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December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ginger Zingers Blood Orange and Chai

Zingers Blood OrangeI couldn’t resist the look of these tins for Ginger Zingers made by Big Sky Brands. Not only are they a cute format, they also feature one of my favorite flavors: Ginger.

I’ve had quite a few “mints” from Big Sky Brands over the years, and appreciate their approach to their candies even if their flavor combinations don’t align with my tastes. The Ginger Zingers line (called Ginger Delights on their website for some reason) come in four flavors: D’Anjou Pear, Mango, Chai and Blood Orange. I picked up the last two, as they were the most appealing to me.

The back of the tin explains the candy:

We love natural ginger for its distinctive spicy sweetness and invigorating kick.  That’s why our Ginger Zingers candy is packed with genuine ground ginger root & carefully selected natural flavors for a delicious and stimulating on the go treat!

They aren’t kidding when they say it’s packed with ginger. The ingredients list pure cane sugar first, then ground ginger root.

Ginger Zingers - Blood Orange & Spice Chai

The Blood Orange Ginger Zingers has a very faint orange cast to it but definitely smells like an orange gelatin dessert. The flavor on the tongue is immediately a sweet orange, but a little later this candy gets intense. The ginger is very warm and has a strong black pepper hotness. I found them too intense and the orange didn’t have any zest or tang, just the sweet juice note.

The Chai Ginger Zingers feature a full list of the spices on the package, which I really appreciated. Star anise (pictured on the box), cinnamon, cardamom, clove and black pepper are the chai to go with the ginger. This combination smells like vanilla at first, or more like a poundcake, with a sweet baked sugar note. The ginger is far from the intensity of the Blood Orange variety, but still warming. I caught a note of the anise, black pepper and a little clove, but it was a nice mellow blend. I found these very easy to eat one after another.

Each tin holds about 30 pieces of candy, about 1 ounce total. I picked mine up for $1.99 a package. They’re a bit pricy for mints, especially if I gobble them up. But the flavors were distinct and uncommon enough that I could see getting the Chai again, especially if I were looking for something to help with motion sickness. In the mean time, the tin is the ideal size for stowing my earbuds.

The package specifies that these are made with a vegetarian sourced magnesium stearate, but there’s no notation on whether the sugar is considered vegan. They are kosher and gluten free.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Organic Gingermints
  2. Chimes Orange Ginger Chews
  3. Tea Forte Minteas Lemongrass Yuzu
  4. Maple Ice Mints
  5. Newman’s Own Ginger Mints
  6. VerMints
  7. Jones Soda Grape Carbonated Candy


Name: Ginger Zingers Blood Orange
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Big Sky Brands
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.07 ounces
Calories per ounce: 110
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Big Sky Brands, Ginger, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Canada, Cost Plus


Name: Ginger Zingers Chai
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Big Sky Brands
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.07 ounces
Calories per ounce: 110
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Big Sky Brands, Ginger, Kosher, 8-Tasty, Canada, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:20 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewBig Sky BrandsGingerKosher7-Worth It8-TastyCanadaCost Plus

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter CupsThis fall Nestle announced it was launching Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups in January 2014. Butterfinger is an iconic American candy bar, combining peanuts and sugar and chocolate. The bar has been adapted into a half a dozen other formats and confections. There’s were Butterfinger BBs, Butterfinger Crisp, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Stixx, Butterfinger Bites, Butterfinger Chocolate Bars and even the caffeinated Butterfinger Buzz.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Nestle decided to take on the cup format and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Nestle plans to go big with their launch of the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, with a full ad campaign including a commercial during the 2014 Superbowl.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

There’s a couple of curiosities about these cups. First, they have no paper cups. They are fluted, but there’s no paper liner on the tray in the package.

The second thing is that they’re not round. The circular base is far smaller than the top, which is a rounded square. There’s quite an angle towards the top which means that the ratio of chocolate to filling changes at the perimeter versus the center.

The cups are described simply as Smooth & Crunchy on the package.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The filling is quite salty. There’s a creamy component that is very sweet, then the chunky, crunchy bits of Butterfinger centers. There’s a very strong artificial butter flavor to the whole thing, much stronger than an actual Butterfinger bar.  The chocolate profile itself is overshadowed by the butter flavor of the center, so it’s hard for it to contribute anything other than texture. That said, it’s pretty smooth though sweet. It’s certainly better than the coating on a Butterfinger Bar.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The ingredients are interesting, notably that they’ve removed the artificial colorings from this candy. (Butterfinger Bars have artificial yellow and red food coloring in them.)

