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 |
1 Comment »
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 |
2 Comments »
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 |
1 Comment »
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 |
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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 »
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 |
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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 »