Archive for the 'novelty' Category

Barrels of Yum hard candies – Dilly Dally (Dill Pickle) and Classic Collection

April 7th, 2014 by Rosa

 Barrels of Yum are barrel-shaped hard candies that extend the trite root beer barrel concept to a wider variety of flavors. They were developed with Candyman David Klein, who worked on the original Jelly Bellies, so I had high hopes for their flavors…

And they certainly delivered! I got free samples of the Dilly Dally pickle-flavored barrels as well as their Classic Collection to review. I’ll start with the Dilly Dallies because Pickle Candy?

The individually wrapped Dilly Dallies were bright green with a smooth melt on my tongue. They tasted eerily like a sweetened dill pickle. I got a little tartness, as well as garlicky notes.

It was weird to have something sweet and savory and so unnervingly accurate. I can’t see myself wanting to snack on these, but they’re a fun and spot-on novelty treat. An O for the fun taste experience.

The Classic Collection had more snackable flavors. Like the Dilly Dallies, they were individually wrapped, which makes them easily shareable.

Orange was Orange Cream. It tasted like orange soda, smooth and sweet. There were some nearly herbal undertones that made me think of that lingering sassafrassiness that you get from root bear.

Peach Cobbler was a red orange that was hard to distinguish from the orange cream. It tasted generically fruit and bright with occasional tart notes. I didn’t get any peach flavors, but still enjoyed its pleasant flavor.

Sour Watermelon was pink. It tasted like artificial watermelon candies with a subtle tartness. Not my favorite, as watermelon candies taste nothing like real watermelons to me.

Light brown was Apple Pie, which started off tasted of canned apple pie filling before it took on brighter, fruitier notes of fresh apple with hints of bright tartness peeking through.

Dark brown was Chai Tea, an unusual hard candy flavor. It had strong floral notes of tea with herbal undertones. Not my favorite, but I’m also generally not a tea person.

Green was Granny Smith Apple. It mostly tart and tangy, like most green apple candies, but with added complexity from apple peel notes.

Hot Cinnamon was red, and it tasted fairly standard for a cinnamon candy, with a flavor reminiscent of Red Hots. It had a nice heat to it that was present without being overwhelming.

Finally Blueberry Crumble was a deep blue that was tart with plummy blueberry notes. It didn’t taste like real blueberries, but it had a nice intensity of flavor.

Overall, I found the Classic Collection from Barrel of Yum to be a tasty assortment with many snackable flavors (though I’d give you all my Chai Teas and save the Hot Cinnamons for after-meal mints). An OM.

Category: hard candy, novelty, O, OM, review | 2 Comments »

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates – Corned Beef and Cabbage Truffle

March 25th, 2013 by CamNMere

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates whipped up a special batch of Corned Beef and Cabbage truffles that they gave out as a free St. Patrick’s Day treat. My friend and former Rochester roommate Meredith got one to try and review. ~Rosa

I wasn’t planning to do anything (or really leave the house at all) for St Patrick’s Day, but I woke up to find my social media informing me that beloved local establishment Hedonist Chocolate was offering free corned beef and cabbage truffles all day. Uh, what?

Hedonist is only a couple of blocks from home, and I’m not one to turn down a one-off gustatory challenge. Nor to turn down the opportunity to stock up on their phenomenal salted caramels, which are perfect for bribing myself to finish writing projects at work. I picked up an extra caramel in case I needed a chaser for the corned beef and cabbage truffle.

(Cameron did the photography, but lacked the intestinal fortitude to participate in the tasting experience. His loss?)

I’m happy to say that the caramel chaser lives on in my chocolate drawer for another day when its services are more urgently needed. The corned beef and cabbage truffle had a thin milk chocolate coating, with an even thinner layer of dark chocolate lining the bottom of the truffle.

The coating easily gave way to the creamy ganache filling, which had a sweet frosting texture with a hit of savory-salty flavor. Much of that savoriness came from little nubs of meat embedded in the filling:

Though the corned beef I’ve had in the past was texturally closer to pulled pork, these nubs were firm and chewy, like bacon. This seems like probably a wise textural choice (though now I am envisioning delicious pulled-pork-truffle collaborations between Hedonist and Sticky Lips BBQ, and ok now I really want that to happen).

The corned beef did have more of a briny flavor that came through mostly in the aftertaste, but otherwise if I hadn’t been paying close attention I might have just assumed it was a bacon truffle. The cute little blob on top of the truffle was candied corned beef, hitting the same delightful sorts of salty-sweet-candy-chewy notes as candied bacon. I would happily have eaten a whole tray of these.

