Archive for the 'European' Category

Guest post: Sier Ijscups Chocolade

March 18th, 2013 by Neil

Ex-pat in the Netherlands Knile is back for the day! ~Rosa

It’s been far too long since I’ve been in this space. It’s not for lack of material, believe me. My candy-purchasing has sloped off a bit as I stare at my candy shelf’s growing pile including once-tasty-looking items that are now past their best-by dates. (Sorry, English candy bars!)

So perhaps, while I enter the phase of life known as “spring cleaning“, I will put some reviews on this site as I send some shirts to the thrift shop and a few months’ worth of paper recycling out to the curb.

Today, I found myself staring at my 24-pack of Sier Ijscups Chocolade. I bought these on a goofy evening of impulse purchases at a Coop supermarket here in the Netherlands.

Ijs can mean ice but it can also mean ice cream, so I wasn’t sure what the deal was with these. They looked like miniature Reese’s Mini peanut butter cups with their scalloped brown wrappers.

I cut one open for photographing purchases, before I even ate any, and was a bit surprised to see the lack of anything resembling a peanut butter filling inside. This should not have been surprising, as the chocolate/peanut butter combination is not as popular anywhere as in North America.

The cups are, perhaps unsurprisingly given the source and price, rather fake-seeming. Sure, they’re creamy and a bit nutty (though that might just be priming from the visual similarity to the Reese’s cups!). The ingredients list tells me the first ingredient component is a mass of “partially hydrogenated vegetable fats”, which I’m pretty sure not healthy for me. Because there’s no filling, and thus no shell, the consistency ends up being uniform: it’s tender, becoming a pleasant squishiness very quickly.

I’m even more sure that these fats are the driving force behind the flavor. Overall, it’s a very standard “cheap chocolate” flavor. The texture, though, wins me over into guilty pleasure territory. An OM.

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

Galaxy Cookie Crumble and Galaxy Orange & Shortcake

January 21st, 2013 by Rosa

Galaxy chocolate is the UK equivalent of Dove chocolates. I picked up a couple of imported cookie-themed Galaxy bars at my last trip to Cost Plus World Market, the Cookie Crumble and the Orange and Shortcake.

Both bars were wavily segmented into 6 imprinted rectangles that broke easily around their bounds. They had a thickly creamy milk chocolate base that was sweet with just a bit of a throat-burning sour tinge at the finish.

Cookie Crumble had gritty nuggets of chocolate cookie that added a slight gritty crunch. The cookie bits were basically black in color, like Oreos, and they basically tasted like the cookie parts of Oreos.

It reminded me of a slightly nicer version of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Milk Chocolate bar, as the Galaxy chocolate base had a much more luxurious mouthfeel and was just higher quality in general. Still, it also gets an O because I found it to be a tad too sweet in the finish.

Orange and Shortcake had larger cookie bits of pale shortbread that visually stood out against the milky brown chocolate. They added a bit of crunch and grit, but not much flavor, as I mostly tasted the orange flavor in the chocolate.

There were bits of candied orange rind in the bar, which brought a nicely sweet, brightly fruit burst of flavor to the chocolate. They were my favorite part of the bar – an unusual and tasty twist that elevated it to an OM.

Category: chocolate, cookie, Dove, European, Mars, O, OM, review | No Comments »

Ritter Sport – Yogurt

December 21st, 2012 by Rosa

The Ritter Sport Yogurt is an elusive chocolate bar. Its more common brethren, like Milk Chocolate with Cornflakes or Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, are easily found in many major grocery stores in the U.S., but I’ve only ever seen the Yogurt in the wild in specialty fine food stores, random NYC bodegas, or Europe.

According to Ritter’s U.S. importer, the Yogurt is one of the worst sellers in the U.S. A travesty!

People, it is time to make the Ritter Sport Yogurt happen. Fro-yo shops pepper America’s strip malls, tangy plain yogurt from Greece and Iceland is all the rage with the probiotic set, and Ben and Jerry’s has recently combined both trends in their new Greek frozen yogurt line.

The stage has been set: America is ready to take their chocolate with some tang.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ritter Sport brand, their bars are notable for their signature square shape. Fun fact: the square design came about because regular rectangular chocolate bars fell out of sporty gents’ sport coat pockets, so Ritter created a fatter square bar that would stay put during sporty occasions. And thus, the Ritter Sport was born!

Like all full-sized Ritter Sports, the Yogurt bar is a grid of 16 smaller conjoined squares. Breaking the bar across one of the columns reveals the “refreshing yogurt filling” promised by the wrapper. Its creamy whiteness stands out prettily against the light brown of the milk chocolate that sandwiches it.

