January 27th, 2014 by Rosa
Hello Panda is Meiji‘s answer to Lotte’s Koala’s March: cream-filled cookies imprinted with cute animal cartoons. I got a couple of boxes to try in my free MunchPak samples, first in Strawberry and the following month in Double Choco.
The Hello Panda biscuits were either round or round with ears, like teddy bear heads. The Strawberry version was vanilla biscuits with strawberry cream, while Double Chocos were chocolate biscuits with “choco” cream.
Compared to the Koala’s March, the Hello Pandas had a more substantial crunch and a greater cookie to filling ratio. Strawberry’s biscuit was lightly sweet, while the center strawberry cream had the texture of a solid frosting and a floral sweetness to its artificial strawberry flavor.
The chocolate cookie of the Double Choco was darker in both appearance and flavor. It had a slight cocoa bittersweetness, like a mild Oreo cookie, and its chocolate filling was creamy with a slightly greasy feel.
I liked the Double Choco better than the Strawberry, which was too artificially floral for my taste. I did wish, however, that the Double Choco had more intensity of chocolate flavor and wasn’t quite so greasy. An O for both.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Meiji, O, review |
January 6th, 2014 by Rosa
Lotte’s Koala March are “chocolate crème filled cookies” that can be found in Asian grocery stores in America. I recently got a free box from the folks at MunchPak, along with Koala March competitors Hello Panda (which I will review later).
The pillow-shaped cookies are imprinted with adorable pictures of koalas in various garbs and doing different activities. The biscuit portion was dry, crunchy, and airy, with just the barest hint of sweetness.
Each hollow cookie had chocolate in its center. Though it was depicted as limpid on the package, the chocolate filling wasn’t quite so fluid in reality. Instead, it was softer than solid chocolate but not quite a ganache, and it tasted of lightly semisweet chocolate.
The mix of crunchy plain biscuit and semisweet soft chocolate was quite tasty, and it was fun to look at the different koalas and try to guess what they were doing. Where is the be-suited koala off to, I wonder? An OM.
Though I could do without the silly “trading cards” that were built into the packaging:
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Lotte, OM, review |
November 18th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this Ritter Sport Winter Edition Caramelised Almond at Cost Plus World Market, along with last Friday’s Caramel-Orange. I was lucky to nab the last one of these that was on the shelf!
This solid milk chocolate bar was generously embedded with bits of caramelized almonds. Those nuts brought a slightly crystallized crunch to the texture of the snappy chocolate.
Those almonds had a toffee flavor from the caramelized sugar that they were toasted in and brought a strong roasted nuttiness. They paired well with the sweet milk chocolate, making this bar a crunchy, nutty, burnt-sugary, chocolately treat.
I think I would’ve liked this bar a bit more if it had been just a little less sweet. The milk chocolate had a hint of sour tinge and throat burn, but it was mild enough that I could get over it and focus on the great caramelized almond bits. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, nuts, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
November 15th, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve raved before about how Cost Plus World Market is a fantastic resource for new and unusual candies. I recently visited and found two Winter Edition Ritter Sports by accident – they were shelved far away from the regular Ritter Sports and other chocolates.
In fact, they weren’t really shelved at all; I found them in some sort of remaking displays purgatory.
I got the last Winter Edition Caramelised Almonds (which I’ll cover next week) and one of many Caramel-Orange that were left. Alas, they were out of Coconut Macaroon.
The Caramel-Orange had 16 squares of a milk chocolate sandwiching a golden brown caramel-orange ganache. The filling was thick and grainy and tasted of orange oil with a brown sugary finish. The citrus flavor was intensely fruity and orangey but without any tartness.
I found it a bit too sweet, and its finish took on a bit of a sour tinge. The milk chocolate was sweet as well, which only added to the sweetness of the overall treat.
I’m glad that I tried this, but the orange oil wasn’t enough to bring down the sweetness factor. An O.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, O, review, Ritter Sport |
November 8th, 2013 by Rosa
I usually buy my Kasugai gummies at Asian grocery stores, but I found this bag of ramune flavored gummies at a Cost Plus World Market. If you’re not familiar with ramune (not to be confused with ramen!), it’s a lemon-lime Asian soda that’s usually kept in a uniquely marble-stoppered bottle.
Like all Kasugai gummies, these guys were individually wrapped and labeled. These were decorated with a little fizzy ramune bottle design. The gummis themselves were round with a striking translucent seafoam coloring.
They had an awesome soft, bouncy chew that yielded to my bite but still had some sproing to it. The flavor was sweetly floral to start, then took on a citrus fizziness.
When I ate them very slowly and carefully, I detected a slightly off undertone that made the gummi remind me a bit of diet Sprite. When chomped more quickly, as normal people would consume gummies, that slight undertone was undetectable.
Overall, these tasted like a cleaner, crisper version of Sprite with some bonus floral notes. An OM. My only complaint is the individual wrappers – so much trash from so few gummies!
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), gummi/gummy, Kasugai, OM, review |
October 18th, 2013 by Rosa
Remember when I posted about how weird the Cadbury Cola Pretzel Honeycomb bar sounded, and how I’d love to try it? Ask and you shall receive, at least when you’re a candy blogger! Sometimes…
The folks at CyberCandy heard my plea and sent me a free sample of my very own Cadbury Cola Pretzel Honeycomb bar. It was an absurdly ginormous bar, weighing in at 200g (just under half a pound).
The bar had traveled to me all the way from England, so it had broken up a bit by the time I got it. You can see from Kev’s review that the bar is pretty crazily/assymmetrically segmented, so that it looks quite cobblestonesque, and its underside was studded with oval chunks of pretzel.
