Lindt White Coconut

I’m usually not a fan of white chocolate. But Walgreen’s had Lindt on sale, and I couldn’t resist picking up this bar of White Coconut, as I’d never tried it before.

It was a white chocolate bar “with delicate coconut flakes”. I don’t universally hate white chocolate – Trader Joe’s white chocolate chips are great – but I found Lindt’s white chocolate, with its bland dairy sweetness, to be totally uninspiring.

The shredded flakes of coconut were dry and crackly and added a light nuttiness. They tasted artificial but in a muted way. Nothing like coconut-scented sunscreen but still rather fake tasting.

All in all, I found this inoffensive but unexciting. It could have used more vanilla flavors, more toastiness to the coconut – more something! An O.

Milka 2 Chocs

Last week, I reviewed the Ritter Sport Chocolate Duo. Today, I’ll review Milka‘s version of a chocolate duo, the Milka 2 Chocs, which I also purchased in Italy.

The bar itself was nice to look at: lightly segmented rectangles, each stamped with the Milka logo, with a pretty cow-splotch white chocolate pattern that went across the whole bar.

The bar was solid with a soft break and an extremely thick melt. Milka is named after the milk that goes into their chocolate, hence the extreme creaminess to the texture.

The milk chocolate component was sweet, with dairy and cocoa flavors, and pretty well mixed with the taste of the white chocolate. The white chocolate brought along nice vanilla notes, so the spots are more than just for show.

Unfortunately, the bar as a whole also tasted throat-burningly sweet, with a burn that lingered through the finish. Way too much sugar for my taste.

While this bar was nice to look at, I found it rather painful to eat. But because I have a lower tolerance for sweet chocolate than most, I’ll leave the rating as an O. It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not for me.

Ritter Sport Ciocco-Duo

Here’s another Ritter Sport bar that I picked up in Europe: the Ciocco-Duo. Aka chocolate duo (my personal guessed-at translation, thank you very much).

The wrapper also claims, “delizioso cioccolato al latte extra e squisito cioccolato bianco.”

My guess at that translation? Delicious extra milk chocolate and exquisite white chocolate. But that’s just a guess. Probably close enough?

The bar was beautiful – 16 two-toned squares of a logo-stamped white chocolate top on a milk chocolate base. When I first opened it, the chocolate had an okay snap. Then a heat wave hit, and it softened some but managed to retain its shape.

The white chocolate portion had a creamy, thick melt. It tasted lightly floral with strong vanilla flavors. It was a tasty white chocolate, reminiscent of a nice vanilla frosting.

The milk chocolate base had a similarly thick and creamy melt. It tasted of caramel and cocoa with a light sweetness and some coffee notes to the finish.

I found this bar to be a well-made, tasty, and attractive addition to the Ritter Sport line-up. There’s nothing exotic about it, but it’s well-made and well-flavored. An OM.

Ritter Sport Summer 2010 – Peach-Passionfruit Yogurt

I was recently in Europe for a conference, and I went a little bonkers buying candy (as usual). Three of my prize finds were the three limited edition summer Ritter Sport bars, which I’ll be covering this week. Today, we’ve got Peach-Passionfruit Yogurt.

Continue reading “Ritter Sport Summer 2010 – Peach-Passionfruit Yogurt”

Kinder Bueno White

My friend Neil just got back from a trip to the Netherlands and was kind and awesome enough to bring me back a bunch of Dutch chocolates. When he handed me this Kinder Bueno White bar, he noted that I’d reviewed the regular version but not the white one, a blog fact that I didn’t know at the time. November 2007 was a long time ago!

Everything on the wrapper was written in both Dutch and French. My French isn’t that great, but I got that these were made with milk and hazelnuts, and I’d loosely translate the description as “two individually wrapped bars of white chocolate and cocoa meringue bits”.

The underside of the bars were coated with these little crunchy cocoa beads, and each of the four segments wore a stripe of the beads as well. While I think they were called meringues, they tasted like cocoa powder cookies.

The outer shells were airy, crisp wafers that provided structural stability and a pleasant crunch. Each segment pod was filled with an amazingly thick and creamy white chocolate filling.

The tasted strongly of milk and vanilla and was reminiscent of really high quality frosting. I didn’t get any hazelnut flavors, but I didn’t really care.

The filling was quite sweet, but it was nicely tempered by that wafer shell. It’s basically a non-cute version of the biscuit Kinder Happy Hippo, but with chocolate sprinkle/cookie bits.

The Kinder Bueno White was tasty and delicious (thanks, Neil!). I rated it an OM before I reread my old Happy Hippo review and saw that the Hippo version earned my highest rating. Looks like presentation does count for a lot!


