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.
Robyn, I am in awe of your Pocky photography skillz, as the above was the best that I could do. Also, I hope someday someone tastes all the Pocky varieties all at once, because there are a bazillion of them. I have only covered a few.
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.
Via AdFreak, Australia celebrated its limited edition white chocolate Kit Kat by having an illustrator melt them down and paint them into posters. The effect was quite stunning, as you can see in the below video.
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.
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.
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.
Tomorrow, I’m running a review of some Askinosie dark chocolates. Shawn Askinosie just did an interview with the NY Times. Before he got into the chocolate business, he was a criminal defense lawyer! And he reads David Lebovitz (whom I love).