July 9th, 2014 by Rosa
Lindt Lemon is the newest chocolate bar in Lindt’s Excellence line-up, billed as “dark with citrus pieces and almond slivers”. I received a free sample from Lindt for review.
Alas, the overnight shipping, cold pack, and insulated bag couldn’t stand up to the North Carolina heat, so my sample arrived melted and not as photogenic as it could be. Fortunately, it still tasted awesome!
The dark chocolate had a thick, matte melt that was broken up with a slight crunch from the thin almond slivers. I also came across the occasional piece of lemon zest covered in a grainy sugar.
At first, the bar was sweet. Then, a bright, effervescent lemon zestiness came through, tempered by nuttiness from the almond slivers. It finished with a cool, citrus sweetness.
This bar was incredibly well balanced in both flavor and texture. I loved how the bright fruitiness played off the dark chocolate, resulting in a refreshing treat. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Lindt, nuts, OM, review |
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May 27th, 2014 by Rosa
Natasha’s Just Brittle is a homegrown brittle making operation based out of Baltimore, MD. They sent me samples of their cashew brittle, mixed nut brittle, and Cracker Jack brittle to review.
The brittle was attractively, rustically packaged in a corrugated cardboard bag. Each ~2″ x 1.5″ sample slab that I received was individually wrapped. I noticed that the brittle softened and took on moisture after just one day of being exposed to the air, so that packaging was a good idea.
The brittles were buttery to the touch and snapped easily under my fingertips. When crunched with my teeth, it easily shattered before congealing into a tasty chunk of chewy burnt sugar in my molars.
The cashew brittle was sweetly crunchy and nutty, then took on a too-strong saltiness that lingered in the finish and brought an almost sour tinge to the toffee of the brittle. I like cashews for their softer texture and more mild, clean nutty flavors, so I enjoyed this, aside from the saltiness.
I have no idea what nuts went into the mixed nut brittle, but it tasted noticeably different from the cashew brittle. Its nuts’ flavors were more roasty with a tinge of acridness – much stronger nutty flavors than those of the cashew – underneath the saltiness of the base brittle.
Cracker Jack brittle was my favorite of the three. It had chunks of caramelized popcorn and peanuts embedded into that sweet and salty brittle.
It tasted like Cracker Jack but with the ratios turned upside down so that caramel/cooked sugar was the dominant note, followed by nutty peanuts and toasted popcorn. Again, however, it was a tad too salty for my taste.
Natasha’s Just Brittle brags about how their basic recipe starts with sugar, butter, sea salt, and nuts. While I enjoyed their products, and the natural flavors of their ingredients do shine through, I felt that the sea salt was a little too heavily used.
Instead of finishing with clean brittle flavors, the brittles ended with a lingering saltiness that had me reaching for a glass of water to wash it away. An O.
Category: nuts, O, review, toffee |
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November 22nd, 2013 by Rosa
Roberts Ferry Nuts Company is a California company that just started selling their wares online. To get the word out, they sent me free samples of their Butter Toffee Almonds for review.
The almonds came in a clear standup pouch with a simple label. They were roasted almonds coated in a crunchy toffee shell.
The coverage of that shell was uneven – some almonds were completely covered with a thick layer, while others were only partially covered or thinly coated.
The toffee shell was sweet with a hearty crunch that shattered when I bit it. It was buttery and sugary sweet with just a hint of saltiness.
The almonds within those shells were high quality. They had been roasted, which brought out some great nutty almond flavors.
I found the Butter Toffee Almonds to be deliciously sweet and crunchy and rather addictive. An OM.
Category: nuts, OM, review, toffee |
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November 18th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this Ritter Sport Winter Edition Caramelised Almond at Cost Plus World Market, along with last Friday’s Caramel-Orange. I was lucky to nab the last one of these that was on the shelf!
This solid milk chocolate bar was generously embedded with bits of caramelized almonds. Those nuts brought a slightly crystallized crunch to the texture of the snappy chocolate.
Those almonds had a toffee flavor from the caramelized sugar that they were toasted in and brought a strong roasted nuttiness. They paired well with the sweet milk chocolate, making this bar a crunchy, nutty, burnt-sugary, chocolately treat.
I think I would’ve liked this bar a bit more if it had been just a little less sweet. The milk chocolate had a hint of sour tinge and throat burn, but it was mild enough that I could get over it and focus on the great caramelized almond bits. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, limited edition, nuts, OM, review, Ritter Sport |
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November 11th, 2013 by Rosa
The See’s Candies stand has returned to my local mall for the holidays! When I saw it, I had to pick up a few of my favorite Scotchmallows, which are currently available in Christmas tree shapes, and I got this Butterscotch Pecan Bar while I was there.
