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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 5 -  2014 in Review


In Episode 5 of Candyology 101, Maria and I look back at the good and bad from 2014 (it’s mostly good).

You can also download the MP3 file, subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Check out all the links & show notes on the Candyology 101 website.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:00 am     CandyHighlightFun StuffRadio InterviewsComments (2)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nestle Damak Pistachio

DSC_7955rbI found this curious little Nestle bar at Ralph’s grocery store tucked in with the Christmas merchandise last month. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I wanted to know more.

So, I bought the Nestle Damak bar, without even knowing how much it was ($3.99, I find out).

It’s square, its made in Turkey. It’s just milk chocolate with pistachios. I figured I’ve probably spent most of my life eating California pistachios, it’s nice to find a bar that actually lists the sourcing of their pistachios ... would they taste different?

Taking its name from the Turkish word for taste, NESTLÉ® Damak™ /dih-mok/ features a unique combination of creamy chocolate and world-renowned Turkish pistachios. Backed by an over-80-year heritage, this beloved indulgence derives its deliciously distinct taste from Turkey’s time-honored craft of cultivating the world’s most savory and intensely flavored pistachios. Each piece is packed with whole pistachios from the revered Gaziantep region, surrounded by silky smooth chocolate.

Nestle Damak

The bar is similar to a Ritter Sport in shape and format. It’s just shy of 3 ounces. The bar is wrapped in foil and that is wrapped in the paper label. Inside, it was glossy and quite fresh, divided into 15 pieces sporting the Nestle logo.


The bar smells nice, sweet and milky but with a little grassy note which I’m guessing is the pistachios. There’s no fake pistachio flavor to it. The ingredients are good, plenty of sugar, pistachios and cocoa butter (actually listed in that order). They use sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.

The milk chocolate is so different from normal Nestle milk chocolate, it’s hard to believe it’s the same company. The flavor is authentically dairy, rich and with a toasted note to it. The melt is exceptionally smooth. The pistachios are crisp and buttery, with a crunch that’s almost like a macadamia nut but with a sort of green tea freshness to it. There’s a hint of salt. Though sugar was listed first, it’s not that sweet.

I ate the whole bar, and I’d try the Turkish Nestle items again if the opportunity presented itself. I’d also seek out some Turkish pistachios too, they were exceptional.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Kisses with Macadamia Nuts
  2. Nestle Crunch Noisettes
  3. Ritter Sport 100th Anniversary Edel-Nuss Mix + Bonus Previews
  4. Nestle Milo Bar
  5. An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short
  6. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  7. Askinosie White Chocolate (Plain, Nibble & Pistachio)
  8. Nougat de Montelimar

Name: Damak
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $3.99
Size: 2.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Turkey, Ralph's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:05 pm     CandyReviewNestleChocolateNuts8-TastyTurkeyRalph'sComments (4)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lindt Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie

DSC_7491rbLindt‘s line of Hello chocolates seems to be well established now. I’ve seen them at a few stores regularly, though Target seems to have a few exclusive flavors from time to time.

I picked up the Lindt Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie while they had a sale earlier in December, as I was interested in trying a less-sweet dark bar from them. Dark chocolate with a creamy chocolate filling and dark cookie pieces. Experience your dark side!

The packaging and molding rivals a Godiva item for a fraction of the price. The box it comes in opens like a clutch style purse, and has some very nicely done graphics on the inside that really enhance the experience of decadence. The brown foil wrapper is generous enough that it’s easy to reseal the bar and tuck it back in the box for later. (There are 2.5 portions, according to the nutrition panel.).

Lindt Hello

The bar mold is enchanting. The pieces are domed and shiny with various motifs like the Lindt logo, the Hello logo, the motto “nice to sweet you,” and little hearts. It’s easy to break the pieces off, and each is a good portion in itself if you’re moderating.

There’s no mention of how dark the dark chocolate is, but I’m going to guess it’s not darker than 60%.

Lindt Hello Chocolate Cookie

It smells sweet, more like milk chocolate than dark. The bite is pretty soft, since the domed pieces are filled and the filling is a bit softer. The chocolate is smooth, with a silky melt and slightly acidic finish. The filling is very much like the usual Lindt Lindor Tuffle, only with little crispy cookie bits in it.

As with the other Lindor items, the thinness of the ganache melt is disappointing, because the tropical oils do nothing to support and release the natural chocolate flavors. It’s a pleasant bar, but nothing I’d buy again. I’ve had it for about a month and still haven’t finished it. It sounds like it should be great, but it’s just okay. The quality of the chocolate is much better than most candy bars, but the use of palm oil really tips the saturated fat levels up to a space where it just wasn’t worth it to me to finish the bar.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Cake Assortment Chocolates
  2. Ghirardelli Minis - Sweet Dark Chocolate and Cookie Bits
  3. Lindt Bars: Wafer, Cresta and Dark Hazelnut
  4. Droste Cookie Milkchocolate XXL Pastille
  5. Lindt Hello Coffee Blast (Limited Edition)
  6. Lindt Hello Crunchy Nougat
  7. Dove Cookies and Creme + Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee
  8. Cookie Dough Bites
  9. Hershey’s Cookies and Brownies

Name: Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Lindt, Chocolate, Cookie, 6-Tempting, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:24 pm     CandyReviewLindtChocolateCookie6-TemptingGermanyTargetComments (1)

Monday, December 29, 2014

barkTHINS: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed

Bark ThinsbarkTHINS comes in seven varieties. They bill themselves as snacking chocolate ... as we’d be confused and think it’s for dinner or to be used as drink coasters.

barkTHINS won the Most Innovative New Product award at the Sweets & Snacks Expo for the Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut variety. I can’t see quite what’s so innovative about that. I picked up a package of the barkTHINS Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed because it was on sale. The stand up package holds 4.7 ounces and was on sale for $3.99.

