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 |
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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 |
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June 7th, 2013 by Rosa
Today is the 4th of 4 new Ritter Sports that I got as free samples from Euro-American Brands at Sweets and Snacks. The Coconut was described on the wrapper as “with tropical coconut flakes in a coconut and milk filling.”
This was a standard 16-squared filled Ritter – a milk chocolate shell with a textured white coconut filling. The milk chocolate was the usual Ritter fare, sweet with dusky caramel notes, softly pliable, and thickly melting.
The coconut flakes were tiny and lightly crunchy. They added a great grit and a sweetly nutty coconut flavor with a floral undertone. The rest of the filling was sweet with the dairy notes of a fresh buttercream.
I found this Ritter to be delicious. It was, however, quite rich, so that a square or two was enough to satisfy. An OM.
I really enjoyed the Ritter Sports that I nabbed at the Expo, and I can’t wait to see them on the shelves here in the U.S. Especially the Cocoa Mousse one!
Category: chocolate, coconut, European, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
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June 5th, 2013 by Rosa
Here’s the 3rd of 4 new Ritter Sport samples from Euro-American Brands that I got at Sweets and Snacks. Monday’s Cocoa Mousse broke the mold by featuring 9 squares instead of 16. This Fine Extra Dark Chocolate 73% does the same…
but in the opposite direction. It features a whopping 36 itty-bitty squares, each stamped with a miniaturized version of the Ritter Sport logo on its teeny top. The square mountains were solid chocolate of the 73% cacao variety.
The cubes were dense and thick to bite into. The dark chocolate tasted dense as well. I found it earthy and even a bit muddy with a deep Dutched cocoa flavor.
I found this to be a fun departure from the usual Ritter Sports, but to be honest, I mostly love Ritter Sports for their delicious fillings. Ritter’s dark chocolate was nice enough, but it wasn’t as special as other brands of dark chocolate that have more flavor complexity. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
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June 3rd, 2013 by Rosa
Last Friday, I reviewed the Limited Edition Ritter Sport Raspberry and Cranberry Yogurt, one of the 4 Ritter Sport samples that I got from Euro-American Brands at Sweets and Snacks. This week, I’ll cover the other three, for a delicious Ritter Sporty week!
First up, the Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Mousse, a new Ritter bar that I’m hoping will work its way into permanent U.S. distribution. It was revolutionary because, unlike the regular 16 square Ritter, it took the same total area and subdivided it into 9 larger squares.
That change was made to leave the cocoa mousse, or “fine whipped cocoa creme”, more room to be fluffy. As you can see, the inside of each of 9 squares was filled with a dark chocolate filling. It made for a lovely visual contrast against the lighter brown of the milk chocolate shell.
The cocoa mousse filling wasn’t noticeably fluffy in the same way that real mousse is, but it was definitely not solid. Instead, it was something in between the two – more airy than solid chocolate but firmer than real mousse.
The milk chocolate shell was thick and creamy with a caramelly sweetness. The cocoa mousse in the center had an incredibly deep cocoa intensity. It tasted fudgey with a bittersweet edge.
I absolutely adored the incredible chocolate intensity of this bar. It’s a shame that it had 9 squares instead of 16, as mine is now nearly half gone. A ZOMG!
Category: chocolate, European, review, Ritter Sport, ZOMG! |
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May 31st, 2013 by Rosa
Today is my first review of a product that I picked up at Sweets and Snacks. I’ve decided to start with the product I was most excited about trying: Ritter Sport‘s Raspberry and Cranberry Yogurt.
Why was I so excited about this particular bar? Let me refer you to my ode to the Ritter Sport Yogurt, which is my favorite Ritter and one of my favorite chocolate bars.
Raspberry and Cranberry in addition to yogurt sounded fun! Plus it was a Limited Edition bar, which dials up the specialness feeling, and it was a bar that I’ve never seen in the wild.
This was yet another visually pleasing bar from Ritter, with a speckled pink filling standing in bright contrast to the milk chocolate shell. My bar was quite pliable and bent quite a ways before it broke along its segments – probably due to a combination of the warm weather and softish-to-start milk chocolate.
The fruity filling was intensely flavored. Those speckles were actually crunchy little bits of freeze-dried berry, and biting into them yielded a flash of bright and tart berry flavor.
The fruit was real! After one square of the bar disappeared down my throat, a couple of raspberry seeds were left behind.
The chocolate here served as a sweet and dusky foil to the filling. It also provided a luxuriously thick melt that surrounded the creamy filling.
This bar was good. Not quite good enough to unseat the plain yogurt Ritter as my favorite, but still pretty darn good with its intense fruity tartness. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, OMG, review, Ritter Sport, yogurt |
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May 8th, 2013 by Neil
Here’s another guest post from ex-pat friend Neil! ~Rosa
Late on a Friday night at a German supermarket, I discovered a new Ritter Sport flavor I hadn’t even seen advertised yet: the Ritter Sport à la Crema Catalana.
I spied something like a crème brûlée on the package and my heart skipped a beat. I bought two, knowing I’d devour the first and have to review it properly later.
It is the standard Ritter Sport size and shape. The bar breaks pretty much as expected between the squares.
