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June 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Haribo Raspberries Gummi Candy

Haribo RaspberriesHaribo makes dozens of kinds of candy usually in fanciful shapes. The Haribo Raspberries Gummi Candy are kind of the other end of the spectrum. They look just like the real thing. They’re the same size and approximate the shape and texture of real raspberries and blackberries very well.

The Raspberries are a popular item for wedding candy buffets because they’re elegant with their sharp red and black colors but also because they do well in summer heat.

Oddly enough, before buying this bag, I’d never had the Haribo version before. I’ve had the Jelly Belly Confections brand, but saw no reason to try anything else.

I picked up this “value bag” at Target. Value is mostly accurate, it’s a half a pound for $1.49 - which is pretty good for Haribo. This particular bag was made in Turkey, I know that Haribo varies depending on which of their global facilities the candies are made in.

Haribo Raspberries

They are cute and exquisitely formed. Each is made up of a soft clear gummi center covered with black or red large nonpareils. The nonpareils themselves aren’t particularly flavored, the pop is in the center.

Haribo Raspberries

I don’t think there’s supposed to be a difference between the two, but I sense one.

The Black Raspberries are lightly bitter, like smoke, on the tip of my tongue. The center is a mild and tangy raspberry jelly. It’s not really gummi but completely smooth with only a slight bouncy chew. It wasn’t a full-bodied jam flavor, just a light floral berry juice.

The Red Raspberries were actually more to my liking, though much sweeter. I wish the nonpareils weren’t quite so sweet or at least had a little more flavor to them. But at least the red ones didn’t taste weird to me. (Odd because the only food coloring mentioned on the package was Red 40, my nemesis, which I would have expected to ruin the red ones.)

Overall, they’re pretty and probably fun for decorating or display, but not enough pop for me to keep eating. I will note again that these were from Turkey, the ones made in the German factory may be much better.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo Saure Dinosaurier
  2. Heide Red Raspberry Dollars
  3. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
  4. Haribo Fizzy Cola
  5. Jelly Belly - Full Line
  6. Haribo Gummi Bears vs Trolli Gummi Bears

Name: Raspberries Gummi Candy
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Target (Irvine)
Price: $1.49
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Candy, Haribo, Gummi Candy, 6-Tempting, Turkey, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:00 pm     CandyHariboGummi Candy6-TemptingTurkeyTarget

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eat with your Eyes: Mint BonBon

William Dean Chocolatier - Mint

This is a mint bonbon from William Dean Chocolatier. Breeze and fresh tasting.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am     CandyFeatured NewsFun StuffPhotography

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nory Rahat Locum

Lokum MasticaSometimes I look at photos of the markets in Turkey, with stalls piled high with different kinds of lokum (also called Turkish Delight, locum or lokumi - I’ll just call it locum for this review) and wish that places like that existed a bit closer to me.

But it turns out that they do. No, they don’t sell in big open air markets. Los Angeles has its own classic locumist (is that a word?) called Nory Rahat Locum. In 1964 a Romanian-Armenian confectioner named Norayr settled in Hollywood and started making classic locum using his family’s 100 year-old recipes. Norayr retired and sold the company to the Jibilians in 1979, who in turn sold it to Sahakians last year when they retired.

They’re dedicated to making a local product, right down to the citrus flavors and nuts in it, the boxes for packaging. The only non-American content is the mastic used for the Mastica flavor, imported from one of the few sources, the island of Chios in Greece.


Locum is made from simple ingredients: sugar, water, starch and perhaps corn syrup and citric acid, some nuts, flavorings and colors. It’s rather like a dairy-free pudding. The mixture is boiled until the starch combines completely with the liquid and sugars to form a silky smooth paste. Then it’s poured and cooled in a shallow baking pan until it’s ready to be cut into squares. The traditional method of storing and serving involves tossing the cubes with a mixture of confectioners sugar and corn starch to keep them from sticking.

Nory Rahat Locum makes a huge variety of Locum products. They have the traditional rosewater, mint and orange as well as the nut versions including pistachio, almond, hazelnut and walnut. But what caught my eye were flavors like Bergamot, Licorice and Mastica.

Lokum MasticaI don’t know much about Mastic (or in this case Mastica).  I looked it up of course, since the whole point of Candy Blog is to explore new flavors. I know that it’s a natural plant resin that can be chewed like chicle. You might even recognize it as the root of the word masticate (to chew). The mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) is part of the Cashew family and is closely related to the Pistachio. I’ve had mastic gum before, I picked up some samples at some trade show along the way and it like the name implies, it’s like chewing on tree sap when you get it in its pure form. (Still stimulating and fresh-tasting, if a little hard to chew after a while.)

