Sanders Potato Chip Chocolate Bar

I got this Sanders Potato Chip Chocolate Bar in my free swag bag at Sweets and Snacks. The chocolate and potato chip combo has been dancing around the edges of trendy foodism for a while now, but seeing it in a  brand like Sanders that has fairly wide distribution (they’re sold at Duke’s hospital gift shop) was still a bit of a surprise.

The bar was described as “solid milk chocolate covering bits of salty chips.” The chips depicted on the packaging looked like plain Ruffles-type chips: your standard salted, deep-fried, ruffle-cut chips.

I generally don’t care for such plain chips in my snacking, but I was happy to eat them buried in chocolate. The ruffle-cut style should have been a good choice too, as they tend to be more substantial than their regular straight-sliced brethren.

The bar itself was molded so that it was lightly scored into segments. Though the top was smooth, little bits of chips were visible if you turned the bar over.

The milk chocolate was creamy with a dusky finish and a slightly sour tinge. The crunchy bits of chips added some texture to contrast with the creaminess…

but they didn’t contribute enough flavor! I wanted more potato-ness, more starchiness, and definitely more salt. Salt + chocolate is a great combination, and chocolate-covered potato chips are a great sweet and salty snack, but Sanders take was underwhelming.

It needed to push the envelope more on the potato chip side. The potato chips were the selling point here, and that point was far too tentatively executed. An O, and a lost opportunity.

Chocolove – going Southern and local for inspiration?

Last week’s news post was about regional American candies. Today, I’m sharing a Serious Eats post that suggests that Chocolove’s new bars,  Peach & Pecan and Salted Peanut, were crafted with a focus on the local specialties of Georgia.

While the former definitely sounds Georgian (what’s more associated with Georgia than peaches, or more southern than pecan pie?), I’m a little more dubious about the latter, as peanuts and chocolate aren’t exactly a new combination. Still, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for these new bars in stores, regardless of their original inspiration.

Guest Post: Haribo Turtles

Hey readers! I’m on my last day of pseudo-vacation up in New Hampshire, so check out this post from ex-pat Neil in the meantime. ~Rosa

I had time to kill in a German train station, and I needed some spare change to use the bathroom, so I bought these Haribo Turtles. They set me back 1.90, which seemed reasonable at the time, but in hindsight seems a bit excessive.

Curious about the variety provided, I dumped out all the turtles and counted. My bag contained 4 green/yellow, 7 red/pink, and 13 orange/orange individuals. While much has been written about the distribution of M&M colors, the statistical analysis of Haribo products will need some more data collection before we can do any turtle-tests Flipping the turtles onto their backs revealed a lighter section that I expected to be creamy or marshmallow. Nope! Just regular Haribo Gummi.

I found the orange guys to be sour in a bad way at first, like something that had gone “off”, rather than something naturally sour, and not much of any orange fruit taste. Each required lots of chewing, without much flavor payoff.

The red/pink sort were sweeter, again with no discernable flavor, but better overall. The green/yellow endangered population became even more threatened when I found out that they were my clear favorite. The combination of sweet and sour was perfect, exactly what I’d hoped for. A number of citrus flavors really shone through.

These are fun to eat. The filling isn’t as fruity & tasty as the bag promises, but the red turtles are satisfactory and the green/yellow ones are a delight. I’ll give this product an O. May the turtle flavor odds be ever in your favor.

Mars Candy Trivia on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (the NPR News Quiz) is one of my favorite NPR shows. This past weekend, they managed to combine two things I love – NASA Curiosity Engineers and candy trivia – on their Not My Job segment.

The Nasa Curiosity Engineers may be experts on Mars, the planet, but not about Mars, the candy company, so Wait Wait… asks them questions about the latter. You can check out the segment here. I, of course, got 3/3 correct.

Shurms Caramel Apple Soft Candy Chews

One of my favorite Halloween candies are Tootsie’s Caramel Apple pops, so I gladly accepted the chance to review free samples of Shurms Caramel Apple Soft Candy Chews. They were definitely unlike anything I’ve ever had before.

The individually wrapped chews were gorgeous to behold, a thick, luscious looking layer of caramel atop a glowing green translucent square of apple chew. The apple chew sort of looked like Jell-o, but the texture was not at all gelatin-like.

Instead, it was like a fruit pate crossed with a Starburst. It was sticky, but it separated easily when I bit into it. The softness and squishiness of fruit pate was there, but fruit pate’s notable graininess was missing (these were slippery smooth).

It tasted of sweet, candied green apple, like an apple Jolly Rancher or the solid apple part of the Tootsie Caramel Apple pops.

The sweet brightness of the apple stood out nicely against the sticky caramel, which was sweet and buttery with a slightly sour tinge to the finish. I could feel a light graininess when I flattened the caramel against my tongue, but it otherwise was smoothly chewy.

The different kinds of chewiness – the caramel stickiness plus the fruit pate/Starburst hybrid apple portion – was a new sensation that I’ve never before experienced.

I’d give these an O – I enjoyed them enough that I’d grab a few out of a bulk bin, if they were sold that way. Alas, they’re currently not available in stores outside of Michigan, but you can order them online at their website.

Guest Post: Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (Nut Mix)

Here’s another great guest post from my ex-pat friend, Neil. Jealous that Zotter is so easy for him to get! ~Rosa

I didn’t even have to travel out of the country for this one! I found the Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (“Nut mix”) in a new organic gourmet shop in town. I was looking for a cookware store, then discovered that the cookware had disappeared and food had gone in its place. Quite a surprise, but a welcome one.

