Saturday, April 30, 2005
Name: Dagoba Chai
There was a small selection of these organic bars at Whole Foods. Some are single origin and some are flavored, like this one. Basically I see chocolate in two different ways, some chocolate is for snacking and some is for savoring. It expected this to be savoring chocolate, however, I found it to be extremely snackable.
The Chai bar is milk chocolate with chai spices and ginger. Opening the package I found the spicy aroma quite evident. Not overly any particular spice, it smelled more like a spice cupboard. A little like pumpkin pie, actually.
On the tongue the chocolate melts easily and is immediately sweet. The mix of flavor is not intense but really a great compliment.
I plan on buying some more Dagoba chocolate again. I think I’ll try their tasting squares.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
PS - One of the problems with this candy is that every time I hear the name or see it or type it, it reminds me of the Weird Al song called Yoda (to the tune of the Kinks’ Lola). It starts with the line, “I met him in a swamp down in Dagoba.”
Friday, April 29, 2005
Name: Hot Rings
I know last week I said that we shouldn’t be afraid of strange candy. I might have done something stupid.
I found these Lifesavers at the 99 cent store. Branded with a little Sega Sonic the Hedgehog, I’m thinking that there’s another Sonic game coming out. I bought it, thinking it was cinnamon. And we all know that Lifesavers don’t come in cinnamon. They should. Reeds come in cinnamon, and I love those.
Upon starting my little photo shoot I look at the package and see this:
Since you can’t see all of it, they’re running a contest and if you have the right wrapper, you can win a variety of prizes. All prizes must be claimed by MARCH 1995!
This roll of Lifesavers is more than 10 YEARS OLD! And cost 25 cents!
I’m not sure if Lifesavers spoil. What’s a better question is if these were ever any good. I unwrapped them and found milky yellow Lifesavers with red specs. They smelled a bit like mint. Again, I was expecting cinnamon. I put one in my mouth and it’s more like pineapple with a hit of chili to it. Really.
All I can say is that I’m mystified. Here’s an ad from the mid-nineties with this Lifesavers/SEGA cross-promotion.
Rating: 4 out of 10 (yes, I might try another one)
Name: Chewy Centered Gobstopper
I guess it’s appropriate to visit the Wonka line of candies since there will be another movie soon. There are very few actual products out there, I reckon, that were created based on a novel. And more than a novelty, some of the Wonka candies are pretty good. The brand itself is an odd one, changing hands from time to time and amassing some other brands in the meantime (did you know that Bottle Caps are now Wonka products?).
Besides the odd history, I thought I’d do a little review of the Everlasting Gobstopper since I found that they’ve created a new version - the Chewy Centered Gobstopper.
First, a Gobstopper is a jawbreaker that has different flavored layers and in the center is a sweet-tart sphere. When I was a kid the Gobstoppers were large, like real jawbreakers. I haven’t seen those in years, but have been able to find the boxes of Gobstoppers that contain little marble sized versions. They come in bright colors and the layers change flavor three or four times before getting to the center. The flavor itself is rather bland, more sweet than tart, but it has a pleasant cooling feel to the smooth surface.
The Chewy Gobstopper has the same flavor except for the center, which is much larger, so the layers are fewer or thinner (I couldn’t figure it out because I kept chewing them up before getting to the center). They’re very much the same as the regular Gobstopper and I think I might buy them again. Especially if I can find them at the 99 cent store.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Name: Sweet Candy (Fruit Drops)
Ya gotta love anything that comes in a swell flask-shaped tin in this day and age.
Made by Meiji, this tin contains, simply put, fruit hard candies. As far as I can tell the flavors are something like lemon, orange, strawberry, grape, pineapple and melon. But there’s also a curious opaque white one that’s peppermint (quite a shock when you’re expecting pineapple). The candies are nicely flavored. Tart but not overly so. The lemon and pineapple are particularly good.
It’s a fun little stocking stuffer or something to keep on your desk. After you’re done, you can even put change in the tin - though the largest coin that will fit through the opening at the top is a quarter (but if you’ve got more money, what are you doing saving it? you should be out buying candy).
