ABOUT

FEEDS

SEARCH

  • Enter search term

CONTACT

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Here are some frequently asked questions emailed to me you might want to read first.

EMAIL DIGEST

    For a daily update of Candy Blog reviews, enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

CANDY RATINGS

TYPE

BRAND

COUNTRY

ARCHIVES

June 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cote d’Or 70% Cacao Bars

Cote d'Or Cocoa Nibs in 70% Cacao & 70% Intense Cacao BarThere are so many mid-range chocolate bars available these days, just going into Target presents a whole aisle of upscale chocolate choices that go far beyond the traditional Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar or Nestle’s Crunch.

One European manufacturer that’s becoming ubiquitous is Cote d’Or. It’s Belgian chocolate, which has a certain cache. Cote d’Or was named for the Gold Coast of Africa, which is now Ghana and a prime cocoa growing area. The company was founded by Charles Neuhaus but is now owned by Kraft Foods (which owns many European chocolate companies, including Toblerone, Terry’s Chocolates of Whack-&-Unwrap-Orange fame, Milka & Marabou).

Though they’re made by Kraft, they’re imported and distributed by Ferrara Pan ... you know, the Atomic Fireball and Lemonheads folks. (But it makes a certain amount of sense, they don’t do chocolate candy but have a huge distribution network.)

I’ve never really given Cote d’Or much thought, I always put it in the same category as Ghirardelli or even Lindt - a very nice brand, but just not quite my bag. Or is it? Candy Blog is supposed to make me open my mouth and expand my mind, so I should be trying new things. So when a bunch of bars Cote d’Or 70% Cacao bars showed up in my All Candy Expo samples box, I had to give it another look.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Cote d'Or 70% Cacao

I started with the Intense 70% Cacao. The boxes are smart looking, just a paperboard box, great for protecting an unfinished bar. They’re 100 gram tablets (3.53 ounces), so it’s about 2.5 servings. There are 10 squares, each with the trumpeting Elephant icon of their logo.

The tempering is good, they have a great snap, if a little soft. The bar doesn’t look shiny like many others, but this is because of a texture in the mold that makes it matte. I think it makes the bar look a little dull. What sells it though is it smells wonderful - fresh and woodsy and of course chocolatey.

What struck me as odd about these bars is that they’re called Belgian Dark Chocolate Confection ... not just chocolate but they qualify it as a confection. Flipping over the box it shows that even though this is high cacao chocolate, it also has milkfat (though listed on the label right above soy lecithin, so not in very high proportion).

It melts quickly, it’s smooth and not too intense, no matter what the name says. It has a very buttery, nutty tasting base. It’s a little fruity, not acidic but has some raisin notes. For a dark, it’s very approachable.

Cote d'Or Cocoa Nibs in 70% Cacao

The bar that pretty much made me squeal with anticipation is the new Cocoa Nibs 70% Cacao. I’m a huge fan of nibs and this one promises caramelized cocoa nibs in DARK chocolate confection. Unlike the other 70% bar, this one has no milkfat, so is suitable for vegans.

It’s easy to see the nibs in the cross section. They’re the perfect proportion of chocolate and nibs. The caramelization is what makes this bar so nice. It’s not like they’re toffee coated, they’re just crips and crunchy, kind of like chocolate infused macadamia nuts.

The flavor is a bit more intense, but the variations in texture and the delivery of so much chocolate in each bite makes this bar a winner. I haven’t tasted it side by side with the Hershey’s Cacao Reserve, but since I expect them to be similar price points, I definitely say give this a try.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Intense Dark
  2. Pop Rocks Milk Chocolate Bar
  3. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  4. Scharffen Berger - Cacao Nibs
  5. Noir au Grue de Cacao
Name: Intense 70% Cacao & Cocoa Nibs 70% Cacao
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cote d'Or
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: $3.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 184 & 177 (I think the package is wrong)
Categories: Chocolate, Nibs, Belgium, Kraft, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:39 pm     Comments (5)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos

After the recent Bananas n Cream Mentos, I figured the next on my list of dairy-inspired Mentos should be some of the yoghurt ones.

There are a few yoghurt flavored Mentos out there, including Lemon Yoghurt, but Santos was kind of to bring me a huge tube of 6 rolls of Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos last week.

Mentos Strawberry Yoghurt

The package is easily distinguished from the regular Strawberry (photo here) but could be mistaken for Pink Grapefruit Mentos (photo here) except for the blue dairy product wrapped around a strawberry at one end.

