Lindt Croquant de Caramel

I bought this Lindt Croquant de Caramel bar in France. It’s “lait aux éclats de fin caramel”, or milk chocolate with caramel (toffee) bits/chips. I swear, French makes everything sound better.

Check out the description from the back of the box: “D’abord un plaisir pour les yeux avec sa belle teinte blonde ou l’on devine le caramel. Ensuite, vinet le plaisir de tous les sens: le fondant d’un chocolat au laut velouté marié au délicat croustillant des éclats de caramel blond.”

The bar smells lovely – sweet, dusky, thick, and caramel-y. The bar has a pleasant snap to it, surprising for a milk bar. It’s generously studded with crunchy toffee bits.

The milk chocolate (30% according to the back of the box) didn’t melt and coat the tongue like Lindt milk chocolate usually does. I wonder if it was a different formulation for this bar?

The toffee bits cleave cleanly under my teeth. They taste sweet and buttery, with honey highlights.

The milk chocolate and toffee is a bit sweeter than I tend to like my chocolate, but the combination does work well together. An OM.

Cybele from Candy Blog reviewed the U.S. version of this bar, called Lindt Toffee Crunch.

Another overblown health study

Via the NY Times Health section, a piece about a new study that finds a correlation between chocolate consumption and increased survival after a heart attack.

Now that I’m getting paid to work in cognitive/neuroscience lab, I think I can call myself a professional scientist of sorts and thus can declare with great authority that correlation does not mean causation.

If it did, then with all the chocolate that I eat, I would get to live forever.

Reese’s Whipps

This Reese’s Whipps bar had been sitting around my stash for a while. I bought it ages ago when it was new-ish and on sale at Walgreen’s, but I never dug in earlier because I wasn’t that excited about it.

The wrapper calls it “light and fluffy peanut butter flavored nougat.” It’s actually peanut butter flavored nougat, surrounded by a thin layer of peanut butter, all covered by a chocolate coating.

I didn’t find the nougat to be at all fluffy. I found it pretty dense and chewy, completely unlike the truly fluffy nougat of a 3 Musketeers bar.

The bar was a total sugar bomb. It tasted mostly of sweet, with some strong nuttiness coming from the peanut butter layer. The chocolate was totally overwhelmed by the sweetness of the whole thing.

I found the bar to be overwhelming overall. Too, too, too much. A .

Nestle Yorkie

I often came across Nestle’s Yorkie bars during my summer in England, but I never bought them because they’re “NOT FOR GIRLS!” It wasn’t that I was intimidated by the tagline or the red-slashed purse-toting icon; it was that I believed any candy company misogynistic enough to have such a slogan, even if only tongue-in-cheek, didn’t deserve my business.

I’m just as anti-marketing solely to women (when such marketing is also done stupidly) by the way.

So how did I end up with this bar anyway? My friend Steve visited Economy Candy and was thoughtful and sweet enough to bring me back a goodie bag generously stuffed full of candy deliciousness. This bar was included in the mix.

The bar is pretty basic, just five thick segments (~3/4 inch high) of pure milk chocolate, each stamped with YORKIE in block sans-serif caps. You’d think that a no-girls-allowed bar would have some manly bits, like nuts, mixed in (I’m talking about peanuts and almonds; get your mind out of the gutter). Maybe the manliness lies in the thickness of each chunk. Girls’ jaws must be too delicate to take on that task (keep staying out of that gutter).

The milk chocolate is smooth and creamy, though it’s not as luxuriously thick on the tongue as other slightly more premium bars (such as Ghirardelli or Lindt). But that’s to be expected, as this is really more of a vending machine/checkout aisle grade candy bar.

The chocolate is sweet, with strong caramel notes, and it melts to a lingering sweet finish. I wasn’t surprised by the sugar-bomb nature of the bar, as it smelled powerfully of generic sweetness. It was too sweet for my taste. Still, it wasn’t appalling or anything, so an O.

Just to prove how sweet it was – we had a bit of a mouse problem in my house. Being smart little mice, they found their way into my candy drawer. First, my giant slab of treacle toffee (made of boiled sugar) got gnawed on and had to be trashed (I had been saving it for ages! I so love Walkers’ treacle toffee…). Next they got to a piece of taffy (made of boiled sugar).

And finally, they got into my chocolate stash. Thankfully, they bypassed my hoard of finer chocolates, included a prized Valrhona bar, and instead went straight for the Yorkie, probably due to its high sugar content (don’t worry; I photographed and tasted mouse-free chocolate).

