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10-Superb

Friday, January 1, 2010

The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores

The world of candy is immense with more than 10,000 choices at any given moment on the planet, how can a mere mortal experience it all? Well, having it all is overrated. I’ve compiled a list based on my lifetime of candy of just the essentials, candies that every candy lover should experience at least once. You know, for a good foundation in candy education.

These are not necessarily my favorite candies (some I don’t even like and others I haven’t tried) but they’ve stood the test of time. 

If you’re game, repost this list with yours checked off and your thoughts. (Maybe even add your own.) You can grab the raw list of 110 here.

Bubble Chocolate1. 70%+ Cacao Chocolate
High cacao content chocolate provides a rich experience of more chocolate flavors without so much sugar to get in the way. Best savored in small bites.

2. Aerated Chocolate: (Brand Names: Aero, Choc-o-Lite, Elite, Wispa)
The addition of air to chocolate is quite a revelation, it provides a different texture and though it’s sold as being a lower calorie alternative (as it’s lighter in weight for the same size bar) it’s still chocolate. Extra bonus for Flake bars. see more

3. Altoids
Dense and curiously strong mints, they are the ultimate expression of flavor over delivery device. see more

4. American-Style Hard Toffee: With or without chocolate, with or without nuts.
As much an expression of butter as it is the toasted sugar notes. The way it cleaves probably demonstrates some sort of geological properties that I’m not familiar with so maybe it’s educational. see more

5. Anis de Flavigny
A demonstration of patience. At the center is a tiny fennel seed with the hard sugar coating built up layer by layer of weeks of tumbling. see more

DSC03938r6. Any Lolllipop Bigger than your Head
Usually the kind of candy you get after begging and pleading at the fair for hours. They’re nearly impossible to eat but gorgeous to look at as sugar art.

7. Atomic Fireballs: (Maker: Ferrara Pan, also Sconza)
A relative of Anis de Flavigny, these large ball bearings are all panned sugar with alternating layers of intense cinnamon. see more

8. Black Sugar Candy
Okinawa, Japan is famous for its dense and deep dark sugar which is the basis of Black Sugar Candy. Heralded for its medicinal properties, it’s also a simple pleasure for the complex flavors of the molasses-like candy. see more

9. British Toffee
A stiff caramel made with treacle (like molasses) for a rich and deep flavor and long-lasting chew. see more

10. C.Howard Violet Gum/Mints or Parma Violets
Just like it sounds, they’re violet flavored chalky candies. see more

Cadbury Orange Creme Egg11. Cadbury Creme Egg
Far too much fondant encased in a milk chocolate shell and once the size of a small chicken egg. see more

12. Candy Buttons on Paper
Dried dabs of colored sugar paste on paper. A triumph of looks over substance.

13. Candy Corn / Mellocremes
Lightly flavored and stiff fondant in crazy and charming seasonal shapes. see more

14. Carob
In order to appreciate chocolate it’s important to taste what it’s not. Not just any bean can be ground up and combined with saturated fats and poured into a bar form to create a tasty treat. It’s best to keep carob for a hearty hot beverage. see more

Christopher's Big Cherry15. Cherry & Coconut: (Brand Names: Cherry Mash, Big Cherry, Twin Bing, Cherry Ripe (AU),  Cherry Blossom (CDN))
A strange but enduring candy treat, a fondant center with a real cherry is covered in a mixture of chocolate (or mockolate) and coconut.

16. Chocolate Coins
For a long time I preferred this kind of money to the real thing. It hearkens back to the days when cacao was used as currency. see more

Nibs a Plenty17. Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs
Bits of cocoa beans are coated in chocolate to provide an intense chocolate experience. Each piece can have a different flavor profile. see more

18. Chocolate Covered Cherry Cordial
An amazing demonstration of kitchen chemistry with the magic of adding invertase to a fondant ball with a cherry at the center. Quick dipping while the fondant is still firm means that after the chocolate has hardened the enzyme activates and the center becomes an oozy syrupy cordial.

19. Chocolate Covered Dried Fruit (Raisins, Orange Peel, Apricot, Ginger, Fig)
Dried fruit remains moist and flavorful when sealed in the protective and tasty coating of milk or dark chocolate. see more

Starbucks Milk Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans20. Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean
The ultimate pick-me up: a little caffeine, a little fat, a little sugar. see more

21. Chocolate Covered Insects
Proof that anything is better covered in chocolate. Well, better than it was before, but still not necessarily something everyone wants to eat.

22. Chocolate from at least 5 different countries
I could say 5 different brands, but different cultures have different flavor preferences and since chocolate manufacturing went through so many different stages of development, different countries have different styles. (Of course there are always exceptions.)

Chocolate Bar Mosaic (36)

23. Chocolate Fudge
I’m a fudge purist and pretty much prefer chocolate or peanut butter. I’m sure a good case can be made for Oreo Fudge and Raspberry Champagne Swirl. It’s a great candy to make at home and so many variations exist a list of 100 could be made of just those. see more

24. Chocolate Truffle
While I may rail against Mockolate, for some reason the addition of butter or cream to chocolate makes something wholly divine. Ganache is simple and pure and simply supports the inherent chocolate flavors. Truffles can be flavored, but everyone should try the classic.

Giant Chupa Chups Pop25. Chupa Chups
Spain’s amazing lollipops. They’re dense and have no voids and come in an amazing array of flavors. The bonus is the plastic stick that doesn’t become a papery mush. Double bonus is that they come in grown up flavors like coffee.

26. Circus Peanuts
They’re shaped like peanuts but they’re banana flavored with the texture of a dense and grainy marshmallow. Love them or hate them, they persist. see more

27. Clear Sugar Hard Candy: (Styles: Barley Sugar Candy, Juntsuyu, Clear Toy Candy)
The pure taste of toasted sugar in solid and individually wrapped form. Some are so clear they appear like gems or optical glass. They’re poured carefully to avoid bubbles & voids for an extra smooth melt. see more

Brach's Sundae Neapolitan Coconut28. Coconut Bar: (Brand Names: Mounds, Almond Joy, Bounty)
Coconut and sugar make the center of all of these bars. There can be nuts, there can be milk or dark chocolate. They can be made at home or from a neighborhood candy shop. Dryer versions that aren’t coated with chocolate are also extremely popular all over the world.

29. Coffee Crisp
Canada’s best known candy bar, they’re a massive layered block of wafers and light coffee flavored cream covered in mockolate. see more

30. Coffee Hard Caramel (Brand Names: Coffee Rio, Coffee Nips)
A tacky toffee made with coffee, it’s like a super-dense and sweet latte you can put in your pocket see more

31. Cotton Candy: (Also called Fairy Floss, Candy Floss, Pashmak, Fluffy Stuff)
Spun sugar. Nothing more to say than that.

2008 Crunch Bar Wrapper (Now Even Richer!)32. Crisped Rice in Milk Chocolate: (Brand Names: Nestle Crunch, Hershey’s Krackel, World’s Finest)
An ideal combination of milk chocolate and crisped rice. Some mass-produced versions aren’t so ideal, so find your favorite. see more

33. Dragon’s Beard Candy
Similar to Cotton Candy in its strand texture, Dragon’s Beard is actually made like pulled noodles in a labor intensive process where strands of sugar are pulled and folded until they’re fine and silky.

