ABOUT

FEEDS

CONTACT

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Here are some frequently asked questions emailed to me you might want to read first.

EMAIL DIGEST

    For a daily update of Candy Blog reviews, enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

CANDY RATINGS

TYPE

BRAND

COUNTRY

ARCHIVES

2-Appalling

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hershey’s Favorites - Sugar Free

imageHershey’s has a line of sugar free candies, while they’re not a low calorie snack, they do have a lower glycemic index because they’ve substitute sugar for sugar alcohols. I gave their version of the Hershey’s Chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and York Peppermint Pattie a try.

As is always the case, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. While sugar alcohols may lower the calorie count, they’re also not as sweet as sugar and sometimes have unwanted side effects. Here’s what the packages say:

Sugar Alcohols (Maltitol, Lactitol, Isomalt & Polyglycitol - sugar substitutes) are slowly metabolized carbohydrates that generally cause only a small rise in blood glucose levels

Sugar alcohols have another benefit, they do not promote tooth decay, as they cannot be metabolized by oral bacteria.

Say what? Polyglycitol? That’s a new one on me, so I looked it up:

A mixture consisting mainly of maltitol and sorbitol and lesser amounts of hydrogenated oligo and polysaccharides and maltotriitol. Manufactured by the catalytic hydrogenation of a mixture consisting of glucose, maltose, and higher glucose polymers; typically supplied as a syrup; may also be dried and supplied as a solid product

I’m well aware the many of these sugar alcohols can cause intestinal upset (and other euphemisms to erupt). For this reason I was exceptionally careful not to eat too much. I only ate two a day, even though a serving as determined by the package was 3-5 pieces.

Sugar Free Hershey's Chocolate Minis

Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolates

Well, they look really good. Each one was a pristine little chocolatey block.

But there was something amiss. It has the same slightly fudgy, slightly grainy texture. But it’s cool on the tongue and the chocolate flavors are a little too much on the high range, lacking depth. The milkyness was missing completely.

It doesn’t taste like Hershey’s chocolate. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really taste like chocolate ... it’s too sweet.

Here’s what I know about sugar alcohols: they don’t have as many calories as sugar, but they also don’t taste as sweet. In the case of maltitol it’s 90% as sweet as sucrose, which basically means that when they add it to something and they want an equivalent delivery of sweetness, they put more in. Putting in more sweetener means something else has to be reduced by proportion. My guess in this case is that they reduced the cocoa solids ... which are already pretty low in Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. (Or they reduced the milk, which may also reduce the flavor profile.)

As a low calorie treat, these do definitely have a lower caloric density:

139 calories per ounce for regular Hershey’s Chocolate
113 calories per ounce for Sugar Free Hershey’s Chocolate

If you like R.M. Palmer chocolate, you might find this acceptable.

Rating: 2 out of 10

Sugar Free Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Sugar Free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Like the Hershey’s bars, these were lovely little cups of perfection at first glance. They’re wrapped in orange foil, not gold, so it’s easy for trained candy eaters to tell them apart. They seem a little smaller than regular Reese’s Minis (just shorter) but otherwise are glossy and pretty.

They smell of sweet peanut butter.

The chocolate shell is similar to the Hershey’s bar ... the same cooling effect on the tongue, decent melt but lack of chocolate kick. No matter, the peanut butter center seems to overwhelm that in a satisfactory manner. The peanut butter is crumbly and sweet and creamy all at the same time. A little salty kick seals the simulation as being pretty close to the original.

145 calories per ounce for regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
116 calories per ounce for Sugar Free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I didn’t realize until after eating two of these that there was Sucralose in there too (this is the only one of the three that uses an artificial sweetener - though I could hear arguments that polyglycitol is also not natural at this point). I didn’t notice any of the ill effects that I get from Aspartame (headache, shakes & nausea) but there was a light lingering sweet and ever so slight aluminum-like metallic aftertaste.

Rating: 4 out of 10 (if it didn’t have the aftertaste, it’d be a 7).

