Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Cadbury is a dominant chocolate brand around the world. (See this article from Business Week that shows it as the #2 chocolate on the planet.)
What’s especially fun about Cadbury chocolate is the little variations depending on the country. One of those is the Australian set of candy bars. I picked up this single serve bar of Dairy Milk Snack after seeing it in Sera’s photo stream last year (I didn’t really want the big size bar).
It’s a simple concept - a segmented bar with different flavored fillings in each piece. (Note that the large bar has only five segments.)
The first thing that sets this little bar apart is that each piece is coded with the contents. Though the package didn’t say what the fillings are (and please, why?) I did figure out the pineapple one immediately and took a good guess at the strawberry and orange.
The flavors in all are: caramel, pineapple, coconut ice (I have no idea what that is), strawberry, Turkish delight and orange.
My bar was fresh, unmarred and in great condition.
Caramel - I thought it’d be like the Caramello, but it’s a little firmer, a little thicker. The chocolate outside is rather strange - it has a good snap, but not a very good melt. It’s a bit stiff, a little chalky. The flavor is recognizably Cadbury with a strong powdered milk flavor and a gentle malty cocoa taste.
Pineapple - has a light tangy pineapple scent. The fondant is thick, it has a good sheen to it, but it doesn’t flow. The flavor is sweet and has a tangy pineapple bite. It’s an odd combination with the musky chocolate, but I enjoyed the change of pace.
Coconut Ice - honestly I don’t know what this is. It’s pink and it’s crumbly and has a slight sweet flavor that I can’t quite place. If it’s supposed to be coconut, it’s missing that completely.
Strawberry - the fondant is smooth, but a little more crumbly than the pineapple. Fragrant and floral, there’s not tart component. Rather authentic tasting and pleasant.
Turkish Delight - wow, they went all out for the rose here. The texture is quite soft, more like a jelly than a firm paste. The floral notes are pungent with a slight tangy middle note that dissipates quickly. I rather liked it, but I can tell that this would be quite off-putting for many Americans and other cultures not accustomed to floral flavors.
Orange - I had hoped this would be the winner piece, but I found it rather bland. The fondant was too firm and lacking a distinctive zest.
Just as a little touchstone, I picked up an American Cadbury Dairy Milk bar to compare the flavors, and I do find that I prefer the stickier, fudgier texture of the Hershey-made version, but that may just be what I’m accustomed to.
It’s a fun bar and honestly I’d probably enjoy a whole bar of the pineapple or Turkish delight, the rest of the flavors just didn’t feel like they were the best that Cadbury could muster. (I know they can do better with the caramel & chocolate combination.) For the money, especially since I’m paying import prices, if I felt like boxed chocolate candy, I’d be better off getting some Russell Stover or finding a See’s or I’d probably even choose a Whitman’s Sampler of this.
One of the best things I can say about Cadbury right now is that they’re making a huge effort to go Fair Trade with their chocolate though it’s going to be a long process.
Monday, June 29, 2009
This new product for the Nuggets line is called Double Chocolate Nuggets:
Hershey’s gives you the best of both worlds with Double Chocolate Nuggets. It’s the perfect combination of Hershey’s Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate and Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate, giving you a delicious taste experience.
I’ve mentioned before that I actually like the nugget format. I like a deep bite, especially for a layered product or one that has inclusions (which is why I thought those Cookies ‘n’ Mint Nuggets were so great).
These little blocks have a distinct scent - it’s both the sweet cocoa smell of the Special Dark and the tangy milk chocolate that made Hershey’s famous.
Biting into it right side up I got the slightly chalky taste of the Special Dark first, which has a dry and mellow chocolate bite to it but a thin & watery melt. Then the “extra creamy” milky chocolate, which has a yogurty dairy flavor that give it more of a fudge taste than a deep milk chocolate note. (I really don’t get how this can be considered extra creamy.)