Dulce de Leche34. Dulce de Leche: (Also known as Cajeta)
Slow caramelized milk and suguar, usually starting from a base of sweetened condnesed milk. Some use goats milk, which provides a different flavor profile. Some is a thick sauce texture, others become more solid like fudge. see more

35. Dulces de Calabasas: (Candied Squash or Pumpkin)
Similar to candied ginger or orange peel, squash or pumpkin chunks are slowly simmered with sugar and water until innundated. As it cools it crystalizes like fudge.

Durian HiCHEW36. Durian Taffy or Hard Candy
Durian is a fruit of Southeast Asia with a soft custardy center that taste like a combination of boiled onions and melon. see more

37. Gianduia (Gianduja): (Brand Names: Caffarel, Ferrero (Nutella))
Roasted hazelnut paste is mixed with cocoa (or chocolate). see more

38. Ginger Chews
Mostly made in Indonesia, these soft little rods of ginger and sugar syrup come in a variety of flavors. see more

Caramel Creams39. Goetze’s Caramel Creams (Bullseyes)
There is only one and it’s rather a strange candy at that. A hoop of caramel bulked up by wheat flour with a center of pure sugary cream. More like a soft cookie than a candy. see more

40. Green Tea Candy
There are plenty of varieties but nearly all provide a dense condensate of sweet green tea. Some use whole matcha powder, some use steeped green tea.

Haribo Bear41. Gummi Bears
A stiff mixture of sugar syrup, a light flavor and a little gelatin. Gummi bears are made in starch molds come in a variety of flavors, intesities and textures. Other similar candies: gummi worms, non-pariel coated berries, rings, food shapes and fruit slices. see more

42. Halvah
A block candy made from sesame paste and sugar, creating a crystalline texture. Usually served in chunks or blocks sometimes it’s made into bars or individual pieces and coated in chocolate. Variations include cocoa and pistachios. see more

kiss43. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses
A never imitated chocolate flavor, the Hershey’s Kiss is individually wrapped and sharable and represents the egalitarianism of economically-produced chocolate for the masses.

44. Hot Tamales: (Brand Name: Just Born but generic cinnamon jelly beans will do.)
Intense cinnamon jelly rods. see more

45. Idaho Spud: (Brand Name: Idaho Candy Company)
A dense latexy marshmallow center is covered in mockolate and coconut flakes to simulate the shape of a real potato with eyes. see more

46. Jelly Babies: (Brand Name: Basset’s but there are other generics.)
Little people shaped jelly candies from the United Kingdom. They carry a light dusting of corn starch to prevent sticking but also highlights the details of the molding. Each flavor/color is a different character shape. see more

Jelly Belly Citrus Mix47. Jelly Beans: (Bonus for Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn)
A firm jelly ovoid is covered in a grainy candy shell. Usually the shell contains the flavoring but a modern trend has been to flavor both the center and the shell, started by Jelly Belly. Don’t miss the original pectin style either for the full effect.

48. Jolly Rancher Hard Candies: (Brand Name: Jolly Rancher from Hershey’s USA)
Smooth and intense hard candies in ground-breaking flavors such as Green Apple.

49. Jordan Almonds: (Also called Sugared Almonds or Confetti)
Fresh almonds covered in a thick candy shell. Often used as favors for weddings because of the symbolism of the bitter nut being coated in sugar. (As if that says something about marriage.) see more

Kinder Eggs50. Kinder Surprise or Kinder Egg: (Brand Name: Kinder - Germany)
A little capsule with a toy for you to assemble is encased in milky chocolate. see more

51. Kit Kats from at least 3 countries: (Brand Names: Nestle and Hershey’s in USA)
An interesting demonstration of how production varies from region to region, the UK KitKat tastes perceiveably different from those sold in Japan and those in the United States. Bonus for any of the limited edition varieties. see more

Kit Kat Face-Off

52. Lemonheads: (Brand Name: Ferrara Pan)
A tiny sweet lemon drop covered in an intensely sour layer then a sweet grainy shell. There are other fruity cousins such as Cherryhead, Orangehead and Applehead but they lost their appeal when they normalized the name. I loved Alexander the Grape. Grapehead, not so much.see more

53. Licorice Allsorts
Amazingly inventive shapes and colors made from colored coconut fondant and wheat/molasses licorice. see more

54. Licorice Pastels: (Varieties: Good & Plenty or Skoolkrijt)
Black licorice made with a wheat base and molasses then coated in a candy shell to keep it soft and add a crunch. Also pretty to look at. see more

LifeSavers 5 Flavors55. LifeSavers
An iconic hard candy they’re sharable and come in a vast array of flavors. WintOGreen will spark when you bite them. see more

56. M&Ms / Smarties
Candy coated chocolate lentils exist from a variety of companies all over the world so extra points if you’ve had more than three versions. see more

57. Malted Milk Balls
The classic malted milk center covered with a generous coating of real milk chocolate is the key here. Dark chocolate, peanut butter and all the fancy mint and cookie versons are all fine, but the classic original is the one to start with. see more

Maple Lollipop58. Maple Sugar Candy
Maple sugar is simply solidified maple syrup. It’s hard to find and expensive but worth it for sugar afficinados to try. There are two versions, the grainy crystallized kind and the clear hard candy version. The texture changes the aeration of the flavor notes, so go for both.

59. Marathon Bar or Curly Wurly
A braid of chewy caramel dipped in chocolate. Even if you never had the American version called Marathon you’ll understand why so many folks pine for this unique bar. see more

Snickers Dark60. Mars Snickers: (Alternate versions come in Dark and Limited Edition varieties.)
A classic and dare I say wholesome candy bar with grand proportions of chocolate, fluffy nougat, caramel and peanuts. A meal in a bar. see more

61. Marshmallow: (Both factory made and artisan style)
A foamy and bouncy sugar fluff. see more

62. Marshmallow & Coconut Cup: (Brand Names: Sifer’s Valomilk, Adams-Brooks Cup O Gold, Boyer’s MalloCup)
A simple milk chocolate cup filled with marshmallow of varying consistencies depending on the brand. Also a classic: Rocky Road which features marshmallow chunks and nuts in chocolate. see more

63. Marshmallow Peeps
Grainy sugar coated marshmallows in themed shapes for various holidays. Can be eaten fresh or stale, frozen or flambe. That’s versatility. see more

Biermann Marzipan Fruits64. Marzipan
Ground almonds and sugar is about as simple as candies come. The beauty is not only when it’s covered in chocolate but when it’s scuplted into a multitude of shapes.

