Archive for the 'European' Category

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 »

Guest Post: Nestle Kit Kat Chunky Caramel Duo

April 20th, 2012 by Neil

Globe-trotting Neil (it’s so unfair how easy it is to travel between European countries!) has another across the pond review for you. ~Rosa

As promised, I have some posts up my sleeve. While waiting for dinner to cook tonight, I thought I’d simultaneously have a snack and feel productive by writing this. I pulled out a Nestle Kit Kat I picked up on a recent trip to London: Kit Kat Chunky Caramel Duo.

The package promised “Crisp wafer pieces with a caramel creamy topping (20%), covered in milk chocolate (60%).” Well, that’s sort of what I got.

The milk chocolate looked fairly standard - a bit beat up from my travel, for sure. The bars themselves are fairly thick. The two side by side are about the width of my wrist, which, let’s be honest, is not that impressive.

Eating it was sadly also not that impressive. The caramel just didn’t come through at ALL. It’s like the “creamy topping” had at some point just dried up to match the consistency of the wafer. No caramel flavor or contrasting texture.

Though it’s been in my cupboard since January, the label says it’s good through July, so it shouldn’t have gone stale in that time. I’m inclined to think it just wasn’t that caramelly to start with.

I set aside the second chunk for another time. It will probably be after dinner, sure, but I don’t see myself tracking this down in future travel. An O for the Duo.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, guest post, Nestle, O, review | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Albert Heijn’s Zachte Frisse Vrunchten

April 4th, 2012 by Neil

Hey candy lovers! Today we’ve got another post on candy from the Netherlands, courtesy of Neil. ~Rosa

Hoi hoi! I’ve been “hamstering” candy over the past few months, so I have a whole lot of posts in the queue. The first is grocery store brand Albert Heijn‘s Zachte Frisse Vruchten, or Soft Fresh/Bright Fruits.

The bag advertises “six.. flavors” but only shows five varieties. There are, indeed, six different types of candy inside: banana, orange, pear, green apple, strawberry, and elderberry. My friend Jana helped me review and provide some global perspective.

Banana’s flavor came through very slowly and when it did, it was much like a circus peanut. That time waiting for flavor was spent chewing, as the body of it was more like plastic than elastic. I also took this time to explain circus peanuts to Jana, because they’re not available in Germany. One must wonder sometimes about globalization. O

The orange slice was the one most visually similar to its real life counterpart. It had a sweetness like an orange soda rather than a real orange, however. Based on its appearance, Jana expected it to specifically taste like a clementine. An unexciting O.

One piece looked look a bicycle seat. For Jana, it looked exactly like a pear, and “if it hadn’t, [she] wouldn’t have been able to tell what it was.” I must confess that I don’t really know what pears taste like. I mostly tasted lemon, neither overly sweet nor sour, just pleasantly inoffensive. The pear pieces had the hardest bite at first, but rapidly became chewy. An O.

The green apple’s classic flavor made me very happy after the pear disappointment. Jana thought it was too sweet to be “sour” apple, but that’s exactly what made it so perfect for me. This one really stuck to my teeth. OM

Strawberry, the pink piece, had the most intense flavor of any and it was like a Starburst, which also haven’t made their way into Germany yet. They’re really missing out! Jana compared the flavor to German Schnüre, which are something like Red Vines. I would happily eat a whole bag of these. Definitely an OM from me.

The final was the most mysterious. A translation of “vlierbessen” led to the conclusion that these grape-bunch-lookalikes were elderberry flavored! So unexpected! The flavor struck me as herbal and liqueur-like, perhaps because I’ve had the elderberry liqueur St. Germain before. Being so confused by what it was supposed to be, I have to give it an O.

Overall, the bag was not a bad thing to nibble through for the evening, but I’m not rushing out to pick up more. Oh, let’s be honest: I only bought it because it was on sale.

Category: European, guest post, gummi/gummy, O, OM, review | No Comments »

Duc d’O Pates de Fruits

January 25th, 2012 by Rosa

A Belgian friend of mine in Rochester was kind enough to remember me on his latest trip back to his homeland. He brought me back a box of Belgian Pates de Fruits from Duc d’O (also available online!)

Pates de fruits, also known as fruit jellies and fruit pate, are much better than gummi candies. They’re usually made from no more than pureed fruit, sugar, and gelatin. The real fruit part is what makes them special.

The entirety of this box was made from pureed apricots plus “flavours” and “colouring”. Interestingly enough, none of these were apricot flavored. Instead, they were, from left to right in the below photo, raspberry, pear, orange, strawberry, and grape.

