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February 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats

Brach's Cherry Cordial NougatsBrach’s makes a wide assortment of classic nougats. They’re probably best known for the little block of white nougat that has the jelly bits in it, but what I appreciate are the hand-crafted icon nougats. They make them for Christmas where the center of the nougat is a tree or snowman. For Valentines Day the Peppermint Nougats have a heart inside.

Also for Valentine’s Day Brach’s (now part of Farley’s and Sathers) makes a Cherry Cordial Nougat. The bag was quite a good deal, at only $1.00 for 12 ounces of candy. The package says that the candy combines two favorite tastes to create the perfect treat, chocolate and cherry.

Brach's Cherry Cordial Nougats

Since I’m not a cherry lover, it’s hard for me to say anything more than this: If Hasbro made Cherry Play Doh, this is what would come out of the Fuzzy Pumpers Candy Shop. They smell like maraschino cherries that have been marinating in the ink that goes in Dry Erase Markers. The texture is soft and less grain than I imagine Play Doh actually is, but just as maleable.

They’re lovely to look at, but they smell disgusting and for me, they taste even worse. The cherry flavor combined with the faint hint of cocoa and the red food coloring aftertaste is just too much for me. I think the other nougats Brach’s make are great, but these are a huge miss for me.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  2. CVS Marshmallow Pop
  3. Brach’s Peanut Butter and Caramel Pumpkins
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs


Name: cherry cordial nougats
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Chews, 2-Appalling, Mexico, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:52 pm     CandyValentinesBrach'sFarley's & SathersChews2-AppallingMexico99 Cent Only StoreComments (2)

Brach’s Conversation Hearts

Brach's Conversation HeartsWith the news that Necco changed its classic Necco Sweethearts (more coverage here) in 2010, I found that Brach’s version more ubiquitous in 2011 on store shelves.

The package is bright red and easy to distinguish from the pastel-princess mess of the Necco reboot. I picked up the Brach’s Small Conversation Hearts at the Dollar Tree for a dollar for an eight ounce bag. The ingredients are similar, a sugar and dextrose (glucose) paste held together with a bit of gelatin and oodles of artificial colors.

Brach's Conversation Hearts

The mottoes I noticed: Luv Me, You Rock, U Go Girl, Ask Me, Hello, Got Love? So Fine, Good Bye, I [heart] You, Be True, So Fine, E-Mail Me, Dare Ya and the ultra romantic, Hey You.

The pieces are well made, I found very few duds in the package - all thick and consistent. The printing was a little blurry on some but mostly readable, except for the low contrast pink on pink.

The flavors are pleasantly indistinct. I could tell the orange ones were a creamsicle orange flavor. The yellow ones might have been banana, but maybe a really bland lemon. The pink were slightly like the seashore (a mixture of cheap flip-flops and Old Bay crab boil and the burning taste you get when sunscreen gets in your eyes). The purple and green were too bland for me to tell apart in a dark room. The white was the comforting flavor of mint toothpaste you find in the corner of your mouth before lunchtime. The texture is smooth and not quite crunchy, though still very firm.

If you were a fan of the original Sweethearts and can’t find them, these are as close as you’re likely to find. But if you never liked either, there’s no reason to try these, they do nothing for the category except look cute. So basically, a nice decorative candy, but perhaps not for eating unless you’re trying to bring your blood sugar up.

They’re made in Argentina and produced on shared equipment with milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Necco Sweethearts Twilight Fire & Ice
  2. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  3. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  4. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  6. SweeTart Hearts


Name: Small Conversation Hearts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Compressed Dextrose, 4-Benign, Argentina, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:13 pm     CandyValentinesBrach'sFarley's & SathersCompressed Dextrose4-BenignArgentinaDollar TreeComments (5)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Walkers’ Nonsuch Treacle Toffee

Walker's Nonsuch Treacle ToffeesA few years back I was introduced to Walkers’ Nonsuch Toffees courtesy of my Candy Blog efforts. It’s a British toffee product that’s more akin to American caramel than the hard toffee we’re accustomed to in the States. They come in a wide variety of flavors and even a few formats (bars that require a smack & unwrap approach to individually wrapped nuggets).

I was really excited to visit the Walkers’ Nonsuch booth at the ISM Cologne candy fair and was gifted this lovely bag of one of my favorites: Walkers’ Nonsuch Treacle Toffee. I’ve tried it before in the bar format and was more than pleased. I haven’t, however, been exposed much to their nuggets. Much of the time, I prefer candies that are well packaged, and twisted wrappers on something that’s vulnerable to moisture like caramels meant that I stuck to the sealed bars. But a trade show is a place where I’m confident that the candy is fresh and well treated.

