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February 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gobstopper Heart Breakers

Gobstopper Heart BreakersYes, more heart shaped versions of popular candies. What’s different with the Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper Heart Breakers is more than the shape.

I’ve always loved Gobstoppers, especially the ones that came out originally that were more Everlasting (tm) than the current mini ones. They were the size of real jawbreakers (about the size of a walnut) and would actually last for an hour. I found the flavor layers a little more vibrant than the Ferrara Pan ones I was used to. It also seemed smoother and kind of cool on the tongue, great for a summer treat. Later they were reformatted to include a compressed dextrose sour center ... which is kind of nice too, because it means I can crunch it. I’m a cruncher.

Gobstopper Heart BreakersThe Heart Breakers are a similarly layered candy with a sweet & sour chalk center.

The color variety is different here than the regular bright versions in the box and lacking a green/apple one. But they gain a pink/strawberry.

The heart shape is soft and rounded, about the same diameter as a penny. They’re shiny and have the added bonus that they don’t roll around and off my desk like the spherical non-holiday version.

Gobstopper Heart Breakers

I think I might prefer these to the round ones. The fit nicely in the mouth, it’s easy to roll my tongue around on them or simply tuck it into my cheek discretely if I have to talk.

The flavor is mild. The candy layers have a light sweet flavor of whatever layer, with the out layer being the strongest. There’s no tartness with the outer layers, it’s all sweet. The “SweeTart” center is also only mildly flavored and not terribly sour, just a little on the tangy side and of course grainy.

They also look fabulous in the little jar, which is half the fun of candy. Of course they don’t last long in the jar. These would also make a fabulous candy for favors and candy buffets.

I don’t miss the green ones and actually like the strawberry quite a bit. I found the price of $1.99 for 12 ounces to be a bit high for a sugar candy, but if I can find these on sale after Valentine’s they’ll probably keep for quite a while. (I know, this is strange coming from a woman who just wrote about spending $5 on a candy bar yesterday.)

These Gobstoppers were made in Mexico.

Related Candies

  1. Atomic Fireballs
  2. Anis de Flavigny
  3. Wonka Sour Nerds
  4. The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads
Name: Everlasting Gobstopper Heart Breakers
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Target (Harbor City)
Price: $1.99
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Hard Candy, Compressed Dextrose, Mexico, Nestle, Valentines

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:10 am     Comments (24)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chocolate Bars are Better Than Greeting Cards

To You ChocolateI like papergoods and I love looking at wrapping paper, ribbon and greeting cards. But those things are expensive!

Simple Hallmark Cards cost $3 these days ... the fancy handspun ones at places like Papyrus can cost $5 or $6 now.

It’s silly. Or at least for me it is. I don’t keep greeting cards, they’re pretty and the sentiment is nice, but I simply don’t live the kind of life where I keep things like that (every once in a while I will, but as a rule after a period of time they get recycled).

Candy Bars ... lotsa candy bars

So that’s why I advocate fine chocolate bars as a replacement for greeting cards (heck, they don’t even have to be “fine chocolate” as long as you know it’s a welcome bar).

Lake Champlain Organic Dark BarsAt present there are hundreds to chose from, they come in sassy wrappings the rival the pretty cards and you can eat it (even share it)!

So instead of going to the papergoods aisle at the drug store to find something that says that you were thinking of someone, consider presenting them with a bar of Lindt, Ghirardelli, Guittard, Charles Chocolates, Ritter Sport, Endangered Species, Chuao, Equal Exchange, Cadbury, Elite, Lotte, Marabou, Dove, Michel Cluizel, Hershey’s, Scharffen Berger, Dagoba, Nestle, Theo Chocolates, Green & Black’s, Dolfin, Amano, Askinosie, Villar’s, Feodora, Lake Champlain, KChocolade, Meiji, Morinaga, Russell Stover, El Rey, Santander, Chocolat Bonnat, Choxie, Terra Nostra, Amadei, Felchin, Valrhona, Hachez, Gallery, Cafe Tasse, Vosges, Slitti, Toblerone, Chocovic, Pralus, Domori or Caffarel.

Chuao Chocolatier

  • Pick one based on what you think they’ll like.
  • Pick one that you like because of the package design.
  • Pick one that donates money to a cause you support.
  • Pick one because the % of cacao is the same as the recipient’s age.
  • Pick one because it was made in your hometown.
  • Make up a story about why this bar made you think of them.
  • Sign it if you want, put it in an envelope if you need to, but let’s get back to what’s important with greetings ... you were thinking about someone and wanted to tell them. So say it with chocolate.
  • If they need to have a keepsake, there’s always the wrapper.

