August 11th, 2014 by Rosa
I’m lucky enough to have recently returned from a trip to Switzerland. We were mostly hiking the Alps, but I made sure to make some time to buy Swiss candies, including lots of chocolate.
First up, this fancy Lindt Passion Chocolat – Caramel & Fleur de Sel. It was described as “accord parfait du chocolat noir et du pur caramel,” which my rusty high school French translates as, “a perfect agreement between dark chocolate and pure caramel.”
The chocolate had a prettily artisanal look about it, with a little cellophane windowpane through which to view the bar. The top side was generously sprinkled with caramel and fat grains of sea salt, while the bottom was imprinted with the scripted Lindt logo.
The dark chocolate was creamy with a smooth and thick melt. It had a nice cocoa depth with a slight fruitiness that was highlighted by the occasional flash of salt.
The caramel bits were plentiful and brought a nice, clean crunchiness to the texture of the bar. They tasted sweet, with buttery toffee flavors that took on a slight toasted scorchiness as they melted away.
I found this to be a well-balanced treat that was surprisingly well-made for a mass-produced bar. An OMG.
Category: caramel, chocolate, European, Lindt, OMG, review |
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July 28th, 2014 by Rosa
Last week, I covered Alcove Chocolates‘ mimosa, red velvet, fleur de sel, and fleur de pretzel chocolate bars. Today, I’ve got a rundown of their Brownie bar, another free sample from Alcove Chocolates.
My boyfriend loves brownies – he can easily pack away half a pan in one sitting – so he was super excited to try the Brownie bar. Alcove Chocolates describes it as, “dark milk chocolate blended with traditional fudge brownie,” which I took to mean that it would chocolate blended with chewy brownie bits.
Instead, the bits of brownie in the bar were dry and crunchy, so more like cookies or brownie brittle. You can see them in the pebbled back of the bar above.
The texture of the brownie bits made me think of that airy crunch you get from freeze dried fruit, or the little chocolate cookie balls you can get at some Fro-Yo places. They added a soft crunch to the texture of the bar, which snapped sharply but crunched softly.
I’m not sure how something can be both dark and milk chocolate. This guy definitely looked dark – and glossy and well-tempered.
At any rate, the chocolate had amazing depth of flavor. The dark chocolate tasted deep, with rich, fudgey notes, like the best hot fudge I’ve ever had (from The Parlour, of course).
The crunchy brownie bits only served to amplify the intensely rich chocolate wallop of this bar. I loved it, and my brownie connoisseur boyfriend did too. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, cookie, OMG, review |
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July 25th, 2014 by Rosa
On Monday, I covered 3 flavors of Alcove Chocolates that I had received as free samples. Today, it’s time to write about another Alcove treat, their Fleur de Pretzel bar.
They described it as “rich milk chocolate paired with crunchy new york [sic. They seem to be allergic to the shift key on their website.] pretzels and enrobed in swirls of fleur de sel sea salt.” I didn’t know that crunchy New York pretzels were a thing – I always thought they were soft – but whatever. This bar was awesome.
Unlike the tiles from Monday, I am reviewing the full-sized, 3 oz. version of this beauty. It was segmented into 4 x 5 rectangles and broke easily along the divisions.
The milk chocolate base of this bar was sweet and dusky, with a nice complexity to it. Its matte melty texture was frequently interrupted by crunchy bits of pretzel and sea salt.
The pretzel nicely balanced out the sweet milk chocolate by adding a darker toastiness that kept it from being cloying. The occasional flashes of salt also helped offset that sweetness while adding flavor and texture interest.
I thought this bar was an excellent bar for snacking. After all, it included a snack food right in the bar. I found it it interesting, well-balanced, and tasty. An OMG.
Category: chocolate, OMG, review |
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July 21st, 2014 by Rosa
Alcove Chocolate, a So-Cal chocolate brand that has now expanded beyond California, recently released 12 (12!) new chocolate bars. I got sent free samples of the full-sized bars, plus 3 of the flavors in miniature square version (they call them mini tiles), for review. I’ll start with the mini tiles, Fleur de Sel, Red Velvet, and Mimosa.
Fleur de sel dark chocolate was a “64% cacao complimented with natural sea salt.” The thin 1.5 x 1.5-inch square had a sharp snap. It started off slightly sweet, then took on a salty smokiness from the added sea salt. The melt was smooth and only broken up by the crunch of the salt crystals.
Red Velvet milk chocolate was described as “velvety, smooth red milk chocolate layered with flavors of cheesecake frosting and chocolate cake.” It had the same red-brown tinge of a red-velvet cupcake (which, at least in cupcakes, probably comes from food coloring).
The Red Velvet square had a soft break and a thick and creamy melt, as milk chocolates should. It was quite sweet, with cocoa powder notes to start, then took on a slight sour tang. I thought it did an excellent job of capturing the flavor of red velvet cake + cream cheese frosting.
Finally, Mimosa dark chocolate was loquaciously billed as, “the ultimate ‘choctail’… 64% dark chocolate with essences of fresh orange juice and sparkling champagne.” Its melt was creamy but slower to start.
Mimosa tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with strong citrus flavors from the start. The citrus notes were those of orange oil rather than orange zest – mellow and rotund rather than sharp and zesty.