Sugar Free York Peppermint Patties

Sugar Free York Peppermint Patties

They look exactly like the full-sugar York Peppermint Patties, smell a little chocolatey and very minty. The mini size is my favorite, so this was an easy one for me to wrap my head around.

The chocolate shell is only slightly sweet, which is pretty much the way the regular York is. If anything, this one had a better, less chalky melt to it.

The fondant center is a little different. First, it’s rather cool on the tongue. It’s a little grainy, which is fine with me, but then there were some other lighter grainy bits in there . But they weren’t sweet little grains, I’m wondering if the sugar alcohols create a different crystalline matrix. Even so, they’re tasty. Fresh, a bit chocolatey and of course melty and smooth.

102 calories per ounce for regular York Peppermint Patties
63 calories per ounce for Sugar Free York Peppermint Patties

As a lower calorie alternative, these are real winners. There are 30 calories in each piece.

Rating: 7 out of 10

In general Hershey’s has done a nice job of approximating the experience of their full-sugar candies. They look great, which is part of the appeal of candy. The packaging doesn’t even feel like a compromise (though the price does).

But these are only good if you can tolerate the sweeteners. If you’re one of the unlucky majority (it seems to be a majority) of the public who experiences the side effects, it’s pointless to eat this stuff. (I had a full box of each of these from a photo shoot and passed some along to a friend of a friend who is diabetic ... who did not react well to them.)

If you want to know if you can eat them, please, start slow unless you have no plans for the next day or so. I seemed to tolerate it pretty well, but again, only two pieces a day, not really the way you want to eat candy you can otherwise eat because of dietary restrictions. 

(Package images at top compiled from Hershey’s website.)

Related Candies

  1. York Mints
  2. Hershey’s Cacao Reserve
  3. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line
  4. York Pinkermint Patties
Name: Hershey's Sugar Free - Chocolates, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups & York Peppermint Patties
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $2.50 retail
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113 & 116 & 63
Categories: Chocolate, Mint, Peanuts, United States, Hershey's, Kosher, Sugar Free

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:30 am     Comments (16)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Black Licorice Twists & Snaps

Black Licorice by Red VinesI’m hearing a lot of hatin’ on black licorice in the entries for the Red Vines Giveaway. Which makes me sad. I think a lot of folks are very attached to their favorite candies and I’m probably one of those people and maybe I take it a little personally when someone calls something that I appreciate disgusting. (But I’m not a converter or anything, I don’t like to force candy on people who say that they don’t like something.)

Licorice has a long and wonderful history as a confection and even a medicine. It’s also very flexible, used as a flavoring in hundreds of different sweet and savory items. It has some companion flavors as well, such as anise and fennel. One of the more commonly found licorices is the Red Vines Black Licorice Twists.


    Black Licorice Twists by Red Vines

The most common kind of licorice here in the United States is the twist. It has a wheat base and is usually flavored and sweetened with molasses (and in this case, corn syrup too). Molasses is a great companion to licorice. While pure licorice is very sweet and soft on the tongue, molasses is deep and only mildly sweet with some interesting mineral notes.

The earthy combination and less sticky complexity to it all makes Red Vines Black Licorice Twists a nice treat. They’re not very licoricey, but that’s okay, they do have a nice texture and feel more like a snack than a candy sometimes. (Wheat-based candies can do that.) I think they’re best when they’re fresh, but stale is okay. I’ve revived stale licorice before by placing it in the microwave on top of a very lightly damp paper towel, covered with another paper towel and zap it for 10 seconds.

Licorice and licorice-like candies are increasing in popularity, probably because of their low caloric density and satisfying chew. As a grocery store purchase of licorice, I prefer Good and Plenty, but if you put Red Vines Black Licorice in front of me, I’ll definitely eat it.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Orginal SnapsSo that brings me to the truly original product that American Licorice makes: Original Snaps.

I’d never had them until I started the blog. I picked them up two years ago to try and found the bag was so horribly stale that it wouldn’t have been fair. So again with full warning this time that National Licorice Day was approaching, I picked up another bag.