The dragees look like any other Mentos - a nice medium pink. They simply smell sweet.

The taste is, well, like Strawberry Yogurt. There’s the berry flavor, which is that mix of sweet and sour, slightly floral and then there’s the yogurt kick, which is a bit of a dark tangy bite. It reminds me a bit of the Berries & Cream Starburst.

They’re not particularly creamy (and have no dairy in the ingredients) but do feature 3% strawberry juice.

The new kinds of Mentos no longer use gelatin in them, so they’re safe for vegetarians ... in this case though this version uses the coloring Carmine, so it all depends on where you draw your lines.

Related Candies

  1. Mentos - Pine Fresh (Pineapple)
  2. Mentos Xtrm: Mint & Spearmint
  3. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  4. Starburst Berries & Creme and Fruit & Creme
  5. Mentos Ice Pomelo
  6. Dalandan & Juicy Ponkan Mentos
  7. Pink Grapefruit Mentos
Name: Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos
    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: 1.35 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Netherlands, Perfetti Van Melle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:17 am     Comments (2)

Barley Mint Mentos

Mentos Assortment!A few years ago I got an assortment of Malaysian hard candies that included a couple called Barley Mint. I wasn’t sure what Barley Mint was, I thought it was barley sugar flavored with mint. It was nice, but not what I’d envisioned and I put it out of my head.

Years later, I spotted a version of Mentos made in Indonesia called Barley Mint and I was again intrigued to taste them. Luckily they were in the latest gaggle of Mentos (yes, that’s the term for a large group of Mentos) from Santos of Scent of Green Bananas

I’ll have more on the rest of them later (including Strawberry Yoghurt, Spearmint, Tropical Mix & Black Currant).

Mentos Barley Mint

The green package features images of the little chewy dragees and mint leaves. The mints themselves were less green, kind of a light celadon.

They didn’t smell like much, maybe like a box of TicTacs.

Biting into them is was quite apparent that Barley Mint is not any ordinary mint.

It’s like peppermint, cool and fresh, but then there’s a lingering flush of something ... something floral or fragrant. Roses? Soft Musk? Whatever it is, it’s not a minty flavor. It’s not orange blossom or any sort of blossom. It’s musk. Like the Australian Musk Sticks. Mixed with mint. And maybe a little touch of mellow and creamy banana. I know, it sounds weird, and it probably is.

It’s not that strong, not like the more intense Peppermint Mentos, but it’s certainly strange and for anyone who doesn’t like soapy flavors, it’s sure to be a turnoff. There’s a very clear reason that these aren’t distributed in the US and this roll is quite lucky to have found me. I’m eating them all.

They felt fresh without being too strong. The mint would linger for a bit, but the musky flavor stayed for at least a half hour after consumption.

I don’t know quite what the flavor has to do with barley, but maybe Musk Mint wouldn’t have sold as well even in Indonesia.

These are not Halal (or Kosher) but do not contain gelatin so are suitable for vegetarians.

Related Candies

  1. Banana n Cream & Red Orange Mentos
  2. Mentos - Pine Fresh (Pineapple)
  3. Mentos Xtrm: Mint & Spearmint
  4. Mentos Ice Pomelo
  5. Dalandan & Juicy Ponkan Mentos
  6. Pink Grapefruit Mentos
Name: Barley Mint Mentos
    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: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Mint, Indonesia, Perfetti Van Melle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:01 am     Comments (5)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Twizzlers (Strawberry)

Twizzler StrawberryIn the great lists of invented candy names, Twizzler has to be right up there at the top. Just look at them, they look like they’re twizzle.

It also fits because they really aren’t any other sort of candy. They’re not a chew like a taffy. They’re not chocolate. They’re not compressed dextrose. They’re not toffee, not caramel ... not marshmallow nor nougat. In fact, the only thing that adequately describes them is “Red Licorice” and even that’s confusing (especially when you get into flavors that aren’t red). While I’ve debated what to categorize these as before, I can only call them a wheat based chew. (Which sounds less than appealing.) Both Twizzler & Red Vines identify themselves as twists.

    image

Twizzler Strawberry Twists are attractive little ropes. They’re insanely glossy and firm, but these were definitely fresh.

