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October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mentos Xtrm: Mint & Spearmint

Mentos MintMentos called themselves the Freshmaker for a long time and it’s pretty much true (except their commercials were not fresh, they were lame, but in a totally phresh way).

Even though they stopped airing those commercials a long time ago, they’re still a cultural reference point for people around the world.

What are Mentos? They’re simply a small mint chew covered in a candy shell. I favor them in instances where I used to chew gum, especially on planes. A little fresh breath and ear poppin’ all in one. And based on their commercials they aid in creative problem solving. Peppermint is good ... fruit is merely okay in the United States. Of course in outher countries they have far more choices.

Peppermint XtrmEnter the Asian Mentos once again! I’ve had these stashed away for months from Santos.

Mentos Xtrm: Peppermint are Mentos on Altoids (if Altoids were a form of steroids). They’re called “Strong Chewy Dragee” on the wrapper.

They come in a navy blue bag and are individually wrapped (a great feature, I think, why can’t we get them this way in the States?). Each little dragee is light blue and smells like absolutely nothing.

However, after biting into it, it’s minty. Whoo boy is it minty! In the same, “Goodness it’s so minty it’s almost bitter” way that Altoids are, there’s still a pleasant sweetness to it, and of course the chew.

Spearmint XtrmMentos Xtrm: Spearmint have a lot going for them. First, we don’t even get Spearmint Mentos here. I’ve heard you can get them in Europe (I’ve had my minions look for them in the past) and definitely in Australia.

So I can’t say how they compare to the regular ones, I can only say that I love them. Yes, they’re very strong, but the spearmint flavor is so distinctive and a little more woodsy than the Peppermint. The only problem I have with spearmint in general is it later leaves me with an odd low metallic taste in my mouth hours later. This, of course, is cured by eating another one. (Sneaky devils!)

These were made in India and have no gelatin in them, so they’re suitable for vegetarians (and vegans so long as you don’t have problems with glycerol mono stearate). Also certified Halal.

They’re good. I’ve enjoyed them and I’d definitely buy them again. I carry them around in my bag and think they’ll make wonderful noveling candy (and good for road trips when you need to keep alert). However, I’m going to throw the last dozen or so into the Limited Edition Giveaway box!

Related Candies

  1. Mentos Fuji Apple
  2. Chocolate Dipped Altoids
  3. Dalandan & Juicy Ponkan Mentos
  4. Lifesaver Musk
  5. Pink Grapefruit Mentos
Name: Mentos Xtrm: Peppermint & Spearmint
    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 from Santos (thanks)
Price: unknown
Size: 4.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Mint, Perfetti Van Melle, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:14 pm     Comments (7)

Happy Halloween!

halloweenbowl2007So what is the Candy Blogger’s house giving out for Halloween this year?

Kids get a handful of the following mix: 3 Musketeers Fun Size, Skittles, Peanut M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, SweeTarts, Peeps Spooky Friends, Frankford Marshmallow Pals & Twizzlers. (And anything else I might have lying around.)

If you’re not coming to my door tonight, your best bet is to enter my current giveaway for a Limited Edition Package. I just added some M&Ms Pirate Pearls (freshness not guaranteed) and Retro Flavor Starbursts to the box!

There are a lot of great articles out there today with folks listing the great hierarchy of candy. People extolling the virtues of this candy, that other candies are made by the devil himself and are being dispensed by his minions at otherwise nice looking houses around the country. My candy preference list may be vastly different from yours. It’s candy! There is no single candy that everyone loves. (But yeah, it’s fun to rant about the stuff that you don’t like.) Some people like full-sized bars, I actually prefer the smaller ones because of the assortment.

The truth is that most people give out what they like at Halloween. So if you’re getting Mary Janes or Popcorn Balls, it’s probably because the giver likes them. This is pretty much true with ALL gifting, but especially with blind gifting. Consider that anyone who gives you something you don’t like is following the Golden Rule. They’re doing unto others as they’d like done to them. They’re giving you Smarties or Starlight Mints because they would want to get them. Smile and say thank you.

Then trade!

If they candy is being made it means that someone likes it ... it has value somewhere in the great candy barter world. It may not have as much value as other candies, but that’s the risk you take when you beg from door to door.

Stay safe and for heaven's sake, eat some healthy food and then brush your teeth when you're done with your candy binge. It's only once a year you get to carry around a sack full of candy.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am     Comments (11)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Andes Mints & Dessert Indulgence

Andes MintsOne of my favorite candies as a teen were Andes Creme De Menthe Thins.

