Jamin Truffles from the Netherlands

These Jamin truffles were a gift from my friend Neil, who’s currently living and working in the Netherlands. He was thoughtful enough to bring back lots of Dutch treats while he was back in the States for the winter holidays.

I think these truffles are billed as Belgian (I don’t speak Dutch, but Belgische is close enough for me to venture forth with that guess). They were log shaped, which does lend some unfortunate visual connotations. I believe they were meant to emulate their fungi namesake.

The outer layer was comprised of milk chocolate flakes, while inside was a paler milk chocolate ganache. The ganache was dry and first crumbled, then melted thinly and fattily.

It was quite sweet, with a chocolate flavor that tended toward the powdered cocoa end of the spectrum. There was a hint of duskiness to it, with a strong sweetness and a hint of fruitiness.

Between the fatty melt and the sweetness, they felt almost overwhelmingly indulgent. They were good upon first bite or two but became cloying after that. An O.

Chewy Atomic Fireballs

When you’re 8 years old, Atomic Fireballs are a mystical candy. They’re intriguing, yet terrifying. At that age, being able to polish off a whole fireball is an impressive task. I was not that impressive as a kid.

Now they come in smaller, chewy form, which makes them much more manageable, size-wise, at least. My 8 year-old self could have used these to train myself up to the full jawbreaker version. I got this fun-sized bag as a free sample from the NCA.

The chewies were about the size of a Lemonhead. No surprise there, as they’re made by the same company (Ferrara Pan).

They had a hard candy shell that cracked when I bit into it. Inside was dense, grainy, and chewy. It was kind of like a grainy jelly bean (the cheap store brand kind), only spherical.

They tasted like chewy Red Hots (also made by Ferrara Pan), all sweet and spicy candy cinnamon. They left a tingly burn on the tongue that was strong and just a tad painful.

They had a vaguely plasticky finish, but it wasn’t too noticeable, as the burn took center stage. I think these may have been even hotter than the original because all that chewing released more spiciness, but I’m not sure…

It’s been a while since I’ve had a real Fireball, so maybe the original’s burn has dissipated in my memory. An O from me, but if you love the original, these are definitely worth a try.

Colby Ridge Chocolate-Covered Caramel Corn Clusters

These chocolate-covered caramel corn clusters also came as free samples from Colby Ridge Popcorn and Gifts (I reviewed their chocolate-covered potato chips on Monday). Their name is pretty self-explanatory: clusters of caramel corn covered in milk and dark chocolate.

Each cluster was comprised of about 4 or 5 pieces of caramel corn. The popcorn was a nice combination of fluffy and crunchy, while its caramelization was thin and crispy and tasted of toffee.

The milk chocolate had a thick melt with notes of caramel and malt, like that of the milk chocolate-covered potato chips.

While the sweet milk chocolate worked okay with the salty potato chips, here without any salt to cut the sweetness, it got a bit too cloying, though the toastiness of the popcorn helped some. It gets an O.

The dark chocolate was the same as that of the potato chips – on the sweet side for dark chocolate, with a light fruitiness. It was better than the milk chocolate version, but it too got too sweet after a few clusters. An OM.

Calorie-free candy that makes you beautiful?

Via the DailyMail, news of a calorie-free candy that’s been available in Brazil for a while and is soon to hit the UK market.

Why all the fuss over calorie-free candy? Because this particular product is supposed to make the candy consumer more beautiful, thanks to its collagen and vitamin additions.

I’m going to go ahead and call b.s. on this one, at least until the double-blind study results come out.

Want candy that makes you more beautiful? Pick a candy that you like and eat it with a smile on your face. Ta-dah! Instant beauty.

Colby Ridge Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips

These chocolate-covered potato chips came as free samples from Colby Ridge Popcorn and Gifts.

They also sent along chocolate-covered caramel corn, which I’ll review on Wednesday, and an impressive assortment of sweet and savory popcorn, which I won’t review because it’s not exactly candy (though I will say that their Jalapeno Cheddar is crazy addictive).

The chips were plain ridged/ruffled chips enrobed in milk or dark chocolate. The chips were salty and crunchy, which paired well with the sweetness of the chocolate.

The milk chocolate was sweet and matte, with malty cocoa notes and a slight caramel tinge to the finish.

Dark chocolate had a clean, smooth snap. It was bittersweet with a mild, dry duskiness and a lightly sweet fruitiness to the end.

These were a great combination of smooth and crunchy in texture and salty, sweet, and starchy in flavor. The milk chocolate gets an OM for being slightly too sweet. The depth of the cocoa flavor in the dark chocolate version made it extra addictive and earned it an OMG.