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, vanillin), sugar, peanuts, peanut toffee pieces (sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, peanut butter [peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, salt], peanuts, butter, salt, soy lecithin, paprika extract color), fractionated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2% of milk, nonfat milk, salt, cocoa butter, hydrogenated palm oil, natural and artificial flavor, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, soybean oil, TBHQ, annatto and paprika extract color.

Contains milk, soy and peanuts, may contain nuts. No mention of gluten.

The package has the Cocoa Plan logo on the front. This is Nestle’s new initiative to bring sustainable practices to their cocoa growers through education programs. The programs are to help growers use better practices to increase yields, reduce losses as well as creating schools for the children in their communities. It’s an internal program that Nestle operates that does not, as far as I know, have any external audits or benchmarks, though they do also buy from Fairtrade and UTZ certified sources in quantities to match certain products so that they can bear their logo.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

There are a lot of similarities between the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s probably not a coincidence. Each cup is .75 ounces, with the package holding two totaling 1.5 ounces.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

From the above you can see the long and complicated ingredient list for the Butterfinger Cups. The Reese’s cups are far simpler.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

Simpler does not necessarily mean better. Both cups have TBHQ in them, which is a preservative (keeps the peanut oil from getting rancid). But both are rather small in mass for a candy bar these days. A Snickers Bar or Butterfinger Bar is over 2 ounces. These cups are kind of puny.

But in the ingredients list, you’ll notice that the Reese’s have no added oils, no fractionated palm kernel oil or hydrogenated rapeseed oil. But I’ve got to admire the bang for the buck I get with the Butterfinger, it has 20 more calories from fat than the Reese’s. Here’s the comparison of the nutritional panels for both cups:

Butterfinger Reese Comparison

So, the Butterfinger is less salty and just slightly fattier - some of the protein grams of the Reese’s are fat grams in the Butterfinger. This is an odd observation, since the Reese’s Cups I know and love usually have a soft, greasy spot in the center of the chocolate on each cup where the peanut oils have migrated from the peanut butter into the chocolate. As far as I can tell, the Butterfinger Cups are far more stable and consistent.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

They’re different candies. They share some of their format and the basic flavors but the textural experience is different. I still prefer the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but that’s probably because I’ve grown up with it. I don’t care for the fake, overly sweet butter flavor of the Butterfinger Bar or these Cups. But I do appreciate the variation in the textures. Overall, I usually go for the smaller ingredients list and I prefer my candy to have the innate oils from the flavor ingredients, not added ones. But it’s a good candy and I think they’ll probably last longer than Butterfinger Stixx.

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  3. RM Palmer Giant 1/4 Lb. Peanut Butter Cup
  4. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  6. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  7. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  8. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Torrance)
Price: $.79
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:54 am     CandyReviewNestleChocolateKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar Tree

Friday, December 27, 2013

Malaco Pastellfiskar (Swedish Fish)

Swedish Fish from SwedenA favorite candy in the United States are the Swedish Fish. Today they’re made by Cadbury Adams in Canada. Though they come in multiple flavors, the favorite is the red lingonberry flavored fish with the word Swedish embossed on the side.

The original, however, is still made in Sweden by the Malaco company under the name of Malaco Pastellfiskar. (Malaco is now owned by the Cloetta company, which also makes Fazer chocolates.) They’re actually quite different from the North American variety.

They do come in four flavors: lemon, orange, pear and berry. They are also a winegum-style of jelly candy, not a gummi. The Swedish version has a different texture and recipe. This assortment was sent to me by Swede Sweets, but I’ve also seen them for sale at Sugarfina and Sockerbit.

Glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, cornstarch, water, acid (E330 - citric acid), vegetable oil, acidity regulator (E52 - sodium hydroxide), flavorings, glazing agents (E901 - beeswax), colors (E141 - natural green, E160a - carotene, E160e - apocarotenal).

Swedish Fish from Sweden

The fish are thick and fresh, soft but a little stiffer chew than the Cadbury Adams version. The texture is more like Dots. They’re a smooth chew with a vibrant flavor profile but they do stick in the teeth.

Yellow is Lemon has a wonderful note of the lemon rind along with a sort of marmalade or honey syrup note to the lemon juice flavors.