The top of the package says that it’s a serious twist on snacking. Which is a grandiose statement for a bunch of seeds in chocolate, which is one of the oldest forms of chocolate inclusions. Perhaps the twist they’re referring to is the fact that the chocolate and the sugar in the chocolate is Fair Trade certified. And the soy lecithin is non-GMO. There are no dairy ingredients, though it may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat or eggs. The FAQ on their website explains that their innovation is the fact that the bark is thin enough to snap into pieces.

All my grumbling aside, I like what I saw on the ingredients label and the concept of simple, ethically sourced dark chocolate with some fresh toasted seeds in it.

Bark Thins

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of bark as a product. I understand why I make it, because I have leftover chocolate from a kitchen project and then just mix up some stuff I have sitting around and call it a tasty mess. I can’t imagine selling it. I want my pieces consistent and I want my seeds integrated.

The good news is that the pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are actually integrated into the chocolate. The pieces are pretty consistent in size and thickness and with a good amount of pepitas. The general size of the pieces is what I’d call, “too large.” They’re about 2.5” by 1.5”. This is a nice portion, however, I found them a bit large and wanted more small pieces. Luckily, I could make my own ... while providing lots of small pieces would mean that large piece lovers would have some assembly to do.

The chocolate is nice, a little on the fatty side which means that there’s a nice silky melt, but also that the calories per ounce on this were 164 ...quite high. (Pepitas have between 145 and 160 calories per ounce, depending on the variety.) The cocoa flavors have a lot of toasty toffee notes and a little hint of grassy olives (or maybe that’s the pepitas). There’s a hint of salt, which offsets the sweetness very well. The pumpkin seeds are crunchy and crisp with no really flavor of their own, just a clean chew with maybe a hint of pistachio.

I enjoyed it, though I do find snacking on bark to simply be difficult. The inconsistency of the sizes and the inclination for me to want to pick through and find the right size and density of seeds is problematic. I’m not sure why they can’t be little bars or puddles. The use of pumpkin seeds is different enough, though the price on these is a bit steep. I’ll finish the bag and probably consider the salted almond and coconut version in the future if I see them on sale again.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  2. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  3. Las Trojes Pepitoria Brittles
  4. Joyva Sesame Crunch
  5. Eat with your Eyes: Gummi Bear Rings
  6. Vosges Bombalinas - Black Pearl Cashews
  7. Lake Champlain Organic Dark Bars

Name: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt
Brand: Ripple Brand Collective
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silver Lake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:28 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedNuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker BrittleTheo Chocolate makes organic and fair trade chocolate from bean to bar in their factory in Seattle. They have a selection of seasonal bars in addition to their regular items, this year I picked out their Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle because I liked their Salted Almond bar. It features almonds, hazelnuts and sugary brittle chunks in smooth, rich 70% dark chocolate

The most notable quality of this seasonal bar is that it’s vegan. That’s right, the brittle is not made with any dairy, so the bar is free from any animal-derived products. (Though it is made in a factory that also processes milk, eggs and wheat, so it may contain traces of gluten or dairy as well as peanuts or other tree nuts.)

The wrapping is nice, a simple paper over-wrap with the chocolate bar enclosed in foil underneath. The bar is made with 88% fair trade ingredients and all organic products (except for the baking soda and salt). The corn syrup is also non-GMO and they do not use soy lecithin (or lecithin of any kind).

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

The bar looked great and smells wonderful. It’s a woodsy cocoa blend, it smells like toffee and fresh brewed coffee and toast. For a 70%, it’s well balanced. The cocoa flavors are a little on the acidic side with some bright sour cherry notes along with the other woodsy components mentioned earlier. It’s sweet, at first, but the baked brownie flavors dominate towards the end. The nuts are kind of separate as a flavor and texture. The almonds and hazelnuts are crunchy and fresh (though hard to tell apart) and the little brittle pieces are crunchy without being tacky or chewy. I missed the little hint of salt from the Salted Almond bar, but that’s not what was promised here.

It’s a nice seasonal bar, but I have to wonder why it’s not a year round offering ... no reason not to have this for Valentine’s.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Lindt Excellence Toffee Crunch
  4. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  5. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  6. Endangered Species: Peanut Butter Brittle & Rice Crisp

Name: Nutcracker Brittle 70% Dark Chocolate
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $3.99
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Theo, Brittle, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, Organic, 8-Tasty, United States, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:10 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTheoBrittleChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNutsOrganic8-TastyUnited StatesCost PlusComments (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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Candy Season Ends

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

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  •   Halloween
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These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Brach’s Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice