October 16th, 2014 by Rosa
It’s fall, and here in the U.S., that means pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING. Seriously, Trader Joe’s October Fearless Flyer is about 90% pumpkin stuff. One of their seasonal pumpkin products includes these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels.
The box described the caramels as “dark chocolate with a smooth pumpkin spiced caramel filling sprinkled with real Hawaiian sea salt.” Each shiny dark chocolate square was covered with a little squiggle of milk chocolate, then topped with a generous sprinkle of rust-colored sea salt.
That dark chocolate shell shattered as soon as I bit into the caramel, revealing a limpid viscous caramel center. The chocolate had a thick melt and lots of caramel notes.
The smooth caramel looked liquid but didn’t quite flow. It had a slight grain to the texture and a strong pumpkin spice flavor that was nutmeg dominant. Though the caramel was sweet, it was nicely countered by the saltiness of the crystals it was topped with.
These were tasty, but I don’t think they needed the extra pumpkin spice hit. If you’re a pumpkin spice fiend, however, you’ll love these. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, review, Trader Joe's |
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September 24th, 2014 by Rosa
Churchill’s Confectionery is family-run, London-based company that is now making inroads in the U.S. via shops like Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdale’s. They recently sent me a free sample of their Carousel tin filled with toffee and vanilla fudge.
The tin itself was beautiful: a round cylinder with a tented top and embossed with colourful (see what I did there) carousel horses. The tin held two bags of individually wrapped candies, one of round dairy toffees and another of rectangles of vanilla fudge.
The vanilla fudge squares were softy grainy and easy to bite through. They chewed up into a pleasant, pliable mush that melted in my mouth.
The fudge had a mellow, round, floral sweetness that finished with a hint of fruitiness. I usually dislike fudge because I find it too sweet, but I enjoyed these. An O.
The dairy toffee was firm, but I was able to bite through it cleanly. It had a sticky chew that left bits of toffee wedged in the nooks and crannies of my teeth.
The flavor was sweet and buttery, with just an edge of burnt sugar deliciousness. I’m a sucker for British toffees, and while I prefer the deeper scorchy notes of Walker’s Treacle Toffee, this lighter toffee was good enough for an OM.
Category: caramel, European, O, OM, review, toffee |
August 11th, 2014 by Rosa
I’m lucky enough to have recently returned from a trip to Switzerland. We were mostly hiking the Alps, but I made sure to make some time to buy Swiss candies, including lots of chocolate.
First up, this fancy Lindt Passion Chocolat – Caramel & Fleur de Sel. It was described as “accord parfait du chocolat noir et du pur caramel,” which my rusty high school French translates as, “a perfect agreement between dark chocolate and pure caramel.”
The chocolate had a prettily artisanal look about it, with a little cellophane windowpane through which to view the bar. The top side was generously sprinkled with caramel and fat grains of sea salt, while the bottom was imprinted with the scripted Lindt logo.
The dark chocolate was creamy with a smooth and thick melt. It had a nice cocoa depth with a slight fruitiness that was highlighted by the occasional flash of salt.
The caramel bits were plentiful and brought a nice, clean crunchiness to the texture of the bar. They tasted sweet, with buttery toffee flavors that took on a slight toasted scorchiness as they melted away.
I found this to be a well-balanced treat that was surprisingly well-made for a mass-produced bar. An OMG.
Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Lindt, OMG, 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 |
December 16th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramallows last week. I was super excited to think that I’d caught a new product that resembled my beloved See’s Scotchmallows, but it turns out that they were around last year as well.
The long, skinny box described them as “pillowy marshmallow bites with a layer of rich, silky caramel, enrobed in dark chocolate.” There were 10 Caramallows in the box all lined up in a row.
While most were rectangular with a vertical line across them, some were more irregularly shaped. Each had a bottom layer of caramel topped with a square of marshmallow and all covered in a dark chocolate shell.
The Caramallows were far softer than Scotchmallows and squishily yielded to my bite. The dark chocolate shell was quite nice, a high quality chocolate that was lightly sweet with a fruity finish.
The bottom layer of caramel was softy chewy and sticky. It tasted sweetly buttery rather than scorchy or burnt, and it had a mild butterscotchy flavor.
The marshmallow was squishy and foamy in texture. It had a sweetly mild flavor with a light vanilla airiness.
These were tasty enough, but they aren’t a suitable Scotchmallow replacement. The fact that they were so soft throughout made them seem insubstantial compared to Scotchmallows, and Scotchmallows have much more complexity of flavor. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, OM, review, Trader Joe's |
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September 6th, 2013 by Rosa
I recently received free samples of some chocolates from Zoë”s Chocolate Co., a small artisan chocolate shop that’s only 6 years old. I got a pretty brown box, all tied up with a pink ribbon, that featured four truffles from their Chocolate Collection: Black Raspberry, Mediterranean Citrus, Apple Pie, and Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel.
Black Raspberry was “white chocolate ganache blended with locally grown preserved black raspberries and topped in a rich dark chocolate.” The square truffle was visually striking, with its magenta dried fruit topper and violet ganache.
