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March 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mentos Berry Mix

I felt like a little fruity break this morning and picked out these Mentos Plus in Berry Mix to review. They have added vitamin C (4 mg per piece!). I’ve seen these in the States, but only in the sugarless variety. Santos gave me two boxes of these in the last delivery of candies from the Pacific. I gobbled up the first box shortly after taking this photo.

They come wrapped in a clear plastic outer wrapper and the box is about the size of a deck of cards. The flip top makes it easy to share, and with a flavor mix like this, easy to pick out just the flavor you want at the moment.

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The lightest pink is Cherry. It’s not bad, tart and with some nice cherry notes that reminded me a bit of the Apple Mentos. As a cherry candy goes, this is quite pleasant and has no bitter aftertaste ... but since I find it palatable, true cherry fans may find it an abomination.

The dusty pink is Strawberry. It’s a very deep flavor, going for the darker musky strawberry notes instead of the light florals that you usually get. A good tart bite and some musk melon in there.

The hot pink is Raspberry. This one is the most “fake” tasting of the bunch, with some pretty intense “flavor” of raspberries going on. Again, it doesn’t go for the light floral elements that you usually find in raspberry flavored things, instead it’s got a razzle-dazzle in there that reminded me of some intense raspberry jam or fruit leather.

This box makes me wish they’d do a Citrus Mix - orange, lemon and pink grapefruit. That’d be awesome.

But back to the product in hand ... I’d buy these, especially if I were traveling. I find chewy candies like these to be great for airplanes, a little something to get your salivary glands activated in the dry cabin and perhaps unstop your ears. Easy to share, maybe a good way to bond with your seat-mates. And perhaps the little dose of Vitamin C will help keep those airplane diseases at bay.

These were purchased in Guam, but made in China. They are certified Halal (which means the gelatin is not of porcine origin).

For those of you who don’t have any Mentos nearby but wanted some Mentos fun, check out the Indian website for Mentos, called the Mentos Helpline ... some of the humor doesn’t translate in all cultures, but it really is rather an interesting and non-traditional promotional site. Kudos to Mentos for thinking outside the box once again and embracing their fans. More about the Mentos Helpline in this article.

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

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:41 am     Comments (7)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oriental Trading Company Candy Shot Glasses

DSC07203rThe final item that I hadn’t reviewed from my Oriental Trading Company order is the set of Candy Shot Glasses.

It wasn’t an impulse purchase, it was just one of those things that I’ve been looking at on their website for well over six months (along with the later disappointing gummi bracelets). The idea fascinated me, but I had trouble grasping the concept that you would put liquids in an effectively dissolvable container.

The little shot glasses are exactly the same size as a regular shot glass. They come in three flavors (two of each in the box of six). They were packaged nicely to prevent breakage. They were in a sealed plastic bag, then wrapped in some bubble wrap, then inside a box that had little cubbies for each of the candy glasses.

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Mine arrived in one piece, however, as you can tell from this photo the candy itself wasn’t as “candy-like” as I expected. The yellow one was the only transparent one, the rest were rather opaque and a bit chewy. I’ve seen this happen with ordinary hard candies. They get exposed to a little moisture which eventually penetrates and softens the outer layer of the candy. It doesn’t usually change the flavor, just the texture. Instead of shattering like glass, it bends a bit.

They also appear to have “melted” a bit. I ordered them in January, so it’s not as though I exposed them to any heat. Again, I figured this was because of the age of the product and/or the exposure to moisture. (Check the photo on the OTC site to understand what I was expecting.)

The shot glasses come in three flavors:

Lemon (Yellow) - not quite lemon drop flavored, it was a mild citrus flavor without much tartness.

Apple (Green) - fragrant and floral with a small burst of tartness when you chew it up.

Cherry (Red) - sharply medicinal with mild sour bite.

I invited over Amy (the neighbor who spits things out) and we tried a variety of liquors in the cups. I had Ouzo (an anise liquor from Greece) in a lemon cup, my husband had Limoncello in a cherry cup and Amy had vodka in the apple cup.

My first advice is to use it for drinks that are not chilled. Tequila shots are probably most appropriate. We keep our Ouzo, Limoncello and Vodka in the freezer, so the candy glass gets a layer of condensation on the outside, which then means that it gets sticky.

The flavor of the glasses does not seem to pass to the liquor easily, so the only way to combine flavors is to chew on the glass. I nibbled on the rim of mine and took little sips of Ouzo. I think lemon and licorice go well together, so it was rather nice. Ouzo isn’t a syrupy-sweet liquor like Limoncello, so the addition of the little sugar crunch was kind of nice. It’s a little much with Limoncello.

I left one of the glasses with some liquor in it on the counter (on a plate) overnight. It did not dissolve the glass as I thought, which is a plus. It did make the vodka rather syrupy.

Overall I don’t think I throw the right kind of parties for these to be a welcome addition to my hostessing (I’m just not a “shot” person). However, if you’re the type who does shots (especially tequila) and can get an assurance from OTC that they can send you some fresh unclouded ones, they might be fun. And hey, no dishes to do afterwards!

Name: Candy Shot Glasses
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Oriental Trading Company
Place Purchased: OTC Website
Price: $4.95 plus shipping
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, China, Oriental Trading Company

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:11 am     Comments (8)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Candy Bar Poll Results

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I agree completely with the majority of the voters: it’s the ingredients in a candy bar that compel me to try it. Package design comes in a close second in my book as well, especially when gauging whether the bar is fresh and described accurately. And pictures are nice too ... amp up my expectations with glossy chocolate and strings of chewy caramel .... drool.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:59 pm     CandyPolls

Expo West

I went off to another trade show on Sunday. Luckily it was practically in my own back yard (well about 40 miles away, so my only expense was gas and parking).

