Archive for the 'type' Category

Zoë’s Chocolate Co – The Sports Bar

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 | No Comments »

Zoë’s Chocolate Co – The Chocolate Collection

September 6th, 2013 by Rosa

I recently received free samples of some chocolates from Zoë”s Chocolate Co., a small artisan chocolate shop that’s only 6 years old. I got a pretty brown box, all tied up with a pink ribbon, that featured four truffles from their Chocolate Collection: Black Raspberry, Mediterranean Citrus, Apple Pie, and Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel.

Black Raspberry was “white chocolate ganache blended with locally grown preserved black raspberries and topped in a rich dark chocolate.” The square truffle was visually striking, with its magenta dried fruit topper and violet ganache.

That ganache was incredibly smooth. It tasted sweet and lightly fruity with mild berry notes, and it finished with cocoa flavors from the nice dark chocolate. The dried fruit chip was crystallized and added a flash of sweet and intense fruitiness to this understated truffle.

Mediterranean Citrus was described as “white chocolate ganache infused with a sweet Mediterranean citrus topped in dark chocolate.” Its ganache was also perfectly smooth and was a creamy white in color.

It tasted of orange oil rather than orange juice or zest. It was a great citrus pairing with the dark chocolate that coated it, even though it lacked any juiciness or zestiness.

Apple Pie was a caramel: “Fresh, local apples cooked to perfection with apple pie spices and combined with caramel and roasted pecans.” The beautiful dome held a jammy filling with tiny bits of apple suspended within it.

It tasted like cinnamon and, well, apple pie! I didn’t notice any specific pecan bits or flavor, though there was a bit of tannic bitterness to the finish that may have been due to the added nuts.

Finally, the one with a mouthful of a name, Pinot Noir Infused Fleur de Sel Milk Chocolate Caramel, was “a bit of creamy milk chocolate … mixed with our liquid caramel and amplified to a delicious intensity.” The liquid caramel was smooth and limpid with an intense buttery sweetness.

The generous sprinkle of jagged sea salt was just right to set off the sweetness of the caramel and milk chocolate. I didn’t notice the addition of the pinot noir, but I still loved this caramel.

Zoë’s chocolates were gorgeous to behold and delicious to indulge in. I give the Pinot Noir Caramel an OMG, while the rest get OMs.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, OMG, review, white chocolate | No Comments »

Ginger Lard Caramels from Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop

September 4th, 2013 by Rosa

Downtown Durham recently had a gem of a store open: Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop is part butcher shop, part sandwich shop, and part pastry shop. I had the best ice cream sandwich of my life the last time I stopped there, and I also picked up a couple of ginger caramels that were made with lard (from their butcher shop, I assume).

The generously sized caramels were 75 cents each and came wrapped in wax paper. They were soft and sticky with a long-lasting chew. The caramels stuck to my teeth a bit but eventually melted away – no need for teeth picking here.

I couldn’t tell that they were made from lard rather than from butter. Though they did lack a buttery undertone, not all regular caramels taste of butter, and I didn’t miss the butter flavor. I also didn’t notice any extra porkiness from the lard.

Instead, they were sweet with a strong ginger bite. They were sweet and spicy but not painfully so, though I did get just a hint of burn in the back of my throat.

I thought these were a highly enjoyable tasty and unique treat. I don’t think I’d buy these again because ginger has never been my thing, but I did enjoy trying them. An O.

Category: caramel, O, review | No Comments »

e. fruitti gummis from Candy Crate

August 30th, 2013 by Rosa

I recently received a free Kooky Kid Crazy Candy Gift Box from the folks at Candy Crate. They repackage candy into themed boxes (or crates?) or care packages. The box I got had lots of sugary treats, including some e. frutti gummies.

The Gummi Pizza contained 5 “slices”. At first glance, the blobs of toppings looked weird – unnaturally bright, and what pizza toppings are purple anyway?

When I looked more closely, however, it turned out that the green blobs were little peppers, purple was olives, yellow was a teeny mushroom, and white was garlic, maybe? Surprising level of detail here!

The gummis had a foamy bottom with a slightly soft foamy chew, but the rest of the gummi had a fairly stiff chew. The flavor was mildly sweet and fruity, with citrusy floral notes.

The Sea Critters gummis were SweeTart colored sea turtles, though it looks like they also come in other creature shapes and colors. They were soft and uber squishy with the same foamy texture of the pizza bottoms.

Their flavor made me think of SweeTarts, though I’m not sure if it was just the suggestive power of the coloring. They were sweet and slightly tart, and I swear the gummi had fizzy notes, though that could have been just how the foamy gummi melted in my mouth.

