April 24th, 2013 by Neil
Here’s another guest review from ex-pat Neil while I try to catch up from being out of town for most of last week. ~Rosa
Recent trips to Germany & Austria have refilled the never-empty pantry here. I’ve tried the Viba Mandel-nougat which came from one of those countries (sorry, I should take better notes while shopping!)
I was expecting a crunchy single bar from this. Instead, I got 3 mini-logs, each about the size of my thumb, with a flattened, patterened underbelly of the chocolate base. They looked dried out; this was fortunately not the case.
The texture is much softer than I expected. I think if I’d squished and poked any of the pieces before biting in, that would’ve been obvious. The majority of each piece seems to just be slightly hardened nut butter. While the label tells me that it’s almond-based, it never tasted overwhelmingly of almonds, more like halfway between cashews and peanuts.
This was a bit of a disappointment. There’s not a ton of flavor overall, and very little sweetness. It’s almost hard to know that the chocolate is there, except that said base is a bit more rigid than the nut portion. In each piece, I discovered some slightly crunchy bits that were either nuts or crystallized sugar, but more likely the latter.
The Viba Mandel-nougat was not my best find, but I’m sure it was inexpensive, probably less than a Euro or two. I wouldn’t buy it again. If somebody had just handed it to me and not told me it was almond, I would’ve been a bit happier. It wasn’t terrible, though, so I’ll give it a nice basic O.
Category: chocolate, European, guest post, nougat, nuts, O, review |
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April 19th, 2013 by Rosa
To be honest, these Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites didn’t sound that tasty to me, but my local Trader Joe’s was promoting them all over the store, so I picked up a bag.
Why not? I like chocolate-covered coconut, and I like mangos. Mangos and chocolate and coconut all together could be good?
The resealable stand-up bag described them as “soft, chewy coconut candy bites with a tangy mango addition, covered in rich, dark chocolate.” The bag smelled incredibly fruity and sweet, almost cloyingly so.
The candy bites were 1.5 inches by 1 inch rectangles that were just over half an inch high. The center was a yellow-hued smoosh of moist, shredded coconut.
The dark chocolate shell was mild with a hint of sweetness and a dryly fruity, bittersweet finish. While it tasted great by itself, it was totally overwhelmed by the coconut mango center. Also, it melted into my fingers as I held it, which was a little annoyingly messy.
The center had the squeaky texture of shredded coconut and the piquant tartness of dried mango. The mango flavor was bright and sweet and dominated the treat; I didn’t get any coconut flavor notes, just texture.
While I liked the chocolate in isolation, and I liked the flavor of the mango, the whole thing just didn’t come together for me. I think it was the texture of coconut without any coconut flavor that threw me off. I have no desire to finish the rest of the bag, so an O.
Category: chocolate, coconut, O, review, Trader Joe's |
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April 17th, 2013 by Rosa
Cookies? Why am I reviewing cookies on my candy blog? Because these Laceys Cookies are more or less made out of almond brittle and chocolate, so they’re basically candy. Plus they’re freakin’ delicious.
The Laceys were two rounds of thin almond brittle cookies, about 2.5 inches in diameter, sandwiching a generous layer of bittersweet chocolate. Flour was near the end of the ingredients list, and I really couldn’t tell that there was any flour in these at all in terms of texture or flavor.
The cookie portions were sweet and crisp with a solid crunch. I’d guess that they were about 50% chopped almonds and 50% butter toffee/brittle.
The generous proportion of almonds brought a wonderfully roasted nuttiness, and the cookies finished with a toasted butteriness from the toffee. That toffee cleaved and crumbled without any hint of doughy cookieness.
The bittersweet chocolate center had a great duskiness to it and a light sweetness that didn’t overwhelm the cookies. Instead, it complimented the nutty butteriness of the toffee cookies.
A delicious, quickly disappearing treat – OMG.
Category: chocolate, cookie, nuts, OMG, review, toffee, Trader Joe's |
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April 15th, 2013 by Rosa
I love Walker’s toffees, so when my friends Emma and Jason asked me if I wanted any candies from England, I asked for some Walker’s. They brought me this box of Assorted Toffees (and also a box of After Eight thins).
The Assorted Toffees were English cream toffee, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, banana, and eclair. Eclair was in the last set of Walker’s Toffees that I reviewed four years ago, but the rest was new.
English cream toffee had a smooth and creamy melt and a super sticky chew. The flavor was incredibly buttery and sweet with rich, fresh dairy notes.
