Hammond’s Crackle Crunch

This Hammond’s Crackle Crunch bar was a gift from a friend, along with their PB&J Sandwich bar. It was described as “milk chocolate with raspberry popping candy”.

This bar was segmented into 2 rows of little striped domed rectangles. It broke easily along the segments, and the chocolate had a nice snap when I bit into the domes.

The solid milk chocolate bar was studded with little bits of deep purple-pink popping candy. As the milk chocolate melted smoothly but not thickly, the popping candy bubbled and popped against my tongue.

The popping made for a fun sensation, like a jumping bean party in my mouth. Every once in a while, a pop would hit the back of my throat, which definitely woke me up.

The first time I tasted the bar, I thought the raspberry flavor was overwhelmingly, dominatingly artificial and off-putting. Revisting the bar a couple of days later, however, found a more muted berry sweetness that was much more tolerable and let the chocolate’s caramel cocoa flavors come through.

I’m not sure if I just picked an unusually strongly flavored segment on first taste, or if letting it sit opened (but in a Ziploc bag) for a couple of days let the artificial dissipate, but it was much improved/palatable the second time.

Funny that the wrapper promotes the bar as a “classic confection” – carbonated candy in milk chocolate doesn’t strike me as super classic, but I’m not a candy historian. An O.

Okinawa Brown Sugar Candy

My expat friends, Nana and Justin, sent me a bag of Okinawa Brown Sugar Candy in their last generous shipment of foreign candies. At first I thought that making sugar-flavored candy was strange, but then I realized it’s not that different from honey candies or straight up shooting honey sticks.

The prettily matte bag was mostly covered in Japanese. I was able to recognize the character for bamboo on the top right corner, but otherwise I had to rely on the English letters to know what it contained.

The back of the bag described them as “Nature’s blessed ‘Okinawa Kokuto (brown sugar)’ made from sugar cane grown in Okinawa”. I think that makes them a regional specialty.

The candies were individually wrapped in plastic that echoed the bamboo motif of the larger bag. They were smooth flat cylinders, like butterscotch hard candies.

The candies and their melt was perfectly smooth on the tongue, with nary an air bubble to break its glossy surface. The flavor was simple – that of dark brown sugar, sweet with a burnt molasses edge to keep it from being cloying.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed such a simple treat. They didn’t taste revolutionary, but if you’ve ever sneaked a pinch of brown sugar while baking or making oatmeal, you’d enjoy these. An OM.


Hi-Chew Shikwasa (Okinawa Lemon)

My friends Nana and Justin have been having great adventures while living the expat life and chronicling it all in their awesome blog. They’ve been kind enough to send me great candy finds from abroad, including my all-time most popular review: Crunky Nude Balls.

Recently, they mailed me a bunch of Japanese candies, including this pack of Lime Shikwasa Hi-Chew. I originally thought these were lime, but Debby and Nana cleared that up in the comments. A Shikwasa is a tart Japanese citrus fruit with a green rind and golden flesh.

Also, there’s all kinds of fun stuff going on on that wrapper in addition to the Shikwasas. Nana has a great explanation in the comments.

I’ve reviewed a bunch of Hi-Chew in the past. Like all Hi-Chew, it comes in a pack of individually wrapped rectangles. The chew started off sproingy and then softened and became stickier.

These were a pale pistachio green with a white center. The flavor was amazingly juicy and spot on.

It was incredibly sweetly limey and zesty with the perfect edge of pithy bitterness. As the chew went on, the zestiness intensified and took on just a hint of herbal grassiness.

There was no sourness to it, and the sweetness level was perfect – tasty without being cloying – with just the right tidbit of bitterness to set it off.

I couldn’t stop popping these and would change nothing about them. Well, I would change one thing: bring them to the U.S. please! A ZOMG!

Duc d’O Pates de Fruits

A Belgian friend of mine in Rochester was kind enough to remember me on his latest trip back to his homeland. He brought me back a box of Belgian Pates de Fruits from Duc d’O (also available online!)

Pates de fruits, also known as fruit jellies and fruit pate, are much better than gummi candies. They’re usually made from no more than pureed fruit, sugar, and gelatin. The real fruit part is what makes them special.

The entirety of this box was made from pureed apricots plus “flavours” and “colouring”. Interestingly enough, none of these were apricot flavored. Instead, they were, from left to right in the below photo, raspberry, pear, orange, strawberry, and grape.

