To be honest, these Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites didn’t sound that tasty to me, but my local Trader Joe’s was promoting them all over the store, so I picked up a bag.
Why not? I like chocolate-covered coconut, and I like mangos. Mangos and chocolate and coconut all together could be good?
The resealable stand-up bag described them as “soft, chewy coconut candy bites with a tangy mango addition, covered in rich, dark chocolate.” The bag smelled incredibly fruity and sweet, almost cloyingly so.
The candy bites were 1.5 inches by 1 inch rectangles that were just over half an inch high. The center was a yellow-hued smoosh of moist, shredded coconut.
The dark chocolate shell was mild with a hint of sweetness and a dryly fruity, bittersweet finish. While it tasted great by itself, it was totally overwhelmed by the coconut mango center. Also, it melted into my fingers as I held it, which was a little annoyingly messy.
The center had the squeaky texture of shredded coconut and the piquant tartness of dried mango. The mango flavor was bright and sweet and dominated the treat; I didn’t get any coconut flavor notes, just texture.
While I liked the chocolate in isolation, and I liked the flavor of the mango, the whole thing just didn’t come together for me. I think it was the texture of coconut without any coconut flavor that threw me off. I have no desire to finish the rest of the bag, so an O.
I love Walker’s toffees, so when my friends Emma and Jason asked me if I wanted any candies from England, I asked for some Walker’s. They brought me this box of Assorted Toffees (and also a box of After Eight thins).
The Assorted Toffees were English cream toffee, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, banana, and eclair. Eclair was in the last set of Walker’s Toffees that I reviewed four years ago, but the rest was new.
English cream toffee had a smooth and creamy melt and a super sticky chew. The flavor was incredibly buttery and sweet with rich, fresh dairy notes.
Plain chocolate had a thin dark chocolate shell. That chocolate’s flavor was on the bitter side of bittersweet, but as I chewed and chewed and chewed the caramel, the buttery golden sweet flavor of the toffee took over.
Milk chocolate was just like the plain chocolate, only with a thin milk chocolate shell rather than dark chocolate. It had just a slight, mild chocolate flavor.
I was dubious about eating the banana toffee since I hate artificial banana flavor. Fortunately, the banana flavor of this toffee, which came from a flavored cream center, was a pretty accurate representation of a real banana, so I could tolerate these (though they weren’t my favorite).
Finally, the eclair toffee was hiding a bit of (probably fake) chocolate in the center. The chocolate was dusky and sweet, with a bittersweet chocolatesque Tootsie Roll finish that toned down the buttery flavor of the toffee.
I think these still pale in comparison to the darker burnt flavors of Walker’s treacle toffee that I love so much. Still, I enjoyed chewing through their sweet buttery flavors. An O for the banana, and an OM for the rest.
The Dark Roca (second from the left) was a dark version of the classic Almond Roca: a piece of chocolate almond toffee coated in dark chocolate and decorated with a few chocolate squiggles.
The chocolate toffee center was lightly sweet with a buttery finish. It cleaved cleanly but then got a bit chewy and stuck in my molars.
The whole thing had a great cocoa flavor, while whole almonds hidden inside added a lovely nuttiness. The dark chocolate that covered the toffee had a great deep dark chocolate duskiness.
I loved the cocoa depth of this treat – from the dark chocolate coating to the chocolate in the toffee, the whole thing was infused with a great cocoa depth. An OMG.
I also picked up Peppermint Roca (dark chocolate decorated with white stripes; lightly minty against the buttery toffee; an O), a Mocha Rocha (toffee studded with bits of coffee beans that gave it a strong, roasted coffee flavor, also an O), and Roca with different types of nuts (I think cashew and macadamia? Each tasty in their own right). The Dark Roca was easily my favorite of the bunch.
I wasn’t planning to do anything (or really leave the house at all) for St Patrick’s Day, but I woke up to find my social media informing me that beloved local establishment Hedonist Chocolate was offering free corned beef and cabbage truffles all day. Uh, what?