    (Please note that this works with any consumable ... give someone a pretty apple or pomegranate if that’s what moves you or you think that’s what will move them. Wouldn’t you like someone to answer the door and say, “Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” and you can say “Both!”)

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:39 am     CandyFeatured NewsComments (2)

    BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch

    BonBon Bar BoxI’ve been following Nina Wanat’s blog Sweet Napa for a couple of years now. Mostly because she was writing about making gourmet candy bars but the post that really got me was her details of making a Malted Caramel Bar. If I wasn’t already married, I’d be engaged to the recipe for that bar!

    I was further excited when I saw that she’d moved to Los Angeles ... just within my reach. Oh, so close.

    And finally, at the beginning of December she launched her company, called BonBonBar and webstore with her first gourmet candy bar creations. These are not knock-offs of consumer bars, these are unique combination bars with fresh ingredients. So fresh that it’s recommended that you eat your bars within two weeks of them leaving the kitchen.

    BonBon Bar Box (first layer)I vacillated on whether or not to try them. (I know, it sounds weird.)  The bars are not cheap, at $5 each the price makes me feel like I’m promised a transcendent experience. But she had only two items ... the Malted Ganache & Shortbread Bar (slightly different than the initial malt bar that caught my attention) and a Caramel Nut Bar which sounded fabulous all except for the walnuts. (Drat!) So I thought if I was going to go through the trouble of ordering, I should get an assortment ... I didn’t want to judge this nacent company on a single product.

    Luckily I read that she was going to add a Valentines item (and I even voted on her blog) ... a Single Malt Scotch Bar.

    I put my order in as soon as I saw it in her webstore. She even had a cool Valentine’s sampler package that included all of her bars: 3 Scotch, one Milk Malt and one Dark Malt plus the Caramel Nut Bar. I made a request to swap out the walnut-laden Caramel Nut Bar with another Dark Malt and they were made to order over the weekend.

    Since we’re both in Los Angeles, it took only a day for the package to get here! (And of course the cool weather meant that they were in perfect conditions ... I admit that I get very nervous about chocolate deliveries, even in February.)

    BonBonBar Valentines BoxWhen I opened the box I though, this is it? The box is so teensy! But hefty, as I found when I picked it up. Inside were two layers, the top layer had the three Scotch Bars and the bottom layer had the three Malt Bars. (It’s like she planned out all these sizes fitting into things or something ... genius!)

    The bars are each packaged in their own cellulose sleeve with a simple label. Through the clear plastic it’s evident that they’re perfectly formed, that the enrobing is well tempered. The only thing missing was the smell.

    Honestly, I was happy to see that the bars were enrobed. Some of Nina’s earlier exploits on her blog showed molded bars, which are necessary with certain ingredients, but I prefer an enrobed bar, there’s something about the way the chocolate sits on the center, the way that it falls into place, like a blanket instead of walls.

    Malt BarMalt Candy Bar comes in both milk and dark chocolate and features a malt ganache on a crunchy butter shortbread all covered in chocolate. (1.6 ounces)

    Biting into the narrow bar, the ganache is soft and yields quickly until I got to the dense and buttery shortbread. Crispy, crumbly. The mix of flavors the immediate hit of dark malt, the cookie and the distinct saltiness ... it was all quite dreamy.

    This is what I always wished a Twix would be, super smooth milk chocolate, strong cookie flavor ... well in this case instead of caramel it’s a ganache.

    I tried both the dark and the milk chocolate varieties, and to be honest, I prefer the milk. I think milk chocolate and malt are just natural companions. Also, because the ganache and shortbread are a bit on the salty-sweet side, the milk chocolate’s sweetness really balances it all out.

    Scotch Ganache & Caramel BarSingle Malt Scotch Candy Bar features a scotch ganache and chewy caramel dipped in dark chocolate with a little sprinkle of salt. (1.5 ounces)

    In this bar the caramel is on top and the ganache is the base.

    Upon first bite, the caramel is the perfect consistency of stringy and smooth but not too sweet. The first flavor is of a dark single malt scotch ... it’s kind of like tobacco and leather with that ultra-buttery base of deep chocolate truffle ganache. The chocolate shell is sprinkled with a little flaked salt, so it gave little additional hits of salt to the otherwise incredibly consistent experience.

    The dark chocolate shell is creamy and not too dry or chalky for the rest of the bar.

    Scotch Bar

    Just to check my own opinion (and the fact that I still had three bars and that ticking clock of freshness) I took two bars over to the neighbor’s last night (it was just Robin, Amy’s out of town and will probably be quite mad to miss this as she’s the one I usually give the terrible candy to). Robin said, “This is one of the best things you have ever given me to try.” (The other thing that she really liked was the Nutpatch Nougat, so you know she has great taste.)

