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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Milka Amavel Chocolate Pastry Torte

Milka AmavelIn my candy swap late last year with Kristian of CandyBrain.de in Germany, I got a few unexpected treats. This Milka Amavel Konkitorei Schokoladen Torte was among them.

I appreciate how easy to find and inexpensive Milka is, but for my tastes it’s too sweet and relies too much on tropical oil laden fillings than actual cacao content. Fun for kids, but not necessarily the decadent treat I’m usually willing to pay the import premium for.

The Milka Amavel, if Google translate is to be trusted, is Loose cocoa cream on fine chocolate cake, covered with delicate Milka Alpine milk chocolate. I’m going to guess that loose cocoa cream (Lockere Kakaocrème) is actually something along the lines of a chocolate mousse (going with the alternate meaning of fluffy instead).

DSC_4188rb

Inside the box are two individually-wrapped pieces. They’re 60 grams each (about 2.12 ounces). They’re thick, chunky squares of about 2.5 inches. It’s a weird size, because it’s more than a single portion, but less than two.

The domed pieces are nicely made, nicely molded with six sections and some little drizzly effects on them. They do smell rich and cakey, like brownies.

DSC_4195rb

The bite is soft, inside is a base of a sort of dry cake base and a chocolate cream. There’s an immediate note of rum; I did notice the ingredients listed Alkohol, so I wasn’t surprised. The effect of the different textures is great. The cream of the filling makes up for the dryness of the cake and the rather fudgy Milka chocolate, with its note of hazelnut, does a good job pulling it together.

So, even though I said one piece was more than one serving ... I ate it in one sitting.

Nicely done, Milka. I have no idea if these are available in the United States, but you may see them in airports as Kraft (or Mondelez) is doing a pretty good job of getting these into gift shops in larger metro airports.

Contains milk and lactose, eggs, nuts, gluten, soy plus alcohol. No statement about other allergens like peanuts.

Related Candies

  1. Milka Milkinis
  2. Liddabit Sweets - Candy Bars
  3. Godiva Cake Truffles
  4. Milka Bars, Milka Drops and some Li’l Milka
  5. Milka L’il Scoops
  6. Bubble Chocolate (2010)
  7. Milka Alpenmilch
  8. Recipe: Peppermint Stick Layer Cake


Name: Amavel Konkitorei Schokoladen Torte
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: candy swap with CandyBrain.de!
Price: $4.00 retail
Size: 4.23 ounces
Calories per ounce: 139
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Alcohol, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:05 pm     CandyReviewKraftAlcoholChocolateCookie7-Worth ItGermanyComments (5)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Revisit Reviews: Pretzel M&Ms, Rally Bar and Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road

Every once in a while candies get a revamp, so I like to revisit them. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste

Pretzel M&Ms were introduced in 2010 (original review) and have done well enough for Mars that they have continued as part of their regular repertoire, even getting seasonal color varieties for the holidays. I noticed a new version on shelves that advertised “now more pretzel taste.” Since I was able to find the previous version, I thought I’d taste them side-by-side. They have similar “best before” dates.

Original Pretzel M&Ms (Left) Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste (Right)

They look identical. The originals are on the left and the new version are on the right. Same colors, same shape, same size.

Original Pretzel M&Ms (Left) Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste (Right)

It is striking how much better the new ones are. The new ones are crunchier, taste lighter and airier yet have more of that malty, pretzel toasted coating. There was no difference I could see in the ingredients or in the new nutrition panel. They’re still a pretty low calorie candy treat, at only 150 calories per package, they’re pretty satisfying without being too fatty. (Of course the portion is only 1.14 ounces, but there’s a lot going on with the textures.)

The original rating stands at 7 out of 10. They’re not perfect and I still don’t think I’ve bought them since the first introduction (though I eat them when given a sample package, which happens once or twice a year). I still go for the Almond M&Ms when given the chance.

Hershey's Rally Bar

Hershey’s Rally Bar is a strange sort of candy bar in that it appears and disappears on store shelves with little notice. It’s a Hershey’s candy bar, first test marketed in the late 1960s, it was in wide distribution by 1970 across the country. The advertising theme was: Reach Me a Rally Bar, the Milk Chocolate Covered Nut Roll for the Man-Sized Appetite as well as the more gender-neutral The Crowded Candy Bar. This was one of the Hershey Corporation’s earliest attempts at advertising, before this they stood with the founder’s position that a quality product would sell itself. More about the Rally Bar on Collecting Candy.

