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October 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ravensbark Toffee

Ravensbark ToffeeAs the leaves start turning and the air becomes crisp in the fall, I love really filling treats like toffee. Of course Los Angeles isn’t cooperating with that right now and it’s 91 degrees at 11 AM, but maybe eating toffee will help change this Indian summer.

Ravensbark intrigued me because they were interesting variations on the same old theme of toffee covered with chocolate and nuts.

Ravensbark sent me an assortment of all their flavors: The Original, The Blondie, The Milkman and The Ravenator. All boast all natural ingredients, hand crafted in small batches in Texas.

Opening the box, it smelled like fresh baked snickerdoodles. Not spicy, just sweet and toasty.

Ravensbark Toffee

The Original (shown above) is toffee covered in dark chocolate and covered in crushed almonds.

Each piece is nicely formed and with a good balance of chocolate to toffee. The chocolate is rather sweet and complements the toffee’s burnt sugar and creamy flavors well. The almonds add extra crunch.

The planks aren’t extrodinarily thick, like Enstrom’s, instead they’re a bit easier to bite and after chewing they kind of descend into a caramelly combination of the chocolate, nuts and toffee.

The Milkman is the same but with a milk chocolate coating. This one seemed to make the saltiness of the toffee pop, but it was also quite a bit sweeter.

Ravensbark Toffee

The Blondie (shown above) is a white chocolate coating with almonds. The white does make this a much sweeter treat, but the almonds and salty toffee cut it well. It goes really well with strong coffee.

The Ravenator is the one that I was most interested in. Bittersweet chocolate, toffee and almonds with a spicy kick.

The spicy kick wasn’t overwhelming, just a subtle warmth towards the end of it but it balances it all out very well. Some spiced caramels I’ve had just blow me away and verge on torture. This gave me a bit of a lingering burn after a few pieces, and definitely stood out from the rest.

It’s clear that all the time and effort is going into the product itself, not the packaging. Each portion comes in a simple twist tied bag, nothing fancy. While the price is a bit steep but the same as other premium toffees like Enstrom’s & Littlejohn’s ... the bonus here is you can get assortments and packages less than a full pound. But don’t get the impression that this is just a clone of either of those, Ravensbark is a thinner toffee that provides a bit more balance between the chocolate and the boiled butter & sugar crunch and of course ample nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Roca Buttercrunch Thins
  2. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  3. Shaymee’s Toffee
  4. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
  5. Flippin’ Fudge
Name: Ravensbark Toffee
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Ravensbark Toffee
Place Purchased: samples from Ravensbark
Price: $18.99 a pound
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, United States, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:22 am     Comments (5)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reese’s Peanut Butter Bar

Reese's BarA few keen eyed readers and Candy Forums friends spotted the new Reese’s Bar. (I’m not sure what this is actually called. The wrapper says: Milk Chocolate Reese’s filled with Reese’s Peanut Butter. But that sounds infinitely silly and doesn’t even include that it’s a bar and not a cup.)

I’ve only seen it so far in a 4.5 ounce size and only at Walgreen’s. But it was on sale for $1.00 and has disappeared in the weeks since I purchased it.

It was easy to spot what with the Reese’s orange wrapper.

Reese's Peanut Butter Bar

The ingredients list is incredibly long:

Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, TBHQ), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, cocoa butter, chcoolate, nonfat milk, milk fat & contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (plam kernel and palm oil), salt, wheat flour, cornstarch, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, palm kernel, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), whey, TBHQ, soy lecithin, leavening (sodium bicarbonate & sodium aluminium phosphate), vanillin.

The bar is attractive and thick. Each lightly rounded section holds a portion of crumbly yet smooth Reese’s Peanut Butter filling.

What’s clearly evident about this bar is that it’s all about chocolate and less about the peanut butter than the traditional cups.

I usually prefer the high ratio of peanut butter such as the Reese’s Eggs around Easter, but for those looking for the opposite end of the spectrum, this is an interesting flip.

The difference in ratios aside, this bar is far harder to eat and share though certainly a good value.

Hershey's Milk Chocolate filled with Creamy Peanut ButterWhat confused me most about this bar was that Hershey’s already has a peanut butter filled bar. I’ve even reviewed it.

It looks pretty much the same - 4.5 ounces and the same number of sections. Really the only difference in looking at them is that this bar says Hershey’s on top of each section instead of Reese’s.

But it is different. The center here is smoother and a bit stickier and perhaps even saltier.

The ingredients list is shorter by about a third:

Milk chocolate (sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, mikl fat, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel and palm oil), cocoa butter and contains 2% or less of salt, cornstarch & TBHQ.