All of the fruit pieces were made of two half jellies stuck together and rolled in granulated sugar. The pates had a soft, immediate give, while the sugar sand added a hearty grit and crunch.

Pear was golden and pear shaped. It had a great seediness and tasted quite genuinely of Bartlett pear flavor with a slightly sweet and sour finish.

Strawberry was a little red triangle. It was mild and sweet with a lightly floral flavor and reminded me of strawberry preserves.

Raspberry was hard to distinguish from the strawberry. It was slightly darker and had a more mottled surface. It lacked any seedy astringency, though it had deeper red fruit notes than the strawberry did.

Grape looked like a golden version of raspberry. It tasted more like raspberry than the raspberry did, as it had a seedy finish. It tasted of raisins with a vibrant, fruity, slightly sour finish.

Finally, orange was a golden, puckered ball. It started with an initial hit of zesty citrus almost sourness but then mellowed out into a milder, muted orange marmalade flavor.

I wish pates de fruits were more prevalent in the U.S. They’re great, concentrated bites of real fruit flavor, a refreshing departure from the usual fare of artificially flavored and sweetened gummi bears and worms. An OM.

Category: European, jelly candy, OM, received as gift, review | No Comments »

Swedish Bulk Candies – Sura Körsbär and Sura Soda Pops

October 28th, 2011 by Rosa

Here are some more bulk candy treats that I received as free samples from Ingrid’s Candy Shop. I reviewed a couple on Wednesday.

The Sura Körsbär were thick cherry-shaped gummis covered in sour sugar. They looked similar to Haribo sour cherries, except that the Swedish cherry pair was smooshed together, which made them look more… anatomical.

The gummi was extremely stiff to bite into. There was no squishiness to the chew, though it did stick to my teeth.

The sour sugar coating packed quite a hit of tangy sourness. Once that initial sourness passed, though, the treat just tasted generically sweet and fruity.

The sour sting was great, but I wished this had more fruitiness. An O.

Sura Soda Pops were sour gummi soda bottles. With two sura data points, I’m now confident in my assumption that sura is Swedish for sour.

The blue soda shaped gummis were covered in a zesty sugar sand. The gummis’ chew was stiff and non-sticky, with an instant give.

The flavor was that of lemon-lime soda and was quite spot-on. Somehow, the chew managed to finish with a little punch of effervescence in the back of my throat.

I loved these for that effervescent fizz. Flavorwise, they were my favorite treat of the 10 that I was sent, but the texture was a bit off. If they had the sproinginess of the Gellehelon, I would’ve been completely sold. As they are, an OM.

Category: European, gummi/gummy, O, OM, review, sour | No Comments »

Swedish Bulk Candies – Swedish Berries and Gelehallon

October 26th, 2011 by Rosa

I recently got an assortment of free samples of Swedish candies courtesy of Ingrid’s Candy Shop. They’re based in the EU, but they’ll ship worldwide, in case you want to try any of these Swedish goodies for yourself.

The Swedish Berries Candies were little dollops of red and purple berry-shaped gummi/jelly candies. Their chew was sticky and stubborn and lodged in the nooks and crannies of my teeth.

Red tasted of bright cherry fruitiness. The concentrated fruit flavor intensified as the candy was chewed.

Purple was some sort of currant flavor, I think. It had a deeper seediness with a hint of bitter edge – just a tinge of tannic complexity.

These had nicely strong fruit flavors that were juicy in their intensity. My only complaint would be that they left me picking at my teeth afterwards. An OM.

The Gelehallon was described as “raspberry gele with sprinkled sugar on top.”  It looked similar to the Berries Candies, in that it was a vaguely gumdrop-shaped jelly, but it was quite different in several ways.

For starters, the texture was completely different. Instead of being sticky and chewy, it was sproingy and slickly smooth. That smoothness was somewhat broken up by the crunchy grittiness of its sugar coating.

The flavor was that of a mellow, floral strawberry and brightened by the slightly sour sweetness of the sugar granules. It was nice but unexciting.

The fun texture really made this treat. An O for the pleasure of squeaking and bouncing it between my teeth.

Category: European, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, O, OM, review | No Comments »

Guest Post: Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss Dreamy Chocolate Truffle

October 24th, 2011 by Neil

Here’s another Euro-chocolate review from Neil! Any readers know if these Cadbury Blisses are related to Hershey’s Bliss in the U.S.? ~Rosa

Hallo! Neil here with another European treat. This one is possibly found in the States, but I can’t recall having seen it there, perhaps because it launched after I moved over here.