I’d buy them by the tray, which was usually about 99 cents at the IGA that I rode my bike past on my way home from my art class on weekends. They seemed a suitable treat for a budding artist. Wrapped in pretty foil ... named for a mountain range in Peru, but called by the French liquor flavor creme de menthe. At that time in my life I despised alcohol, except for a drizzle of Creme de Menthe on vanilla ice cream.

Over the years those tray package became more expensive and they started putting fewer candies in there. I recently bought a box for $1.00 and it had a scant 2 ounces in it ... but hey, it was back to the original price point! The candy is mockolate with a mint confection in the middle. They make a pretty cross section of dark looking chocolate flavored coating and the light green stuff in the middle. They have a cool feeling on the tongue and of course a pleasant mintiness that doesn’t overwhelm.

Andes Dessert IndulgenceRestaurants that serve them with the bill may even be perceived as classy. (Well, it’s classier than getting nothing at all!) The Tootsie site even claims that Andes Mints are the number one selling after dinner mint. I wonder what the number one before dinner mint is? I give them a solid 6 out of 10 as an adult, but back when I was a kid they were probably an 8 out of 10.

Andes has come out with a few other versions over the years ... none that I’ve tried. But I saw a display of the new Andes Dessert Indulgence at the All Candy Expo and was fixed up with ample samples. The Limited Edition Dessert Indulgence array comes in an 8.5 ounce bag with an assortment of three flavors: Raspberry Cream, Lemon Meringue and Key Lime.

Each piece is individually sealed in a plastic wrapper instead of wrapped in foil. They’re substantially bigger than a standard Andes Mint as well. Why? I have no idea. But the base ingredients are still the same: sugar and partially hydrogenated oils.

Andes Mint & Dessert IndulgenceKey Lime has only two layers, a base of light green and then a top level of a lighter green with little flavor crystals which is kind of like faux zest. The scent is fresh, like limes. However, as most folks who have had both key limes and more commonly used Persian lime there is a difference. Key Limes have a deeper flavor and a strange thick consistency to their juice. Persian limes have a high intensity and clear flavored tartness and a wonderfully bitter zesty flavor. This tastes like Persian lime ... or Lime Blossom candles.

Dessert IndulgenceLemon Meringue flavor should be characterized by a nice tart custard with a balancing toasted meringue that is less that a sweet complement and more of a fluffy cooling bath for the mouth. The Lemon smelled, like the lime, a bit floral and pleasant enough for me to want to stick a wick in it. The texture evoked similar feelings, as it wasn’t nearly as creamy as I’d hoped. It did have a pleasant tartness to it, but not that toasted, almost marshmallow flavor to complement it.

Raspberry Cream was such a disappointment. It smelled really strong ... too strong. The ingredient list does boast “freeze dried raspberry puree” and I have no doubt about that. The waxy texture and overly sweet start is then met by a strong taste of chopsticks ... or dried grass clippings. I know what the taste is, it’s raspberry seeds. It’s that taste you get when you puree unstrained raspberries and the seeds get in there, but in this case they became a really noticeable flavor. Hey, maybe it added some fiber!

Sometimes I like “white confections” but in this case, I felt pretty sick after eating five of them while typing them up (I’ve had about 10 total since I took the photos over the weekend). They just didn’t sit well with me. I really wanted them to be something else, which is always a bad idea. I should just accept them unconditionally for what they are. But they don’t have cocoa butter in them and the flavors are just ... well, not satisfying to me, not enough to get me to eat any more of them. So into the Limited Edition Giveaway they go! They only get a 4 out of 10.

Each piece contains 50 calories (regular Andes Mints have only 25 each).

Related Candies

  1. Junior Mints Deluxe
  2. Frey Supreme: White, Lemon & Lime and Citron & Poivre
  3. Confetti & Agrumetti
  4. Terry’s Chocolate Orange Confection
  5. Mountain - Regular & Raspberry
Name: Andes Mints & Limited Edition Dessert Indulgence
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree & samples from All Candy Expo
Price: $1.00 & Unknown
Size: 2 ounces & 8.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150 & 158
Categories: Mockolate, Mint, United States, Tootsie, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:58 am     Comments (22)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Big Mo’ Bars: Peanut Butter & Creamy Caramel

Big Mo' Bar - Dale Earnhardt Jr.I’ve never made any secrets of my dislike of the cheap Palmer candies that are so ubiquitous at Easter. The one thing they’ve always had going for them, though, is that they’re cute.

Well, Palmer didn’t even capitalize on attractiveness in their new candy bar line called Big Mo’. I mean, why bother when you have Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on the package. The packages seem to have some sort of woodgrain on the lettering, which lends itself to an association with NASCAR especially well. I wasn’t going into this with high hopes, but really, this statement from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in this article is really too much.