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Name: Mousse Pocky (Green Tea)
Pocky is one of those Japanese treats that’s gone mainstream in the States. I’ve seen them at Ralph’s and even some convenience stores. I’d never had them before and I think if I had it to do all over again, I’d start with a more common flavor. However, I’ve got to hand it to the Mitsuwa Marketplace, they had a huge selection. There’s also something known as “Men’s Pocky” which I haven’t quite figured out.
If you’ve never seen them before, Pocky are little cracker/biscuit sticks dipped in something chocolatey or creamy. My choice was Green Tea. The sticks look just like the package promises. Long, unsalted pretzel looking things dipped in a green, creamy coating. You grab them by a small uncoated end for clean fingers.
The coating is like white chocolate flavored with green tea, and it tastes just like room-temperature green tea ice cream. Smooth, delicately flavored with a crisp bite to the cracker inside. They’re definitely addictive and one of the better items I bought on my last Little Tokyo trip. They do have a bit of hydrogenated oils in them (though the main fat is cocoa butter, which is what gives the coating its smooth-meltyness).
I’m eager to try more flavors. The neutrality of the crunchy stick makes it idea for just about anything. Mostly I’m going to see if other varieties don’t have hydrogenated oils.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Name: Ginger Delight
When I was a kid I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. In it, Edmund is lured into the White Witch’s carriage with promises of Turkish delight. I found something called Turkish Paste at Middle Eastern markets and decided that’s what was in the book.
Turkish Delight is basically jellied sugar. Usually just a mixture of sugar, a dash of corn starch and a little flavor. Typical flavors for Turkish Delight are aromatic in nature (there’s no sour tang, just sweetness, smooth texture and scent). Most common are rose and lemon.
At Whole Foods over the weekend I found that The Ginger People have created a Turkish Delight with the scent of ginger and even smooth little ginger pieces. First thing to know about Turkish Delight is that it’s very messy. The little jelly squares are usually cut into cubes and then dusted generously in confectioners sugar and corn starch to keep them from sticking. You can’t help but get it everywhere, so I recommend wearing white when consuming Turkish Delight so as not to look like a slob.
The cubes are not heavily fragranced, but upon biting into them they’re smooth and delicately flavored with ginger. Occasionally there’s a little treat of a smooth pieces of ginger in there. There’s no bite to it, which I was a little disappointed with, but that’s not really Turkish Delight’s style.
Turkish Delight is not an everyday snacking candy, it’s a special treat or for specific occasions. I’ll probably buy this again, but not anytime soon.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Name: Violet Crumble
The package says “It’s the way that it shatters that matters.” Of course the other side calls it “Australia’s Crisp Golden Honeycomb.” I’ve had this bar once before and was not terribly impressed. I was hoping it would be malt, but it’s not.
What is it? Think of that dense chalky styrofoam and then add some flavor and a sweet aroma similar to toasted marshmallows. One of my problems with this bar is the noise the honeycomb makes when you bite into it. Like biting into a piece of balsa wood or stiff styro. The ingredients also do not lend one to be drawn to the bar (there’s no honey), it’s mostly sugar and hydrogenated palm oil (yee! I have a cholesterol test coming up!).
That said, I actually like it. I can get beyond the sqeaky sound on my teeth because the crumble is really satisfying, it crackles and yields in the mouth, melting into a blissful sweet puddle. The chocolate coat is actually chocolate, which helps. The coating, I found, is a tad sweet, but I expect that from Aussie and Brit sweets, I suppose. Also, at only a little over an ounce, it’s a very satisfying bar because it’s so stuffed with air, it looks formidable. It’s the trans fat content that has me worried, so I’m going to stick to monosaturated treats for a while.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Name: Chelsea Yogurt Scotch
The Taste of Old Scotland! the candy heralds down the side of the tray inside the calico printed box. What Chelsea has to do with Scotland is beyond me. This is a candy blog, after all, not a geography one.
I’m not sure I know what old Scotland tastes like. But these hard toffees are unlike any other toffee I’ve ever had. First, they’re opaque white and glossy when I unwrapped the piece, unlike the toasty cream color I’m used to.
Putting it in my mouth I found it initially tart. Not in a citrus way, but in the way that yogurt is tart. It’s smooth and creamy, but with a little bite to it.
I found them pleasant, but a little bland. I plan to finish the box, but it’s unlikely I’ll buy yogurt scotch again. However, there is another flavor that I saw at the market, regular butterscotch ... that sounds more my speed.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.