Hershey’s Zero bar‘s claim to fame is its white coating. Specifically, it’s “caramel, peanut and almond nougat covered with white fudge.”

Mine came free, courtesy of Munchies Sweets and Treats.  It was a bit too abundantly full of caramel, I guess, as my bar’s trademark white coating was streaked with it.

The bottom layer of nougat was faintly sweet chocolate with strong almond extract notes. Every once in a while, I hit an actual peanut, which introduced a bit more nuttiness, but the almond extract was the predominant player.

The nougat was covered with a stripe of sweet and serviceable caramel. The white fudge coating was milky and overly sweet.

Overall, I found this bar to be too sweet, and its flavors weren’t distinctive enough. I needed to eat it slowly and carefully to pick out the different flavors, as they got all mushed together and masked by the sweet. An O.

Choco Roll Taro

One of my dad’s specialty, cranks-it-out-for-dinner-parties dishes is taro root with chicken. He poaches chicken, uses the resulting stock to cook sliced taro root for hours until it’s buttery and meltingly soft, and mixes in the poached chicken (pulled into thin slivers that disappear into the “melted” taro) along with some chopped scallions. It’s delicious.

So, taro + chicken =  delicious. Taro + chocolate? We’ll see. I bought this box of Choco Roll Taro solely because it was so weird! If you’ve never had it, taro is a root vegetable that’s sort of like an extra starchy, slightly sweet and nutty, purple potato.

Ever thought, “Gee, I like mashed potatoes, but I bet they’d be better with chocolate instead of gravy”? Well, some Asian person thought the equivalent for the taro. From the looks of the purple frosting and cherry covered thing on the box, the Choco Roll Taro might be based off of some pre-existing dessert concoction.

Each individually wrapped Choco Roll Taro is a pink and purple speckled taro root center inside a round wafer roll, all covered in a yellow-y white chocolate. Don’t worry – the purple center isn’t nearly as bright as it looks on the box. In fact, the mottled pink/red flecked center is rather pretty.

The taro center tastes like pasty, extra-starchy mashed potato with a hint of nuttiness and lots of added sweetness. The extra sweet comes through in the finish and ends on a rather fruity note.

The wafer layer is unremarkable: airy, bland, and crisp. It serves its textural and structural purpose well, at least. Finally, the white chocolate outside is kind of greasy and pretty bland. I’m not a white chocolate fan, so I have little experience in picking out flavor notes in white chocolate. It just tasted like regular old sweet white chocolate to me.

All in all, I think I’ll continue to take my taro with chicken rather than chocolate. The flavor combination is just too strange for me to appreciate, and that strangeness overrides any ooh factor that the interplay of paste and crunch and melt could have brought.

I ate half of a roll to taste; the rest of the box disappeared when I moved. I may have given it away back in New Haven, or it could be buried in my candy stash somewhere. Either way, a taste is plenty Choco Roll Taro for me. It gets a no lettered for being harmlessly not tasty.

Fannie May Chocolates – Part II of Chicago Week

The saga of my sweet-toothing my way through Chicago continues with Fannie May chocolates, who I would liken to Chicago’s version of See’s, except See’s is better.

At a Fannie May store, I picked out a selection of their chocolates and a few of their individually wrapped candies (review on those to come next week). Top down in columns, from left to right they are, as best as I can tell/remember: bittermint, some nougat thing, vanilla buttercream dark, no clue, buttercrisp, peanut butter, raspberry cream?, lemon buttercream, and a Trinidad. The salesguy assured me that there would be a comprehensive key online. There isn’t.

bittermint – this was a mint in the York Peppermint Pattie vein. The dark chocolate shell was quite thick, and the gooey mint innards had a strong mintiness tempered by a slight bitterness. The lightly bitter finish went nicely with the dark chocolate.

rectangular nougat thing – I have no idea what this is and couldn’t match it up to anything on their website. It was dark chocolate coating a chewy, nutty nougat log that tasted of maple, I thin.

vanilla buttercream dark – I’m not a big fan of buttercreams but let myself be talked into buying this one by Katie, who loves them. This was sweet and cloying but otherwise had a great vanilla flavor. If you have a higher sugar tolerance than I do, you’d probably like it.

buttercrisp – an almond buttercrisp in milk chocolate. I found it too be too hard to bite into and with a weird, not quite toffee-like texture (it didn’t cleave like toffee does).

peanut butter – a creamy peanut butter filling where the peanut butter was not nearly nutty or salty enough. The milk chocolate shell was slightly too thick for balance.

raspberry cream – I think that’s what this was. The chocolate shell was thicker than I expected, and the filling tasted strongly artificial with a slight cherry cordial winey-ness to it.

lemon buttercream – the center of this tasted like a lemon meringue pie. The lemon-ness was super bright.