The idea of using mastic as a flavoring was new to me, even though the internet tells me it’s a classic confectionery flavor in the Middle East and Mediterranean.

The pieces appear uncolored, just a pale yellow. The texture is smooth and moist, with an easy bite.

The flavor is lightly woodsy, a little earthy. It reminds me of ginseng gum. A cross between tongue depressors, rosemary with a slight whiff of golden beets. At times it reminded me of office supplies, like Scotch tape, envelope adhesive and laser printers. There’s a fresh, slightly jasmine aftertaste. I know this all sounds unappealing but it’s soothing and comforting, like the smell of rain.

8 out of 10

DSC_4612rbWhile I was most excited by the exotics, there were more mainstream flavors.

Mint was bright green on the inside, like a traffic signal. This was some powerful peppermint. Probably too minty for me. It was smooth and had an excellent texture, the mint was so strong that it had a bit of a warm sensation for me but it did cut the sweetness. 7 out of 10

Rose - flowery and a bit like honey but without the over soapy notes that florals sometimes have. 7 out of 10

Orange - instead of orange blossom or orange zest this was like a whole orange flavor. A little like sweet, low acid orange juice without the pulp. It wasn’t my favorite in the bunch, I would have liked more zest in it. However, I can see this being a very accessible and easy flavor for those new to lokum to enjoy. It’s very similar to Orange Slice jellies, though so much smoother since there’s no granulated sugar crust. 7 out of 10

DSC_4613rbPomegranate was deeply colored and had a scent that was a combination of rose and raspberry. The floral and berry notes were good, but I think this one suffered with an overuse of food coloring, which gave it a weird metallic/bitter tone that was inconsistent with a desirable flavor. 7 out of 10

Licorice (not shown) was a polite dose of anise, like those Anise Bears except so much smoother and a little warmer, like there was a touch of ginger in it. Again, the food coloring gave it a weird taste as well. At this point I should note that part way through my tastings of the locum I emailed with Armand Sahakian and noted the difficulties I had with the heavily colored flavors. He confirmed that he was planning to take the products all natural by the end of the year, so this will not be an issue in the future. 7 out of 10

Bergamot was uncolored, which really helped the flavors to take the center stage. It wasn’t as strongly flavored as I thought I could tolerate, just a light kiss of what most people know as the essential flavor of Earl Grey tea. Not too sweet, soft and smooth. 8 out of 10

Lokum Pistachio (Bergamot)

The same locum also came in a nutty version: Bergamot and Pistachio. The floral and grassy notes of the soft and chewy pistachios go so well with the light herbal and citrus flavors of bergamot. If it weren’t so messy I’d probably eat the whole box.

The other nutty varieties were supplied to me in the more mainstream combinations. Hazelnut was in a vanilla locum as was Almond. They were mild and pleasant, sweet but then again the lack of the addition flavor really let the nutty notes come through. The hazelnut was really nice because the roasted flavors go so well with vanilla. It got me to wondering how this variety would do with a few cacao nibs tossed in.

8 out of 10

Part of me wanted more nuts, but that’s where it’s lucky that Nory has another line called Supreme Squares.

Nory Rahat Locum - Supreme Squares - Pistachio

Supreme Squares (they also come in bars) are a thicker version of locum with far more nuts. I tried two versions, one is the Pistachio and Rose shown above, which had a light floral note with the sweet and grassy crunch of the pistachios. The chew of the locum was fun, not quite a caramel, but still a bit on the stringy side but ultimately smooth. I ate them all. Just to let you know, I had eight pounds of locum (yes, 8 full boxes) that I’d been eating over the past two months, this was the only box that I finished all by myself.

Nory Rahat Locum - Supreme Squares - AlmondThe second version I tried was the Almond which has a vanilla base, like the locum I tried. It reminded me a bit of a translucent jelly version of Nougat de Montelimar. In fact it would benefit from a little dash of honey. The vanilla gave it a sweeter taste but the super crunchy nuts balanced it out. I definitely preferred it to the standard, less-nutty variety.

The ratings for the nutty Locum and the Supreme Squares are a solid 8 out of 10.

Armand Sahakian has done a great job of updating their product website and doing more outreach in social media (facebook and twitter), it’s fun to see a candy with such a long heritage stay current. He tells me that the packages will also be updated as well. The boxes that I got all looked the same with simple stickers denoting what flavor was inside, the new ones will be specific to the contents.

