Bocandy sample – Ptichye Moloko (“Bird’s Milk”) from Russia

Ptichye Moloko was another eastern European treat that I received as part of my free sample of Bocandy, a new subscription treat service that specializes in international candy. According to the folks at Bocandy, “Ptichye Moloko” means “Bird’s Milk” in Russian and is so named because “Bird’s Milk” is a Slavic idiom that means an unattainable gift (when was the last time you saw milk coming from a bird?).

The Pitchye Moloko was a squashed cube (so not actually a cube) consisting of a chocolate shell around a snow-white whipped center. Mine had melted a bit before arriving, so they weren’t their most photogenic by the time I got them.

That chocolate shell was incredibly sweet and a little crumbly. In fact, I caught some crunchy graininess to it, I think because some of the filling’s sugar had crystallized onto the chocolate.

At first bite, the shell was way too sweet and just tasted like sugar to me. After my tastebuds were able to adjust from the original sugar shock and awe, however, some nice coconut and cocoa notes came through.

The marshmallow filling at the center of the Pitchye Moloko was great. It was soft and fluffy in texture, and though sweet, also had a lovely dairy whipped cream note to it.

I hated the first sugarbomb bite, then loved the rest after my tastebuds recalibrated. An OM.

As noted on Monday, you can get a free Bocandy sample if you pay $3.50 shipping. Bocandy is also currently running a giveaway of 3 year-long subscriptions.

Guest Post: SladCo Traditional Milk Chocolate With Large Inclusions With Raisins And Hazelnuts

Here’s the last of this week’s reviews from Neil, my globe-trotting expat friend. ~Rosa

No joke about the title; that’s what the first bit of the English translation of this bar says. SladCo, or Slad & Co., is the Russian brand that produced this, I later learned. I would have gladly paid a few tetri more for this bar from the Tbilisi supermarket I found it in if the manufacturer would have put that money to buying more punctuation!

Once again, I was confused by the pictures on the label. Currants? Some kinds of berries? Oh, those are grapes? Thanks, English text sandwiched  in between seven other languages spoken around the Caucasus!

The bar was sectioned into 24 pieces, each imprinted with the Russian for “Slad & Co”. Mostly, it looked to be uniform chocolate, but a half dozen black specks were on the surface, hinting at the fruit inside. Pieces broke reasonably well along the scoring, with minimal shattering.

The chocolate was mild but not quite milky, and the nut pieces were small but noticeable “inclusions”. The raisins, on the other hand, were whole and therefore prominent and quite pleasing.

Every component of this candy worked well with every other component. There was a bit of a dry finish after multiple pieces, but that could just be my dehydration talking.

I wish I’d picked up a good bit more of this. I found it far too easy to munch through much of the bar on first tasting it, and I feel like it’d be a nice after-dinner treat, perhaps with some cheese or in the winter.  I’m happy to give this an OM.

Russian Candies IV

More reviews from the ginormous box of Russian candy sent by my friend Leslie nearly a year ago. Don’t worry; the tasting was done back when they were more fresh out of the box (though I still have a few remnants of her box left).

Candy “Korovka”(Little Cow)

What I called “Cow Caramel,” this was caramel-flavored candy that tastes of mildly sweet caramel but has the texture of something completely different. It was grainy and broke up in my mouth, almost like a fudge, but not as creamy. The taste/texture disparity threw me a bit, and I found it overly sweet. An O.

“Ptich’ya slast” (Bird’s Enjoyment) and “Raiskaya Penka” (Heavenly Song)

This candy was WEIRD! It had a spongy marshmallow center surrounded by chocolate shell. The texture of marshmallow is terrible! The red version (left) had a weird aftertaste – definitely not of vanilla – that made me feel ill. Like nauseated ill. There were these weird sugar granules between chocolate and marshmallow that didn’t help matters. I don’t know if those were supposed to be there or if they were a product of the various temperature changes this candy went through.

The brown-checked version (right) was slightly better. The texture of the marshmallow was less spongy, but it still fell short of being pillowy. Thankfully, this had no weird aftertaste and no sugar grains, but I still didn’t enjoy it. Another O.

Mocha Hard Candies

These individually wrapped lovely hard candies had gorgeous light and dark brown swirls, like a Cream Saver. The coffee taste was strong and definitely present, but it wasn’t at all bitter. Also like a Cream Saver, the candy had a light, creamy finish. It cleaved cleanly, which of course meant I was chomping it to death. I’m not a big fan of coffee flavored candy, but my mother is, and she’d love this. An OM.

Russian Candies III

For some reason, this post disappeared after I wrote it the first time. It was originally supposed to publish after Russian Candies I and II but instead published as blank nothingness (much to the disappointment of Leslie, who gave me the candy in the first place). Fortunately, I still have my tasting notes, so I can recreate the review.

Dove Bitter Chocolate with Lemon Peel and Coffee

I think Dove really needs to rethink the packaging on this one, as I noticed neither the lemon nor the coffee on the box. The coffee bean blends right into the chocolate, and the lemon looks like it’s just an extension of the yellow satin. What if some poor little Russian child or Russian tourist who can’t read Russian mistakenly bought this? He or she would be in for a flavor surprise.

