November 14th, 2011 by Rosa
Over the weekend, I went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on pumpkin butter. While there, I couldn’t help nabbing some of their store brand candies. This week will be a week of Trader Joe’s reviews, starting with their Milk Chocolate Covered Toffee Popcorn.
The fat nuggets of popcorn looked so tantalizing, tumbling out of the bag with their slight sheen. Their outer coating was a thin layer of milk chocolate. Beneath that was a thin layer of toffee glaze, and then the fattest, fluffiest popcorn I’ve ever seen.
I wonder if Trader Joe’s is starting with some seriously genetically modified corn or something. Every piece was nearly all lovely puffy popped part and barely any noticeable gets-stuck-in-your-teeth kernel part.
The milk chocolate was malty and sugary sweet. The toffee added a bit of crunch and a light buttery scorchiness, and the popcorn fluffiness capped it all off as a light, neutral foil.
This treat was a great synthesis of flavors and textures. Chocolate-covered popcorn style treats tend to be pricy (looking at you, Moose Munch), but this was only $2.99 for the 8 oz bag. Sold!
My only complaint is that it got a tad too sweet in the finish after a few pieces in a row so it gets a slight downgrade for that. An OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, review, toffee, Trader Joe's |
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November 2nd, 2011 by Rosa
I’m working my way through Cost Plus World Market’s store brand of chocolate. Monday, I reviewed the Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate. Today, we’ve got the Toffee Caramel Milk Chocolate.
I was curious as to exactly what World Market meant by toffee caramel. Generally speaking, your basic combination of sugar and butter is either toffee or caramel, depending on the texture, so how could something be both? I guess they were just trying to cover all their bases.
The chocolate bar had an unusual appearance. Flecked with bits of toffee throughout, it was funnily speckled and rather visually unappetizing in my opinion.
The toffee bits were visible along the break of the bar. Some looked craggy, while others looked light and full of air pockets.
It smelled strangely of spices with a strong overtone of anise. Blech. I hate anise, hence my aversion to licorice and fennel and absinthe.
Alas, that anise scent crossed over to the flavor of the bar. It just tasted off, like no toffee/caramel I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t handle more than a bite.
The texture didn’t help matters either. It had the same poor melt and deficient mouthfeel as their dark chocolate. A —.
Category: --, caramel, chocolate, review, toffee |
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October 5th, 2011 by Rosa
This bar of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude was a free sample from the manufacturer to help them promote their Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.
The back of the box lovingly described it as, “luxuriously deep and velvety dark chocolate … infused with crunchy toffee and caramelized almonds delivering unrivaled chocolate intensity.” They’ve got some stellar copywriters!
Like most Ghirardelli bars, this was lightly scored into 8 squares, each embossed with their distinctive soaring eagle logo. The chocolate smelled lightly woodsy and smoky.
It was crammed full of generous bits of toffee and slivers of almond that were clearly visible in the break. The toffee pieces were about as thick as the chocolate itself.
The chocolate was indeed decadent, with a smooth matte melt. I got light coffee notes and a sweet and slightly sour finish.
The toffee was the obvious star here. It was crunchy and cleanly cleaving, with a great buttery sweetness. Occasional bits of almond snuck through as well, adding a tinge of nutty praline.
I found it to be an addictively indulgent mix of creamy and crunchy and buttery and nutty. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Ghirardelli, nuts, OM, review, toffee |
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September 23rd, 2011 by Rosa
I received this box of Enstrom’s Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee as a free sample from the manufacturer. Apparently they’ve been making their toffee by hand for over 50 years!
The box’s description called it “the perfect blend of sweet cream butter, pure cane sugar, and California almonds, drenched in creamy milk chocolate and sprinkled with crushed almonds.” The box itself was quite pretty, a cream-colored lid with a deep chocolate-colored bottom.
The toffee came in giant slabs that were a bit unwieldy. It was covered in chocolate that was, in turn, covered in crushed almonds. The almonds were so thoroughly pulverized that they were practically almond dust, so breaking apart the thick slabs was a messy affair.
The toffee was thick – thick enough to have whole almonds fully embedded in it. It cleaved and crumbled cleanly with a pleasant crunch. And, importantly for toffee, it had a minimal “getting-stuck-in-your-molars” aspect.