It’s mind boggling. I don’t even know where to begin with how confused, anxious and actually angry these make me.

First, I opened the bag and it smelled like sweet musk. Yes. Like the Australian Musk Lollies. And I know this smell because I recently bought a bag.

Original Snaps

At first I thought I was crazy. I’ve had smell hallucinations and I’ve heard that simply coloring a food one way will make someone expect that flavor, so maybe I was just having some sort of synapse malfunction.

But it’s been a full week and I’ve checked with others. The reaction to the smell ranges from “It smells like my grandmother’s purse” to “that’s like a bad candle shop.”

None of it gets better. The colors are odd, like slightly bleached by the sun or perhaps rinsed in the colander with some fresh veggies and they’ve run.

The texture is like eating surgical tubing ... that’s been sitting next to leaking perfume samples for several months. They candy is made of little tubes of a similar wheat-based licorice vine (no twist to it) that is then coated on the outside with a candy shell (I can’t call it crunchy, only colorful). After chewing a bit the flavor does kind of warm up, after the musk has gone away it’s a little bit like licorice, but lacking the anise punch and the deep earthy molasses flavors.

The American Licorice Company explains them this way:

Snaps(r) is the candy with the licorice center, pastel-colored candy coatings and unique taste. Introduced in the 1930s, Snaps brand candy is the nostalgic confection with a legion of rabid fans.

Maybe it’s just because I don’t like musk. But someone must like these candies or they wouldn’t be making them for those rabid fans. Or maybe people just use them for craft projects. They might make some decent kid-safe chunky beads for stringing on some embroidery thread.

I just ... don’t know what else ...  to write about them. I can only assume that those people who hate licorice have tasted this and I can’t blame them for their hostility towards the stuff. (Go ahead and call me hypocritical for hatin’ on this stuff, I can take it.)

Rating: 2 out of 10

The Red Vines Giveaway closes on Saturday, April 12th, so enter if you want some! (Don’t worry, there will be no Snaps in the winner packages.)

Related Candies

  1. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  2. Licorice Assortment
  3. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
  4. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs
Name: Red Vines Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: American Licorice Company
Place Purchased: sample from Red Vines & Walgreen's
Price: $1.29 retail and $1.49
Size: 5 ounces & 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Licorice, United States, American Licorice Co.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:24 am     Comments (47)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hiding Eggs

Hiding EggsI really didn’t want to buy these; they couldn’t possibly be better than the Brach’s Bunny Basket Eggs (or worse, for that matter). Which I didn’t like, but have devoted followers. But I have to admit that it’s a valid confectionery expression: a grainy marshmallow covered in a lightly-flavored jelly bean-like shell.

What convinced me to get these though was the name: Hiding Eggs.

It seems obvious that Judson-Atkinson Candies is well aware that these aren’t for eating! They’re for hiding ... possibly without any hope of every finding. They’re all individually wrapped, which is great for throwing in Easter baskets or reassuring when you find one stuck in the sofa cushions in August and shrug and eat it anyway.

Hiding Eggs

They come in the standard color & flavor variety of fruit jelly beans: Orange, Lemon, Grape, Cherry, Lime and Vanilla.

I’m not going to lie to you, this is not a comprehensive review, I didn’t eat all of them. I tasted the purple, orange and white ones and that was it. Read the Brach’s Bunny Basket Eggs review for my complete rant on the subject of these candy impostors (not that they’re BBBE impostors, but that they’re masquerading as edible confections).

The centers are soft and grainy, the shells are crunchy and grainy. The flavor layer is very mild, but the tastes distinct enough that you could probably tell them apart with your eyes closed. Each egg is a substantial hit of sugar, weighing in at a little over 13 grams each and about 50 calories (yes, that’d be 13 grams of carbs!).

So if you’ve been having trouble finding the Brach’s, or just want a brand that’s made in the USA (most Brach’s products are no longer made here), Judson-Atkinson Candies has your new favorite hiding egg. Added bonus, they were only $1.49.