These gummis were pretty fun and tasty. I think kids would get a kick out of the fun shapes, and the flavors, while safe and unsurprising, are decent enough. An O.

Category: gummi/gummy, O, review | No Comments »

Splendid Chocolates – Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt

August 26th, 2013 by Rosa

Last May at Sweets and Snacks, I snagged a couple of beautiful chocolate bars from Splendid Chocolates. One was Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, and the other was Milk Chocolate with Ginger and Pink Himalayan Salt. I’ve got the first one on deck today, and I’ll save the second the review for Wednesday.

The Splendid chocolate bars immediately stood out because they were visually striking. The Milk Chocolate was prettily swirled with a white chocolate, and the whole thing was sprinkled with toffee bits and salt crystals.

While the underside of the bar was all swirly and pretty and allowed to peek through the packaging, taking the bar out of the cardboard box revealed that the other side of the bar was segmented into 24 rose-stamped rectangles.

The white chocolate swirl turned out to be superficial. It was just a drizzle on the underside of the bar rather than swirled throughout.

The milk chocolate’s melt was thick with a slight graininess. To me, it tasted uber sweet and on the edge of cloying, but I don’t like super sweet chocolate.

There were great caramel/toffee notes to the milk chocolate, even in the bites without toffee bits. I’m not sure if they were from the milk chocolate base itself, or if maybe the presence of the toffee managed to infuse the chocolate with its flavor.

Giant sea salt crystals were relatively sparsely sprinkled on the underside of the bar. You can see how the majority of the sprinkled ingredients was toffee bits. I didn’t get any in the bites that I took, and I gave away the rest of the bar before I realized that I’d missed out on a key ingredient.

At any rate, I’d already made up my mind that this bar was nice to look at but too sweet for my palate. An O from me, though I should note that no one with whom I shared the bar complained about its sweetness.

Category: chocolate, O, review, toffee | No Comments »

YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks + Giveaway

August 23rd, 2013 by Rosa

Is there a different between gummis and fruit snacks? The former is definitely a candy and is usually viewed as an occasional treat for kids, whereas the latter is often found in school lunch boxes.

To me, they’re basically the same, though fruit snacks get a health washing. I think it’s because they can usually brag about being made with real fruit juice.

Case in point, YumEarth Organics’ (formerly Yummy Earth) fruit snacks. In addition to containing real fruit juice, they brag about being 100% natural, organic, and without artificial dyes.

I got some free samples to review, and permission to do a giveaway as well. More on that later…

The fruit snacks came in banana, cherry, peach, and strawberry. They were firm and dry on the outside, so that they almost had a shell, like what you get when candy gets dried out.

The fruit jelly immediately and cleanly yielded to my bite. The texture was firm with zero bounce, like a grainless fruit pate.

Banana (yellow) was mild and brightly sweet, almost tart in flavor. It had just a hint of banana flavor, enough so that I could tell it was the banana fruit snack (though the shape clued me in as well), but not so much that it was artificially off-putting.

This was the best banana-flavored candy or gummy that I’ve ever had. Usually I hate banana candies, but I loved this.

Cherry (pink circle) was also sweet, fruity, and lightly tart. It had a deep red fruit finish to the end and managed to avoid any cough syrup notes.

Peach (orangey circle) was sweet with a spot-on peach flavor. It was sweet and floral, and so close to the real thing that I could practically taste the peach fuzz.

Finally, strawberry (pink triangle) had the same fruity sweetness of the other gummis, plus a mild and floral strawberry undertone.

By avoiding the use of artificial ingredients, these fruit snacks from YumEarth managed to pack a ton of intense and delicious flavors into tiny packages. I give them an OM.

If you’d like to give these a try, YumEarth is letting me give away two bags of their back to school snack packs to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite lunchbox snack to pack for your kids or from when you were a kid.

I will randomly select one reader from the comments. Continental U.S. readers only, and contest closes a week from today, at 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, August 30th, 2013. Good luck!

EDIT: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Caley on being my randomly selected winner!

Category: giveaway, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, OM, organic, review | 12 Comments »

Oishi Hard Candies

August 21st, 2013 by Rosa

I bought these Oishi Hard Candies while I was in China (I did more than just hug pandas there!). I don’t know the package says – I’m functionally illiterate in Chinese, so only recognize the character for fruit in the description – but I did manage to find them listed on the Oishi website, where they were just called Hard Candy .

The individually wrapped hard candies came in five flavors: cool lychee, orange, lemon mint, mint, and grape. From the Oishi website, it seems like they sell those flavors individually as well.

Cool Lychee (red wrapper; white candy) was a strange flavor. It was sweet to start, then took on a very genuine lychee flavor. I could even taste the slight edge of bitterness that lychees get near the pit.

