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May 2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

FDA & Mockolate - It’s not over

The newspapers are still latching onto the story. Browse through a few stories:

  • Contra Costa Times: Fudging Chocolate by Janis Mara
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  • The Missoulian: Don’t deceive us with ersatz ‘chocolate’
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  • News with Views: Heart Attack Chocolate by Jon Christian Ryter
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  • About: Chocolate Lovers Unite, then Write the FDA by Kathy Gill
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  • San Jose Mecury News: Chocolate change would leave bad taste
  • It’s important to keep the coverage going through blog posts and message boards and letters to the editor. The story should saturate the news so that the comments at the FDA will ultimately reflect the citizens and not just manufacturers.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:43 am     CandyFDANewsComments (3)

    Friday, May 4, 2007

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi TapeThis is a new level of portability for tape shaped gummi products. Capitalizing on the bubble gum tape dispenser (with the ultimate application being the Bubble Roll Message Maker) this little plastic disk holds six feet of candy.

    Hubba Bubba introduced these in two flavors: Sour Blue Raspberry and Shocking Strawberry. Though the product calls itself gummi, it’s looks more like Red Vines from the ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Malic Acid, Apple Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Mono & Di-Glycerides, Red 40.

    There isn’t any gelatin in there, which is what I consider a defining ingredient of gummis. To continue that thought, jellies use pectin or corn starch, licorice or vines use wheat flour.

    image

    Naming aside, the dense roll unravels to reveal a long and flat tape with a coating of sugar and flavor on it (a little sour bite) which keeps it from sticking to itself. The chew is pretty dense and leathery, like a rather dry Red Vine.

    I found the package frustrating, as the cutter didn’t really cut, it just held the tape in place while I stretched it until it split and broke. Of course it would also scatter bits of the sugary coating around as well. I guess they’re worried about giving sharp objects to kids. I guess they’re not worried about stuff getting in my keyboard. Or maybe they have a co-marketing deal with those compressed air can companies.

    The candy is tasty but the novelty of the roll in a pack you can put in your back pocket isn’t well executed. These remind me of a bunch of different products, including the Sour Punch Straws and the unbranded stuff you can get in the bulk bins at the grocery store. Basically there are better values out there, however, if you’re looking for a light candy snack, especially for kids that involves some portion control, this might be fun.

    Name: Sour Gummi Tape - Shocking Strawberry
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hubba Bubba (Wrigley's)
    Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
    Price: $1.19
    Size: 2.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 115
    Categories: Gummi, Sour, Turkey, Wrigley

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:31 am     Comments (15)

    Webstore Review: Economy Candy

    I thought I would give you some real-world info about what it’s like to order from some of the webstores I’ve mentioned before.

    Economy Candy’s site is pretty well organized. The photos are good the descriptions are decent, except when it comes to the bulk stuff. I visited their brick & mortar store when I was in New York last year, so I knew that they were for real. The site does not have everything that’s in the store. However, I get the feeling that you could probably call them and have them throw in some ad hoc items. (Perhaps someone can confirm that.)

    I went there specifically for the chocolate covered halvah, and I figured as long as I was there and paying the shipping I’d throw in some other stuff.

    I put in an order at Economy Candy and purchased the following:
    2lbs Shufra Halvah Squares - Kosher (@ 6.99/lb) .................13.98
    1 lb Milk Chocolate Malt Balls - Kosher (@2.99/lb)................2.99
    1 bar French Taffy Chew - Banana…...............................0.75
    1 bar French Taffy Chew - Chocolate…............................0.75
    1 bar French Taffy Chew - Vanilla…..............................0.75
    1 bar Peco Brittle 1.8oz….......................................0.75
    1 bag Flying Saucers - 35 Piece Bag…............................1.79
    UPS Ground…....................................................12.91
    HANDLING….......................................................3.00

    TOTAL: $37.67

    The order tracking was a little frustrating. I kept visiting the site and their order tracking page but it never said that my order had shipped. But the candy showed up within a week. So go figure.

    The package was well organized and everything was fresh and in tact. My Halvah came in a little white box and the rest of the contents just wrapped nicely in bubble wrap.

    I would definitely use them again for future purchases of items I’m not able to get elsewhere. They allow purchases of single candy bars, though the shipping is a little high, if you’re getting a variety the shipping isn’t that bad.

    Pros: Good selection, good prices, fresh product.

    Cons: Frustrating website & order tracking, they don’t always give a lot of information about the bulk items. Shipping and handling a bit expensive (but candy is kind of heavy).