Hedonist is only a couple of blocks from home, and I’m not one to turn down a one-off gustatory challenge. Nor to turn down the opportunity to stock up on their phenomenal salted caramels, which are perfect for bribing myself to finish writing projects at work. I picked up an extra caramel in case I needed a chaser for the corned beef and cabbage truffle.
I’m happy to say that the caramel chaser lives on in my chocolate drawer for another day when its services are more urgently needed. The corned beef and cabbage truffle had a thin milk chocolate coating, with an even thinner layer of dark chocolate lining the bottom of the truffle.
The coating easily gave way to the creamy ganache filling, which had a sweet frosting texture with a hit of savory-salty flavor. Much of that savoriness came from little nubs of meat embedded in the filling:
Though the corned beef I’ve had in the past was texturally closer to pulled pork, these nubs were firm and chewy, like bacon. This seems like probably a wise textural choice (though now I am envisioning delicious pulled-pork-truffle collaborations between Hedonist and Sticky Lips BBQ, and ok now I really want that to happen).
The corned beef did have more of a briny flavor that came through mostly in the aftertaste, but otherwise if I hadn’t been paying close attention I might have just assumed it was a bacon truffle. The cute little blob on top of the truffle was candied corned beef, hitting the same delightful sorts of salty-sweet-candy-chewy notes as candied bacon. I would happily have eaten a whole tray of these.
I couldn’t detect any textural evidence of cabbage (again, a wise choice!) but it did contribute a vegetal, garlicky funk to the filling that was more pronounced in the aftertaste than in the initial flavor. It wasn’t actually bad by any means — it was fairly subtle, and I just finished off an embarrassingly large supply of generic milk-chocolate discount truffles from the post-Valentine’s sales so the complexity of cabbage-chocolate was surprisingly welcome.
But I think the truffle would have been better overall if it had just focused on the corned beef, which had plenty of complex savory flavors to offer. As it was, I think some of the smoky meatiness might’ve gotten lost in the sour cabbage aftertaste.
I can’t imagine a more competent execution of this concept, and I consider making a corned beef and cabbage truffle that is not only edible but actually sort of good a pretty remarkable feat. That said, it was still pretty weird. Grading on a bit of a novelty-chocolate curve, and taking into account that delicious candied beef topper, I’d give this truffle an O.
I bought these two packs of Creamy Coconut Patties at the dollar store for – you guessed it – $1 per pack. One was regular/original (“dipped in real dark chocolate”), while the other was key lime (but also “dipped in real dark chocolate”).
Each Coconut Patty was heartily sized, 1.75 inches square, and there were 2 per pack in a cardboard tray. They were like topless Mounds: squares of moist coconut patties with the bottom and sides coated in a thin layer of dark chocolate.
The original had a plain, sweetened coconut patty that was pure white. The coconut was confettied and smooshed together, which gave the whole thing a sushi-like look.
The coconut had a nice texture: lightly moist, soft, squishy, and a bit squeaky between my teeth. It tasted sweet and floral with a strong nutty and fresh flavor.
The dark chocolate component was minimal and mostly got lost in the coconut patty. When I ate it by myself, it was sweet and fruity.
While the patty was great for the first bite or two, the sweetness of the coconut quickly became overwhelming. More chocolate to temper that sugary sweetness would’ve helped, I think.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Dollar Store treat. The original gets an OM, as long as you eat the patties in multiple sittings.
Key Lime was just like the original, only the coconut was a fluorescent lime green. The patties had the same sweetly nutty coconut of the original but finished with a fruity lime zestiness.
The lime flavor paired with the coconut and hint of chocolate was a set of flavors that I found more weird than pleasant. I ate most of the original patties on my own, but I haven’t taken more than a bite of the Key Lime ones. An O for the Key Lime version.
I had been eyeing these trapezoid-shaped boxed of chocolate-covered marshmallows at Whole Foods, but I’d never pulled the trigger. When I spotted a similarly shaped box of dark chocolate covered marshmallows at Trader Joe’s but for a dollar less than Whole Foods’s version, it was enough for me to add the box to my cart.
