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February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pocky Decorer Torokeru Montblanc

I haven’t the foggiest on the name on this one, so I’m gonna call these Chestnut Pocky and if anyone else knows what those alternating Japanese and French words add up to, please let me know. (I know that Mont Blanc means white mountain, but that’s not a flavor!)

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This is Super Thick Pocky. There are two coatings, the bottom coat is a milky sweet, kinda caramelly coating. The zig-zaggy top coat is similar, but has more of a nutty taste to it, which I’m guessing is where the chestnut comes in. But after tasting it (well, by that I mean eating half the box) I checked with JBox which always has nice descriptions:

Here is the latest treat from the Glico people, a fresh new style of Pocky that is out of this world. The delicious crispy pretzel snack wrapped in milk chocolate and then decorated in gummy style chestnut-flavored chocolate, for a taste based on the French treat popular in Japan called Mont Blanc!

It’s been years since I’ve had chestnuts but I remember them being rather sweet and chewy, unlike other nuts.

These are rich and sweet and not as addictively snackable as many of the other Pocky that I’ve had. They’re nice and all, and maybe in a Pocky mix I’d find them a nice change, but I can’t give them the highest marks as a snack. But I can confirm that there are no hydrogenated fish oils in this ingredients list, so that’s a bonus.

(Sorry for any feed duplication today, I’ve been traveling and I scheduled these reviews to launch but something went screwy.)

Name: Pocky Decorer Torokeru Montblanc
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Glico
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa (Little Tokyo)
Price: $1.69
Size: 2.18 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: White Chocolate, Cookie, Glico, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:19 pm     Comments (9)

Dolfin Variety Tasting Squares

I was on a kick to find the Dolfin Peppercorn bar and stopped at the same liquor store that my husband bought the previous assortment. No luck. But they did have this assortment of tasting squares that I picked up.

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There are 24 squares in the package, 12 flavors.

Cafe Noir - dark chocolate with coffee bean bits. I’m kind of tired of the whole idea of throwing something that I generally regard as garbage in my chocolate. There are ways of getting coffee flavor into my chocolate without putting the actual beans in there.
Cafe Lait - sweet and milky but not a lot of coffee flavor to it, more cinnamon than I would have liked.
Au Lait - Nice, milky and sweet but lacking a real chocolate punch.
Lait Cannelle - milk chocolate with real cinnamon in it. Lots and lots of real cinnamon chips. The whole chips give a good sweet and spicy feel to the chocolate, but it all seems just a tad sweet. The scent, however, is absolutely mouthwateringly good and I’d like a perfume made of it.
Noir 88% - beautiful snap and creamy mouth feel without being chalky. Light and smoky with a good bitter and dry finish.
Noir 70% - sweeter and more buttery than the 88%, good chocolate kick, less dry but still nicely astringent.
Noir 52% - mellow and smoky with a really creamy base to it. Not bitter but not as smooth as it could be. When tasting their pure chocolate, I’ve come to believe that it’s just not as smooth as some of the other Belgian and European varieties I’ve tried.
Noir Nougatine (shown above unwrapped) - dark chocolate with hard nougat pieces (like a Toblerone). The dark chocolate is sweet and smooth and the nougat bits provide a nice little honey sweet break in the chocolate.
Lait Nougatine - very sweet, which keeps the nougat bits from popping out as well as they do on the Noir.
Orange - wonderful, great buttery chocolate with a good aromatic hit of orange, probably my favorite in this batch.
Citron - dark chocolate with the slightest hint of sweet lemon. It’s not zesty, just a pleasant aromatic feel to the chocolate.
Earl Grey - dark chocolate with black tea and bergamot. I didn’t really get a strong sense of the flavor here, just a black tea earthy flavor. There was a little grit because of the real tea leaves.

I think I prefer chocolate that comes in a slightly thicker piece. These very thin tasting wafers seem just slightly chalky to me and I’d prefer something with a bit more tooth to it.

I’m still looking forward to the Pink Peppercorn and Anise bars (which I ordered from Chocosphere) but I think I may prefer Dagoba and Lake Champlain as an overall brand to Dolfin.

Name: 24 Chocolats de Degustation
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dolfin
Place Purchased: Silverlake Liquor (on Silverlake Blvd. - LA)
Price: $5.99
Size: 3.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, Belgium, Dolfin

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:22 am     Comments (3)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews

Jolly Rancher hard candies were quite revolutionary when I first had them as a kid. They were full of flavor and came in varieties that other candies just didn’t have. Watermelon and green apple were the absolute best.

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It’s about time Jolly Ranchers went chewy. I mean, Starbursts are good and have occupied their fruit flavored niche for years, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve a few options in the candy genre. Okay, these have been out for about five years and I’m a little late in trying them, but Starburst have been around for at least 30.

The good thing about Jolly Ranchers Fruit Chews is that they stuck with what they do best. They didn’t go all orange, lemon and strawberry on us. They went with their strong suit - green apple, watermelon and cherry.

