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June 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Week in Candy Blog History: June Week 1

I started Candy Blog over seven years ago and have probably documented about 2,500 products here in one form or another. It used to be that I could actually remember what I’d tried and reviewed, but the database has become so huge that sometimes I actually find myself searching my own website while at the store to see not only whether I’d tried something but what I thought of it.

So I thought once a week, I’d dive into the archives and present a highlight from each week on this date since Candy Blog’s inception in 2006.

June 2011
Snow Angell Candy BarName: Snow Angell Organic Candy Bar
Brand: Jungell
Place Purchased: Erewhon + sample from ExpoWest
Price: $2.69
Size: 1.41 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Type: White Chocolate/Coconut
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read entire review of Snow Angell Organic Candy Bar.

June 2010
Meiji Milk ChocolateName: Milk Chocolate
Brand: Meiji
Place Purchased: Little Tokyo Market (Little Tokyo)
Price: $1.99
Size: 2.04 ounces
Calories per ounce: 167
Type: Chocolate
Rating: 8 out of 10

Read entire review of Meiji Milk Chocolate.

June 2009
Javaz Milk ChocolateName: JAVAZ Milk & Dark
Brand: How Do You Take Your Coffee?
Place Purchased: samples from HDYTYC?
Price: $3.00
Size: 1.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Type: Chocolate/Coffee
Rating: 8 out of 10

Read entire review of JAVAZ Milk & Dark.

June 2008
curvesA little behind the scenes look at the Candy Blog photo studios and the evolution of my shooting method & equipment.

Just a note, at the time I was using a Sony DSC-V3 camera to shoot. After about 40,000 shots on that camera, I finally upgraded to a Nikon D-60 and use a Tamron Macro Lens. The rest of the process is the same though.

Read entire article here.

June 2007
DSC01486rName: Tiny Size Chiclets
Brand: Adams (Cadbury)
Place Purchased: CVS (Hollywood)
Price: $.69
Size: .5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Type: Gum
Rating: 5 out of 10

Read entire review of Tiny Size Chiclets.

June 2006
Pastigie LeoneName: Pastiglie Leone - Mixed Flavors & Green Tea
Brand: Pastiglie Leone
Place Purchased: Economy Candy (NYC)
Price: $2.99 each
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Mint
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read entire review of Pastiglie Leone - Mixed Flavors & Green Tea.

June 2005
Chocolate Covered Sunflower SeedsName: Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe’s
Price: $2.79
Size: 7.5 oz
Calories per ounce: 150
Type: Nuts/Chocolate
Rating: 9 out of 10

Read entire review of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:52 pm     CandyHighlightFeatured News

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Milka Bars, Milka Drops and some Li’l Milka

Milka Chopped HazelnutMilka is an old German chocolate candy brand that dates back to 1901. The Milka brand fell under Suchard, a popular chocolate bar maker which also made powdered cocoa. The bar was their milk chocolate and named by combining the German words milch (milk) and kakao (cocoa). The earliest chocolate bars sported the lavender wrapper that is still one of the distinguishing marks of their branding.

Milka is now owned by multinational conglomerate Kraft, which also makes Toblerone, Marabou, Cadbury, Cote d’Or, Freia and here in the United States, Baker’s Chocolate. Milka bars are known for their high milk content, soft and sweet melt and favoring of hazelnuts.

They’re far more available in the United States in the past 5 years than I think any other time in history. I’ve been seeing Milka products reliably at discounters like Target. This particular Milka Chopped Hazelnut bar was purchased at the 99 Cent Only Store. For only a buck, for a 3.5 ounce bar. Not a bad deal.

Now I must state that Milka is not chocolate by current American definitions, because it contains additional dairy whey. But the coolest additive they use is hazelnut paste, which more than makes up for it.

Milka with Crushed Hazelnuts

The bar is soft and extremely sweet. The only thing that moderates that sweetness are the crushed hazelnuts. They’re well distributed though I’d probably want more of them (but I understand that this is a bargain bar). The nuts are fresh and crunchy. The dairy flavors are on the toffee and toasted sugar side, instead of tasting like powdered milk Cadbury sometimes can.

Overall, this is one of the more satisfying bars I’ve had from Milka. I prefer the use of palpable nuts in addition to the hazelnut paste and of course the price can’t be beat. Though Kraft and Milka may have sustainability and ethical sourcing plans, they’re not noted on the package or their website.