I questioned the purpose of this bar the first time I tried it and why it was under the Hershey’s label and not Reese’s. I don’t know if both bars will continue to co-exist but if they have a limited number of slots I’d recommend dumping them both and concentrating on the quality of their core products. It’s not that it’s bad, but it’s just superfluous.

Some Reese’s products are gluten free, but this one lists wheat in the ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Miniatures
  2. Hershey’s Heart’s Desire
  3. Reese’s Pieces
  4. Reese’s Whipps
  5. The Great Pumpkin Roundup
  6. Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Reese’s Bars
Name: Milk Chocolate Reese's filled with 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: $1.00
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Reese's, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:22 pm     Comments (27)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae

Choco-Fudge Mallow SundaeFirst, this is not a review. I did not eat this.

A couple of years ago I raved about a product from Kandy Kastle: Gummi Lightning Bugs. It was both a candy and a novelty item and I was enchanted by the simplicity.

Since then I’ve seen and passed up other Kandy Kastle products, things like the Mallow Burger (Candy Addict review) and 2 Tapeworms (more here).

But when I spotted this on the shelves of the local 99 Cent Only Store, I just had to buy it. Not because I thought it was going to be good, but I was just too curious.

The Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae is pretty big for only 60 cents (well, technically it’s 59.99 cents) and boasts that it’s Fat Free, Cholesterol Free and Low Sodium. Because the target market for these is always swayed by those selling points.


Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae

Basically the candy is a stack of flavored marshmallows in Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, Green Apple. It comes with a little packet of Chocolate Fudge Candy Gel to pour over it as if it were a real ice cream sundae.

The candy is toweringly huge at about seven inches.

It comes tucked in a little waxed paper cup with the marshmallows firmly adhered to each other and sprinkled with colored jimmies.

If you think they look like Play-Doh, I agree.

Choco-Fudge Mallow SundaeAfter photographing the basic candy from many angles I took out the little Chocolate Fudge Candy Gel in order to create the image shown on the front of the package.

When they said gel they weren’t kidding. When I first opened it, there were a few thin drips, but the rest was congealed inside. So I squeeze it a bit to mix it up and then tried to drizzle it out on the marshmallow scoops.

It came out in a thin stream then a few chunks.

The ingredients explain a lot: corn syrup, sugar, modified starches, water, sorbitol, potassium sorbate, artificial flavors, artificial colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1 and Titanium Dioxide).

Note that this Chocolate Fudge Candy Gel contains no chocolate products whatsoever. I didn’t think it would need actual chocolate, but a pinch of cocoa might make a convincing fudge sauce.

It didn’t smell very good, kind of like fake vanilla, but not much else.

Then I was left with this sticky tower of dry and stiff marshmallows. It smelled like a cross between green apple flavor and new shoes.

I couldn’t eat it. I can’t eat it. I tried to take a bite of the chocolate marshmallow part, avoiding the sticky gel, but I couldn’t keep it in my mouth. It was cocoa-ish but had that green apple flavor to it as well. It was stiff and tacky and dry on the outside.

Just too horrible to consume but an incredibly cheap decoration if you’re looking for one. My inedible rating is probably unfair because I didn’t actual try very hard so if you’ve had this and loved it, please testify to my inaccurate description of the experience of not eating it below.

Patent Pending & Made in China.

Other braver folks: Riverfront Times.

Related Candies

  1. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  2. Easter Novelty Toys (with candy)
  3. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
  4. Gummy Fishies
  5. Rolly Pop
Name: Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Kandy Kastle
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Silverlake)
Price: $.60
Size: 2.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 89
Categories: Marshmallow, China, Kandy Kastle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:35 am     Comments (33)

Candy Tease: Autumn 2008

imageName: Skittles Crazy Cores (tm)
Brand: Mars
Description: offer two amazing flavors in every bite-sized candy. Each pack contains an assortment of five SKITTLES(r) flavor combinations: Strawberry-Watermelon, Cherry-Lemonade, Mango-Peach, Blue Raspberry-Lemon and Berry-Melon.
Notes: Great idea, but I’m a little befuddled by the flavor combinations. Not one of them sounds good to me.

imageName: Starburst FaveREDs(tm) Fruit Chews
Brand: Mars
Description: special RED-iculously juicy collection of all red STARBURST(r) fruit flavors, from the traditionally favorite Strawberry and Cherry to the new Watermelon and Fruit Punch.
Notes: Again, great idea but I don’t think I’d like any of the flavors in this pack except for Strawberry. But ... I know there are others that will be gaga for this new batch, so kudos to Mars for giving the public what it wants. (Ordering single flavors of Starburst or Skittles on their M&Ms website would be another great idea.)