The toffee was the star here, and it definitely shone. It was buttery and sweet with lovely caramel notes and tasted scorchy, just shy of burnt.
The almonds within the toffee added a wonderful nuttiness; I believe they were toasted to bring out their flavor. The chocolate was mild with a sweet sugar finish and minimal cocoa flavors, while the crushed almonds on top were so finely ground that they didn’t contribute much more nuttiness.
I love a good toffee, especially one that doesn’t leave me trying to discretely pick bits of candy out of my teeth. The flavors and texture were perfect here; my only complaint was that it was a bit messy to parcel out.
I brought this into work to share, and it quickly disappeared. A clear OMG winner.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OMG, review, toffee |
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July 15th, 2011 by Rosa
I recently attended the wedding of my boyfriend’s cousin. The wedding was held in Colorado, and the bride and groom chose to give their guests gift baskets with locally made treats and favors, including bars of Chocolove chocolate. That’s my kind of wedding!
The back of the Toffee & Almonds in Milk Chocolate bar described its contents as “Chunks of almond toffee in smooth milk chocolate. Creamy milk chocolate releases chunks of buttery sweet toffee and dry roasted almonds.”
Thanks to summer in my non-air conditioned house, the 33% milk chocolate that was the base of this bar was very soft, almost like putty. It melted in my fingers.
The melt of the chocolate was lovely – thick and tongue-coatingly luxurious. It tasted of caramel and sugar.
The tiny bits of toffee distributed throughout the bar were the best part. They were dry and crunchy with a great scorchiness. The almond bits were visually indistinguishable from the toffee, but I was able to detect the light nutty flavor that they added.
My only complaint about this bar was that it was too sweet in the finish, with a cloy that burned the throat. Otherwise, I loved the mix of crunchy and thick, sweet and burnt and nutty. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Chocolove, nuts, OM, review, toffee |
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April 8th, 2011 by Rosa
These miniature Green and Black’s bars came in my Chocolate Gift Pack, courtesy of the NCA. We’ll start with the Dark 70%.
Both bars were lightly scored into 12 rectangular segments, each prettily imprinted with Green and Black’s apostrophe/leaf logo.
The Dark 70% was simply described as “dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content.” It had incredibly deep burnt coffee notes and a strong earthy intensity.
I enjoyed the start, but the finish was rather chalky and lightly astringent. If it weren’t for that lingering unpleasantness, it would merit an OM. With the finish that it does have, an O.
The Toffee was described as “milk chocolate with toffee.” The milk chocolate on its own was only so-so. It was grainy and lacked any thickness to the melt.
The toffee was what really made this treat. It had a great crunch and a clean cleave. Strong notes of butterscotch candy (think Brach’s discs) were tempered with a slight sourness and saltiness that really brought out the toffee notes.
This was quite enjoyable. Not nearly as delicious as Vosges’s take on milk chocolate and toffee, but definitely far cheaper and decently delicious for the dinero. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Green & Black's, O, OM, organic, review, toffee |
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March 23rd, 2011 by Rosa
I bought this Vosges Bapchi’s Caramel Toffee Bar along with the Organic Enchanted Mushroom that I reviewed on Monday. It’s made of 45% deep milk chocolate, sweet butter toffee, walnuts, and pecans.
The first, immediately noticeable thing about this bar was the toffee. Holy cow was it delicious!
The toffee cleaved cleanly with a great, satisfying crunch. It tasted deep and scorched with a light hint of saltiness that really highlighted the sweetness of the toffee and chocolate.
The chocolate was thick with caramel notes. There was a light nuttiness from the walnuts and pecans that was sparsely distributed. The nuts weren’t in every bite, but their presence, when it was there, was appreciated.
If my boyfriend hadn’t been sitting next to me while I tasted this bar, I would’ve polished off the whole thing on my own. Instead, I had to share it – and the two of us polished it off within minutes.
The combination of sweet and salty crunchy toffee and dusky, thick milk chocolate was irresistible. A ZOMG!
Category: chocolate, nuts, review, toffee, Vosges, ZOMG! |
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February 18th, 2011 by Rosa
I recently had a couple of spare minutes around Grand Central in New York City and managed to find my way to a Neuhaus shop. I picked up 3 truffles, sold by weight, for just under $8.
