Archive for the 'nougat' Category

Cadbury Starbar

May 20th, 2009 by Rosa

This Cadbury Starbar’s been floating around in my tasting notebook since I had it last summer while I was in England. It was on my list of candy bars to try while there, thanks to a favorable Chocablog review.

The Starbar is “shot through with peanuts and caramel,” which made me think that it would be a Snickers-like bar. Well, not exactly.

The milk chocolate coating (14% of the bar) was greasy. Immediately under the chocolate was a circular layer of gooey, sweet, and sticky caramel. A few salty peanuts studded the nougat, but they were few and far between, not exactly “shot through” with peanuts.

I think there were also little wafer bits inside the sweet nougat center that weren’t advertised on the wrapper. I don’t know why not, as it’s a nice feature. It provides an enjoyable textural contrast that gives this bar an extra edge.

I was disappointed by the lack of peanuts but pleasantly surprised by the wafer bits. Not sublime, but pretty good for a mass-produced bar. An OM.

Category: Cadbury, caramel, chocolate, European, nougat, nuts, OM, review | 3 Comments »

Baby Ruth

December 1st, 2008 by Rosa

The Baby Ruth is one of those unexceptional bars that are always around but rarely noticed. So unexceptional, in fact, that reviews of it are rare in the candy blogosphere. Jim’s got one up on Chocolate Mission, but he’s a UK reviewer and probably doesn’t really know the cultural impact – or lack thereof – of the Baby Ruth in the US.

So why review the bar if it’s so inconsequential? Because with this review, I can fill a need. I’m sure many of you, while browsing the candy aisle or waiting at the checkout counter, would see a Baby Ruth and think, “Gee, I haven’t had one of those in ages. I can’t even remember how they taste. Maybe I should pick one up!” After this review, dear readers, you will know better. You’re not missing anything.

The outer coating of the Baby Ruth is a thin layer of a bland, unexceptional chocolate. I think it’s actually chocolate, but I could be wrong. It doesn’t taste like much at all.

Inside the chocolate is a mix of a bland, caramel-nougat type thing that is heavily studded with whole and half peanuts. The caramel-nougat type thing, like the chocolate, is bland. The peanuts have a good crunch, at least, but not much flavor.

Overall, the Baby Ruth just needs a big dose of oomph in the form of more flavor. More saltiness from the peanuts, more sweetness and burnt sugar notes from the caramel-nougat, and more chocolate taste from the chocolate. As it is, it gets a big goose egg of an O for being so boring.

Category: caramel, chocolate, Nestle, nougat, nuts, O, review | 3 Comments »

Topic

October 17th, 2008 by Rosa

The Topic is a UK bar comprised of “milk chocolate, hazelnuts, soft nougat, and smooth caramel centre.” Sounds good so far! The bar’s wrapper is rather simple and not at all modern looking, but it’s not quite retro. I like the kind of homey feel it gives.

The soft caramel of the bar strings out when bitten, like the cheese on a gooey slice of pizza. In case you can’t tell, that’s a good thing in my book. The nougat was sweet and soft and chock full of hazelnuts (according to the wrapper, they make up 15% of the bar) that made it marvelously nutty. As for the chocolate coating, it was real chocolate with lovely European milk chocolate dairy notes.

Overall, it was overly sweet – something I think would be unavoidable when combining chocolate and nougat and caramel – but still tasty. An OMG.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Mars, nougat, nuts, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Nestle Nuts

August 29th, 2008 by Rosa

Here’s a candy that’ll have the 12 year-old boy in you giggling and elbowing your neighbor in the ribs: I found Nestle Nuts in Lidl, this weird discount/grocery store in Southport that had extremely cheap fruits and veg. How cheap? The day I went, they were in the midst of an “All fruits and veg are half off sale.” I had gone into Lidl on a hunt for miniature bags of Haribo, and I left with strawberries and cherries and beets and grapes and carrots. And a five-pack of Nestle Nuts.

I had high hope for the Nuts, which billed itself as milk chocolate (31%) with filling with caramel (22%) and hazelnuts (11%), which is why I chose to buy it even though it only came in a five pack. Well, that and the whole five pack was only a pound. Hooray for cheap presents for friends! As Ferrero’s bottom line has shown, chocolate + hazelnut = deliciousness. Usually, that is. The Nestle Nuts managed to screw up the winning recipe.

