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February 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Theo Confections

Theo Chocolate is a new company that makes fair trade, organic chocolate from bean to bar (and bonbon) right in Seattle. Think about it ... they start with the raw materials and create not only the chocolate but go on to craft the fine ganaches and couveture - all without the use of pesticides, hormones or chemical fertilizers and giving the cacao folks a fair price for their beans. There are very few chocolate makers out there that do that, anywhere in the world, let alone here in the states. The only one that even comes close in the bean to bonbon arena Michel Cluizel in France.

image

I got to try just about everything Theo Chocolates makes at the Fancy Food Show last month including their Confections Collection.

Earl Grey - a beautifully smooth ganache with a rich and dark blend of tea and bergamot flavors in equally rich chocolate.

Ivory Coast - the essential chocolate truffle, dark and smooth with a buttery feel that helps with the woodsy and bitter notes of the chocolate.

Peanut Butter & Jelly - yes, right next to the most upscale of all chocolate expressions is the PB&J except this peanut butter is a praline (kind of crystallized) with a raspberry fruit paste to die for.

Fig Fennel - this has to be the homerun hit of the entire box. Not just because it’s so wonderfully flavorful, but because I’ve never had this combination in quite this way before.

Mint - it’s like it was muddled just for me only moments ago ... the mint tastes that fresh.

Peanut Butter - like the PB&J, this one has a peanut butter praline that’s not sweet at all but has a wonderful woodsy, nutty crunch to it. A little dry.

Scotch - exceptional with its savory smoky notes like tobacco and leather mixed in with the butter and raisin notes of the chocolate.

Burnt Sugar - I’ve had several of these now, the effect is rather like a light creme brulee, with all the flavor of the crusty sugar top and all the creaminess of chocolate and heavy cream in the truffle.

Lemon - the white truffle of the pack, it’s really lemony without being sticky white-chocolate sweet. It has both the tangy notes and the zesty flavors.

Vanilla - very vanilla, with little flecks of it in the ultra-smooth ganache and an overall bourbon note.

(I shared this box with my husband and he ate the Ginger truffle.)

These might be my new favorite chocolates, if only they were easier to get a hold of. I’ve not been to the factory, so I don’t know if you can just go in there and buy singles (or a whole box of one flavor). No compromises ... that’s what it’s all about. It’s still a guilty pleasure, but fewer things to feel guilty about.

I also have a complete assortment of their bars that I’m working my way through, so stay tuned for the reviews of those.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:38 pm     CandyChocolatierReviewTheoChocolateCoffeeEthically SourcedMintsOrganicPeanuts9-YummyUnited StatesComments (8)

Cadbury Orange Creme Eggs

Last year I tried the first expansion in the Cadbury Creme Egg line, the Cadbury Caramel Egg. That one made perfect sense, as Cadbury is known far and wide for their Caramello bar. This year they’ve introduced the Cadbury Orange Creme Egg.

image

The egg looks the same on the outside, with its classic egg shape and simple star design on the shell. It smells like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Sweet and a little orangy ... but nothing like chocolate.

imageI was pretty pleased how it looked when I opened it. Both of the eggs I bought had some leakage/gap issues. The one pictured here had a small cavity that made a little portion of the fondant more crumbly than smooth and flowing (you can see it on the larger part of the egg to the left of the yolk. The second egg had a leak in it and was pasted to the foil. I was very careful when picking my eggs at the store, I got them out of the still full display box towards the back of the shelf instead of the one at the edge of the shelf and I made sure the package wasn’t at all sticky or bumpy.

The chocolate is ordinary American Cadbury milk chocolate. A little milky tasting (like powdered milk), very sweet and with a slight grain. The interior looked like the Cadbury Creme Egg is supposed to look in the center - a bright white fondant with a yellow yolk. The fondant has a pleasant light orange taste to it, a little like a Creamsicle - all sweetness and no tang but lacking the zestier elements that orange oils can bring.

