Houston International Airport, Terminal E

I’ve made it safely back to Austin from New Haven. The Game on Saturday was supposed to be incredible (both Harvard and Yale going into it undefeated in the League, but only Yale going into it undefeated, period), and we were supposed to win! Instead, it was an atrocious blowout that was painful to watch. But the band always wins! and I still had a ton of fun. Check out the awesomeness of Bessie, the uberprop we made! She’s a Salovey-a-saurus, and her jaw moves up and down!


She took about a bazillion manhours to build, and she’s part of why I don’t have a proper candy review for y’all this morning (I didn’t really get to sleep last week). Instead, I shall share a newly discovered candy resource with you: Coco Moka.

It’s located in terminal E of Houston International Airport (where I had a short layover), and it is incredible! It’s got tons and tons of wonderful chocolates – Dagoba, Michael Cluizel, Lindt, Ritter, Ghirardell, Kinder, See’s, local Texas brands, and more. There’s a lot of really nice chocolate that looked sooooo good but was, of course, pretty pricey. I bought a few international bars that were actually very reasonably priced ($1.50 a bar; Economy Candy charged $1.25). I have another layover in Houston on my way back to school, so the plan is to research some of those nice chocolates and decide what to splurge on on my way home. The only kink in that plan is that I’ll be at that airport at 8 AM. I hope Coco Moka is still open then! Those Michael Cluizel mushrooms were calling my name, even if they were rather expensive.

Razzberry M&M’s, limited edition

With their limited edition Razzberry M&M’s (BUY!), Mars has further added to an already fairly expansive line of M&M (BUY!) varieties. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! These guys were tasty. I brought them to a party, and they disappeared in about ten minutes.

If Mars had made the packaging and the M&M’s a pale pink instead of this red color, they could’ve seriously capitalized on October being breast cancer awareness month. Then again, this purplish-reddish pink does a better job of capturing the color of raspberries. Sort of.

The M&M’s are the same shade of razzberry. I think it’s a pretty shade, if a bit jarring because it’s not what we’re used to. The Razzberry M&M’s are bigger than milk chocolate M&M’s – close to the size of peanut M&M’s but not oblong due to the lack of needing to accommodate peanut shapes – and unevenly sized, as you can see from the photo. My favorite one is the dented one, I think. Perhaps it was dropped on its head as a child.

These are sweet with a lightly fruity raspberry flavor. The flavor is quite artificial but still enjoyable. The candy sugar shell feels thicker, making these M&M’s a tad more tiring to chew. As far as I can tell, the shell isn’t Razzberry flavored. I think it’s too thick, which makes the M&M’s too sweet. I found them more enjoyable when I let the sugar shell dissolve for a bit and then crunched through the remaining thin shell. An OM. Tasty; could be tastier.

Sera visits The Chocolate Show

Sera from Candy Addict got to go to The Chocolate Show that I had previously blogged about. It looks like she had a great time. So jealous! Maybe next year I’ll have time and funds to go myself.

My chocolate party was on Sunday, and it went well. Fourteen of my friends and I tasted our way through 13 different bars of chocolate. So much chocolate! It was a blast, and I highly recommend you try it with your friends.

Updating next week may be sketchy, as I’ll be super busy. I fly home for Thanksgiving break this Sunday, and all this week is massive preparation for the big Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday. It should be an excellent showdown, and I can’t wait. Check out the stats!

Abba Zabba

More taffy (BUY!)? But why, Rosa? You don’t even like taffy! More curiosity, but this time with good reason, for the Abba Zabba (BUY!) is not just taffy – it’s peanut butter-filled taffy! But alas, it was still taffy, and therefore it wasn’t for me.

I first heard about the Abba Zabba when I read about it in Steve Almond’s Candy Freak. There’s something incredibly intriguing about retro candy. On the one hand, it’s got to be impressive to be able to survive for so long in today’s age of the Big Three (Mars, Nestle, and Hershey) candy manufacturers. On the other hand, retro candy usually is only so beloved because people have associated fond childhood memories with what they ate at the time (I’m a psych major; feel free to ask me questions about why that is if you’re curious), and very rarely does retro candy actually taste as good as it seems like it should. But the packing is usually pretty great. Just check out the great checkboard/taxi cab pattern on the Abba Zabba!

I found it odd that they didn’t describe the flavor of the taffy. It’s just described as “chewy”. I couldn’t name it either. It’s just generically sweet. As you can see from the photo, the chewy taffy is sandwiching the peanut butter. The peanut butter is super salty, with a heavy grain. The sweet and savory blend is a pretty great balance.

The taffy texture, however, was just too much for me. It was incredibly sticky, and stiff to boot. I really had to work to wrench my jaw open when I chewed it in my molars. Kind of fun the first time, kind of painful further down the line, and probably cause for filling replacement with enough chewing. An O, with the caveat that people who enjoy taffy would probably enjoy the Abba Zabba. Again, it’s just not for me.

Apparently, the Abba Zabba also comes in a peanut butter-filled apple-flavored taffy, which sounds intriguing. Apples, particular tart green ones like Granny Smiths, and peanut butter are a great combination, so the Abba Zabba version sounds promising. I probably still won’t like it because it’s taffy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try it some day.

Googlenopes and David Lebovitz answers chocolate FAQs

David Lebovitz’s blog is one of my daily reads. Here he answers FAQs about chocolate. It’s quite informative.

Gene Weingarten’s writing is another daily read of mine (via his online chats and columns). A Googlenope, a term Weingarten coined, is a phrase that, when googled with quotation marks around it, gets no hits. A Googleyup is a phrase that does get hits.

