Archive for the 'European' Category

Guest Post: Haribo Turtles

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 | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (Nut Mix)

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 | 3 Comments »

Toblerone – Crunchy Salted Almond

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 | No Comments »

Yan Yan Creamy Choco-Hazelnut vs Nutella & Go

July 6th, 2012 by Rosa

Nutella & Go won the Most Innovative New Product Award in the sweet snacks category at this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo. It was a plastic tub with biscuit sticks and a little dipping well of Nutella.

Sounds/looks familiar? That’s because Meiji‘s Yan Yan has been making basically the same product for at least a decade. I remember eating them while growing up.

While Meiji was handing out Yan Yan’s at the Expo, no one handed them any awards. I’d say this is an instance of Europeans taking credit (or at least acclaim) for something Asian people invented years ago.

Clearly this calls for a head-to-head comparison. While Yan Yan comes in an assortment of flavors in both dipping cream and biscuit stick, I’m using their creamy choco-hazelnut dip for maximum similarity to Nutella & Go.

Both the Yan Yan and Nutella & Go were free samples from Sweets and Snacks. The former was given to me by Meiji’s US distributor for the purposes of this head-to-head review, while the latter was freely left out for all takers by Ferrero.

Both products were quite similar in packaging design with a little well separating the dipping medium from the dipping sticks. Yan Yan came in a trapezoidal tube (the top circle was slightly bigger than the bottom; is there a fancy math term for this shape?) while Nutella & Go was in a half circle tube with a trompe l’oeil Nutella jar look.

Let’s start with the dipping sticks. The Yan Yan biscuits were longer and a lightly toasty golden brown. They tasted slightly sweet with a tinge of butteriness to the finish.

The Nutella & Go sticks, on the other hand, were shorter, with the pale, alabaster hue of Dita Von Teese‘s skin. They were airier, like a crunchy restaurant breadstick. The flavor reminded me of the wheaty blandness of a saltless saltine.

Yan Yan definitely came out ahead on the dipping stick front. Let’s move on to the dips!

Yan Yan’s “smooth creme” had the texture of whipped frosting. When I dipped and then pulled out the stick, little holes were left in the cream. The flavor was that of malty chocolate with a light tinge of nuttiness.

The Nutella portion of the Nutella & Go was, as far as I could tell, the same as standard Nutella. It was much more flowy. When I pulled the sticks out of the Nutella, it clung to the sticks with a long pull, and the Nutella left in the well settled to fill in the holes.

Though it had a viscous flow in the well and on the stick, the Nutella felt thick, sticky, and pasty in my mouth. The hazelnuttiness was much stronger here, with a great nutty intensity that matched its chocolatey-ness.

I’m going to call it a draw on the dips. Though they’re supposed to be similar, they’re actually quite different in flavor and texture. I liked the Yan Yan version for its malty notes, but I also enjoyed Nutella for the nuttiness. And because its Nutella!

In the end, Yan Yan wins out for its tasty biscuit sticks. Nutella & Go’s sticks were not very good and didn’t add anything to the product. I’d stick with just getting Nutella in a jar. An OM for the Yan Yan and an O for Nutella & Go.

 

 

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, European, Ferrero, Meiji, nuts, O, OM, review | 1 Comment »

Ritter Amarena Kirsch

June 22nd, 2012 by Rosa

This Ritter Sport Amarena Kirsch is a European limited edition summer flavor from last year, apparently. I was lucky enough to get a free sample of one from the Gourmet Grand Dame at Sweets and Snacks.

Kirsch is cherry, and I think Amarena Kirsch is a flavor of ice cream that you can get in Germany.

The filling of this bar was quite pretty, a pale pink cream flecked with deeper red bits of freeze dried cherry. It provided a nice contrast with the chocolate brown.

It’s been hot in NC lately, so my chocolate had gone pretty soft. It melted onto my posterboard during my photoshoot.