I was so eager to try them that I photographed and tasted them on my shuttle bus to JFK instead of waiting until I could get them home.
First up is a Caramel Truffle, which was described as “caramel butter cream dusted with intense cocoa powder.” It had a slight chocolate shell with a dry and crumbly ganache inside.
I loved the cocoa powder that it was dusted in. It was dry and chocolatey while being totally devoid of bitterness.
The caramel ganache didn’t taste like much besides a general fruity sweetness that was a bit too heavy for my taste. I wish that there was more complexity to this. An O.
Next is the Tiramisu, “butter cream with tiramisu taste, covered with ‘Amaretti’ biscuits.” Its chocolate shell carried a nice crunch from the bits of almond amaretti cookies. I have no idea how they kept those cookies fresh and crunchy, but kudos to them for that!
The inner ganache had a thin, fatty melt. It had a strong, fruity booziness with a definite alcoholic finish that tasted of almond liqueur.
My only issue with this was that it lacked any coffee flavors. Espresso is an important part of any tiramisu recipe, so its absence was noticeable. But the truffle was pretty delicious, even without it. An OM.
Finally, what I call the Toffee Star (I couldn’t find its official name). Neuhaus has other Stars, which are described as such: “These handmade icon pralines with their very recognizable shape were created by Neuhaus in 1958 for the World Exhibition in Brussels.”
The shape was indeed distinctive, like a little dumpling or a squashed tri-corner hat. The center was a rich, buttery chocolate caramel surrounded by a thin layer of chewy toffee, all covered by a thin layer of chocolate.
The center had a bright, fruity sweetness that was tempered at the end with a dark, cocoa-y finish. Bits of toffee embedded throughout added a light crunch and a complex butterscotchiness.
The mix of flavors and textures was just divine. I found it a hair too sweet to eat all day, thus depriving it of that extra Z, but it still manages to earn an OMG!
Category: caramel, chocolate, O, OM, OMG, review, toffee |
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February 11th, 2011 by Rosa
On Wednesday, I reviewed 2 of the 3 confections that I got to try as free samples from DGZ Chocolates. Today, I’ll review the third, the Toffarazzi, which is their best seller. And for good reason!
My half-pound box contained 9 Toffarazzi, described on the website as, “a scrumptious almond butter crisp covered with fine Swiss recipe chocolate and fresh roasted almond bits.”
Each nearly 2-inch square was a solid chunk of hard toffee with bits of almond mixed in. That toffee was then enrobed in chocolate and covered with bits of almond.
The toffee was absolutely gorgeous – it was nicely crisp and cleaved cleanly and then crumbled upon being chewed. Unlike other toffees, this never built up in the molars; it just crumbled and melted on the tongue.
It tasted of the deep complexity of burnt sugar. There was just the perfect hint of an edge of bitter toastiness that I absolutely love in my toffee.
The almond and chocolate were supporting players here. The almonds added just a hint of light nuttiness, while the chocolate brought a touch of sweetness.
But to me, this was all about the toffee. And boy was it good toffee! An OMG for a fine treat that I would heartily recommend.
Category: chocolate, nuts, OMG, review, toffee |
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January 7th, 2011 by Rosa
I have a soft spot for Vosges Chocolates and have reviewed them often in the past. They’re usually beyond my regular budget, but this Gingerbread Toffee bar was on sale after the holidays. Vosges at half off? I couldn’t resist!
The bar was described as gingerbread spiced toffee, dark chocolate, and 65% cacao. The box’s front had some nice glamor shots of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. All the spices that you need for gingerbread!
The bar smells deeply of cocoa with a light spiciness around the edges. The chocolate has nice spice notes, mostly of ginger with just a hint of nutmeg.
Bits of toffee are sprinkled throughout the bar. They are the best part of the whole thing! They’ve got a light, dry, brittle crunchiness with no stickiness that contrasts nicely with the smooth melt of the chocolate. And flavor-wise, they add awesome scorched flavors of toffee.
The chocolate itself has a light, coffee-scented burnt finish with a deep cocoa duskiness. I do believe there are sprinkles of sea salt in the bar as well, which add flashes of flavor intensity.
This bar was perfectly balanced in every way. It was a great mix of flavors and textures. An enthusiastic ZOMG!
Category: chocolate, review, toffee, Vosges, ZOMG! |
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