65. Mentos
A chewy mint that once had an anachronistic ad campaign. Also the basis for improvised carbonated fountains. The best part is that they’re actually tasty. see more

66. Mexican Mazapan
Peanuts are the base of this drier cousin to almond marzipan. Also related is halvah, made from sesame seeds. see more

67. Mockolate
Just because something’s on this list doesn’t make it good, just an essential thing to try in order to be well-rounded. True mockolate is any chocolate product that uses vegetable oil (usually hydrogenated tropical oils) in place of cocoa butter, but could also be one that uses only some oils in addition to cocoa butter. Its best use is for decorative items that aren’t meant to be eaten but would be prohibitively expensive if they were made out of good chocolate. see more

HiCHEW Stack68. Morinaga HiCHEW: (Maker: Morinaga)
A bouncy and latexy chew that’s unique. Morinaga of Japan isn’t complacent about being so popular either, in addition to more than a half a dozen regular flavors they issue limited edition flavors with alarming frequency. see more

69. Musk Sticks
Imagine long stiff ropes of Altoids, except instead of peppermint or cinnamon, imagine they’re flavored like musk. That’s Australia’s Musk Stick. see more

70. Necco Wafers: (Maker: Necco)
Crunchy wafers of sugar, soft and powdery, incredibly durable. It’s rare to find a packaged major brand of candy that has so many different flavors in one roll (a mix of spices and fruits). see more

waxlips71. Nik-L-Nips or Wax Lips: (Maker: Tootsie)
Food grade wax made into shapes that can be worn (wax lips, vampire teeth) and later chewed. Or filled with strange syrupy liquids like Nik-L-Nips.

72. Nougat & Nut Roll: (Brand Names: Hershey’s Payday or Pearson’s Nut Roll)
A plain nougat center with a light caramel coating rolled in fresh peanuts. One of the original meal replacement bars. Alternate versions are the Pecan Roll which is a bit more decadent and expensive featuring pecans and often a better quality nougat center. A rare non-chocolate candy bar. see more

French Nougats

73. Nougat de Montelimar or Torrone: (Brand Names: Arnaud Soubeyran, Nutpatch Nougats)
Fluffed sugar with egg whites and a dash of honey. With or without nuts or candied fruits. Different versions have different textures, and they vary widely with the amount of nuts. see more

74. Panela, Panocha, Piloncillo and/or Jaggery
Basically, it’s brown sugar. Delicious brown sugar. (Many grocery stores sell it in bulk bins in the vegetable section.)

Pates de Fruits75. Pate de Fruits (fruit pate)
It’s jam you can bite.

76. Peanut Butter Buckeyes
A regional favorite in the midwest US, a ball of peanut butter is most of the way into chocolate, leaving only a little top uncoated. The result looks like a buckeye (or chestnut).

77. Peanut Butter Crisp: (Brand Names: Butterfinger, 5th Avenue, Clark Bar, Chick-O-Stick, Zagnut)
Peanuts are combined sugar and sometimes molasses to create a honeycomb peanut crisp (often through a layering process). The result is similar to halvah but far more hearty and sugary. Most bars are covered in chocolate but some, like Zagnut or Chick-O-Stick are coated in toasted coconut. see more

Peanut Butter Kisses78. Peanut Butter Molasses Chews: (Brand Name: Mary Janes, Peanut Butter Kisses, Abba Zaba)
Molasses taffy with a peanut butter filling. Mary Janes are the best known mass market version though there are dozens of salt water taffy shops that make a softer similar product. see more

79. Pecan Pralines: (New Orleans Style & Texas Chewy)
Boiled sugar and butter with pecans. The texture varies regionally from a caramelly texture in Texas to a smooth melt-in-your-mouth fudge in New Orleans to a sandy sugar in Charleston. The French tradition of praline was based simply on melted sugar usually mixed with nuts, which is also good. see more

Sunspire Peppermint Pattie80. Peppermint Pattie: (Brand Names: York, Pearson’s, Junior Mints, Dutch Mints, Holland Mints.)
A white fondant mixed with peppermint oil (sometimes using gelatin or egg whites as a binder) is then coated in chocolate (dark please). Sometimes additionally coated in a candy shell as in Dutch Mints. see more

81. Pez: (Maker: Pez)
A rectangular compressed dextrose tablet dispensed through the neck of a novelty plastic character.

82. Pixy Stix or Lik m Aid: (Brand Names: Wonka or Pucker Powder, Sandy Candy, Baby Bottle Pops)
Powdered dextrose candy with a tangy bite. see more

Pocket Coffee83. Pocket Coffee: (Maker: Ferrero)
Sweet real espresso inside a chocolate shell. Available seasonally from Italy there are some generics available as well. see more

84. Pocky: (Brand Name: Glico also Meiji Lucky Stick)
Bland biscuit sticks dipped in chocolate. Later versions are flavored and others have fillings. see more

85. Razzles: (Maker: Tootsie)
First it’s candy, then it’s gum. It’s never good in either form. see more

Pink Strawberry Red Vines86. Red Licorice
A berry flavored wheat-based chew. Comes in many formats from ropes to twists to laces. see more

87. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: (Brand Name: Hershey’s)
A crumbly, salty and sweet peanut butter in a cup of sweet and milky milky chocolate. Iconic and ideally proportioned. see more

88. Ribbon Candy and/or Old Fashioned Candy Sticks
Hard candy formed into flat strips and furled up into ribbon-like stacks or twisted into rods. Pretty to look at and often in hard-to-find-otherwise flavors. Stores like Papa Bubble let you watch it being made in the traditional manner. (Also related, the Candy Cane.) see more

89. Rock Candy or Konpeito
Large cloudy crystals of sugar, often colored. see more

90. Root Beer Barrels
Hard candy in the shape of a barrel flavored with root beer. Root beer is a more common flavor in the US with an aromatic origin as a combination of sassafrass root along with licorice, cinnamon, wintergreen, molasses and honey.

91. Salt Water Taffy
A seaside favorite it comes in a variety of formats, often rod shape or squat disks and in dozens of flavors. (Bonus if you saw it being pulled.)

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels92. Salted Caramel
Caramel with a liberal dash of salt see more

93. Salted Licorice
Licorice with a strange infusion of ammonium salts - not for everyone see more

94. Satellite Wafers (Flying Saucers)
Foamy corn starch disks have a pocket of powdery candy or little candy nuggets. Kind of like a tiny candy pita. see more

Single Origin Chocolate95. Single Origin Chocolate
Chocolate made from beans from a specific growing region and sometimes a single plantation. Instead of a blend to provide a consistent profile from year to year, these batches of chocolate are particular to the beans and growing conditions and sometimes the vintage. One of the only ways to truly taste the wide variety of flavor profiles that cacao is capable of producing. see more

96. Smooth & Melty Mints: (Maker: Guittard)
A white confection with peppermint flavoring and often pastel colored. Each little chip or disk is then given a base of nonpariels. Similar to Peppermint Bark. see more

97. Spice Gumdrops and/or Spearmint Leaves
Jelly candies in spice and floral flavors and coated in a granular sugar. see more

Sponge Candy98. Sponge Candy: (Also known as Honeycomb, Seafoam, Cinder Toffee. Brand Names: Violet Crumble, Crunchie)
Aerated boiled sugar. Usually coated in chocolate to prevent it from getting tacky from humidity. (Well, the chocolate also tastes good.) see more

99. Starburst / Skittles
Intense tangy and fruit flavored taffy. Starburst are individually wrapped, Skittles are candy coated. Other variations are Laffy Taffy, Now & Laters and Mambas. see more

swedish

100. Swedish Fish
Jelly candy in the shape of a fish. Traditional version is red and is Swedish berry flavor. A mix of fruit flavors is also available. see more

101. SweeTarts or other sour Compressed Dextrose
Disks of firmly compacted dextrose and acid in fruity flavors. Also related: Bottle Caps, Runts and other novelty shaped tiny tart candies that are coated or uncoated. see more

102. Tamarind Candy
The pod has both sweet and sour notes and is used as a base for candies from both Mexico (usually combined with chili) and Southeast Asia.