The one thing that I find so enchanting about these is that they’re part of a rather extensive line from Judson-Atkinson that includes all different sizes of these eggs. Pigeon Eggs (small marshmallow eggs), Hen Eggs (medium marshmallow eggs) & Turkey Eggs (large marshmallow eggs). The Turkey variety tops out at about 1/3 larger than the Hen Eggs (which I think I’ve reviewed here ... it’s so hard to tell).

They’re an important part of Easter, I’ll grant you that. I’ve had mine for the year (just like I used to eat my bit of Pork & Sauerkraut for New Year’s as a kid ... for the record it was the pork that I didn’t like, I love sauerkraut), so I should be very lucky. Since they’re wrapped they may make good filler for pinatas, so pick some up on clearance next week.

These have a marshmallow center, so contain gelatin and are not suitable for vegetarians.

Related Candies

  1. Circus Peanuts
  2. Melster Marshmallow Eggs
  3. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
  4. Peeps Lollipop Rings
  5. Dubble Bubble Chick Eggs
  6. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs
Name: Hiding Eggs
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Judson-Atkinson Candies
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.49
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Marshmallow, United States, Judson-Atkinson Candies, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:30 am     Comments (23)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Marshmallow Pig

Love PigI’m not sure what I’d think if someone gave me this for Valentine’s Day.

IIt has a simple name, Marshmallow Lollipop. t’s a pig shaped marshmallow pop, and it’s pretty big at 3.2 ounces of fluffed sugar and gelatin. They’re made by Confectionery Lane and actually come in some much more attractive versions such as decorated hearts. (Serious Eats has the Winnie the Pooh.)

While the idea of a pig shaped creature holding a little heart that says love may only be compelling to the Cute Overload fanatics, I can see that there may be a niche of people out there that perhaps enjoy food shaped like the ingredients (what is gelatin made of, after all?) or perhaps someone has a nickname of Piglet ... maybe they raise pigs or had one as a 4H project ... oh, maybe they have pink skin!

Love PigThis sizeable puff has, well, its size going for it. The lettering on it is rather clumsy. The pig’s face is cute enough but the body is kind of hard to understand and of course it’s not really a three dimensional candy, the back side is simply flat.

It smells kind of like Fruity Pebbles. It tastes like, well, tangy latex.

The texture is actually rather nice, very moist and consistent. But the flavor is just awful.

So I thought I’d toast it. It’s already on a stick, so why not?

Since the marshmallow was so moist it became really runny on the inside rather quickly, but the outside toasted up nicely.

But a tart and flavored marshmallow is not the same as a regular marshmallow (certainly not like the lovely marshmallows from earlier this week). Really disappointing. I ate about three bites and threw the rest of it out.

Oddly enough the nutrition label says that a single serving is the whole pop and is 260 calories. (I guess you can’t really cut off pieces and save the rest for later.)

Confectionery Lane sounds like a quaint company, but really they’re just a brand name used by East-West Distributing Co., which is owned and operated by Walgreen’s.  There are lots of other cute and thoughtful Valentines gifts you can pick up, even on February 15th. This isn’t even worth free.

Related Candies

  1. Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn
  2. Melster Marshmallow Eggs
  3. SpongeBob SquarePants Heart
  4. American Value Chocolate Bars
Name: Marshmallow Lollipops (Pig)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Confectionery Lane (Walgreen's)
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.99
Size: 3.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 81
Categories: Marshmallow, China, Valentines

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:26 am     Comments (8)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Disney Branded Chocolate Candies

Mickey BarsOne of the things that I was attracted to at the counter of the candy store were these pretty and classic chocolate bars. They came in four varieties: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Sugar Free Milk Chocolate (on a different display).

They’re all 1.8 ounces and the ingredients are promisingly short: sugar, milk, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, soy lecithin and vanillin. They were all priced $1.25 each.

Mickey Milk ChocolateThe Mickey Milk Chocolate Bar is sweet but satisfyingly smooth. It has a very strong milky taste to it. The bar is thick, which provides for a nice hunky bite.

