More Chocolate + Design

From a long-over contest at Re-nest, the Chocolates Birdfeeder from Vanishing Creatures Chocolates. The box contains 15 pieces of organic dark and white chocolates that look like endangered animals.

When you’re done with the chocolates, the packing can be converted into a bird-feeder, and the bird seed is included! There’s a little animation on the Vanishing Creatures Chocolates website that I can’t directly link to. Click on shop, the rectangular box that’s the bottommost picture in the left sidebar, and “see how it works” in the resulting main photo.

As clever as that is, at $112 a box, I’d rather buy a box of chocolates and several bird feeders.

Brach’s Jelly Nougats

I love bulk bins because they let you buy exactly how much you want. I especially love them for candy because they let me buy just enough to taste for a review. The last time I was at a Wegman’s with bulk bins (my neighborhood one is too small to have a bulk bin section, but that’s a good thing, as it prevents me from gorging on malted milk balls and Albanese 12-flavor gummi bears on a too-regular basis), I picked out four Jelly Nougats by Brach’s.

Thank goodness I only spent about 50 cents on them.

I was naive enough to think that, because they had nougat in the name and because they were white in color, they would taste like actual nougat. And they were so colorful and artsy looking to boot!

Alas, they just tasted like blech. The jelly bits look like they should be fruity, and they kind of are, but not really. They mostly tasted of sproingy sweetness.

The nougat had a persistent chew that was soft and not at all sticky. It tasted a bit floral and fruity, but mostly it was just sugar overload like whoa. I don’t think it was the sweetness factor alone that made this a spit-out candy for me – rather, I think it was that the sugar lacked any other substantial flavor to back it. Sweet and fruity is okay. Sweet and more sweet is not. One of my roommates called it old people candy.

My roommates enjoyed it, though they agreed with me that it was cloying. I could smell the candies as they were eating them from several feet away, and the smell was lovely, bright, and fruity. Why couldn’t they taste like that too?

For me, it’s a . Save your pennies for something else!

Chocolate + Design

Via Candy Yum Yum, the French design firm 5.5 and the Spanish chocolatier ChocolatFactory have teamed up to give the folks at Mary and Matt a run for their creative chocolate design money.

They’ve got a similar chocolate pie chart that’s customizable, a chocolate bar graph in which each bar is labeled with its caloric content, and my favorite, a nested series of domes of decreasing size and increasing cacao content, finally ending in a single 100% cocoa… bean! Photos and details here.

Wei of Chocolate – Vegan Dark Chocolates

Apparently my distaste for Rochester winters has been, well, apparent. I recently got an email from Lisa Reinhardt, a University of Rochester grad, telling me that she sympathized about Rochester winters.

Fortunately for the sake of the blog, she was also emailing to tell me that she was the owner of Wei of Chocolate, a chocolate company that makes organic, vegan, and Fair Trade chocolates, and would I like to try some free samples, two of which would be chili chocolate? Yes, please!

I got a bag of 6 dark chocolates with very (for lack of a better word) yoga-y names and claims to bring you warmth, insight, joy, etc. According to the company website, Wei of Chocolate will help you “take your experience of chocolate to a whole new level by experiencing the finest quality organic chocolate, infused with intentional blends of deliciously complex flavors designed to balance body and mind.”

Continue reading “Wei of Chocolate – Vegan Dark Chocolates”

Essential Candies List – 1-55

To kick off 2010, Cybele from Candy Blog posted an exhausted list of the 110 Essential Candies for Candivores. She suggested that we repost it with what we’ve had checked off and add our thoughts. Great idea! But so much work…

I’d been putting off doing so because Cybele’s list was so intimidatingly thorough, but I’m ready now! 1-55 will post today, while 56-110 will post next Friday. Yes, it was so much work that it warrants two days’ of posts for me, and on review days, no less.

After the jump, I’ve bolded the ones I’ve had, added random thoughts throughout, and sprinkled in some pictures.

Continue reading “Essential Candies List – 1-55”

Economy Candy in the NY Times

Economy Candy (of which I am a huge proponent) gets a shout out in a NY Times’s 36 hours in NYC article. I hope it brings them tons of extra customers; they deserve them!