On the plus side, I was able to use the gnawed on Yorkie bits to set a humane mouse trap and managed to catch this adorable little bugger. We had put out a store-bought humane trap – and spent weeks watching the mice dance around it. The Yorkie bar, a piece of cardboard, and a bucket did the trick in about 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, his buddy didn’t fare so well; when the store-bought nice trap didn’t work, I set out a snappy one, also baited with a bit of Yorkie. The above mouse survived because I was too racked with rodent-murdering guilt to put out anymore snap traps.

But if they get into the rest of my Walkers’ toffee stash, I might not be so nice again…

Vere Mint + Nibs

I bought this Vere Mint + Nibs bar at my local food co-op. They were buy one, get one free, and I’m never one to turn down a chocolate deal! If you’re curious, the other Vere that I chose was a Raspberry + Lemon one. It’s currently languishing, unopened, in my chocolate stash, though I presume that it will be consumed and reviewed in due course.

I’m going to purposefully ignore mentioning how the mark over the “e” in Vere affects how one would pronounce the name. Because honestly, is that really necessary, Vere?

I will point out that the bar is certified organic, and it’s single origin. Also, the blurb on the back of the box suggests that it’s at least fair trade in spirit, if not in certification, so that’s plenty enough hip points there to not need silly naming gimmicks.

The Mint + Nibs (I will concede it the use of “+” instead of “and” but refuse to use all lowercase letters) smells strongly of mint oil (as opposed to fresh mint) and dry cocoa. I love the presentation – little bite sized pillows of shiny dark chocolate etched with uniform squiggles.

The melt is pretty dry, which is unsurprising, as it’s a fairly high 70% cacao. The nibs give it a gritty crunch. The bar’s pleasantly intriguing texture makes this fun to chew. I find it best appreciated through chomping rather than melt-on-the-tonguing.

The chocolate is lightly sweet and fruity, with a light undertone of mint oil. There’s just the barest hint of effervescent refreshing mint finish. As previously mentioned, the plentiful nibs do wonders for the texture, but they don’t add much to the flavor.

All in all, it’s a great bar for snacking but not complex or inspiring enough for slow savoring. An OM.

Qra Qra – Milk

Back when I reviewed the Qra Qra Lemon, I pointed out the weirdness of the name. The Qra Qra Milk sees the Lemon’s unpronounceable Qras and raises it an inexplicable flavor. What exactly is a milk flavor, any way?

Milk flavored candy is actually a common find in Asian markets (I’ve reviewed a hard milk candy in the past), and I usually find them quite enjoyable. But chewing on milk? I dunno…

The Qra Qra did not taste like vanilla. Instead, it tasted of cooked milk, like the skin that forms when you heat up milk, with maybe a bit of coconut milk to it as well. It was almost savory and had a hint of salt in the finish.

The flavor reminded me of a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly but less buttery. The scent of it as it’s being chewed (and the lingering Qra Qra breath that one is left with) is spot-on buttered popcorn Jelly Belly.

While the Qra Qra milk was still quite chewy (chewchew chewchew), it wasn’t as long lasting as the lemon. Despite its chew-time advantage, the Qra Qra Milk did not disappear nearly as quick as its lemon counterpart did. I was torn between giving them an O or a — and ultimately settled on an O. While they’re not bad, they’re also not really good, but they are intriguing, so a bonus letter point there.

Ritter Dark Chocolate with Marzipan

Here’s yet another Ritter Sport bar to wrap up the week. I saved my favorite for last, the Dark Chocolate with Marzipan.

The bar promises that it’s “made with 100% finest marzipan”. With a claim so lofty, they’d better deliver!

I do love the neat 4X4 square of Ritter Sport bars. It looks tidy and symmetrical, which I find quite charming.

The bar smells strongly of cherries, which was surprising. I wish I’d gotten a look at the ingredients list before my friends devoured the bar and tossed the wrapper.

The marzipan filling was thick and pasty. It tasted lightly nutty, a mix of almond extract and cherry cordial notes.

The marzipan was in perfect proportion with the dark chocolate. The chocolate itself was snappy and smooth and balances just wonderfully with the taste and texture of the marzipan.

An OMG for a bar that I will definitely buy again. My original is long gone because I shared it with friends. I brought it to lunch, having broken off a row and saved it for myself for later. Had I known how delicious it would be, I don’t know if I would have been generous enough to share it.

UK Candy Poll results

Here are the results of a rather unscientific poll conducted by the UK’s Marks and Spencer on people’s favorite candies. Fizzy cola tops the list, which contains a plethora of distinctly UK treats that are rare in the US. I’ve tried rhubarbs and custards (beautiful, but I don’t get the appeal), pear drops, chocolate limes, sherbet lemons, and more from the list. See my British Boiled Sweets Duo, parts I and II.

At least you can easily find fizzy cola in the states! And I’m intrigued by the new M&S confectionary range that seems to be due soon.