Darrell Lea’s Soft Eating Liquorice

I got these bags of Darrell Lea’s Soft Eating Liquorice as free samples via the manufacturer. According to their PR peeps, they’re Australia’s #1 soft eating liquorice. Wonder if that means there’s such thing as a hard eating liquorice?

They come in four flavors – strawberry, green apple, mango, and original. I told them that I’m afraid of black licorice, so they didn’t send  me the original.

They were way bigger than I expected, about Chapstick-sized. The flavors are all natural, which explains the refreshingly earthy, muted colors.

They were soft, wheaty, and pliable. They were easy to chew but got a tad stuck in the nooks and crannies of my molar.

Strawberry was lovely and sweet, with a round mellow strawberry flavor. I love the purpley-pink color. The ingredients list indicates that it’s colored with black carrot extract. Cool!

Green was neutral colored and just lightly tinged with green. They colored it with spinach extract. It tastes wheatier than the others and veers dangerously close to plasticky territory. The apple flavor is light and just barely there in the finish.

Mango was my favorite. It tasted sweet and peachy with overtones of citrus. Yum!

These are unlike any licorice that I’ve had before. They’ve forever ruined Twizzlers for me (not that I much cared for them in the first place). An O for the green apple and OMs for mango and strawberry.

Schoc Lime Chili

Today wraps up New Zealand review week (here’s day one and two), brought to you by ZOMG, Candy! reader Saskia. And Schoc Chocolates, I suppose, as I’m reviewing a second item from their line: Lime Chili (they spelled it Chilli) in rich dark chocolate.

I’m a chili chocolate addict and love trying different takes on the mix, but this was my first time trying lime and chili and chocolate all together (lime and chocolate I’ve had before, but it was never memorable and/or poorly executed; I thought I’d never had it until I searched my archives). Schoc calls this bar a way to “push flavour with a balanced interactive taste sensation”.

The first thing I noticed about the bar was the scent. It smells just like Rose’s lime juice! In other words, bright, sweet, citrusy, and concentrated.

The lovely dark chocolate was speckled with bits of lime crystals – actually minuscule shreds of zest, I believe – that left flashes of intense lime flavor and sweetness on the tongue. The chili factor brought an underlying burn to the whole experience.

I found this bar zingy and delicious! The lime kept my taste buds alert while the chili burn smoldered in the background, and the dark chocolate tied everything together. I hope I can find a more easily accessible version in America! An OMG.

A final thanks to Saskia for putting together a much appreciated and enjoyed package of New Zealand goodies, and a final plug for Cybele’s Candy Swap forum, where candy lovers the world over can share their favorite candies and find new ones!

Kiwifruit Bliss Bar

Review number two from my box of New Zealand chocolates, courtesy of Saskia (review one was on Monday), is a Kiwifruit Bliss Bar hand made by Bliss Chocolates (note: video plays upon loading Bliss Chocolates’ main page).

I’m pretty sure Saskia purposefully picked a kiwi-filled bar to be representative of New Zealand candy. Sadly, I was not a fan of this bar – though I did enjoy the cheerful green of the wrapper and the translucent green of the inside goop.

The first three ingredients in the “dark compound choc” were sugar, vegetable oil, and cocoa powder. Not a good thing when vegetable oil shows up so high (or at all) in an ingredients list for chocolate. Also not a good thing when cocoa butter never makes an appearance.

It reminded me of Palmer‘s chocolate – poor quality, overly sweet with unpleasant tastes and aftertastes, and just not what I consider to be real chocolate. The green kiwi goop was super sweet and fruity, but I couldn’t get a clear read on it because the chocolate was just so overpoweringly blech.

My apologies go out to Saskia. It’s weird to publicly post negative opinions of gifts people give you. I feel like I sound horribly ungrateful. In fact, I value all tasting experiences as learning experiences, even when I don’t like what I’m tasting.

And I did not like this. The Kiwifruit Bliss Bar gets a sound for its mockolate foul.

Reminder: check out Cybele’s Candy Swap forum if you want to set up your own candy swap!

Schoc Peanut Chili Cluster

Around Thanksgiving-ish, I did a candy exchange with Saskia, a ZOMG, Candy! reader from New Zealand. Quick tip – if you ship internationally via USPS, hang onto the customs form that they give you. That way, if the package you shipped in November still hasn’t arrived by late January, USPS can try to look it up for you. If you threw out the customs form thinking you’d never need it again (like I did), you’re out of luck, even if you have a sales receipt.

Luckily, the package finally turned up at the end of January, right as I was planning to pack and mail another box. Candy exchanges are fun, but international shipping ain’t cheap!

Anywho, Saskia sent me a lovely assortment of locally made Kiwi goodies. Enough goodies, in fact, to make this week all New Zealand reviews! First up is a Peanut Chili (they spell it Chilli) Cluster from Schoc. Check out the firecrackery tag!

They’re straightforwardly described on the website as “peanuts gathered in a dark chili chocolate”. I love the use of the verb “gathered” there. That’s basically what they are, but the simple description belies the complexity of the treat.

