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September 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis

Milky Way Caramel Apple MinisIt’s fun to see the new iterations of favorite candy bars for Halloween. Some get new shapes or packages, but Mars has gone a little further with their Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis.

They say, “Combining the irresistible tastes of chocolate, rich and creamy caramel and apple, this new item brings a unique, new flavor to trick-or-treating, decorating and snacking.”

I had a tough time finding them in Los Angeles, but spotted them at CVS in Pennsylvania last week and managed to stash a bag in my luggage before leaving.

Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis

The Minis part of the Mars line is rather interesting. They’re far smaller than a snack sized bar, taken out of the mylar wrappers, you could easily tuck them in little fluted cups and put them in a candy box.

Each piece is .3 ounces (or 8.6 grams) and about 38 calories. They’re .8 inches square (a little shorter than a cube, about .7 inches tall). A suggested serving size is 5 pieces for 190 calories.

The big difference between the mini and the regular bar is the proportion of chocolate. The chocolate here is a thin veneer, just enough shell to hold the fillings.

Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis

The candies look no different inside than a normal Milky Way Mini. (Not like those Shrek Snickers which had green nougat.) This is comforting, as the candy smells more like apple pie a la mode than green apple Jolly Ranchers.

The scent has a light touch of milk and sweetness along with a hint of cinnamon and baked apple. The caramel and nougat are distinct layers. The nougat is a little on the mellow spice size, with notes of nutmeg and chai. The caramel seems to be where the apple flavors come from, more like apple cider and apple peels than an artificial apple flavor but it’s exceptionally mild.

Of all the formats for Milky Way, I prefer the mini, as it’s not too sweet and three can satisfy me quickly. I was not looking forward to this version, but was pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say that I thought they were transcendent and there are far better flavor combinations that I think would translate well to this, like Chai Spice.

For a Green Halloween for ethically sourced and clean ingredients, this candy doesn’t make the grade. Mars is making great strides towards using certified chocolate, starting in the US with their Dove line, but has not rolled it out in the Milky Way line in the US as yet.

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled
  2. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Jellies: Grapefruit, Goji Berry & Red Apple
  4. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  5. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  6. Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  7. Head to Head: Milky Way & Mars (Canada & UK)


Name: Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: CVS (Bryn Mawr, PA)
Price: $4.49
Size: 11.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 125
Categories: Candy, Mars, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Limited Edition, Nougat, 6-Tempting, United States, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:55 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenMarsCaramelChocolateKosherLimited EditionNougat6-TemptingUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (11)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bach Rescue Pastilles

Bach Rescue PastillesOne of my favorite lozenges as a kid were the Pine Bros honey flavor. They were mildly sweet but the firm and smooth glycerine texture was what made them positively addictive. I was disappointed with the reintroduction of Pine Bros, so I’ve been searching again to find something to fill that hole.

I first tried the Rescue Pastilles at ExpoWest in Anaheim earlier this year. They’re rather utilitarian looking from the outside of the tin. They promise little, just stating that they’re natural stress relief and free from alcohol.

I finally found them for sale at a local natural products store, Erewhon, up the street from my office. Rescue Pastilles: Elderflower & Orange were expensive, far more expensive than a simple pastille should be (though the tin is cool and certainly something I’ll keep). It was $8.29 for the tin that has only 50 pastilles and 1.7 ounces.

Bach Rescue Pastilles

The tin smells herby upon opening it with a firm press to the center of the lid. It smells like thyme and green tea. The little pastilles are a little smaller than the diameter as a dime, about 2/3 of an inch.

The flavor is lightly sweet, a little like honey with a strong note of orange blossom and orange zest along with a more balsam note like rosemary. The dissolve is slow and the pieces are a bit gummy and soft like a glycerine lozenge.

Bach Rescue Pastilles

They’re just lovely and quite refreshing. The dissolve is mellow, but doesn’t have the same slippery, throat coating abilities as some other pastilles, such as Grethers. There’s a light bitterness towards the end from the zest that turns into a pretty good breath freshening note that sticks with me. That doesn’t detract from the great texture and delicate, unique flavor. I don’t know if I’d buy these again, unless I had a wicked sore throat.

They’re made with gum arabic as a gelling agent, there is no gelatin in it. However, they’re not completely vegan since they use beeswax to keep them from sticking together. The package also states that they’re not suitable for animals.