The other bar (not pictured) was the Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar (it looked just like the Milk Chocolate bar). It’s similarly sweet and has a wonderful scent of almonds. The almonds are whole, if a little small. Crunchy and a good counterpoint to the very sugary chocolate. The pieces are nice though, easy to break off a third and chomp it whole or maybe three bites.

Mickey Dark ChocolateThe Mickey Dark Chocolate Bar was stunning when I took it out of the package. The glossy squares and nicely detailed relief of Mickey’s head definitely has appeal. It smells nice, a little more on the cedar side of woodsy than coffee. The ingredients on this one lists butterfat. It’s pretty smooth but very sweet for a dark chocolate. It’s kind of “watery” on the tongue, reminding me of the Royal Dark Cadbury Mini Eggs that came out this year ... kind of like a pleasant cup of hot chocolate.

The sweetness leads me to believe that some kids may enjoy this, and if they don’t their moms or dads won’t complain about having to eat the leftovers themselves.

I give the whole set of bars a passably good 7 out of 10, good portion control at 1.8 ounces, easy to share, decent price for a branded item and Kosher for those who are looking for that. I appreciate that the candy has the Mickey brand on the inside and the outside.

Mickey CoconutsMuch of the candy is rather mainstream fare, and though I couldn’t find any chocolate mint patties or minted chocolate, I did find the Mickey Mouse Creamy Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Patties. They were a little more than the other pre-packaged candies at $1.50, but they were also 2.7 ounces. The packaging is kind of retro, kind of islandy. The Mickey on the package is the old-fashioned Mickey who is all pupil and has no whites in his eyes.

Inside is a little plastic tray with two chocolate dipped coconut patties in the shape of Mickey’s head.

Mickey CoconutsThese are hefty huge patties! Each weighs approximately 1.35 ounces, a good sized portion of candy on its own. The chocolate doesn’t coat the top, but you can’t tell from the photo that it does cover the bottom.

The star here is the soft coconut pattie itself. It’s creamy and soft and of course coconutty. It smells like summer. The coconut is chewy and only slightly fibery, a bit smoother than a Mounds bar, but also a bit sweeter.

The chocolate takes a back seat, which is fine. It’s not great chocolate like that on the Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, but it makes the candy attractive and it’s real, which is always a selling point.

The package does say that they were made in a “nut free environment” (except for those coconuts, which I guess are technically a fruit). Not Kosher. I give them a 7 out of 10.

Disney SpotsThese little M&M-like candies are called Chocolate Spots and came in a peanut variety as well. I went for the traditional “candy-coated Milk Chocolate”. As I was looking for a package that wasn’t crinkled and sticky, I noticed that all the bags felt like the contents were “grainy” instead of smooth.

I did my best to pick one from the bottom that looked crisp and had the best feeling contents, but when I got home and dumped them out, it was quite apparent that my attempt was not successful.

Disney SpotsThe bag was filled with chipped and broken Spots that were also covered in dust and candy shell crumbs.

The Spots themselves are a bit more like Nestle Smarties than M&Ms, a little flatter, a little bigger around. And they smelled like ... Arcor Chocobites.

Drat!

I know that many small children aren’t particularly choosy about their chocolate, and bless them for that. If I were a child and told I could only pick out one item from this store and this is what I got, I’d be in tears. The chocolate tastes like the wrapper smells, like plastic. The candy shell is crispy, yes, but only masks the burnt flavors of the chocolate. Think of those awful burnt unpopped kernels of popcorn and maybe the filling of a futon that’s been stored in a damp basement for the past few decades. I should have known that they were going to be bad when I read the list of ingredients ... which included PGPR (granted, I still love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which now include PGPR, but it’s certainly in spite of it that they’re good, not because of it).

Honestly, I think I’m going to package these up and send them back to Disney. I might accept such quality from the 99 Cent Only Store at a fifth of the price, but not from a big company that prides itself on the experience of the brand. 1.8 ounces. I’m giving them a 2 out of 10. Not Kosher.

