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January 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maud Borup Potato Chips

I’ve often said that you can cover garbage in chocolate and sell it as a delicacy. And we do, you can find chocolate-covered candied orange peels and even dead bugs. (I’m rather fond of the former, not so much with the latter.)

imageOf course potato chips are hardly garbage, they’re wonderful, wonderful things. I don’t eat them much any longer but I do admit that I miss them. But since my life is all about candy now, something had to go.

When I saw these in the 75% off post-holiday clearance section at Target I figured this was my opportunity to have some chips!

Let me start by saying it’s more chocolate than chip. Each chip is quite heavy but still bears the unmistakable shape and ripple of a potato chip. They even smell a bit of potato chips.

The coating on them smells sweet but not very chocolatey, it smells more like coconut and caramelized sugars. Some of the chips are stuck together, but hey, that happens in bags of chips anyway. There is an unmistakable crunch at the center and a nice hit of salt and an immediate potato chip flavor there.

But something is off about the chocolate. It felt greasy. It didn’t so much as melt as just slide around in my mouth. At first I didn’t know if it was because the chips imparted that but after looking at the ingredients I realized that it’s not chocolate.

Maud Borup’s recipe for milk chocolate goes something like this

Sugar, vegetable oils (palm kernel and partially hydrogenated palm), skim milk, cocoa powder, whole milk, vanilla, natural and artificial flavors, sorbitan tristearate [an emulsifier and skin conditioner], soya lecithin & salt

So, I guess that’s why they’re called “Milk Chocolate Dipped” in quotes. When in reality it’s just the milk chocolate part that should be in quotes. I’m quite sure the dipped part is accurate. But real milk chocolate, at least in the United States must contain chocolate liquor (the slurry made from grinding up cacao until it’s a smooth paste that is often separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter). Just putting in the cocoa powder does not make it chocolate. It makes it chocolatish or chocolate-flavored. The fat in chocolate should be cocoa butter ... not palm kernel and partially hydrogenated palm oils. (For the record, the partially hydrogenated amount must have been small since the trans fat content was marked as zero on the label, but who knows if the small print is accurate if they’ve already duped me with the milk chocolate claim.)

Anyway, I really wanted to like these because I am a huge fan of chocolate dipping, including savory items like pretzels. But the greasy texture of the not-chocolate coating and the weird buzzing feeling that the chips left in my mouth (I don’t know what that was ... maybe there were some traces of walnuts in there) just makes me wanna chuck these out the window. I’m really glad they were only two bucks and I didn’t pay the original $8 for them because then I would need to sweep up some glass.

(I’ve had other candies from the overlord company that owns Maud Borup and found them quite tasty, so I’m not going to write the company off completely, though I may email the company about my displeasure.)

Name: Potato Chips "Milk Chocolate Dipped"
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Maud Borup (Route 29 Napa)
Place Purchased: Target (Carson)
Price: $1.98 (on sale - regularly $7.99)
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Cookie, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:53 am     Comments (14)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

HiCHEW Assortment

More HiCHEW! This assortment was courtesy of a friend traveling in Japan though I’ve seen similar assortments at the Japanese grocers in Los Angeles. Since the label was all in Japanese (because it wasn’t imported), some of this stuff may be made up or perhaps pictures really are the universal language.

imageGrape is rather like the Grape Mentos I had late last year, it tastes more like concord grapes (most especially the skins of concord grapes). It grows more intense and complex as the chew goes along and it made me wish that there were more of them in the assortment.

It also makes me wish that we had a truer “grape” flavor in the States.

imageLitchi is odd. It’s a cross between a honeydew melon and a citrus aromatherapy candle. It’s fragrant and flowery and a little soapy but it also has a nice tangy quality with a bit of musk to it. It also tastes kind of creamy towards the end, like a yogurt.

I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of lichis. Maybe I’ve nust never had them prepared properly, but like macadamias, they’re not bad, just not for me.

imageStrawberry is sweet and tangy that begins with a strong natural flavor that makes me wonder if there’s a little stem in there somewhere. Later in the chew it starts to taste a little artificial, but still sweet and floral.

It’s less tart than a Starburst, and has a longer chew that doesn’t break down into a little grainy blob.

imageApple is immediately tangy and tastes of apple juice. It’s not as complex as the others, but still soft and bouncy with a good flavor to the very end.

Like the Grape, it has a slight essence of the apple peel in it.

I kept half of them and put the other half in the family stockings ... I haven’t heard anything back from the family one way or another about them.

Here are my other HiCHEW reviews: Grapefruit (fantastic) and Strawberry (Doh, I didn’t realize I’d had them before. I wonder what I said.) There are lots of other flavors and one of these days I’m going to try the other citrus flavors because I’m pretty sure they’ll go over well.

