Archive for the 'novelty' Category

Japanese Kit Kats, part II

March 30th, 2009 by Rosa

I’m sure I left y’all on the edge of your computer chairs last Friday when I promised weird Japanese Kit Kat reviews. Here are the remaining three in order of escalating weirdness.

Apple and chocolate aren’t an unheard of combination, but I’ve not enjoyed it in the past. In the Kit Kat iteration, it’s less bad, but it’s still not good.

Visually, it seems just like a normal Kit Kat. Though it smells strongly of Fuji apples, it initially tastes mostly of chocolate. Then the apple comes in. It’s weird and unpleasant and kind of earthy, more like an apple core than an apple. A .

Next up, Muscat grape. Or, more specifically, Muscat of Alexandria. I don’t really know if a Muscat grape is any more special than the white seedless grapes you’d pick up at your local supermarket, and I also don’t know what makes Muscat of Alexandria special enough to warrant its own wikipedia entry. Or its own Kit Kat flavor.

I also don’t know why people thought grape flavored chocolate would be worth making. This bar is white chocolate with a pale green tinge, at once pretty and alien. I think it smells more like lychee than grape, but the taste is white grape all the way through. Would you want to eat grapes and white chocolate in the same bite? I wouldn’t, but I did try this bar, and I didn’t like it. Another .

Finally, the mystery flavored Kit Kat. I don’t know Japanese, but I know some Chinese, and there’s a lot of character overlap. I could make out the characters for “university” on here, which didn’t help at all. I guessed that it was candied sweet potato with black sesame seeds. Cassie had no clue, and my boyfriend thought it may be tofu. We consulted my friend Michael, who lives in Kobe. Turns out I was sort of right; it is sweet potato and sesame.

The “university” part was to signal that it was a limited edition bar, released for exam session when Japanese students test to get into universities. Just goes to show you how candy can teach you about other cultures. Can you imagine an SAT Kit Kat being sold in the U.S.?

This was another white chocolate bar, tinged pale yellow. It was slightly nutty with toastiness that may have come from the wafers. I don’t really get sweet potato, exactly. The white chocolate is the most prominent flavor. Another .

Thanks for the flavor adventure, Cassie! I enjoyed tasting them, even if the flavors weren’t that enjoyable. Guess there’s a reason they’re not widely available outside of Japan. Now, if only I could find a soy sauce flavored Kit Kat

Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Nestle, novelty, received as gift, review | 6 Comments »

Giant Gummy Bear on a Stick

February 16th, 2009 by Rosa

Like Gummy Bears? Then check out what Vat19 sent me as a free sample:


That, dear readers, is a Giant Gummy Bear on a Stick that’s 88 times the size of a regular gummy bear (by the way, if you can’t tell, that’s Vat19’s photo, so those aren’t my man hands. I don’t have man hands). If you like regular gummy bears, would you like the Giant Gummy 88 times as much? Maybe not, but it’s still pretty neat.

The Giant Gummy Bears on Sticks come in three flavors, blue raspberry, green apple, and cherry. I requested the green apple, as it’s the only flavor out of the three that I normally like, so I can only comment on that one. Basically, it tasted just like your standard green apple gummy bear, nicely sweet and mellow. It’s a soft gummy, more Trolli than Haribo, but it still has a bite to it. And it’s ginormous. I’ve polished off most of the head, and I feel a bit ill/sugar overloaded. Now I have a headless Giant Gummy Bear on a Stick.

I’m a little uncertain how to rate this. It tastes just fine, but not exceptional, so it gets an O. But clearly, the attraction is the size. I definitely appreciate that the Giant Gummy Bear didn’t compromise taste or texture in blowing up the bear. I wouldn’t buy it for myself just to eat, but it’s a great gag gift. I also see centerpiece potential for candy themed parties or weddings or something. At $9.99 a bear, I think it’s worth it. After all, a bag of regular gummy bears will run you about $2-3, the Giant Gummy is equivalent to at least two or three bags, and the extra mark-up is for the novelty factor, yeah?

Category: gummi/gummy, novelty, O, review | 5 Comments »

See’s Assorted Chocolates Week – Day 1

February 9th, 2009 by Rosa

Ever since someone brought my family a can of See’s Almond Royal as a hostess gift, See’s Candies has been a Li family favorite. When we were on the West Coast last winter, we made sure to visit at least one See’s store to load up. I’ve also previously reviewed one of their chocolate fundraiser bars when one of the boys next door had a whole case.

