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August 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Valor Milk Chocolate with Almonds

Valor Milk Chocolate with AlmondsOne of the classic chocolate bars around the world is the milk chocolate with almonds. Probably one of the most popular in Spain is the Valor Chocolate version: Milk Chocolate with Marcona Almonds.

Most bars are the standard tablet of 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces) but several years ago Valor came out with this handier single serving version. It’s thicker and easier control portions with only 1.59 ounces in the bar.

Valor Milk Chocolate Almond

The bar is pretty and one of my favorite formats. For bars with nuts, I enjoy a thicker bar that’s not too wide so it’s easy to snap off a piece or bite it without mess.

The Valor bars, being from Spain, use Marcona Almonds. Marconas are a cultivar of almonds that are not as common in the United States. Here in California we grow about 80% of the world’s almonds, and nearly all are the nonpareil variety. Marconas are more rounded, rather flat and usually quite smooth. They’re also quite crunchy and less fibery than nonpareils.

The nut distribution was a little off. The first section had one almond (shown). The middle two sections had six almonds. The last section had none at all.

Valor Milk Chocolate Almond

The milk chocolate is rather high in cacao, at 34%. There’s a little whey in the ingredients list way down at the end, which is forbidden in US chocolate by labeling standards (it’s really just a harmless filler). The chocolate is barely sweet, has a deep rich and malty flavor to it and has an almost salty note to it. It’s missing complex vanilla notes, which is probably because they don’t use real vanilla in the bar. It’s a very firm bar, even in this heat (I kept it in an air conditioned room though it’s still often 80 degrees in there) but I still found that it took longer in my mouth to melt than the standard Hershey’s, Cadbury or Dove.

The nuts go really well, they’re a more delicate flavor and that superb crunch is satisfying. The milk flavors are less sticky and more fresh tasting than the Swiss or British style, but almost goaty.

It’s a great bar when you want a less sweet chocolate that’s not too overpowering and difficult like a dark bar. The almonds make it much more filling, but I wanted a few more in there. This is something I’d definitely chose over a Cadbury Fruit & Nut or Hershey’s with Almond. I don’t know what the source of the cacao for Valor is, their website is vague (“all over the world”) so I can’t comment on the ethical policies of the company.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Almondictive Bits
  2. Niederegger Marzipan Classics
  3. Ferrara Chocolate Candy Coated Chocolate Covered Almond Eggs
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds
  5. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  6. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
  7. CocoaBella “World’s Best Box”


Name: Milk Chocolate with Marcona Almonds
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Valor
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.49
Size: 1.59 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Spain, Cost Plus, Ralph's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:42 am     CandyChocolateNuts7-Worth ItSpainCost PlusComments (1)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled

Werther's Original Caramel Apple FilledI wrote that Storck was introducing a new flavor of Werther’s Original caramels back in May, and finally found some in stores.

They’re called Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled Hard Candies and are a bit of a curiosity to me. They’re a green apple filling covered with a hard shell of the famous Werther’s butter toffee candy.

The objective is to emulate a caramel coated green apple.

Werther's Original Caramel Apple Filled

The ingredient list for this strange candy creation is, well, long. Here’s another example of a European candy (like the downscale version of Panda Licorice) that uses glucose-fructose syrup, which is the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup, except it’s made from something other than corn. There are other fun things in there like artificial colors though it does use actual concentrated apple juice.

Werther's Original Caramel Apple FilledAs much as I was turned off by the idea of the candy, and the idea that they cheaped out and used glucose-fructose syrup instead of just sugar I actually enjoyed them.

They look like a nice candy from the outside. They were in good shape, no crushed or sticky pieces. They’re hard and glossy and smell buttery-sweet. The candy shell is exactly what I’d expect a Wether’s candy to taste like. It’s silky smooth and sweet with a hint of salt. The shell is thin and the center is soft. It’s easy to just chew up the candy, which I ended up doing most of the time. The center is a soft goo with an apple flavoring, kind of like apple juice instead of a Jolly Rancher candy. It’s sweet and flavorful but without an artificial sourness to it.

Overall, it’s an interesting take on the apple and caramel combination. Sweet, salty and a little fruity. I ate the whole bag (which wasn’t hard considering that the fact that for a buck there were only 12 pieces in it. I don’t think I’d buy them again, but I do think they’re better than I gave them credit for in the concept stage.

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates
  2. Ginger People Spicy Apple Ginger Chews
  3. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
  4. Caramel Apple Kisses & Caramel Creams
  5. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  6. Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  7. Werther’s Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  8. Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels
  9. Storck Chocolate Riesen

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:07 pm     CandyReviewStorckToffee6-TemptingGermany99 Cent Only StoreComments (3)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut CrispI was browsing for new candy at Target and noticed these Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp.