Related Candies

  1. Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops
  2. Grether’s Pastilles Blackcurrant
  3. Perfetti Van Melle Golia
  4. Honees Honey Filled Drops
  5. Dr. Doolittle’s Pastilles (Lemon, Grapefruit & Wild Berry)
  6. Pastiglie Leone


Name: Rescue Pastilles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Bach
Place Purchased: Erewhon Grocery (Park LaBrea)
Price: $8.29
Size: 1.7 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Jelly Candy, 8-Tasty, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:24 pm     CandyComments (2)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brach’s Peanut Clusters

Brach's Peanut ClustersThe classic combination of chocolate and peanuts meet in this new version of Brach’s Peanut Clusters. The package promises that this is their “Best Chocolate Ever!”

Brach’s has been around since 1904 and has been through a lot, especially in the past 20 years. The company, founded by Emil Brach, was bought by American Home Products in 1966. In 1987, Jacobs Suchard, a coffee & confectionery giant, bought Brach’s. By 1990, as Suchard was being swallowed up by the tobacco company of Phillip Morris, the Jacobs part of the company, Klaus Jacobs, retained Brach’s. Then in 2003 it was sold to Callebaut and only a few years later, in 2008, Brach’s was bought by Farley’s and Sathers. Just this year, Farley’s and Sathers agreed to merge with Ferrara Pan to become the Ferrera Candy Company.

Through all of that, the candy brand remained intact and the favorite confections in their repertoire continued. However, manufacturing changes happened, and the formulas, manufacturing techniques and quality was uneven. Farley’s & Sathers has been trying hard to resurrect the comforting and inexpensive brand by improving the quality for the past two years.

The clusters are made with simple ingredients, plain old milk chocolate and some peanuts.

Ingredients:Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk, Chocolate Liquor, Lactose, Soy Lecithin, Butter Oil, Salt, Vanillin), Peanuts with TBHQ, Sugar, Modified Food Starch

Brach's Peanut Clusters

The clusters vary in size, from little lines of three or four nuts to a full clump of a dozen peanuts. The overall flavor is fake vanilla. A soft and comforting sort of sweetness, like an angora sweater.

The chocolate isn’t particularly smooth, nor even noteworthy. As far as it being their best chocolate ever, well, it’s not the worst. It tasted fresh though not creamy. The cocoa notes are bland and the dairy is clean but not particularly buttery. What works here is the touch of salt and the peanuts. They’re fresh, small and crunchy. The ratios are heavier on the chocolate than the nuts, but once it’s chewed, it works well.

I don’t think I’d buy these again. In fact, I’ve had them sitting around for review for quite a while but felt no desire to eat them even though I love chocolate and nuts.They’re friendly candy and certainly well priced, but I’ll stick to the sugar confections Brach’s makes.

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  2. Brach’s Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs (2012)
  3. Brach’s Milk Chocolate Stars
  4. Brach’s Peanut Butter Poppins
  5. Dove Peanut Butter Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate
  6. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  7. Sno-Caps, Goobers & Raisinets
  8. M&Ms Line


Name: Peanut Clusters
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.49
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Chocolate, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:17 am     CandyReviewBrach'sFarley's & SathersChocolatePeanuts6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Poco Dolce Hazelnut Bar

Poco Dolce Hazelnut BarPoco Dolce is a small confectioner based in San Francisco known mostly for their lovely toffee tiles (really, take a look). A few years ago they started making specialty chocolate bars as well.

The one I picked up in San Francisco was one I was particularly looking forward to. It’s simply called Hazelnut Bar made with bittersweet chocolate. The ingredients are exceptionally simple, chocolate, hazelnut butter and sea salt. Since it’s a dark chocolate, it’s also vegan (though processed where it may have come in contact with milk proteins, other tree nuts or peanuts and there’s no statement about the sourcing of the sugar).

Poco Dolce sources their chocolate from nearby Guittard Chocolate Company, choosing from their Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate. The hazelnut butter comes from Oregon.

Poco Dolce Hazelnut Bar

The bar is not that large, though the box makes it seem like it would be close to one of those 3 ounce tablets. Instead this one is 1.763 ounces ... or what I’d consider a very generous single portion.

