May 13th, 2013 by Rosa
After I reviewed Bissinger‘s grapefruit gummy pandas, I thought I’d never buy another bag because they were just too expensive ($4.99 for a 4 oz bag). But this bag of Lemon Ginger Yuzu gummy pandas just sounded too tasty to pass up, so I splurged again.
The lemon ginger yuzu pandas had a soft yet sproingy chew that was incredibly pleasant to chomp on. Just enough bounce to keep things interesting, but soft enough to be easy on the jaw.
The pandas smelled strongly of ginger with a lemony citrus undertone, and the flavor profile matched the scent. They started off sweet and gingery, then mellowed into a sweet lemon drop flavor with just a smidge of lemon zestiness.
The ginger flavor was strong and genuine, yet immensely palate pleasing. They captured all the wonderful essence of ginger flavor without its stinging bite, which was perfect for me.
These were unlike anything other gummi that I’ve bought (I know Haribo makes a lemon ginger gummi, but I’ve yet to see it in the wild), which is a shame because they were addictively delicious. For now, totally worth the premium and my new favorite gummi. ZOMG!
Category: gummi/gummy, organic, review, ZOMG! |
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January 16th, 2013 by Rosa
I rarely buy candy just for snacking since I have a ridiculous stockpile. Florida’s Natural Au’some Organic Nuggets (which used to be just Fruit Nuggets; the organic part is a relatively new addition) are one of the few candies that I will buy to snack on, so I happily accepted free samples of them at Sweets and Snacks.
They came in three different mixes: Orchard Sours were apple and lemon; Berrilicious were cherry, blueberry, and strawberry; and Fruit Grove was strawberry, banana, and orange.
The nuggets were all irregularly shaped, though they were generally rectangular and about the size of my pinky nail. They were chewy and lightly grainy and melted with a slight pasty feeling.
All the nuggets within each bag looked the same, though the Berrilicious mix was a little darker than the other two and had a less mottled surface (they’re the ones on the left). They all tasted fruity and sweet with a slightly wheaty finish.
The Berrilicious nuggets were sweet and brightly fruity and tasted like blueberry and strawberry jam. The flavors were deep and mellow.
The Orchard Sours started off tasting like a mild and sweet lemon drop before developing biting notes of pear and finishing with fuji apple sweetness. For some reason pear was the first ingredient in the fruit puree ingredient list – maybe because they’re cheaper?
Fruit Grove nuggets were sweet and had airy overtones of banana and applesauce. They finished by tasting like sweet orange juice.
I like these for snacking because their fruity flavors are so intense and powerful. That intensity makes them overwhelming if you eat too many at once (like I did while trying to figure out if each nugget was one fruit flavor or many), so moderation is cautioned. An OM.
Category: chewy, OM, organic, review |
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December 17th, 2012 by Rosa
I’ve said many times on this blog that there aren’t enough grapefruit candies out in the world. There are, at least, Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas that come in pink grapefruit with grapeseed, which I bought at Whole Foods.
The bag makes all kinds of health claims: “made with organic sweeteners”, “natural sources of antioxidants” (from the grapeseed extract), and “great tasting and good for you”. Whole Foods in a nutshell, I’d say.
I’m always dubious about health claims made by highly processed foods. Do people really want their candy health-washed? Organic sugar is still sugar; it can still give you cavities and diabetes.
These were gummy pandas rather than gummi bears, but the panda part wasn’t so obvious. They had bigger eye spots, which just made them look surprised or myopic to me.
The deep pink pandas had a firm, bouncy chew, which is my favorite kind of gummi texture. They started off sweet with the underlying tanginess of a nicely ripe grapefruit.
Further chewing intensified the sweetness and added a mellow tartness. I missed grapefruit’s bitter edge of pithiness that Albanese’s version has, but these were still great in their own right.
I give them an OM, with the caveat that they are expensive gummies. Whole Foods premium!
Category: gummi/gummy, OM, organic, review |
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September 5th, 2012 by Rosa
These disks of Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate (what a mouthful!) caught my eye at Trader Joe’s. They looked suspiciously similar to Taza’s Mexicanos (previously reviewed here), and Trader Joe’s is known for unbranding and selling name-brand things at a discount.