I couldn’t detect any textural evidence of cabbage (again, a wise choice!) but it did contribute a vegetal, garlicky funk to the filling that was more pronounced in the aftertaste than in the initial flavor. It wasn’t actually bad by any means — it was fairly subtle, and I just finished off an embarrassingly large supply of generic milk-chocolate discount truffles from the post-Valentine’s sales so the complexity of cabbage-chocolate was surprisingly welcome.

But I think the truffle would have been better overall if it had just focused on the corned beef, which had plenty of complex savory flavors to offer. As it was, I think some of the smoky meatiness might’ve gotten lost in the sour cabbage aftertaste.

I can’t imagine a more competent execution of this concept, and I consider making a corned beef and cabbage truffle that is not only edible but actually sort of good a pretty remarkable feat. That said, it was still pretty weird. Grading on a bit of a novelty-chocolate curve, and taking into account that delicious candied beef topper, I’d give this truffle an O.

Category: chocolate, guest post, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, limited edition, novelty, O, review | 2 Comments »

David’s Signature Beyond Gourmet Jelly Beans Sampler

March 30th, 2012 by Rosa

Three words: bacon jelly beans.

Oh I’m sorry, you wanted more than that? Okay. I got a free sampler box of David’s Signature Beyond Gourmet Jelly Beans (available online from Amazon/Oregon Trail Foods), and it included a bacon flavor. Which I will review last to make sure you keep reading.

The David behind the beans is the David Klein who invented Jelly Belly beans but sold his share of the company before they got big. Like their Jelly Belly counterparts, the Beyond Gourmet beans are packed with flavor in the shell and the jelly center.

I’m going off my Jelly Belly memory here, as I didn’t have any handy for a direct comparison, but I think the Beyond Gourmet beans were softer in texture.

I could easily squish them between my fingers. As I chewed them, the jelly center consolidated into a soft, grainy mush that was vibrant and full of flavor.

Black cherry was sweet and brightly fruity with just a hint of tartness and not a whiff of medicinal notes.

Blueberry did an incredible job of capturing the essence of real blueberries, like blueberry yogurt without the dairy notes and with the tartness turned up.

Coconut was sweet to start, then took on the light creaminess of coconut milk. I didn’t get any nuttiness, but the flavor was pleasant enough, though I felt it was too mild and faded into sugary sweetness too quickly.

Cranberry was sweet and juicy and tart and tangy. I actually would’ve pegged it as pomegranate, as it lacked the tannic bite of cranberry. Either way, it was enjoyably flavorful.

Ginger was incredibly strong and nicely captured ginger’s spicy bite. It was really true to form, like eating raw ginger, and I found it too intense to finish.

Grape went the familiar popsicle route but managed to keep it sweet and fruity but not medicinal (though rather artificial).

Green apple was lightly tart with a grassy note that danced on its edge and set it apart from the standard Jolly Rancher take on green apple.

Himalyan sea salt was a strange choice for a flavor and was weird in execution. It was mostly sweet with just a tinge of saltiness. I was too scared to embrace the oddness and didn’t try too hard to finish it.

Lemon started like a lemon drop with a bright sourness. Then, it took on a edge of zestiness with just a smidge of pithy bitterness. It was wonderfully complex and my favorite of the bunch.

Orange punch tasted just like orange soda. The flavor was spot on, artificial sweetness and all.

Peach tasted like a peach gummi ring rather than the real fruit. It was intense and fruity, if rather artificial.

Pomegranate had a mild floral sweetness, then became tart and tangy with a tannic edge. It had an effervescence to the flavor (not actual bubbles) that was awesome.

Root beer was intense: strong and genuinely sassafrassy with a bitter edge. It was too much for me, but real root beer lovers would enjoy it.

Strawberry was neither mild nor floral. It had an intensity to its flavor, like strawberry jam with an herbal, grassy note to the finish.

Vanilla bean was true to its namesake, mildly sweet with airy vanilla essence overtones.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: bacon was salty, smoky, and meaty with a maple syrup sweetness. The flavor was right but the jelly bean texture combined with the taste of bacon was too weird. I couldn’t finish it due to the cognitive dissonance.

Overall, these beans are great! I can’t reiterate enough how vibrant and intense the flavors were – so much tastiness in such small packages!

I could’ve done without the bacon and Himalayan sea salt, but they were attention-getting in their novelty. I’m glad I tasted them, so they don’t merit the — rating, but once in a lifetime is enough for me.

While ginger and root beer weren’t to my taste, they were faithful interpretations of those flavors and get Os, as do coconut and vanilla bean for their relative mildness. The rest of the beans (all the fruit flavored ones) get an OMG for their awesome intensity, and lemon earns that extra Z for a ZOMG!