All of the fruit pieces were made of two half jellies stuck together and rolled in granulated sugar. The pates had a soft, immediate give, while the sugar sand added a hearty grit and crunch.

Pear was golden and pear shaped. It had a great seediness and tasted quite genuinely of Bartlett pear flavor with a slightly sweet and sour finish.

Strawberry was a little red triangle. It was mild and sweet with a lightly floral flavor and reminded me of strawberry preserves.

Raspberry was hard to distinguish from the strawberry. It was slightly darker and had a more mottled surface. It lacked any seedy astringency, though it had deeper red fruit notes than the strawberry did.

Grape looked like a golden version of raspberry. It tasted more like raspberry than the raspberry did, as it had a seedy finish. It tasted of raisins with a vibrant, fruity, slightly sour finish.

Finally, orange was a golden, puckered ball. It started with an initial hit of zesty citrus almost sourness but then mellowed out into a milder, muted orange marmalade flavor.

I wish pates de fruits were more prevalent in the U.S. They’re great, concentrated bites of real fruit flavor, a refreshing departure from the usual fare of artificially flavored and sweetened gummi bears and worms. An OM.

Cranberry Bog Frogs

These Cranberry Bog Frogs have been lurking in my candy stash for a while now. I know I received them as a gift from someone, but alas, I can’t remember who gave them to me. If it was you, thanks!

The box calls them “sweetened dried cranberries and roasted cashews smothered with rich caramel and premium milk chocolate.” They sounded like a New England-y twist on caramel turtles. Perhaps hence the aquatic animal name?

There were three Frogs in my pack. Each was pleasantly starfish-lumpy shaped and decorated with a single dried cranberry. It had a few too many appendages to resemble a frog though – unless it’s the “WARNING! Pollution here!” kind of frog.

The milk chocolate coating was quite nice, with light hints of cocoa and malt. The caramel inside was sweet and creamy with a bit of butteriness. It was just sticky enough to prolong its chew and stuck to my teeth a bit.

The cashews added a bit of crunch, but, as they’re a fairly mild nut, their flavor contribution was minimal. The cranberries were great and added a vibrancy that brightened and highlighted the treat.


I thought these were a great mix of textures and flavors, and the addition of the cranberry was a nice, out of the ordinary twist.

I give them an OM, but with one caveat: there was a $3 price sticker on the box. I don’t think they were $1/Frog good,  but as an “I was traveling to cranberry country and thought of you” gift, you could easily do worse!

Chuao ChocoPod – Picante

Last week, I reviewed 2 of 3 Chuao ChocoPods that I’d picked out at Beacon Hill Chocolates. Today, I’ll review the third, the Picante.

The Picante was described as “spicy cabernet caramel”. The other two ChocoPods that I had tried were solid chocolate, so I was surprised when this one oozed liquid caramel when I tried to snap it.

Alas, I did not get a photo of that glorious ooze. I ate it instead. Sometimes candy deliciousness overwhelms my blogging instincts, I guess.

The caramel was lightly sweet and fruity with plummy flavors. A slight, tingly burn was left in its wake. That caramel was intoxicating with its complexity. If only cabernet tasted that good!

The dark chocolate shell was relatively soft and had a velvety matte melt with a deep cocoa flavor. It was a great match for the flowing caramel and pretty delicious on its own. But really, the caramel was the star here.

All in all, a unique and delicious treat. A ZOMG!

Beacon Hill Chocolates – Part II

On Wednesday, I reviewed 2 of the 5 chocolates that my boyfriend bought me from Beacon Hill Chocolates (BHC). Today, I’ll review the other 3. I’ve saved the best for last!

I’ll start with the prettily swirled gold dome. I couldn’t find this one on their website, so no fancy description. It has cacao nibs and honey, hence the beehive-like look with a cute little bumblebee painted on it.

The chocolate shell was thin with a dark, slightly fruity flavor. It was filled with a thin filling that was quite goopy. It was smooth and flowy, a limpid pool of milky deliciousness, and tasted of lightly amber honey sweetness.

The brown bits that you can see in the liquid center were cacao nibs that added a slight astringency along with a dry, chocolate flavor. This was a beautiful and uniquely delicious treat. A ZOMG!

Heart Passion Fruit was described on the BHC website as, “Exotic passion fruit center coated in a layer of dark chocolate.” I’ll admit that it looked rather tacky with its silly pink leopard print, but its taste was astonishing.