The Trader Joe’s version was $3.99. Taza Mexicanos currently run just shy of $9 on Amazon but are only $4.50 on the Taza website. The size and shape of both versions are the same, and both contain two disks to a package.
Underneath the wrapper, the disks look pretty similar, with light wedge scoring that doesn’t quite reach the center. The Taza version is on my Flickr page, and the Trader Joe’s version is below.
The Trader Joe’s chocolate was described as “a traditional Mexican-style chocolate stone milled in small batches.” That’s a pretty good description of what Taza does.
Finally, the Trader Joe’s ingredients were just organic cocoa nibs and organic cane sugar. Looks just like Taza’s Cacao Puro to me. I’m going to go ahead and call it – they’re the same.
Mexican-style chocolate is a totally different texture sensation than American chocolates. The disks here snapped easily and cleanly along the scores, revealingly their granulated consistency.
The chocolate had a finely gritty texture that squeaked a little between my teeth but didn’t leave any sediment behind. It was sort of like what eating wet fine-grained sand is probably like, only far more delicious and pleasant.
It had an intoxicating woody scent. The flavors were cleanly sugary sweet and grassy with a fruity raisin flavor and ended with a slightly bitter/astringent cocoa bean finish.
With such simple ingredients, this was chocolate at its most pure! My only complaint was that the astringency lingered, so I kept breaking off more bits to try to wipe the astringency from my mouth. The disk disappeared more quickly that way!
The unadulterated flavors of this chocolate made it a great taste experience. An OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review, Trader Joe's |
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August 10th, 2012 by Neil
Here’s another great guest post from my ex-pat friend, Neil. Jealous that Zotter is so easy for him to get! ~Rosa
I didn’t even have to travel out of the country for this one! I found the Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (“Nut mix”) in a new organic gourmet shop in town. I was looking for a cookware store, then discovered that the cookware had disappeared and food had gone in its place. Quite a surprise, but a welcome one.
The packaging made me think it was one of those world music CDs. Perhaps this was intentional. While the bar itself was a disc (is that geometrically possible?), the similarities ended there.
This fair trade, organic combination of hazelnuts, hazelnut nougat, cashew nougat, walnuts, and milk chocolate was a bit broken when I took it out of the packaging. This made the task of figuring out where to start that much easier. I was most intrigued by the center circle.
The milk chocolate of the main disc was very plain and light. While the surprisingly large nut chunks were distributed somewhat unevenly, they were tasty and added an appreciated varied texture.
It turned out that the center disc was cashew nougat! It broke off as though it would be crispy but was very pleasantly creamy. I wished the whole thing had been cashew nougat.
The predominantly boring milk chocolate really underwhelmed though, so I’ll give this whole piece an O. The company has a whole line of Mitzi Blues, so maybe I’ll track down some more. It’d give me an excuse to visit that delicious shop again…
Category: chocolate, European, fair trade, guest post, nuts, O, organic, review |
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August 1st, 2012 by Rosa
This little half ounce Vosges Habana bar was an A Southern Season find. These tiny bar formats are a nice size for a candy blogger on a budget – I get enough to get a taste, and while $3.25 is a lot for such a little bar, it’s still cheaper than their full-sized versions.
The Habana was “made with organic milk chocolate” and plantain chips. That chocolate was 45% cacao, so pretty high for a milk chocolate.
That “deep milk chocolate” had a thick melt. It was on the sweet side, with a light hint of cocoa powder flavor. The chocolate flavor was pretty pure, with no caramel notes.
The plantain chips were dispersed throughout the bar in small bits. They added a light crunch and the salty toasty starchiness of fried plantain chips.
This bar finished with a strong saltiness that danced on the delicious edge of being too salty. It makes me want to dip plantain chips in chocolate for a sweet and salty snack.
While it wasn’t quite as “ethereal” as the bar’s molding promised, it was a great mix of sweet and salty flavors and soft and crunchy textures. An OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review, Vosges |
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July 23rd, 2012 by Rosa
I got this Peanut bar as a free sample from the Justin’s booth at Sweets and Snacks, along with the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups that I reviewed last Friday. The wrapper describes it as “dark chocolate, peanuts, caramel, nougat.”
The bar was a bottom layer of stiffly chewy nougat topped with peanuts and caramel, then all covered in dark chocolate. The whole bar was on the lumpy side and had an uneven texture when chewed.