Rally BarThe candy bar has no real package identity to adhere to in this reissue. This is what it looked like back in 2008 and this is what it looked like in 2004. The new one doesn’t even mention the name Hershey on the front. I picked it up at Walgreen’s as an exclusive item.

Though it was probably a chocolate candy bar when it was introduced, by the 2004 wrapper it was evident that this was a mockolate item. (Here’s my original review.)

This is smaller than the 2.2 ounce bar I tried back in 2008. This is 1.66 ounces (which is actually a good size for me). It smells like peanuts. The fudgy center is like a nougat, it’s soft and chewy with little flavor of its own. The peanuts are Payday-like, they’re crunchy, though not quite as salty. The chocolatey coating actually has a hint of salt, keeping it from being sickly sweet. Overall, it’s an okay bar but I don’t see it as that different from a Baby Ruth.

I stand by my previous rating of 6 out of 10.

Snickers Rockin' Nut RoadThere was a time when there were oodles of limited edition candies - not a month went by in the late Aughts that the major candy companies didn’t present a flavor twist on one of their tried and true candies. Snickers alone went through many iterations including: Shrek (green nougat), Indiana Jones (spiced nougat), Charged (caffeinated), 3X (chocolate nougat, chocolate caramel), Fudge (chocolate fudge instead of nougat), Xtreme (no nougat) and Nut n Butter Crunch (peanut buttery nougat).

The Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road changed up a few items in the standard Snickers Bar. First, they replaced the milk chocolate coating with dark chocolate. I approve. Second, they replaced the peanuts with almonds. I find this to be a good substitution. Third, they changed the lightly peanut butter nougat with a smoother marshmallow nougat. Definitively goes with the other two items. The structure is the same - nutty nougat on the bottom, caramel on the top and covered in chocolate. 

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road

I gave these an 8 out of 10 rating last time (full review) and I fully endorse them again this time. The nougat is smoother than the 3 Musketeers style and the crunch of the almonds is great. It’s more of a variation on the classic Mars Bar, but I won’t quibble with Mars if they want to bring this back. (In fact, I prefer it to the standard Snickers Almond, which replaced the Mars bar).

Related Candies

  1. Liddabit Sweets - Candy Bars
  2. Pretzel M&Ms
  3. Short & Sweet: Bites & Bites
  4. Rally Bar
  5. ReeseSticks (Revisit)
  6. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  7. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:03 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sMarsCaramelChocolateCookieKosherM&MsNougatNutsPeanuts6-Tempting7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSWalgreen'sComments (2)

Friday, January 3, 2014

M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet

M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red VelvetM&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet are a Valentine’s limited edition available only at Walmart this year. (I bought mine on eBay.)

Red Velvet cake is made with buttermilk and vinegar plus some cocoa. It’s not a rich chocolate cake, just a lightly chocolate cake with a tangy note to it. The fact that it’s red is really inconsequential to the flavor. The color can be created naturally or using artificial food coloring. The cake is usually frosted with a cream cheese icing or browned butter icing.

Ingredients:milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, skim milk, cocoa butter, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, salt, artificial flavors) sugar, cornstarch, less than 1% - corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (red 40, blue 2, blue 1, blue2, yellow 6, yellow 5), gum acacia, artificial and natural flavors.

I’m not much of a cake fan in the first place and Red Velvet is so low on my list that I’d probably prefer not to eat anything at all. Just to be really diligent about this, I went to Sprinkles, a cupcake bakery, and picked up a Red Velvet Cupcake to remind myself what the heck this is supposed to taste like. The Sprinkles website says that they’ve added extra cocoa to theirs and chose a cream cheese frosting. 

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake

The cake is moist and bouncy with a good crumb. The cream cheese frosting is what really prevails here. It’s wonderfully smooth and fresh, the only hint of sugary grain is in the crust, but the rest has a pleasant tangy note to the milky sweetness. The cake itself has a sort of corn meal flavor to it, it’s slightly floral, not terribly sweet and overall ... just nice. Not chocolatey, a little on the vanilla side. But nothing I’d get really excited about.

M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet

Now that I had something to compare it to, I figured I was prepared to complete my review.