Pomegranate Tootsie Pop103. Tootsie Pop
A chocolate taffy wad covered in sharp hard candy and put on a stick. see more

104. Turkish Delight
A simply jelly candy made with simple ingredients. Smooth and delicate it’s usually flavored with florals like rosewater and orange blossom but sometimes combined with aromatics like lemon or mint and combined with hazelnuts or pistachios. see more

105. U-No: (Maker: Annabelle’s)
A truffle-like fluffy center with ground almonds covered in chocolate. One of the highest caloric density mass-marketed candy bars on the market. (That means fatty folks.) see more

White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts106. White Chocolate
A valid confectionery expression of milk, sugar and cocoa butter with the texture of chocolate. Wonderful in combination with so many other flavors like plain vanilla, lime, salt, chai spices or pistachios that it deserves to be appreciated (and maybe needs a new name that doesn’t make it sound like an unwanted stepchild). see more

107. White Rabbit: (Maker: Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food, Ltd)
A milk-rich taffy from China. As a special treat it also has an edible rice paper inner wrapper. Also comes in other flavor varieties such as Red Bean and Green Tea. see more

108. Wine Gums
A British favorite these are similar to gummis in their dense chew. Flavored like wine though most really just taste like grape and currant with a yeasty note. see more

Zero109. Zero
The only white coated mass-market candy bar. Zero is a ground almond chocolate nougat with a strip of caramel covered in a white confection. As a piece of fine chocolate with the right ingredients this would be stellar. see more

110. Zotz: (Maker: Zots)
Hard candies filled with fizzy sour powder. Similar: Napoleon Bonbon which has only a sour powder filling without the fizz. see more

Some quick answers to what I expect will be questions: Why 110? Well, I made a list and it ended up with 110 on it. I didn’t want to hack 9 or 10 off just to have a cool number. It’s the number I felt was appropriate to display the breadth of modern candy.

Why so many American candies? Yes, it has a North American bias as it’s based on my experience, your list will be different.

Why aren’t the really good candies on here? You mean the high end chocolatiers or items available from only one store? I wanted to include things that are accessible to most people, to make the list do-able.

What do you think is essential but left out? Or inconsequential yet included? If you post your own list, please stop back by and leave a link so everyone can check it out.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:51 am     Candy10-SuperbFeatured NewsFun StuffComments (46)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy

A Few HiCHEWI’ve been on a HiCHEW spree lately. Partly because Morinaga went on a binge and released about a dozen flavors. Besides their traditional array of 6 or 7 standard flavors they have another half a dozen single flavor packs out.

HiCHEW is one of those rare Japanese candies that’s being distributed around the world. Here in Los Angeles, I can get Lemon, Mango, Strawberry or Green Apple HiCHEWs at just about any 7-11 or Cost Plus World Market. But the limited edition flavors, the seasonal and the specialty assortments are a little harder to come by and require either an order directly from Japan (I’ve been using JBox and Asian Food Grocer) or a visit to Little Tokyo to Marukai Market, Mitsuwa Marketplace or Nijiya Market.

Today I have the two from the Summer Festival (Matsuri) line: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy. (I don’t know if there were more than these two ... maybe a Kettle Corn or Deep Fried Butter version escaped my view.)

Candied Apple HiCHEW

The packages are compact, they have only 7 pieces in them instead of the longer packs that have 10. Even without knowing Japanese the packages are bold and easy to understand. There’s a little picture of a man selling candied apples with some stylized fireworks above him. Then of course the big candied apple (which seems to be dipped upside down to the way I’ve always had them, the stem is a the top, not where the stick enters the apple).

On the side of the package is the little diagram of what the candy looks like. A pink outside and white core with little flecks of what I’m guessing are the candied coating bits.

It smells softly sweet, a little like milk tea. Biting into it there’s an immediate apple juice flavor then a background of sweet sugar.

The little flecks are sparkly crunches of sugar. I couldn’t quite get an actual flavor from them. It becomes quite juicy. The texture is quite smooth except for the crunches.

I don’t think I’ve had a candied apple in over 15 years, so I can’t say for sure that this is an authentic representation contained within a 1 inch by 1/2 inch block. But it was still fun.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Cotton Candy HiCHEW

Cotton Candy HiCHEW smells simply like sweet. Pretty much the same as the Candied Apple.

It’s sweet, but not sticky sweet or cloying. It’s simply fresh. Not quite vanilla, which can be a little boozy and not quite a toasted sugar flavor either. It’s creamy without being milky. It’s clean without being flavorless. It’s a mystery wrapped in foil and stuffed with little crunchy bits.

The combination of the texture of the HiCHEW which is a taffy/gummi product that’s at once bouncy and smooth and the little cotton candy grainy bits is odd. Really nicely done cotton candy always has these little bits of grain where either the sugar didn’t melt & reform properly or moisture has caused it to recombine into a hard candy bit. Yes, it’s grainy, but the grains give way to soft sugar flavors.

It’s like cotton candy in all the right ways. And it leaves out the sticky paper cone.

It’s just so hard to describe that all I can say is that after I took the photos of the first pack I got from JBox, I made sure to pick up two more packs when I saw them in Little Tokyo.

It’s difficult to say but this is the best colorless and flavorless candy I’ve ever had. How do the Japanese do it? (I’m also still obsessed with the Juntsuyu I wrote about several years ago and add it to my order at JBoxevery time.)

Rating: 10 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  2. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  3. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  4. HiCHEW Assortment
  5. Hard Candy: Juntsuyu
Name: HiCHEW Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: JBox & Marukai Market
Price: $1.25
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Chew, Japan, Morinaga, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am     Comments (15)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Napoleon BonBon

Napoleon LemonHard candy has a bad reputation as being cheap and a candy of last resort. Oh sure, a little starlight mint after a garlicky meal is usually gratefully accepted when offered. But really good hard candy is out there.

Some of my favorites are actually the most subtle such as the Japanese Juntsuyu and Barley Sugar Candy.  But sometimes bold is just what the doctor ordered. Napoleon BonBons are definitely bold.

As a kid I often got them around holidays, just a small handful included in my stocking candy. As I grew up I learned to find them on my own ... and was pretty shocked at the sticker price, especially compared to the more affordable Zotz.

Le Bon Bonbon NapoleonI don’t know when or where I got this tin. I think it was sometime in the late eighties, I’m pretty sure I bought it in Philadelphia or New York and I was probably mortified to pay something like three dollars for a little tin of lemon drops.