Unfortunately, the wonderful lychee flavor was soon marred by a methol minty finish. I guess that was the cool part. For me, the coolness ruined the candy.

Orange (orange wrapper and candy) was brightly sweet with a zesty citrus flavor. It was a good, if standard, orange candy flavor, and thankfully no mintiness.

Lemon Mint (yellow and yellow) started off sugar sweet. The slight lemon flavor was mild and slow to appear. Instead, it mostly tasted of menthol and made me think of cough drops. Blech.

Mint (blue wrapper and white candy) was a mentholy peppermint. Not my thing.

Finally grape (purple and purple) was sweet and slightly tart with a tannic, red grape edge and no mintiness. It was quite unlike American grape candies, which taste super artificial. Oishi’s take tasted like an actual grape.

I liked the grape, and the orange was fine, if standard. They get Os. The minty fruity hard candies, on the other hand, were too medicinal and/or weird for me and get a .

Category: --, Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), hard candy, O, review | No Comments »

Escazú Goat’s Milk Single Origin Carenero Venezeula

August 19th, 2013 by Rosa

After my last experience with Escazú, I had to have more. Fortunately, there’s a great coffeeshop right by my gym that sells some of their line, so I nabbed this Escazuú bar with a mouthful of a moniker: Goat’s Milk Single Origin Carenero Venezuela.

Like the last bar, this was divided into 24 rectangles. This one easily and sharply snapped along its scores and melted with a matte mouthfeel.

The chocolate started off lightly sweet, then developed edgy caramel notes while also intensifying with a fruity, cherry sweetness.

The finish was absolutely incredible. It was slightly tangy and almost savory, I think because of the goat’s milk, but it didn’t have any of the unctuous funkiness that can sometimes accompany goat cheese.

That finish lingered for quite some time after the chocolate had melted away. I couldn’t get enough of this bar, as evidenced by the fact that it’s half gone. An OMG.

 

Category: chocolate, OMG, review, single origin | No Comments »

Sour Punch Punchies

August 16th, 2013 by Rosa

These Sour Punch Punchies were being heartily promoted at Sweets and Snacks, and I snagged a free sample to review for y’all. The wrapper called them “soft, chewy, and sour candy”, and they came in lemon, strawberry, tangerine, blue raspberry, and green apple.

Each Punchie had a fun little face printed on it. They were like spherical jelly beans with an extra thick sugar shell. That grainy shell cracked easily, revealing a chewy jelly center.

Lemon (yellow) was bright and tart with a zesty overtone reminiscent of Lemonheads. It finished with a sour lemon flavor.

Strawberry (red) was extremely floral and surprisingly tasty (I usually don’t like strawberry candies). Unfortunately, it finished with a heavy plasticky note.

Tangerine (orange) had a tartness that intensified as I chewed it, and it developed a great tanginess as well. There was just a hint of plasticky finish, but it was minimal.

Blue raspberry (blue) was about what you’d expect from blue raspberry, a flavor not found in nature. It was extremely sweet and fruity without any seediness, and again, that plasticky finish.

Finally, green apple brought a decent hit of tartness to start and a strongly sweet fake apple flavor. The plasticky notes were pretty apparent here as well, as they are in the green apple Sour Punch Straws.

I found these to be a fun sugar rush, despite the sometimes plasticky notes.  I definitely prefer them to Sour Punch Straws, and they pack more flavor than most Jelly Beans. I’m torn between an O and an OM – I’m feeling generous, so OM.

Cybele also covered them on her blog, and gave them 7/10.

Category: jelly candy, OM, review, sour | No Comments »

Hokkaido Pumpkin Chocolate

August 12th, 2013 by Rosa

I inherited the remains of this box of Hokkaido Pumpkin Chocolate from Emma, who got them from a friend. I was amused that pumpkin-headed mascot appears to be named Yukky.

The pumpkin chocolates were all individually wrapped with a little window through which you could see the pumpkin shaped candies within. Some were jack-o-lantern shaped, while others were just pumpkins.

The pumpkins were made of orange-hued white chocolate sprinkled with bits of crisp rice-like objects. Those bits gave the chocolate toasted puffed wheat notes that were immediately present from first bite. They eventually gave way to a grittiness when the chocolate was gone, from their husks perhaps.

The white chocolate had faint notes of roasted autumn squash. It was just lightly sweet and mostly vegetal in flavor. I missed the spices that usually come with pumpkin desserts in the U.S.

While I appreciated the beauty of the treat, the flavor wasn’t my thing. While I usually complain that U.S. sweets are too sweet, this Japanese one wasn’t sweet enough. An O.

Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, O, review | No Comments »