The U-NO was another chocolate bar in my free sample box from Munchies Sweets and Treats. I had been excited about tasting it because I’d never had one before, and I had no idea what would be inside. The shiny silver wrapper touted “rich creamy chocolate,” but it didn’t have the heft of a solid chocolate bar. What could be inside?

I wish I had let that remain a mystery. For starters, my bar looked like an unappetizing wreck when I opened it. Instead of a shiny, glossy, chocolate-covered something, it was cracked and flaking, and much of it stuck to the inside of the wrapper.

I don’t think that was Munchies’ fault; Annabelle’s, which made this, also makes the Rocky Road, which is known to suffer from lack of adequate packaging.

I snuck a piece of this while I was photographing it. I remember it being AWFUL. Greasy and strangely overly fruity.  I had to really psych myself up just to take another nibble for the purposes of this review – I made sure it was miniscule – and yup, still greasy and strangely fruity. Somewhere in there is a nice malty chocolate note, but the U-No is beyond redemption.

It does have a fascinating texture. It’s like someone stuck chocolate in a food processor, added a ton of hydrogenated vegetable oils, pulsed it into a super-fine-grained paste, and formed it into a log. You can almost feel the little fat globules suspended in the bar.

One tiny 1.5 oz bar has 11 grams of saturated fat. To put that in perspective, that’s 57% of the recommended daily allowance for someone on a 2000 calorie diet. The remainder of the bar went straight in the trash, still in the Ziploc bag that I had been keeping it in since I’d first unwrapped it for photographing. I think that’s the candy equivalent of chucking a full Tupperware container because whatever’s gone bad inside is so horrible that you can’t bring yourself to open it and wash it out.

It’s too worthy to inflict on another human being. Pardon the obvious pun, but the U-No is a huge no-no – if anyone ever offers you one, you should scream “No! No!” and run away. Even thinking about eating it makes me nauseated.

Abba-Zaba – Sour Apple

Back in November of 2007, I reviewed the original Abba-Zaba and didn’t much care for it (and also spelled the name wrong). I did, however, note, “Apparently, the Abba-Zaba also comes in a peanut butter-filled apple-flavored taffy, which sounds intriguing. Apples, particular tart green ones like Granny Smiths, and peanut butter are a great combination, so the Abba-Zaba version sounds promising. I probably still won’t like it because it’s taffy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try it some day.”

I was oh so wrong. I absolutely loved the Sour Apple Abba-Zaba, have since chomped and chewed my way through two of them, and wish I had more. It may not sound like much for me to say that I ate two of something, but take a second and think about all the candy that I go through and have stashed away. For me to like something enough to not only polish it off all by myself but also go out and buy more of it, it has to be good.

The peanut butter filling is creamy, barely salted, and could be nuttier. On it’s own, meh. But paired with the bright green apple sweetness of the taffy and YUM! The flavor combination is a winner in my book. The apple taffy tastes just like a green apple Jolly Rancher, so it’s not actually sour. The sour moniker just differentiates it from the smoother sweetness of non Granny Smith apples, I guess. The taffy cleaves nicely when you break it, is pleasantly chewy when you chomp on it, and slowly melts in the mouth if you have the patience to do such a thing. I personally don’t.

I think the Sour Apple Abba-Zaba makes a great study snack. It’s not too unhealthy, must be eaten slowly, and tastes great. An OMG.

Annabelle’s Rocky Road

Annabelle’s Rocky Road is a retro candy that’s easily distinguishable by its bright red wrapper. I first read about Annabelle’s, who also makes the Abba Zabba and the Big Hunk, in Steve Almond’s Candy Freak. The wrapper promises milk chocolate coated marshmallow with cashews, which I was excited about, as it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate covered marshmallows.

The Rocky Road’s flimsy wrapper did nothing to protect the bar inside. As you can tell in the photo below, the chocolate coating was broken into bits. They stayed adhered to the marshmallow for the most part, but enough tiny pieces of chocolate fell off as I unwrapped the bar to be an annoyance, mostly because such tiny bits melt easily and make a mess.

The cashews turned out to be miniscule bits mixed in with the chocolate that sat on top of the bar. They were hard to make out in texture or taste and didn’t add much to the bar. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as I’ve previously found cashews to be too weakly flavored to hold their own in chocolate confections.

The marshmallow within the thin chocolate coating was nicely light and fluffy with a faint vanilla taste.  Unfortunately, that alone wasn’t enough to redeem this bar for me. An O for the Rocky Road. It was an excellent concept that could have been improved by using a stronger nut instead of cashews to add some oomph. Maybe roasted almonds would have been nice? In its current incarnation, I found it to be rather uninspiring.

Abba Zabba

More taffy (BUY!)? But why, Rosa? You don’t even like taffy! More curiosity, but this time with good reason, for the Abba Zabba (BUY!) is not just taffy – it’s peanut butter-filled taffy! But alas, it was still taffy, and therefore it wasn’t for me.

I first heard about the Abba Zabba when I read about it in Steve Almond’s Candy Freak. There’s something incredibly intriguing about retro candy. On the one hand, it’s got to be impressive to be able to survive for so long in today’s age of the Big Three (Mars, Nestle, and Hershey) candy manufacturers. On the other hand, retro candy usually is only so beloved because people have associated fond childhood memories with what they ate at the time (I’m a psych major; feel free to ask me questions about why that is if you’re curious), and very rarely does retro candy actually taste as good as it seems like it should. But the packing is usually pretty great. Just check out the great checkboard/taxi cab pattern on the Abba Zabba!

I found it odd that they didn’t describe the flavor of the taffy. It’s just described as “chewy”. I couldn’t name it either. It’s just generically sweet. As you can see from the photo, the chewy taffy is sandwiching the peanut butter. The peanut butter is super salty, with a heavy grain. The sweet and savory blend is a pretty great balance.

The taffy texture, however, was just too much for me. It was incredibly sticky, and stiff to boot. I really had to work to wrench my jaw open when I chewed it in my molars. Kind of fun the first time, kind of painful further down the line, and probably cause for filling replacement with enough chewing. An O, with the caveat that people who enjoy taffy would probably enjoy the Abba Zabba. Again, it’s just not for me.

Apparently, the Abba Zabba also comes in a peanut butter-filled apple-flavored taffy, which sounds intriguing. Apples, particular tart green ones like Granny Smiths, and peanut butter are a great combination, so the Abba Zabba version sounds promising. I probably still won’t like it because it’s taffy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try it some day.