The bite is short, and when I say that it means that when you chew it up, it comes apart quite easily. So instead of becoming one chewy mass in the mouth, these become some sort of amalgam of smaller crumbles. (This is similar to how some caramels are dry, almost like a fudge and others are stringy and chewy like a taffy.)

The taste is sweet and mild, with more of the scent of strawberry jam than the taste of it. There’s no tang to it, it’s all mellow and sweet, kind of like a strawberry flavored pound cake.

I find them appealing, but not enough to eat them if they weren’t in front of me. I’ve had them in the candy cupboard since late March when I picked them up on sale at KMart. I think part of it is that red wheat based chews are simply not my thing. They’re a good thing, just not a good fit for me.

They’re a great candy option especially for mindless eating during the summer at the movies. Because they’re wheat based they’re rather low in calories. They do have a pinch of fat in there (1 gram per serving), which I’m guessing is to keep them supple. There are about 38 calories per twizzle.

Red Vines vs TwizzlerThere are a lot of folks who compare Twizzler and Red Vines. What I found a little surprising when I first started investigating the difference between the two earlier this year was that Red Vines are a raspberry flavor. Twizzler are strawberry. So they’re not really a one to one comparison. However, Red Vines does make a Pink Strawberry version, so I thought that would be an ideal place to start for a head-to-head.

Twizzler were introduced (I believe in the licorice variety) in 1929 though Y&S (Young & Smylie Licorice) was founded way back in 1845 in Lancaster, PA. The Hershey Company bought Y&S in 1977. Red Vines originated in 1920 (though the Strawberry variety came along much later), they’re made by the American Licorice Company then based in Chicago, IL (now in California & Oregon). So they have a concurrent regional evolution but are now on opposite sides of the continent.

The first difference is the color, obviously. The Twizzler are a deep and opaque red. The Red Vines are a strange pink that’s vaguely translucent.

Pink Strawberry Red VinesRed Vines Pink Strawberry smell like cotton candy, sweet and fresh, a little floral. Twizzler smell like strawberry jam, still sweet but more like preserves and perhaps boiled fruit.

And once you bite a Red Vine the difference becomes quite clear. Red Vines Pink Strawberry are tart. Not tingly tangy, just lightly sour (citric acid is listed on the ingredients, which does not appear on Twizzler).

The texture of Red Vines is more chewy than a Twizzler, a little more like dense dough and it holds together. It also sticks to the teeth.

So when it gets right down to it, they are different. Actually different enough that there’s no need to compare them (the old apples and oranges). Just try them both, eat whichever you have a preference for, though it’s entirely possible to like both.

Twizzler are Kosher and if you find the Canadian version, they’re nut free. The American package doesn’t have an allergen notice about tree nuts, peanuts or milk but does contain soy and wheat. They may also be suitable for vegans.

Related Candies

  1. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  2. Whoppers Milkshake Strawberry
  3. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  4. Twizzlers Rainbow Twists
  5. Twerpz
Name: Strawberry Twizzlers
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Y&S Candies (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.25
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Chew, United States, Hershey, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:49 am     Comments (14)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars

imageDove has been adding quite a few new items to their line. Not only do they have the Dove Bites and Caramels plus the little chocolate covered almonds, they’ve expanded their line of bars to include Single Origins, Organics and new flavor inclusions for their standard dark and milk chocolate. None of this new stuff, oddly enough, is included on their website.

I have a huge cache of 9 different bars that I’ve been making my way through for the past two weeks. Today I’ll cover their 3.52 ounce packages of Milk Chocolate products: Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Almond Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate and Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

While many of the flavor inclusions items are new, the biggest change is the packaging redesign. The large bars used to come in a simple foil wrap with paper sleeve design. The new version is a radical and welcome change.

image

The bars come in a paperboard box that opens like an envelope. Inside are tucked three individually foil wrapped bars, each a little over 1 ounce (the total weight for the package is 3.53 ounces).

My consistent complaint with the large 3 plus ounce tablet bars is that they’re not made for “eat some now, save some for later”. I usually end up putting my partially eaten bars into a ziploc bag because the foil wrapper is usually not enough, and of course the paper sleeves are often glued to the foil and are trashed when opening.

All of that is solved here. The box closes and opens easily, the bars are simple enough to pull out and unwrap ... and even if you don’t finish one, it’s easy to tuck it back into the package. It also helps with portion control. The 33 gram servings come to about 180 calories (a regular candy bar is usually around 50 grams and clocks in at 220-280 calories) so you feel like you’re getting a lot, especially since it’s presented so nicely.

imageI’ve had the Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate before, but I thought I’d give it another try.