They’re made in Belgium and the packaging features the image of Napoleon Bonaparte. I have no idea when the candies originated or their history. The tin simply says: Le Bon Bonbon Napoleon Sour Lemon. The more recent bag that I acquired through a photo shoot for Candy Warehouse says Made by Napoleon-Breskens-Holland.

So even though I can’t tell you much about their background, I can review what I’ve got:

image

Though I most often see the Lemon, they also come in Cherry, Tangerine, Lime and Pineapple.

The candies are devilishly simple. Hard candy outside, and then a strip of super sour powder in the center. The powder center is often mistaken for a liquid, it’s rather cool on the tongue and so fine that it melts away instantly. It’s only before putting then in the mouth that I could really tell. (Yes, as a kid I sometimes broke them apart to create a big pile of super sour powder.)

  • Lemon - Yellow - a classic lemon hard candy, like any other lemon drop. The hard candy is smooth with few voids and has a good shatter to it when crunched. The lemon is a blend of zest and light tang. The acidic powder center really ramps up the sour. Sometimes I like to dissolve the whole candy as much as I can until I get to the sour for even release, sometimes I crunch as soon as a I can. A fun trick is to cleave the candy cleanly in half for as much surface area for the powder.
  • Pineapple - Clear - starts out sweet and floral but develops into a tangy and rather complex piece. The pineapple is more on the jam or boiled fruit side of the flavors than a fresh pineapple. The sour center is very strong and tastes a little more chemically on this one than the others.
  •  

  • Tangerine - Orange - I was really stunned when I tried this. The flavor was gloriously subtle, it tasted like orange blossom. Then the florals gave way to the zesty and sour notes. Then the really sour center. If I could buy a whole bag of Tangerine, I definitely would go with this one over the Lemon.
  •  

  • Lime - Green -  one of the more successful lime candies I’ve had in a while. I have a Persian lime tree, so I have a lot of experience with real limes, and of course my candy blogging brings me into contact with all sorts of fake limes. This has a sweet and slightly bitter zest start which mellows into a little bit of a floor cleaner vibe. But the sour packs enough scour power to bring it back round to that really tingly feeling. At the end of the candy though, there is still that bitter citrus oil vibe that lingers.
  •  

  • Cherry - Red - this has an immediate maraschino flavor that is then tempered with a sour cherry. It’s an odd combination, unlike the American cherry that we’re familiar with through cough drops and LifeSavers. It’s not as dark or woodsy, it tastes more unripe. The tartness is fun and well balanced.
  • These are insanely expensive. The ones in the top photo I bought at Miette in San Francisco last year for 25 cents each. They’re spherical and a little less yellow, but still the same flavor profile as the disk shaped lemon. The bags that Candy Warehouse sells are $7.10 a pound, and come in 7 pound bags. (Yes, at one time I had 14 pounds of Napoleon Bonbons - one of just lemon and one of the mix. I’ve eaten about three pounds so far.)

    I’ve really vacillated between giving these a nine or a ten. The price is a formidable obstacle to perfection, but then again, I know I bought that tin when I was in college and had staggeringly little money so they must be worth it. So there you are, another 10 out of 10.

    Related Candies

    1. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
    2. Kasugai Fruits Lemonade
    3. Topps Baby Bottle
    4. Zotz Apple
    5. Giant Pixy Stix
    6. The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads
    Name: Napoleon Bonbon Assorted Sours
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Napoleon
    Place Purchased: samples from CandyWarehouse
    Price: $7.10 a pound
    Size: 7 pounds
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Hard Candy, Sour, Belgium

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:50 am     Comments (21)

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Q.Bel Crispy Wafer Bars

    Q-Bel Crispy Wafer BarsOne of the issues these days with candy bars isn’t the empty calories, it’s the ingredients. There’s a difference between bad for you (sound cue: giggle) and bad for you (sound cue: medical equipment).

    I don’t usually feel bad about calories, fat or sugar. But I do feel weird about eating partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors.

    Enter Q.bel with their line of all-natural candy bars. No artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn sweetener and no preservatives.

    Q-Bel Milk Chocolate Crispy Wafer BarsThe happy thing to report is that candy bars never needed any of the above to be good ... they just needed them to be cheap. So quality will cost you $1.39-$1.69 (but if you’re buying your candy at Whole Foods, that’s hardly a surprise).

    Their inaugural line has six products. I’m going to review three of them today, their Crispy Wafer Bar which come in Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

    Q-Bel Dark Chocolate Crispy Wafer Bars

    The Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Wafer Bar (purple wrapper) is a stack of three crisp, flavorless wafers filled with a chocolate cream, sprinkled with crisped rice and then covered in dark chocolate.

    They come in a two pack of fingers. Each is about three inches long and three quarters of an inch wide.

    If the photo and description sounds vaguely familiar to you, it might be because this is very similar to the Hershey’s Bar None. (Except there’s no peanuts in this version.)

    The crunch is light and crisp, airy and a little like an ice cream cone. The chocolate is slightly bitter, creamy and sweet with a dry finish. The cream center is sweet and a little grainy but rather buttery.

    The whole experience is extremely satisfying. It’s not really a chocolate bar, it’s definitely a candy. I am in love with this bar.

    Rating: 10 out of 10 (as long as I can find it in stores)

    Q-Bel Milk Chocolate Crispy Wafer Bars

    The Milk Chocolate Crispy Rice Wafer Bars are just like the dark version except with 10 more calories.

    They’re a lighter taste and seem to have more crunchies to them, but that just could be variations in the manufacture.

    The scent is milky sweet with a slight cereal smell. There’s less of a chocolate punch here and more of a creamy, dairy milk chocolate event going on.

    I was very pleased with it (and at first though this would be like Bar None, but it didn’t have the same punch).

    Rating: 8 out of 10.

    Q-Bel Peanut Butter Wafer Bars

    The Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafer Bars are a little different in that they don’t have the crisped rice. Instead of a chocolate cream filling they have a peanut butter filling between the wafers.

    As I’m writing this I’ve been following the RSS feed from the FDA with all the recall warnings about peanut butter & peanut products. I’ve been assured by Q.bel directly and their website that they did not source their peanut butter from Peanut Corporation of America. (And it’s easy to believe them since these bars were manufactured in The Netherlands.

    As with most nutty candies, this pair of bars clocked in with the highest calorie count: 190. (Don’t get the impression that these are dainty when it comes to calories, they’re dense in sugar and fat, clocking in on the upper range of the calories per ounce that I track.)

    The bars are lovely to look at with their rippled coats of chocolate. They smell like fresh roasted peanuts.

    The bite on these is very different. The peanut butter cream filling tastes unsalted and unsugared - so it’s a startling pop of real peanut flavor. But it’s very oily and soft, so when I bite into the bar, sometimes I’ve broken it because it’ll slide around (you can see the kind of crack it makes along the wafer line in the photo).

    The peanut butter, while not crumbly or thick really sticks to my ribs. I found just one stick here to be very filling. The milk chocolate holds its own in this battle as well, giving a sweet and milky component to bring it all together.

