Archive for the 'region' Category

Walker’s Assorted Toffee

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 | 1 Comment »

After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins

April 3rd, 2013 by Rosa

My friends Emma and Jason recently took a vacation to London and brought me back a box of After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’d recall that I spent the summer of 2008 in the UK, during which I reviewed the regular After Eights.

The Mint Chocolate Thin version of the After Eights were much classier than the boxy cubes I’d had before. My 300 g box of thins had ~35 thins, each encased in their own delicate sleeves. The sleeves themselves were prettily decorated with the After Eight clock logo in gold.

The Thins were 4cm square and about 1/4 cm thick. Their bottoms were flat and lightly imprinted with “After Eight” in script, while the tops were wavy and rippled.

The thin dark chocolate shell broke easily to reveal the grainy squishy fondant within. The chocolate’s mild cocoa flavor was barely noticeable and was mostly overwhelmed by the strong mintiness of the fondant.

That mint was refreshing but not mentholated/cooling. It was just a hair too sweet – enough that it felt cloying when I ate two thins in a row.

I thought these were a lovely treat. They look elegant enough to put out for guests, which is pretty good for a mass-market chocolate item. You couldn’t say that about York Peppermint Patties, which is the closest thing to these we’ve got on the American market. An OM.

Category: chocolate, European, mint, Nestle, OM, received as gift, review | 2 Comments »

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 »

Hi Chew Fanta – Orange and Grape

February 22nd, 2013 by Rosa

These Hi Chew Fantas were purchased at an Asian grocery store in my hometown. I think this is the first time that Hi Chew has partnered with another brand for their chews.

From the outside, the Hi Chew Fantas looked like standard Hi Chew fare – rectangular prisms of a colored center enveloped in an off-white shell. The Hi Chews carried a surprise, however, as the stiffly sproingy chews were embedded with bits of crunchy, compressed sugar candy that added a subtle fizzy effervescence.

Orange was tart with an undertone of zesty orange flavor that mellowed as the chew progressed and the crunchy candy bits disappeared. It did a pretty good job of capturing the flavor of orange soda, though it tasted less artificial than its soda counterpart.

Grape, too, started out sour and then mellowed out as I chewed it. It didn’t taste like real grapes, but it also didn’t taste quite like grape soda, as it was more floral and rotund.

These Hi Chews were a fun twist on the original. I enjoyed the added fizziness of the candy bits, and the flavors, as usual, were bright and intense. I hope they add more Fanta flavors to the line. An OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, Morinaga, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Japanese Kit Kats – Kyoto Yatsuhashi

February 8th, 2013 by Rosa

This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time. I’m closing out the week with a review of a Japanese Kit Kat that is a Kyoto speciality – it’s Yatsuhashi flavored!

What is Yatsuhashi, you ask? Wikipedia to the rescue! Apparently, it’s a famous regional dessert of Kyoto that’s made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon.

The Yatsuhashi Kit Kat had classic Kit Kat‘s flaky, crisp wafers but was covered with a crumbling white coating. Alas, the coating was falling to pieces by the time the Kit Kats got to me, so I wasn’t able to get a good glamour shot.

Nana and Justin and others have sent me Japanese Kit Kats for review that all arrived in pristine shape, so I think the disintegration was due to the fact that the coating was frosting-like, whereas other coatings have been chocolate-based. Still, though it didn’t look that great, it tasted awesome!

The white coating melted mostly smoothly on my tongue and tasted like vanilla frosting made from fresh cream. Every once in a while, I hit a crunch from a grain of granulated sugar. The whole thing was topped off by a sweet cinnamon kiss that floated above the sweet and crunchy confection.

It sorted of reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a crunchy Snickerdoodle, except that the vanilla frosting coating had a dairy freshness to it that made it even better. Yet again, I must lament that the Kit Kat flavors available to us in the U.S. are pretty lamely tame in comparison to what’s available in Japan. An OM.

For alternative takes, check out Eataku’s review (which clued me in on the proper name for this treat) or Jim’s Chocolate Mission (which helped confirm that I had the right name for these guys).

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), cookie, Nestle, OM, review | 2 Comments »

Kabosu Caramels

February 6th, 2013 by Rosa

This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time.

According to Nana, limes are a Kyushu specialty, so it makes sense that they’d have a candy to highlight it. My box of these Kabosu Caramels was generously stuffed with little parchment paper-wrapped squares of caramel.

It was great that there were so many caramels, but when they all spilled out of my box, it was impossible to get them back in.

The pale green caramels felt rock hard to the touch and were initially quite hard to bite into. With a little determination and trust that they wouldn’t break my teeth, I eventually got them to break off with a slight grain.