Category: jelly candy, novelty, O, OMG, review, ZOMG! | 3 Comments »

Sweetly Demented Chocolate/Raspberry Brains

February 20th, 2012 by Rosa

It’s always fun when candy has some personality. Sweetly Demented is a homegrown candy shop that sells an assortment of creepy and freaky candies.

I recently received some free samples of their “We All Think Terrible Thoughts,” which are 60% bittersweet chocolate brains filled with a raspberry ganache.

The sizeable brains (about two inches long and an inch and a half across) were sparkly pinkish-purple molded chocolates with well-defined sulci and gyri. They smelled sweet and fruity.

The bottom base of the shell was thick with a nice snap while the upper shell was thin. The ganache center, in contrast, was smooth but didn’t quite melt in my mouth.

The chocolate had a nice bit of spiciness to it that finished with a dry cocoa flavor. The ganache center had a similar spiciness with a light fruitiness that had just a tinge of artificialness.

I thought they were tasty and fun, though I would’ve preferred if they were just straight chocolate. At $6/6, they’re not cheap, though each brain is too sizeable to eat in one go.

I wouldn’t buy them for the flavor alone. For creative, nerdy neuroscience decorative purposes, however, they’re great. An O.

 

Category: chocolate, novelty, O, review | 2 Comments »

Kinder Surprise

March 18th, 2011 by Rosa

After writing about the illegality of Kinder Surprises, I realized that I should review them. If customs asks, all Kinder Surprise consumption for the sake of this review was conducted outside of U.S. borders.

The Kinder Surprise was a thin-shelled hollow egg. Inside the egg was a sealed yellow cylinder containing a toy. That combination of toy and food is what makes them illegal in the U.S.

The chocolate managed to squeeze two layers into its thinness. The outside was milk while the inside was white.

The chocolate had a thick melt with a dusky, sweet finish that had a bit of fruitiness. It was a bit too sweet for my taste, but the chocolate was so thin that there wasn’t enough of it to be overwhelming.

The chocolate was unexceptional and gets an O. But really, no one buys Kinder Surprise for the actual candy. It’s all about the toy – check out surfing Daffy Duck up there! And remember, don’t eat that toy!

Category: chocolate, Ferrero, novelty, O, review | 3 Comments »

World’s Largest Gummi Worm

December 3rd, 2010 by Rosa

The World’s Largest Gummi (or Gummy) Worm found its way into my candy stash as a free sample from its makers. At over two feet long (26 inches to be exact), it’s quite a sight to behold. I put some regular gummi worms beside it for comparison.

I’m going to call it the Worm in this review, as it’s spectacular enough to merit capitalization.

Thanks to its size, girth, and ribbed nature, it’s possibly the most unintentionally adult-looking candy that I’ve ever reviewed.

Actually, based on the YouTube video advertising the Worm, maybe that adult-ness is not so unintentional.

I chose not to just chomp down on the Worm like the guy in the video did. Instead, I tried to slice it like a meatloaf.

It sort of worked… The gummi was so, well, gummi-textured that it didn’t slice that cleanly. To be specific, the gummi’s texture was sticky and squishy. Furthermore, it was a tad moist, lacking the matte outer shell that most gummi worms and gummi bears have.

The Worm that I was given to review was orange and blue raspberry flavored. The blue raspberry end tasted like blue Gatorade, with a mellow artificial fruit punch flavor.

Orange tasted quite sweetly and clearly of candy (rather than genuine) orange flavor. It reminded me of Sunny D.

I don’t think it’s fair to assign this a regular review rating – it tasted fine for a gummi, but no one’s buying it for the taste – so I’ll just say that it definitely makes a visual impact. Plus, it’s a big attention getter, which is exactly what you want out of your giant novelty gummis. Up to you if that’s worth your $27.99!

Category: gummi/gummy, novelty, review | 6 Comments »

Nintendo Mushroom Sours

August 27th, 2010 by Rosa

I got this Nintendo mushroom tin in my Sweets and Snacks Expo press kit/goodie bag. It was immediately eye-catching due to its sheer adorableness factor.

It came in a little aluminum tin designed to look just like a Super Mario mushroom. I loved the bright and cheery red-spotted cap.

The cap was cut inside so that it covered the mushroom stem at an angle. That meant it was super fun to play with. Below is my rakish, mysterious mushroom.

Enough about the cute factor. What was the candy component like?

The mushroom stem was full of little pink compressed sugar candies. They, too, were shaped like mushrooms.