The milk chocolate is throat-coatingly thick and lingers as it melts. It breaks softly instead of snapping and tastes of sweet cocoa with some caramel notes.

The yogurt filling’s texture is a little softer and squishier than that of the milk chocolate. It also has a thinner melt that disappears on the tongue. The filling tastes tart and tangy, like a really nice Greek yogurt.

The yogurt’s tartness is a great foil for the thick sweetness of the chocolate and helps lightens up the treat. Together, the taste is reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “refreshing”, but since when is chocolate supposed to be refreshing, anyway?

After a few too many squares, the milk chocolate’s sweetness becomes cloying and creates that lovely, sticky sugar-overload feeling in the back of the throat. I’d like it more if the chocolate’s sweetness was turned down a little, but I can’t complain too much. A whole bar contains 135% of the recommended daily dose of saturated fat, so anything that keeps me from scarfing down the whole thing in one sitting is a good thing.

As far as I know, this is the only yogurt chocolate bar on the U.S. market. I wish it was easier to find! If you’re lucky enough to come across one, I highly recommend that you buy it. And then mail it to me. A ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, European, review, Ritter Sport, ZOMG! | 5 Comments »

Perugina Chocolates – Cappuccino and White Chocolate

November 14th, 2012 by Rosa

Finally! I’ve made it to the last 2 (of 8) Perugina bars that were generously given to me as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. Last Friday, I covered the “plain” chocolate bars, Monday was chocolate with nuts, and today are the last two, Cappuccino and White Chocolate.

Cappuccino was “crunchy grains of coffee enveloped in milk chocolate.” The subtitle called it “milk chocolate with cappuccino crispy,” so I thought maybe it would be full of cappuccino rice crisps.

Visually, it was obvious to tell that the bar was full of stuff, as its bottom was all bumpy. Somehow, though, that didn’t translate to its texture.

I didn’t feel any crunch; just a tiny amount of subtle starchy grit remained on my tongue after the thick and creamy chocolate melted away, and I was really working to try to find it. I guess the crispies just got dissolved in the chocolate?

The cappuccino bar smelled and tasted strongly of coffee. I had high expectations for a coffee-flavored chocolate bar from Italy, but alas, I found it to be too sweet. More Mocha Frappuccino than fine Italian espresso.

The White Chocolate bar boasted that it was “enhanced by the delicacy of natural vanilla flavor.” The ingredients list was just sugar, milk, cocoa butter, whey, and less than 1% soy lecithin and natural vanilla flavor.

That’s impressively sparse – note the lack of palm oil or any other non cocoa-butter fat.

It had a light snap with a thickly creamy melt. It started off sweet, sweet enough to bring a tiny tinge to my throat, then took on a rotund fruitiness before finishing with a vanilla scent.

Both of these bars were enjoyable enough in small doses (half a square or less) but quickly become too sweet for me. I wouldn’t turn to them for regular snacking, but the remainder of these bars are going to make my next batch of cookies taste awesome. An O.

Category: chocolate, coffee, European, O, Perugina, review, white chocolate | No Comments »

Perugina Chocolates – Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, & Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts

November 12th, 2012 by Rosa

Today I’m reviewing three more of the Perugina bars that I got as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. I’d covered the three plain bars last week; today’s theme is chocolate with nuts.

Milk Chocolate with Almonds was described as “a crunchy almond caramel blend with the delicate flavor of milk chocolate.” Its break was soft, and like the plain milk chocolate bar, tasted of caramel and malt.

The bits of almond within the bar were super tiny. They added some crunch and a hint of nuttiness, but the overall effect of the additional almonds was subtle.

Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, with the addition of “crunchy caramelized hazelnut pieces”, was similar in flavor and texture to the almond bar, only its nuts added a dryer crunch. I didn’t get the great roasted nuttiness that I expected from the hazelnuts.

Dark Chocolate with Almonds had a strong, sharp snap. The chocolate itself was already crunchy, and the nuts added more crunch and grit.

The dark chocolate base was deliciously complex: strong cocoa flavors with a light fruitiness and notes of coffee. The almonds added a subtle but noticeable roasty nuttiness.

I enjoyed the Dark Chocolate with Almonds enough to give it an OM. As for the milk + nuts bars, they weren’t nutty enough for me, so just an O.

Category: chocolate, European, nuts, O, OM, Perugina, review | No Comments »

Perugina Chocolates – Milk, LUISA Dark, & Bittersweet

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 | No Comments »

Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate with Peppermint

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 | No Comments »

Sirius Rjomasukkulaoi – milk chocolate with orange flavour

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 | No Comments »

Sirius Karamellu Nizza – Icelandic milk chocolate with toffee

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 | No Comments »