The bar had a milk chocolate base, a generous layer of butterscotch sugar paste, and a topping of pecan quarters and halves. The butterscotch was the brown sugar and vanilla buttercream from their Butterscotch Square: a little grainy and super brown-sugar sweet.
See’s Butterscotch is the sweetest confection that I still love to eat. I think the brown sugar notes tone down the sweetness and keep it from becoming cloying.
The pecan bits were crunchy and nutty and did a great job balancing out the extreme sweetness of the butterscotch sugar. Finally, the milk chocolate base added a sweet milk chocolate flavor to the finish.
The chocolate was just an afterthought, though. It wasn’t super noticeable in the wake of all the other flavors going on.
The whole treat was like an extra decadent bar of pecan pie, only without crust. And let’s face it, crust just gets in the way of the good stuff. An OM.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review, See's |
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October 7th, 2013 by Rosa
Today I’ve got two more treats that I picked up in Pittsburgh from local candy maker Sarris Candies: a Pecan Truffle and a Cashew Meltaway.
The packaging on the Pecan Truffle was misleading. The image on the package showed a prettily striped square truffle treat, similar to the S’mores bar that I reviewed last week.
Instead, the chocolate bar within was just a plain rectangle, though its top was prettily wavy. The cross section wasn’t quite so chock full of nuts either.
The bar had a milk chocolate shell that was thickly creamy and quite sweet. Inside that shell was a top layer of dark chocolate truffle filling. While the truffle filling was also thick and creamy, it was softer and had a fatty feel as it melted.
Finally, there was some itty bitty pieces of pecans below the dark truffle filling. I found their taste to be on the raw side and would’ve preferred a roastier nut. Because I wanted more nuttiness from something that was supposed to feature pecans so prominently, an O.
The Cashew Meltaway had a minimalist silver wrapper with text but no pictures. Inside, the Cashew Meltaway bar looked pretty much like the Pecan Truffle – a rectangle with a wavy textured top.
Like the Pecan Truffle, this had a milk chocolate shell. Unlike the Pecan Truffle, however, the truffle filling inside the Cashew Meltaway was also milk chocolate.
I thought the truffled milk chocolate tasted more caramelly with some vanilla undertones as well. It was sweet and creamy, like the milk chocolate shell, but softer in texture.
The cashew bits were sharply crunchy and added a hint of nuttiness. I liked their nuttiness more than the under-flavored pecans.
Though this won points for being nuttier, it lost points for being too sweet after more than a couple of bites. After a while, it made my throat burn. An O.
Category: chocolate, nuts, O, review |
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September 9th, 2013 by Rosa
Last Friday, I reviewed some truffles that I had received as free samples from Zoë’s Chocolate Co. They also sent along a free sample of “The Sports Bar”, which was described as “crispy puffed caramelized popcorn-like rice crisps mixed into luscious dark chocolate and topped with carefully roasted honeyed peanuts.”
The peanut studded bar was lightly scored into 24 rectangles that easily snapped apart. The puffed rice crisps brought a light crunch but otherwise weren’t really noticeable.
The peanuts were the main attraction here. They came in all sizes, from whole peanuts to halves to itty bitty bits (probably the little center peanut nibs, which is technically a peanut embryo).
They were honey roasted and coated in sugar, making them lightly sweet with just the slightest hint of salt. When paired with the chocolate, they made for the classic combination of cocoa and peanuts.
The chocolate base of this bar was a dream. Its melt was smooth and soft and left behind a slightly cool, fatty feel on my tongue as it disappeared. The flavor was sweet and purely cocoa, while the finish was a little dry and a little sweet.
I loved this bar mostly for the deliciousness of the chocolate base, and the honey roasted peanuts were a nice addition as well. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OMG, review |
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June 16th, 2013 by Rosa
I got this Russell Stover Caramel Apple with Peanuts as a free sample at the Russell Stover booth at Sweets and Snacks. There was also a version without nuts; this is just the one that was handed to me by the nice booth representatives.
The wrapper described this as “naturally apple flavored caramel, peanuts, and milk chocolate”. It was an apple shaped chocolate shell filled with caramel and coated with chopped peanuts.
The caramel was soft and sticky, with a substantially chewy pull. It tasted sweet with a subtle hint of green apple tartness, a flavor that was reminiscent of Tootsie’s Caramel Apple Pops.
