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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Honey Acres Chocolate and Orange Patties

DSC_8231rbHoney Acres in Wisconsin has been keeping bees since 1852. They sell a variety of honeys as well as some very specific honey-based products. I picked up these samples from the Fancy Food Show last month.

One of the lines Honey Acres makes are honey patties which feature an unsweetened chocolate coating around a creamed honey center. This may sound familiar, as I’ve reviewed the Trader Joe’s Mint Honey Patties before. Honey Acres actually makes three varieties of honey patties: the traditional mint, orange and chocolate.

The creamed honey is just honey, that’s been carefully recrystallized in a way that makes it milky looking, spreadable and thick, instead of clear and viscous. There are no additional ingredients, no dairy associated with the creaming process.

DSC_8224rb

The most intriguing of their three patties is the Honey Kissed Dark Chocolate Cocoa. There are two ingredients: chocolate and honey. It’s a little more complicated than that. The chocolate shell is unsweetened chocolate and then the center is honey creamed with unsweetened chocolate.

DSC_8229rb

The pattie comes in a matte gold foil. Snapped in half, the center is a golden brown, set off nicely by they very crisply tempered chocolate.

It’s a very strong chocolate product. The honey melts at a different rate from the chocolate on the outside, so it’s an uneven mix of the honey flavors, the sweetness, the creaminess and then the bitter pop of the chocolate. It’s quite rich and the recommended serving of 3 pieces is very filling. I enjoyed eating them in different ways, sometimes nibbling the chocolate edges so that I had more of a honey proportion for a big bite of the center. Mostly I bit in half and let it all melt together.

Ultimately, I think I prefer a little flavor with it, the chocolate in the honey center did little more than just make the honey less pronounced.

DSC_8234rb

The Honey Kissed Dark Chocolate Orange patty uses Valencia orange extract in the center instead of the peppermint oil for flavoring. This is an interesting combination, because I think that the citrus flavors go far better with honey than peppermint. The oily beeswax feeling on the tongue is cut but the vibrant orange oil. The bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate really shines through all this, with lots more woodsy notes than I noticed when combined with mint.

The calorie count on the website for Honey Acres listed them as about 11 grams a piece and only 110 calories per 3 piece serving. I don’t think that’s quite right, because it works out to less than 100 calories per ounce, which is not possible for a candy that’s also half fat. So, I’d prefer to go with the accounting for the Trader Joe’s which says 140 calories for 3 patties.

Related Candies

  1. Droga Money on Honey Caramels
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints
  3. Honees Honey Filled Drops
  4. Gimbal’s Honey Lovers
  5. Jelly Belly Honey Beans
  6. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons


Name: Honey Kissed Dark Chocolate Cocoa
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Honey Acres
Place Purchased: Samples from Honey Acres
Price: $8.50
Size: 6.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:53 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateKosher8-TastyUnited StatesComments (3)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Russell Stover Big Bite Coffee

DSC_8678rbRussell Stover Big Bite House Blend Coffee is a new all-year item from Russell Stover. The 2 ounce pieces are actually big bites, more than a single serving but less than a sharable piece.

The package says: smooth dark chocolate enrobes a robust coffee-flavored center.

This is the first I’ve seen a coffee flavored item from Russell Stover in their single serve line, though I think they do some coffee items in their boxed chocolates.

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The dark chocolate coating is pretty thick and sticks to the filling well. The filling is what I’d call a cross between a ganache and a fudge. It’s thick and has a good melt. The base is made from sugar and cream, so it’s like a ganache, but doesn’t have that much chocolate in it. Instead it’s just loaded with coffee. The coffee flavor is woodsy, with a little bitter acidic note to it. It’s definitely strong, and not terribly sweet, considering the amount of sugar in there.

It’s nice. However, it’s big. I don’t want this much chocolate and ganache. I want about half as much, and maybe in more of a stick or plank format than a big patty. Or maybe a smaller patty, like a Peppermint Patty format, but with a coffee ganache center.

DSC_8675rbRussell Stover Big Bite Cappuccino is similar to the House Blend Coffee, instead of a dark chocolate shell, it has a white chocolate shell, kind of like a cappuccino has a milk foam topping.

The package says: Rich coffee-flavored filling surrounded by creamy white chocolate & dusted with cocoa.

My photo didn’t turn out very well, partly because it’s actually a low contrast wrapper. It’s a light gold foil with other darker gold accents and a mix of brown and white text. Not easy to read on the front and even worse on the back.

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It smells similarly coffee-ish to the House Blend Coffee, only there’s a more sweet note from the white coating. The combination wasn’t appealing to me on paper, as I was expecting it to be cloyingly sweet. However, the bitterness of the center can actually accept quite a bit of sweetness from the white chocolate coating, which is especially thick at the middle. It never quite mixes to create a good approximation of a cappuccino or latte, but does give me more of a coffee ice cream note to the whole thing.