Milka White Chocolate ConfectionThe Milka White Chocolate Confection was equally cheap, also a 99 Cent Only Store find.

I’m a fan of good quality white chocolate. I like cocoa butter a lot and this bar does use the real thing. Again, the only reason it’s not considered true white chocolate in the United States is the use of additional dairy whey.

The bar is nicely sized and the little domed pieces are easy to break off.

In the world of white chocolate, this is probably the best deal you’re going to find for a dollar that doesn’t include other fats besides cocoa butter and milk products. The use of whey doesn’t actually bother me that much. I understand it’s a filler but it allows things like chocolate to maintain their texture without becoming overly fatty or too sweet.Of course I would only endorse it for “candy” type applications, not fine chocolates.

Milka White

It’s a sweet bar, but not very complex. It’s a bit grainy and fudgy, not a lot of vanilla flavors and the even the fresh dairy taste isn’t that distinctive. I found this wasn’t very interesting eaten plain, but went well with other candy. It’s best with a good chocolate cookie (like an Oreo) or a salty item like nuts or pretzels. (Even tortilla chips.)

Milka Schoko Drops

While in Germany last December I also picked up a few other Milka items, because of their novelty. One of them was this box of Milka Schoko Drops. I know I’ll probably never see these again, which is too bad because they’re certainly a distinctive product. I think they were about one Euro but the little box only has 25 grams (.88 ounces). It’s a rather different price point for a brand that’s usually dirt cheap.

Milka Schoko Drops

The pieces are large, almost the size of a quarter in diameter and a beautiful purple or pearly white.

Milka Schoko Drops

The center is Milka’s hazelnut milk chocolate, the outer layer is white chocolate and then a crunchy shell. The box didn’t hold much, but I didn’t need much. I liked them quite a bit. They’re not better than M&Ms, just different. BTW - why doesn’t Mars make Hazelnut M&Ms?

Milka und Oreo

My favorite of the European Milka Bars was this one I picked up at a Kaufland grocery store (on a big sale display that I think was .59 Euro, or about 80 cents American) in Schmalkalden, Germany. It’s the Milka und Oreo which is a natural combination, since Kraft owns both brands.

Milka Oreo

If there was a disappointment with this bar, it was the use of that cream in the center instead of just more Oreo Cookies. The cream was okay, more on the yogurt side, though less sweet than the actual filling of Oreos. But without the filling, I suppose there’s nothing to distinguish it from regular Chocolate & Cookies bars.

Milka Oreo

I would buy this again, though I’m not sure if they’re sold in the United States.

Milka L'il Stars CrispeesI was pretty excited to see these Milka L’il Stars bags at the 99 Cent Only Store on a more recent visit. The reignited my interest in Milka, and spurred me to dig out these photos from earlier this year and finish this write up.

Again, for only a dollar, it’s a great deal for a chocolate hazelnut product. Think of them as giant, shell-less Crispy M&Ms.

The Milka L’il Stars Crispees look completely different than anything else on the American market and fill that hole I often have for a cereal and chocolate combination. The bag is a decent deal for a buck, it holds 3.88 ounces of little spheres of wheat crisps covered in Milka chocolate coating.

Milka L'il Stars Crispees

The pieces are a bit rugged and uneven. The good part about that is that they don’t roll around as well as a Malted Milk Ball would.

Milka L'il Stars Crispees

The crispy center is airy and light. It’s a little crunchier and less honeycomb/foamy than a malted milk ball. The flavor is also delicate and cereal-like. It’s a rice puff, made with rice malt and malted barley syrup. It’s not very malty, not like a malted milk, but has the hints like Corn Flakes do.

Of course there’s gluten in there and hazelnuts, dairy and soy. They’re made in Slovakia.

Milka L'il Stars HazelnutsThe Milka L’il Stars Hazelnuts are a simpler product, and kind of loop me back to the first one in this list.

They’re just single, whole roasted hazelnuts covered in the Milka chocolate which has hazelnut paste in it.

This bag (also made in Slovakia) also has 3.88 ounces in it, though not as much volume as the Crispees because of the density of the nuts.

Milka L'il Stars Hazelnuts

They’re crazily simple, but really well done. The nuts are well chosen, good quality and lightly roasted. The coating is soft and sweet, a little on the fudgy side but the dairy flavors come out more than I noticed them in the bar. The roasted hazelnuts are crunchy and satisfying.