The chocolate coating was boring, blah milk chocolate. I’ve found that Nestle’s chocolate, as opposed to Cadbury with its nice dairy milkness, tends to be mediocre at best, and the Nuts was no exception. The not very thoroughly described “filling” was boring, blah nougat that tasted like nothing more than generic sweetness. And the caramel was, you guessed it, boring blah caramel with no notes of anything. It was pretty insipid and wasn’t even sticky.

Every once in a while, I came across a whole hazelnut hidden inside the Nuts. They were nice enough, crunchy and vaguely nutty, but the Nuts in no way, shape, or form took advantage of the full, roasty, nutty goodness that hazelnuts can bring. The sweetness of everything else in the bar overwhelmed any flavor the hazelnut had the potential to add.

For a boring, blah bar, a boring blah O. I’ve managed to get lucky with dollar (pound) store candy finds in the past, but in this case, you get what you pay for.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Nestle, nougat, nuts, O, review | 5 Comments »

Mars Planets

August 6th, 2008 by Rosa

Mars Planets were a UK treat I had high hopes for mostly because they included what looked like malted milk balls, and I loooove malted milk balls. I could (and have) eaten malt powder straight and dry as a snack. I wonder if I should be ashamed of that… it seems rather akin to eating cookie dough straight off the log (haven’t done) or ice cream straight out of the tub (big fan of that one).

There are three types of Planets in the bag, soft, crispy, and chewy. Soft is the biggest, crispy is the middle size, and chewy is the smallest, so you can tell them apart by size before you bite into them. After they’re bitten in half, you can see that soft looks like it’s filled with nougat, crispy with crisp malt, and chewy with caramel. In reality, that’s mostly correct, but just wrong enough enough to disappoint.

Soft is filled with a chocolate nougat that’s pretty generically flavored and way too sweet. Chewy is filled with a nondescript caramel – no interesting burnt sugar or vanilla notes there, just overwhelming sweetness. And crispy, to my great dismay, didn’t taste like malted milk at all. I’d thought it was a Malteaser (Mars’s malted milk ball brand), but it tasted just like bland crispiness. No malt flavor whatsoever.

I commend Planets for their neat idea, but the execution was poor. All of the Planets were too sweet and too boring. An O. You can read Chocablog’s take on them here.

Category: caramel, chocolate, cookie, European, Mars, nougat, O, review | 2 Comments »

Cadbury Double Decker

July 21st, 2008 by Rosa

When I asked for UK candy recommendations, Justin suggested that I try the Cadbury Double Decker. I’m glad he did, as it was quite enjoyable. On my first day of “work” in lab, I popped into a post office to buy a notebook. Unlike in the US, UK post offices seem to be personal small businesses, and they’re usually attached to a larger shop. The one on the road where I’m staying was part of a mini-mart/convenience store, so I also grabbed a Double Decker, making it the first candy bar I bought in England.

I apologize for the deflated wrapper picture – I didn’t have any food to bring to my first day of lab since I’d just arrived in the country, and I got hungry and ate part of the bar before I could photograph it as a whole. I had intended to buy a second one, but England has yielded so many new candies and chocolates that I haven’t had a chance to yet.

The wrapper boasts of “milk chocolate with smooth, chewy nougatine and crisp, crunchy cereal filling,” a combination that, as far as I know, doesn’t have a US equivalent. The bar is called a Double Decker because it’s divided in half horizontally, like a double-decker bus. The top half is the nougat, while the bottom half is crisped rice and chocolate. And the whole bar is covered in Cadbury’s milk chocolate.

The nougat was pretty chewy, like the inside of a US Milky Way bar, only without any caramel. To put it another way, it was thicker and stickier than the nougat inside of a 3 Muskateers.  The crisped rice was basically what one would expect from crisped rice and chocolate (a pairing that’s hard to screw up), and with the nougat, it made for a great texture combination. Finally, the Cadbury chocolate made a positive contribution with its creamy dairy notes. So much better than Hershey’s! An OMG for the bar. If you want a British take on the Double Decker, check out Chocablog’s review.

Category: Cadbury, chocolate, European, nougat, OMG, review | 5 Comments »

Len Libby Chocolates

July 11th, 2008 by Rosa

Back in March, over spring break, a few friends and I visited Len Libby while we were in Maine. Because it’s not every day you’re within driving distance of a life-size chocolate moose. Meet Lenny (and a mama bear and her cub made from solid dark chocolate):

Though we’d dropped in just to see Lenny, and though I’d just tasted my chocolate fill at Haven’s Candies, I couldn’t leave one of Maine’s main chocolate stores without buying something. I walked out with a few chocolate eggs (remember, the visit was just before Easter) and two chocolates.