On the whole, Russell Stover has done an excellent job with their coffee flavoring for the center. It has a lot of the right flavor elements without tasting too much like instant coffee or including actual coffee grounds in the center. I wouldn’t mind seeing these in the seasonal varieties, mostly because those are a bit smaller than the Big Bite line, but I think this is a good addition to their line. Since there aren’t many coffee flavored chocolates out on the market, it’s a nice option.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie
  2. Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites
  3. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Kona Coffee Truffles
  4. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  5. Russell Stover Big Bite Dark Chocolate S’Mores
  6. Meiji Corot & CoffeeBeat
  7. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans


Name: Big Bite House Blend Coffee
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Coffee, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's


Name: Big Bite Cappuccino
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Coffee, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:51 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverChocolateCoffeeWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 8 -  Pick a Mix

pick-a-mix-ep8

Maria and I went to the store and picked up 15 items from the pick a mix ... you can listen to the results.

You can also download the MP3 directly. Check out the show notes on Candyology101.com.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:21 pm     CandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Jumbles

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate JumblesTrader Joe’s always has a quirky take on a standard candy. Their new Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Jumbles are sold in little nearly-half-pound tubs and are similar to Pecan Turtles.

The description is: crunchy pecans & toasted quinoa with soft & buttery caramel enrobed in chocolate and topped with Himalaya pink sea salt. They’re Kosher and made with mostly organic dairy ingredients as well. Though they use quinoa for the crunchy bits, they’re not a gluten-free candy as they may contain wheat. Also, they’re made in a facility with other tree nuts, eggs and peanuts. Too bad, because a gluten free and peanut free notation would really set these apart.

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The patties are about 1.5 inches across, so either one big bite or two small bites. The nutritional listing is a little odd, as it says that 3 pieces are 36 grams and come to 140 calories. That’s just ridiculous for something with so much chocolate and full dairy caramel ingredients. So, my calculations say that it’s 102 calories per ounce, I’m going to say that they’re at least 125.

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They smell like a sweet milk chocolate with a hint of earthy cereal notes. The patties are very flat and turning them over reveals that the inclusions are small. So the pecans are really not crunchy pecans but actually crunched pecans along with the quinoa.

The chew of the caramel is good, with some excellent buttery notes and toasted sugar flavors. The quinoa is crunchy, but not overly so. The pecans were barely evident, to the point that some pieces seemed to be lacking pecans entirely. But when I did get them, they had a wonderful woodsy, maple note. I would have preferred much more in the pecan front, even if they were just small pieces, or even just the quinoa and leave out the pecans entirely.

I don’t know if I would pick these up again, but I enjoyed the package I had. If I saw that they had a dark version or mucked around with the proportions, I’d give them another go. But there are other Trader Joe’s items that I much prefer over this, including the Butterscotch Sea Salt Caramels. The price point seemed a bit high, but is far better than DeMet’s Pecan Turtles which are usually about twice the price per pound and use inferior ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
  2. Short & Sweet: Figs
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles
  4. Trader Joe’s A Very Merry Mingle
  5. Trader Joe’s 70% Dark with Caramel and Black Sea Salt
  6. DeMet’s Turtles: Pecan & Cashew
  7. Texas Chewy Pralines
  8. GooGoo Supreme


Name: Milk Chocolate Jumbles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:53 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateCookieNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Droga Money on Honey Caramels

DSC_8601rbAt the Fancy Food Show last month I tried an array of the offerings from Droga Chocolates, based her in Southern California.

The most standout among their confections, for me, is their Money on Honey Wildflower Honey Caramels. They’re a square caramel patty covered in Guittard dark chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel. But the big thing to note is that the caramel part is made with California wildflower honey and no corn syrup. So the center is just sugar, honey, cream and butter.

They’re made in a gluten free facility with non-gmo ingredients and are Kosher.

I picked up this box of four half-ounce or so caramels at Lolli & Pops. It’s a bit pricey for 2.4 ounces at $8.25.

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There’s a lot of packaging. There’s a tray where the caramels sit in fluted cups, which is then inside a box, which is then covered with a sleeve.

Each little piece, though, is quite perfect looking.

They smell of chocolate, with perhaps a floral note of the heavy beeswax scent.

DSC_8612rb

The caramel itself has a good chew, a gentle pull but is stiff enough to hold itself together with the chocolate. The chocolate is bittersweet, not terribly dark or bitter, more on the fruity and woodsy side of things. The caramel has a long lasting chew with a sort of oily nature to it towards the end that honey can impart. The honey flavors are strong and deep, with notes of malt and beeswax.

The sea salt on the top is concentrated kind of at the center, it could be a little better distributed across the surface. It does provide a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. But generally the chocolate caramel is not that sweet at all. Honey is sweet, for sure, but not as sweet as plain old sugar, it just has a longer ring to it, a longer finish that has a sort of malt and jasmine tea aftertaste to it.

I would definitely buy these again, but probably only for a special occasion because of the price. If there were a smaller single serving size of just one or two caramel, I think I’d be more inclined to indulge.

Related Candies

  1. Seely Dark Chocolate Mint Patties
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints
  3. Bees & Beans Honey Bar
  4. Zitrone Honig Tic Tac
  5. Zeke’s Butterscotch
  6. Honees Honey Filled Drops
  7. Eat with your Eyes: Honey Caramel
  8. Gimbal’s Honey Lovers


Name: Money on Honey Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Droga Chocolates
Place Purchased: Lolli & Pops (Glendale)
Price: $8.25
Size: 2.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 117
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:09 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewCaramelChocolate8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN.

Candy Season Ends

35 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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