The only issue I actually have with lokum in general is how messy it is. It’s a sitting down candy, not an on-the-run candy. It’s messy, though thankfully already portioned. The Brits have a great idea there with dipping it in chocolate, but that just adds another flavor to it. Also, in the case of Nory, the package sizes are just too big for me. I don’t want a pound. I have a short attention span for candy (even in my pre-blogging days). I might want 8 ounces, but not a whole pound. I might like even smaller - like 4 ounces or “bar format” that would just be a little tray with 2 ounces. The Supreme Squares are apparently available that way.

Nory has mostly California distribution (via Indo-European Foods and Kradjian Importing Co), though I believe it’s also available online. Markets that carry Turkish, Armenian, Greek and Persian foods are most likely to have them.

Related Candies

  1. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  2. Loukoumi Artisan Confections
  3. Nougat de Montelimar
  4. Halvah and Turkish Delight
  5. Candy Essay: Turkish Delight
  6. Turkish Delight

Name: Nory Rahat Locum
Brand: Nory Candy and Pastry
Place Purchased: samples from Nory
Price: retail $6.50
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Candy, Jelly Candy, Nuts, 7-Worth It, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:30 pm     CandyJelly CandyNuts7-Worth It8-TastyUnited States

Eat with your Eyes: Whirly Pops

Whirly Pops

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:18 am     CandyFeatured NewsFun StuffPhotography

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barratt Liquorice Catherine Wheels

Liquorice Catherine WheelsBarratt makes fanciful and light confections with names like Sherbet Fountains, Frosties, Refreshers, Dip Dabs and Flumps. It’s all happiness and light ... or is it? They they also make Bruisers, Candy Sticks and Black Jacks - names that could be taken as harsh. They’re nothing compared to the Liquorice Catherine Wheels. Sure, Catherine Wheel is an outdated term for a cartwheel but it’s also a torture device named for the method of execution of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Okay, maybe we’ll consider the name to be taken from the cartwheel.

Like the American confectionery landscape, European candy makers have been consolidating for years, with smaller companies being bought up and integrated into multinational concerns. Barratt was most recently owned by Monkhill Confectionery which was in turn owned by Cadbury. They sold it off to Tangerine Confectionery in 2008, making Tangerine the #4 sweets maker in the United Kingdom.

Catherine Wheel

This particular candy is an interesting hybrid construction. Licorice strips are wound up around a nonpareil licorice button. The buttons came in a variety of colors - I saw pink, light blue and orange ones. This package had a tray of six wheels and clocked in at almost four ounces. (At first I was a little miffed that it was three bucks, but then I realized it wasn’t a single portion, it was at least three.) They’re made with natural flavorings and colorings, though a word of caution that they use carmine coloring ... but there’s also gelatin in there, so they’re not even close to vegetarian.

Catherine Wheels

Each wheel is pretty big. They’re about two thirds of an ounce each and the package says 60 calories. They’re two inches in diameter and the licorice belts are about a quarter of an inch. Unwound, there’s at least 34 inches of chewy black licorice strip. The strips are made of a wheat and molasses base and strongly flavored with licorice. They’re woodsy and dark, with a deep tangy note. The chew is stiff and kind of tough, but lasts a really long time. There’s no weird aftertaste from artificial colors.

Catherine Wheel

The center button is aromatic and reminded me more of anise and other balsamic compounds like lavender and rosemary than licorice itself. The nonpareils aren’t as crunchy as I would have thought, they’re actually smaller than something found on a SnoCap, so maybe that’s part of it. The jelly/gummi center is smooth and has a good chew to it. They’re a good bite and a light contrast to the molasses and charcoal notes of the black straps.

I was surprised and pleased by these. They’re fun to eat, since there are so many ways to approach the pieces. I like that there’s a variation in the textures and flavor profiles. I wish I could buy a smaller package though, maybe two or three at a time. The tray seemed silly, but maybe they need that to keep them from getting really stuck together. They’d probably make great decorations, like in the center of a cake (but far too much for a single cupcake).

So my European friends, is this the only brand of these or are there other variations on this? I’d like to try them all.

Related Candies

  1. Goetze’s Licorice and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams
  2. Panda Soft Herb Licorice and Licorice Cremes
  3. Broadway Black Licorice Rolls
  4. Walkers’ Nonsuch Liquorice Toffee
  5. Kookaburra Choc Coated Liquorice
  6. Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts

Name: Liquorice Catherine Wheels
Brand: Tangerine Confectionery
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $1.99
Size: 3.99 ounces
Calories per ounce: 82
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Licorice Candy, 7-Worth It, United Kingdom

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:38 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewLicorice Candy7-Worth ItUnited Kingdom

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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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