The center ganache was a surprising shade of off-white. The chocolate shell was extremely thin with a solid cocoa flavor.

The ganache was thin and smooth and melted cooly on the tongue. Its flavor was a bold delight – it was extremely bright and fruity, with a citrusy sweet passion fruit flavor that was deliciously and refreshingly exotic. Another ZOMG!

Finally, a Zinfandel-Balsamic truffle that was cutely molded into the shape of a little fish. I love the little stripes of milk chocolate lightness that stand out against the dark chocolate bulk of the body.

Its center ganache was thin and smooth with an earthy flavor of genuine cocoa duskiness. I didn’t notice any specific balsamic notes, but the Zinfandel made itself known through the addition of notes of deep red wine booziness.

I loved this ganache for its depth of flavor, but the best part was the finish. The chocolates earthiness lingered extensively on the tongue and was an absolute delight. Another ZOMG!

Beacon Hill Chocolates has curated a fine collection of fine chocolates. All of mine were winners – even my least favorite of the bunch was good! Kudos to BHC, and to the mystery chocolatiers that made these truffles.

Beacon Hill Chocolates – Part I

My boyfriend recently treated me to a lovely box of truffles from Beacon Hill Chocolates (hereafter referred to as BHC). I will review 2 of them today and 3 more on Friday.

BHC doesn’t make their own truffles. Instead, they sell truffles made by other chocolatiers.

Alas, they don’t credit the chocolatiers in their shop or online store. I recognized some by Moonstruck and Michel Cluizel. If y’all know the original makers of the truffles that I’m about to review, please do leave a comment!

First up is the big rectangular dark chocolate truffle with its sprinkle of coarse salt. It was an Olive Oil and Sea Salt truffle, described by BHC as, “Dark chocolate ganache infused with a touch of olive oil and topped with sea salt. A sweet and savory favorite.

Its ganache was smooth and creamy, with an incredibly satisfying velvety texture. It was deep and dark and dusky, while the salt added flashes of bright sour/salty flavor.

This truffle was simultaneously simple and complex. I could disappear into its depth for days. An OMG.

Gingerbread Caramel was a cute little milk chocolate windmill. BHC describes it as, “Soft caramel flavored with a blend of spices and roasted almonds, inside a milk chocolate windmill shell.”

The milk chocolate shell looked rather grainy but had a surprisingly smooth melt. The caramel filling was thickly runny.

It first tasted of gingerbread spices, mostly clove with a hint of ginger. The initial spice notes then gave way to the lovely complexity of burnt sugar.

There was a slight grit to the caramel, which I thought was tiny bits of spices. Now that I’ve read the BHC description, I bet those were actually tiny bits of almond.

This was a fine and tasty treat but just a skotch on the overly sweet side. An OM.

Come back on Friday for the rest!

Chuao ChocoPods – Honeycomb and Firecracker

I love the idea of Chuao Choco Pods. They’re the same chocolate as full-sized Chuao bars, just scaled down to just 11 grams apiece. Chuao’s chosen to market the scaling down as smart portion control. I say it’s great for candy bloggers who want just small samples!

I picked out 3 Choco Pods at Beacon Hill Chocolates for $1 each. My boyfriend treated and also let me pick out several truffles, which I’ll review later in the week.

The Honeycomb was “dark chocolate, caramelized honeycomb”. It smelled dark and woodsy. The flavor was absolutely lovely with deep raisin notes and a sweetness from the bits of honeycomb.

The honeycomb bits added a light crunch and grit, along with a slight toffee toastiness. It was a welcome foil to the intensity of the dark chocolate flavors.

Firecracker was “dark chocolate, chipotle, salt, and popping candy”. It smelled slightly sweet and smoky with a hint of allspice to the scent.

It initially tasted of cinnamon before giving way to a firey, smoky chile burn that lingered and singed. The afterburn was quite powerful.

The heat of that burn was accentuated by the presence of popping candy, which added the sound and feel of snapping in my mouth. Firecracker really was an apt name!

I really enjoyed both these bars, though Firecracker got a skotch too fiery in the finish. An OMG for the Honeycomb and an OM for the Firecracker.

Where’s the third ChocoPod that I tried? I’m saving that for next week so that I can properly wax rhapsodic about it. Stay tuned!