Walker's Nonsuch Treacle Toffee

Treacle is a syrup made from sugar cane and is basically just a bit lighter than Black Strap Molasses.

The pieces are soft and satiny, a thick medallion about 1 inch to 1.25 inches in diameter. The chew is soft and smooth, like a fresh caramel. The buttery notes are evident right away but most notable are the deep toasted sugar notes of molasses. There’s very little bitterness or metallic aftertaste like I notice with some molasses candies. Molasses does have a high mineral content and this can be evident to even untrained palates. It’s a little salty with coffee notes and even a touch of deep cocoa. Other earthy flavors flit in and out, like beets and licorice and ginger. Overall it’s nutty, like pecans or Brazil nuts but has an exceptionally smooth chew.

I love these. I got one full bag at the ISM Show, which are extremely fresh with an expiry date of December 15, 2011. I really hope I can find these somewhere in Los Angeles in the future (but I’ll be content with the bar format) because they’re already gone. For people who love rich caramel chews with the deep flavors of molasses, these are a must.

Related Candies

  1. Walkers’ Nonsuch Liquorice Toffee
  2. Walkers Nonsuch Roasted Hazelnut Toffee
  3. Molasses Pops
  4. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  5. Walkers Nonsuch Toffee
  6. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:14 pm     CandyReviewWalkers' NonsuchCaramel9-YummyUnited KingdomComments (5)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine’s Day Candy Spotting 2011

There appeared to be fewer new Valentine’s candy introductions in 2011, but many of the tried and true favorites are back on store shelves. Here’s a look at what I’ve been able to find:

Necco Sweethearts - Real Heart
The biggest news in Valentine’s Candy this year continues to be about Necco Sweethearts and Conversation Hearts.

In 2010 Necco introduced their new packaging, flavors and colors for the classic Sweethearts. (See the comparison of the two here.) This year the classic version was to return, though sold only at discount stores. The only confirmed sighting of the candy is at Family Dollar. Frustrated lovers of the classic version are turning to eBay and message boards to purchase the limited supplies.

3 Musketeers Cherry

Mars/Wrigley’s

Dove Promises are available in several different variety packages in both Valentine’s themes and the standard colors.
Dove Dark Chocolate Cherry Swirl Promises (also available in bar form) are brand new for 2011. They feature, as the name sames, a swirl of dark chocolate with a cherry flavored white chocolate.
3 Musketeers Cherry (original review) returns again as a seasonal edition. Available only in minis, the bright mylar packaging features little love sayings on them.
Life Savers Valentine’s Mix - individually wrapped pieces in the oh, so romantic flavors: Fruit Punch, Cherry & Pineapple

Heart Shaped Junior Mints

Tootsie

Heart Shaped Junior Mints (original review)
Valentines Tootsie Rolls
Cherry Tootsie Pops - just one flavor in a bag
Dark Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes (like Junior Mints but with a pink raspberry fondant center)
Valentine Dots (cherry and vanilla and passion fruit and vanilla Dots)

SweeTart Hearts

Nestle & Wonka

SweeTart Hearts (original review)
Gobstoppers Heart Breakers (very hard to find, usually in bulk online)
Nestle Butterfinger Heart (milk chocolate with chips of Butterfinger center mixed in)
Nestle Crunch Hearts

Hershey's Heart's Desire

Hershey’s

Reese’s Hearts (foil wrapped molded hearts filled with Reese’s peanut butter - original review)
Reese’s Valentine’s Hearts - like the Reese’s Egg only vaguely heart shaped
Cherry Cordial Kisses
Hugs & Kisses - a mix of regular chocolate Kisses, Almond Kisses and Hugs (swirl of white confection & milk chocolate)
3 Lb Solid Milk Chocolate Heart (it doesn’t say “I Love You” on it, just Hershey’s)
Marshmallow Hearts (review of Halloween version)

Trader Joe's Truffle Hearts

Trader Joe’s

Dark Chocolate Truffle Hearts (original review)
Gummy Tummy Hearts (like the Gummy Tummy Penguins but only in the Cherry flavor - review of those)
Rabitos Royale (original review) - chocolate covered brandied figs
Belgian Chocolate Mix Box (I haven’t purchased this particular assortment of Belgian chocolates, but nearly all of Trader Joe’s picks have been good ones)