Plain chocolate had a thin dark chocolate shell. That chocolate’s flavor was on the bitter side of bittersweet, but as I chewed and chewed and chewed the caramel, the buttery golden sweet flavor of the toffee took over.
Milk chocolate was just like the plain chocolate, only with a thin milk chocolate shell rather than dark chocolate. It had just a slight, mild chocolate flavor.
I was dubious about eating the banana toffee since I hate artificial banana flavor. Fortunately, the banana flavor of this toffee, which came from a flavored cream center, was a pretty accurate representation of a real banana, so I could tolerate these (though they weren’t my favorite).
Finally, the eclair toffee was hiding a bit of (probably fake) chocolate in the center. The chocolate was dusky and sweet, with a bittersweet chocolatesque Tootsie Roll finish that toned down the buttery flavor of the toffee.
I think these still pale in comparison to the darker burnt flavors of Walker’s treacle toffee that I love so much. Still, I enjoyed chewing through their sweet buttery flavors. An O for the banana, and an OM for the rest.
Category: caramel, chocolate, European, O, OM, review |
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April 12th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought this selection of Askinosie Itty Bars at Antonelli’s, this great cheese shop in Austin. They were sort of ridiculously expensive, I think at least $1 per 7 gram bar, but they were a perfect size for a candy blogger!
Based on the full-sized chocolate bars on the Askinosie website, I think my Itty Bars were tiny versions of the single origin bars. I took my own tasting notes before I read anything about the bars.
70% Cortes, Honduras had a sharp, crisp snap. It started off lightly sweet, then took on a plummy fruitiness with a great intensity of flavor. The finish was slightly astringent.
70% San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador had a slightly dryer snap. It started off earthy, then mellowed out into a round sweetness that made me think of honey. Here, too, the finish was slightly astringent.
72% Tenende, Tanzania snapped easily but unevenly. Its flavor was not as clean or sweet as the others. Instead, it started off a little muddy, then took on a fruity brightness that just peeped out in near the end of the flavor profile.
Finally, 77% Davao, Philippines had a dry, clean break. It started off earthy with these woodsy undertones that played below a mildly sweet and bright top note that had an almost tart finish.
This was some goooood chocolate. I know it sounds pretentious to write about chocolate in such detail, but with these high quality bars, you really can taste all the different flavors.
The 77% Davao and the 70% San Jose Del Tambos were my favorite of the four, but I wouldn’t turn down any of these. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, OMG, review, single origin |
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April 10th, 2013 by Rosa
Last year at Sweets and Snacks, the Dark Roca won a Most Innovative New Product award. I picked up some samples of the Dark Roca and other Rocas, and like the Albanese Rainforest Gummi Frogs, I just found my tasting notes in an old notepad.
The Dark Roca (second from the left) was a dark version of the classic Almond Roca: a piece of chocolate almond toffee coated in dark chocolate and decorated with a few chocolate squiggles.
The chocolate toffee center was lightly sweet with a buttery finish. It cleaved cleanly but then got a bit chewy and stuck in my molars.
The whole thing had a great cocoa flavor, while whole almonds hidden inside added a lovely nuttiness. The dark chocolate that covered the toffee had a great deep dark chocolate duskiness.
I loved the cocoa depth of this treat – from the dark chocolate coating to the chocolate in the toffee, the whole thing was infused with a great cocoa depth. An OMG.
I also picked up Peppermint Roca (dark chocolate decorated with white stripes; lightly minty against the buttery toffee; an O), a Mocha Rocha (toffee studded with bits of coffee beans that gave it a strong, roasted coffee flavor, also an O), and Roca with different types of nuts (I think cashew and macadamia? Each tasty in their own right). The Dark Roca was easily my favorite of the bunch.
Category: chocolate, nuts, O, OMG, review, toffee |
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April 5th, 2013 by Rosa
I bought these Sunkist Lemon Gummies at the dollar store. There were also Sunkist strawberry gummies there, but I just bought the lemon since I like citrus flavors.
The yellow gummies were shaped like little lemon slices. They were firm with a bouncy bite that was too solid for me to tear cleanly through the gummi in just one bite.
They gummies had a light waxy coating on the outside, I think to keep them from sticking to each other. It left a slight residue on my fingers and was slightly noticeable in the flavor of the gummi as a suggestion of waxy aftertaste.
The flavor of the gummy was great – solid and intense. It was sweet with a slightly bright fruity flavor. There was no sourness to the gummy, just a great mellow lemon drop flavor.