The stand up bag has a little banner across the top that says “now more chocolate in every bag.” I did a little research and it appears that the regular bags used to have 5.25 ounces and now they have 5.58 ounces. Not exactly noteworthy, especially when they don’t spell out the exact amount.

Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut Crisp Filling sounds pretty delicious to me. I wasn’t sure what a hazelnut crisp would actualy be, though the front of the package shows a little bowl of crisped rice and a few hazelnuts. So in my head it was going to be a mix of some sort of hazelnut paste and the crunchies inside the milk chocolate squares.

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

The mylar sealed squares are actually aqua, one of those colors that doesn’t photograph well and turns out more like light blue. Even with the heat in Southern California, these were still looking fantastic right out of the package. The chocolate squares are glossy and perfectly molded with the Ghiradelli eagle on top.

The ingredients aren’t great. It’s not a simple hazelnut paste center, instead there are lots of extra ingredients I don’t much care for like palm and palm kernel oil, distilled monoglycerides (well, I ‘m not sure how I feel about those), partially hudrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed & soybean) plus TBHQ, a preservative. There’s no mention of gluten, other tree nuts or peanuts as possible allergens.

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

The squares smell very buttery, less sweet than I expected with a light hint of hazelnuts. The bite is soft, but it’s summer and the chocolates were still tempered well enough that they hadn’t bloomed. The milk chocolate is sweet and sticky but has a good milk and toffee flavor to it. The creamy center is also sweet with more of a milky and malty flavor to it and only a hint of the promised toasted hazelnuts. The crisped rice is in the form of little ball, like bbs. It’s a nice texture, the whole this in very satisfying though doesn’t have quite enough of an intense or defined punch for me. Overall, I liked them, but not enough that I feel like finishing the bag. (I’ve eaten five though, just to be sure.) Something in a darker chocolate might be better suited to me, but if you’re into a sweet that has a bit of texture, this might be your thing.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Cookies and Creme + Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee
  2. Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp
  3. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  4. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  5. Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Crisp
  6. Ferrero Rocher


Name: Milk & Hazelnut Crisp Squares
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.58 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: Candy, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliChocolateCookieKosherNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nestle Butterfinger Bites

Butterfinger BitesButterfinger Bites made by Nestle come in a few sizes, but I picked up their theater box. It was a helpful box with a little image of the candy with the words “actual bite size” pointing to one of them that is actually far smaller than anything inside the box.

The box also says that they’re new, though I’m pretty sure Nestle has made these before, or something amazingly similar. Then the box also says that they’re Easy To Eat! which is a huge relief, because Butterfingers are menacingly difficult what with all that wrapper and ... largeness.

The box actually had 3.5 ounces of candy bites in it, which is a pretty decent deal for a buck. Of course it’s also filled with Butterfinger Bites, so maybe I’d be happier with less than 3.5 ounces considering what dismal tasting candy it actually is.

Butterfinger Bites

There are so many things wrong with this, like the fact that there’s more hydrogenated palm kernel oil in it than cocoa (and no chocolate), artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives.

The pieces are about an inch long and are, in fact, easy to eat. If you don’t have a sense of smell. I found the odor simply offputting. It’s overly sweet, artificial and reminds me of a combination of birthday cake and fake butter topping. They are not even vaguely peanutty or chocolatey.

The pieces are lighter and crunchier than a regular Butterfinger. The mockolate coating is chalky looking, very light in color and not the slightest bit chocolatey. The crispy layers of the center are wonderfully crispy and do have a lovely proportion of salt. But that’s about it, the level of peanut butter is so far below what I love in candies like Chick-O-Stick or Clark Bars that it’s more like a butter flavored center.

The mockolate coating really ruins it, it tastes about as good as sucking on the cardboard box. These can’t be stale (they were plenty crispy and they expiry is more than 6 months away), they’re just poor excuses for candy. What’s sad is that I would absolutely love to buy little nuggets of real chocolate covered peanut butter crisp, even at twice the price.

I have a little poll running over there on the sidebar about what companies should do when they need to cut costs. Maybe we should let them know that making bad candy really isn’t a way to increase sales.