Here’s the blurb from the article:

“A giant Gummi rat. How New York is that? You can pick one up to take home, along with giant pixie sticks (99 cents), wax fangs, Mallo Cups and classics like Hot Tamales and Mike and Ikes at Economy Candy (108 Rivington Street; 212-254-1531; Crammed with what seems like every candy bar ever known, plus hard candies by the pound, nuts and dried fruits, it’s a playground for the sugar-obsessed.”

A personal tangent after the jump… Continue reading “Economy Candy in the NY Times”

Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans

I was just in Target this past weekend and saw that they already had an endcap of Easter candy on display. It’s still January! Ridiculous as that was, it at least served the purpose of reminding me that I’ve been sitting on some jelly bean tasting notes from last Easter-ish (ish because I bought them after Easter. I love post-holiday candy sales!)

There’s nothing on the packaging of Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans to indicate that they’re holiday-specific. I think I caught them on sale post-Easter, though, so I’m not sure if these guys are available year-round. They’re made by Brach’s, and they boast of containing loads of vitamin C and real fruit juice.

I find the real fruit juice/pectin claim amusing, as they come in colors that are definitely not found in nature. “Hawaiian Punch” (dark red) has a deep artificial red candy flavor. I can’t remember what Hawaiian Punch the drink tastes like, but I imagine it’s similar to that.

“Fruity Juicy Red” (pinkish red, I think) just tastes generically of red hard candy, while “Green Berry Rush” (kiwi green in the back) tastes mutedly of green apple.

“Berry Blue Typhoon” (psychedelic blue) tastes of gnarly artificial blue raspberry flavors. “Lemon Berry Squeeze” (not pictured but probably yellow) had a sweet and tart lemon flavor with a cherry finish.

“Mango Passionfruit Squeeze”  (yellow-orange with orange speckles; the prettiest ones, I think) had a decently authentic mango finish to the flavor, with that slight seediness that you get as you eat closer to the pit. Finally, “Orange Ocean” (orange) just tasted sweetly of muted citrus.

While there was nothing wrong about these guys, per se, I found them generically sweet with flavors that were too weak to hold up in the strong Easter jelly bean market (check out a 2008 round-up from Candy Addict; Cybele from Candy Blog has also reviewed loads of them).

Hawaiian Punch Jelly Beans get an O, with the caveat that it looks like they may have been reformulated since I bought them – Candy Warehouse has a photo of them with far more speckles than mine had – so they may taste different now.

L.A. Burdick now in Manhattan

I have been to Boston/Cambridge, MA at least a half dozen times, always with the intention of visiting L.A. Burdick‘s brick and mortar cafe. I loved the box of their truffles that my former associate master gave me, so it’s not that I lack the motivation to visit (or maybe I do lack motivation because I know that I visit Boston fairly often?).

Well, now they’ve opened a shop in Manhattan, so now I can really want to but somehow manage to not visit them the next time I’m in New York City. I’ll just look at and drool over Serious Eats’s Ed Levine’s photos and descriptions instead.

TCHO Chocolates – Re-review

After I noted TCHO’s off packaging, they sent me fresh samples with their new packaging. In the months since my roommate bought the pack that I first tasted, TCHO had switched from an inner paper liner (which probably contributed the nasty paper flavor) to an inner foil liner.

It seems like they’ve also reformulated the chocolate a tad as well. This time, only the Chocolatey was 70%. Citrus was 67%, Nutty was 65%, and Fruity 2.0 was 68%. The latter three are made from organic beans, and “Nutty” and “Fruity 2.0” are fair trade as well.

The etchings on the mold have changed too – I much prefer the current line graph markings.

“Citrus” tasted dusky at first, then became brightly sweet and fruity/citrusy. It totally hit its mark.

“Fruity 2.0” had a darker sweetness to it. It tasted of cherries and strawberries and carried a brightly fruity finish. There was no duskiness, and the bar had a thin melt.

“Chocolatey” was by far my favorite. It was initially sweet, then gave way to a strong nuttiness with a fruity undertone. It had a thicker melt and mouthfeel than the other bars.

Nutty had a darker nuttiness than the Chocolatey did – more reminiscent of hazelnuts, I think. It had a strong, jammy sweetness that lingered in the finish.

I greatly enjoyed this set of TCHO bars. A little packaging change made a huge difference! I’m impressed at how well the bars hit their flavor marks. These would be great bars to use for a chocolate tasting party. They’re all similar percentages, yet their flavor profiles are distinct and easily discernible. Chocolatey gets an OMG, while the others get OM.