March 28th, 2014 by Rosa
I’ve written about Mast Brothers Chocolate in several news posts on the blog, but this is my first time reviewing their wares. Mast Brothers is based in NYC, so I hadn’t been able to try them until now – thanks for carrying amazing chocolate bars, Cocoa Cinnamon!
I picked up three of their single origin bars: the Belize, the Madagascar, and the Papua New Guinea. Belize is up first.
The wrapper blurb: “From the Mayan jungles of southern Belize, this ground-breaking cooperative farms world-class, organic cacao. Notes of raisin, plum, and sarsaparilla.
This bar had the dullest surface look of the three bars that I tried. It broke with a sharp snap, and not always along its presegmented lines.
The texture of the bar was on the dry side. When I chewed it up, it felt like it had just lost its grittiness, and there was no tongue-coating melting feel. You can see the fine grit along the break in the image below.
The flavor of this bar was just incredible! A brightly fruity punch of raisin notes dominates the flavor profile and lingers throughout.
I was enthralled by how much flavor this bar brought from having only cacao and cane sugar on its ingredients list. A ZOMG!
Category: chocolate, organic, review, single origin, ZOMG! |
March 24th, 2014 by Rosa
I got these Fruit Vines Bites as free samples the day before I left for Shanghai. Now that I’m back and mostly no longer jet-lagged, I can get around to reviewing them!
Fruit Vines Bites are a new candy from the Red Vines folks that currently come in cherry and strawberry. They were little chunks of chewy fruit candy about 3/4 of a inch long and comprised of three stuck together ropes.
They were quite soft and easy to bite through, with a bit of a tendency to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of my teeth as I chomped them up. The lightly sweet fruity flavors intensely permeated the whole bite, and both had just a hint of a wheaty undertone.
I liked the cherry (maroon) better than the strawberry due to its darker, more rotund red fruit flavor profile. It just seemed a little more intensely flavored in its plummy cherry-ness, which I liked.
Strawberry (red) was lighter and brighter in its candied red fruit flavor, which also made it a little more plastic tasting to my tongue. Not bad, but not as good as the cherry.
An OM for the cherry and O for the strawberry.
Category: chewy, O, OM, review |
2 Comments »
February 28th, 2014 by Rosa
Jelina Chocolatier has long been one of my favorite chocolate makers that I discovered at Sweets and Snacks. The Earl Grey in 72% cacao was a free sample and the one that I was most wary of tasting, as tea flavored chocolates have never been my favorite.
The dark, woodsy chocolate had the strong scent of tea leaves – a little floral, with dry, herbal notes. The bar broke sharply into its pre-segmented rectangles but chewed with a dry crunch and a hint of grit.
The chocolate was awesomely intense. It was deep and dark with strong, earthy cocoa notes and a slightly bitter finish from the tea leaves.
The tea definitely made its presence known. It added the aforementioned bitterness, as well as a slight astringency and grit, all of which lingered on the tongue long after the chocolate melted away.
The complexity of the chocolates’ flavor profile made this another standout bar from Jelina, though perhaps not my favorite of their lineup (that’s the Maple Crunch, out of all the one’s I’ve had so far). An OM.
Someone PLEASE make it possible for me to buy these in the U.S. Pretty please? I think right now you can only buy them in 8-packs on Amazon.
Category: chocolate, fair trade, OM, review |
February 24th, 2014 by Rosa
Emma recently visited the Albanese gummi factory and brought back oodles of gummi treats, including this peg bag of Albanese Gummi Fruit Slices. I hope that Albanese is moving towards selling their gummis in peg bags with a wider distribution – I haven’t seen them in NC yet!
The wedge-shaped gummis were lightly striated with Albanese’s characteristic firmly sproingy chew and intense flavors. They were mostly citrus flavors, with a couple of exceptions, that were a subset of Albanese’s 12 flavors.
Pink, my usual favorite grapefruit flavor, was sweet and lightly tart with some grapefruit pithiness. Green was lime, which was lightly zesty and sweetly candied.
Yellow was lemon, with a sweet citrus zesty lemon undertone to the finish. Orange was orange, with a great citrus juiciness.
Now the non-citrus, naturally wedge-shaped fruits: Red was cherry, I think, and tasted like red fruit candy (which all tastes the same to me). White was pineapple and brought an intensely bright and sweet corey flavor.
I wish these were widely available in stores in my area – or maybe not, because I’d buy them all the time for their flavor intensity. An OM.
Category: gummi/gummy, OM, review |
February 21st, 2014 by Rosa
I buy so much chocolate that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of where I get everything. I’m 80% sure I bought this Kallari Sacha chocolate bar in Roberto’s Recipe at Cocoa Cinnamon, an awesome coffee shop that serves excellent drinking chocolate in Durham.
The 75% cacao bar was described as “extra rich dark chocolate with vanilla.” It was scored into 15 rectangles that broke with a sharp snap, but when I chewed it, it crumbled and thinly melted.
It started off sweet, then became earthy with mild coffee notes. Its flavor profile was a little muddy in a wholesome, natural way. Its slight sweetness developed into a mellow vanilla roundness to the finish.
I thought this was a nice dark chocolate bar, but its flavor profile wasn’t my thing. An O.