The dark chocolate was high quality, with a thick-ish melt and pleasant cocoa flavors. There was a nice initial crunch and strong peanuttiness from, you guessed it, the peanuts. But where was the chili?

Wait for it… There! After the chocolate melted away, the chili punched through with a tingly back of the throat burn. As I took more bites, the burn built up and melded with the chocolate and peanut flavors, as I couldn’t wait for the heat to fully dissipate before chomping up more peanut chili cluster.

A fun twist on my favorite combination of chili and chocolate. An OM.

Quick tip number two: if any of you readers would like to do a candy swap of our own, I suggest y’all check out Cybele’s forum on candy swaps to find a buddy. As much as I’d love to trade candy with you all, it’s too expensive for me to do often.

Candy quick hits – gifted edition

A quick round-up of things that I ate and photographed but couldn’t come up with many words for. If the picture takes up more room than the review, it doesn’t warrant a standalone review. These were all gifts from friends who brought (or mailed) me candy from afar, which is why they’re mostly hard/impossible to find.

Israeli something from my friend Monica (update: According to Candy Addict, it’s a Pesek Zman):

Like a prettier, square-r, tastier, and creamier Kit Kat. Amusing because to me, the words on the wrapper look more correct when they’re upside down. I had to spin the wrapped bar around a few times to remember how it should be oriented. An OM

St. Lucia Rum Fudge from friend and former roommate (which is quite different from a roommate and former friend) Jenny:

I don’t know if it was the St. Lucia or the rum part that made it weird, but it was weird. Instead of being sticky/creamy/gritty like regular fudge, this was dry and sugary. It was supposed to be chocolate-flavored, but to me just tasted like sugar. I don’t actually like fudge (way too sweet for my palate), and I, despite dear Jenny’s best intentions, didn’t much care for St. Lucia’s rum fudge, though I bet I’d love St. Lucia, where Jenny got to go for Spring Break. A .

Australian Cadbury Picnic from reader Hannah (who now writes for Sugar Savvy)

Similar to the British version, but minus the sultanas. The strip of caramel was quite hard and only sort of got chewy once you worked it around in your mouth a bit. The peanuts were plentiful and crisp but could have been more roasty and flavorful. All that plus the dry wafer center made this bar much drier than its British counterpart. I have no notes on the chocolate, which meant it, like the bar, was unremarkable, though the plentiful peanuts would make it a hearty snack. An O.

Turkish chocolates from my friend Ben from his suitemate:

The one shaped like a giant Hershey’s kiss had a thin chocolate shell around creamy but not silky ganache with slightly fruity notes. Those sprinkle looking things were made of chocolate as well. Mine had a slight tinge of mustiness (like it had taken on the scent of a paper towel). I will chalk up to storage and transport rather than to the chocolate and thereby give it the benefit of the doubt. But still just an O for unremarkableness.

I really liked the shape of the one that had bits of pistachio all along one side. It would make for good architectural inspiration, doncha think?

The pistachio studded one was a thin chocolate shell around a nutty paste that was soft and quite velvety. I’m assuming the paste was made of pistachio, though it tasted more of pine nuts to me. The filling is heavy on the palate, so I ate the confection over several days, spacing out my bites and nibbles. An OM.

Violet Crumble

The Violet Crumble is a chocolate bar from Australia. This was in the bunch of candy that Cassie gave me, and I finished it pretty quickly. I also saw it on sale at Economy Candy, where a woman had about a dozen in her basket. I commented on how tasty it was, and she and her male companion both enthusiastically agreed with me.

The Violet Crumble bills itself as crisp golden honeycomb covered in milk chocolate. “It’s the way it shatters that matters,” says the wrapper. These are apparently very popular in Australia, which is probably why it’s possible to find them in the U.S.

The milk chocolate that covers the Violet Crumble is sweet without inducing a gag reflex. The inside is a dense looking crisp that’s actually light and airy, which, true to saying, shatters (cleaves) in a way that’s pretty neat. The texture reminded me of the inside of a malted milk ball, but it dissolves much slower than malt, and when you chew it, it doesn’t completely shatter and disintegrate. Instead, it almost feels like a little will get stuck in your molars. In fact, I learned if you chew a big enough chunk, a little bit of actually does, though it melts away quickly.

The flavor of the “honeycomb” is super super sweet, with a tinge of burnt sugar taste. I usually dislike candy bars that are as sweet as the Violet Crumble, but I found that I could enjoy it a few bites at a time. It’s so unique that it’s worth a try.

If you do choose to save some of your opened Violet Crumble for later, I recommend sticking it in an airtight container or something. My piece picked up a little moisture, which altered the perfect crisp dryness of the crumble, though it was still tasty. The Wikipedia article on the Violet Crumble goes into great detail about how the packaging keeps the bars dry.

I found a similar candy called the Dark Sponge at Economy Candy that’s much, much better than the Violet Crumble. You shall see why in tomorrow’s post.