Overall, this was more to my liking than the regular Cadbury Creme Egg, but I don’t see myself buying and eating these again. I’m curious to hear what the CCE fans have to say about it though.

See SugarHog.net’s take on the egg as well, she’s a bigger fan than I of the CCEs as a whole.

Related Candies

  1. UK vs US Cadbury Dairy Milk
  2. Junior Fruit Cremes
  3. Cadbury Popping Mini Eggs
  4. Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg
  5. Cadbury Canadian Creme Eggs
  6. Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses
  7. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
Name: Orange Creme Egg
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury (mfd by Hershey)
Place Purchased: CVS (Silverlake)
Price: $.69
Size: 1.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Cadbury, Hershey's, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:55 am     Comments (37)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Soubeyran Array

Soubeyran ArrayThis is just an excuse to brag about a great recent gift that I just finished consuming. It was a gift box of Arnaud Soubeyran treats. It featured an assortment of nougats, chocolate covered almonds and marzipan. (I dropped some heavy hints about this in the holiday sales post.)

The large, flat box displayed the candy to great effect. The box itself is pretty nice too, a red linen with the Arnaud Soubeyran logo only lightly embossed on the front.

If you recall, I fell in love with the Soubeyran Nougat de Montelimar last year.

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There were three different kinds of nougat here. The first was the plain with lavender honey, almonds and pistachios. The second is the same covered in dark chocolate. The third is orange covered in milk chocolate. The classic and dark chocolate were fantastic, as usual. I love the small, individually wrapped pieces. The orange was a bit too sweet for me, the milk chocolate wasn’t really chocolatey enough for me but the idea of orange nougat is pretty compelling. I’m not saying that I didn’t like it well enough to eat them all, I’d just have the others before and after.

DSC08259The other item in the assortment worth mentioning are the chocolate covered almonds (Olivettes). The almonds were crisp, fresh and crunchy. The chocolate was good quality and not too sweet. The olive colored one was a “white” chocolate on the outside and dark chocolate on the inside. I thought they were pretty sassy looking and ended up putting them in a jar just so I could admire them before I ate them.

The last element in the box were two rows of marzipan called Calissons. They were pretty little leaf shaped wedges of firm marzipan with a bit of sugar glaze on them. I found them tasty, if a little dry. They didn’t taste like poison quite as much as most other marzipans do to me, so I might consider that a plus. My husband enjoyed them quite a bit, so I felt a little better that I was sharing.

You can get an assortment of these nougats sans extras from ArtisanSweets.com (scroll down to the Montelimar Nougats Gift Bag) for $11. Yes, it’s expensive stuff. I really shouldn’t have been sharing it.

Name: Assortment by Arnaud Soubeyran
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Arnaud Soubeyran
Place Purchased: gift (thanks Ruth & Emil!)
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:05 am     Comments (7)

Mentos Ice Pomelo

DSC08511rSantos of Scent of Green Bananas has been a great source of fun Mentos and KitKats. She’s been promising me some Pomelo Mentos, which I imagine are much like Pink Grapefruit Mentos.

But last month she surprised me with these little gems from Guam.

Ice Pomelo Mentos sound rather odd. For those of you who have never seen them, pomelos are large citrus fruit with a very thick skin and grapefruity taste (the common grapefruit is a cross between an orange and a pomelo).  I’m always a little leary when combining mint and citrus but then I have to remember that the mojito seems to combine Lime and Spearmint to great effect, so I’m game.

They look rather like the Pink Grapefruit Mentos, a cool and mellow pink. Upon biting into them, they’re soft and chewy (hooray for fresh freshmakers!) with an immediate hit of mentholated mint ... kind of like a Hall’s cough drop. The citrus pops in with some nice zest to it, but no tangy/juicy component.

I can’t rate these as high as the Pampelmousse, but I still liked them quite a bit, especially since I’ve been getting over the bronchitis and medicinal tasting things are actually a comfort.