    For the record, Nina did offer me free samples, but I really wanted the whole experience of knowing that I just ate a $5 candy bar so that I could report it authentically here. This is one of the reasons I didn’t have an early review like Serious Eats and Candy Addict (who both loved it too!). I did try a bite of the Malt Bar at the Fancy Food Show last month, as Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolates had just met up with Nina and I guess Chuck remembered my prediliction for malt and shared. So it’s not like I was going into this order completely on trust & faith in my fellow bloggers.

    Basically, they’re not candy bars at fine boxed chocolate prices. They’re fine chocolates in bar format ... which is why they’re named BonBonBar. Though $5 a bar sounds like a lot, the price per pound is about $51, which is on par with most other fine chocolatier. (And honestly, if these were in little bon bon sizes and I was in some haut chocolatier, I wouldn’t flinch at that price.) Right now you have to order online if you want some (her list of stores is rather short at the moment).

    Many of her ingredients are organic and all are all natural (no high fructose corn sweetener either).

    It’s not an everyday treat, but if I was given this set for Valentine’s Day, I’d know someone loved me.

    Related Candies

    1. Nutpatch Nougats
    2. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
    3. Charles Chocolates Bars
    4. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
    5. See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar
    Name: Single Malt Scotch & Malt Bar
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: BonBonBar
    Place Purchased: online store
    Price: $30 for six bars
    Size: 1.5 & 1.6 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Cookie, Malt, United States, All Natural, Organic (some ingredients), Los Angeles, Chocolatier

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:42 am     Comments (11)

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    Hershey’s Heart’s Desire

    Heart's DesireYes, take an ordinary product and make it heart-shaped and suddenly it’s a Valentine’s Day special edition.

    In general, it’s a great idea. Why not have pretty foil confections?

    Hershey’s has a few heart-shaped chocolates this year, but they’ve also created a special mix called Heart’s Desire. It features Hershey’s Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Hearts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Filled Hearts and Hershey’s Special Dark Hearts (natural source of flavinol antioxidants (tm))

    Hershey's Heart's DesireI was actually kind of pleased that they weren’t completely pink and red and pink. Instead the color coding is a little more intuitive. The Special Dark employs the global-standard purple, the milk chocolate is in the typical pink and the Reese’s is in gold.

    They’re about 1.25” wide and 1.5” tall and weigh about .29 ounces each. (A Hershey’s Kiss weighs about .16 ounces.)

    Hershey's Heart's Desire

    Special Dark - I used to think that the Special bar was just that. Mostly because I thought that it was my mother’s favorite chocolate bar. Back when it first came out in the 70s there simply weren’t any mass-produced dark chocolate bars available at the corner store. (To get a dark chocolate fix I had to eat chocolate chips.) I didn’t care much for it as a child, I found it a bit waxy and bitter. As an adult I find it chalky, grainy, too sweet and lacking in real chocolate oomph. It contains 45% cocoa solids, which you would think would make it extra chocolatey, but it is simply middle or the road fare. It’s not true dark chocolate as it contains milkfat. They are pretty though.

    Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate - this version is, I guess, Hershey’s answer to critics who said that their chocolate tastes weird. The “extra creamy” kick may come from extra emulsifiers, this one sports both soy lecithin and PGPR. This version of Hershey’s chocolate actually tastes quite a bit different than the typical Hershey’s bar or Kiss. It is sweeter and lacks those deep musky dairy notes. Instead this has a bit of a toasted marshmallow taste ... and very little chocolate-ness. (I did some calculations ... standard Hershey’s chocolate is 27% carbs, the extra creamy variety is 29% carbs. So there you go, it is actually made up of more sugar.)

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Filled Hearts - this was the one that I bought the bag for. In fact, I looked around at all the bags and picked the one with the most gold wrappers visible. The outside was a little greasy but still smelled over wonderfully roasted nuts (I love a fresh Reese’s!). The inside wasn’t quite the soft crumbly version of Reese’s peanut butter, instead it still had the same “crumb” to it, but it was slicker, maybe a little sweeter or a little oilier. It didn’t quite satisfy me the same way that a peanut butter cup does, but still, it’s a Reese’s!

    They’re a pretty assortment, rather traditional and in a rare, large bag (16.5 ounces.). I don’t think I’d buy them again for myself, but everyone at the office seemed pretty jazzed when I popped the remainder in the communal candy jar (but then again, all that’s been in the jar for the past week is Tootsie Rolls).

    I don’t know how far in advance Hershey’s makes these, but the expiration date is June 2008 ... that doesn’t seem like a very long shelf life to me.