So far, a tasty assortment of chocolate bars that do a great job capturing exactly what they promise. I can’t wait to try the rest! An OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, review |
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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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July 7th, 2014 by Rosa
These British Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons were a surprise international treat in the free sample MunchPak that I received a while ago and am still slowly munching my way through.
The buttons were little thumbnail-sized disks with a flat side and a domed side. Their flat side had the scripted Cadbury logo imprinted on it.
They were the perfect size and shape to slip onto my tongue and smash against the roof of my mouth. Doing so caused the buttons to dissolve into a tongue-coatingly thick and creamy puddle of milk chocolate.
The Cadbury’s milk chocolate was quite sweet, with dusky caramel flavors amidst the cocoa. As far as mass-produced milk chocolate goes, I much prefer Cadbury’s to the sour milk tinge of Hershey’s.
The buttons were a fun diversion that were well-sized for slow savoring. An O because I probably wouldn’t buy them for a snack – there are better milk chocolates out there, especially if you’re willing to spend an extra buck or two – but I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered to me for free.
Category: Cadbury, chocolate, European, O, review |
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July 2nd, 2014 by Rosa
Ptichye Moloko was another eastern European treat that I received as part of my free sample of Bocandy, a new subscription treat service that specializes in international candy. According to the folks at Bocandy, “Ptichye Moloko” means “Bird’s Milk” in Russian and is so named because “Bird’s Milk” is a Slavic idiom that means an unattainable gift (when was the last time you saw milk coming from a bird?).
The Pitchye Moloko was a squashed cube (so not actually a cube) consisting of a chocolate shell around a snow-white whipped center. Mine had melted a bit before arriving, so they weren’t their most photogenic by the time I got them.
That chocolate shell was incredibly sweet and a little crumbly. In fact, I caught some crunchy graininess to it, I think because some of the filling’s sugar had crystallized onto the chocolate.
At first bite, the shell was way too sweet and just tasted like sugar to me. After my tastebuds were able to adjust from the original sugar shock and awe, however, some nice coconut and cocoa notes came through.
The marshmallow filling at the center of the Pitchye Moloko was great. It was soft and fluffy in texture, and though sweet, also had a lovely dairy whipped cream note to it.
I hated the first sugarbomb bite, then loved the rest after my tastebuds recalibrated. An OM.
As noted on Monday, you can get a free Bocandy sample if you pay $3.50 shipping. Bocandy is also currently running a giveaway of 3 year-long subscriptions.
Category: chocolate, European, marshmallow, O, review, Russian |
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June 30th, 2014 by Rosa
Bocandy is a new subscription treat service (those seem to be popping up all over the place!) that specializes in international candy. I love trying international treats, but they can be hard and/or expensive to come by, so I was super excited to get a free Bocandy sample to see what they’d send.
I got a red mailer envelope with a plethora of treats, some of which I’ve reviewed before (tiny Haribo gummis, Walker’s toffees) but also some new things I’d never tried. This week, I’ll review a couple of Eastern European treats, starting with a ROM Cel Mare bar from Romania.
The ROM bar has a fascinating backstory (covered here by Fast Company) – they once used reverse psychology to up sales by replacing its Romanian flag wrapper with an American flag one. Romanians got mad and protested. When they returned the ROM Bar to its original Romanian wrapper just a week later, sales went up!
My ROM arrived melted (darn North Carolina summers!) but reconstituted itself fairly well into a softly solid bar of chocolate. It had a unique flavor profile – a little toasty wafer note to start, then a very strong fruity booziness that was set off quite nicely by the chocolate.
It turns out that the Cel Mare variety of ROM has a rum-flavored middle, hence the booziness. I loved it! It was just the right amount of alcoholic flavor to be noticeable but not overwhelming. An OM.
If you want to try Bocandy for yourself, you can get a free sample if you pay $3.50 shipping. They’re also currently running a giveaway of 3 year-long subscriptions. Check them out! They’re a candy reviewer’s dream because you get a little taste of lots of things, and it’s way cheaper than international shipping or airfare.
Category: chocolate, European, 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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April 18th, 2014 by Rosa
On Monday, I reviewed the mango, grapefruit, and lychee FruTips that I bought in China. Today, I’ll review their regular flavor assortment.
The regular FruTips were the same size and texture as their specialized flavor counterparts, and they also contained lychee flavored jellies (white). You can refer to Monday’s review for my notes on texture and the lychee FruTips.
Yellow was lemon. It tasted tart and zesty with lots of bitey lemon zest flavors. Orange was orange and tasted of candied citrus. It, too, was quite zesty, but its flavor profile was more rotund and orangey.
Green was apple and tasted like apple juice. Pink was strawberry, which was floral and sweetly tasty.
Finally, purple was blackcurrant, which is not a flavor we usually get in the U.S. It had intense, seedy tannins with almost menthol-y undertones that gave it some bite.
Nearly six years ago, I wrote a review of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles that may be the same product as these, except this time around, I really liked them. I’m not sure if the Chinese ones were fresher or a different formulation, or what, but I think they’re worthy of an OM.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chewy, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, Nestle, OM, review |
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