imageName: Starburst Sour Gummibursts
Brand: Mars
Description: the only liquid-filled gummi candy with an intense burst of sour flavor when it hits store shelves in January 2009. Four “sourful” flavors produce an intense burst of juice: Green Apple, Orange Tangerine, Strawberry and Watermelon.
Notes: Yup, I’m interested ... it said tangerine.

imageName: Dove Creamy Cappuccino & Mandarin Orange
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Description: two new silky, sumptuous flavors: Creamy Cappuccino, which is a luscious milk chocolate indulgence with a rich coffee taste, and Mandarin Orange, which infuses dark chocolate with captivating orange flavor.
Notes: Mars seems to do coffee flavors pretty well, so I’m looking forward to that. My experience with Mars & orange is pretty limited, so I’m going to keep an open mind.

Name: Good ‘N Fiery(tm) Candy
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Cinnamon flavor version of Good n’ Plenty and Good n’ Fruity. Available December 2008.
Notes: No word if these are like jelly beans (pretty much Hot Tamales then) or licorice (which would be like the Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers with a candy shell - that sounds pretty cool and unique).

imageName: Cacao Reserve Truffle Crunch
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Truffle Crunch delivers a three-layer tasting experience that begins with an intense outer layer of rich chocolate surrounding a silky center of creamy chocolate and delicate cacao bits from the heart of the cacao bean. It’s a deliciously unexpected flavor adventure in 35 percent Milk Chocolate and 65 percent Dark Chocolate.
Notes: This is supposed to be on shelves now, but I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard that Hershey’s is abandoning this line (I’ve seen it on closeout at several stores) but I can’t get any confirmation from Hershey’s on this.

(Images courtesy of the respective manufacturers.)

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #5
  2. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #1
  3. Candy Tease: Edition Five
  4. Candy Tease: Edition Four
  5. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
  6. Chuao ChocoPods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:35 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsComments (12)

Friday, October 3, 2008

See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops

imageOne of the classic and more distinctive products that See’s makes is their line of Lollypops. They’re made with cream and are more like a hard caramel than a normal boiled sugar hard candy pop.

The regular flavors shift around but right now they sell: Butterscotch, Chocolate, Vanilla and Caf? Latt?. I like all of them except for the chocolate. It tends to be grainier and if I have the option of actual chocolate right there at See’s, well that’s what I’m going to go for. But the one thing the pops have going for them is that they’re so darn durable. Summer-safe, creamy candy is pretty hard to find.

Every once in a while they bring out new flavors. This fall they have a limited edition Pumpkin Spice Lollypops that should be available until Thanksgiving.

The ingredients are pretty simple: corn syrup, cream, sugar, natural and artificial flavors, butter and yellow #5. I don’t know why they have to put artificial colors in there, but I guess I’m guessing that they’d look fine without it, maybe they don’t.

The packages are a little box that holds a bag of eight pops. Not a bad price either at only $4.80 for the set (60 cents each). Each paper stick pop is wrapped in orange mylar

image

See’s pops are big blocks. Kind of chunky and perhaps a little big for easy-to-eat suckers. (Sometimes I pull them off the stick and eat them as hard candies.)

These are rather light in color and don’t smell like much other than maybe caramel.

They’re very smooth and melt slowly. Extremely creamy and not overly sweet they’re also a bit bland.

I had the first one and thought maybe it was that my allergies were acting up and I couldn’t taste any of these pumpkin spices, so I waited a few days and checked my sinuses and had another. They sweet and creamy and taste a bit like creme brulee ... but I’m not getting any actual spices I associate with pumpkin custard like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or ginger.

I wouldn’t call them bad, just nothing like the name would imply.

See's Root Beer PopsAs a side note, earlier this summer they had a limited edition Root Beer. I got a hold of this while shopping with Sera of The Candy Enthusiast in July. She bought a whole package (the limited edition flavors are not sold individually like the classic ones are) and graciously shared two with me.

I loved them and went back in August to pick up a whole package for myself and was told they were all gone.

These pops were a wonderful mix of creamy smoothness, light sweetness and the spicy bite of root beer. It was kind of like a root beer float, but warmer. Root beer floats often suffer from tasting watered down when the ice cream mixes with the root beer, instead this had all the creaminess of ice cream and the intense flavor of root beer mixed together.

They’ll have Cinnamon Lollypops for Christmas. Each pop is 70 calories and they’re Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  2. J Morgan Caramels
  3. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons
  4. Vertigo Pops
  5. Regennas Clear Toys
Name: Pumpkin Spice Lollypops
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: See's Candies
Place Purchased: gift from Russ (thanks!)
Price: $4.80
Size: 5.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Hard Candy, United States, See's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:52 am     Comments (19)

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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

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-98 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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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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