These chews are slightly different from Starbursts. First, they’re larger. Not by much, but a little bigger in each dimension. Second, they’re a different chew. It’s hard to describe, but they’re chewy and have a soft give to them, but there’s a latex quality to them that allows you to chew and chew, almost like they’re gum and they give off lots of flavor, but they don’t seem to get any smaller. Starbursts tend to end up in a little bit of a grainy ball towards the end, these just melt away smoothly. This is a cool feature.

The other great thing about them is that the flavor is there all the way. You keep chewing and chewing and it doesn’t end up as a sweet blob, it ends up as a smaller piece of the same gland tingling flavor that you started with. They’re soft and easy on the teeth.

As an adult I’m less fond of watermelon and green apple than I used to be (and regular readers know I’m not a cherry fan). I don’t know if it’s because they’re a little chemical tasting or I probably used too many Bonne Bell Lipsmackers. I just associate the flavor with being a bumbling pre-adult, hanging out at the pool in the summertime with my bony knees and freckles, perhaps trying to cover up the fact that I always smelled like a mix of chlorine and salami (I worked in a pizza place).

My favorite flavor of Jolly Rancher was the Fire Stix - they were awesome - powerfully strong cinnamon in a smooth, sweet hard candy, and every once in a while you’d hit a fire pocket and get a little jolt. I wish they’d make some chews that tasted like that.

Note: this candy was manufactured in Canada and are not Kosher (those thoughts are not related).

Name: Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jolly Rancher (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 2.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Chew, Canada, Hershey's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:26 am     Comments (18)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pocky Fuyono Kuchidoke

I’m traveling this week, and when I was at Mitsuwa picking up some things I looked for something to take along that might be considered “traveling Pocky.” I did find some Winter Pocky, which is appropriate because it’s winter here in Pennsylvania. I’m guessing it’s the same as our Limited Editions that Hershey’s and Nestle have been playing around with, they just call it “Seasonal.”

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This is a regular milk chocolate Pocky rolled in cocoa. The chocolate seems sweeter than the regular chocolate Pockies and have a slightly more “dairy” flavor to the chocolate than the Men’s or regular Chocolate. It came in four small packets and is a bit more expensive than regular Pocky.

Unlike all the other Pockies I’ve had, this one did not look like the picture on the package. The package made them look textured, but these were just more matte looking and no cocoa came off the sticks (none in the bottom of the little plastic wrapping even). The cocoa adds a nice little bitter and salty hit to the whole thing, which is nice because now that I’ve had Men’s Pocky, I think that regular chocolate Pocky is a little too sweet.

There’s no listing on the ingredients that it contains hydrogenated fish oils, but it does have “shortening” listed on the ingredients, which isn’t prefaced with “vegetable” so it might be in here. It also lists monosodium glutamate.

Name: Pocky Fuyono Kuchidoke (Chocolate Winter Pocky)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Glico
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.49
Size: 3.35 ounces
Calories per ounce: 129
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Japan, Glico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:15 am     Comments (8)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bottlecaps

These were a revelation when I had them as a kid. It was one of the earliest recollections I have of considering product design from top to bottom. (Well, that and AIM toothpaste which was a big deal back then.) The name of the product, the shape if the candies and of course the flavors all seemed to indicate that there was someone behind all this. Before that, I think I just though that kindly cooks slaved away in “test kitchens” to come up with new candies, or everything had just always been that way.

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Bottle Caps are little crumbly, chalk-like candies flavored like sodas. They come in cherry, root beer, cola, orange and grape. I’m not sure if there was ever a Dr. Pepper/Mr. Pibb flavor, but it certainly doesn’t exist now.

The packaging varies, sometimes you can find them in packets (like the Razzles) and sometimes in rolls like this. I like the rolls because they’re compact, but it does make it hard to avoid the colors you don’t want to eat (that’d be Cherry for me).

Seeing how there are so few Root Beer flavored candies, this is one that always calls to me. The root beer of a Bottle Cap is vastly different from a Root Beer Barrel hard candy. A hard candy relies on the herbal/balsam qualities of the flavor along with a fair dose of sugar. This candy has a bit of a sour bite, I think to mimic the acidic carbonated drink and has a slight cooling quality on the tongue. It’s plenty sweet and has that root beer essence to it, but misses on the more complex flavors of the actual root beer flavor. The orange and grape are nothing to write home about, they’re just a fruit flavor with the sour/cool bite to them. The Cola flavor is equally interesting, with its earthy acidic bite and unique flavor. I like the flavor of cola, though I really don’t like soda (I wish other things came in cola flavor, like Root Beer Barrels).

I can’t say that I feel like buying them again. I don’t think I’d had them for about 15 years and I could probably go another. I think I like the idea of the little snack packs better, maybe I’ll have to get some for Halloween this year and then have two or three to satisfy that wee craving. I know Bottlecaps have their feverish defenders and that’s cool. I’m not saying it’s a bad candy, I think it’s delightful and original. Just not for me.

Note: this candy was manufactured in the United States.

Name: Bottlecaps
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Candy Town (San Pedro)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: United States, Nestle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:55 am     Comments (65)

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