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March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Sugar Babies

Easter Sugar BabiesI think I bought too much Easter candy. But if I want to eat it, I have to review it.

I bought the Christmas edition of Sugar Babies a little over a year ago and was pretty disappointed with them.

I was suckered into them by two things: I was on vacation and they package design was prettier than before. This box shows the shape of the Sugar Babies logo as an egg nestled in stylized blades of grass, complete with a lady bug behind it.

Easter Sugar Babies

There is something far more fitting about Sugar Babies for Easter. It’s like they’re actual caramel jelly beans. Well, I guess they’re caramel beans. They come in five colors: pink, blue, green, purple and yellow.

Easter Sugar Babies

The candy coated panning is better this time. The colors are more opaque and consistent and maybe shinier than before.

But beyond the look of them and the packaging, I still wasn’t happy. The extra candy coating made them sweeter, which muted the wonderful milky and toasted flavors of the caramel. It was grainier and had a weird metallic note to it, like baking soda. The centers were a little firmer than I like as well, and these were definitely fresh. Nope, I’m done with the holiday editions. I’m sticking to the plain old caramel colored ones that come in a sealed bag.

Related Candies

  1. Holiday Edition Sugar Babies
  2. Necco Slap Stix Caramel
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  5. Sugar Babies
  6. Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies
  7. Goetze’s Caramel Creams
Name: Easter Sugar Babies
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Powell's Sweet Shoppe (Paso Robles, CA)
Price: $1.39
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112
Categories: Caramel, United States, Tootsie, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:45 am    

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Candy Tease: March 2010

Here are some new products just hitting store shelves.

imageName: Popzels
Brand: Waymouth Farms, Inc.
Description: Sweet, salty and oh so satisfying, our new Popzels™ are REAL chocolate-dipped pretzel balls in three different varieties: milk, white and dark chocolate. Now available in standup re-sealable bags and bulk. 
Introduction Date: 02/01/10
Notes: I’ve tried these and they are quite fun. They’re about the same size and format as a malted milk ball. The pretzel is airy and light, so it’s not like a chocolate covered pretzel nugget. The chocolate is decent and the option of chocolate coating is good though it’d be fun for a bag to have all three.

imageName: Cherry RAISINETS
Brand: Nestle
Description: With the introduction of Cranberry RAISINETS(r) last year, cherries are the second new fruit to be introduced to the brand portfolio in more than 80 years. This delicious treat follows the lead of its chocolate-covered predecessors, with premium whole dried fruit covered in 100 percent NESTLE chocolate, making them an indulgence that is a cherry on top of anyone’s day! Premium, whole dried cherries are sourced from one of the premier cherry growing regions in Michigan. These Montmorency Tart Cherries are drenched in rich NESTLE(r) Dark Chocolate, creating a mouthwatering combination that is both sweet and creamy while also juicy and tangy. For anyone looking for something different, Cherry RAISINETS provides a win-win option with 1/2 a serving of real fruit in every 1/4 cup and 30 percent less fat than the leading chocolate brands.
Notes: I was irritated when the called them Cranberry Raisinets and can’t figure out why they’re also bestowing the lowly name of raisin for dried cherries which are so much better than that. Still, I’m hoping they don’t have additional sugar on them like the dried cranberries which were pretty flavorless.

imageName: Côte d’Or Chocolate Bars - Rainforest Alliance Certified
Brand: Cote d’Or (Kraft)
Description: 4 enticing selections of premium Belgian chocolate bars: dark 86% cocoa, dark 70% cocoa, dark w/ orange peel and dark w/ pistachio.
These bars have more than 30% RAINFOREST ALLIANCE CERTIFIED cocoa content. By collaborating with the Rain Forest Alliance, Côte d’Or now helps support 3 keys of Sustainability: environmental (protect against deforestation and limit the use of chemical pesticides), social (to provide workers a safe and healthy work environment, better access to medical care, education and housing) and economic (to improve farming practices, resulting in improving profitability for the farmers and dignified wages for the workers). Our special blend of roasted cocoa beans from West Africa and noble beans from South America deliver a full-bodied chocolate w/ rich intense flavors and smooth refined textures that make Côte d’Or the #1 chocolate brand in Belgium.

Introduction Date: 03/01/2010
Notes: I’m not sure why it’s only 30% Rainforest Alliance content, but hey, it’s a start. Pistachio sounds good and it’s definitely an under-utilized nut. I’m also a fan of orange peel in dark chocolate, so that’s most likely to be my first choice.

imageName: Sunkist Citrus Burst
Brand: Big Sky Brands Inc.
Description: Introducing, new Sunkist Citrus Burst - the first and only citrus mint line combining all natural fruit flavors with a low calorie sugar free formulation. It’s a delicious new way to enjoy authentic citrus refreshment! Available flavors: Valencia Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Eureka Lemon & Key Lime.
Introduction Date: 01/01/2010
Notes: I love the design on the tins and of course I’m a huge fan of grapefruit. I don’t know what the ingredients are in these, but if they’re sugar alcohols without artificial sweeteners I’d probably give them a try.