When See’s emailed asking if I wanted a free box of their chocolates to review, I of course said yes. A couple of days later, I received an entire pound of their assorted chocolates. Because you can create your own custom mix, either online or in the See’s store, I shall review them piece by piece over the course of this week.

The Dark Chocolate Butter is a chocolate buttercream enrobed in See’s dark chocolate couverture. The buttercream inside is fluffy, sweet, and pretty cocoa-y. Along with the dark chocolate coating, this was overly sweet for my taste, but it was good. An O from me, but most people have a higher tolerance for sweetness than I do, and I can see others enjoying it.

Maple Walnut is a maple buttercream with English walnuts. It reminded me of the chocolate covered maple sugar candy from The Big E that I reviewed a while back, but better, as it was less cloying, and you could still taste the chocolate. The buttercream had a strong maple sugar flavor, and it was on the crumbly side for a buttercream. The crunchy walnuts tempered the sweetness a bit. Another O from me.

The Dark Nougat contains honey nougat, coconut, vanilla, and almonds. The honey nougat was more like a chewy caramel, and I liked the almond crunch. It was like a Snicker’s bar, just with dark chocolate and almonds. I enjoyed the balance of nutty and salty and crunchy and chewy, earning this an OM.

I’m pretty sure the above is a Butterscotch Square, which See’s describes as a “firm brown sugar, vanilla buttercream.” I’m assuming that means a brown sugar and vanilla buttercream? This was a sweet milk chocolate over a brown sugar center. It was throat-burningly sweet, but I actually liked it, for the same reasons that I’ll sneak a few grains of brown sugar by itself while making my morning oatmeal. And I enjoy See’s milk chocolate couverture, which is creamy without being too sweet. An OM for this guy, even though I couldn’t eat more than a bit at a time.

Come back on Wednesday and Friday as we go through the rest of the box!

Category: caramel, chocolate, coconut, novelty, nuts, O, OM, review, See's | Comments Off on See’s Assorted Chocolates Week – Day 1

Kinder Happy Hippos

July 25th, 2008 by Rosa

Sometimes, candy can come awfully close to being too cute to eat. Fortunately for you lot, dear readers, I am willing to sacrifice my cuteness sensibilities and chomp down on adorable candy, even if it happens to endearingly resemble frightened hippos.

Kinder’s Happy Hippos, like nearly everything made by Kinder/Ferrero, is tinged with hazelnut deliciousness. The Hippos come in two varieties, cacao cream (left) and biscuit (right). Both varieties consist of hippo shaped wafers (complete with eyes, nostrils, and eyebrows) filled with flavored cream and half dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. They differ in that the cacao cream has, well, a cacao (cocoa) flavored cream, and while the Cacao Hippo can be found submerged in a lake of chocolate, the Biscuit Hippo’s prefers a lake of white chocolate.

The wrapper of the Biscuit Happy Hippo shows milk and hazelnuts, and that’s what you get in lovely combination in this chap. The light wafer crunch of the Hippo stands in sharp contrast to the thick hazelnut and milk cream that fills its three pods – bum, head, and nose. The fillings are so thick and creamy that they’re moisture-suckingly good, even if the finish is rather cloying.

The wrapper of the Cacao Hippo calls the filling fat-reduced. Clearly I should take that to mean that I can eat a bloat of Happy Hippos (yes, a group of hippos is called a bloat) and not have to worry about personally bloating from Hippo-related weight gain, right? There are two layers of cream inside, one brown that tasted of cocoa and one white that tasted of milk and vanilla. Online ingredients lists for the cacao cream Hippo lists hazelnuts in the ingredients, so the milk layer may have been the same as the filling of the Biscuit Hippo, but I didn’t taste any hazelnut in the filling of the one I got. The filling of the Cacao Hippo was thinner, which meant that it didn’t coat the mouth or cloy.

An ZOMG! for both because I am a sucker for chocolate and hazelnut things and cute things.