Since chocolate covered hazelnuts are so hard to find, I can see myself picking these up again, especially if I wanted to combine them with the Crispees and some other savory items for a little bit of trail mix to create the perfect movie snack.

The touch of hazelnut paste in Milka products distinguished them from other dairy milk chocolate products like Cadbury. Though it’s not great quality chocolate, it is satisfying candy.

Related Candies

  1. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  2. Oreo Bitter Bar (Japan)
  3. Crispy M&Ms
  4. Milka L’il Scoops
  5. Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)
  6. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  7. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  8. Milka Alpenmilch

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:18 pm     CandyReviewKraft/MondelezCookieMockolateNuts7-Worth It8-TastyGermany99 Cent Only Store

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot Tamales 3 Alarm

Hot Tamales 3 AlarmOne of my favorite candies, especially lately, has been Hot Tamales. They’re incredibly simple, basically just spicy cinnamon jelly rods. They’re cheap and easy to find. I have been buying the five pound bags at places like Smart & Final and at Jack’s Wholesale Candy in downtown Los Angeles. They look great in a candy jar and are an excellent pick-me up in the middle of the day or during long car trips.

Just Born, makers of Hot Tamales, recently introduced a new twist to their standard box. It’s called Hot Tamales 3 Alarm and as you might imagine, has three different spice levels inside:

The heat index is off the charts with the new HOT TAMALES® 3 ALARM candies, featuring three increasing levels of heat – hot, hotter, hottest! Test your taste buds’ boundaries with the hottest HOT TAMALES® bean ever. Just remember, you’ve been warned.

Hot Tamales 3 Alarm

The Hot level is orange. It’s mild but still a good mix of spicy and sweet.

The Hotter level is red. It’s warming but it’s just in the shell and dissipates pretty quickly. The flavor is well rounded, the woodsy bark flavors of cassia (sometimes sold as cinnamon but with a slightly more floral note to it), the sweetness of the bark and then the burn. There’s some throat tingling, but pretty much the normal Hot Tamale experience.

The Hottest level is maroon. It’s hard to tell these apart from the Hotter level sometimes, unless they’re side by side. But make no mistake, there’s a difference in flavor. The hotness is obvious. It’s more than just cinnamon hot, I could swear there’s some sort of capsaicin (hot peppers) in there. It burned my throat quite a bit. If I ate it with another level of hotness, I could take it, but otherwise I found it unpleasant.

I like the Hot Tamales Fire and I like the Hot Tamales classic. But I’m not so keen on this Hottest level in Hot Tamales 3 Alarm and find the Hot level a little too tame. Seems like Just Born got it right the first time, so that’s what I’ll stick with. This is fun, but nothing that will become a go-to candy for me.

Related Candies

  1. Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans
  2. Mentos Cinnamon
  3. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  4. Good & Fiery
  5. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  6. Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers
  7. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  8. Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
  9. Hot Tamales and Hotter Tamales

Name: Hot Tamales 3 Alarm
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Just Born, Cinnamon, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:48 am     CandyJust BornCinnamonJelly CandyKosher8-TastyUnited States99 Cent Only Store

Friday, June 1, 2012

M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet Milk ChocolateLate last year Mars introduced a new line of snack mixes incorporating M&Ms with nuts, dried fruits, cookies and pretzels. There are currently three varieties available, I picked up one of each.

All share the use of M&Ms chocolate candies and pretzels, but then have slightly different elements from there. The basic mix, based on the Milk Chocolate M&Ms is Milk Chocolate M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet.

The bags are eight ounces and I got mine on sale for $3 each at Walgreen’s, but I have to believe that they’re going to be priced less than that on a regular basis for them to catch on.

First I have to say that the packaging is well done. The stand up bag does stand up and the zip lock closes easily and securely enough to both keep contents from spilling and protect from moisture. The bag also will sit “open” well enough to serve from.

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet

The items within the Milk Chocolate mix are: Roasted Peanuts and Crunchy Pretzels from the salty side and mini Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk Chocolate M&Ms from the sweet side.

In the case of my bag, things appeared to be packaged in tiers, so all my peanuts were at the bottom and all my pretzels were at the top. So when I first dumped it out for photographing, I missed the peanuts entirely. (See below.)

The pretzels are barely an inch across and just lightly salted, which I thought was perfect. They’re not so big that they took up a whole bite, allowing me to combine elements for a customized flavor/texture profile.

