. Some bits crunched while others got flattened and half embedded in my molars.
The milk chocolate was sweet and thick with a dusky caramel finish that went well with the added salt. If it was the same milk chocolate as that of the regular Toblerone, the extra saltiness helped tone down the chocolate’s sweetness.
It got a bit too sweet in the finish for my taste, though I found it less cloying than regular Toblerone. I think the dark chocolate version is the best balanced Toblerone variety.
Still, I really enjoyed this, and the salted almonds are a great addition. I’ll happily finish my current mountain range of these, but I don’t think I’d buy them again. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, nougat, nuts, OM, review |
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