Once I got to chewing, the stiff chew softened as it melted. The caramel had a sort of grainy texture. It reminded me of a Tootsie Roll, except that it melted more readily.

The candies started off with a creamy undertone, then became brightly sweet with a yogurty lime flavor and a hint of zest to the finish. They reminded me of key lime pie or lime flavored yogurt because of the added dairy feel to the flavor.

I would’ve preferred a more fully fruity candy, as I felt the dairy creaminess diluted the great lime flavor. Still, they were enjoyable and definitely a unique treat. An O.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, O, received as gift, review | No Comments »

Japanese Candied Yuzu Peel

February 4th, 2013 by Rosa

This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that I know about only because I used to be a Top Chef junkie. As Nana explains, it has a “sour lemony/orange flavor, [is] very popular on Kyushu, [and is] used often for a spicy paste to add to soups and noodles.”

This bag of candied Yuzu peel was decorated with a crazy cartoon that reminded me of a WarioWare: Smooth Moves mini-game. The candied peels smelled orangey and zesty with a floral undertone.

The pieces of peel varied in length but were mostly about an inch long and just under a quarter inch wide. They had a stiff bite and required a bit of chewing.

These simple treats tasted delicious. They were lightly sweet with a tangy orange/lemon citrus zestiness and just a hint of pithy bitterness to the end in some pieces.

I’ve tried making my own candied citrus peels before, but they’ve never turned out as tastily as this bag. Mine get sticky and sugar caramelized, while these were just lightly kissed with sugar sweetness, which really let the flavor of the original peel shine through. An OM.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), OM, received as gift, review | No Comments »

Lotte Sasha Chocolate – Matcha

February 1st, 2013 by Rosa

This box of Lotte Sasha Chocolate is the last of my Asian goodies from Emma and Jason. No worries if you want to read more Asian candy reviews here – I’ve still got a few more Japanese treats from Nana and Justin to write up.

A quick googling shows that Sasha Chocolate refers to the unique and pretty way Lotte’s chosen to package this chocolate. My box had 16 individually wrapped rectangles made of wavy chocolate stripes of green, brown, and white.

I’m only guessing that these are matcha flavored. I recognized the character for tea on the box, and they’ve got that distinctive pea green color of matcha. Plus they’re from Japan, so matcha seems like a good educated guess.

I could feel the individual threads of chocolate break when I bit into the chocolate, though the rectangle broke as a whole with a sharp solid snap. It had a smooth and creamy melt. The texture was somewhat thick, but it didn’t linger and coat my tongue like some extra thick milk chocolates do.

The chocolate flavor was quite pleasant – lightly sweet with fruity overtones that hit high notes against the milk chocolate undertones. The finish had a hint of lightly bitter herbal grassiness, which was the only clue that it was tea flavored chocolate.

I liked these more than I thought I would. I haven’t liked matcha-flavored chocolates in the past, but these won me over because they went easy on the matcha and were easy on the eyes. An OM.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, Lotte, OM, received as gift, review | 5 Comments »

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 »

Puré Gummies – Grape, Lemon, and Peach

January 25th, 2013 by Rosa

There Puré gummies were another gift that my friends Emma and Jason brought back from Japan. They brought back three flavors: grape, lemon, and “fresh peach”.

Each stand-up bag of gummies was resealable, which was a touch that I appreciated. The gummies inside were heart-shaped, about an inch across, and covered in tart and lightly fizzy sour sand. They had a firm bite and a bouncy chew, which is my favorite texture of gummi.

Grape was described as “grape juice that is sweet sour tasting with the texture of fruit.” The sour coating on the purple gummies was immediately puckery tart.

After the sour coating melted away, the gummy tasted of concord grape juice. Its flavor was genuine and intense, avoiding any hint of artificial cough syrupness that often dogs grape candies.

Lemon was “lemon juice that is sweet-sour tasting with the texture of fruit.” It started off tart with an edge of lemon zest, then became surprisingly mellow and sweetly lemon citrusy, like lemonade.

Peach didn’t get a full description like the other two. It was just labeled “Fresh Peach”. It was a pale yellow gummi that was virtually indistinguishable from the pale yellow lemon flavor (both seen above).

Fresh Peach, after that fizzy sour coating dissolved, was sweet and floral with a spot on white peach flavor. It was so precise that I could even taste the peach fuzz.

These were a fun set of gummies. The fizzy sour sugar was a nice twist, and the gummies’ flavors were genuine and intense. Fresh Peach was my favorite and gets an OMG. I love citrus candies, so Lemon also gets an OMG, and grape was tasty enough for an OM.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), gummi/gummy, OM, OMG, received as gift, review, sour | 1 Comment »