It’s the Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss Dreamy Chocolate Truffle, or CDMBDCT. Cadbury ran into some trouble with its original ads for the Bliss line, which makes you question the judgment of some advertising firms.

So there’s a short story behind this particular candy bar that has been in my cupboard for the past few weeks. The short version of that story: I didn’t even mean to buy it. I meant to buy another that I was forced out of purchasing. The long version can be found after the break.

The CDMBDCT came in very elegant purple packaging with some gold highlights, making it seem like a real treat that shouldn’t have been pushed at me as a last-minute add-on at a clearance price, LADY [Rosa's note: Neil's indignancy will make sense if you read his explanation after the break]. The  elegance continued with the gold fabric-paper wrapper.

Individual blocks broke smoothly and were quite hefty. Half a block was gone in one bite. An al dente feeling to the outer body and the expected softness of the truffle filling worked well together. The milk chocolate was nothing special, while the truffle’s fluffiness belied its sweetness.

That was all it had though: fluffiness and sweetness. Not much flavor to speak of. “These would make good s’mores,” I thought (Somebody please try this and leave a comment about your results!), but overall, it was not an amazing chocolate bar.

Each block went by quickly. Sadly, this was more out of a hope for it to improve or for my dessert stomach to be satisfied than out of sheer ecstasy. Overall, I really wish I could remember what that other candy bar was that I wanted, so I could pine for its loss properly. I’m going to have to give the CDMBDCT an O.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Jelly Bean Factory – 12 Flavor Gift Box

October 21st, 2011 by Rosa

I received a generous assortment of free samples from the Jelly Bean Factory, sent all the way from Ireland. In the U.S., they’re sold under the name Jelly Bean Planet.

I’m under the impression that they’re the Jelly Belly of the U.K. I actually gave the Jelly Bean Factory a brief review when I bought a tube of their candies the summer I was in England.

They come in 36 flavors, which is a lot to cram into one review. For now, I’ll start with the 12 flavors of their gift box: strawberry smoothie, blueberry pie, wild cherry, raspberry jam, English blackberry, pink grapefruit, coconut, sour lemon, banana split, mango, granny smith apple, and tangerine.

The box, as touted on the front, was subdivided into 12 compartments. They were so crammed full of jelly beans that they overflowed into each other.

Compared to Jelly Belly’s near identical beans, these were more irregularly shaped and varied in size. Like Jelly Belly beans, these were flavored in the shell and centers, so they were quite flavorful.

Strawberry smoothie was a pale, spotted pink. It had the mellow flavor of strawberry yogurt that brightened and became floral as I chewed it. The creamy dairy-ness was really a spot-on imitation of actual strawberry smoothies.

Blueberry pie was denim colored. It had deep blueberry notes and a lightly sweet hint of spice. The shell had a pleasant crackle to it.

Wild cherry was the paler of the two maroon beans. It started off bright, then gave way to jammy red fruit notes. I enjoyed it, though I wouldn’t have pegged it as cherry.

Raspberry jam was the lighter maroon. It tasted bright and juicy and had a plummy finish (I double checked against the back of the box; I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it mixed up with the wild cherry).

English blackberry was a deep purple. It had a great bright, juicy sweetness but otherwise was generically fruity to me.

Pink grapefruit had the pale pink-orange coloring of the actual fruit’s rind. It was extremely zesty with a genuine grapefruit flavor. The bitter pith finish was almost too much to bear as it lingered in the finish.

Coconut, a translucent white, was refreshing and tropical. It almost tasted like sunscreen smells – not in a bad way, but that does mean it was more artificial than genuine. It had a nice dairy finish.

Sour lemon was brightly yellow. It had a fresh and zesty initial flavor pop. I wish the brightness carried on further into the chew, but it was still quite nice.

Banana split was a mustard yellow speckled with brown spots. It had a banana flavored overtone that was chased by a bright fruity sweetness that reminded me of the sugar syrup of canned fruit. I usually don’t like banana flavored things, but these were bearable for me.

Mango, orange with red spots, started with a striking seediness that tasted like fresh mangos. It quickly mellowed out, but the zippy seediness lingered.

Granny smith apple was a surprisingly turquoise-tinged shade of forest green. Upon first bite, it had a nice green apple tartness to it. That quickly faded into a mellow apple juice sweetness rather than a real granny smith’s sharp sourness. The finish reminded me of caramel apple pops.

Finally, tangerine was orange colored (surprise!) and had a nice zesty juiciness with a slide bitterness. Overall, though, the flavor was solidly of fresh oranges on the mellower, sweeter side of things.

I thought these were a solid set of intensely flavored beans. An OM.

Category: European, jelly candy, OM, review | No Comments »