December 12th, 2012 by Rosa
Vidal Candies had a colorful booth at Sweets and Snacks full of all kinds of non-chocolate treats. It looked like they carried candies that are more commonly seen abroad than in the U.S., like these Sour Rainbow Pencils that they gave me as free samples.
I ate tons and tons of filled licorice pencils in my summer abroad in England because they’re delicious! They’re tubes of fruity licorice filled with a sweet fondant.
In the case of these Sour Rainbow Pencils, the fruity licorice was comprised of four colors that reminded me of the Chrome logo: bold red, yellow, green and blue. The pencils were covered in a bracingly tart sour sugar.
The pencil as a whole tasted brightly sweet, all artificial fruitiness. The fondant that ran down the center (like graphite in a real pencil) was sweet and grainy with a bit of a squishy chew as it dissolved. It oozed out of the licorice as I chewed it.
And chewed it. And chewed it. The fruit licorice had a chew that was tough and plasticky. I was left with a shell long after the fondant disappeared.
My ideal licorice pencils have a soft, lightly rubbery chew that puts up a little resistance but soon yields. The durable plastic texture of these guys was really off-putting for me, and the pleasant fondant center wasn’t enough to counteract that effect. A –.
Category: --, coconut, licorice, review |
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October 3rd, 2011 by Rosa
I was really excited when I got this bag of Rips Bits as a free sample via the National Confectioners’ Association. Could they finally be an easily, locally available version of my filled licorice?
The bag did describe them as “filled bite-sized licorice pieces”, and they certainly looked the part!
Survey says… yes! With the slight quibble that these were covered in a “sweet and sour sugar-sand” that turned out to taste much more sweet than sour.
The licorice shells were chewy and stiff while the “cream” centers were on the grainy side. Each was about an inch long.
The red ones were strawberry and cream. They tasted like your standard fruity red candy, with an intensely bright and artificial strawberry floralness tempered with a slight creaminess from the center.
Green was green apple and cream. Its flavor was more muted and more artificial tasting with plasticky undertones, very similar to those of green apple Sour Punch Straws. I liked the red ones better.
These are by no means a high-minded candy, yet I love them for their sweet and chewy intensity. An OM.
The only downside is that they still may be rather hard to track down. They’re made by the Foreign Candy Company, which doesn’t have the widest distribution. I haven’t seen them in stores yet, but hopefully they’ll turn up someday!
Category: licorice, OM, review, sour |
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December 10th, 2010 by Rosa
Could it be? Could Jolly Rancher have made an American version of the European filled licorice that I love so much with their Awesome Twosome Chews (received as free samples via the National Confectioners Association)?
Not exactly. But they were still pretty good!
They came in two flavor combinations: watermelon/green apple and cherry/orange. All of them had a fine granulated sugar on the surface, a chewy, soft licorice-textured shell, and a soft, smooth paste filling.
Watermelon /green apple had a pink watermelon shell with a green apple filling.
It tasted mostly of watermelon, with a bit of a plasticky finish. The watermelon shell was sweet and floral, while the green apple was like a mild green apple Jolly Rancher.
Cherry/orange had a red cherry shell with an orange filling. Here, the filling was the overwhelming flavor. The cherry part tasted like a red popsicle, while the orange tasted like my ideal candy citrus flavor – sweet and slightly tart.
These aren’t perfect, but I’ll still give them an OM. They’re a little too sweet, but they’re a nice change of pace and reminiscent of my beloved filled licorice.
Category: chewy, licorice, OM, review |
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November 12th, 2010 by Rosa
I got these bags of Darrell Lea’s Soft Eating Liquorice as free samples via the manufacturer. According to their PR peeps, they’re Australia’s #1 soft eating liquorice. Wonder if that means there’s such thing as a hard eating liquorice?
They come in four flavors – strawberry, green apple, mango, and original. I told them that I’m afraid of black licorice, so they didn’t send me the original.
They were way bigger than I expected, about Chapstick-sized. The flavors are all natural, which explains the refreshingly earthy, muted colors.
They were soft, wheaty, and pliable. They were easy to chew but got a tad stuck in the nooks and crannies of my molar.
Strawberry was lovely and sweet, with a round mellow strawberry flavor. I love the purpley-pink color. The ingredients list indicates that it’s colored with black carrot extract. Cool!
Green was neutral colored and just lightly tinged with green. They colored it with spinach extract. It tastes wheatier than the others and veers dangerously close to plasticky territory. The apple flavor is light and just barely there in the finish.
Mango was my favorite. It tasted sweet and peachy with overtones of citrus. Yum!
These are unlike any licorice that I’ve had before. They’ve forever ruined Twizzlers for me (not that I much cared for them in the first place). An O for the green apple and OMs for mango and strawberry.
Category: Australian/New Zealand, licorice, O, OM, review |
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May 5th, 2010 by Rosa
I got really excited when I saw this bag of Haribo Pico-Balla at the dollar store. They looked like my beloved European licorice pencils that have yet to catch on in the U.S. Could it be that they were hiding in the dollar store of the mall all along?
They certainly looked the part – colored fruit licorice wrapped around fondant fillings. The fillings were even extra fancy, with two colors!
Alas, while they were similar to my licorice pencils, they weren’t quite right.
For starters, the texture of the Pico-Balla was a bit too stiff and plasticy. Licorice pencils should have some bite to them, but these guys involved too much gnawing.