The format of the bar is really pleasant. The pieces are thick enough to give a good snap, but not so thick as to make you feel like you’re gnawing on the bar to bite off a piece. The squares break easily, each little bar has six.

The bite is far softer than a dark chocolate, but true to its name it is silky smooth. It doesn’t give up a lot of flavor at first, it’s mostly the texture and sweetness that I noticed.

A little later, on the second piece the more subtle notes of mild cocoa and caramel toasted milk came out. It’s still extremely sweet - so much that I really can’t eat it straight. Some coffee or plain almonds do a nice job of cutting it.

Still, it’s not for me. It’s not chocolatey enough, not roasted enough and reminds me of the difference between skim milk and whole milk when it comes to density.

Rating: 7 out of 10

imageThe first thing I noticed about the Dove Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate was how light in color it is. The second thing I noticed was the smell. It’s very sweet and smells more like a toasty hot coffee cake than a chocolate bar. It’s milky and sugary with only a faint whiff of cocoa.

The bite is also soft, like original Silky Milk Chocolate. But this one has a much stickier melt. It’s smooth, don’t get me wrong, they haven’t led anyone astray, but it’s also thick and slightly fudgy.

Oddly enough, because of the lightness in color I was expecting this to be sweeter than the original, but it wasn’t, it was actually less sweet tasting.

The milk flavors were much stronger here, but mostly it was just an experience in sweet and silky texture.

So I turned over both boxes and tried to figure out what the difference was. Before tasting them I just assumed it was sugar. What I found is that it’s actually milk. The Extra Creamy, doesn’t have more “cream” as the name implies, it’s actually more skim milk.

The ingredients list goes like this:

Silky Smooth .................. Extra Creamy Silky Smooth
Sugar…............................................Sugar
Cocoa Butter…..............................Cocoa Butter
Chocolate…....................................Skim Milk
Skim Milk…....................................Chocolate
Milkfat…........................................Milkfat
Lactose…........................................Lactose
Chocolate Processed w/Alkali….............Soy Lecithin
Soy Lecithin….........................Artificial Flavor
Natural & Artificial Flavors

Even though they both have the same 11 grams of fat per mini bar and it’s really only the skim milk that’s more plentiful in the Extra Creamy, the Extra Creamy has twice the cholesterol (10 mg versus 5 mg for the regular Milk). Extra Creamy also has 50% more calcium ... 6% of your daily RDA.

Rating: 6 out of 10

imageBeyond the choices in levels of milk chocolate, Dove has added some more decadent “candy bars” to the line now. The Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate pretty much had me loving it before I even opened the box.

The Peanut Toffee Crunch is simply crushed Munch bars (a great candy bar!) mixed into the milk chocolate. If you’ve never had a Munch bar, it’s just a thick slab of peanut brittle. The peanut toffee crunch is very simple, adds a wonderful texture, a hint of salt and the toasty flavors of both burnt sugar and roasted peanuts.

image

This is a great tasting bar. It’s creamy, it has the right proportion of crunchy bits and has pretty much real ingredients (some artificial flavors).

Rating: 9 out of 10

imageThe final bar is the Blueberry Almond Silk Smooth Milk Chocolate. The package says: pairs the sweetness of blueberries and perfectly roasted almonds with Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

The almonds are crushed into little bits, but quite abundant. The blueberries, on the other hand, are not as plentiful and not spaced as evenly. The big thing I got out of this bar was a sore throat. I don’t know how it ended up tasting so much sweeter than the other bars but it did. There is an addition of sugar on the label after the blueberries (perhaps sweetened dried blueberries?). It’s totally unnecessary and really I wish there were more berries, with some sort of tart chewy component (but I have their Cranberry Almond in Silky Dark Chocolate to compare it to). Even weirder, a close reading of the nutrition facts says that this has less fat and less sugars but the same level of carbs (must be the almonds) than the three other bars.

It’s also the only one in the group that uses a preservative in it, TBHQ (I’m guessing for the blueberries).