The pieces come in three colors: maroon, red and white. They’re the larger, chunky M&Ms, which are inconsistent sizes. Some are the size of regular M&Ms, but most are super-sized.

The centers are milk chocolate with a light tangy note to them. They’re not more chocolatey, and as you can see from the ingredients above, they didn’t alter their milk chocolate recipe to include buttermilk. They seem like they have more of a vanilla note, like poundcake.

M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet

If someone just gave these to me without any clue about the special flavoring, I wouldn’t have picked Red Velvet. At this point I’m curious about how different this will taste from the upcoming Birthday Cake M&Ms. (I’ll set some aside for comparison when those come out in May 2014.) I think it’s a nice idea for Valentine’s Day, a little less run-of-the-mill, but if Russell Stover has had a Red Velvet seasonal piece on store shelves for two seasons, perhaps they’re not really on trend, just slightly behind it.

Red Velvet M&Ms contain milk and soy and may contain traces of peanuts, almond and wheat (in addition to listed artificial colors and unknown artificial flavors). Though Mars has a plan for certified sourcing of their cacao, M&Ms have not yet been added to that list.

M&Ms Store - Times Square - Wide

Since Mars’ M&Ms team seems to be running out of flavors, let me see if I can make some suggestions: Milk Chocolate Cappuccino, Milk Chocolate Cookies n’ Creme, Milk Chocolate German Chocolate Cake, Milk Chocolate S’mores, Milk Chocolate Banana, Milk Chocolate Chai Latte, Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee, Dark Chocolate Chili Pepper, Dark Chocolate Amaretto, White Chocolate Peanut Butter, White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake, White Chocolate Lemon Meringue, White Chocolate Key Lime. All of my previous reviews for M&Ms that actually exist are here.

Related Candies

  1. Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao
  2. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  3. Godiva Cake Truffles
  4. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Premiums
  6. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry
  7. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  8. Cherry Almondine M&Ms


Name: M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: eBay seller boorbin
Price: $7.99 including shipping
Size: 9.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Mars, Chocolate, Kosher, M&Ms, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:24 pm     CandyReviewValentinesMarsChocolateKosherM&Ms6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (10)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsJustin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a limited edition version of their dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups. They’re available only at Whole Foods this winter.

What sets these apart from other white peanut butter cups is the fact that Justin’s not only uses real white chocolate, it’s also fair trade cacao butter.

All of the ingredients are organic except the sea salt,which is an inorganic item anyway. The palm oil is sustainably sourced and the cacao comes from Rainforest Alliance certified growers. Justin’s is gluten free as well.

Still, with all those qualifiers, they’re still a white chocolate candy, which has a pretty narrow band of fans.

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are beautiful, a creamy yellow white with a little dollop in the center. The white chocolate has a lot of milk in it (the third ingredient) and has a lot of dairy flavors to it. The peanut butter center is salty, with a grainy crunch but also a smooth roasted flavor to it. From my early taste tests of Justin’s peanut butter cups, they’ve really come a long way in balancing out the texture of the center without being too oily or too dry. The white chocolate bring a lot of creaminess and vanilla flavors, the overall effect is like eating peanut butter cookie dough.

I’m a fan of good white chocolate (and will eat bad white confections against my better judgement) and this is some very well made stuff. Since Reese’s switched to a white confection, as far as I know, these are the only nationally distributed white chocolate peanut butter cups available.

I did notice one odd thing on the package. The cups are 1.4 ounces total and it says that it’s 180 calories. But the rest of the nutrition panel does not support that. There are 16 grams of fat (9 calories per gram) and 19 grams of carbs (4 calories per gram) then 4 grams of protein (4 calories per gram) all tallies up to 236 calories, not 180. (Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter cups are 210 calories for 1.5 ounces.) So if these calculations are correct, that’s 169 calories per ounce. Mmm, high fat density.

I like these and I’d probably pick them up again. But Justin, where are those dark chocolate hazelnut butter cups I’ve been longing for?

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  3. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  4. Short & Sweet: Summer Bites
  5. Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter Rabbit
  6. Koeze Cream-Nut Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cluster
  7. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 169
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Justin's Nut Butter, Ethically Sourced, Limited Edition, Organic, Peanuts, White Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States, Whole Foods
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 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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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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