Related Candies

  1. Treat Trip: Bevan’s Own Make Candy - Peanut Butter Sticks & Molasses Chips
  2. Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle
  3. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  4. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  5. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  6. Butterfinger Buzz (Caffeinated)
  7. Chick-o-Stick


Name: Butterfinger Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Mockolate, Peanuts, 3-Unappealing, United States, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:43 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewNestleMockolatePeanuts3-UnappealingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (7)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Week in Candy Blog History: August Week 1

I’m still on a lighter schedule here at Candy Blog central. But here are a few posts that you may have missed over the years in previous Augusts.

Easter Dots

2011

Russell Stover Marshmallow & CaramelI’m always in search of classic candies that can be easily located when I get a craving. One of those candies is the classic marshmallow and caramel combo found in the See’s Scotchmallow.

Unfortunately the Russell Stover version just doesn’t measure up, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving them a try, especially if you’ve been looking for a milk chocolate version or a non-holiday fix on their novelty items.

Name: Marshmallow & Caramel in Fine Milk Chocolate
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 2.95 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Type: Chocolate/Caramel/Marshmallow
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Russell Stover Marshmallow Caramel.

2010

Switzer's Chewy Licorice BitesSwitzer’s Licorice popped back up after years of being off the market when it was bought out by Hershey’s (who has quite a few licorice brands already).

It didn’t quite live up to my hopes, though I don’t recall being a huge fan of the flavor profile if I had it as a kid.

Name: Chewy Licorice Bits
Brand: Switzer Candy Company
Place Purchased: Giant Eagle (Liberty, OH)
Price: $2.29
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 88
Type: Licorice
Rating: 7 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Switzer’s Licorice.

2009

Haribo Cola BottlesHaribo in particular loves to make their candies in fanciful shapes that evoke their flavor. The Cola Bottles are one of those, and an excellent example of cola candy. It seems like Germany and Japan have embraced the American creation within their confectionery in a way that we just can’t seem to muster here in the States.

Name: Happy Cola Gummi Candy
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.59
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 90
Type: Gummi
Rating: 6 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Haribo Happy Cola Gummis.

2008

Old and new KissablesThe Kissables debacle was a strange time in Hershey’s history. The little candy coated kisses were a huge launch for the company and came as Hershey’s was also trying to dilute the accepted ingredient definition for chocolate itself in the United States. Even though the definition for chocolate remained pure, Hershey’s still altered the formula for Kissables to include vegetable oils, so it was no longer chocolate. At the same time Hershey’s also launched a Pure Chocolate promotional campaign, confusing the matter even further.

The issue and change brought national attention to Hershey’s and shortly after this Kissables disappeared from shelves (though I do see them at the discounters from time to time).

Name: Kissables (2008 formula)
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Wilshire Blvd.)
Price: $.39
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Type: Mockolate
Rating: 5 out of 10

Read the full and original review of the Old & New Hershey’s Kissables.

2007

imageThe Ferrero Rocher line got a new variety in 2007 with the Rondnoir, a dark chocolate version of the crunchy hazelnut paste chocolate. It was also an opportunity for me to review everything Ferrero had on American shelves at the time.

Name: Raffaello & Rondnoir
Brand: >Ferrero
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Vermonica)
Price: $.69
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 180 & 160
Type: Chocolate/Cookie/Nuts/Coconut
Rating: 6 out of 10 & 8 out of 10

Read the full and original review of Ferrero Raffaello & Rondnoir.

2006

Reed's ... so sad, the last of the Reed'sIt’s rare to be able to document a discontinued candy, as it’s happening. Especially when it’s a brand that I loved so dearly and continued to buy whenever I could right up until they disappeared. Reed’s were unlike any other hard candy rolls on the market, and it’s sad that the new owner, Mars, hasn’t found a way to bring them back in limited production like Cadbury Adams does with the classic Clove and Black Jack gums.

Name: Reed’s Cinnamon, Butterscotch & Root Beer
Brand: Reed’s (Amurol/Wrigley)
Place Purchased: Powell’s (Windsor, CA)
Price: $.89
Size: .90 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Hard Candy
Rating: 10 out of 10

Read the farewell post for Reed’s Candy Rolls.

2005

Hershey's Twosomes Whoppers BarUsually a candy company trying to cross promote their candies will end up making a weird abomination, but in this case, Hershey’s made something that was actually better than the source products. They made a malted milk candy bar with crisped rice in it. It was wonderful. I bought expired ones and ate them long after the limited edition faded away.

Name: Twosomes - Whoppers
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: 7-11
Price: $.85
Size: 1.4 oz
Calories per ounce: 150
Type: Malt/Milk Chocolate
Rating: 10 out of 10

Read the full and original review of the Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes Bar.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:58 pm     CandyCANDY BLOGHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

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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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Choose one or more:

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These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

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