Guest Post: SladCo Traditional Milk Chocolate With Large Inclusions With Raisins And Hazelnuts

Here’s the last of this week’s reviews from Neil, my globe-trotting expat friend. ~Rosa

No joke about the title; that’s what the first bit of the English translation of this bar says. SladCo, or Slad & Co., is the Russian brand that produced this, I later learned. I would have gladly paid a few tetri more for this bar from the Tbilisi supermarket I found it in if the manufacturer would have put that money to buying more punctuation!

Once again, I was confused by the pictures on the label. Currants? Some kinds of berries? Oh, those are grapes? Thanks, English text sandwiched  in between seven other languages spoken around the Caucasus!

The bar was sectioned into 24 pieces, each imprinted with the Russian for “Slad & Co”. Mostly, it looked to be uniform chocolate, but a half dozen black specks were on the surface, hinting at the fruit inside. Pieces broke reasonably well along the scoring, with minimal shattering.

The chocolate was mild but not quite milky, and the nut pieces were small but noticeable “inclusions”. The raisins, on the other hand, were whole and therefore prominent and quite pleasing.

Every component of this candy worked well with every other component. There was a bit of a dry finish after multiple pieces, but that could just be my dehydration talking.

I wish I’d picked up a good bit more of this. I found it far too easy to munch through much of the bar on first tasting it, and I feel like it’d be a nice after-dinner treat, perhaps with some cheese or in the winter.  I’m happy to give this an OM.

Guest Post: Barambo Lenten Dark Chocolate with Dried Candied Lemon Peel Cubes

I’ve turned reviews this week over to Neil, my globe-trotting expat friend. ~Rosa

Easily the most exotic trip I’ve taken in a while was to the Republic of Georgia, where I visited a childhood friend of mine for a long weekend and saw some absolutely breathtaking scenery. I, of course, was incredibly curious about the local food and demanded several trips to grocery stores in Tbilisi. Today I’ll share with you one of my finds.

All I knew of this chocolate bar when I selected it was that it had lemon in it. Fortunately, once I got it home and flipped it over, I was able to read that it not only had Georgian text, but also Russian and English descriptions of what it was. The Barambo corporation apparently markets to various linguistic groups.

The phrase “Do[sic] not contain product of animal fat” made me think that the “Lenten” in its name means Lent-as-in-the-period-before-Easter, rather than some other mysterious mistranslation. Any readers with experience in this?

The bar came divided into 12 chunks, and I broke half of them off without much difficulty, but some messy breaking patterns resulted. This revealed tiny chunks of what presumably was lemon peel. To call them cubes would require some magnification.

While the chocolate was passable and unfortunately definitely tasted like it contained no animal fat, the lemon was an even more puzzling addition. Some chunks were harder to chew than others, leaving one to wonder if they were even edible.

On the whole, it felt like a bit of a novelty. I could see having one chunk alongside a cup of coffee or tea. More than that seems just not that fun. I had a second chunk after the first, and it grew on me a bit, so I’ll give this an O.

Guest Post: Toggenburger Kägi-Fret

Hey guys! We’ve got a couple more reviews from Neil this week. I actually got one of these bars at the Expo but haven’t tried mine yet.

My most recent trip was to Switzerland, where I was very excited to pick up some chocolate treats to review for you all… and, yes, lord over those of you without access to them. On top of the stack was the Toggenburger Kägi-Fret. I can’t remember if I picked this up at a souvenir shop or a grocery store, but I’m pretty sure it was available through much of the Alpine region I was in.

The picture on the package made me think of Kit Kat bars, which are in, I suppose, my top 5 favorite “standard” candies (My officemate will tell you they’re in the top 2 things I most frequently purchase from the office vending machine).

It turns out they’re like Kit Kat, sure, but with more delicate wafers and a thinner, more luxurious milk chocolate. I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of what other childhood treat they’re like an upgraded version of, and I’m blanking. Something from Little Debbie, perhaps?

Note from Rosa: Maybe Nutty Bars without the nutty?

Either way, these are simply wonderful. The chocolate melted a little bit too readily in the May heat. That just meant I got to lick it off my fingers and the wrapper. I wished I’d picked up a few more of these.  Definitely an OM.

Au’some Giga Bites

Au’some was promoting these Giga Bites at their booth at Sweets and Snacks. I got free samples of one of each flavor to review.

Au’some is trying to market these as “Your social candy.” The back has a link to their Facebook page, and the name and flavors are techy-tinged.

All of the candies were little nuggets, like their fruit nuggets (which I love), but with the addition of a crunchy shell. The shell shattered upon first bite, and they then have a slightly grainy, non-sticky chew.

Banana Bandwidth was supposed to be “strawberry, banana & blackcurrant.” The first bite of the mustard yellow nuggets was strongly artificial banana-flavored with lots of floral, bubble-gummy notes.

