World Market Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate

This week, I’ll be reviewing a bunch of chocolate bars from Cost Plus World Market’s in-house brand, World Market. Today, I’ll start with the most indulgent sounding of the bunch, Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate.

The big bar was lightly scored into squares, each imprinted with the World Market logo. The back of the bar looked stubbly, thanks to all the strawberry bits in the bar.

The chocolate was nicely tempered with a smooth, dark sheen. Unfortunately, the texture was not as nice as the surface of the bar. Instead, it was dry and rough with a nearly chalky melt.

It had a nice, bright fruitiness, thanks to all the bits of dehydrated strawberry dispersed throughout. They were definitely the real deal fruit. I could feel the seeds crunch between my teeth.

There were also some visible champagne-colored bits in the bar. A champagne flavor come through in the finish with a light, wheaty wineyness.

Finally, the chocolate itself was meh. I didn’t care for its texture, and it lacked complexity and depth. It just tasted of one-note cocoa. An O.

Swedish Bulk Candies – Sura Körsbär and Sura Soda Pops

Here are some more bulk candy treats that I received as free samples from Ingrid’s Candy Shop. I reviewed a couple on Wednesday.

The Sura Körsbär were thick cherry-shaped gummis covered in sour sugar. They looked similar to Haribo sour cherries, except that the Swedish cherry pair was smooshed together, which made them look more… anatomical.

The gummi was extremely stiff to bite into. There was no squishiness to the chew, though it did stick to my teeth.

The sour sugar coating packed quite a hit of tangy sourness. Once that initial sourness passed, though, the treat just tasted generically sweet and fruity.

The sour sting was great, but I wished this had more fruitiness. An O.

Sura Soda Pops were sour gummi soda bottles. With two sura data points, I’m now confident in my assumption that sura is Swedish for sour.

The blue soda shaped gummis were covered in a zesty sugar sand. The gummis’ chew was stiff and non-sticky, with an instant give.

The flavor was that of lemon-lime soda and was quite spot-on. Somehow, the chew managed to finish with a little punch of effervescence in the back of my throat.

I loved these for that effervescent fizz. Flavorwise, they were my favorite treat of the 10 that I was sent, but the texture was a bit off. If they had the sproinginess of the Gellehelon, I would’ve been completely sold. As they are, an OM.

Swedish Bulk Candies – Swedish Berries and Gelehallon

I recently got an assortment of free samples of Swedish candies courtesy of Ingrid’s Candy Shop. They’re based in the EU, but they’ll ship worldwide, in case you want to try any of these Swedish goodies for yourself.

The Swedish Berries Candies were little dollops of red and purple berry-shaped gummi/jelly candies. Their chew was sticky and stubborn and lodged in the nooks and crannies of my teeth.

Red tasted of bright cherry fruitiness. The concentrated fruit flavor intensified as the candy was chewed.

Purple was some sort of currant flavor, I think. It had a deeper seediness with a hint of bitter edge – just a tinge of tannic complexity.

These had nicely strong fruit flavors that were juicy in their intensity. My only complaint would be that they left me picking at my teeth afterwards. An OM.

The Gelehallon was described as “raspberry gele with sprinkled sugar on top.”  It looked similar to the Berries Candies, in that it was a vaguely gumdrop-shaped jelly, but it was quite different in several ways.

For starters, the texture was completely different. Instead of being sticky and chewy, it was sproingy and slickly smooth. That smoothness was somewhat broken up by the crunchy grittiness of its sugar coating.

The flavor was that of a mellow, floral strawberry and brightened by the slightly sour sweetness of the sugar granules. It was nice but unexciting.

The fun texture really made this treat. An O for the pleasure of squeaking and bouncing it between my teeth.

Incredible Candy-Themed Cakes

I love cake decorating shows. Whenever I have access to cable on JetBlue or in a hotel, I always stop my channel surfing on Ace of Cakes (never forget!) or Cake Boss. And while Cake Wrecks’ daily wrecks are hilarious, my favorite posts are the breathtaking works of cake art that are posted on Sundays.

A few Sundays ago, there was an amazing compilation of sugar/sweets-themed cakes, including some great lollipop and chocolate bonbon cakes. Check them out!

Guest Post: Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss Dreamy Chocolate Truffle

Here’s another Euro-chocolate review from Neil! Any readers know if these Cadbury Blisses are related to Hershey’s Bliss in the U.S.? ~Rosa

Hallo! Neil here with another European treat. This one is possibly found in the States, but I can’t recall having seen it there, perhaps because it launched after I moved over here.

It’s the Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss Dreamy Chocolate Truffle, or CDMBDCT. Cadbury ran into some trouble with its original ads for the Bliss line, which makes you question the judgment of some advertising firms.

So there’s a short story behind this particular candy bar that has been in my cupboard for the past few weeks. The short version of that story: I didn’t even mean to buy it. I meant to buy another that I was forced out of purchasing. The long version can be found after the break.