It’s called ExpoWest and focuses on Natural Products. This covers a huge range, from nutritional supplements to beauty products to foods & drinks and of course some sweets. While the candy content at this show as rather small, I couldn’t resist going and checking out the products from the chocolatiers and confectioners.

What’s also fun is stumbling across product lines I had no clue about ... and then letting you know about them.

I got to check in with some of the companies I’ve already covered here and see their new products:
Pure Fun  - they have some new hard candies, lollipops and candy canes. I also finally got to try their spicy cinnamon cotton candy ... yum!
New Tree - they have a few new bars since the last time I tried them (and I still haven’t tried the full line), so picked up some.
Sweetriot - they have a “cherry” version of their nibs and from my little taste test, they were pretty tasty, so they gave me a tin for later review. They’re also selling straight cacao beans (not nibs) for the really adventurous.
Terra Nostra/Bon Bona - I already have some of their new single origin truffles to try, and they have some exciting new “candy bars” coming out.
Endangered Species - I picked up their Zebra Bar (orange) and the Eco Rounds (dark chocolate and nibs).
College Farm Organics - they have some nice new hard candies (I really liked the coffee candy!) plus new Halloween packaging for their organic lolliops that should make it shelves this fall.
Scharffen Berger - new Milk Nibby Bar.
CocoaVia - the Mars “healthy chocolate” line. They’ve introduced a few new bars and milk chocolate covered raisins. I actually had a really nice chat with them and got samples of just about everything they’re making right now.
Newman’s Own - they had many of their chocolate items out for sampling and it confirmed for me that their chocolate is very sweet. They also have a new line of mints in tins (ala Altoids) but they weren’t sampling those.

New to me are:

St. Claire - mints and sour pastilles (they gave me a tin of their mints for “tummy upset” which I’ll boat test next weekend)
Seeds of Change - fair trade chocolate
Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate - actually not completely new to me (I’ll get into that in the review), but this is the first time I stopped and talked to them (I did visit their shop in Eureka last summer but it was mobbed and I left).
Tubi Licorice - makers of Tire Tread Licorice

I spent the whole day there and barely covered the whole show floor. As I got to the far corner Scharffen Berger was already closing down, so I didn’t get to chat with them much about their new products, but I did pick up the Milk Chocolate Nibby Bar. I also popped in and sampled some Green & Blacks (I just felt like a little dose of their white chocolate bar at that moment). I completely missed the Theo Chocolate booth, but I have a full set of their bars, so I’m good to go on them anyway.

I also missed the Divine Chocolate booth, which I didn’t realized until I was driving back. I’ve already sampled their bars, but I really wanted to talk to them about their kids bar in the UK, called the Dubble.

Since I was walking the floor anyway, I picked up just about every snack bar that was available ... I have about 20 pounds of them. This morning I ate something called an Attune Bar (Lemon Creme) which features 5 times the probiotics of yogurt. They also have a line of chocolate bars with similar virtues that I’ll review. The only one I missed was Lara Bar - they were all packed up when I got to their corner. Too bad, I think their new Jocolat line might actually qualify for a Candy Blog review (I haven’t seen them in stores yet, but did try some at the Fancy Food Show in January). I also picked up some samples of different fruit snacks (fruit rolls and leathers). I might do a round up review of them just as a sort of “would kids eat this, and should they?” kind of thing.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:18 pm     CandyFun StuffNewsComments (2)

Caffarel Gianduias

Caffarel makes more than the traditional milk chocolate Giandiuia morsels. At the Fancy Food Show I found out they make a Dark (Gianduiotto Fondente), a Cinnamon (Cannella) and even a mini Chili (al peperocino) one. I was excited to find out more about Caffarel at the show from one of the vendors that imports them for the American market, hopefully they’ll be getting wider exposure. At the moment they’re still found in Italian markets in large cities and shops that carry international chocolates.

For those of you who haven’t been around Candy Blog long, Caffarel makes the excellent Gianduia 1865, little hat-shaped hazelnut chocolate morsels.

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Gianduiotto Fondente - this dark version made with Arriba cocoa is just as “stick to the roof of your mouth” rich as the traditional milk and hazelnut version. This one seemed to taste more of the deeper hazelnut flavors than the milk, with dark smoky notes and of course that slick and thick melt on the tongue. 

Cannella wasn’t just cinnamon dusted, it was spiced with the stuff with no hint of ground-spice-grain. It covered up a lot of the hazelnut flavors, but the texture was still thick and fudgy. Not too sweet, this was also the dark version of the giandiuia.

Giandiuia al Pepeprocino (chili) - had lots of peppery notes, not just the burn ... though there was definitely some burn. I was catching some more acidity in the chocolate on this one and some of the notes of fresh green peppers. If I had it to do all over again, I’d taste them in the opposite order ... this really gets to me! (I should have learned my lesson when I picked these up as samples at the Fancy Food Show ... I tasted it there and had the exact same reaction.) They’re smart to make this one a smaller morsel than the others (they call it a Gianduiottini).

Of course I can’t find any online sources for these. But I did see that Candy Warehouse has those little mushrooms for sale and Williams-Sonoma has little hazelnut praline eggs for Easter.

Name: Giandiuia: Fondente, Canella & al Peperocino
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Caffarel
Place Purchased: samples from Fancy Food Show
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, , NutsItaly, Caffarel

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:17 am     Comments (6)

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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

-26 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Godiva Chef Inspirations

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

 

 

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