The flavor then mellowed and sweetened, then gained a mild dark acidic note from the blackcurrant. I really hate artificial banana candies, but the rest of the flavors were decent.

Binary Berry was “blueberry, raspberry, & wild berry” with pink/purple nuggets. This one just tasted like artificial generic mixed berry, with deep red fruit flavors. It reminded me of a raspberry + cherry Popsicle.

I thought it a bit too sweet, and it had an unpleasant wheatiness or pasty starchiness to the finish. That general feel was in all the flavors, but it was most pronounced in this one.

Short Circuit Citrus was “lemon, orange, & apple” and was a rusty brownish-reddish-orange color. It started with a nice citrus sweetness before picking up a bright citrus tartness and ended with an apple juice finish.

These were my favorite of the bunch because I really like citrus-flavored things, but I think all of these Giga Bites paled in comparison to Au’some’s Florida’s Natural nuggets. The Florida’s Natural candies have brighter, more intense flavors that I found more enjoyable.

And really, I think they’re trying a little too hard to position these as “social media” candy, though I think the little robot mascot is cute. An O.

Zeke’s Butterscotch + Giveaway

I received this box of Uncle Zeke’s Old Fashioned Cracked Butterscotch, or Zeke’s Butterscotch, for short, as a free sample from the manufacturer. My only experience with butterscotch has been with the little gold Brach’s discs, and I didn’t know what to expect from the Old Fashioned moniker.

The butterscotch came in shards of various sizes dusted in powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to itself. It smelled liked buttery caramel with scorchy notes that were almost sour in their intensity.

The texture was really interesting – there was both a button and a sticker on the packaging with the instructions, “Suck, don’t chew!” I’m still deciding what I can do with my button for maximum humor impact.

The pieces were hard and, if broken sharply, would cleave with a smooth break. Once it warmed up in my mouth, however, it took on a stiffly pliable texture that increasingly softened as it warmed and melted.

It was just like a Now and Later in texture. If I had tried to chew it, it definitely would’ve gotten cemented in my teeth.

It had a round, buttery sweetness to it, with scorchy undertones in the finish. The flavor is reminiscent of Werther’s Originals but with a bit more complexity thanks to the high quality of the ingredients (real butter, pure cane sugar, and molasses) that went in it. It was definitely a far cry above the disc version.

This was an unusual and tasty treat to be slowly enjoyed in small doses. I sprinkled some in a recent batch of brownies that I made – SO GOOD! An OM.

If you’d like to try these for yourself, Zeke’s is letting me give away a box to one lucky reader. Leave a comment on this post about what I should do with my “Suck, don’t chew” button by June 13, 11:59 PM EST (let’s keep it PG-13, please). Make sure you put a working email address in the email field. Only I’ll be able to see it, and I’ll only use it to contact the randomly select a winner. U.S. readers only please.

And if you don’t win this giveaway, keep an eye on their Facebook page. It looks like they do giveaways through different blogs on a fairly regular basis.

Candy Probably Doesn’t Make You Fat

According to a study in Nutrition Research, “candy consumption was not associated with body weight measures, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or metabolic syndrome” in a sample of over 15,000 adults. In fact, some health markers like BMI and waist circumference were lower in people who eat candy than people who don’t.

The National Confectioners’ Association loves this, of course. Check out their quote at the bottom of this press release: “Candy is a unique treat that can provide moments of joy and happiness. Consumers should feel confident that candy, consumed in moderation within a diet balanced with regular physical activity, can be part of a healthy, happy lifestyle.”

Sulpice Chocolat – Gingembre

Sulpice Chocolat had a booth at Sweets and Snacks with some gorgeous samples laid out. I was trying to limit how much sugar I actually consumed on the show floor, so I was happy when Sulpice agreed to mail me a free sample bar to review at home.

I got the Gingembre, which was “crystallized ginger, lemon essence, toasted and salted macadamia nuts” in 55% dark chocolate. Like all of their bars, it came molded into fifteen connected capsules handpainted with pretty splatters of colored chocolate.

I expected it to be a filled chocolate bar, due to the way it was segmented into pods. Instead, those pods were solid chocolate. Though the bar broke cleanly along its segments, the thicker pods had a softer break when I bit into them.

The chocolate had a smooth and spicy melt that finished with a nice cocoa duskiness. Its flavor was dominated by strong ginger notes. The bite of ginger flavor was there without the painful burn that can come with true ginger.

The lemon essence added a bright, sunshiney overtone. Had I not known that it was in the ingredients, I would have chalked its flavor up to extra fresh ginger. It really serves just to amp up the ginger flavor.

The macadamia nut bits were tiny and sparsely scattered throughout the bar. They added a light crunch and toastiness that cut through the sweet chocolate. I didn’t notice any textural differences that would have been caused by physical bits of crystallized ginger.

I found this bar to be quite enjoyable – lovely on the eyes and the palate. The physical presentation would make it good for gift-giving. An OM.