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Given the choice of this and the Peanut Toffee Crunch, I know what I’m grabbing every time.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Patti at CandyYumYum has a review of some of the other bars that I haven’t seen yet (Hazelnut) and mentions some Dessert Bars (she has the Bananas Foster which sounds right up my alley). I need to recover from this seriously sweet chocolate binge and then I’ll do a roundup of the Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate offerings plus the nutritionally enhanced Beautiful & Vitalize bars.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Desserts Bananas Foster
  2. Hershey’s Bliss
  3. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
  6. Dove Jewels
  7. Dove Chocolate
Name: Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: samples from Dove
Price: $2.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Peanut, Toffee, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:32 am     Comments (8)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eiffel BonBons

Eiffel BonBonsI saw these last year at the All Candy Expo, but didn’t really give them any of my attention. I didn’t get them. They’re called Eiffel BonBons but I just didn’t know what they were beyond the chewy candy description on the package. The little beret wearing bonbon with his mustache and spats just seemed a little like it was co-opting a stereotype. (He’s also kind of creepy because he seems to find himself tasty.)

Then folks commented that they were fabulous and I was missing out on something. So I started looking for them. After all, they were introduced in the United States after being known as a sleeper hit amongst travelers to France and students of the French language (apparently they’re sold by French clubs at schools all over North America). Supposedly they’re available at Target or Wal-Mart, but I’ve not seen them at all.

But what are they?

Even after eating a whole package, I’m not sure if I can adequately describe them.

Eiffel BonBons - Strawberry

They’re little spheres, about the size of a hazelnut or garbanzo bean. They’re not completely consistent in color or size but in the case of the Strawberry ones, they’re pink with darker pink flecks. They’re powdery on the outside, kind of like Smarties can be. They smell like strawberry or pink cotton candy - just sweet and fresh.

On the tongue the coating is sweet. There’s a slight shell on the candy, but it’s not crunchy, more like a Smarties kind of crumbly compressed dextrose coating. It’s not tangy though, just sweet with a light touch of strawberry.

Inside is a soft and tangy fruit chew. It’s a foamy Starburst, it’s pillowy when you bite into it. (Also like a Starburst it has gelatin.)

It doesn’t have the sophistication that the name seems to indicate, but the taste & texture are definitely unlike other candies that I’ve had. If you’re going to go to the trouble of importing a candy into the crowded American confectionery market, it should be unique.

I’m smitten and I really want another bag ... this one was only 1.25 ounces. They also come in Green Apple.

Caitlin at Candy Addict gave them an overall positive review.

As far as I can tell there are two avenues for purchasing this. You can stumble across it wherever it’s been picked up for retail or buy it online (Apple & Strawberry only). The other option, if you know you like it, is to buy in mass quantities from the same place that school groups do for their fundraisers (but you’d better be sure you like it, the minimum is 80 packages and they also carry the full range of flavors like Watermelon, Cherry & Blue Raspberry).

Related Candies

  1. Starburst
  2. Mentos Berry Mix
  3. Doscher’s French Chew Taffy
  4. Airheads
  5. Strawberry HiCHEW
Name: Strawberry Bonbons
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Eiffel (distributed Foreign Candy Company)
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: retail $.75 to $1.00
Size: 1.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Categories: Chew, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:39 am     Comments (22)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reese’s Select Clusters

imageIt sounds great. Reese’s Select Clusters feature Peanuts, Pecans, Peanut Butter and Caramel wrapped in Milk Chocolate. It’s like a peanut butter turtle.

Reese’s Signatures line is supposed to fancy up the standard Hershey’s fare, like the Bliss line is doing for their regular chocolate pieces. They were announced last fall at All Candy Expo and last I heard were supposed to come out late this summer. Imagine my delight seeing them at CVS over the weekend. Imagine my shock seeing myself pay $4.29 for a half a pound of Hershey’s!

image

The clusters are individually wrapped in a pleasant orange, maroon & mango colored wrapper. Each chocolate is a bit different in shape, but they’re mostly a half ounce each and mostly 1.5” in diameter. The little zig zags in the chocolate shell give them a rather handcrafted artisan look. The lumpy exterior teases that there may be real pecans in there. Each piece contains approximately 75 calories.

Biting into it, it’s rather soft. Unlike a turtle that has nuts and caramel to work through, these “nuts” are not quite abundant and certainly not whole - think chunky peanut butter. The caramel reservoir is centered under the little dome, a peanut butter layer with some nuts mixed in. The peanut butter is a bit salty, which balances the sweetness of the milk chocolate and caramel. The caramel is far too gooey and without any actual flavor of its own ... no buttery component, not burnt sugar flavors.

