Nestle Nuts

Here’s a candy that’ll have the 12 year-old boy in you giggling and elbowing your neighbor in the ribs: I found Nestle Nuts in Lidl, this weird discount/grocery store in Southport that had extremely cheap fruits and veg. How cheap? The day I went, they were in the midst of an “All fruits and veg are half off sale.” I had gone into Lidl on a hunt for miniature bags of Haribo, and I left with strawberries and cherries and beets and grapes and carrots. And a five-pack of Nestle Nuts.

I had high hope for the Nuts, which billed itself as milk chocolate (31%) with filling with caramel (22%) and hazelnuts (11%), which is why I chose to buy it even though it only came in a five pack. Well, that and the whole five pack was only a pound. Hooray for cheap presents for friends! As Ferrero’s bottom line has shown, chocolate + hazelnut = deliciousness. Usually, that is. The Nestle Nuts managed to screw up the winning recipe.

The chocolate coating was boring, blah milk chocolate. I’ve found that Nestle’s chocolate, as opposed to Cadbury with its nice dairy milkness, tends to be mediocre at best, and the Nuts was no exception. The not very thoroughly described “filling” was boring, blah nougat that tasted like nothing more than generic sweetness. And the caramel was, you guessed it, boring blah caramel with no notes of anything. It was pretty insipid and wasn’t even sticky.

Every once in a while, I came across a whole hazelnut hidden inside the Nuts. They were nice enough, crunchy and vaguely nutty, but the Nuts in no way, shape, or form took advantage of the full, roasty, nutty goodness that hazelnuts can bring. The sweetness of everything else in the bar overwhelmed any flavor the hazelnut had the potential to add.

For a boring, blah bar, a boring blah O. I’ve managed to get lucky with dollar (pound) store candy finds in the past, but in this case, you get what you pay for.


I received my box of Poifull from my friend Michael who bought them for me in Japan in a set of assorted mini boxes. I’ve never seen these guys in my local Asian supermarkets, but I’m definitely going to start looking for them now.

As you can see from the photo, they’re look like jelly beans or Mike and Ikes. And they sort of are, as they have a hard sugar shell with a jelly innard. But the insides of the Poifull were much bouncier than those of jelly beans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they squeaked between my teeth. The nexture was almost rubbery, which you may think would be unpleasant, but that wasn’t the case.

Poifull come in four colors and flavors. Purple was grape and tasted like a red grape. Pink was apple, in the sweet Fuji way as opposed to the sour Granny Smith way. Yellow was pineapple, which carried a wonderful acidic tang, and green was muscat, which is a kind of grape. Its flavor was noticeably different from the purple grape. The concept of Poifull was simple yet well executed, with vibrant fruit flavors that carried a wonderfully bright tang, earning them an OMG from me. My tiny box quickly disappeared, and while fruity/sour Jelly Bellies may make a good substitute until I can find more Poifulls, they just don’t bounce against your teeth like the Poifull do.

Nerds Song Contest

From the folks at Nestle and Wonka, a Loss for Lyrics contest:

Wonka’s new candy, Giant Chewy Nerds, has the Oompa Loompas so excited they are at a complete loss for words! Willy Wonka has launched a nationwide contest in the search for a new song to describe Giant Chewy Nerds. The Oompa Loompas and Raven Symone have teamed up in Wonka’s Loss for Lyrics contest to help the Oompas regain their rhymes.

Teens can log on to starting July 21st through September 21st and upload videos of themselves and their friends singing witty, whimsical songs about the new Giant Chewy Nerds. The lucky winner of the Loss for Lyrics contest will be flown to Los Angeles to record his or her song with the assistance of Raven Symone!

Mozart Chocolates

I had the chance to taste Mozart chocolates one two separate occasions. I got to try MozartKugel when a woman visiting the family that I boarded with in Cambridge brought a bag as a hostess gift, and I came across the flat MozartTaler when a lab member got back from Austria. According to the Wikipedia article on the MozartKugel, I tried the knockoff version, which was still delicious.

The MozartKugel is shaped like a traditional¬† chocolate truffle, a little dome. The bottom layer of chocolate was winey and smooth. The white top was marzipan which was rather grainy, like a soft cookie. I usually don’t like marzipan, as it’s a little too sweet for my palate. This marzipan was also on the sweet side, but it paired well with the chocolate and pistachio that was snuck in there. Finally, the outer coating of chocolate was slightly greasy. Overall, a great mix of flavors and textures that warrants an OMG.

The medallion shaped MozartTaler was prettily decorated with Mozart’s face and inscribed with the chocolate’s name. The milk chocolate was smooth, creamy, and a bit too sweet, but I really enjoyed the marzipan inside. The pistachio nuttiness came through much more and was followed by a strong, nicely nutty almond finish. An OM for this guy.

Crispy Cat Candy Bars

Crispy Cat bills itself as “the first candy bar made with organic ingredients” and currently comes in three flavors: mint coconut, toasted almond, and roasted peanut.I was lucky enough to get a free sample of each for review purposes. The Crispy Cat candy bars boast an impressive list of credentials; in addition to containing 70% organic ingredients, they’re dairy free, gluten free, non gmo, without preservatives, vegan, and kosher.