The milk chocolate was on the sweet side, while the crunchy peanut bits brought a strong nuttiness. When all the ingredients were together, the apple undertones got a bit lost, though the mix of chocolate, caramel, and peanuts was pretty good in and of itself.
Overall, I found this to be a creative treat that was tasty and made me nostalgic for fall. To be fair, I have an inordinate love for caramel apples, so this especially suited my tastes.
My one nitpick is that not all of the chopped peanut bits were anchored to the chocolate, which made this a messy treat if you weren’t careful. An OM.
Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, OM, review, Russell Stover |
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June 14th, 2013 by Rosa
DeMet’s Turtles were another candy trying to make mini happen at Sweets and Snacks. They were handing free samples of their Turtles Minis, so I, of course, grabbed a little bag to review.
Despite my efforts to pick a bag that didn’t feel smushed (some of the sample bags obviously contained one large stuck together clump), my Mini Turtles looked less than pristine once I opened the bag.
To be fair, they had been packed and repacked into a variety of bags between the Expo floor and my candy photo shoot table, so I wasn’t surprised when they emerged a little worse for wear.
I think that’s going to be a problem for all of these unwrapped mini candies – without the extra padding and barriers of individual packaging, things are going to get scuffed. The Mini Turtles were especially affected because they oozed caramel and got stuck to each other.
Turtles is actually a trademarked name for these pecan-covered-in-caramel-and-dipped-in-chocolate treats, though I’ve seen “turtle” used generically in Mom-and-Pop candy shops. It is, after all, a cutely accurate description of the treats’ general shape.
The Mini Turtles had a super sweet milk chocolate over a chewy, sweet caramel. I found them both to be pretty one note (aka sugary) here and wished for some more flavor complexity out of them.
I was especially disappointed in the pecans. Really good pecans have a distinctive nuttiness to them, especially if they’ve been toasted. The pecans in my Mini Turtles were so bland that I wondered if they were actually walnuts, and they were sparse to boot.
I’ve had much better versions of Turtle-esque treats by other brands. Hammond’s Piggy Backs, for example, use higher quality ingredients and are a far superior (though also much more expensive) treat, and Lamme’s Longhorns are a hometown favorite.
At the mass market price that they’re shooting at, these Mini Turtles’ simplistic flavors just can’t compare. I could forgive them the eh chocolate and caramel, but the whole point of Turtles are the nuts! And the nuts here are bland. An O.
Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, O, review |
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April 29th, 2013 by Rosa
Back in 2009, I devoted a whole week to See’s Chocolates as I reviewed an assorted box that they sent me. This week will be another week of See’s Chocolates reviews, only this time, I’ll be reviewing a box that I bought and picked out myself in Seattle.
Today, I’ll go through the four Truffles that I bought. First up, the trademarked See’s Apple Pie Truffle, which they describe as rich buttercream with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon. This was a vaguely heart-shaped white chocolate truffle with a light brown center filling.
The white chocolate coating was sweet and took a backseat to the filling, which was quite the standout. It was extremely bright and fruity with a spot-on apple pie-filling flavor.
It tasted intensely of sweet cooked apples with just a smidge of cinnamon. I swear there was also some notes of toasted crust as well, or at least the crust of McDonald’s apple pie. It was basically a slice of apple pie distilled into a truffle. OM.
Almond Truffle was “rich dark chocolate buttercream with ground almonds”. It was a soft square of chocolate ganache covered in little bits of almond that were bound together with some white chocolate-looking butter thing.
The ganache center was sweet with a mild cocoa flavor, while the almonds in the coating were roasted and nutty. While the almonds were nice, I found them to be too tannic. They sapped all the moisture out of my mouth, so just an O.
Cafe au Lait Truffle was simply described as “rich coffee buttercream”. It had a milk chocolate coating with dark chocolate stripes for contrast.
The texture of the golden brown buttercream center was lovely – solid yet lightly fluffy. Its flavor started off strong with mocha coffee notes, lightly bitter but overall sweet, and the milk chocolate added a great caramel finish. OM.
And last for today, the Dark Chocolate Chip Truffle, “rich chocolate buttercream with chocolate chips”. This buttercream held its shape as I bit into the treat but then melted away on the tongue.
I didn’t notice any extra chocolate chips in that ganache; the texture was perfectly smooth.
It had an incredibly intense semisweet chocolate flavor which was redoubled by the dark chocolate shell. The chocolate didn’t have a terribly nuanced flavor profile, but it was deep and it was good. An OM.
Back on Wednesday and Friday with more See’s!
Category: chocolate, coffee, nuts, O, OM, review, See's, white chocolate |
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