I thought maybe I was just not keen on the texture, so I froze a few. Instead of making a chewy caramel, I just made some sort of similarly tasteless toffee. The peanut butter remained soft and salty, but the caramel bit just never developed a chew, it was like hard candy.

They’re simply not a cluster. I consider a cluster to be something that has distinct items clumped together. In the case of a confection, I expect to be able to discern each of those items. I never really got any sense of pecan in this whole thing ... and come to think of it, I didn’t get much caramel.

imageIt’s appealing, but not something that I’ve found myself reaching for. (I have, however, been reaching for the dark chocolate Bats.) Rebecca at Sugar Hog also found them early and has a review (and paid far less then I did, grrr.).

The list of ingredients is exhaustingly long. The chocolate is real but contains both corn syrup solids & PGPR, the caramel contains high fructose corn sweetener and the whole thing is noted to have less than 2% of pecans. It also lists that it contains macadamia nuts & almonds (though much farther down on that less than 2% less). They call it Select but I don’t think it means selective. (Also, unlike most other Reese’s products, these are not Kosher.)

The final thing to note from the package: Reese’s Select Clusters were made in Mexico. These must be the first items coming off the lines for the American market. While it’s not a replacement for a product that we’re accustomed to from the US factories (so I can’t do a one-for-one comparison like so many folks do with American Coca-Cola & Mexican Coca-Cola).

Many folks have expressed dismay (and outrage) about the closing of the Oakdale, CA Hershey’s plant and have said that you’ll never buy another Hershey’s product because they’ve opened factories in Mexico. Contrary to some rumors, Hershey’s is not moving all production out of the United States (in fact, one of the greatest losses of jobs was not in the US but was in Canada at the Smith Falls, Ontario factory which employed 400 people directly.)

Here’s a statement from Hershey’s:

The Hershey Company is making changes to our global manufacturing network to ensure that our company remains competitive in the global marketplace for the long term. When these changes are completed, 90 percent of the items that Hershey sells in the United States and Canada will continue to be made in these countries.

And we will continue to make HERSHEY’S milk chocolate bars, HERSHEY’S KISSES milk chocolates and REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups as well as a wide range of other products in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

So if anyone wants to send a message to Hershey’s about their restructuring, an idea to consider is to continuing buying the candies made in the USA (it’s very clearly marked on the package) and eschew the Mexican produced ones. A complete boycott abandons the remaining American workers.

If this is an important issue for you, then I also encourage folks to look at the origin of all of your candy. Many “American” products are not made here. A few examples: Wrigley’s LifeSavers (Canada); Nestle Chunky (Brazil) & Wonka Gobstoppers (Mexico) and Starburst Jelly Beans (Mexico).

The reason I probably won’t be buying the Reese’s Select Clusters is purely because they weren’t good enough to warrant that price. Perhaps the name Select and Signatures set the bar too high (oh, and the tease that there were actually pecans in there). If this was just promoted as a new version of Reese’s cups, I would probably be more amenable. But for $7 to $9 a pound I’m more likely to splurge on some See’s Pecan Buds (okay, those are $15 a pound). And for an everyday treat, a simple Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or for a more textured treat: Take 5 (really, this is just a Take 5 without the pretzel!).

Related Candies

  1. The Oh Henry!s
  2. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  3. Nestle Turtles
  4. Russell Stover Organic Pecan Delight
  5. GooGoo Cluster
  6. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Name: Reese's Select Clusters
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey
Place Purchased: CVS (Silverlake)
Price: $4.29
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, Nuts, Caramel, Mexico, Hershey, Reese's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:29 am     Comments (13)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)

Reese's Dark Knight Bats

One of the items teased at the September 2007 All Candy Expo was the series of The Dark Knight (Batman) tie in products. As the Indiana Jones Mars products (Mint Crisp M&Ms & Snickers Adventure Bar) found their way onto the shelves about 6-8 weeks in advance of the movie release, I was keeping a close watch for the new Reese’s & KitKat products in the past weeks.

The Limited Edition line features:

  • Reese’s Pieces - black and dark blue Reese’s Pieces (peanut butter with a crunchy candy shell) - comes in both large bags and single serve size.

  • KitKat Special Edition - a regular Milk Chocolate KitKat with a bat symbol molded onto the fingers. (I’m really sorry they didn’t bring back the dark chocolate KitKat for this tie-in.) Photo here.