All that being said, the flavor combination of chocolate, lemon, and coffee worked better than I thought it would. The bar had a crisp snap to it (and a slight bloom, but hey, it flew from Russia to Ohio to Texas to Connecticut. Stuff happens), probably because it’s quite dark, and little bits of grit from the coffee beans and dried lemon bits.

Upon first bite, the lemon flavor really smacks you in the taste buds. It tastes like super sweet candied lemon zest at first, then gives way to a coffee finish with a slight bitterness to it. It’s an interesting flavor combination that some of my friends loved, but it wasn’t quite for me. An OM.

Spartak Elite Dark Bitter Aerated Chocolate (72% cacao).

Leslie calls this one “exotic dictatorship chocolate” because it was made in Belarus. I really like aerated chocolate because it’s such a unique textural experience, and I was excited to try this one, as I’ve never had a dark aerated bar before.

The bar was quite glossy and dark. At first, it tasted quite dry, and unlike milk aerated chocolate, it doesn’t melt in your mouth very well. The chocolate itself was a bit on the sweet side for dark chocolate and had a slightly musty finish. Also an OM.

Russian Candies II

Part II of many of my series of Russian candies courtesy of my friend Leslie. This week will be Russian candy week, but the series will extend beyond that.

Red October’s Iris Kis-Kis

On these Leslie writes, “My dictionary calls iris ‘taffy,’ but I’m not sure that’s quite accurate… Kis-Kis means ‘Here, Kitty Kitty.'”

I called these candies cat caramels in my notes, so Leslie has a point when she says they’re not quite taffy. They do have the texture of taffy, as it cleaves but is also sticky and chewy. In fact, the more you chew it, the stickier and chewier (and more stuck in your molars) it gets. It tastes like molasses, with dusky sugar flavors without any overt bitterness. An OM for this tasty treat that Leslie likes to buy at the open air market and eat on the way home.

RotFront’s “Slavyanskii Prostor” (Slavic Lands)

I’m guessing that RotFront in Russian doesn’t have the same meaning as it does in English. Apparently, no one Leslie knows could tell her what this is made out of, but they all love it.

It looks like a Tootsie Roll, but it’s completely different. Instead of being chewy, it’s grainy and breaks apart in the mouth. The flavor is pleasantly nutty and reminds of the Chinese crumbly peanut candy from my youth. Leslie thinks the nuttiness may come from sunflower seeds, but she’s not sure. I can’t figure it out either, but I still liked it. An OM.

Ryskie Optima

These are actually Polish, so Leslie doesn’t know what the name translation would be. The candy is basically just sesame seeds in a sugar glaze. It looks like it would be brittle but is actually chewy and did a fine job of sticking in my teeth. I enjoyed the toasted sesame flavor, which is quite strong, and gave it an OM. I think there’s a Chinese candy that’s similar to this.

Russian Candies I

My friend Leslie was kind enough to mail me a giant box full of Russian candy back in December, and I’ve since been slowly tasting my way through everything. Candy blogging, at least the way I do it, is a Sisyphean task, only I get to eat lots of sweets instead of pushing a boulder around. I know, I know. My life is so hard. Here’s the first of my long overdue, many-part series on Russian candies.

First up, a series of what Leslie calls “the heart and soul of Russian candy, with its fake chocolate glaze and weirdly-folded, artistic wrappers. There are several other varieties… Bizarrely, all of them come from different candy factories all over Russia. The wrappers are always the same color… and the artwork is always similar. Apparently there’s no trademarking going on.”

Red October’s Mishka Kosolapy/Pigeon-toed Mikey (the affectionate name for bear cub) – Dark “chocolate” covered crisp innards topped and bottomed with a stale wafer. I don’t know if they’re usually stale, as they’d been sitting around for a long time before I got to tasting them. The innards were made of a sugary, slightly chocolatey solidified paste of some sort that gave it a sweet finish.

Babaevskii’s Belochka/Squirrel – The same dark “chocolate” shell around a crumbly filling composed of chocolate and hazelnut (I think; it could have been pistachio) bits. Also a sweet finish.

Mikey in the North – The same dark “chocolate” shell and paste of Pigeon-toed Mikey. In this version, the wafers completely box in the filling, so the overall candy is both thicker (in crunch) and airier (in texture).

Overall, I ate one of each all at once, which was a bad idea. They’re super sweet, and the fillings don’t exactly melt away, so I felt ill afterwards. An O, but on the high side because they get bonus points for novelty.

Sunflower Kozinak

Excuse me a second as I try not to drool into my keyboard just reliving what it was like eating this stuff. It’s like peanut brittle but made with sunflower seeds. Lots and lots of sunflower seeds jammed in very little brittle made the thick bars hard to crunch through, but I still powered right through half the package. I wish it came in thin slabs like peanut brittle, if only to slow down my consumption of it. Simple, delicious, and ZOMG! worthy. I wish I had more and miss it so…

Nestle Nesquick Bar

Leslie calls this “a ubiquitous European candy bar marketed towards children.” It’s a sweet milk chocolate coating over a top layer of white, crunchy… something and sweet chocolate nougat. The mysterious top layer tastes like a wafer but doesn’t have the mouthfeel of one, while the nougat layer is like a more dense 3 Musketeers filling. It’s a little sweet for my taste, so I give it an OM.