Orange is Orange and quite zesty. It’s tangy and juicy but mostly it’s truly like a fresh peeled orange.

Green may be Pear or Green Apple, though I thought it tasted a lot like pineapple, but green wouldn’t make much sense for that. It’s tangy and floral and sweet, it was actually my favorite of the assortment. (Which is weird because I’m not much of a fan of pear or apple flavored things.)

Red is the famous Swedish Berry or Lingonberry. It’s great to taste this without the distraction of the artificial colors in the North American version. This is a little more tart, a little more fragrant. The berry flavor is the same though, that strange blueberry meets pomegranate meets black currant that is the profile of Lingonberry. It’s great and has a well deserved reputation.

The only thing I don’t like about these is the fact that they stick so much to my teeth. The little nuggets just get stuck in between all of my molars. I found eating some crunchy crackers between helped and then some hot tea. (I suppose actually brushing my teeth would help as well.) They’re worth seeking out, especially if you’ve been looking for a version without artificial colors.

Related Candies

  1. Marabou Noblesse Crisps: Original, Dark & Orange
  2. Sugarfina: The Gummis
  3. Swedish Fish Jelly Beans
  4. Sockerbit Swedish Candy Selections
  5. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  6. Swedish Aqua Life
  7. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout


Name: Pastellfiskar (Swedish Fish)
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Cloetta
Place Purchased: samples from Swede Sweets
Price: $6.00 retail
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Cloetta, Jelly Candy, 7-Worth It, Sweden

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:26 am     All NaturalCandyReviewCloettaJelly Candy7-Worth ItSweden

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Morinaga HiCHEW Mini

Morinaga’s has created a morsel version of their popular HiCHEW candies. They’re called HiCHEW Mini and feature four flavors to the cute little 1.4 ounce box.

Morinaga HiCHEW Mini

There are four flavors: pineapple, green apple, grape and strawberry. The box is a great design, it’s overwrapped with cellophane to keep the contents fresh, once opened there’s a little perforated tab that opens a dispenser to get one candy at a time. The pieces are chunky, a little larger than Skittles, and kind of drum shaped.

The green apple is like most of the apple candies from Japan. It’s more about the flavor of apple juice than the artificial thing typified by Jolly Ranchers in the United States. These are sweet and tangy, the chew lasts a long time and doesn’t descend into a grainy mess.

The pineapple is the star, partly because there are no regularly found pineapple Skittles. It’s immediately floral and tangy with that deep honey note. It’s quite intense.

The candy shell, though, is lacking something. There’s no crunch, there’s no boost of texture from the shell. Instead the shell becomes tacky and kind of waxy, like it’s just shellac (though it is a little tangy and does seem to have the same flavor as the chew).

The grape is lovely and reminiscent of concord grapes. It has those skin flavors of a concord grape and the green fruity note of the juice.

The strawberry was the least impressive of the set. It’s not floral or jammy, just kind of tangy but lacking any different levels.

I wanted to love these. I wanted them to be everything that Skittles aren’t: naturally flavored, more intense chew with great packaging. Instead they’re expensive and leave a weird waxy residue in my molars. I still might buy them again if I see them in another flavor assortment. I like the assortment notion, as most HiCHEW are single flavor packages (unless you get the bagged candies) and the fact that there’s less packaging overall.

Note: I ordered these from JBox.com (or JList.com, as they’re also known) and found the experience to be unsatisfactory in enough different ways (payment is taken immediately even if the items aren’t shipped for a month, lack of communication via email and their twitter account, slow & conflicting information and unilateral cancellation of one of the items I’d ordered) that I do not plan on shopping with them again.

Related Candies

  1. Airheads Bites
  2. Starburst Minis (Original)
  3. Skittles replace Lime with Green Apple
  4. Morinaga HiCHEW Fanta: Grape & Orange plus Cola
  5. HiCHEW Japan vs HiCHEW Taiwan
  6. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  7. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy


Name: HiCHEW Mini
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: JBox.com
Price: $2.00 + shipping
Size: 1.41 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, HiCHEW, Morinaga, Chews, 7-Worth It, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:13 am     CandyHiCHEWMorselizationReviewMorinagaChews7-Worth ItJapan

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Choceur Belgian Chocolate Santa

I hope every sweet dream came true for you today.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:44 pm     Candy

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