    Rating: 9 out of 10.

    I’m so pleased that someone is making a quality product and I hope Q.bel becomes a standard in the confectionery industry. That you can make something with real ingredients and still make people want to overeat it. The packaging is compelling and appropriate. It protects the product inside, doesn’t take up too much space and gave me all the information I wanted to know. The images on the front are tantalizing and the bars actually look like that.

    The portions may seem a little small, only 1.1 ounces, but they appear large because of the light wafers inside (maybe a little smaller than a KitKat bar). However, this also lowers the calorie count per portion, all are under 200 calories (which means those 100 calorie folks can just eat one). The price point is a little steep too, but if I were faced with an array of these and something like Nestle’s Crunch Crisp bar (which is a one-bar version of this filled with partially hydrogenated fats and covered with mockolate), I’d pick these at twice/thrice the price.

    The other half of their product line is a series of Wafer Rolls in the same flavor array. (I’ll have a review of those soon.)

    Q.bel did some liberal mailing of samples, so expect more reviews to pop up on the other food-oriented blogs. They did send me a silly-huge number of “samples” which were a box of each (20 bars) flavor. I’ve been very popular with my co-workers this week.

    UPDATE: They should be available at most Whole Foods nationwide and online at Natural Candy Store.

    Related Candies

    1. Q.Bel Mint Wafer Bars
    2. Choceur Luxury Mini Chocolate Bars
    3. ReeseSticks (Revisit)
    4. Ritter Schokowurfel
    5. Ferrero Raffaello & Rondnoir
    6. Happy Hippos
    7. Head-to-Head KitKat vs KitKat!
    8. Butterfinger Crisp
    Name: Wafer Bars: Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice, Milk Chocolate Crispy Rice & Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Q.bel
    Place Purchased: samples from Q.bel
    Price: retail $1.69
    Size: 1.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 154, 163 & 172
    Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Peanut, Netherlands, Q.bel, All Natural

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:31 pm     Comments (6)

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Meiji Gummy Choco

    Meiji Gummy ChocoOver the holidays my mother was in town for a visit and we went on a hunt for exotic citrus. I thought for sure I could find some fresh yuzu in Little Tokyo. (I was also keeping my eyes open for kalamansi, dalandan and ponkan.) Finally I did see some yuzu at Mitsuwa Marketplace, but at $29.99 a pound (about $8 each), I had to give up on my plans to candy yuzu peel.

    There were a few consolation prizes though, including my new favorite Wheat Chocolate and I picked up a tube of Meiji Gummy Choco.

    I’ve had these before, one of my co-workers loves to bring in new finds from her local Asian market and shared some with me. But I gobbled them up before I could take any pictures. So here they are, in all their glory.

    Meiji Gummy Choco

    Meiji packages these in several different ways, but I prefer the tall tube (a little shorter than a standard paper towel roll).

    Meiji Gummy ChocoThe design on the package is absolutely wonderful. It’s colorful and exciting but not too busy. Even without the English on the package, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s going on inside. Each end shows the little candies, just slightly larger than real life. There are also cute little peep mascots on the package wearing little hats ... I think they’re hats, or someone’s dipped their heads in chocolate.

    Luckily this was an export package and was in English. The mix of flavors here are Strawberry, Muscat and Orange. The flavored white chocolate coating is real white chocolate. The ingredients for the confection start out like this: sugar, corn syrup, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, palm oil, concentrated fruit juice, skim milk powder, cacao mass, gelatin ... and so on.

    Now, you may find this a little odd, but before I was exposed to the Gummy Choco, I’d never had chocolate-covered gummis before. (I’ll have some Muddy Bears up in the next week or so as a comparison). Somehow I always thought that the texture combo wouldn’t work, that the chocolate would be grainy and flaky compared to the gummi or that the chocolate would be subpar. Meiji has balanced theirs with a very soft gummi that’s pretty intensely flavored along with a generous and flavored white chocolate coating.

  • Strawberry - not quite pink, it’s almost lavender. The outside is very milky tasting and sweet. The strawberry gummy at the center is pretty intensely flavored. It’s like chewing on a fresh strawberry preserve ... but without the seeds. (The ingredients do say real fruit juice and no artificial flavors or colors either.)
  •  

  • Muscat - a yellow/green color that reminded me more of honeydew melon at first on the outside, but the gummi on the inside is definitely a light grape flavor. It’s not my most favorite of the three, definitely the most mild.
  •  

  • Orange - a lovely salmon orange color. The orange on the white chocolate coating is rather pronounced and reminded me of orange sherbet. There’s a brief taste of the chocolate layer then a zap of tangy chew from the soft gummi.
  • If the idea of white chocolate is just too difficult for you, Meiji makes a milk chocolate and strawberry version that’s also spectacular (and often sold in boxes instead of the tubes). I haven’t seen them in the States, but here are some more versions on Flickr.

    Basically, I love these. I love the look of the package, I love the easy-to-dispense tube. The taste is great, often with flavor mixes there’s one that I don’t like, but I loved all of them. The price for an import candy wasn’t too bad ($1.49 at Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo Plaza) and it was absolutely fresh. There’s even 8% of my daily RDA of calcium in every serving. If they sold these at movie theaters, I might actually start going to the movies again.

    They’re pretty popular and can be found in both Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets as well as various webstores. I’m not sure if they’re carried in comic book stores, but keep an eye out anyplace that you can find manga and other Asian imports.

    (Meiji also makes other tubular goodness with their Coffee Beat.)

    Related Candies

    1. Sour Gummi Bears
    2. Brain Candy! (gummi brains)
    3. Lifesaver Gummies
    4. Gummi Clown Fish
    5. Fragrant Gummies
    Name: Gummy Choco Mix
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Meiji
    Place Purchased: Nijiya Market (Little Tokyo)
    Price: $1.49
    Size: 3.7 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 149
    Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Gummi, Japan, Meiji

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:11 am     Comments (35)

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds

    Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee AlmondsThere was nothing wrong with the elegant simplicity of a chocolate covered almond. It could hardly be improved upon. Or could it?

    Sconza introduced Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds featuring “70% cacao international blend chocolate” at the All Candy Expo last month. I was really looking forward to them, as I think Sconza makes great panned candies, especially nuts.

    Sconza is based in Oakland, California, one of the best confectionary areas in the country. Sconza has an interesting product line that includes such wonderful items like Jordanettes (Jordan Almonds), incredible toffee coated nuts and even a line of impossibly-large-to-eat jawbreakers.

    This new chocolate covered almond capitalizes on one of those things they do so well, toffeed nuts.

    image

    Each generously sized almond is covered in a crunchy and thin coating of butter toffee. It’s salty and crispy and provides a satisfying crunch when biting through the thick coating of very dark chocolate.

    The chocolate is strong, with dark fruity overtones and some coffee notes. The almonds are fresh and crunchy and provide a mellow counterbalance to the salty toffee and rich chocolate.

    I love these. They’re only vaguely sweet, so I don’t feel sick after eating a handful. At the same time only one or two are extremely satisfying. They’re beautiful to look at smell positively divine.