I really enjoyed these gummies. They had an awesome intensity of flavor, and a fruity citrus flavor that I really liked. If only they didn’t have that waxy finish!
Still, an OM, as I found myself chasing away that slight aftertaste by popping additional gummies.
Category: gummi/gummy, Jelly Belly, OM, review |
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April 3rd, 2013 by Rosa
My friends Emma and Jason recently took a vacation to London and brought me back a box of After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’d recall that I spent the summer of 2008 in the UK, during which I reviewed the regular After Eights.
The Mint Chocolate Thin version of the After Eights were much classier than the boxy cubes I’d had before. My 300 g box of thins had ~35 thins, each encased in their own delicate sleeves. The sleeves themselves were prettily decorated with the After Eight clock logo in gold.
The Thins were 4cm square and about 1/4 cm thick. Their bottoms were flat and lightly imprinted with “After Eight” in script, while the tops were wavy and rippled.
The thin dark chocolate shell broke easily to reveal the grainy squishy fondant within. The chocolate’s mild cocoa flavor was barely noticeable and was mostly overwhelmed by the strong mintiness of the fondant.
That mint was refreshing but not mentholated/cooling. It was just a hair too sweet – enough that it felt cloying when I ate two thins in a row.
I thought these were a lovely treat. They look elegant enough to put out for guests, which is pretty good for a mass-market chocolate item. You couldn’t say that about York Peppermint Patties, which is the closest thing to these we’ve got on the American market. An OM.
Category: chocolate, European, mint, Nestle, OM, received as gift, review |
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April 1st, 2013 by Rosa
Skittles Darkside are a new addition to the Skittles line. They’ve apparently been around since January, when Cybele reviewed them on Candy Blog, though I only caught them recently at a gas station pit stop.
The tagline for the Darksides is “the other side of the rainbow”. The flavors were Dark Berry (purple), Pomegranate (red), Forbidden Fruit (blue), Midnight Lime (green), and Blood Orange (orange).
Dark Berry tasted like generic berry candies with a slight seedy undertone. They reminded me more of the UK’s purple Skittles, which are supposed to be blackcurrant flavored.
Pomegranate was seedy to start with a tinge of pomegranate/cranberry juice flavor. It lacked any bitterness or tannic flavors that I’d associate with true pomegranates.
I have no idea what Forbidden Fruit was trying to be. It had a strong perfumey floral flavor, with a start that was almost bubblegummy.
Midnight Lime was zesty to start. It tasted like a darker version of the lime that used to be part of the regular Skittles line-up but lacked the regular lime’s brightly acidic tartness.
Finally, Blood Orange had a great zesty orange depth but was far darker than the regular Skittles’s bright orange. Instead, it had a darker, juicier finish with just a flash of tartness at the end.
I felt pretty meh about these. I think the Blood Orange was the only that I really enjoyed. The others were okay but not outstanding. An O.
Category: chewy, O, review, Wrigley's |
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March 29th, 2013 by Rosa
These Chocolate Limes were the other candy treat that Ariel and Logan brought me from Bermuda (the other was the excellent Cadbury Time Out that I covered on Wednesday). It turns out that I’ve actually covered a version of this treat in my British Boiled Sweets round-up, only this time I got a fresh bag rather than a few candies that had been sitting in a bulk bin for who knows how long.
The bag of Chocolate Limes (with Milk Chocolate Centres), depicted the candies in their unwrapped state, which made me think that they’d be chewy candies of some sort. Instead, they turned out to be individually wrapped hard candies, each about the size of my first thumb joint.
The candies were a vibrant light green with a smidge of chocolate brown that ran through the center. They were a smooth hard candy with a brightly tart and tangy lime flavor with lots of lime zestiness. I thought they tasted just like a hard candy version of lime Skittles (RIP).
The chocolate stripe down the center was a scant amount, so its flavor wasn’t super noticeable. It tasted a little fake, with the same chocolatesque-flavor that Tootsie Rolls have. I think the closest thing that we have to this in the U.S. is the lemon-lime Tootsie Roll Pop.
Honestly, I could have done without the chocolate component. The lime hard candy was delicious in its own right, and while the chocolate didn’t detract for me, some of my lab mates weren’t a fan of it. I give this an OM because I love citrus candies, and this was a great lime hard candy, but I’ll warn you that your mileage may vary.
Category: chocolate, hard candy, OM, received as gift, review |
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