Trinidad – I’ve managed to save the best for last: it’s a chocolate cream center with “pastel coating” and toasted coconut. The chocolate filling was smooth and creamy, and the coconut flavor was just right.  The only one I really enjoyed from the ones I picked.

I had wanted to buy some Mint Meltaways in my boxed assortment but the salesguy told me not to because their mintiness would overpower everything else. I managed to buy a little tray of 3 larger meltaways at a Walgreen’s instead. I tasted them after the Frangos that I so loved, and they paled in comparison.

The Mint Meltaways had a pastel green white chocolate coating that tasted too sweet and sugary. It gave the confection an unpleasantly greasy creaminess and a thick finish. The mint flavor was weaker than that of Frangos, and it was more artificial tasting.

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy Fannie May that much. I liked the bittermint and Trinidad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek those out. An O for the chocolates described here. The individually wrapped chocolates I bought fared much better, and my review of those will publish on Monday.

Lily O’Briens Chocolate Collection – Eating my words, and happily!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a review of Lily O’Briens crispy heart and sticky toffee. It was about as scathing as I get:

“From the two I tasted, a crispy heart and a sticky toffee, either Ireland has poor chocolatiers or Lily O’Briens is quite overrated.”

The next day, I got the following email from one of their representatives:

“I work for Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates and have read your comments on our two signature recipes with great interest. Our chocolates, when fresh, taste truly fantasti and the two recipes critiqued are among our chocolate fans’ favourites (check out the testimonials on our website from across the globe). Unfortunately I would suspect that the chocolates tasted we were past their best and should not actually be on sale still… I would be happy to send you fresh chocolates if you would like to critique them fairly.”

I was impressed that Lily O’Briens was so willing to stand behind their chocolates, and I was eager to take them up on their offer of a re-review. After all, I had bought the original chocolates from an Italian coffee shop in tourist trap Las Vegas, not exactly a place that would be worried about quality control and customer loyalty. When a generous package arrived from Ireland, and I happily ate my words, along with the chocolates they sent: one pouch each of their Chocolate Collection, their Sticky Toffee, their Crispy Hearts, and their Trufflicious (that name needs a noun, I thin), a two sets of their luxury bar assortments. This review is of the Chocolate Collection, which includes a sticky toffee and a honeycomb crisp (just like the crispy hearts, but not honeycomb shaped).

The Chocolate Collection, starting from the white chocolate cup going clockwise and finishing in the center, includes crème brûlée, hazelnut torte, honeycomb crisp, farmhouse ice cream, sticky toffee, lemon meringue pie, chocolat noir, and cookies ‘n’ cream. There was one of each and two of a few (the sticky toffee, the honeycomb crisp, and the chocolat noir, if I remember correctly), and I’m ashamed to say that over the course of a few days, I ate the entire pouch. What can I say; it’s that time of year when final papers are due and final exams are coming up.

crème brûlée – White chocolate shell with granulated sugar sprinkled over a white cap; white chocolate ganache filling and a touch of caramel sitting in the bottom of the shell. I don’t particularly like white chocolate. Still, the cup is a cute design.

hazelnut torte – one of my favorites of the bunch, this one was quite nutty. Like most hazelnut/chocolate combinations, it was sweet, but this one managed to be just shy of overly so. The ganache almost had a slight grain to it from the hazelnuts. I liked the textural difference.

honeycomb crisp – honeycomb and crispies in milk chocolate that was soooo much better than the stale crispy heart I bought in Vegas. The chocolate was creamy and yogurty rather than brittle, and though it was still on the sweet side, the sweetness was more bearable when the chocolate melted heavily on the tongue.

farmhouse ice cream – I also enjoyed this one, a dark chocolate shell around a white ganache. The ganache wasn’t white chocolate (I think). Instead, it tasted like fresh cream.

sticky toffee – the other one that I had originally panned. This time around in a fresh version, the “toffee” caramel was smooth and flowing with a slight butterscotch tinge. No grain and grit here. And again, the sweetness was helped by the proper melt of chocolate (whereas my Vegas ones were pretty brittle).

lemon meringue pie – milk chocolate shell, white chocolate button, bright lemony ganache. Didn’t make too much of an impression on me.

chocolat noir – dark chocolate shell and a lighter, sweeter, and fluffier dark chocolate ganache. I liked the dark chocolate the shell was made of, as it had a nice fruitiness to it. For those who are easing their way into enjoying dark chocolate, this dark chocolate was on the sweet side.

cookies ‘n’ cream – somehow, Lily O’Briens managed to get the a nice bit of cookie crumb grain into this one, a milk chocolate shell surrounding a white chocolate ganache studded with tiny chocolate chips. I was amused that there were actually more chocolate chips in the actual chocolate than in the photo of the chocolate on the box. Usually, it’s the other way around. This tastes overwhelmingly of white chocolate. I think I would have liked it better if it tasted more like the cream of the farm house ice cream.