    I haven’t seen these in stores yet, but I’ve found other Sconza toffee and nut items at places like Bristol Farms (a high end grocer). I don’t know what the retail price is, but I think $4.00 for a bag would be such a deal.

    Name: Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Sconza
    Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
    Price: unknown
    Size: 5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 141
    Categories: Chocolate, Toffee, Nuts, Sconza, United States, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:02 am     Comments (11)

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Nutpatch Nougats

    I don’t usually buy into the stories behind candy, because a story is great but doesn’t amount to much once you put the candy in your mouth. It’s fun to read them on the package insert, you know, while munching away. But the story on Nutpatch Nougats is pretty good.

    Nutpatch Nougat is made by John Zito, using natural ingredients and his own, locally grown hazelnuts and we have another local product, Bumnuts’ Free Range Eggs that come from Nicholls Rivulet Organic Food Farm on the island of Tasmania in Australia.

    That’s some serious local food going on there ... I’m guessing the only thing that’s not local is the little edible rice paper wrapping.

    Nutpatch NougatI first tried Nutpatch in January at the Fancy Food Show at a booth run by Tassie Naturals that sells lots of other wonderful Tasmanian sweets, like Leatherwood Honey. But I was there for the classic nougat and Larry at Tassie Naturals was actually waiting for me. What I tasted back in January were samples, just slices from the large bar that they sell, wrapped in plain clear cellophane. Hey, I didn’t need any fancy wrappings.

    But what I did need was another fix. So I emailed Larry back in March ... nope, it’s not ready yet. I had to distract myself with other things for a while.

    image

    So I wait ... and wait ... to hear back from Larry that he was ready to start selling Nutpatch Nougat in the United States. Then, just after Memorial Day I got the good news ... oh, it was not only good that they were ready to start selling but because the package changed, he insisted on sending me new samples. (Okay, insisted is strong, he said he would send them and I said, “Yay!”)

    Almond Nougat - this nougat doesn’t have honey notes, no, it tastes just like honey. Like I’ve put honeycomb in my mouth, honeycomb studded with almonds. Sweet, mellow honey and almonds. A soft bite, good crunchy nuts and a smooth melt on the tongue with that crazy, crazy honey.

    Hazelnut Nougat - this smells like hazelnut. And it made me realize that hazelnuts smell like freshly cut fruit woods. Oh, and then there’s the honey. It’s sweet and has that beeswax scent. Sweet, but not overwhelming. The whole thing tastes toasty. It’s sweet, but not throat-burningly. It feels like a treat, but it doesn’t have that sugar let-down later, probably because of the high nut content and all that protein.

    There are a lot of nuts in these. Some nougats are excited to proclaim 25-40% nut content. Nutpatch Nougat is about 60% nuts by weight. Oh, and the number two ingredient on the list is not sugar ... it’s honey!

    My biggest complaint here is that the nougat is packaged in this huge bar. At 5.6 ounces, it’s pretty big ...  think two sticks of butter. It’s a little vexing to slice and of course if I wanted to just pop this in my picnic I have to bring a knife of pre-slice it. The Nougat de Montelimar at least can be pulled apart or bitten off easily. (Of course the Nougat de Montelimar is $3.45 an ounce and Nutpatch is $1.75 an ounce ... I think I can be troubled to pre-slice.)

    Nutpatch Nougat Chocolate BarsChocolate Covered Nougat Bars - these are just gorgeous little unassuming bars ... seriously, who knows what’s in there just by looking?

    While I was thinking that the bars would be the same as the nougat, the nougat seems different just by being molded into the chocolate bar. I don’t know if it’s because it’s been sealed from any oxidation or because the chocolate is just so thick and fragrant, but this bar is definitely more about the chocolate.

    Nutpatch NougatThe little fingers of nougat are studded with hazelnuts. The bottom layer has the typical rice paper wafer, but the tops and sides don’t. The chocolate is overpowering ... not that that’s a bad thing. It’s very tasy dark Callebaut. But it does overpower the honey notes for me. But for what it takes away it brings something else that’s wonderful, an intense creaminess and extra woody flavors that boost the nuts. The hazelnuts definitely seemed stronger here.

    As chocolate covered nougats go, this is pretty much at the top of my list, but if I had to pick ... if you put a plate in front of me that had these bars or a selection of the Holiday Nougat from Valerie Confections, I might go with Valerie’s, I just like the balance of the nougat and chocolate and of course the citrus boost. Of course the Holiday Nougat isn’t available right now ... so Nutpatch would satisfy an off-season jones. (No one is actually selling the Nutpatch Chocolate Bars yet, so it’s all hypothetical.)

    More reading on Nutpatch Nougats: Other Nougat is Not a Patch on This. Where to buy? Right now you can order online at Natural Food Finds. I imagine since this is a very small operation, the nougat will be in short supply, so order it when they have it if you’re interested.

    UPDATE 06/15/2007: Through some strange snafu, I quoted a price from the Natural Food Finds that wasn’t quite final. I said it’s $9.89 when in reality it’s now selling for $14.95 ... still a much better deal than most other fine European-style nougats (certainly still beating the Soubeyran). The good news is that Natural Food Find WILL give Candy Blog readers a $1.50 off until July 11, 2007. Just enter the coupon code CBJUN11 if you order to get the special reduced price deal. My apologies for any confusion to anyone.

    No word yet on anyone selling the chocolate covered nougat bars.

    Name: Nutpatch Nougats
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: distributed by Tassie Naturals (US)
    Place Purchased: samples from Tassie Naturals
    Price: $9.89 $14.95
    Size: 5.62 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, United States

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:58 am     Comments (10)

    Wednesday, May 2, 2007

    Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)

    imageSkittles are insanely tasty little morsels. Rather like little bits of Starburst covered in a candy shell. Skittles were first introduced in 1974 in the UK and parts of Europe. They spread to the States as an import for a while and then in 1981 Mars began making them in the States.

    Obsessive folks (perhaps I’m one of them and speaking from experience) like to divide up the colors and eat them. I usually eat mine in pairs of same flavors, but when it comes down to the end of the pack, there are certain acceptable combos (all the citruses can be paired and grape and strawberry can go together ... strawberry and lemon are also acceptable but never ever put orange and grape together).

    Original Fruit Skittles

  • Lime (Green) - classic lime, leaning more towards the tart side than the floor-wax side of things.

  • Grape (Purple) - a pretty well rounded fake grape flavor

  • Lemon (Yellow) - good and sour with some hints of zest

  • Orange (Orange) - juicy and flavorful

  • Strawberry (Red) - one of the few red candies I like, it smells like cotton candy and has a tangy, creamy berry taste

  • image

    While the Skittles website asserts that the flavor distribution is random, I’ve always felt that there were fewer green and purple ones in most bags. But as you can see from the photo, it’s just the green ones that seemed slighted in this mix (and I’m not going to complain). I took copious photos of all of the bags as well, so if you’re curious they’re here.

    You might want to partake of some of my favorite Skittles commercials: Man with Beard, Skittles Leak, this one is from the previous campaign (one that I think captures a bit of the wonder of candy and magic better) and the original with great costumes ... oh, wait, those aren’t costumes, that’s what we used to wear back in the day.