Category: chocolate, cookie, European, Ferrero, novelty, review, ZOMG! | 8 Comments »

Gummi Sushi

July 7th, 2008 by Rosa

More Japanese candy fun thanks to my friend Michael, this time in the form of Gummi Sushi. The Japanese are quite good at coming up with cute things (Hello Kitty much?) and clever things, and they certainly haven’t skimped on cuteness and cleverness in their gummis. Better yet, unlike the gummi hamburgers or pizzas that you can find at most party stores,the Gummi Sushi actually tasted good.

I like the cartoony sushi chef guy on the packaging and the clearly illustrated instructions on how to eat sushi gummies. Just in case you couldn’t figure it out for yourself. And I liked the little pictures of fruit – an apple, a cantaloupe melon, and a strawberry – on the bottom to help those of us who love Japanese candy but can’t actually read Japanese.

The gummies themselves are sealed inside a second bag and arrayed on a plastic tray so you can marvel at the cuteness of the gummi shrimp and rice and things. The gummis are sweet and fruity smelling, with a scent that reminds me of those little lychee gelatin pots.

The gummis are very soft (a case of good double-bagging!) and slightly greasy to the touch. And they’re so cute! Red is strawberry, white is apple, and orange is cantaloupe. While the apple and strawberry go well together, the melon flavor of the cantaloupe is so strong that it’s not so good for pairing. A sweet concept with a sweet and tasty execution earns these an OMG.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), gummi/gummy, Meiji, novelty, OMG, received as gift, review | 3 Comments »

Vosges Flying Chocolate Pig

April 21st, 2008 by Rosa

When I was in Chicago over spring break, I stopped by a Vosges boutique because even though I can’t really afford their products on my college student budget, holy cow are their truffles gooooood. Plus I got permission from my residential college master to pick up another bacon bar for our next tasting. I also got a Calindia Bar because I hadn’t seen that one at Whole Foods or at the Las Vegas Vosges I visited.

Speaking of the Las Vegas Vosges, I liked the Chicago one much better because they had free samples placed out all over the place. And, after I paid for the two bars I picked out, the saleslady slipped me a little plastic bag of four truffles. I promise, I did not breathe one word of my candy blogging hobby to ingratiate myself with her, though I did ask lots of questions and probably sounded fairly knowledgeable about their line. The truffle freebies were probably near their best-by date, but still, it was a nice and much appreciated gesture.

Another nice Vosges surprise was waiting for me when I got back from break – a press kit containing a library of their mini bars (I already have a set, so I gave those to my suitemates), a box of 9 of their exotic truffles (review to come Wednesday), and a flying chocolate pig made of their bacon chocolate.

I liked the flying chocolate pig better than their standard Bacon Bar not only because it’s much cuter but also because I’m convinced it actually tastes better. It’s also more expensive though, and it weighs only 1.2 oz. as compared to the 3.0 oz bar.

I found the flavor of bacon to be much stronger in the pig. It certainly smelled stronger. In the case of the pig, the bits of bacon were meatier and chewier than those of the bar, which were crunchier like dried bacon bits. In the case of the pig, I could actually feel the grain of the meat as I ate the chocolate. Because of that, I give the pig an OMG rather the OM I bestowed upon the bar version, though I should note that they may have revamped the way they make their bacon chocolate, so it’s possible the bacon bar has been made just as bacon-y.

I shared some of the pig with my history of food professor, who loved it. I also offered some to my dean, who refused a taste at first, then went back for seconds. If anything, bacon chocolate always makes a splash and is a good conversation piece, making the Flying Chocolate Pig a cute (gag) gift.

Category: chocolate, novelty, OMG, Vosges | 1 Comment »

Cock-a-doodle Chew – This Gum Tastes Like Chicken

September 27th, 2007 by Rosa

Is it weird that I got really excited to see this gum that tastes like chicken? It was bizarre enough to be intriguing, and I was already imagining how I could casually brag about my brave willingness to try chicken-flavored gum.

Upon closer inspection however, disappointment. Cinnamon. Yummy, but in this context, boring. Cassie was disappointed to, as she bought it for me because she knew that I would be adventurous enough to try chicken flavored gum. Chicken gum is novel and interesting. Cinnamon gum is banal. False advertising! Fine print! Another candy packaging foul!