As for the flavors, they were weird and just didn’t mesh for me. Turquoise stuck out because its fondant filling was yellow and purple, while the other three had blue and orange.
The turquoise fruit licorice portion tasted like fruit punch, while the sweet fondant had a light anise and minty finish. It was simultaneously sweet and creamy and herbal.
The yellow coating tasted sweet with a light citrus tinge. Green tasted like the yellow, sans the citrus tinge, and maybe had a light apple finish, but maybe I was imagining it? And red just tasted like generic artificial red candy.
The orange and blue fondant fillings tasted of sherbet. I couldn’t pick out a particular flavor; they were just sweet and creamy and fruity.
I’m not sure why, but to me, the fruit licorice texture and flavors were just completely incompatible with the sherbet-y fondant fillings.
In the end, I found the Pico-Balla flavors and textures to be off-putting. They’re not awful, but they are rather blech, so a –.
Category: --, chewy, European, Haribo, licorice, review |
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March 25th, 2009 by Rosa
Fini is a Spain-based candy company that offered to send me free candy samples to review. So I went to their website and drooled over their gorgeous candy photos, all the while wishing that I spoke Spanish. Fortunately, their contact pointed me to clicking the little British flag in their navigation bar, and voila, everything was in English. I specifically requested filled licorice bars, which I fell in love with while in England, and I now have more than I could/should ever eat.
Filled licorice bars are pretty ubiquitous in the UK, where they’re also referred to as licorice pencils or, in their chopped up state (below photo), as mini cables. They’re basically hollow tubes of fruit licorice filled with fondant. I’m not fan of Twizzlers or Red Vines, but there’s something about the licorice and fondant combination that makes these addictively yummy. Fini has a large assortment that varies in size and licorice flavors.
The red ones were strawberry, the green was green apple, the white matte was strawberry, the orange matte was peach, and the fat pink one just tasted of sweet, as it was fondant on fondant.
The smallest (in terms of diameter) ones were my favorite. The larger/fatter bars have a too high fondant to licorice ratio, making them overly sweet and messing with the fun textural play on slightly rubbery, chewy licorice against soft fondant. The matte ones (white and orange) were a fondant-type coating around a rubbery center; those were manageable.
These aren’t fancy hoity-toity candies, but they’re tasty and addictive and get an OM. Unfortunately, Fini is still in the processing of rolling out their U.S. entry, so it’ll be a few months before you U.S. readers can order their products. If they update me, I’ll update you.
Category: European, licorice, OM, review |
15 Comments »
March 7th, 2008 by Rosa
Michael Recchuiti is an American chocolatier who creates elegantly sleek and beautiful truffles. I stopped by his shop (also elegant and sleek, with a predominantly brown and gold scheme and employees dressed all in black) in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. His confections and boxed chocolates are extremely pricey, so I only bought two truffles from his extensive range. It was so hard to choose just two!
I definitely could have used help making my truffle selections, and I now regret not asking for it. The store was packed when I got there, and I got a snobby vibe because one of the employees ignored me when I was standing right in front of her and instead addressed the two well-attired gentlemen behind me. That kind of snubbing isn’t exactly inviting. I also would have bought more than just two truffles had I known that the chocolates are sold by weight when you pick them out individually, which makes them cheaper than when they come in prepackaged boxes. But because no one offered to help me, that was never explained to me.
I ended up choosing a honeycomb malt (left) and a star anise & pink peppercorn (right). I love malted milk balls and will eat Ovaltine malt straight, so I was excited about the honeycomb malt. It turned out to be a sweet, honeyed truffle filling with a soft chocolate coating. The filling looked a bit grainy but was actually quite silky. However, it was not as thick and creamy as richer ganaches are. The honeyed flavor of the filling was nice and smooth, but there was no malt taste that I could perceive, which disappointed me. If I didn’t know the name of the truffle, I’d give it an OM. Because it’s called a honeycomb malt and there was no malt, it only gets an O.
The star anise and pink peppercorn carried a slight hint of anise that sat nicely in the back of my throat. I don’t like licorice, so I found the light anise touch to be just right. There was a hint of pepper without any burn. No suggestions of pink (or if there were, I wouldn’t be able to tell, as I don’t know how pink peppercorns taste different from black ones). The ganache, like that of the honeycomb malt, also had a more liquid viscosity than most truffles. This one gets an OM.
I’m choosing to give Recchuiti the benefit of the doubt here because I wanted to like the shop and the chocolates more than I actually did. I felt pretty “meh” about the two truffles I bought, but those are only two truffles out of his extensive line. And even though I didn’t rave about the truffles I got to taste, I do recognize that they are well-crafted and of a high quality. I’m not going to make a special pilgrimage to California just to visit his shop again, but if I came across Recchiuti truffles elsewhere, I’d give them another shot.
Category: candy resource, chocolate, licorice, O, OM, Recchiuti, review |
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August 7th, 2007 by Rosa
I spotted this bag on a candy display in Michael’s. I’d never seen them before, so I thought Original Snaps (BUY) would be a great review candidate, even though I couldn’t tell exactly what they were. Since the store was closing and the cashiers were shutting down their stations, I was in a hurry to get out, and I didn’t look closely at the package. When I got to the car, I turned the bag over and saw this:
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Category: chewy, licorice, O, review |
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