The packaging made me think it was one of those world music CDs. Perhaps this was intentional. While the bar itself was a disc (is that geometrically possible?), the similarities ended there.

This fair trade, organic combination of hazelnuts, hazelnut nougat, cashew nougat, walnuts, and milk chocolate was a bit broken when I took it out of the packaging. This made the task of figuring out where to start that much easier. I was most intrigued by the center circle.

The milk chocolate of the main disc was very plain and light. While the surprisingly large nut chunks were distributed somewhat unevenly, they were tasty and added an appreciated varied texture.

It turned out that the center disc was cashew nougat! It broke off as though it would be crispy but was very pleasantly creamy. I wished the whole thing had been cashew nougat.

The predominantly boring milk chocolate really underwhelmed though, so I’ll give this whole piece an O. The company has a whole line of Mitzi Blues, so maybe I’ll track down some more. It’d give me an excuse to visit that delicious shop again…

Yume Blush giveaway

Today’s giveaway is a little different. It smells like candy, sort of looks like candy, is inspired by candy, and is even edible! But it’s not candy…

Though it may look like chocolate mousse, it’s actually a chocolate-raspberry flavored edible body butter/massage oil/lip treatment from the folks at Yume Blush. I got a free sample to do a news post and giveaway on.

It smells just like a fruity chocolate truffle and has the texture of a fluffy chocolate mousse, so I’d be careful leaving these out around kids, as they may mistake them for dessert. Apparently they are edible, but I don’t think that means you should be eating them…

Yume Blush is letting me give away one free sample of their product to a lucky reader. You can pick one of their pre-existing flavors or combine two to make your own scented treat.

To enter, leave a comment about the weirdest non-food (or food) item that you or your child has accidentally (or not so accidentally) ingested. I’ll randomly select one commenter to win. Make sure you leave a valid email in the address field (seen only by me) so that I can contact you if you are my lucky winner. US readers only, please, and contest closes at 11:59 PM EST, Wednesday, August 15th. Good luck!

Boyer Milk Chocolate and Butterscotch Smoothie Peanut Butter Cups

I got these free samples of Boyer’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and their Butterscotch Smoothie Peanut Butter Cups at Sweets and Snacks this year. They’re an old school candy company that was founded during the Great Depression.

My cups got a little squashed and cracked by the time I got to unwrapping them. Each package contained two cups.

The milk chocolate of the milk chocolate peanut butter cup had crumbled a bit around the edges. It was extremely sweet and melted thickly on my tongue with a cocoa finish.

The peanut butter center was quite dry and crumbly and turned into a thick, dry paste on my tongue. It had a strong nuttiness to it, which was great, but I also found it overwhelmingly salty – less great.

The sweet chocolate helped some to temper that saltiness, but I still found it to be too salty. The nutrition facts reports 115mg in 2 cups, which doesn’t sound like much, but it certainly tastes like much.

Smoothie Butterscotch was a lighter golden caramel fudge color. Its coating was sweet and creamy and sort of fake-buttery tasting, with little bits of peanuts in the top layer that added a great fresh roasted nuttiness.

The center, however, had the same dry saltiness. Because the butterscotch coating was sweeter than the chocolate, it stood up to the salty center a little better.

I like the general flavor of these treats, and I like sweet and salty flavor combos, but these were a bit too much on the salty. I can’t handle more than half a cup at a time, though I did enjoy the halves enough to give these an O.

Sour Patch giveaway winners

Thanks to those who entered my Sour Patch giveaway contest! My winners are Sarah for her should’ve-been-sweet story, Taylor for a description of something so sour it makes my tongue cringe, and Victoria for her sweet and randomly selected act of kindness. They’ll be getting free Sour Patch candies and t-shirts.

Stay tuned on Thursday – got another giveaway in the works for y’all!

Snapple Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly was promoting their new line of Snapple-flavored jelly beans at Sweets and Snacks. I picked up several free little sample bags while there and later got a larger free bag in the mail from the folks at Jelly Belly.

The five flavors are fruit punch, kiwi strawberry, mango madness, cranberry raspberry, and pink lemonade. While my bag had all five flavors mixed together, they also come in little bottle-shaped single-flavor containers.

Fruit Punch was dark purple. It started with notes of plum, then became slightly tart before mellowing out. I was pleasantly surprised at how it had a distinctively non-Hawaiian Punch flavor.

Kiwi Strawberry was a mottled pink. It started with the spot-on flavor of strawberry, then took on grassier notes of kiwi. This is one of my go-to Snapple flavors, so I know it well. The jelly bean version was more nuanced than the drink!

Mango Madness was orange. It started with a seedy-mango flavor that then took on some slight tartness. It then become sugary sweet and finished with a plasticky note that I wasn’t a fan of.

Cranberry Raspberry was a dark maroon/red. It tasted like lightly sweetened cranberry juice and had a slight raspberry seediness to the finish. That seedy factor ain’t my thing, but it was a nice representation of what you’d expect cranberry raspberry to be.

Finally, pink lemonade was a translucent pink with no mottles. It had a nice mild lemon flavor to start with a bit of tartness and just a hint of zest around the edge before finishing with a cane sugar sweetness.

These were a nice assortment of flavors with the high quality that you’d expect from Jelly Belly. Nothing too exotic or unexpected, but a solid spin-off/brand partnership. An O.

Cybele reviewed these back in April, if you want a second opinion.