Cinnamon Hearts

Brach’s

Cherry JuJu Hearts
Cinnamon Jelly Hearts  (original review)
Cherry Cordial Nougats
Peppermint Valentine’s Nougats (review of Christmas version)
Conversation Hearts (large & small)

Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Bears

Just Born

PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts - I have not actually seen these in any store.
PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Bears (original review)
PEEPS Pink Marshmallow Hearts and PEEPS I (heart) U
PEEPS Vanilla Creme Hearts
PEEPS Strawberry Creme Hearts

Jelly Belly Love Potion

Jelly Belly

Conversation Beans (original review)
Deluxe Valentine’s Mix - a combination of pink, red & white jelly beans and mellocreams and gummy hearts
Jelly Belly Valentine’s Jelly Bean Mix (original review) featuring Bubble Gum, Coconut, Cotton Candy, Strawberry Cheesecake and Very Cherry

Russell Stover Heart

Russell Stover

Heart Shaped Boxes (original review)
Truffle Heart (some egg reviews)
Marshmallow Heart (review of the rabbit versions)
Strawberry Cream Heart
Caramel Heart
Peanut Butter filled Heart
Coconut Cream Heart

Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry

Other Items of Interest

See’s has Cinnamon Hearts and Cinnamon Pops again. (original review)

Elmer’s Chocolate  boxes (original review) are back on store shelves

Lindt Lindor Truffles Limited Edition - Milk Chocolate with a Smooth White Filling

Ghiradelli Luxe Milk squares selection in Valentine’s packaging (original review)

Ferrara Milk Chocolate Strawberry Ball (original review) the twist here is that the segments have little love messages on them.

Gimbal’s Honey Lovers and Cherry Lovers jelly bean heart mixes - not strictly Valentine’s day, but certainly appropriate (Cherry & Honey reviews)

Heather from Candy Addict also has a candy shopping roundup for 2011.

So what are you seeing on store shelves, or maybe not seeing this year? What are your tried & true favorites?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     CandyValentinesHighlightShoppingComments (10)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chuao Venezuelan Origin Chocolate

Chuao is a small village in Venezuela, but to chocolate aficionados is the name for criollo cocoa beans from the area. Casey at The Chocolate Note has some wonderful coverage and photos.

Chuao Collection - Amano, Coppeneur & Chocolat Bonnat

For many years Amadei (Italy) had an exclusive deal for the beans from the region, so the only chocolate made from them was Amadei’s Chuao bars. The bars were hard to find and of course quite expensive (though bars from Chocolat Bonnat existed, that’s kind of another story). And of course there was just the one company’s concept of what was best about the beans (from the fermentation to the roasting & conching). Amadei is no longer the only purveyor of the coveted beans. I picked up three different bars from three different countries to see how they created a chocolate bar from the esteemed cacao: Chocolat Bonnat (France), Amano (USA) and Coppeneur (Germany).

Chuao - Chocolat BonnatThe Chocolat Bonnat Chuao bar is the largest of the group, a generous 100 gram bar (3.5 ounces). It’s 75% cacao and Kosher. There are only three ingredients in the bar: cacao, cocoa butter and sugar. No emulsifiers like soy lecithin and no vanilla.

The packaging is simple and the same as all the other Bonnat bars I’ve had. It’s a large bar with petite but thick rectangular segments. It’s wrapped in a simple paper-backed foil which is then covered in a simple glossy, embossed paper sleeve.

Chuao - Chocolat Bonnat

The bar has a beautiful sheen, a light touch of red to the brown color and though the photo makes it look a creamy color, it’s really quite dark.

The scent is rather earthy with a few green notes like olives. The melt is exquisite, smooth and thick without being chalky or dry. The chocolate is flavorful, angled mostly towards the deep flavors like smoke, coffee, dried cherries and molasses. There are some slight mineral notes, like iron. While it sounds like this would be heavy and rich, it still comes off a little lighter than that, mostly because of the texture and a lighter acidity. There’s a trace of bitterness towards the end but nothing distracting, more like a finish of a citrus marmalade.

Coppeneur ChuaoI’m already quite fond of Coppeneur. From the packaging, which is this smart little matte black “wallet” that’s sealed with a dot of wax to the beautiful design of the bar’s mold. I’ve bought several of their Ocumare bars in the past (straight dark chocolate and Mit Chili & Cacao-Nibs) but never wrote about them. They’re difficult to find in the United States, I’ve been buying my bars at Fog City News in San Francisco.