imageName: Choward’s Guava Candies
Brand: C. Howard Company, Inc.
Description: A new addition to the Choward’s line, with eye catching graphics and an exciting new flavor.
Introduction Date: 01/01/2010
Notes: This is the first new flavor I’ve heard of from them and the fact that it’s guava is pretty intriguing.

imageName: Honey Lovers
Brand: Gimbal’s Fine Candies
Description: Honey Lovers colorful heart-shaped fruit chews are made with the Natural Goodness of Real Honey and are high in Antioxidant Vitamin C. Consisting of 16 incredibly delicious flavor combinations, Honey Lovers includes Pomegranate Honey, Honey Dipped Strawberry, Honey Vanilla, Huckleberry Honey and more. A truly enjoyable treat, these scrumptious treats are an assortment of irresistible flavors topped with honey. Honey Lovers is available in 10oz bags and 38oz jars. Best of all, with Honey Lovers you can help Save the Honey Bee! Gimbal’s has committed to donate 5% of proceeds to the University of California Davis Honey Bee Research.
Introduction Date: 3/15/2010
Notes: While I didn’t like the Cherry Lovers mostly because I’m not a cherry lover, I love the concept of a whole bag of different versions of a single flavor. I loved the new Jelly Belly Honey Bean as well ... can you tell that I’m excited by this one?

imageName: Mike and Ike RedRageous!
Brand: Just Born
Description: Contains Cherry, Strawberry, Watermelon, Raspberry and Fruit Punch chewy fruit flavored candies. Available in a 6 oz. Theater Size Box
Introduction Date: 3/1/2010
Notes: I like the new combinations Mike and Ike has been doing lately, but of course the whole red thing isn’t likely to be on my hit list. It’s a shame these didn’t make it out before Valentine’s Day as I think that’s a great time to introduce them.

imageName: Chimes Ginger Chews Mango & Orange Flavors
Brand: Roxy Trading/Chimes Gourmet
Description: Chimes Ginger Chews now comes in Mango & Orange flavors! Ginger Chews have never been this delicious!
Introduction Date: 09/15/09
Notes: I’ve seen these in stores already, Cost Plus World Market has them and when I was at ExpoWest earlier this month I picked up a few samples that I’m planning on trying. I’m most interested in the Orange, but I have to admit that I wasn’t that interested in the Peanut Butter version and they won me over so maybe they’re right about Mango.

All photos courtesy of the candy manufacturers

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease Valentines 2010
  2. Candy Tease: October 2009
  3. Candy Tease: September 2009
  4. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 #2
  5. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 - Hershey

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:33 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementFeatured NewsNews

RM Palmer My Little Bunny

RM Palmer My Little BunnyLately The Man and I have been searching for a new dog. As we’ve visited quite a few pounds and rescue organizations it’s startling to see how many rabbits there are. Rabbits are great pets, but too many of them are taken home by families that don’t know what’s involved with their care. Easter is a prime impulse season for pet rabbits (and chicks & ducks) so there’s an organization called Make Mine Chocolate that urges people to reconsider live animal gifts and instead keep the pet decisions out of the Easter basket. So make your Easter basket pet a chocolate one.

I am always drawn to RM Palmer’s package and product design. Their products go downhill after that, but how could I resist this cute little chocolate bunny in a little hutch? It plays on a kid’s desire to nurture without resorting to anthropomorphism. 

RM Palmer My Little Bunny

The My Little Bunny is actually a fun little teaching toy. It’s a bit more realistic that the regular seated bunny or cartoon style one carrying a basket. This one is about the size of a little baby bunny or a dwarf. It comes in a small box shaped and designed like a carrying hutch with simulated chicken wire on the plastic window. I picked the blue wood-grained box version, but there’s a pink one as well. Also, I think the rabbits come in different colors, I only saw tan ones at the store.

RM Palmer My Little Bunny

The foil design makes the bunny look a little bit stylized with its vague smile, but for the most part it’s very bunny-like in the crouched position on all fours. The box is far larger than the candy, which is a good thing for a pet, though kind of wasteful as far as packaging. (The bunny is 5 inches long and 3 inches high, the box is 6.5 inches long and four inches high.)

I liked the little box and thought a clever or motivated child might enjoy making use of it to keep a small stuffed animal or other light toys. Unfortunately it’s poorly designed. The little tab in the top that tucks in comes undone when the little carrying handle is used, even when the box is empty. A little tape will fix that (that’s the way it comes in the store), but a bit more thought would have made this far more useful with probably no extra work or weight in the packaging.

There’s a web page just for the My Little Bunny where kids can download an adoption certificate or play games.

RM Palmer My Little Bunny

The candy itself is subpar. I’ve had the chocolate flavored rabbit before which looked completely fake, like some sort of vinyl dog toy. This one looks like chocolate and is called chocolatey n’ smooth crisp n’ crunchy candy which I figure is a Nestle Crunch simulation.