So, Lily O’Briens, I owe you an apology. Your chocolates are tasty. They’re a little overly sweet for my palate, and the ganache fillings are almost on the greasy side, but I liked them enough to eat them all. Irish people do have good taste in chocolate. Hooray! An OM for the lot as a whole, with an OMG for the hazelnut torte and farmhouse ice cream.

Vosges Truffles

As previously mentioned on Monday, my box of 9 of Vosges Exotic Truffles were samples sent by the company. I shared them with friends, which is the best way to savor fine chocolates. From left to right and top to bottom they are (the last two trio photos are slightly off, with the Ambrosia and Chef Pascal swapped):

Naga – sweet Indian curry powder + coconut + milk chocolate – I’ve had the Naga chocolate bar before and liked it, and I similarly enjoyed the curry dusted Naga truffle. The curry flavor is initially strong before it gets a bit mellowed by the coconut flavor coming through. The milk ganache balanced the two flavors well, and the truffle makes me think of Thai food.

Budapest – sweet Hungarian paprika + dark chocolate – Paprika isn’t really used in Chinese cooking, so I have no idea what its flavor profile is like. I found the Budapest to taste extremely, unpleasantly earthy. Even the more enjoyable dark chocolate finish wasn’t enough to make me like this truffle more. My friend Rita made a face and said it tasted like dirt, while my other friend Chris enjoyed it.

Gianduia – crunchy hazelnut praline + milk chocolate + praline bits – As I have said before, it’s hard to go wrong with the classic flavor combination of chocolate and hazelnut. The Gianduia’s hazelnut flavor was strong without being overpowering, and I found the nuttiness to be fresher and more genuine that anything Ferrero has ever made. The praline topping was also a nice, sweet, crunchy touch.

Black Pearl – ginger + wasabi + dark chocolate + black sesame seeds – When I tasted the bar version of the Black Pearl, I found its wasabi flavor to be absent. In the truffle, wasabi flavor is definitely there. It starts out tasting like ginger, and the wasabi rounds out the middle. I’m not a big fan of ginger and chocolate, but I can see why some people love it and how they would love this truffle.

Wink of the Rabbit – soft caramel + deep milk chocolate + organic New Mexican pecan – The top half of this interestingly named truffle is made of ganache, while the bottom half is made of a caramel that tastes like a soft toffee. I found it to be on the verge of sugar overload, and the organic New Mexican pecan (because pecan sourcing is soooo important, I guess) doesn’t add anything to the truffle or temper its sweetness.

Chef Pascal – kirsch + dark chocolate + dried Michigan cherry – This truffle has a strong liqueur flavor that I enjoyed. Eating this truffle is sort of like eating an uber fancy cherry cordial, except much better because the Vosges ganache is so rich and smooth and creamy.

Woolloomooloo – Australian macadamia nut + coconut + deep milk chocolate – The Woolloomooloo has a strong coconut flavor that tastes extremely and pleasantly fresh and a nice, dusky chocolate finish. I couldn’t taste the macadamia nut, but it was just fine without it.

Ambrosia – macadamia nuts + Cointreau + white chocolate – Like in the Woolloomooloo (man, is that fun to type!), the macadamia nuts are just too mildly flavored to stand out. The Cointreau (an orange liqueur) makes this truffle super sweet and fruity, and the white chocolate gives it a thickly sweet finish. I don’t particularly care for white chocolate, but I do appreciate the concept and flavor of this truffle.

Absinthe – Chinese star anise + fennel + pastis + dark chocolate + cocoa powder – I wasn’t expecting to like this truffle because I don’t like licorice or anise. I was right, sort of, as I didn’t like it, but I didn’t dislike it. The anise flavor is more reminiscent of Chinese five spice than of licorice. My licorice-loving suitemate enjoyed this.

I would not buy Vosges truffles for myself to eat because they’re so pricey, but I would buy them for others. The packaging is pretty, the truffles themselves are exquisitely gorgeous, the smooth and creamy ganaches are luxuriously indulgent, and the flavor combinations are unique and creative. An OMG, but only if someone else is buying.