These arrived on a warm day, and my New Haven apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, so I stuck them in the fridge to keep them from melting. On the wrapper, a little cartoon version of Joel Schantz, the owner, exhorts you to “Try ’em cold!” so I tried the Toasted Almond straight out of the fridge. It was super dense in its chilled state, and when hardened, the almond bits and crispy rice lost some of their nutty flavor. I liked it better when I let it warm up to room temperature, where it became softer and more pliable (though the texture of the bar also became a bit grittier). Then the rice crisps’ flavor became more noticeable and appreciable. In both temperature states, the thin chocolate layer wasn’t much to crow about.

The Roasted Peanut was quite similar to the Toasted Almond. I first tried it at room temperature. The nuttiness of the peanuts really came through, so I buy the roasted moniker. Here the chocolate layer was more present – I think the bar was less high than the almond version, which may have made for a higher chocolate to filling ratio – and left a slightly too sweet finish. The press release I received claimed that the Roasted Peanut and Toasted Almond tasted similar to Snickers. When the bars are at room temperature, I would disagree with that, as the Crispy Cats lack caramel, which is a big part of Snickers. But when I stuck the Roasted Peanut in the fridge, it became more Snickers-like. Or at least more chilled-Snickers-like. The rice crisps lost their airiness and somehow took on a surprising resemblance to rock-hard caramel in both texture and flavor. A glance through the ingredients showed that organic molasses was a rice crisp ingredient, which solves that mystery.


I liked the Mint Coconut Crispy Cat much better than its two counterparts. That same press release said that it would be reminiscent of a Girl Scout Thin Mint. Again, I disagree, but this time I’m going to do Crispy Cat one better. The Mint Coconut is like the love child of a Thin Mint and a Caramel Delight. The mint and coconut flavors were both light, yet just present enough, at least on the first bite. After that first bite, when the taste buds are a bit inured to the flavors, the successive bites are less exciting, but still pretty good. This bar was soft and melted at room temperature while the other two held firm, probably because all the coconut in this bar gave it a rather frighteningly high saturated fat count (9 g, 45% of your RDA). I chose to eat this at the rate of about a bite a day in an attempt to spread out the saturated fat splurge.

As candy bars, these don’t quite fit the bill, for they contain such a thin layer of chocolate and are so chock full of wholesome that they make me think of energy bars or meal replacement bars (though these days, the distinction between those and candy bars can be hazy; usually it’s the meal replacement bars that are too much like candy bars to be healthy). I’d consider chomping one of these in place of my usual Clif Bar. As a candy bar, the two nut varieties gets an O while the Mint Coconut gets an OM.

Crispy Cat’s mantra of “sustainability, health, and wellness” is clearly defined in their product, and they make a sweet splurge that’s not as bad for you, or for the earth, as traditional candy bars.

No more Kinder Surprise eggs in Germany

My first experience with a Kinder Surprise was when my dad brought one back for me from a business trip in Germany. This must have been a decade ago, yet I still remember the toy inside: a little fox (though I can no longer remember which one it was).

photo from Wikipedia

If you’ve never heard of Kinder Surprise, that’s unsurprising, as they’re banned in the U.S. Still, I’ve seen them around a few locally owned shops, and they’re readily available in the U.K. In Germany, however, they soon won’t be! The German parliament recently passed legislation banning the treats for pretty much the same reason they’re banned here in the states. It’s causing quite the uproar, as the Germans seem to love their Kinder Surprises.

I can understand the concerns about safety, but it’s still a shame that it’ll mean no one can buy the eggs. I think Kinder Suprises can be great treats for children who are old enough to understand the difference between edible candy and non-edible toys. And there’s always adult supervision!

Here’s Cybele’s Candy Blog review of the eggs.

Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles

I bought this roll of Fruit Pastilles at the same time I bought a roll of Maynard’s Wine Gums. I wish I could report that these were better than the wine gums in roll form, but alas, I found them similarly uninspiring.

The Fruit Pastilles boasted 25% fruit juice. Now. I wonder what they used to use. Then again, probably best to not think about that. Fruit Pastilles area soft gummi covered in granulated sugar. They were softer than a springy Haribo and less rubbery but were still pretty stiff.

I had three flavors in my roll. Purple was blackcurrant, I think. Blackcurrant is a lovely flavor that I’m quite fond of. The British are fond of it too, but it hasn’t caught on here in the states. It’s sort of like raspberry and grape and blueberry all mixed together, but, in candy form, it doesn’t carry that nasty olfactory seedy aftertaste of raspberry that I can’t stand. Here it was okay, but other candies have done blackcurrant better.

I sometimes have a hard time tasting the difference between strawberry and cherry candies. They just meld into “red” in my mind. I’m pretty sure the red Fruit Pastille wasn’t cherry, so I guess it was strawberry, especially since there’s a strawberry on the wrapper. Clearly it wasn’t a very genuine fruit flavor. Meh.

Here’s where my tasting notes confuse me. I write about the yellow one – definitely lemon, a way too sweetly artificial lemon that had a weird aftertaste – but it looks orange in the picture. I guess that must have been a by-product of my amateur attempt to color correct the photos I took in unideal lighting in England. The purple almost looks black, and the red is nearly purple, so I’m going to trust my notes over the photo.

At any rate, these bored me. A O.

Tootsie Roll Contest

Remember that line drawing commercial with the boy and the owl and how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? One… two-hoo… a-three… crunch!

Tootsie Roll is running a “How Many Licks” Sweepstakes for a chance to win lots of prizes. The contest doesn’t end until July 2009, but winners are drawn every month.

Also, from watching the scroll at the bottom of the website, I learned that the Tootsie Roll Industries makes lots of candies that I didn’t know it made, like Razzles and Andes mints. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go about updating my categories now.