The dark bar is nicely tempered and the smooth hazelnut butter is well integrated. The texture is smooth, no hint of hazelnut bits but a strong hazelnut flavor. The bar is bitter, but in a roasted way. The melt is good, though a little firmer than a regular dark bar at first, but has a lighter feel on the tongue than a straight chocolate. It’s lightly sweet and lightly salty, deeply chocolatey and nutty. It’s also exceptionally filling. About two pieces were a great pick me up. So while the bar was expensive and small, I felt like it lasted a long time.

One of my complaints about hazelnut paste (gianduia) as I’ve gotten older is that it’s too sticky and too sweet. This bar has none of those issues, yet still remains decadent.

Related Candies

  1. Poco Dolce Popcorn Toffee
  2. Pernigotti Gianduia: Piedmont Hazelnut Paste
  3. William diCarlo Perle di dolcezza
  4. Eat with your Eyes: Poco Dolce
  5. Guittard Akoma Fair Trade Chocolate Chips
  6. Ice Cubes
  7. Caffarel Gianduias
  8. Scharffen Berger Gianduja


Name: Bittersweet Hazelnut Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Poco Dolce
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $5.75
Size: 1.763 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Poco Dolce, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:51 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewPoco DolceChocolateEthically SourcedNuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Morinaga HiCHEW Fanta: Grape & Orange plus Cola

Morinaga HiCHEW - Fantas & ColaA few months back I went on a little buying spree on eBay for some Japanese candies I was having trouble finding here in the United States. I paid far more than I usually would for mass-produced candies, but I also haven’t bought much candy on eBay and wanted to see what that experience was like so I could share it.

I did a “buy it now” purchase from the storefront of jappy11. The prices were steep, about $2.00 to $2.50 per item and then there was the international shipping, which averaged out to about $1.10 additional per item. These were the small HiCHEW packages, something that I usually spend about $1.25 for here. The key to value for me is to find a seller with a large enough selection that buying multiple items that I simply can’t find anywhere else makes sense. Invoicing, payment and shipping was quick and easy. The items arrived quite quickly (but I’m on the West Coast).

Grape Fanta HiCHEW

Grape was always my favorite soda flavor as a kid. I love to drink Shasta Grape from a matching purple anodized aluminum tumbler at my grandmother’s house. There’s nothing quite like fake grape soda.The HiChew Fanta Grape is achingly close. The tangy start has some actual authentic notes of concord grape at first. In addition to the layered look of the pieces (a light colored center and a creamy lavender colored outer layer, there are little crunchy bits that emulate the pop of effervescence.

The chew is smooth and lasts a long time, without losing its flavor at the end. I enjoyed these so much that I was sure to pick up another package when I finally found them at a local Japanese grocery store.

Orange Fanta HiChew

Orange soda was probably my second favorite as a kid. The HiCHEW Fanta Orange is less distinct than the grape, but still fun and refreshing. The citrusy taste is a mix of Tang drink mix and orange SweeTarts. It has a little bit of zest in it, but it’s mostly a juicy flavor, also with the little crunchy pops of candy inside.

Cola HiCHEW

Even though it’s not a Fanta flavor, I’ve been aching to try the HiCHEW Cola flavor for a long time and could never find it in the States.

These pieces look more mundane, a dull brown that could well be a caramel. The flavor is deep and well defined. What I like about Japanese cola candies it that they’re more intense and concentrated than actual cola soda. This version is actually quite caramelly, with some good lemon/citrus note and a hint of cinnamon. I would definitely buy these more often if they were part of the American release of HiCHEW flavors. (They aren’t they?)

Related Candies

  1. HiCHEW Japan vs HiCHEW Taiwan
  2. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
  3. Fresh Cola Mentos
  4. Jones Soda Grape Carbonated Candy
  5. HiCHEW Assortment
  6. Ramune & Cola Bubble Ball
  7. Haribo Fizzy Cola
  8. Bottlecaps


Name: HiCHEW Fanta Grape
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: eBay (seller Jappy11)
Price: $2.47 + shipping of $1.10
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Morinaga, Chews, 7-Worth It, Japan


Name: HiCHEW Fanta Orange
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: eBay (seller Jappy11)
Price: $2.47 + shipping of $1.10
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Morinaga, Chews, 6-Tempting, Japan


Name: HiCHEW Cola
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: eBay (seller Jappy11)
Price: $2.50 plus $1.10 shipping
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Morinaga, Chews, Cola, 9-Yummy, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:08 pm     CandyReviewMorinagaChewsCola6-Tempting7-Worth It9-YummyJapanComments (8)

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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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