The CDMBDCT came in very elegant purple packaging with some gold highlights, making it seem like a real treat that shouldn’t have been pushed at me as a last-minute add-on at a clearance price, LADY [Rosa’s note: Neil’s indignancy will make sense if you read his explanation after the break]. The  elegance continued with the gold fabric-paper wrapper.

Individual blocks broke smoothly and were quite hefty. Half a block was gone in one bite. An al dente feeling to the outer body and the expected softness of the truffle filling worked well together. The milk chocolate was nothing special, while the truffle’s fluffiness belied its sweetness.

That was all it had though: fluffiness and sweetness. Not much flavor to speak of. “These would make good s’mores,” I thought (Somebody please try this and leave a comment about your results!), but overall, it was not an amazing chocolate bar.

Each block went by quickly. Sadly, this was more out of a hope for it to improve or for my dessert stomach to be satisfied than out of sheer ecstasy. Overall, I really wish I could remember what that other candy bar was that I wanted, so I could pine for its loss properly. I’m going to have to give the CDMBDCT an O.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss Dreamy Chocolate Truffle”

Jelly Bean Factory – 12 Flavor Gift Box

I received a generous assortment of free samples from the Jelly Bean Factory, sent all the way from Ireland. In the U.S., they’re sold under the name Jelly Bean Planet.

I’m under the impression that they’re the Jelly Belly of the U.K. I actually gave the Jelly Bean Factory a brief review when I bought a tube of their candies the summer I was in England.

They come in 36 flavors, which is a lot to cram into one review. For now, I’ll start with the 12 flavors of their gift box: strawberry smoothie, blueberry pie, wild cherry, raspberry jam, English blackberry, pink grapefruit, coconut, sour lemon, banana split, mango, granny smith apple, and tangerine.

The box, as touted on the front, was subdivided into 12 compartments. They were so crammed full of jelly beans that they overflowed into each other.

Compared to Jelly Belly’s near identical beans, these were more irregularly shaped and varied in size. Like Jelly Belly beans, these were flavored in the shell and centers, so they were quite flavorful.

Strawberry smoothie was a pale, spotted pink. It had the mellow flavor of strawberry yogurt that brightened and became floral as I chewed it. The creamy dairy-ness was really a spot-on imitation of actual strawberry smoothies.

Blueberry pie was denim colored. It had deep blueberry notes and a lightly sweet hint of spice. The shell had a pleasant crackle to it.

Wild cherry was the paler of the two maroon beans. It started off bright, then gave way to jammy red fruit notes. I enjoyed it, though I wouldn’t have pegged it as cherry.

Raspberry jam was the lighter maroon. It tasted bright and juicy and had a plummy finish (I double checked against the back of the box; I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it mixed up with the wild cherry).

English blackberry was a deep purple. It had a great bright, juicy sweetness but otherwise was generically fruity to me.

Pink grapefruit had the pale pink-orange coloring of the actual fruit’s rind. It was extremely zesty with a genuine grapefruit flavor. The bitter pith finish was almost too much to bear as it lingered in the finish.

Coconut, a translucent white, was refreshing and tropical. It almost tasted like sunscreen smells – not in a bad way, but that does mean it was more artificial than genuine. It had a nice dairy finish.

Sour lemon was brightly yellow. It had a fresh and zesty initial flavor pop. I wish the brightness carried on further into the chew, but it was still quite nice.

Banana split was a mustard yellow speckled with brown spots. It had a banana flavored overtone that was chased by a bright fruity sweetness that reminded me of the sugar syrup of canned fruit. I usually don’t like banana flavored things, but these were bearable for me.

Mango, orange with red spots, started with a striking seediness that tasted like fresh mangos. It quickly mellowed out, but the zippy seediness lingered.

Granny smith apple was a surprisingly turquoise-tinged shade of forest green. Upon first bite, it had a nice green apple tartness to it. That quickly faded into a mellow apple juice sweetness rather than a real granny smith’s sharp sourness. The finish reminded me of caramel apple pops.

Finally, tangerine was orange colored (surprise!) and had a nice zesty juiciness with a slide bitterness. Overall, though, the flavor was solidly of fresh oranges on the mellower, sweeter side of things.

I thought these were a solid set of intensely flavored beans. An OM.

Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar

I picked up this Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar at Cost Plus World Market, one of my favorite new candy sources. It contained “black Hawaiian sea salt, burnt sugar caramel”, and a 70% dark chocolate.

Like their Blood Orange Caramel Bar, the caramel here was oozy and runny. It definitely made the bar messier, but goodness did it have an intoxicating mouthfeel! The caramel sat limpidly on my tongue and was velvety in texture.

The caramel in this bar was extremely buttery with just a hint of saltiness and a nice smokiness. It paired quite nicely with the dark chocolate.

The chocolate here was divine, as expected from Vosges: it was super dark with a sharp snap and a smooth, matte melt. It tasted lightly smoky and dusky.

The combination of caramel and chocolate was addictively sweet and salty. For me, though, the caramel made this just a hair too sweet in the finish. An OM.