Kit Kat WiFi Break

Via Neil, news of an interesting new ad campaign from Kit Kat. Building on their “gimme a break” slogan and taking advantage of our current culture’s anxiety about our constantly wired world, they’ve built a bench in Amsterdam that blocks all WiFi signals, so people can truly take a break.

Photograph by Tim Keen/JWT Amsterdam.

A fun, attention getting idea! The only change I’d make is to have the bench dispense little Kit Kats.



Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I end up spending more money than I mean to. They’re just so good at suckering me into making impulse buys, like this bag of their Dark Chocolate Honey Mints.

The bag was cutely decorated with drawings of bees and beehives. It also boasted that the Honey Mints had just three ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor, and oil of peppermint (and the potential for traces of milk as an allergen warning).

My 7 oz bag had 20 Honey Mints disks inside, each individually wrapped in shiny turquoise foil. They all smelled strongly minty with a sweet undertone.

Each disk was about an inch and a half in diameter. They had a lightly golden peppermint fondant center covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate.

The smooth fondant was effervescent and minty throughout. It started off with a bright burst of initial sweetness and finished with a slightly bitter astringency from the chocolate.

I think this treat could have benefitted from a little tweaking to that chocolate. It was slightly gritty, and the astringency was off-putting when I ate the Honey Mints slowly enough to notice it. A little cocoa butter in addition to the cocoa liquor would have helped with the texture.

Still, Trader Joe’s should be commended for a minimalist, fairly tasty treat that provides a less processed alternative to York Peppermint Patties (in which corn syrup is a big player). An OM.

Homemade Marshmallow Eggs

Easter is a long ways away, but Easter candies are already out at my local grocery store. I think anyone buying Easter candies that early is either has iron willpower or eating it all him/herself.

Serious Eats recently ran a recipe for Bouchon Bakery’s marshmallow eggs. They look gorgeous but also fairly challenging to make. Maybe if you start practicing now, you’ll be ready to serve them when Easter actually rolls around.

Perugina’s Baci White

Baci’s big push at Sweets and Snacks 2012 was to promote their new Bacis Whites, which is how I got these free samples. They were basically a white chocolate-covered version of their regular Bacis, which I’ve previously reviewed.

Regular Baci come wrapped in thick white foil with blue stars, while the Baci White were wrapped in thick blue foil with white stars. A bit counterintuitive that the Baci White came in blue, but oh well.

The Baci White was a dome of gianduja paste, which was made of a dry chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts. The whole thing was topped with a whole roasted hazelnut and then covered in a creamy white chocolate.

That white chocolate made for a sweeter Baci experience, as it tasted of frosting with vanilla undertones. It was definitely a high quality white chocolate, with a nicely round flavor, but I found it to be too sweet.

The treat was sweet and crunchy and nutty. I loved the roasted nutty experience, but I found that I preferred the regular Baci, which were less sweet and more chocolatey than the White version. An O.

Puré Gummies – Grape, Lemon, and Peach

There Puré gummies were another gift that my friends Emma and Jason brought back from Japan. They brought back three flavors: grape, lemon, and “fresh peach”.

Each stand-up bag of gummies was resealable, which was a touch that I appreciated. The gummies inside were heart-shaped, about an inch across, and covered in tart and lightly fizzy sour sand. They had a firm bite and a bouncy chew, which is my favorite texture of gummi.

Grape was described as “grape juice that is sweet sour tasting with the texture of fruit.” The sour coating on the purple gummies was immediately puckery tart.

After the sour coating melted away, the gummy tasted of concord grape juice. Its flavor was genuine and intense, avoiding any hint of artificial cough syrupness that often dogs grape candies.

Lemon was “lemon juice that is sweet-sour tasting with the texture of fruit.” It started off tart with an edge of lemon zest, then became surprisingly mellow and sweetly lemon citrusy, like lemonade.

Peach didn’t get a full description like the other two. It was just labeled “Fresh Peach”. It was a pale yellow gummi that was virtually indistinguishable from the pale yellow lemon flavor (both seen above).

Fresh Peach, after that fizzy sour coating dissolved, was sweet and floral with a spot on white peach flavor. It was so precise that I could even taste the peach fuzz.

These were a fun set of gummies. The fizzy sour sugar was a nice twist, and the gummies’ flavors were genuine and intense. Fresh Peach was my favorite and gets an OMG. I love citrus candies, so Lemon also gets an OMG, and grape was tasty enough for an OM.

Serious Eats writes up chocolate-filled cookies

There can be a fine line between candy and snack/dessert. I generally don’t review cookies, but I have reviewed Pocky and Pocky-like treats. I’ve never reviewed chocolate-filled cookies because they fall into a grey area on the candy to snack/dessert spectrum.