Like the Bonnat bar, the Coppeneur Chuao Dunkle Schokolade is made only with cacao mass and sugar. There is no added soy lecithin or vanilla. This bar is 70% and comes in a 50 gram tablet (about 1.76 ounces).

Chuao Collection - Amano, Coppeneur & Chocolat Bonnat

The bar has a similar red hue. The format of the bar is different from both the Bonnat and Amano, so I photographed them together. It’s quite thin but has an excellent snap to it.

The initial melt is quick and smooth but the thing I noticed first was the raisin flavors and light tangy notes. Though it’s only 70% instead of the 75% of the Bonnat, it’s not sweeter though perhaps a little more acidic and has a dry finish. Though most of the flavor notes were overwhelmingly fruity, like prunes and raisins and dried cherries there were some light roasted notes of pecans. Towards the end, the flavors got deeper with notes of toffee, leather and tobacco.

There were a couple of little gritty bits, this bar is a 70 hour conch. I have another set of bars from Coppeneur that I got in Germany that are paired: a 70 hour conch and a 100 hour conch. I’ll be trying those soon.

Amano ChuaoThe third bar in my roundup is the American Amano Chuao bar. I’m fond of Amano’s other Venezuelan single origin bar, the Ocumare, so I was excited to taste the Chuao.

This bar comes in the same package style as the other Amanos, a slim and glossy box. The bars are 2 ounces (56 grams) and wrapped in a sturdy gold foil. This bar differs from the other two in the ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla beans. So I was curious what the vanilla beans would contribute to the profile of the Chuao cacao. The cacao content is 70% and is Kosher (note that it’s also made in a facility with nuts, peanuts, dairy & soy present).

Amano Chuao

I find the size and format of the bar to be ideal for the way that I like to each dark chocolate. The bar is thick, but not so thick that a lot of chewing is necessary. The segments are a great size for a single taste and the foil is of good quality for rewrapping and saving for later.

The first flavors I got were woodsy and green with a little citrus peel twang in there of grapefruit. The melt is smooth but a little more gritty and sugary than the previous two bars ... and when I say gritty, that’s just a comparison. Taken by itself I don’t know if many folks would notice. The vanilla is noticeable in the flavor profile, I definitely got some oak cask and cognac flavors in there and the finish has that vanilla note and the freshness of white tea. There are more floral notes, like orange blossom and jasmine. But there’s also a kind of volatile quality, a sort of burn like orange oil can give after a while.

Chuao - CoppenhauerI’ve been nibbling and formulating my tasting notes for these bars for about two months. I traveled with the bars, taking them all the way to Europe and back. The Venezuelan Chuao beans are extraordinary and very expensive. They create a wonderful chocolate, apparently every chocolate maker is able to do something extraordinary and unique with the beans. The price is prohibitive though and in some ways it makes me question spending that much on a bar ... the Chuao bars are usually priced 20-25% more than the other bars in that company’s line - so my Coppeneur bar was $8, where a regular single origin bar from them would be $6 and these are only 50 grams to begin with. 

My final conclusion is that everyone makes a wonderful chocolate bar from these beans. But I’ve also been very impressed with each of these company’s chocolate bars made with other less expensive beans, they’re simply good chocolate makers. I’m not convinced that the chocolate bars are worth the premium for these beans in particular, but fans of chocolate in general should try at least one of the bars made from Chuao beans as a point of reference. Personally, I’m not afraid to go back to blended bean bars, which offer a good balance of consistency of flavor over they years and affordability. But with some folks, once you go Chuao you never go back.

Related Candies

  1. Amano Dos Rios 70% Chocolate
  2. TCHO Fruity
  3. Domori Cru
  4. Four 99%-100% Chocolate
  5. Amano Single Origin Bars: Madagascar & Ocumare
  6. Chuao Chocolatier


Name: Chuao 75% “Venezuela”
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Chocolat Bonnat
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $8.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Kosher, 9-Yummy, France, Mel and Rose


Name: Chuao 70% Dunkle Shokolade
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Coppeneur
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $8.50
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Single Origin, 8-Tasty, Germany


Name: Chuao 70%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Amano
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $9.75
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Amano, Chocolate, Kosher, Limited Edition, Single Origin, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:50 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewAmanoChocolateKosherLimited EditionSingle Origin8-Tasty9-YummyFranceGermanyUnited StatesMel and Rose

Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 

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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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

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