Monday, May 16, 2005
Name: Mueca Acidito
These curious little plastic cups have a mango lolly in the lid and a cup filled with a sour/spicy powder to dip into. Muecas, as far as I know, means face in Spanish. Maybe it’s in reference to the faces you make when you eat this stuff.
The mango pop itself is rather pleasant, as long as you like mango flavored things. It tasted rather like peach to me, but I guess mangos are rather peachy. (I love real mangos, just like I love real peaches, but I don’t care for things that are “flavored” like them.) Mango is a great, versatile fruit that goes well with savories, especially mango salsa with jerk chicken.
But I digress. Mostly because I don’t really wanna talk about these puppies, but I’ve got another eight of them at home, and once I blog them, I think I can safely give them away or throw them away.
The dipping powder looks kind of like lemon pepper, but has an overwhelming scent of corn meal. I’m not sure if there’s any actual corn in there, but that’s what it smells like. The stuff itself is just a citrusy powder with a little chili kick. Not overly hot and a good combination, in theory, with the sweet lolly.
Unfortunately I found the aftertaste of both the pop and the powder to be too unappealing and I threw it out (because the corny smell was just repulsive). The little resealable bottle was pretty neat though, and allowed you to save it for later. Or dispose of it and not be able to smell the contents.
I think the concept is sound though, and I’m sure there’s a combination out there of spicy/sour/sweets that would please my American palate.
Rating: 2 out of 10 (mostly because the packaging was cool)
Friday, May 13, 2005
Name: Botticelli Bites
I was excited to see these at Big Lots. I’ve been buying something called “Cookie Joys” made by Harry London Chocolates from Trader Joe’s for a few years now. I assumed that these were the same thing. And they probably were - about four years ago when these were probably manufactured.
I guess this is one of those things you learn the hard way from buying at the closeout stores. Chocolate is not something to buy on the cheap. Most often I am sorry when I do.
These came in three different flavors - Mint Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Double Chocolate. Only the Mint Chocolate ones did not have a bloom on them.
The Chocolate Peanut Butter looked fairly good (as they do in the photo) but the peanut oils must have gone rancid. The Double Chocolate were just plain white and chalky and I tossed them after sorting through to see if any of them were good.
However - if you ever find the Harry London varieties, I heartily recommend them. Hershey’s introduced a mint cookie bar a few years back which I was positively addicted to. This is the new replacement for it.
EDIT: Since writing this review I’ve found out that Botticelli is owned by Alpine Confectionery that also owns Harry London. They’re the same thing, just different packaging. Obviously these were stored improperly and were past their prime, thus got a poor rating.
Rating: 2 out of 10 (because I actually ate some of the mint ones, otherwise it’d be a 1)
Name: White Chocolate Reese’s
Someone left the peanut butter cups in the sun and they got all bleachy white.
I think this was a brilliant idea. First, I love Reese’s. Mostly I love the miniatures, the ratio of chocolate and peanut butter is ideal and there’s less of that “hold it by the edges so you don’t get chocolate on your fingers” thing.
My biggest problem is that I like white chocolate in concept. I like the idea of just the buttery smoothness of chocolate without the cocoa to it. But white chocolate is never like that. Instead it’s like sugarwax. And it smells like fake vanilla, which always reminds me of Easter. However, I think the White Chocolate Reese’s uses this to its advantage.
Because the peanut butter is more savory than sweet, it really cuts the oversweet of the white chocolate and makes an excellent mix of flavors. The scent of vanilla mixed with the nuts and slight grain of the peanut butter is a nice combo.
I’ll probably not buy the cups again, but I’m kind of curious about the ratio in the miniatures they mention on the Reese’s website. And here’s a weird comment, I think they should have put them in white cups instead of brown ones. The color combo just makes the white chocolate look dingy.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Name: Hi-SOFT Caramel and Milk Caramel
First, I give high marks to Morinaga’s packaging team. Like the Hi-CROWN chocolate, the Hi-SOFT caramel comes in a spiffy hard box, perfect for carrying in a pocket or purse and fun to flip open to share. I’m not sure how many caramel products Morinaga markets, but these are just two I’ve found.