Alas, mine were all mottled inside, which made them look water damaged. They were like that when I first opened the mushroom tin, and I opened it right when the goodie bag arrived.

They tasted slightly sour and brightly of artificial, slightly medicinal cherry. They were hard enough so that they could be sucked on. They were also quite chompable.

Chomping on them released a rush of artificial cherry sweetness along with an iron-y bite (think just shy of Flintstone vitamin) as the candy disintegrated. I definitely preferred them sans chomping.

The packaging was far better than the candy within. I’d buy it once just for the tin, but the candy wasn’t that great. An O.

Category: compressed sugar, novelty, O, review | 3 Comments »

Ooh La La Candy Cupcakes

May 19th, 2010 by Rosa

Ooh La La Candy isn’t a candy company per se. Rather, they’re a candy packaging – or repackaging company – with the tag line, “Style and Taste.” Their wares include candy greeting cards and candy gift boxes, which are pretty cute and clever.

What really caught my eye, however, were their candy cupcakes. I got to try a couple for review: Peanut Butter and Jelly and Cupcake Couture.

The candy cupcakes were really just cutely and cleverly packaged bags of candy. The candy is encased in plastic wrap and then taped to a cupcake liner with a hidden lift.

The cupcake liner is, in turn, taped to the bottom of a clear display box. I had some issues getting the cupcakes out of the box for photographing without totally crushing the paper liner and ruining the cupcake shape.

Peanut butter and jelly was a mix of peanut butter chips and blueberry (or grape jelly? The website itself is confused, but the letter I got said blueberry) jelly beans topped with a non-branded peanut butter cup.

I don’t think the jelly beans taste like blueberry or grape jelly, but they do taste sweet and like a dark fruit. When eaten alone, they have a musty undertone, but that disappears when they’re eaten in combination with the peanut butter chips.

The pairing of the jelly beans and the peanut butter chips is surprisingly spot on. There’s some textural disparity, as the chips sort of melt and crumble while the jelly beans are chewy, but the flavor mix is a harmonious blend of sweet and salty and fruity and nutty.

Cupcake Couture was composed of black and pink Sixlets (I didn’t even know they came in those colors!) and was topped with a big pink gumball. My gumball placement was a bit off-center, which gave the cupcake an invitingly jaunty look.

The color combination was super chic. Sixlets aren’t exactly the pinnacle of fine chocolate – they’re spherical chocolates with a crunchy candy shell and a funny poor-quality-chocolate aftertaste – but they look great in Ooh La La Candy’s hands.

In the end, with Ooh La La Candy, you’re really paying for the packaging rather than for the candy. Since they don’t actually make the candy, I don’t think it’s fair to give them a rating (though the peanut butter and jelly combination is inspired!), but I will say that the candy cupcakes are seriously cute and charming.

These cupcakes aren’t something to buy for yourself; they’re meant to serve as gifts or party favors to coo over. If you wanted to save money or use your choice of candy, I don’t think it would be too difficult to make your own version (I can just imagine some Bridezilla forcing her bridesmaids to make 500 candy cupcakes in her wedding colors).

And if you want to save money but are too lazy for candy arts and crafts, Ooh La La Candy has been kind enough to set y’all up with a ZOMG, Candy! discount code. “ZOMG” as a coupon code will get you 20% off your entire order anytime throughout the summer, and it can be used on top of their current 10% off 3 or more cupcakes promo.

Category: chocolate, jelly candy, novelty, peanut butter, review | 1 Comment »

Kinder Joy

June 19th, 2009 by Rosa

Most people are pretty familiar with Ferrero‘s Kinder Surprise eggs. They’re banned in the U.S. and some other countries because they mix edibles and toys with tiny parts, which is a no-no. Kinder Joy, which I came across for the first time in Europe, is a newer addition to the Kinder egg line. It too, mixes edibles and toys, so it’s also not allowed in the U.S.

The two halves of Joy egg are split. One half contains a toy (in my case, a lame Ice Age 3 – yes, they apparently made an Ice Age 3 – badge), while the other half is a creamy spread studded with two chocolate cookie balls. Each half is individually sealed so that the spread doesn’t get on the toy (and vice-versa, I suppose). Finally, a flat plastic “spoon” is included to scoop up the spread.

The spread is a layer of white chocolate on hazelnut chocolate. It has the viscosity of Nutella – smooth and thick and glossy, but just short of the runniness of honey. Inside the spread are two chocolate balls comprised of chocolate ganache surrounded by a thin wafer shell covered in chocolate and crunchy chocolate sprinkles. They’re similar to Rocher balls, but smaller and without hazelnuts.