The little chocolate chip cookies are like Chips Ahoy!. A bland vanilla cookie with teensy little chocolate chips. They’re about .8 inches around and reminded me of Cookie Crisp Cereal in shape, but actual chocolate chip cookies in flavor. They’re a little salty, very sweet and nicely crunchy.

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet

The M&Ms are, well, Milk Chocolate M&Ms. They’re a bit dusty with crumbs or salt, but otherwise fresh and crunchy, the sweetest thing in the bag.

The peanuts, well, this is where things took a bad turn. I didn’t like the peanuts at all. I thought they were roasted too dark, they were bitter and sometimes chalky. Since everything else in the bag was perfectly fresh, it made very little sense to me why they were consistently so unappealing. (One or two bad peanuts are understandable, but they were all the same color, uniformly small in size and rather lifeless.) I have to wonder if they were a bit on the over-roasted side as a way to stabilize them, especially the fats in peanuts that can make everything greasy.

As long as I ate the peanuts in the same bite as something else, I didn’t mind the. But on the whole, I prefer a snack mix with a strong protein component (usually from nuts).

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet PeanutPeanut M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet is in a bright yellow bag featuring the yellow Peanut M&M as its mascot.

This bag features a mix of salted roasted almonds and pretzels along with mini shortbread cookies and Peanut M&Ms.

The little shortbread cookies are similar to the chocolate chip ones in size, but actually more successful in this application. The flavor is quite good, I got a great sense of the toasted shortbread cookie with its vanilla flavor. But what was really interesting was that the salt from the almonds had rubbed off on the, so there was an excellent contrast going on. They’re dense and crunchy and not too sweet.

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet

The pretzels were again nicely layered in, a good crunch with a mild flavor.

The almonds were tiny, but roasted perfectly thought slightly over-salted for my tastes. (The overall sodium level for the snack mix is 125mg for a 1/3 of a cup portion which is about 190 calories.

The Peanut M&Ms were, well, exactly like Peanut M&Ms. They were big and had a lot of crackle going on and added a buttery element to the whole mix.

All of the items went with each other. An almond with a Peanut M&M was great. A cookie with a pretzel was also really satisfying. I was surprised at how much I liked this mix, though it does combine some of my favorite items. It was the cookies I was hesitant about, but they really did add to the satisfaction level.

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet Dark ChocolateDark Chocolate M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet is the only mix in the set that doesn’t have little cookies.

The mix contains salted, roasted almonds and pretzels along with raisins and Dark Chocolate M&Ms.

This is the “healthiest” of the mixes, if you go by calorie load. There are 132 calories per ounce, slightly less than the milk chocolate mix with a half a gram less saturated fat but still 16 grams of sugars. But it does have a bit of iron at 6% of your daily recommended allowance and two grams of fiber.

Of course all of that relies on eating the exact proportions of each element in the mix. If you pick out the M&Ms and almonds, well, all bets are off.

M&Ms Snack Mix - Salty & Sweet

The mix is attractive and has a good salty note to it from the pretzels and the almonds. The raisins were pretty big, soft and juicy without being sticky. The Dark Chocolate M&Ms pair well with any of the elements. Part of me would like to see a more interesting dried fruit in the mix, like dried cherries or cranberries (which do suffer from being sweetened) but this version does fit the bill by adding in a little tangy chew.

These are not candy. There’s very little candy in there, by most accounts, about 25% of it is actually M&Ms, the rest of snack foods. Mars has made a nice mix and chosen each element pretty well and balanced them expertly.

It’s a good mix for a lot of different purposes. Easy to share you can take it on an airplane, a car trip or a movie theater (of course you’d pay concession prices ... probably about $8 a bag). I prefer to make my own mixes, but if I have to grab something already made a store, this is a fair value.

Related Candies

  1. Glico Pocky Cookie Crush
  2. Snyder’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwich Dips
  3. Pretzel M&Ms
  4. Candy on the Trail
  5. Limited Edition M&Ms Coconut
  6. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites

Name: M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet: Milk Chocolate
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, M&Ms, Peanuts, 5-Pleasant, United States, Walgreen's

Name: M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet: Peanut
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, M&Ms, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

Name: M&Ms Snack Mix Salty & Sweet: Dark Chocolate
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 132
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, M&Ms, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:24 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateCookieKosherM&MsNutsPeanuts5-Pleasant7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen's

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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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