Those pretzel chunks were each about peanut-sized, so pretty big. They delivered a great hit of salty crunch that contrasted nicely with the sweet and lightly grainy melt of the Cadbury milk chocolate.
While the bar had a hearty crunch from the pretzels, some chomps carried a more subtle, even dainty, crunch from the bits of honeycomb in the bar. They also added a lightly golden sweet tinge.
The cola came in the form of small chewy nuggets that were spread out throughout the bar. Those nuggets reminded me of Au’some Nuggets in texture – chewy with a matte graininess – and they added a fruity cola undertone.
I have to give Cadbury major credit for this “marvelous creation”. They really let their creativity run wild while still creating a tasty bar of unusual flavor combinations. It was almost too sweet for me, but those solid pretzel chunks reeled it back. An OM.
Category: Cadbury, chocolate, European, OM, review |
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October 16th, 2013 by Rosa
This Milka & Oreo came to me via a visiting German student in the lab. It was a gift for the lab to share, so I couldn’t take it home to photograph in my usual set-up.
Instead, I managed to snag some shots with my fancy new iPhone (finally gave up on my dumb phone when the 9 button no longer worked) before my labmates tucked into the bar. I gotta say, I think my new camera phone is at least as good as, if not better than, my now 5 years old digital camera.
The Milka & Oreo was a Milka milk chocolate bar filled with Oreo cookies and cream. That Milka chocolate was wonderful – there was just a thin top and bottom layer of it, but it was substantial in texture (thick and creamy) and flavor (luscious caramel notes).
The offwhite cream center was sweet with notes of dairy and vanilla frosting. It was chock full of hearty bits of Oreo chocolate cookies, which tasted of bittersweet dark cocoa.
Those cookies were incredibly crunchy. I was astounded as to how they maintained their crunchiness while surrounded by all that cream.
I found this bar to be quite addictive. The flavor and texture mix was great, with the melting and sweet caramel milk chocolate contrasting nicely with the robust crunch of the darker chocolate Oreos. An OM.
Category: chocolate, cookie, European, Milka, OM, review |
September 30th, 2013 by Neil
Note from Rosa: Here’s another guest post from expat friend Neil. He wrote this in May 2013 but only just now found the photos.
I try not to subject you to reviews of candy I’ve let expire, but I’m making an exception for this. January 2013 wasn’t that long ago, right…?
This came from a German supermarket in summer 2012. I was intrigued by the notion of passionfruit panna cotta and the all-caps dictation to “ENJOY COLD!”
I thought it’d be a bar. The eighteen individual chocolate squares surprised me. Each had a Lindt logo on top and the chocolate appeared milky, though maybe a bit dried out by the unintentional aging.
My experience with passionfruit is limited to candies and juice, so whether or not these taste of the fruit off the vine is up to a proper produce-eater. The chocolate is quite satisfactory, and the passionfruit aspect is what really shines.
There’s almost a bright, sparkling pop in your mouth a few seconds after you finish a square, which is all fruit. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, guest post, Lindt, OM |
August 21st, 2013 by Rosa
I bought these Oishi Hard Candies while I was in China (I did more than just hug pandas there!). I don’t know the package says – I’m functionally illiterate in Chinese, so only recognize the character for fruit in the description – but I did manage to find them listed on the Oishi website, where they were just called Hard Candy .
The individually wrapped hard candies came in five flavors: cool lychee, orange, lemon mint, mint, and grape. From the Oishi website, it seems like they sell those flavors individually as well.
Cool Lychee (red wrapper; white candy) was a strange flavor. It was sweet to start, then took on a very genuine lychee flavor. I could even taste the slight edge of bitterness that lychees get near the pit.
Unfortunately, the wonderful lychee flavor was soon marred by a methol minty finish. I guess that was the cool part. For me, the coolness ruined the candy.
Orange (orange wrapper and candy) was brightly sweet with a zesty citrus flavor. It was a good, if standard, orange candy flavor, and thankfully no mintiness.
Lemon Mint (yellow and yellow) started off sugar sweet. The slight lemon flavor was mild and slow to appear. Instead, it mostly tasted of menthol and made me think of cough drops. Blech.
Mint (blue wrapper and white candy) was a mentholy peppermint. Not my thing.
Finally grape (purple and purple) was sweet and slightly tart with a tannic, red grape edge and no mintiness. It was quite unlike American grape candies, which taste super artificial. Oishi’s take tasted like an actual grape.
I liked the grape, and the orange was fine, if standard. They get Os. The minty fruity hard candies, on the other hand, were too medicinal and/or weird for me and get a –.
Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, O, review |
August 12th, 2013 by Rosa
I inherited the remains of this box of Hokkaido Pumpkin Chocolate from Emma, who got them from a friend. I was amused that pumpkin-headed mascot appears to be named Yukky.
The pumpkin chocolates were all individually wrapped with a little window through which you could see the pumpkin shaped candies within. Some were jack-o-lantern shaped, while others were just pumpkins.
The pumpkins were made of orange-hued white chocolate sprinkled with bits of crisp rice-like objects. Those bits gave the chocolate toasted puffed wheat notes that were immediately present from first bite. They eventually gave way to a grittiness when the chocolate was gone, from their husks perhaps.
The white chocolate had faint notes of roasted autumn squash. It was just lightly sweet and mostly vegetal in flavor. I missed the spices that usually come with pumpkin desserts in the U.S.
While I appreciated the beauty of the treat, the flavor wasn’t my thing. While I usually complain that U.S. sweets are too sweet, this Japanese one wasn’t sweet enough. An O.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, O, review |