    I give the whole experience a 7 out of 10.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:32 am     Candy7-Worth ItFun StuffShoppingComments (5)

    Thursday, May 3, 2007

    Guittard Quetzalcoatl

    Guittard QuetzalcoatlIf there were a poster child for the fight for real chocolate, this might be it. This is pure chocolate, at its most basic form. The Guittard Quetzalcoatl.

    Quetzalcoatl is one of the gods of the Aztec pantheon with a serpent head and feathers. He was the morning star, the giver of agriculture and creator of books & calendars. Most importantly, the legends say that he gave cacao to the Aztecs. (Truly making it a food of the gods, as the botanical name for the plant implies Theobroma cacao.)

    The traditional chocolate of the time was made by taking whole beans and crushing them/grinding them on a metate (also used for corn). The resulting paste (what we now call cocoa liquor) was combined with milk or water and spices to make their chocolate. Xocoatl, the early name for chocolate actually means “foamy water.”

    Gary Guittard created this bar using whole cacao beans and no added cocoa butter. So the ingredients are just about the shortest you’re going to see on a chocolate bar: Cacao Beans, Pure Cane Sugar, Soya Lecithin, Vanilla Beans.

    image

    The package characterizes the bar thusly:

    This very dark, high intensity bittersweet chocolate is for the true aficionado. Dark, rich flavors linger with a minimum of sweetness, and its 72% ‘cacao mass’, unlike chocolate labeled % cacao, contains no added cocoa butter

    This bar is dark and roasty with strong woodsy flavors in the cedar family along with smoke and tobacco. There are a few dried fruit flavors in there as well, with some raisin and cherry notes. It has a dry finish and is very filling. I have to admit that I’m a big fan of high-cocoa butter chocolate bars, as I think the butter buoys the flavors so that they can roll around on the tongue a little longer and you can tease out more of the intricacies. I was really missing the extra fat here.

    This isn’t a bar I’d eat all the time, but I like it as an educational piece of chocolate.

    As part of the effort to Keep it Real, I asked Guittard if they’d be willing to donate something to the cause that I could give away. So after I pledged my $100 Chocosphere gift certificate to the lovely chocolateactivists who took the challenge, I also got a package of a dozen of Guittard’s bars (a $38 value) plus this extra bar for my own enjoyment, of course. I did a second drawing yesterday using all those people who entered with the “raffle ticket” that commented to the FDA (to kind of even the playing field). The winner was reader desertwind! Congratulations ... I hope you enjoy the array of fine (and real) bars.

    Name: Quetzalcoatl
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Guittard
    Place Purchased: sample from Guittard
    Price: retail $2.50
    Size: 2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 135
    Categories: Chocolate, United States, Guittard, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am     Comments (7)

    Paskesz Milk Munch

    Milk MunchI found this bar at a store called Kearn’s on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. I’ve passed by this little convenience store for 13 years without ever stopping in. Because it’s in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, I thought they might have an interesting selection (and perhaps some leftover Passover Coke). They carried a good line of candies, with a strong focus on jelly based ones (Sunkist Fruit Gems, anyone?). They also had some imported items, especially ones from Israel in the Paskesz brand.

    I’ve had a few Paskesz candies and find them decent middle of the road fare, rather like Hershey’s or Mars but with a good wholesome twist on the ordinary crunch.

    Looking at the Milk Munch bar it was pretty obvious that it’s a Milky Way knock-off (Mars knock-off for your European readers).

    image

    The milk chocolate is unremarkable. It’s sweet and creamy, but lacks any real chocolate flavor contribution here. The main flavor here is the rather cereal tasting nougat. Salty and perhaps a little malty, it tastes a bit like cookie dough. The caramel is nice and soft, but again, not very flavorful.

    I was hoping for a Milky Way Bar here, but I got something a little more toned down but far saltier ... and Milky Ways are pretty sedate as it is. But there was something more dense about the nougat portion that just didn’t please me. And at more than the price of a regular Milky Way, it just wasn’t worth it.

    I tried the Paskesz Klik before and really liked them, read about it here.

    Note from wrapper: made under the supervision of Rabbi O.Y. Westheim, Manchester

    Name: Milk Munch
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Paskesz
    Place Purchased: Kearn's (Los Angeles)
    Price: $1.09
    Size: 1.75 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 114
    Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Nougat, Spain, Paskesz, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:50 am     Comments (5)

    Page 5 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 3 4 5 6 7 > 

    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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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

    • Chocolate Covered Banana Gummi Bears

    • 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

    • Orgran Molasses Licorice

    • Rogue Chocolatier

     

     

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