What an intense flavor experience this is! This is one of the sweetest candies I’ve had. The chocolate tastes almost like an afterthought to the bold filling.
While both are creamy and blend together, the filling at first has a little more heft to it. The sweetness is almost too much to handle, and you can taste the intensity of the filling’s contribution to this if you even just briefly hold a square in your mouth before chewing it.
This filling flavor was not what I expected, not a standard crème brûlée. It’s almost more like the filling of a Cadbury Creme Egg, though certainly more refined.
It turns out that a crema catalana is a different dish than the usual “cb”, as I call it, so the discrepancy between my expectation and experience makes more sense.
I recommend Ritter Sport fans seek this out for its novelty value and any super-sweet-tooth types as well. I wanted to love love love it, but the nearly overwhelming flavors drop it back a bit, so this is an OM for me.
Category: chocolate, European, guest post, OM, Ritter Sport |
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May 6th, 2013 by Neil
Here’s another guest post from ex-pat friend Neil! ~Rosa
A staple of Dutch towns is the HEMA department store. I dither on its American equivalent. K-Mart? Target? Everything there is their own brand, from clothing to sausage to the carpet cleaner.
Often, when you ask a Dutch person “Where would I buy a…”, the answer is “HEMA”. I discovered recently that they have candies I’m curious about. To that end, I bought a huge bag of mini caramel & biscuit bars.
Each bar is about 3 inches long. The form is your basic, chocolate-covered candy bar. It turns out it is tough to cleanly eat these.
[Note from Rosa: Do these individually wrapped chocolate bars remind anyone else of wrapped tampons?]
The chocolate flakes fall, the biscuit crumbs drop, and the caramel threads stretch. This mess is the least of the bar’s issues.
The chocolate taste simultaneously involves acidity and salt. The caramel falls flat, flavorwise. And the biscuit is there for just texture, it seems.
My officemate may have put it best when saying that this is trying to be a Twix, and failing miserably. They’ve become an office snack for when I’m desperate for sugar but not discriminating on any other level. These rate a –.
Category: --, caramel, chocolate, cookie, European, guest post, review |
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April 24th, 2013 by Neil
Here’s another guest review from ex-pat Neil while I try to catch up from being out of town for most of last week. ~Rosa
Recent trips to Germany & Austria have refilled the never-empty pantry here. I’ve tried the Viba Mandel-nougat which came from one of those countries (sorry, I should take better notes while shopping!)
I was expecting a crunchy single bar from this. Instead, I got 3 mini-logs, each about the size of my thumb, with a flattened, patterened underbelly of the chocolate base. They looked dried out; this was fortunately not the case.
The texture is much softer than I expected. I think if I’d squished and poked any of the pieces before biting in, that would’ve been obvious. The majority of each piece seems to just be slightly hardened nut butter. While the label tells me that it’s almond-based, it never tasted overwhelmingly of almonds, more like halfway between cashews and peanuts.
This was a bit of a disappointment. There’s not a ton of flavor overall, and very little sweetness. It’s almost hard to know that the chocolate is there, except that said base is a bit more rigid than the nut portion. In each piece, I discovered some slightly crunchy bits that were either nuts or crystallized sugar, but more likely the latter.
The Viba Mandel-nougat was not my best find, but I’m sure it was inexpensive, probably less than a Euro or two. I wouldn’t buy it again. If somebody had just handed it to me and not told me it was almond, I would’ve been a bit happier. It wasn’t terrible, though, so I’ll give it a nice basic O.
Category: chocolate, European, guest post, nougat, nuts, O, review |
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April 15th, 2013 by Rosa
I love Walker’s toffees, so when my friends Emma and Jason asked me if I wanted any candies from England, I asked for some Walker’s. They brought me this box of Assorted Toffees (and also a box of After Eight thins).
The Assorted Toffees were English cream toffee, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, banana, and eclair. Eclair was in the last set of Walker’s Toffees that I reviewed four years ago, but the rest was new.
English cream toffee had a smooth and creamy melt and a super sticky chew. The flavor was incredibly buttery and sweet with rich, fresh dairy notes.
Plain chocolate had a thin dark chocolate shell. That chocolate’s flavor was on the bitter side of bittersweet, but as I chewed and chewed and chewed the caramel, the buttery golden sweet flavor of the toffee took over.
Milk chocolate was just like the plain chocolate, only with a thin milk chocolate shell rather than dark chocolate. It had just a slight, mild chocolate flavor.
I was dubious about eating the banana toffee since I hate artificial banana flavor. Fortunately, the banana flavor of this toffee, which came from a flavored cream center, was a pretty accurate representation of a real banana, so I could tolerate these (though they weren’t my favorite).
Finally, the eclair toffee was hiding a bit of (probably fake) chocolate in the center. The chocolate was dusky and sweet, with a bittersweet chocolatesque Tootsie Roll finish that toned down the buttery flavor of the toffee.
I think these still pale in comparison to the darker burnt flavors of Walker’s treacle toffee that I love so much. Still, I enjoyed chewing through their sweet buttery flavors. An O for the banana, and an OM for the rest.
Category: caramel, chocolate, European, O, OM, review |
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