Most of the flavor came from the creamy filling. The cherry bits brought a cornflake textured crunch and the finishing flavor of maraschino cherry, while the pink portion tasted of creamy dairy.

This did a great job capturing the flavor of vanilla ice cream with cherries mixed in. I didn’t get much chocolate flavor because the cherries were so powerful, but I think I’m okay with that. After all, cherry’s in the name!

An OM for a flavorful and uniquely flavored treat.

Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, OM, review, Ritter Sport | No Comments »

Guest Post: Barambo Lenten Dark Chocolate with Dried Candied Lemon Peel Cubes

June 13th, 2012 by Neil

I’ve turned reviews this week over to Neil, my globe-trotting expat friend. ~Rosa

Easily the most exotic trip I’ve taken in a while was to the Republic of Georgia, where I visited a childhood friend of mine for a long weekend and saw some absolutely breathtaking scenery. I, of course, was incredibly curious about the local food and demanded several trips to grocery stores in Tbilisi. Today I’ll share with you one of my finds.

All I knew of this chocolate bar when I selected it was that it had lemon in it. Fortunately, once I got it home and flipped it over, I was able to read that it not only had Georgian text, but also Russian and English descriptions of what it was. The Barambo corporation apparently markets to various linguistic groups.

The phrase “Do[sic] not contain product of animal fat” made me think that the “Lenten” in its name means Lent-as-in-the-period-before-Easter, rather than some other mysterious mistranslation. Any readers with experience in this?

The bar came divided into 12 chunks, and I broke half of them off without much difficulty, but some messy breaking patterns resulted. This revealed tiny chunks of what presumably was lemon peel. To call them cubes would require some magnification.

While the chocolate was passable and unfortunately definitely tasted like it contained no animal fat, the lemon was an even more puzzling addition. Some chunks were harder to chew than others, leaving one to wonder if they were even edible.

On the whole, it felt like a bit of a novelty. I could see having one chunk alongside a cup of coffee or tea. More than that seems just not that fun. I had a second chunk after the first, and it grew on me a bit, so I’ll give this an O.

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

Guest Post: Toggenburger Kägi-Fret

June 11th, 2012 by Neil

Hey guys! We’ve got a couple more reviews from Neil this week. I actually got one of these bars at the Expo but haven’t tried mine yet.

My most recent trip was to Switzerland, where I was very excited to pick up some chocolate treats to review for you all… and, yes, lord over those of you without access to them. On top of the stack was the Toggenburger Kägi-Fret. I can’t remember if I picked this up at a souvenir shop or a grocery store, but I’m pretty sure it was available through much of the Alpine region I was in.

The picture on the package made me think of Kit Kat bars, which are in, I suppose, my top 5 favorite “standard” candies (My officemate will tell you they’re in the top 2 things I most frequently purchase from the office vending machine).

It turns out they’re like Kit Kat, sure, but with more delicate wafers and a thinner, more luxurious milk chocolate. I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of what other childhood treat they’re like an upgraded version of, and I’m blanking. Something from Little Debbie, perhaps?

Note from Rosa: Maybe Nutty Bars without the nutty?

Either way, these are simply wonderful. The chocolate melted a little bit too readily in the May heat. That just meant I got to lick it off my fingers and the wrapper. I wished I’d picked up a few more of these.  Definitely an OM.

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

Niederegger Marzipans

June 1st, 2012 by Rosa

I got this assortment of Neideregger chocolate-covered marzipans at Sweets and Snacks. I was happy to snatch them up, as these babies cost a pretty penny in the real world. But in candy trade show world, they were free!

These are one of the first chocolates that I’m reviewing from the Expo because marzipan can quickly lose its flavor and texture. The centers of these little loaves were all still soft and flavorful.

Each was about the size of the first joint of my thumb. All were covered with a thin layer of mild chocolate.

Red was regular bittersweet chocolate covered marzipan, the Niederegger original. The marzipan center was a soft, slightly grainy paste with a slightly moist center. It was nutty and lightly sweet with the perfume of almonds/Amaretto.