  • Reese's Peanut Butter Bats

  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of dark chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.

  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of milk chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.

  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.

  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.

  • Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter BatI found the bags of the medallions at Target yesterday. They also had the Reese’s Pieces, but frankly, different colored RP just weren’t distinctive enough to get me to buy them. A new proportion of chocolate and peanut butter and the further enticement of dark chocolate is enough to get me to buy them, though.

    The Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats bag is a rich chocolate brown, setting it apart from the regular Reese’s orange offerings (though it has that signature orange on the wrapper as an accent).

    There’s also some sort of a sweepstakes thing going on where you can Find the bat-signal and win instantly but there was no game piece in either bag so I’m left to wonder how this thing works. (If it’s not a regular game piece that you open to find out if you’ve won, then what prevents someone from going through all the bags at the store and peeking through the little “window” in the package to see if there is a winning game piece?)

    Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The dark ones are just shy of 1.75 inches in length and a little over 1 inch across and a half an inch tall. They weigh about 10 grams each (a regular Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cup is about 9 grams).

    I assume that these are absolutely fresh, and have an expiry date of April 2009. However, the sheen of the chocolate was slightly greasy, as Reese’s products usually are. (The exception is pretty much the Fresh from the Factory cups.) The bag smells like dark roasted peanuts.

    The chocolate is very soft, so the whole thing has a mellow fudgy bite to it. It melts quickly, rather slick on the tongue but pretty smooth. The peanut butter filling, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of Reese’s peanut butter center you’d expect. A little sandy in texture, a bit salty and sweet.

    The dark chocolate is actually bitter, so there’s a whole mix of flavors here - sweet, salt and bitter plus the textures of the chocolate and light crunch of the rough peanut butter.

    It’s a great combination and really refreshing. The proportions here are weighted heavily towards the dark chocolate (which isn’t really “dark” as it has milk fat in it), much more than the previous regular-sized Limited Edition Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

    The foil wrapper is also very appealing; it’s a bronzy brown around the sides and the top has the Reese’s logo and bat logo.

    There’s a strange molding anomaly on them, just about all that I unwrapped had little bubbles on either end of the top. (I opened quite a few, looking for a pristine one for the photo, then finding this to be the norm, photographed it.)

    Rating: 9 out of 10

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter BatThe little oval medallion has the stylized bat-signal symbol molded into the top of each piece. Yes, the logo on these is a little different. As with most continuations of classic franchises, the bat-signal has evolved. The original was not an actual bat, but Batman & his cape ... at some point them omitted his head. Back in the old TV show days and the first few movies it looked like this which was pretty consistent with the TV series emblem.

    But just as superheroes change their costumes, the logo became more angular and lost some of its bat-ness and wing fringes. (To me it looks more like a car logo now.)

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats are simply tasty. They’re everything you’d expect in a flattened Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniature. The chocolate is sweet and pretty mellow but has a slight cool feeling on the tongue. The peanut butter center is immediately salty, squishy and has the dark roasted flavors of peanuts & a sandy texture.

    There’s less peanut butter, so fans of the peanut part and not the chocolate part should probably stick with the original or seek out the single serve size Bats (I haven’t found those yet).

    Rating: 8 out of 10

    Overall, this is a good tie in. I like the use of dark chocolate on a tried-and-true favorite. I also like that they tried a new shape instead of just tossing some different foil on the regular minis. (Of course then it just makes us sadder when they go away.) The proportions on the milk chocolate just didn’t have the same appeal as the regular minis or the larger eggs - but I’m sure some other folks will find them to be their ideal version.

    Anyone found the large sized bats yet?

    Related Candies

    1. Colt’s Bolts
    2. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
    3. KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis
    4. Darth M&Ms
    5. Bleached Reese’s
    Name: Reese's Dark Knight Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats
      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: Target (Eagle Rock)
    Price: $3.49
    Size: 10.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 142
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Reese's, Hershey's, Kosher, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:15 am     Comments (20)

    Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 > 

    Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

     

     

     

     

    Facebook IconTwitter IconTumblr IconRSS Feed IconEmail Icon

    COUNTDOWN

    Candy Season Ends (Easter)

    0 days

     

     

     

    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

    •   Halloween
    •   Christmas
    •   Valentine's Day
    •   Easter

     

    image 

    image

    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

     

     

    image