That ganache was incredibly smooth. It tasted sweet and lightly fruity with mild berry notes, and it finished with cocoa flavors from the nice dark chocolate. The dried fruit chip was crystallized and added a flash of sweet and intense fruitiness to this understated truffle.
Mediterranean Citrus was described as “white chocolate ganache infused with a sweet Mediterranean citrus topped in dark chocolate.” Its ganache was also perfectly smooth and was a creamy white in color.
It tasted of orange oil rather than orange juice or zest. It was a great citrus pairing with the dark chocolate that coated it, even though it lacked any juiciness or zestiness.
Apple Pie was a caramel: “Fresh, local apples cooked to perfection with apple pie spices and combined with caramel and roasted pecans.” The beautiful dome held a jammy filling with tiny bits of apple suspended within it.
It tasted like cinnamon and, well, apple pie! I didn’t notice any specific pecan bits or flavor, though there was a bit of tannic bitterness to the finish that may have been due to the added nuts.
Finally, the one with a mouthful of a name, Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel, was “a bit of creamy milk chocolate … mixed with our liquid caramel and amplified to a delicious intensity.” The liquid caramel was smooth and limpid with an intense buttery sweetness.
The generous sprinkle of jagged sea salt was just right to set off the sweetness of the caramel and milk chocolate. I didn’t notice the addition of the pinot noir, but I still loved this caramel.
Zoë’s chocolates were gorgeous to behold and delicious to indulge in. I give the Pinot Noir Caramel an OMG, while the rest get OMs.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, OMG, review, white chocolate |
September 4th, 2013 by Rosa
Downtown Durham recently had a gem of a store open: Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop is part butcher shop, part sandwich shop, and part pastry shop. I had the best ice cream sandwich of my life the last time I stopped there, and I also picked up a couple of ginger caramels that were made with lard (from their butcher shop, I assume).
The generously sized caramels were 75 cents each and came wrapped in wax paper. They were soft and sticky with a long-lasting chew. The caramels stuck to my teeth a bit but eventually melted away – no need for teeth picking here.
I couldn’t tell that they were made from lard rather than from butter. Though they did lack a buttery undertone, not all regular caramels taste of butter, and I didn’t miss the butter flavor. I also didn’t notice any extra porkiness from the lard.
Instead, they were sweet with a strong ginger bite. They were sweet and spicy but not painfully so, though I did get just a hint of burn in the back of my throat.
I thought these were a highly enjoyable tasty and unique treat. I don’t think I’d buy these again because ginger has never been my thing, but I did enjoy trying them. An O.
Category: caramel, O, review |
July 29th, 2013 by Rosa
When I was a kid, I remember those “What would you do-oo-oo? For a Klondike Bar?” commercials being ubiquitous. Just typing that in has the jingle playing in a loop in my brain…
At the Sweets and Snacks Expo in May, Flix Candy was showing off their new Klondike candies. I got a free sample of each flavor, Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip, for review. I’ll cover the Caramel today and save the Mint Chocolate Chip for Wednesday.
Caramel was described as “caramel center covered in a milk chocolate flavored coating.” Regular readers of the blog should hear alarm bells right now: “chocolate flavored” is a euphemism for “not actually chocolate”. In this case, it’s palm kernel oil instead of cocoa butter.
Because of that swap, the mockolate had some greasy looking spots. It didn’t make much of a flavor impression, as the caramel really dominated the flavor profile.
The caramel was soft and sweetly chewy with a light butterscotch finish. It got stuck in my teeth a bit but easily dissolved away with a little time.
I found this inoffensive. The caramel was okay, if not the best, and the mockolate wasn’t noticeably fake, beyond the greasy sheen that it imparted. Still, there are better mass market chocolate covered caramels out there, like Riesens. An O.
Category: caramel, mockolate, O, review |
June 21st, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve never been a big fan of candy companies that refer to candy as a guilty pleasure. Why can’t it just be a pleasure, without all these extra hangups? As long as you’re not eating as much candy as I do, you’re probably fine.
Skinny Cow, with its ridiculous svelte cow logo, clearly markets itself to dieting women. This package of their caramel filled chocolates, which they were handing out as free samples at Sweets and Snacks, was clearly labeled as containing 130 calories.
It also claimed to be “velvety milk chocolate and luscious caramel”. All for 130 calories? I was skeptical…
The package contained 3 pretty chocolate squares, each lightly imprinted with the words Skinny Cow. The caramel inside was thin and runny with a slight grain to the texture.
The chocolate was grainy as well – definitely a few hours of conching shy of being velvety. It was extremely sweet, to the point of being throat burning.
The caramel was similarly sweet, but it also packed a heavy hit of saltiness, which was a nice surprise. It helped bring a little more interest to treat, and it provided the flavor of something besides just SWEET.
Still, I’d rather have one really high quality chocolate covered caramel than three of these guys. Quality over quantity! But if you prefer quantity, or if you absolutely need know the calorie count of what you’re eating (made easier when your food is factory made!), these wouldn’t be a terrible compromise. An O.
Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, O, review |