Little Friend’s Mushrooms – Chocolate and Redbean Chocolate

Today’s review is of chocolate mushroom cookies that I picked up in China. The brand name literally translates to “Good Friend”, but I labeled them “Little Friend’s Chocolate Mushrooms” when I uploaded the photos, so I’m not sure which is technically correct.

They were all over the place in Shanghai, so I bet that they may be available in local Asian groceries/Chinatowns.

At any rate, these were definitely a cute confection. They were little mushrooms comprised of a butter cookie stem with a solid, fluted chocolate cap.

The cookie was nicely crunchy and very lightly, neutrally flavored. The cap in the pure chocolate version was milk. The chocolate was snappy with a lightly sweet and mild cocoa flavor, and its melt was creamy but not thick.

(They may look bloomed in the above photo, but they were actually just a little dusty/scratched from being all in a jumble together.)

While these chocolate mushrooms were fine, they were too mildly flavored and boring for me. I think Meiji’s Chocorooms are way better – Meiji’s version’s flavors are more intense, which makes the mushrooms addictive.

I’ve actually bought several boxes of Chocorooms, but I always eat them before I get around to photographing them for review. I was happy to share the remainder of the Little Friend’s Chocolate Mushrooms with friends, who eagerly finished them. They get an O.

Little Friend’s also comes in a Redbean (sic) flavor, where the cap is chocolate plus red beans. I guess because it’s red beans, the mascot is a girl in pink instead of a boy in blue, though the chocolate cap atop her pink curls kind of makes her look like she’s in drag.

In China, red beans and green peas are common dessert additives. I’m not sure why, as I hate their mushy grittiness, and I feel that the vegetal earthy flavors of beans and peas don’t belong in dessert, but it’s just a cultural thing, I guess.

I found the red bean flavored mushrooms to be unpalatable. The caps tasted of the strong, savory earthiness of refried beans plus the blandly sweet cocoa of the chocolate, which to me just does not mix.

But my vegetarian roommate from New Orleans eats a lot of red beans, and she adored the red bean mushrooms, enough to polish off the box. So who knows – you may not feel like these warrant the that I’m giving them.

Cacao Bean Discovery

From the NY Times, a story of the discovery of a supply of rare Nacional cacao pods that yield especially mellow and minimally bitter chocolate.

It sure sounds delicious and intriguing, but at $12 for a 2 ounce bar and $12 for 3.5 of Nacional chocolate-covered Nacional beans, it ain’t going to be cheap. I can only hope that these special cacao trees will still be alive and producing when I get to the point where I can afford such pricey goodies.

Sour Power Sortz

These Sour Power Sortz were included in my NCA shipment full of free candy samples. Yes, that shipment was over a year agoCandy keeps pretty well, especially in chilly Rochester, and I have a Sisyphean supply of it.

It was billed as “candy straws in 4 different flavors. Strawberry, Apple/Peach, Raspberry/Grape, & Tutti Frutti.”

The straws were stiff, plasticky tubes with long grooves down the sides. All were sprinkled with sugar granules that were brightly sweet and lightly sour.

Red was maybe strawberry? It sorted of tasted like red fruit.

Purple was the Raspberry/Grape. It had a strong seediness with the plastic tinge of red Twizzlers.

Yellow was sweet with just a hint of pear, followed by a plasticky bite. Orange just tastes sweet and plasticky. I have no clue which of these two is supposed to be Tutti Frutti and which is Apple/Peach.

All were too wheaty and plastic-tasting to be palatable. A definite . I’d rather have Sour Punch Straws, which at least have some discernible flavors.

Kinder Contraband

I, at one point, housed and consumed illegal contraband in my home… Dun dun duuuh!

Actually, it’s not as dramatic as it sounds. My contraband was Kinder Eggs, so contraband that you can’t get them on Amazon.com.

Note: Below is a photo of a Kinder Joy, which is similar to an Kinder Egg in spirit.

Why is it illegal? Kinder Eggs are a chocolate shell around a little yellow plastic container with a toy in the center. In the U.S., you’re not allowed to mix food and inedible things, so they’re banned for safety reasons, and, according to this story brought to my attention by my friend Neil, you could get slapped with a $300 fine for bringing Kinder Eggs into the country.

As you can see in the Wikipedia article about Kinder Eggs, there’s a pretty clear divide between what is edible and what is not. Aren’t you glad that our border patrol and regulatory agencies are busy fighting the good fight against contraband Kinder Eggs, instead of wasting it on other endeavors?

At least even Customs and Border Protection acknowledged that the whole situation is pretty ridiculous.