    Name: Heart's Desire: Milk Chocolate, Special Dark & Reese's Peanut Butter
      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: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
    Price: $3.59
    Size: 16.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 152
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Hershey's, Kosher, Valentine's

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:45 am     Comments (4)

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Valentines Product Roundup

    Since this is my third Valentines since starting the Candy Blog, I figured I should point newer readers to some almost-fresh reviews of Valentines products that can be found in stores today. (Lest you think that I haven’t been there, done that.) Just click on the teensy photo to be transported back in time to relive the glory.

    imageName: 3 Musketeers Cherry with Dark Chocolate
    Brand: Mars
    Place Purchased: samples from Mars reps
    Price: unknown
    Size: 9 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 124
    Type: Chocolate/Nougat
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: Be My Love Edible Jewelry Kit
    Brand: Au’some
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $.99
    Size: unknown
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Type: Chalk (Dextrose)
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: Strong Dark (70% Dark Chocolate)
    Brand: Chocolove
    Place Purchased: gift (thanks Monica)
    Price: unknown
    Size: 3.2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 157
    Type: Chocolate
    Rating: 8 out of 10

    imageName: Chocolate Heaven
    Brand: Cocoa Deli
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $3.50 (on sale)
    Size: 5.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 141
    Type: Chocolate/Caramel/Mint
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: Dove Jewels
    Brand: Mars
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
    Price: $3.99
    Size: 5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 144
    Type: Chocolate/Nuts
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: Elmer’s Four Piece Box
    Brand: Elmer’s Chocolate
    Place Purchased: Von’s (Hollywood)
    Price: $.99
    Size: 2.4 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 121
    Type: Chocolate/Caramel
    Rating: 5 out of 10

    imageName: Ferrero Rocher
    Brand: Ferrero
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $1.39
    Size: 1.3 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 169
    Type: Chocolate/Nuts/Cookie
    Rating: 8 out of 10

    imageName: Mon Cheri
    Brand: Ferrero
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $1.39
    Size: 1.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 173
    Type: Chocolate/Nuts
    Rating: 7 out of 10

    imageName: Raffaello & Rondnoir
    Brand: Ferrero
    Place Purchased: RiteAid (Vermonica)
    Price: $.69
    Size: 1 ounce
    Calories per ounce: 180 & 160
    Type: Chocolate/Cookie/Nuts/Coconut
    Rating: 6 out of 10 & 8 out of 10

    imageName: Heart Shaped Junior Mints
    Brand: Tootsie
    Place Purchased: Von’s (Hollywood)
    Price: $.99
    Size: 4.75 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 116
    Type: Chocolate/Mint
    Rating: 7 out of 10

    imageName: Marshmallow Hearts
    Brand: Frankford Candy
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid
    Price: $.79 (on sale)
    Size: 5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 95
    Type: Marshmallow
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: Assorted Chocolates (Heart Box)
    Brand: Russell Stover
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $.99
    Size: 1.75 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 137
    Type: Chocolate/Coconut/Caramel
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageName: SpongeBob Squarepants Plastic Heart
    Brand: Frankford Candy
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $1.50 (on sale)
    Size: .71 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 140
    Rating: 2 out of 10

    imageName: SweeTart Hearts
    Brand: Nestle
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $.79
    Size: 1.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 113
    Type: Dextrose/Sour
    Rating: 7 out of 10

    imageName: Turtles
    Brand: Nestle
    Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
    Price: $1.98 (75% off!)
    Size: 3.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 139
    Type: Chocolate/Nuts/Caramel/Kosher
    Rating: 4 out of 10

    imageTechnically I never reviewed the Coconut Heart, but here’s the specs on the Egg version:
    Name: Cream Eggs: Strawberry, Coconut and Maple
    Brand: Russell Stover
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid
    Price: $.39 each
    Size: 1.25 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 104-120
    Type: Chocolate
    Rating: 8 out of 10

    imageTechnically I never reviewed the Nestle Cruch Dark Heart but here’s the review from oh-so-long-ago on the Limited Edition Bar:
    Name: Nestle Crunch Dark
    Brand: Nestle
    Place Purchased: Convenience Store
    Price: $.75
    Size:1.4 oz
    Calories per ounce: 135
    Type: Chocolate (crisped)

    I also have on hand for review this week: Brach's Heart Shaped Cinnamon Imperials, Brach's Cherry JuJu Hearts, Confectionery Lane Mixed Fruit Marshmallow Lollipop & Hershey's Heart's Desire Assortment.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:59 am     Comments (15)

    Page 4 of 5 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 > 

    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

    -49 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:

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

     

     

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