Of the two, I prefer the taste and texture of the yellow box Milk Caramel. Both are soft and chewy without being grainy, but the milky smoothness of the Milk Caramel far outweighs the Hi-SOFT’s keen box. Of course nothing will ever top the happy fat cows that got me started on the Japanese caramels.
In fact, of all the caramels I’ve tasted over the past few months, I like the Milk Caramel best. Looking over the ingredients it has the right mix of sugar and milk products, a dash of salt and something I didn’t expect - tea extract.
Rating: Hi-SOFT - 6 out of 10; Milk Caramel - 8 out of 10
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Name: Pocky (Chocolate)
I love Pocky. Can I just start with that? What a perfect candy. It’s got the savory crunch of a biscuit and the smooth velvety flavor of chocolate.
Opening one of the foil packs I was met with the overwhelming scent of dark chocolate. The sticks were nicely coated (not too much) with chocolate, and leave a little uncoated spot at the bottom where you can hold it without getting chocolately fingers - something they don’t do with chocolate covered pretzels.
The coating is a thin sheath, but because of the richness of the chocolate, it’s the right proportion. The biscuit or pretzel part is bland - it’s not salty nor sweet, but the perfect bit of crunch and crispness for the chocolate.
The portion size is huge. Half the package (250 calories, 90 from fat but only 20 mg of trans fats). I wasn’t able to eat that big of a portion - that’s 22 sticks. I think they’re a great thing to tuck in a lunch bag or to go off on a picnic (provided your pack doesn’t get too hot and they melt and stick together). Easy to snack on, easy to share.
Rating: 9 out of 10
See earlier review of Green Tea Pocky.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Name: Carlos V
First, I have to say that I appreciate the size of these bars. They’re not miniature sized and not full candy bar sized. They’re the right size. You can eat two and probably not feel bad about it.
The image of Carlos V on the front kind of creeps me out the same way that the Burger King pantomime character in the recent commercials does, but maybe you don’t have a problem with that.
Anyway, what’s inside is a small milk chocolate bar. It’s kind of a cross between a European Cadbury bar, with its sticky milkyness and an American Nestle bar with its strong chocolate flavor. It’s very sweet, but I know that’s most people’s attraction to milk chocolate over dark chocolate. It was not at all grainy and had a pleasant vanilla scent. It melted well on the tongue. Mostly what I got from it though is a taste of powdered milk - which if you don’t think about it too hard tastes kind of like malt. But don’t think too hard if you’re going to enjoy this bar, just eat it.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Monday, May 9, 2005
Name: Neon Lasers
I had high hopes for these, though I’ve steered clear of pixie stix and smarties for some years. I love the pure sugar rush, but of course hate the crash. I consider pixie sticks and smarties to pretty much be candy cocaine.
Pixie stix are notoriously expensive, which baffles me. They’re sugar and some sour stuff, probably citric acid or malic acid. That’s it. Maybe they’re hard to produce, stuffing them into those little paper tubes.
These Neon Lasers are in plastic tubes and are they ever tough to open. If you’re lucky, you get one that opens when you crack the seal at one end by pressing the little seal the opposite direction that it’s flattened. Otherwise, just keep some scissors handy.
Upon pouring about a third of a laser into my mouth, I found that it was not power, but little grains, well, really large grains. A cross between sea salt and kosher salt. The crunchy part is just sugar and the little grit around it is the flavor. Will seemed only slightly more pleased with them than I was, but given the opportunity to take them home, he declined. I’d venture that meant a low rating from him too.
I’m wholly unpressed. It’s not really that they taste bad, they just aren’t worth the trouble.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
Friday, May 6, 2005
Name: Glee Gum (Tangerine)
The package says “Finally! An All Natural Gum!” Yes, but there are reasons that we improve on nature sometimes.
Maybe it’s that I have dental work (crowns & filling) that I find this gum unappealing, or maybe it’s that it’s bland.
Made from natural chicle (the original ingredient in gum), this is gum the way our ancestors chewed it. The flavor of this batch is orange. I expected it to taste like aspergum and luckily it tasted more like orange candles. It’s slightly waxy, very sweet but has a good chew (if you avoid your repaired teeth). The flavor fades quickly and leaves a bland beige gummy material in your mouth. I have no idea if real chicle can be digested.
I’ve also tried the standard mint flavor, which has a longer lasting flavor but the same stickiness.
Rating: 5 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.