“At one point or another everyone has had their own idea of making the perfect candy bar, and this was my chance to do it,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s really cool to have my name on a candy bar, and it’s a pleasure to partner with R.M. Palmer Company in putting this product on the shelves. I think Big Mo’ will be widely accepted, not just by racing fans but by everyone who enjoys a good candy bar.”

The bars come in two varieties at the moment: Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate with Creamy Caramel. If you pay special attention to the wrapper you’ll notice that the words milk chocolate are in teensy lowercase letters and the Creamy Caramel part is huge all caps about five times the size. See, they’re being responsible and telling you that it’s not about the chocolate.

image

The Big Mo’ Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter is a large, king sized bar clocking in at 2.5 ounces. It’s divided into 10 sections, each filled with a smidge of roasted peanut butter filling.

I have to admit that the chocolate was far better than I expected. Smooth and very sweet and lacking a bit of chocolate bunch, it wasn’t waxy and complemented the darker flavors of the peanut butter very well. There’s not quite enough peanut butter in there for my tastes, but this isn’t about replicating the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I think it’s about creating a new bar.

The portion is far too huge for me (as are most king sized), and they do call the whole 2.5 ounces a single portion which clocks in at 380 calories.

The Big Mo’ Milk Chocolate with Creamy Caramel also sports two different designs on its ten sections. The top row has the Dale Jr signature and the bottom says Big Mo’.

The Creamy Caramel bar breaks well at the section lines without any oozing, as is often the hazard with Caramellos. There were a lot of voids in this bar, little holes from air bubbles. There’s not a lot of caramel in each little section, which means that the proportions are heavy on the mediocre chocolate. In this case there’s no salty peanut butter to balance it out. Instead it’s a strange goo they call creamy caramel. It’s not glossy, instead it looks more like a thick gravy.

It has a strong woodsy taste to it, not in the slightest bit buttery as the description “creamy” would have indicated. A little on the nutty side of flavor and not a bad texture really, but not enough to balance out the super-sweet chocolate.

While I had some trepidation at the brand and a little irritation with Dale Jr for teaming up with them, I don’t think they’re bad bars. They’re far too sweet for me and I think the portion is ridiculous (especially given the caloric density of the peanut butter bar). Cut these in half. I don’t think they will survive the test of time, as history bears out that vanity candy bars never do. I haven’t seen these in stores yet, but I expect you’ll see them at the usual places that sell Palmer products, such as 99 Cent Stores and other dollar chains, but they could pop up at convenience stores. (Here’s the page on the official website that lists stores.)

Jamie at Candy Addict stopped short of calling the Peanut Butter one Awesomely Addictive and didn’t care much for the Caramel.

Related Candies

  1. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
  2. Palmer Nest Eggs
  3. Palmer Milk Chocolate Balls
  4. Head to Head: Rolo vs Caramel Kisses
  5. Hershey’s Take 5
Name: Big Mo' Bars: Peanut Butter & Creamy Caramel
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Palmer
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 152 & 140
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Palmer, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:42 am     Comments (12)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds

Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee AlmondsThere was nothing wrong with the elegant simplicity of a chocolate covered almond. It could hardly be improved upon. Or could it?

Sconza introduced Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds featuring “70% cacao international blend chocolate” at the All Candy Expo last month. I was really looking forward to them, as I think Sconza makes great panned candies, especially nuts.

Sconza is based in Oakland, California, one of the best confectionary areas in the country. Sconza has an interesting product line that includes such wonderful items like Jordanettes (Jordan Almonds), incredible toffee coated nuts and even a line of impossibly-large-to-eat jawbreakers.

This new chocolate covered almond capitalizes on one of those things they do so well, toffeed nuts.

image

Each generously sized almond is covered in a crunchy and thin coating of butter toffee. It’s salty and crispy and provides a satisfying crunch when biting through the thick coating of very dark chocolate.

The chocolate is strong, with dark fruity overtones and some coffee notes. The almonds are fresh and crunchy and provide a mellow counterbalance to the salty toffee and rich chocolate.

I love these. They’re only vaguely sweet, so I don’t feel sick after eating a handful. At the same time only one or two are extremely satisfying. They’re beautiful to look at smell positively divine.

I haven’t seen these in stores yet, but I’ve found other Sconza toffee and nut items at places like Bristol Farms (a high end grocer). I don’t know what the retail price is, but I think $4.00 for a bag would be such a deal.

Name: Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Sconza
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 141
Categories: Chocolate, Toffee, Nuts, Sconza, United States, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:02 am     Comments (11)

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hershey’s Candy Corn Creme with Candy Bits

• Brach’s Caramel Macchiato Candy Corn

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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