Fortunately, Serious Eats tried a bunch and crowned Hello Panda to be the champ. Koala’s March came in last, which is a shame, as I think they have the cutest Koala pictures printed on the cookies.

Kit Kat Gran Wafer

I’ve often benefitted from friends who travel abroad and bring me back international candy. My friends Emma and Jason recently went to Japan, and Nana and Justin just sent me yet another package, so I’ve got some new Asian goodies in the pipeline.

These Kit Kat Gran Wafers from Emma and Jason came in a box of 10 individually wrapped fingers. The box was way bigger than it needed to be, as it was only half full.

Sad because these Kit Kats were delicious! I would’ve loved to have twice as many in the box.

Unlike regular Kit Kats, the Gran Wafers were totally nekkid. As in missing an outer coating of chocolate, wafers exposed to the world. They were much thicker than regular Kit Kats as well, with five layers of wafer cookie sandwiching four thin layers of deeply dark chocolate.

The crunch of the thick stack of wafers was quite substantial. The layers in between the wafers were made of actual chocolate rather than chocolate cream, giving the whole treat a substantial depth of cocoa flavor.

I loved this extra intense twist on the usual Kit Kat formula of wafer cookies and chocolate. An OMG.

Serious Eats reviews Starbucks Hot Cocoa

Now that winter has sort of hit North Carolina, there are some mornings in which I really can’t get going without a hot drink, and I’m not really a coffee person. Ideally, there’d be an LA Burdick right by my lab so that I could grab a cup of drinking chocolate every morning, but alas, I didn’t get into hahvahd for grad school.

Instead, I keep hot cocoa mix handy. Currently, it’s a box of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, which is okay in a pinch. If you’re curious about how the full line of Starbucks Cocoa tastes, Serious Eats tried them all.

Galaxy Cookie Crumble and Galaxy Orange & Shortcake

Galaxy chocolate is the UK equivalent of Dove chocolates. I picked up a couple of imported cookie-themed Galaxy bars at my last trip to Cost Plus World Market, the Cookie Crumble and the Orange and Shortcake.

Both bars were wavily segmented into 6 imprinted rectangles that broke easily around their bounds. They had a thickly creamy milk chocolate base that was sweet with just a bit of a throat-burning sour tinge at the finish.

Cookie Crumble had gritty nuggets of chocolate cookie that added a slight gritty crunch. The cookie bits were basically black in color, like Oreos, and they basically tasted like the cookie parts of Oreos.

It reminded me of a slightly nicer version of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Milk Chocolate bar, as the Galaxy chocolate base had a much more luxurious mouthfeel and was just higher quality in general. Still, it also gets an O because I found it to be a tad too sweet in the finish.

Orange and Shortcake had larger cookie bits of pale shortbread that visually stood out against the milky brown chocolate. They added a bit of crunch and grit, but not much flavor, as I mostly tasted the orange flavor in the chocolate.

There were bits of candied orange rind in the bar, which brought a nicely sweet, brightly fruit burst of flavor to the chocolate. They were my favorite part of the bar – an unusual and tasty twist that elevated it to an OM.

Marich Premium Chocolates – Double Chocolate Bacon Pretzels and Milk Chocolate Bacon Toffee

Just when I thought the “just add bacon” trend was running its course, I got these free samples of Marich Premium Chocolates‘ newest bacon treats: Double Chocolate Bacon Pretzels and Milk Chocolate Bacon Toffee.

The Double Chocolate Bacon Pretzels were little balls about a half inch in diameter that smelled strongly of smoky meat. Each candy’s center was a crunchy pretzel ball, covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate and a thicker layer of white chocolate.

The chocolate coatings were sweet and creamy with a smoky, meaty undertone. The pretzel center added a great salty, starchy crunch that balanced out the melting sweet chocolate.

I’m torn on how much I liked these. On the one hand, sweet and salty and melting and crunchy always makes for a great taste experience.

On the other hand, the bacon aspect added a meaty aftertaste that was sort of odd. I think I may have liked this better without the bacon aspect. An O.

The Milk Chocolate Bacon Toffee pieces were rounded, flattened cubes that were slightly larger than the Bacon Pretzels. The toffee centers were crunchy and cleaved cleanly

Tiny bits of bacon were distributed throughout the toffee and gave it a bacon-bitty flavor. Those bacon bits could be seen and tasted but didn’t change the texture of the toffee.

The milk chocolate layer was quite thick with a sweet flavor and a creamy melt. It contrasted nicely with the crunchy and salty toffee center.

In this case, I think the bacon gave the chocolate and toffee an extra dimension that elevated the overall experience. An OM.