The little box contained 8 pieces of Chiclet shaped gum, with a characteristically hard sugar shell around the actual gum. The gum was super strong! It was almost eye-wateringly spicy and tingly, and the tingling sensation lingers. I chewed a single piece, which yielded a ridiculously minuscule amount of actual gum, but I didn’t dare pop more pieces in my mouth. If that lone, tiny piece could set my taste buds on fire, two or three pieces would probably be unbearable.

As far as gum goes, it’s pretty good cinnamon-flavored gum, and those who really like spicy, cinnamon candies would probably like its strong flavor. However, because each piece yields such a tiny amount of gum and because the advertising is deliberately misleading, it warrants only an O in my book. I’ll stick with buying just normal cinnamon gum.

Category: gum, novelty, O, received as gift, review | 2 Comments »

Tropical Razzles

September 11th, 2007 by Rosa

“First it’s candy…Then it’s gum!” is the Razzles (BUY!) tagline. And indeed, it starts out as candy and ends up as gum. Unfortunately, it is not a very tasty incarnation of either food group.

The Tropical Razzles flavors, according to the wrapper, are pineapple, strawberry-banana, tropical punch, tangerine, and kiwi-lime. All that matters is that they all taste and feel like a Flintstones vitamin. They’re grainy with that weird undertaste that reminds me a little of the taste of blood. Mmm. Blood.

The flavors don’t last very long in the candy form, and the gum form just tastes oddly generically sweet. The texture of the gum is also too stiff to be a pleasant chew.

The Razzle transition from candy to gum is bizarre. It breaks apart, then resolidifies itself. Kinda cool. If only it were also palatable. A .

Category: --, compressed sugar, gum, novelty, received as gift, review, Tootsie Roll | Comments Off on Tropical Razzles

More buggy candy

September 7th, 2007 by Rosa

I work in the entomology division of my university’s natural history museum, so when I came across these cute bug-themed candies, I just had to buy them for my boss.


These Bug City Candy Tarts (BUY) are compressed sugar candies that taste like SweeTarts without the tart and with a heavier aftertaste of sugar. The cartoony bug shapes of the candy are quite cute. The reusable bug jar is a nifty marketing tagline, but my boss informed me that any jar can be used to keep bugs in. Even jars without airholes should let enough air in to keep most bugs alive for several weeks.


My boss hasn’t unwrapped these Gooey Yummy Gummy Bugs yet, so I don’t know how they taste. Frankly, they’re a little too realistic looking, and I think the combination of the gummi texture with the grub shape may be more than I can handle.

Category: compressed sugar, gummi/gummy, novelty, review | Comments Off on More buggy candy

M&M’s Pirate Pearls

September 6th, 2007 by Rosa

I’m super late to the game on this one, but oh well. I picked up these M&M’s Pirate Pearls (BUY) at a local dollar store. They were released to promote the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that came out back in May, so they’ve of course been relegated to dollar stores and the like.


I enjoy white chocolate even less than I do milk chocolate. I just don’t understand why it can be called chocolate if it’s flavored with vanilla and has no cocoa solids (thanks, Wikipedia). And, of course, it’s on the cloying side of sweet.

The packaging on the Pirate Pearls was uninspiring, but I can’t be too critical because Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow is the main attraction, and ARRR! he be attractin’ alright! I also like the cute little pirate insipred designs on the M&M’s themselves. Way to go, Mars, for doing more than just changing the wrapper and the M&Ms’ colors. I appreciate that extra mile. Finally, the bag is slightly smaller than your standard bag of M&M’s, I guess because it’s a novelty tie-in product, so Mars figured they could get away with selling smaller portions.

As far as taste goes, the M&M’s Pirate Pearls were okay. They’re just like milk chocolate M&M’s size-wise and shell-to-chocolate ratio-wise, only they’re made of a sweet white chocolate instead. I managed about a half dozen or so before I’d reached my white chocolate limit. These would be good in trail mix or something along those lines, where there’s something salty to mitigate the cloying. If you’re a white chocolate fan (do those exist?), you’ll like these a lot.

If I see these again, I might consider buying another package to stash away as a collector’s item, but probably not. If they stuck Orlando Bloom on the wrapper, however, I could be persuaded to reconsider.

Category: M&M's, Mars, novelty, O, review, white chocolate | Comments Off on M&M’s Pirate Pearls