    Rating: 10 out of 10

    imageWild Berry Skittles

    These have been around for a long time, but I never really noticed them. I never saw a reason to get anything other than the regular Skittles. All of the flavors were great. Sure I ate the grape ones last, if at all (always share!), but they were one of those candies you can eat in a dark movie theater without having to spit out mistakes.

    Wild Berry Skittles come in a super purple pack, so there’s no mistaking them at the store (not like the M&M Pirate Pearls and M&M Almond). The colors look vaguely familiar, but without the vibrant orange and yellow. Instead they have a mousy pink in the mix which just makes them feel bland.

    image

  • Raspberry (Blue) - it’s a good berry flavor, perhaps a little more jammy and caramelized than I’d like

  • Strawberry (Pink) - I don’t know why these are pink, it confuses me ... why not just keep the same red from the classic mix?

  • Wild Cherry (Red) - cherries aren’t berries ... these are dreadful, they taste like Sucrets but without the numbing power

  • Berry Punch (Purple) - this one isn’t that different from the raspberry, perhaps a little more floral and less tart

  • Melon Berry (Green) - melons aren’t berries. It definitely tastes like watermelon and something kind of lemony.

  • Not enough of these flavors are actually berries and berries as a mix aren’t that interesting to me.

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageTropical Skittles

    As I was looking through a bunch of old commercials for Skittles online I realized that this was another flavor mix that I completely ignored. However, part of that may be that the flavors were different back then. The original mix of Tropical Skittles included two different flavors: Passion Punch (Blue), Mango Peach (Orange), Strawberry Watermelon (Pink), the new flavors are noted with an *.

    image

  • Banana Berry (Yellow)  - I was hoping this would be like Laffy Taffy. Alas, the banana and berry mix was not pleasant.

  • Kiwi Lime (Green) - good kiwi flavor, not enough lime

  • Mango Tangelo *  (Orange) - it’s kind of nice, but tastes more like peach than mango.

  • Pineapple Passionfruit * (Blue) - finally! A blue flavor I like. The pineapple part was great.

  • Strawberry Starfruit * (Pink) - I don’t eat Starfruits very often, only when they show up as a garnish on an expensive meal. These don’t taste like starfruit or strawberries. This tastes like the way ink pens smell.

  • I loved the look of these spread out on the table but again the proportion of “tasty” ones was too small to warrant buying the whole bag. (How long before Skittles goes the way of M&Ms and you can special order flavor mixes?)

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    imageSmoothie Mix Skittles

    I’m not sure if a consumer wrote to Skittles and said, “I love your chewy little morsels, but could you make them with less flavor? I just can’t take it.” And of course being capitalists wishing to capitalize on all corners of the untapped Skittles market, they did.

    Smoothies in real life are great. They’re like shakes only made with lots and lots of fruit. At least when I make them that’s how they taste. Some folks put yogurt or ice cream or sherbet in there, so I guess that’s where the watering-down of the flavor comes from.

    image

  • Lemon Berry (Yellow) - like lemon sherbet, just a little flavor and no tartness

  • Mixed Berry (Lavender) - the most flavorful of the bunch, berries lend a good floral brightness to this

  • Peach Pear (Light Green) - my two of my least favorite fruit flavors ... which don’t taste at all like peach or pear in this mix (more like banana)

  • Orange Mango (Light Orange) - smells like orange and tastes like papaya

  • Strawberry Banana (Pink) - I like this, probably because banana creates its own creaminess in smoothies, so it’s a believable flavor

  • These are just too bland. Maybe if I’d just come out of a coma these would be good for easing me back into the world ... or might put me back into a vegetative state.

    Rating: 5 out of 10

    UPDATE: Smoothies are discontinued.

    imageSour Skittles

    While all the other bags were virtually identical in format (same size and weight and materials) this bag is different. It’s a little shorter than the others and made with a much thicker plastic (that’s annoyingly hard to open). I’m guessing it’s because these are rather different Skittles. Instead of all the sour being locked up under that candy shell, here it’s on the outside of the shell in a sparkly sanded coating.

    image

  • Blue Raspberry (Blue)  - a good sour and then a berry hit and then a weird aftertaste

  • Grape (Purple) - the tartness felt more like citrus than malic acid and I kind of lost the grape flavor and just had a sweet chew

  • Lemon (Yellow) - the tartness really works on this, it feels citrusy on the outside and on the inside

  • Orange (Orange) - a slight blister at first and then a good sweet chew

  • Strawberry (Red) - really sour, then pleasantly floral, kind of like eating a not-quite-ripe strawberry and then a ripe one ... or maybe some limeade with some strawberries in it

  • The chew towards the end on all of these seemed grainier than usual. I don’t mind that as a feature though. I don’t like how messy these are. I like to line up my Skittles on my desk in little lines of each color as I dump small amounts out. These leave a dusting of sour on the desk. A word of caution as well, don’t ever get the sour powder in your eyes. It’s also very easy to just suck the sour off the outside, though it tastes the same on all of them, it also seems to lead to more tongue damage.

    UPDATE: The flavors changed, here’s a re-review.

    Rating: 7 out of 10

    Other products:

  • Tart & Tangy (discontinued)

  • Ice Cream Skittles (limited edition)

  • Fresh Mint Skittles (discontinued)

  • Carnival Flavors Skittles (limited edition)

  • Skittles Bubble Gum (contains artificial sweeteners, so I haven’t tried it)

  • Skittles Chocolate Mix (introduced in 2007 - probably discontinued as of 2009)

  • Skittles Crazy Cores (new introduction January 2009)

  • Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits (new introduction March 2010)

  • Skittles Blenders (new introduction January 2011)

  • Skittles Riddles (new introduction January 2012)

  • Notes:

  • Skittles made in the United States before 2009 contain gelatin, therefore were not suitable for vegans and are not Kosher. As of mid-2009 with the introduction of the new Skittles Crazy Cores they are made without gelatin and marked as being Gluten-Free

  • Skittles made in Europe do not contain gelatin (but I’m not sure if they’re Kosher).

  • Skittles have less fat than Starbursts: 2.5 grams per pack, all saturated versus 5 grams with 4.5 grams saturated in Starbursts.

  • In 2008 Mars and Wrigley’s merged and as of 2009 Skittles are marked as a Wrigley’s product.

  • Related Candies

    1. Skittles Riddles
    2. Skittles Blenders
    3. Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits
    4. New Flavors: Skittles Sour & Wonka Runts
    5. Skittles Crazy Cores
    6. Skittles Chocolate Mix
    7. Skittles from the UK
    8. Skittles Carnival Flavors
    9. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
    10. Skittles Fresh Mint
    11. Skittles Ice Cream
    Name: Skittles
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Mars
    Place Purchased: RiteAid & 7-11
    Price: $.69-$.89
    Size: 2.17 ounces (1.8 ounces for Sour Skittles)
    Calories per ounce: 115
    Categories: Chew, Sour, United States, Mars

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:04 am    

    Page 2 of 5 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›

    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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