The effect of it all isn’t good nor bad, it just is. I can’t say that I’ve longed for a combination product before, so it’s not like I was anticipating this.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Yesterday my husband and I took the day off of work and went to Santa Catalina Island. We passed straight through town (well, we grabbed a cup of coffee) and headed up to the Botanical Gardens, looked around the Wrigley Memorial and then hiked up to the top of the ridge.
Don’t worry, all we took were photos, all we made were memories and all we left were footprints.
Friday, June 26, 2009
There are scents that I regard as pleasant and summery and strawberry-banana is pretty high up there. It’s light, fruity & floral but has a sweet kick to it that I can almost taste when I smell it.
Yogen Fruz is a high-concept frozen yogurt & smoothie chain that began in Toronto and now has over 1,000 stores in 20 countries. In this case it’s the smoothies that have been turned into a line of little candies.
The little tin I picked up of the Yogen Fruz Smoothies Strawberry Banana smelled very strong. Even before I took off the plastic overwrap, I had to keep it in a ziploc bag.
Aside from the blastingly strong scent, the ingredients are pretty positive: pure cane sugar, yogurt, tartaric acid, malic acid, natural strawberry and banana flavors, ascorbic acid and natural color.
Though they’re made with nice ingredients, they’re basically a “tablet candy”, much like a SweeTart though not dextrose-based. They come in a tin, the same one, as far as I can tell, that Godiva uses for their Chocoiste Pearls but in this case I had no trouble with opening & closing it.
The little tablets have the umlauted U on them (that conveniently looks like a very big smile) with a light pink speckling. They’re immediately tangy on the tongue and dissolve a little unevenly. It’s both lightly sour and has that yogurt twang.
I thought the taste was vibrant and even a bit unique. If you’re looking for an all-natural SweeTart-like product then this is a nice idea though certainly quite expensive.
These are made in Canada by Big Sky Brands, who also make the Jones Soda candies.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Such was my experience with The Wild Thing chocolate bar from Lillie Belle Farms. So after eating my sample from Jeff at Lillie Belle Farms that I got at the Fancy Food Show in January, I finally found a store the stocks them: Mel & Rose here in Los Angeles.
The Wild Thing is a variety of chocolate known as cru sauvage which, conveniently enough means, wild vintage (or wild source). The beans are from feral cacao trees from old plantation properties in Bolivia that have been harvested. Like many “volunteer” plants that pop up long after a garden or farm is untended, they possess all the crucial characteristics of the well tended trees, but a little something else. Perhaps a little more of the true essence of cacao that made it so attractive to the ancient Americans.
The bar itself is wonderfully molded, I like a thick bar. It has the Lillie Belle logo on it, and though that’s pretty too, it doesn’t really make for easy portioning.
It’s a moderately dark bar at 68%. The wrapper mentions that the beans are roasted a low temperatures and then refined for nearly three days.
The color is a nice, solid brown with a hint of deep red. The thick pieces give a lot of room for developing the texture on the tongue. It’s sweet at first, but the melt is smooth and immediate. The primary notes that hit me first were brown sugar and raisin, but as the flavor develops there’s a slight dry bite that holds some cherry, tobacco and coffee notes.
The texture was really what blew me away on this bar. I love the extra silky melt, bright snap and shiny molding.
The bar is made with only three ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar. No vanilla, no soy. (Though made in facility that does have soy, so not for soy allergic folks - same goes for nuts & dairy.) As far as I know, this chocolate is the Max Felchlin Cru Sauvage, just remelted (and nicely priced, if you ask me).
My only hesitation with the bar (besides the fact that I don’t like falling in love with things in short supply) is the packaging. While it looks nice, the wrapper is a bit thin, as is the foil. The paper overwrap is excessively glued, and pasted to the foil at that, so I never had any luck with either bar in rewrapping it. (That’s why I have a bunch of zip lock bags.)
If you’re a chocolate fan who enjoys single origins, this is definitely one to experience.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.