Name: Mentos Ice Pomelo
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Perfetti Van Melle
Place Purchased: gift (thanks Santos!)
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Mint, Perfetti Van Melle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:06 am     Comments (4)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Snickers Dark

Snickers Dark in PackageI’d heard that this Limited Edition Snickers Dark bar was out several months ago, but as usual, it took a while for me to find it. (At the 7-11.) While Hershey’s seems to have a blanket method (“change everything in everything”) for Limited Editions, Mars seems to take a very measured approach to them, sticking to simple little changes. I doubt we’ll see a Wild Cherry Milky Way or Twix Caramel Espresso (though that sound pretty good, come to think of it).

The Limited Edition versions by Mars usually have either changed one ingredient or left one out. The most recent one was the Snickers Xtreme, which had no nougat. This one is just a plain old Snickers with a dark chocolate coating.

image

I’m a big fan of Snickers, though I rarely buy them. When I do, I find them so substantialicious that I can’t finish it in one sitting. It’s a big bar at 2.07 ounces.

The Dark however, is only 1.83 ounces.

It’s a good bar. I found the dark chocolate tasty, it tastes like actual dark chocolate ... it’s creamy, a little dry a little smoky and is able to hold up to the peanutness of the bar. The darkness of the chocolate is less sweet than the regular bar and actually supports the true peanut flavors much better. However, the dark chocolate does overpower the caramel. The caramel texture still comes through, but the salty sugar notes are completely lost. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

I think this is an excellent change up of the tried and true Snickers and I think I could see myself buying this far more often than the regular Snickers. I really hope they consider making this a permanent part of their repertoire.

David at CandyAddict reviewed it and found it too chocolatey.

Name: Snickers Dark (Limited Edition)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.89
Size: 1.83 ounces
Calories per ounce: 137
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Nougat, Peanut, United States, Mars, Kosher, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:55 am     Comments (25)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jelly Belly: Lollibeans

imageJelly Belly introduced a new product line this year: Jelly Belly Lollibeans.

They’re premium lollipops in Jelly Belly flavors. I tried a good assortment of their current line, courtesy of many visits to their booth at the Fancy Food Show and rummaging around in the samples bin.

Sizzling Cinnamon - a pretty sassy flavor. Not too hot, but a little too “flavory” for me without the burn that I was hoping for. I mean, they put “sizzling” in the name.

Cotton Candy - sweet and plain and delicious.

Tangerine - softly orange with a subtle zesty hit. No tart ring to make it juicy.

Bubble Gum - this one is the most alarming looking, it’s a bright, opaque pink. A slight tutti frutti element to it, but not really that unlike Cotton Candy.

Lemon - I’d call this light lemon. It’s sweet and fruity but has no tangy element to it.

Root Beer - I was really looking forward to this one. It smelled sweet and earthy. It’s smooth, like a really dense Root Beer Barrel (but no sharp voids to cut your mouth). I was not disappointed, this is a real winner.

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The quality of the candy is great. It’s very dense, ultra smooth and lasted a long time. However, the size and shape of the pop is a challenge. The bean is perpendicular to the stick, so it’s pretty wide (1.75”) for placing comfortably in the mouth. Sucking on them, because of the shape, also tends to be a little noisy, it took me a few pops before I got my consumption tactics honed to the point of silence. Another small pet peeve of mine with premium pops like this is that the stick is paper and you can suck air through when you dissolve far enough down on the stem, for reasons I don’t quite understand, this results in more slobber.

If you’ve ever had Linda’s Lollies, these are very similar. I think I still prefer the fruit flavors in Linda’s because they’re a little more rounded and of course there’s a much larger variety ... but she also has a 20 or so year head start.

The other flavors I didn’t try were Watermelon, Grape, Strawberry Cheesecake & Very Cherry.

These should be hitting stores soon, though there’s still nothing about them on the Jelly Belly website. You can order them on the web, but you have to get full cases of single flavors. Retail they’re supposed to go for 79 cents to 99 cents.