Since there are no easily accessible ears, I just smashed the hollow bunny instead.

RM Palmer My Little Bunny

It smells like caramel and chocolate cake, not actual chocolate. The ingredients are sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (Palm Kernel and/or Palm Oil), whey, lactose, crisp rice, cocoa, skim milk, soy lecithin and vanillin. My goodness, cocoa is really far down on that list. On top of that look at the second ingredient, palm oil. Nestle has being going through a huge issue recently for not moving to sustainable palm oil - that campaign has targeted the KitKat bar, which uses a little dash of the stuff, for most RM Palmer products it’s a major component. It’s short sighted to encourage kids to “adopt” a chocolate bunny instead of a real one but then not use sustainable ingredients in the product itself. (Save a bunny, trash a rainforest?)

The flavor is sweet, the texture is grainy and there aren’t nearly enough crisped rice bits to make each bite crunchy. The cocoa notes are like cardboard and there’s a greasy film on the roof of my mouth by the time I finished three bites.

Blech. At least I can wrap what’s left back up in the foil and put it back in the little box and look at it instead.

Related Candies

  1. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  2. R.M. Palmer Quax - The Yummy Ducky
  3. Palmer Hollow Chocolate Flavored Bunny
  4. Palmer Bee Mine
Name: My Little Bunny Hollow Double Crisp
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: R. M. Palmer
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 143
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, United States, R.M. Palmer, Easter, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:05 am    

Eat with your Eyes: Amella Caramels

Amella Passion Fruit Caramels

Perfectly made and gorgeous Passion Fruit Caramels with a little hat of milk chocolate. (Amella now completely enrobes their caramels, I’ll have a review of the new version after Easter.)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:10 am     CandyFeatured NewsFun StuffPhotography

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Marich All Natural Holland MintsLast year I picked up the Marich Select Easter Mix. While I thought it was a beautiful assortment what I really wanted for that price was something equally cute but with more chocolate. I’ve been so pleased with Marich’s expansion of their line of all natural and organic panned items, it’s also nice to see them doing products more in the novelty area that still fit with that line.

So not only are these new All Natural Holland Mints just the right combo of mint and chocolate, they’re also all natural. So my previous complaint about the artificial flavors and their aftertaste messing with the overall experience is gone completely.

Holland Mints go by a few names, depending on who makes them including Dutch Mints and Wedding Mints. They’re a simple minty fondant ball covered in dark chocolate then a crisp candy shell.

Marich All Natural Holland Mints

Honestly, I wouldn’t have known that these were all natural if someone didn’t tell me. The colors are cool and muted but still vibrant and appealing: magenta, pale blue, pale yellow and white.

Marich All Natural Holland Mints

The version I had last year had a polished shell, these are a matte version which I actually prefer. They’re smooth and cool on the tongue at first. I’ve mentioned before that these were what I thought the York Pieces should be like. It leaves me to wonder why I’m trying to make something from Hershey’s into something else when there’s already a product that fits the bill for me (and is priced far better than the York Mints that come in the tins).

I can eat them several ways. Sometimes I let the shell dissolve, then getting a smooth hit of the bittersweet chocolate then a powerful blast of the mint fondant. Other times I cleave the shell off to crunch it up and get to the chocolate quicker. Then there are days where I just feel like chewing the whole morsel up for a crunchy, sweet, chocolately and minty combo.

Marich Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Marich’s All Natural Chocolate Jordan Almonds are what I’ve always wanted Almond M&Ms to be.

They’re a premium nonpareil almond at the center, fresh and perfectly roasted. Then it’s covered in truly rich dark chocolate then a crispy candy shell.

They’re huge, sometimes twice the size of the Almond M&Ms. They’re also beautifully panned and consistent (something that M&Ms haven’t been in the past 10 years or so).

Marich Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Instead of the matte shell of the Holland Mints, these are a polished and shiny shell. The colors seem more intense though they’re the same: magenta, yellow, light blue and white. I usually steer away from pink or red candies because of the foul bitter aftertaste of Red Dye #40, but these are all natural so all I taste are almonds, sugar and chocolate.

The chocolate is what stands out here, while it’s not a thick layer, it’s creamy and smooth without a trace of graininess or chalkiness. Yes these are more expensive than M&Ms, but they’re just so much better. I hope these are a year round item from Marich.

I got these half pound samples from The Natural Candy Store but I’ve also seen them at Whole Foods in the candy case. I haven’t seen them in the stand up boxes yet. Though they’re all natural there are no statements about other allergens like Wheat/Gluten and they’re not Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  2. Hershey’s York Pieces
  3. Marich Easter Select Mix
  4. Sconza Jordanettes
  5. M&Ms Premiums
  6. M&Ms Line
  7. Jelly Belly - Full Line
Name: Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Marich Confectionery
Place Purchased: samples from NaturalCandyStore.com
Price: $5.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, Nuts, Mint, United States, Marich Confectionery, Easter, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:06 am    

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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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