Related Candies

  1. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  2. Japanese Black Sugar & Tropical Chews
  3. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  4. HiCHEW Grapefruit
  5. Strawberry HiCHEW
Name: HiCHEW (Grape, Lichi, Apple & Strawberry)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: gift
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Japan, Morinaga

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:18 am     Comments (20)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Joseph Schmidt

Joseph Schmidt is a high-end chocolatier based in San Francisco and known for their stunningly beautiful sculptural creations of chocolate. I went to their shop and picked up the ugliest chocolates I could find, cuz I’m like that.

image

Okay, maybe they’re not the ugliest chocolates I’ve ever had, certainly some of my homemade creations have been pretty homely. The candy above is a strange disk of chocolate referred to as a Batik Slick. Sounds as good as it looks, eh?

It’s simply a very flat truffle. The disk has a little batik-inspired pattern on the top and a lightly flavored ganache in the center. It’s a lot of chocolate and very little filling.

image

They came in a box of four, weighed in at 3 ounces and had a strange design of bats made from artisan paper and gold googly eyes on the outside. (I bought them on November 1st ... they were from Halloween and 25% off). I have no idea what the different flavors are.

Dark Chocolate with Yellow Tulip may have been rum. Sweet and mellow, a bit creamy and with no real notable flavor except for maybe a hint of bubble gum. Milk Chocolate with Full Moon tasted a bit like coconut. Very sweet and a little greasy. Red-Centered Chocolate Blob had a nice milk chocolatey taste, smooth and creamy. Yellow Burst with Green tasted like lemon. How nice! I like lemon. The dark chocolate was very sweet but creamy and set off the zesty taste.

imageThe truffles are a bit more traditional, except for the fact that they look like the nose cone of a missile. I’ve never been fond of molded chocolates, for some reason I prefer enrobed or dipped chocolates. I don’t know if it’s the rustic look or there’s actually some difference in the chocolate structurally. I’ve had Joseph Schmidt truffles before a few times but I’d never been able to pick them out myself. So at the store I picked the “mini” version because I thought the large ones were just so freakin’ huge that I’d want to eat them with a knife and fork ala Mr. Pitt.

This one is Raspberry Brandy and is nice and dark with a soft and flowing ganache. The shell cracks and falls apart quite easily but has a nice mellow and smoky taste to go with the raspberry infusion.

image

The other flavors were just as acceptable though nothing thrilling. Pecan Praline was sweet and woodsy, but more maple flavor than nutty. All Dark gave me a good sense of the chocolate, which is Belgian and smooth but the ganache was more buttery than chocolatey. Grand Marnier was ordinary, a touch of orange but it seemed lost in the butter and underwhelming chocolate.

I guess I just don’t understand the fuss about Joseph Schmidt. They’re interesting and certainly less expensive (about $25-$55 a pound) than some of the upscale chocolatiers out there makin’ noise. I have nothing against the tried-and-true flavors either (I’m a See’s nut, remember?) I just wasn’t satisfied after eating them.

Name: Batik Slicks & Assorted Mini Truffles
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Joseph Schmidt
Place Purchased: Joseph Schmidt (San Francisco)
Price: $11.00 & $1.00 each
Size: 3 ounces & unknown
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Chocolatier

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:27 am     Comments (14)

Monday, January 8, 2007

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POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:11 pm     CandyFun StuffComments (1)

KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis

imageThough I try to be on top of the Limited Edition candies and review them when they first come out, I totally dropped the ball on this one. The KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis came out in time for Christmas, though they’re not specifically packaged as a holiday item (other Hershey’s holiday products had little snowflakes on the packages).

The good thing about them being a quasi-holiday item is that they came on sale after Christmas along with all the other holiday candy that may be fresh but sports a now dated red and green wrapper. According to the freshness code, these are good until July 2007!

(On a side note, I have not seen the Cookies ‘n’ Mint Nuggets again this year.)

image

Let me just start by saying that I liked these far better than the Mint KitKat that came out in the middle of last year. While that one was sickly sweet, this was minty and fresh tasting.

The little shape of these Minis is also fun. Instead of the usual two-fingered snack size, these are a little shorter and of course are only one finger. About the size of my pinkie, which is rather small as fingers go. Because of the small size I felt like there was more chocolate on these. But I also felt like the crispy wafers were really, really crispy. The minted chocolate is pretty smooth, a bit sweet and lacking a rich chocolatey experience, but generally in support of the cookie and mint elements.

I don’t know if I’d buy these again since I’m getting a little tired of them since it was a 10.5 ounce package, but I found them to be far better than most of the other Limited Editions I’ve had in the past year or so.

There are lots of other reviews of these online cuz I am late to the party: SugarSavvy.net, SugarHog.net, News You Can Eat & Slashfood.

Name: KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.80 (50% off!)
Size: 10.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 151
Categories: Chocolate, Mint, Cookie, United States, Hershey's, Limited Edition, Kosher, KitKat

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:28 am     Comments (12)

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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

Halloween Candy Season Ends

8 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Brach’s Royals: Caramel Apple and Sea Salt Caramel

• Dove Dark Chocolate Cranberries

• Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

 

 

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