The box promised “light and fluffy marshmallows drenched in smooth, dark chocolate.” The marshmallows were boulder-shaped domes (not the flat squares depicted on the Whole Foods box).
They smelled sweet and a bit earthy from the chocolate. There was just a thin layer of that dark chocolate, and it cracked when I bit into it.
It tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with a flavor that I found reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. There was also a light graininess to its melt.
The marshmallow centers were foamy with an intense squishiness and a decent chewiness. Their sweetness was bright and had a hint of golden syrup‘s amber sweetness to it.
The dark chocolate covered marshmallows were a tad too sweet for my taste. Other than that, they were decent but on the boring side, and I have no desire to buy more or even finish the rest of my box. An O.
I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, so this week will be all about some new candies I spotted there. We’ll start with the PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar, which Trader Joe’s has smartly positioned as a $1 impulse buy at the cash register.
After Hammond’s PB&J Sandwich bar took a top prize at last year’s Sweets and Snacks, it seemed logical that the trend would eventually trickle down to Trader Joe’s. I’m fairly sure the Trader Joe’s was not an unbranded version of Hammond’s take, as the two bars looked and tasted quite different.
The 1.75oz bar was subdivided into 6 segments that readily broke to reveal a thin sliver of peanut butter that ran through the segment divisions. The jelly component was a red/purple translucent gel that sat on top of the peanut butter layer in the segments themselves.
That goo tasted brightly fruity with a slightly seedy finish. I noticed that seediness because the wrapper promised raspberry jelly, but I’m not sure if I would have noticed that it wasn’t a standard grape jelly.
The peanut butter was perfectly smooth on the tongue and tasted nicely roasty and nutty with a salty hit to the finish. I would guess that it was the same peanut butter from the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles, though who can be sure since Trader Joe’s sources their wares from all over the place.
The chocolate was fine but unexceptional. I didn’t really notice its contribution much, as the peanut butter was the dominant flavor here.
This bar was okay, but I wasn’t super wowed by any aspect of it, and I wouldn’t bother to buy it again. If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan, your mileage may vary, and Cybele gave it an 8/10. I give it an O.
According to the Moonstruck website, the Chile Variado is a dark chocolate that’s infused with ancho and chipotle chiles. In this case, the dark chocolate was a 68% cacao base.
This bar was decorated quite differently from the milk chocolate one. By comparison, the Dark Chocolate Chile Variado was rather plain. It was scored into 8 rows, most of them glossy and smooth, and was stamped in the center with, “Share if you dare”.
The dark chocolate had a brisk, sharp snap and a dry break. It had just a hint of sweetness with a cocoa flavor that was deep and earthy.
The chiles made themselves known by adding a dry, acrid spiciness. The heat started off as an undertone of spiciness, then swelled into a firey blaze that burned in the back of my throat and made my tongue tingle.
This bar was tasty in small doses but quickly became painful in larger, more continuous bites. While this was tasty, I prefer Lindt’s take on chili chocolate. An O.
This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time.
According to Nana, limes are a Kyushu specialty, so it makes sense that they’d have a candy to highlight it. My box of these Kabosu Caramels was generously stuffed with little parchment paper-wrapped squares of caramel.
It was great that there were so many caramels, but when they all spilled out of my box, it was impossible to get them back in.
The pale green caramels felt rock hard to the touch and were initially quite hard to bite into. With a little determination and trust that they wouldn’t break my teeth, I eventually got them to break off with a slight grain.
Once I got to chewing, the stiff chew softened as it melted. The caramel had a sort of grainy texture. It reminded me of a Tootsie Roll, except that it melted more readily.
The candies started off with a creamy undertone, then became brightly sweet with a yogurty lime flavor and a hint of zest to the finish. They reminded me of key lime pie or lime flavored yogurt because of the added dairy feel to the flavor.
I would’ve preferred a more fully fruity candy, as I felt the dairy creaminess diluted the great lime flavor. Still, they were enjoyable and definitely a unique treat. An O.