Red-orange was orange. It carried the flavor of candied orange zest with its distinctive citrus oil bite. I think I could also detect the added texture of orange rind, but it could have been my imagination.

Orange-gold was pineapple. There was a subtle hint of the sweet and sour flavor of pineapple, a muted, not at all bright version of the real fruit.

Pistachio came in a green wrapper and had a green/yellow tinge to its center. The Amaretto notes were still there but with the floralness toned down. I didn’t get any pistachio flavors; just more nuttiness.

Finally, black was espresso, and its center was nearly as brown as the chocolate coating. It tasted like coffee smells, deep and almost bitter, with some added cocoa flavors.

I really enjoyed these. The chocolate coatings were fine but barely noticeable. The great marzipan centers were the star.

An OM, with a wish that they were affordable enough to be an impulse buy. Instead, they’ll retain their specialness thanks to their price tag.

Cybele has a great write up of Niederegger from her German press junket. The marzipan churning pictures look absolutely luscious. I bet hers were even fresher than mine!

Category: chocolate, European, news, nuts, OM | 1 Comment »

Ritter Sport – Rum Raisin and Nuts

May 30th, 2012 by Rosa

This Ritter Sport Rum Raisin and Nuts was one of the most exciting samples that I brought back from Sweets and Snacks.

According to the Gourmet Grand Dame bloggess of the company that imports Ritter Sports to the U.S., Alfred Ritter didn’t want to export this flavor of Ritter because the rum flavor dissipates if it spends too long on the shelf. I believe that they convinced him it would be okay to sell it in the U.S. as a limited edition around the holidays, so you may see this in the States eventually.

The second that I unwrapped this bar, I was launched into booze city! The bar smelled overwhelmingly of rum and sweetness.

The flavor of rum pervaded every bite. There was no burn, just the flavor of alcohol.

The chocolate had a softer texture than expected – solid, but with no snap. Little bits of hazelnut that were generously distributed in every square added a dry crunch and toasty nuttiness.

Small raisins also distributed throughout the bar added a mild sweetness and a slight change in texture. Their grapey flavor, however, was lost in the boozy chocolate.

I enjoyed this bar for the novelty factor. Alcohol flavored chocolate is still a relative rarity in the U.S., and I’ve never had anything like this before. An OM.

 

Category: chocolate, European, nuts, OM, review, Ritter Sport | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Katja Choco Beertjes

May 14th, 2012 by Neil

Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold/fever right after I got back from Sweets and Snacks, so I’m in no shape to delve into my new candy stash. Fortunately, Neil had written up the below guest post, so you still get a candy review today! ~Rosa

Katja Choco Beertjes came into my life as a free inclusion with my occasional grocery delivery, which as some of you surely know, is a real blessing of a service for those of us who would otherwise carry a dozen paper towel rolls on a bike or a bus!

The name means chocolate little bears, and the description says that they’re “soft marshmallows with real chocolate.” It turns out that the photos on the package are idealized versions of the real deal. The lil fellas inside could pass for pigs or gremlins just as easily as they could for bear cubs.

The chocolate coating was tolerable. It broke more easily than I thought it would and tasted slightly like peanut butter. I was pleased to discover that the bear innards were indeed a very soft, chewy marshmallow.

But these didn’t wow me like I wanted them to. Sure, I like chocolate, and I like marshmallow. Marshmallows in hot chocolate are awesome. Chocolate marshmallow ice cream is even better. S’mores make my heart and mouth sing sappy lovesongs.  But the only other candy form of the combination that I’m familiar with is the classic Mallo Cup.

If I recall correctly, I only ever have eaten Mallo Cups after receiving them trick-or-treating. The Choco Beertjes remind me of those: they’re alright and a fun thing to snack on for a bit, but they’re a bit boring. There’s no need to go out of my way for them unless I get them for free.

Am I missing out on something totally awesome in the chocolate-marshmallow candy world? These deserve an O and will get foisted upon my coworkers.

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