From Gene Weingarten’s Sunday column:

“Googleyup: chocolate covered lettuce
Googleyup: chocolate covered steak
Googleyup: chocolate covered frogs
Googleyup: chocolate covered bacon
Googleyup: chocolate covered pork fat
Googleyup: chocolate covered squid
Googleyup: chocolate covered toothpaste
Googleyup: chocolate covered sand
Googleyup: chocolate covered cinnamon Altoids
Googleyup: chocolate covered Volkswagen Beetle parked in front of a supermarket in China

Googlenope: chocolate covered poached mouse fetuses on a lightly toasted poppy-seed bagel with a schmear”

Sooo many things that can be covered in chocolate!

French Chew Taffy – chocolate flavored

I’m going to preface this review by letting y’all know I’m not a fan of taffy (BUY!). Laffy Taffy I can take in mini-sized increments, but even that I only eat when it’s all that’s left in the Kiddie Mix assortment. I don’t like how mild the flavor is. To me, eating taffy is kind of like eating a diluted, extra sticky, not as tasty Starburst.

So why do I keep buying taffy? Curiosity, I guess. I found French Chew Taffy (BUY!) at Economy Candy and picked up the chocolate version pretty much just because it was there. The chocolate taste was extremely mild in both taste and smell. It reminded me of a cheap cocoa powder.

The taffy itself was incredibly creamy, and the chew actually wasn’t too sticky. It didn’t glue my teeth together, so I could actually eat it! However, I did have some issues with peeling it off the packaging. The wrapper didn’t open very cleanly either, which was a pain with the sticky taffy.

I was surprised at how low in fat this bar was. If I remember correctly, Laffy Taffy gets pretty high in fat, especially of the saturated variety. The French Chew had only 1g fat, none of it unsaturated. Because it’s hard to eat taffy slowly, I guess a French Chew would be a good snack for dieters with candy/sugar cravings. Just don’t use it to satisfy your chocolate cravings, for no true chocolate cravings could be sated with this taffy’s diluted taste. An O. Worth the try to satisfy my curiosity, but not worth another go. I ended up throwing out the rest of my bar.

Ferrero Rocher

Ferrero Rocher (BUY!) are a pretty classic treat, and they’re probably Ferrero’s (BUY!) most famous product in the U.S. Whenever my parents go back to China, they buy a bunch to give our relatives to give as gifts (they’re cheaper in the U.S. than they are in China). As a kid, I thought Rochers were the pinnacle of fine chocolate. They were so pretty in their gold foil wrapping and so fancy with their individual stickers (that I used to collect, by the way).

I used to eat these very methodically when I was younger. First I would carefully nibble away the outer chocolate and crushed nut layer, exposing the sphere of chocolate wafer. Then I’d eat half of the chocolate wafer, leaving me with a little wafer bowl filled with the smooth chocolate/hazelnut creme and the whole hazelnut. Next was the whole hazelnut, followed by careful, slow licking away of the chocolate/hazelnut filling, and finished by crunching up the second half of the wafer shell.

Now that I’m older, I know that these aren’t as fancy or as high-end as I thought they were. But they’re still delicious, and there’s a reason they’re so popular. The strong hazelnut flavors keeps the sweetness of the chocolate and Nutella-like filling from being overwhelming.

An OM. No G because I probably overdosed on these as a kid, and they’re quite ubiquitous, so they’re not as special as they should be.

Chocolate covered popcorn for cheap(er) and dark chocolate news

Here’s how to get a great deal on overpriced chocolate covered popcorn from Dale and Thomas! Go here for a free $20 gift card. Then go here to pick out your popcorn. The six-pack sampler is the cheapest at $28. I personally chose Chef Ed’s favorite variety because I have a huge weakness for kettle corn, but there’s also a best-sellers sampler and a chocolate lover’s sampler. Then, when it’s time to check out, use the code E11X5S1T for free ground shipping. Ta da! $8 for gourmet popcorn.The best part is, you can have them ship it at a later date. I’ve requested mine to ship the week after Thanksgiving so that it’s not languishing in the UPS office while I’m home for break. Can’t wait until it comes!

And in candy news, here’s scientific proof that dark chocolate is better than white chocolate and a list of places to go for chocolate in NYC.

Speaking of chocolate in NYC, the Chocolate Show is this weekend. I’m going out of town on Saturday with the band, plus I can’t really afford the cost of the admission (alas, no one responded to my email inquiry as press) on top of the train ride to and from the city, and I’ve heard that it’s crowded and not that great. But drop me a line if you do! I’d love to hear about it.

Mon Cheri

Mon Cheri (BUY!) chocolates, also by Ferrero (BUY!), are attractively packaged, so they look more expensive than they actually are. They also look like they’d taste better than they actually do. That isn’t to say that Mon Cheri chocolates are bad, exactly, they’re just not that great.

The individual chocolates are individually wrapped in shiny gold paper to look like tiny gifts. However, once unwrapped, you can see the inferiority of the chocolate. Mine had a little bloom on it, and it didn’t look that appetizing. I wanted something with a nice gloss and sheen to it. Instead, I got ashen chocolate. Boo!

The outer chocolate layer had an okay snap and an okay taste. The one I tasted had a whole hazelnut in the filling, plus several chopped up hazelnut bits. I didn’t like the texture of the filling. It was crumbly, while I would’ve preferred something smoother and creamier, like a hazelnut ganache. The taste was great – slightly chocolatey and super hazelnutty – but I couldn’t get over the mouthfeel issue.

I give these an O. I ate one in my package of four and was happy to give away the rest. They’re not bad, but they’re nothing special, and there are better chocolate/hazelnut candies out there.