If you try to pry the balls out of the spread, a half shell of chocolate and sprinkles gets left behind, which imparts a nice crunch to the spread. Overall, I found this treat too sweet to eat on its own. The balls are managable, as their wafer shells help cut the cloy, but eating the spread is akin to eating straight frosting: okay for a lick or two, but too much beyond that. It did go nicely on bread, however.

All in all, a nice treat, but I’d rather buy a normal Kinder chocolate treat, like a Happy Hippo, Bueno, Rocher, or Duplo, and just put Nutella on my bread. The Joy gets an O, with the caveat that it would be great for gift-giving as soon as they stop coming with lame-O Ice Age 3 toys.

Category: chocolate, cookie, European, Ferrero, novelty, O, review | 22 Comments »

Das Lollipops

June 3rd, 2009 by Rosa

I receive press release emails fairly frequently. The one that I got from Das foods was more eye-catching then most. Read for yourself:

“What’s your flava?  Man Bait, Naughty Ginger, Fab-O-Pom or Caramel Me Happy? They may sound like names you’d have if you worked for an “escort” service, but they are not. Instead, they’re the inspired flavors of Das Foods’ chic and unique new brand of delicious lollipops that will launch nationally next week at the All Candy Expo in Chicago, May 19-21.”

I gave these babies a test drive on my drive from New Haven to Rochester. They definitely helped keep me awake with their extreme lollipop flavor novelty. That’s also why the remaining photos are courtesy of Das, as I couldn’t photograph them while on the road. As an added bonus, I tasted them without access to the press release materials (quoted below in italics), so I didn’t know what I was eating while I ate it.

Fab-O-Pom: “A pomegranate and orange lolli that’s good and good for you.  It’s a sweet and tangy fusion of heart-healthy real pomegranate extract and fragrant orange oil with tiny pieces of orange zest.

fab-o-pom.jpg

The lolli is a pale, translucent salmon flecked with bits of brown. It smells strongly of orange. The flavor is deep citrus, like a blood orange, while the finish has a bit of a bite to it, probably due to the pomegranate component. The brown flecks eventually wind up studding the surface as the lolli melts. They taste like bits of fruit leather or candied orange peel. I like this, despite the two air bubbles it contained. An OM.

Caramel Me Happy: “A caramel and lavender lolli made with caramelized cane sugar and indulgent chewy Das Salty Caramel mixed with real lavender extract and tiny crystals of Fleur De Sel sea salt for a trendy, delicious sweet and salty treat.

caramel.jpg

This smells just like a salted caramel. It’s reminiscent of a deeper, more complex butterscotch candy with burnt sugar notes. The lollipop itself is not perfectly smooth; rather, it’s very finely textured. I enjoy the salted caramel flavor, but I’m a bit thrown by the mismatch between texture and taste. I wish I could chew this lollipop! I’d much rather have a Das salted caramel, so an O.

Naughty Ginger: “A ginger and lemon lolli that’s sweet, tangy and tantalizingly spicy all at once.  Small bits of wickedly spicy candied ginger are complemented by all-natural lemon extract.  And the ginger works double time; it tastes great AND soothes an upset stomach!

ginger.jpg

Whoo boy is the ginger smell strong! This lolli is super, super gingery and super, super spicy. I got in a few licks, just enough to note the strong ginger flavor with a very light, sweet undertone of lemon, but couldn’t keep eating it because it was just too spicy for me. It left my mouth tingling. I’m a ginger wuss, so this guy wasn’t for me, but I bet ginger enthusiasts would appreciate it. A .

Man Bait: “A maple bacon lolli that’s a fiercely delicious combination of real smoky bacon bits and delicious maple syrup providing an all-at-once savory and sweet sensation.

bacon.jpg

Like the Naughty Ginger, this lollipop was too much flavor for me to handle. It smells like maple syrup with a hint of meat undertone. That’s pretty much how it tastes as well. It’s pretty sweet from the strong maple sugar flavor, and that plus the smoky meatiness from the bacon bits and the lollipop nature/hard candy texture does not compute in my brain. I felt a bit ill and couldn’t keep eating it. A from me.

Out of all four lollipops, Fab-O-Pom is the only one that I would want to eat again. They are all, however, a fine flavor effort. They taste exactly as promised, and the flavors are strong, vibrant, and concentrated. While the ginger and bacon pops weren’t for me, ginger and bacon enthusiasts would enjoy them, making those the pops a great novelty gift. And at $0.50 a pop (har har), they’re an affordable gift as well.

Category: --, hard candy, novelty, O, OM, review | 1 Comment »