Name: Lollibeans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
Price: retail $.99 each
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, United States, Jelly Belly

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:36 am     Comments (15)

KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)

image Yes, they’re back. I’ve got more KitKats. I’ve got soooo many KitKats. However, these are the only KitKats branded by an Iron Chef (Yasumasa Takagi).

The pair I’ll review today are from the Chocolatier line from Japan: Strawberry, Pistachio, Almond and Thyme. These have been around for a few months and as international KitKats go, they’re not that hard to get a hold of, as many eBay vendors, JBox.com and even Amazon seem to have them in stock. They come in a pretty little lift-top box (about the same footprint as a box of tissues) and hold 16 little individually wrapped fingers.

These are slightly smaller than regular KitKats, they’re actually the same size as those minis I tried after Christmas in the Dark Mint Chocolate.

This little morsel smells like milk and sugar. There’s only the slightest hint of strawberry in there, without the tangy berry bite, just a vague floral taste. The nutty flavors are also very subtle. I got no sense of the thyme whatsoever.

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That’s not to say that it wasn’t nice, it wasn’t as sweet as some other white chocolate versions of KitKat, such as the Matcha, it’s just so refined it’s beyond me. As fruity KitKats go, I think I liked the Strawberry KitKat from Japan a bit better, mostly because it was more strawberry-y.

The second little box is Ujimaccha, Kinako, Ume by Patissier Takagi. That’s green tea, soybean and sour plum.

imageThese are also wonderfully pretty. Subtly green and sweet smelling with a little woodsy hit of tea and malt.

The sour plum hits me more as a salty taste, which is good to cut through the sweet white chocolate coating.

The packaging on these is very nice, it’s easy to have one or two little fingers and then reclose the box. It’s also great for sharing, people think it’s a really nice bit of candy I’m offering them. Of course the packaging might be a little extreme, it feels like I’ve eaten a lot when I have three and there’s a huge pile of wrappers next to me and I’ve eaten less than an ounce.

Sera at Candy Addict also had similar feelings in her review a few weeks ago.

See all KitKat reviews to date here. If you want to see all the KitKats (whether I’ve reviewed them yet or not) have a look at this Flickr set.

Name: KitKat Chocolatier: Green Tea & Strawberry
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: gift (thanks Amy!)
Price: unknown (~$3.75 retail)
Size: 100 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: White Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, United States, Nestle, KitKat

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:57 am     Comments (9)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Eggs

Cadbury Royal Dark Mini EggsThe Easter treats were on the shelves before Valentine’s this year (Easter is one week earlier than last year), but now that VDay is out of the way, the Easter candy is really taking over the stores. I saw Cadbury Mini Eggs, Peeps and Creme Eggs at the drug store back in late January. But now everything is out, even though we have about seven weeks to go.

There are quite a few offerings from Cadbury this season, the various Creme Eggs (orange was introduced last year, and I finally found it this year). But this one, the Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Eggs took me by surprise.

image

The little chalky looking eggs are a smidge darker on the outside, more vibrant than the Cadbury Mini Eggs and don’t have any speckles.
Even though they’re dark chocolate (well, there’s a little milkfat in there) they smell particularly milky to me, or at least freakishly sweet but with a smoky chocolate undertone.

The shell is sweet and rough on the tongue at first, then becomes soft and a little cool on the tongue. Inside is a core of creamy dark chocolate, the chocolate is super smooth and reminds me a bit of Dove. It’s sweet, but not overly and doesn’t have that milky-sticky quality of other Cadbury products.

It’s kind of weird, but they remind me more of a good cup of hot chocolate than candy. They’re definitely growing on me.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Robin Eggs (Solid Milk Chocolate)
  2. Hiding Eggs
  3. Cadbury Canadian Creme Eggs
  4. Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Eggs
  5. Peeps
  6. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
  7. Hershey Eggs
  8. Cadbury Mini Eggs
Name: Royal Dark Mini Eggs
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury (mfd by Hershey's)
Place Purchased: CVS (Silverlake)
Price: $2.88
Size: 8.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey, Cadbury, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:38 am     Comments (32)

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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

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

27 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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