The right chocolate was (I think) a molasses chew. The nougaty filling was a bit on the stiff side, but that may have been due to the cold weather. Flavorwise, the chew was unexpectedly dark, with liqueur/rum notes and a light fruitiness. An OM.

The left chocolate was also some sort of chewy nougat thing, the name of which I can no longer remember because I didn’t bother to write it down. Oops. But it wasn’t that interesting. It was softer than the molasses chew with berry notes. An O.

I realize that reviews of seasonal Easter chocolate isn’t very helpful in July, but I’m pretty sure Len Libby makes non-egg versions of these chocolates. By the way, Len Libby sells a wide assortment of chocolate eggs; I just picked out three to buy and took tasting notes on two (the milk peanut butter wasn’t especially interesting).

I picked the milk and caramel marshmallow (right most, unwrapped) because I hoped it would be like the See’s Scotchmallow that I love so much. Sadly, it couldn’t compare. The sweetness of the milk chocolate overpowered everything. An O.

I chose the dark chocolate and coconut (bottom left) with trepidation. I’ve never liked Almond Joys or Mounds bars, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this. Surprise! It was delicious. The nutty coconut flavor was fresh and paired wonderfully with the dark chocolate. And, unlike in lesser chocolate/coconut bars, the coconut was a smooth paste without that fake graininess that I can’t stand. An OMG.

So, Len Libbey is worth a visit if you’re in the area. If I remember correctly, they had free samples out; I was just too full from Haven’s to take advantage of them.

Category: caramel, chocolate, coconut, Easter, holiday, marshmallow, nougat, O, OM, OMG, review | No Comments »

Charleston Chew – Chocolatey

July 4th, 2008 by Rosa

I’ve already reviewed the vanilla version of the Charleston Chew once with tepid results. So why do they warrant a re-review? Because I’ve tried them in chocolate (not much of a difference and certainly not worth mentioning), and I’ve tried them frozen. Frozen Charleston Chews are a candy revelation if you’ve only had the non-frozen version.

The Chocolatey Charleston Chew features a thin chocolate (probably mockolate) shell around a light chocolate nougat-y filling. Like its vanilla brethen, the nougat is soft, yielding, and just slightly sticky. I wish the “Chocolatey”-ness of the bar came through better. It could definitely use amping up in the chocolate flavor realm. An OM.

But wait! There’s more! Pop the Chew in the freezer, forget it’s there for a while, and rediscover it later. Now frozen, the Chew cleaves like toffee when you bite or break it, but once in your mouth, it melts into that pleasant chew. It’s an awesome textural change, and suddenly this mediocre bar becomes something quite addictive, deserving of an OMG.

A few more notes – the Charleston Chew is relatively low cal and low fat and lasts a long time if you eat it frozen, making it a pretty diet-friendly indulgence. And Yale Med School’s dining hall sells them at room temperature and out of the freezer. I had a nice chat with the guy running the register when I complimented them on their thoughtfulness. Clearly, Yale Med knows their stuff.

And finally, happy Independence Day! Won’t be much celebrating of that here in England, I’m sure, so you readers in the states will have to have a veggie burger for me.

Category: chewy, chocolate, nougat, OM, OMG, review, Tootsie Roll | No Comments »

Fannie May Chocolates – Part II of Chicago Week

May 7th, 2008 by Rosa

The saga of my sweet-toothing my way through Chicago continues with Fannie May chocolates, who I would liken to Chicago’s version of See’s, except See’s is better.

At a Fannie May store, I picked out a selection of their chocolates and a few of their individually wrapped candies (review on those to come next week). Top down in columns, from left to right they are, as best as I can tell/remember: bittermint, some nougat thing, vanilla buttercream dark, no clue, buttercrisp, peanut butter, raspberry cream?, lemon buttercream, and a Trinidad. The salesguy assured me that there would be a comprehensive key online. There isn’t.

bittermint – this was a mint in the York Peppermint Pattie vein. The dark chocolate shell was quite thick, and the gooey mint innards had a strong mintiness tempered by a slight bitterness. The lightly bitter finish went nicely with the dark chocolate.

rectangular nougat thing – I have no idea what this is and couldn’t match it up to anything on their website. It was dark chocolate coating a chewy, nutty nougat log that tasted of maple, I thin.