The caramel top layer was softly chewy and tasted lightly sweet with a tinge of burnt sugar to the finish. The bits of peanuts were pretty ensconced in the caramel. They had an incredible roasted nuttiness to them that really elevated this treat with its fresh flavor.
The nougat layer was jaw-workingly chewy and tasted of toasty starch, a hint of marshmallow sweetness, and a dry peanut roastiness. I think there may have been peanut butter mixed into it.
I really enjoyed this treat. It wasn’t too sweet and had a wonderfully fresh peanuttiness throughout the bar that somehow made it feel more wholesome. An OM.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, organic, peanut butter, review |
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July 20th, 2012 by Rosa
I’ve never been an, “OMG PEANUT BUTTER!” person, so though I’ve seen Justin’s peanut butter cups at Whole Foods for ages, I’ve never felt the urge to pick up a pack. When they were being given out as free samples at Sweets and Snacks, however, I made sure to get one!
The cups came two to a pack, each sitting loosely in a little white paper cup. They were gorgeous and well-formed, with well-defined fluted edges.
The dark chocolate was creamy with a smooth melt that had a lightly fatty airy feel. It tasted of dark chocolate cocoa with a hint of fruity finish – maybe cherry?
The peanut butter in the center was quite dry with a slight grit and the occasional larger bit of not-fully-ground nut. It had a great roasted golden nuttiness and a salty finish.
While saltiness is usually a boon in a chocolate+peanut butter treat, here the salt was just a bit too heavy-handed for my taste.
Still, I really appreciated the elevated quality of the fresh-tasting peanut butter. I’m going to hunt down the milk chocolate version of these to see if the sweeter milk chocolate is a better balance for the relatively saltier peanut butter. An O for the dark chocolate version.
Category: chocolate, nuts, O, organic, peanut butter, review |
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June 29th, 2012 by Rosa
Today, I’m finally wrapping up my coverage of the Sun Cups line. I was introduced to them at Sweets and Snacks and sent home with a bunch of free samples.
On Monday, I covered their sunflower butter cups. Wednesday was the mint cup, and today I’ve saved my favorite for last: the caramel cup.
The caramel cup was the most fragile of my quartet. By the time I got it home, the thin top shell had cracked, letting some of the caramel filling seep out.
That caramel filling was a thin amber golden liquid with a great flow. It had a great texture on my tongue – it felt almost suspended on my taste buds as it melted with a great complex burnt sugar sweetness.
The milk chocolate component was thick and creamy. It tasted darker than I expected. It had a nice cocoa depth and minimal sweetness, making it a good foil for the just-sweet-enough caramel center.
I thought it funny that my favorite candy from a brand built around sunflower butter was actually a chocolate and caramel number. An OMG for this well-balanced oozy-goey-chocolatey number.
Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, organic, review |
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June 25th, 2012 by Rosa
Sweet and Snacks was full of booths promoting different kinds of nut butters. Sunflower butter, technically not even a nut butter, was a new one to me, so of course these Sun Cup Sunflower Butter and chocolate cups were new to me as well.
Turns out, sunflower butter is awesome! I shouldn’t be so surprised – I love chocolate covered sunflower seeds, and these are basically the same stuff in a different configuration. Thanks for the free samples, Sun Cups.
On the surface, the Sun Cups were visually similar to Reese’s iconic peanut butter versions, sharing the fluted edges and little paper bottoms. Once I bit into them, however, I could see how they differed.
The milk chocolate version had a soft, almost chewy texture. The sunflower butter center was creamy and moist, quite similar to the texture of peanut butter right out of the jar.
The sunflower butter had a seedy nuttiness that basically tasted just like sunflower seeds. It paired quite well with the caramel sweetness of the milk chocolate.
The dark chocolate Sun Cup was much more solid. The chocolate portion had a light snappiness with a fatty melt and nice cocoa flavor.
For some reason, the sunflower butter center here was dry, crumbly, grainy instead of moist and creamy. It was reminiscent of the texture of astronaut ice cream in its airiness, just minus the crunch factor that astronaut ice cream has. It also had a more noticeable salty hit to the finish as it melted away.
I really enjoyed this seedier twist on peanut butter cups. As an added bonus, they were organic and made with Rainforest Alliance cocoa. They were a tasty way to shake things up a bit – an OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review |
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