Monday, June 6, 2005
Name: BruCo Rum and Vanilla
This is some lovely packaging. The box is matte cardboard with gold embossed names and a beautiful artisan quality to it. Inside the box is a mylar package with the bar with scoring for four servings. There’s also a little booklet in there, one side in English, the other in Italian. The brochure details the mission of BruCo which is to mix the finest chocolate with the finiest spices and essences to produce innovative combinations.
The Man brought this back from Portland, Ore as a gift. He picked it up in a gourmet deli (more review to come of the other gifts this week). This bar has a wonderful rich, roasted and sweet aroma upon opening the mylar. It’s followed by a lingering rum essence that compliments the alcoholic finish of chocolate. The bar is very dark, nearly black. The chocolate is a little sweet, but yields quickly in the mouth, melting easily. It has a slight fluffy grain to it (hard for me to describe) - the bar feels light on the tongue, where some feel heavier than they look. This chocolate has a cooling effect in the mouth and the rum flavor is very pronounced. However, I could not get beyond the taste of egg nog as the most overpowering element. It’s odd because nutmeg is a spice that I associate most with egg nog and this is purported to be vanilla flavored.
Overall, the bar is nice and I found myself gravitating towards it all weekend (it’s gone now). I don’t know if I would buy it again, with the price being the prohibitive part of this. However, if offered to me, I would certainly eat it again. I’ll have a review of their Arancio Cannella one later this week, which might prompt me to seek out this manufacturer again.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Friday, June 3, 2005
Dovetailing with my earlier post about revisiting classics with new interpretations, Hershey’s recently launched “Candy to Go!” It’s just smaller packaging of their previously introduced Bites, but what I found interesting is that I thought most candy was packaged for going ...
These are perfect little bites of candy bars. I picked up three at the store on the lot today. Kit Kat Bites, Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites and York Bites. Each is about the size of a small marble, more or less. The York bites are exactly what you’d expect, dark chocolate covering a mint cream center. The Reese’s bites are covering a peanut butter cup filling (not that waxy Reese’s pieces stuff) and the Kit Kat bites are like little Kit Kat cubes.
Here’s my thing: I like appropriate ratios. In the case of the Reese’s bites and the York bites, the ratio of chocolate to filling is appropriate. Though the chocolate in these little poppers is slightly different - because it’s in a spherical shape, I think they toss a little resinous glaze on it. This makes for a slight waxy coating, which in one respect is good, because you can actually hold them in your hand for a moment without getting melty all over you, but it also means that you’re eating this resin and that you need to kind of get past that when you put it in your mouth.
In the Kit Kat bites, it feels like too much chocolate (Kit) and not enough crisp wafers (Kat).
The other odd thing about these are the portion size: 2.75 oz and that’s a full serving. Most candy bars are about 1.5 oz and have about 200 calories. The Reese’s bites have 410 calories! If you can control yourself and not eat them all at once, you’ll make it to fifty without a coronary. Me? I ate the whole York Bites and then moved on to the Reese’s and of course had to open the Kit Kat for a taste. Sadly, all that’s left now are some of the Kit Kats.
Name: York Bites
Good chocolate, nice mint, pretty much a tiny spherical peppermint patty. The only problem I had with these was the variation in quality. Some were soft and fresh, but others were rather hard. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re spoiled, maybe the chocolate didn’t seal in the filling completely and they dried out.
Name: Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites
Okay, of the three, these smelled absolutely divine when I opened the package. A wonderful roasted peanut scent with the sweet overtone of chocolate. Really, these smelled awesome. They taste good, and I think I’d buy them again, especially as something to eat when at the movies, but I still prefer the miniatures for the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter.
Name: Kit Kat Bites
My least favorite of the three, but I’ve always been fond of Kit Kats and buy them often. But my favorite thing about Kit Kats is deconstructing them while I eat, which means prying off each layer with my teeth. That’s not really feasible with this iteration, so I’d just have to eat them and where’s the fun in that?
I’m not always fond of miniatures or giganto bars, but I think that Hershey’s really did a nice job of inventing these as candy that stands alone without the other versions. As always, freshness helps, if these were old and had bloomed or something, I’d find them absolutely unappealing. But I find these to be the perfect movie food or good to tuck in your bag to share with others.
UPDATE: It looks like these didn’t go over very well and have been discontinued. The remaining inventory can still be found at discount stores like 99 Cent Only. (But be sure to look at the expiration date before you take a chance.)
Thursday, June 2, 2005
Name: Sweet Dark Orange and Sweet Dark Espresso
I probably shouldn’t buy chocolate bars called “sweet” and expect something other than sweet. And this being a candy blog, I should probably stop mentioning that I find candy sweet. I’m just calling them like I taste them.
These bars are of excellent quality. Smooth and without grain. The chocolate has good flavor, not much vanilla essence, mostly a roasty, robust chocolate flavor. Each has a flavor added to it. The Espresso has an excellent rich coffee flavor and of the two, I liked the mix of flavors best. It’s not as sweet, and stays true to espresso’s smoky vibe.
The orange one has a wonderful orange peel aroma to it, but the chocolate flavor gets lost in it and of course, I found it a little too sweet.
The chocolate yielded well, melting smoothly on the tongue. Of course it helped that it was very hot over that weekend that I picked them up. I took the bars next door and Amy and Robin agreed that the espresso was the best.
It should probably be mentioned that Newman donates all proceeds from sales to charity and the products are, to the best of their ability, fair trade and organic. But for a high priced “gourmet” bar, I expect just slightly better flavor balance and meltiness.
Rating: Espresso - 7 out of 10
All yummy photos from the Candy Blog are on Flickr, so if you want to browse the latest reviews, just have a look here:
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
I can’t fault the candy manufacturers trying to tweak their most popular candies instead of reinventing the wheel. Sometimes they arrive at something that’s as good or even better than the original.
In the spirit of my recent review of the White Chocolate Reese’s, I picked up a few other reduxes.
Name: Nestle Crunch Dark
Very fresh, the crisps were crunchy and the bar was glossy and smooth. The chocolate was not waxy, but didn’t really have the melt-in-your mouth feel. The chocolate content was pretty good, but not quite enough to soothe me completely. Maybe it was a little sweet.
On the whole, I think crunch bars are perfect the way they are. Milk chocolate and crisped rice are perfect together. Why mess with it?
Name: White Chocolate Kit Kat
Again, there was nothing wrong with the original Kit Kat. This white Kit Kat seems a bit saltier, which helps to balance the bland sweetness of the white chocolate. It’s not something that I’d be interested in again.
Name: Milky Way Midnight
First, I congratulate them for spelling midnight correctly. This bar was very fresh but reminded me that I never cared much for Milky Ways because they’re too cloyingly sweet. I like Snickers, mostly because they mixing sweet and savory. Also, I don’t like candy bars that are too much sugar and not enough fat (and maybe a little protein thrown in). So, in that respect the dark version is much more successful. The richer taste of the chocolate balances the caramel and bland nougat much better.
I have to say, after having plenty of imported candies and things from the remainders at the 99 cent stores, having fresh candy really makes a difference. Even a middle-of-the-road candy like Hershey’s Kisses are better when they’re fresh. Candy’s a treat - if you are going to use those “discretionary” calories on something with no nutritional value, choose something fresh and satisfying. Life too short for bad dessert.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.