Category: chocolate, O, review |
February 17th, 2014 by Rosa
I bought these Bissinger’s boozy salted caramels at a post-holiday sale at Southern Season. Merlot Salt Caramel was described as “red wine paired with a vintage merlot sea salt”, while Chardonnay Salt Caramel was, “Bissinger’s 300 year old caramel recipe, topped with barrel smoked chardonnay fleur de sel.”
The chocolate caramels came in sets of five in a stiff plastic sleeve. Merlot had a dark chocolate shell, while chardonnay’s was milk chocolate. Both were generously topped with salt sprinkles.
The caramels were stiffly chewy and sticky. Merlot’s caramel had an amazingly bright fruitiness, while the dark chocolate had the taste of cherries to its finish.
Chardonnay’s milk chocolate was sweeter with dusky caramel notes to it. Its caramel was butterscotch-y, without the great fruitiness of the merlot.
I liked Merlot (OMG) much more than the Chardonnay (OM) because of its fruity complexity. I didn’t really get any actual wine flavors, but these were still solid chocolate-covered salted caramels.
I should note, however, that these were not cheap. At full price, they were $12.25 for the 5. I got them at half price ($6.12), which made them more worth it.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, OMG, review |
January 31st, 2014 by Rosa
This Kooky candy bar was an impulse buy at the checkout line of my parents’ neighborhood grocery store, HEB. It’s a knockoff Twix that was shelved with a knockoff Snickers, 3Musketeers, and Milky Way, but I chose to buy the Kooky because it was on sale (3 for $1 instead of 2 for $1).
The Kooky called itself “biscuit and caramel covered with milk chocolate” with the tagline “That’s the way the Kooky crumbles” (groan). Like a Twix, there were two fingers per package.
The caramel with stiff and a little chewy. It tasted sweet with scorchy butter notes. I found it quite enjoyable, especially for a mass-market bar.
I also liked the biscuit layer. The cookie was dry and crumbling with some nice toasted notes that gave it some complexity.
Finally, the sweet milk chocolate coating was fairly standard. I had just the slightest tinge of a sour burn in my throat after I polished off one of the fingers, but I didn’t feel like it was too sweet since it was balanced out by the cookie.
I didn’t have a Twix to do a side-by-side comparison on this treat, but I think I actually would prefer the Kooky – I really enjoyed the darker flavor tinges that the toasted cookie and caramel brought. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, cookie, OM, review |
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 24th, 2014 by Rosa
I think it’s safe to state that Jelly Belly is tops in their field of creatively flavorful jelly beans. Instead of resting on their laurels, they never stop innovating! Their newest product are Draft Beer flavored jelly beans.
I was quite excited to be surprised with free samples to review. I was more excited that they came with an adorably tiny beer mug, which made for a fun photoshoot.
The beans were striking right out of the package in two ways. One, they had Jelly Belly’s new jeweled look in a beautiful gold tone, and two, they had a strong, distinctive scent (regular Jelly Bellies don’t smell).
These amber nuggets smelled boozy and yeasty, like beer does, but also sweet and floral, which made it smell more like beer that had gone a little funky. Or, I guess, like beer that hadn’t finished fermenting and turning its sugar into alcohol.
The Draft Beer beans tasted like a sweetened blonde beer. It started off sweet and honeyed, and then took on a little fermented yeastiness. There was no bitter bite to the end, which I appreciated since it is candy, after all.
I’m a cocktail person, not a beer person (surprise, surprise, I have a sweet tooth), so I wouldn’t buy these for myself. They do, however, win points for novelty, and I can think they’d be a fun gift for beer aficionados. An O, just as a matter of personal preference.
Category: Jelly Belly, jelly candy, O, review |
January 13th, 2014 by Rosa
My boyfriend’s gym is located right next door to A Southern Season, a gourmet food mecca that’s proven to be a great candy source. It’s also quite the temptation whenever I drop-in for a workout, as the gym exit is right by the chocolate truffles.
That’s how I wound up with a couple of impulse buys: a Tosca truffle from 20 Degrees Chocolates (left), and a Pure Passion (passionfruit) truffle from Red Light Chocolates (right). I chose them from A Southern Season’s multitude of chocolates because they sounded tasty and looked pretty.
Yelp told me that 20 Degrees’s Tosca truffle was pomegranate flavored. Before I found that out, I’d assumed I’d misremembered which truffle was which, as the Tosca was so brightly flavored and the Pure Passion so dull that I thought each had to be the other.
The Tosca had a soft, almost fluffy ganache with a cool, fatty melt. It tasted sweet and fruity with tangy citrus notes that brought a bright finish, while the dark chocolate was dusky with its cocoa flavors. An OM for its boldness.
As previously alluded to, I was disappointed that the Passionfruit from Red Light Chocolate did not have bright, fruity flavors. Instead, its mostly tasted of deep cocoa with just a hint of sweetness.
If I squinted my tastebuds, maybe I could find a barely perceptible fruity note in there, but I can’t be sure that it wasn’t due to the power of suggestion. It may have been that my truffle was no longer fresh and all the original flavor had faded by the time I got it.
The rich, stiff ganache melted smoothly into a nice finish. The chocolate was nice – I just wanted more passionfruit. An O.
Category: chocolate, O, OM, review |