vanilla buttercream dark – I’m not a big fan of buttercreams but let myself be talked into buying this one by Katie, who loves them. This was sweet and cloying but otherwise had a great vanilla flavor. If you have a higher sugar tolerance than I do, you’d probably like it.

buttercrisp – an almond buttercrisp in milk chocolate. I found it too be too hard to bite into and with a weird, not quite toffee-like texture (it didn’t cleave like toffee does).

peanut butter - a creamy peanut butter filling where the peanut butter was not nearly nutty or salty enough. The milk chocolate shell was slightly too thick for balance.

raspberry cream – I think that’s what this was. The chocolate shell was thicker than I expected, and the filling tasted strongly artificial with a slight cherry cordial winey-ness to it.

lemon buttercream - the center of this tasted like a lemon meringue pie. The lemon-ness was super bright.

Trinidad – I’ve managed to save the best for last: it’s a chocolate cream center with “pastel coating” and toasted coconut. The chocolate filling was smooth and creamy, and the coconut flavor was just right.  The only one I really enjoyed from the ones I picked.

I had wanted to buy some Mint Meltaways in my boxed assortment but the salesguy told me not to because their mintiness would overpower everything else. I managed to buy a little tray of 3 larger meltaways at a Walgreen’s instead. I tasted them after the Frangos that I so loved, and they paled in comparison.

The Mint Meltaways had a pastel green white chocolate coating that tasted too sweet and sugary. It gave the confection an unpleasantly greasy creaminess and a thick finish. The mint flavor was weaker than that of Frangos, and it was more artificial tasting.

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy Fannie May that much. I liked the bittermint and Trinidad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek those out. An O for the chocolates described here. The individually wrapped chocolates I bought fared much better, and my review of those will publish on Monday.

Category: chocolate, coconut, mint, nougat, nuts, O, peanut butter, review, toffee, white chocolate | 1 Comment »

Russian Candies I

April 7th, 2008 by Rosa

My friend Leslie was kind enough to mail me a giant box full of Russian candy back in December, and I’ve since been slowly tasting my way through everything. Candy blogging, at least the way I do it, is a Sisyphean task, only I get to eat lots of sweets instead of pushing a boulder around. I know, I know. My life is so hard. Here’s the first of my long overdue, many-part series on Russian candies.

First up, a series of what Leslie calls “the heart and soul of Russian candy, with its fake chocolate glaze and weirdly-folded, artistic wrappers. There are several other varieties… Bizarrely, all of them come from different candy factories all over Russia. The wrappers are always the same color… and the artwork is always similar. Apparently there’s no trademarking going on.”

Red October’s Mishka Kosolapy/Pigeon-toed Mikey (the affectionate name for bear cub) – Dark “chocolate” covered crisp innards topped and bottomed with a stale wafer. I don’t know if they’re usually stale, as they’d been sitting around for a long time before I got to tasting them. The innards were made of a sugary, slightly chocolatey solidified paste of some sort that gave it a sweet finish.

Babaevskii’s Belochka/Squirrel – The same dark “chocolate” shell around a crumbly filling composed of chocolate and hazelnut (I think; it could have been pistachio) bits. Also a sweet finish.

Mikey in the North – The same dark “chocolate” shell and paste of Pigeon-toed Mikey. In this version, the wafers completely box in the filling, so the overall candy is both thicker (in crunch) and airier (in texture).

Overall, I ate one of each all at once, which was a bad idea. They’re super sweet, and the fillings don’t exactly melt away, so I felt ill afterwards. An O, but on the high side because they get bonus points for novelty.

Sunflower Kozinak

Excuse me a second as I try not to drool into my keyboard just reliving what it was like eating this stuff. It’s like peanut brittle but made with sunflower seeds. Lots and lots of sunflower seeds jammed in very little brittle made the thick bars hard to crunch through, but I still powered right through half the package. I wish it came in thin slabs like peanut brittle, if only to slow down my consumption of it. Simple, delicious, and ZOMG! worthy. I wish I had more and miss it so…

Nestle Nesquick Bar

Leslie calls this “a ubiquitous European candy bar marketed towards children.” It’s a sweet milk chocolate coating over a top layer of white, crunchy… something and sweet chocolate nougat. The mysterious top layer tastes like a wafer but doesn’t have the mouthfeel of one, while the nougat layer is like a more dense 3 Musketeers filling. It’s a little sweet for my taste, so I give it an OM.

Category: chocolate, Nestle, nougat, nuts, O, OMG, received as gift, review, Russian, ZOMG! | No Comments »