How difficult would it be to simply have a Disney branded M&M? The candies would have little characters on them instead of Ms (like the Pirate Pearls had little skulls and swords). Or ... don’t bother with M&Ms and get some GOOD candy maker to do two different sizes and kids could make their own Mickey heads with large and small candy lentils.

Lion King Caramel ClustersI’d kind of hoped, as with the Disney Spots, that this Pecan-Caramel Cluster would have a cutesy name, like Lion King Paws or Chewy Manes ... But clarity is always a good thing. In fact, besides the image on the package of Simba and Nala, it doesn’t say a single thing about The Lion King. I guess in a few years these could be branded for a more popular Princess or perhaps some tie in with Ratatouille.

The package says they’re “Crisp Pecans drenched in Creamy Caramel, smothered in delicious Milk Chocolate.”

And so they are.

Lion King Caramel ClustersThey have a wonderful scent of milk chocolate and pecans. The nuts are in fact crisp and the crunch gives way to an actual creamy and chewy caramel.

These were far better than the Nestle Pecan Turtles I had earlier this year. Fresh nuts, the right texture for the caramel. The chocolate wasn’t the best in the world, but at least it didn’t detract. A winner.

2 pecan clusters, 1.5 ounces total. Not Kosher. $1.25 9 out of 10

Overall, the packaged stuff was pleasant and by theme-park standards, a good value. Just stay away from the Chocolate Spots.

Related Candies

  1. Universal CityWalk for Candy Lovers
  2. M&Ms Memorable Moments (Disney)
  3. Disneyland Candy Novelties
  4. Disneyland Candy Palace - Candy Case Chocolates
  5. Disneyland for Candy Bloggers
Name: Disney Chocolates (various)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Disney
Place Purchased: Disnelyland Candy Palace
Price: $1.25-$1.50
Size: 1.5 ounces to 2.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: varies
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, Caramel, Nuts, United States, Disney, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:29 am     Comments (14)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Head to Head: Twisted vs Take 5

TwistedSometimes I wonder if these energy bars are really better than plain old candy bars. Back in the depression candy bars were meal replacements. Many were packed with nuts and over two ounces, which made them a pretty cheap source of satisfying calories at a nickle.

Of course the object these days is not the maximum number of calories per ounce, but how good the nutrition profile is.

Take 5When I want a little lasting energy & snack, I usually reach for some sort of nutty bar, as they tend to have a good amount of protein. Payday bars are always dependable. But I’m also a fan of Lara Bars, which are basically mashed up almonds and dates with a few spices thrown in. At about twice the price though, I often grab the Payday ... and I don’t feel that bad about it.

TwistedAt the 7-11 I spied this little bar in a red metallic wrapper. It’s called Twisted, a “four layered protein bar” features pretzels, caramel, peanuts, nougat and a chocolate coating.

This sounded familiar. In fact, it looked familiar ... very familiar. The Take 5 features pretzels, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter and milk chocolate. Wow, not much difference there ... even in the ordering of the elements.

The price?

Well, Twisted was $1.29 and a Take 5 is $.89 at the 7-11.

The taste?

Take 5I’ve reviewed the Take 5 before and I stand by it. It’s a good bar with a lot of variety of texture in it, not too sweet and because it’s in two pieces, it’s easy to have a little now, have a little later.

The Twisted bar is merely a Tiger’s Milk bar covered in weak chocolate with a pretzel thrown in. It smells like baby formula. It seriously tasted like I was chomping on vitamin leather or something. I often enjoy things that are rather unpalatable, just because I’m fascinated by all the different flavors there are and maybe catty things I can say about it. I didn’t enjoy this, even for the prospect of reviewing it. Luckily the two piece format of the Take 5 meant that I had a palate cleansing second piece at hand.

So you might feel like you’re doing the right thing when you eat this lower calorie version of a Take 5, but you’re certainly not going to enjoy it.

I have to admit that it’s probably unfair to match a candy bar with an energy bar ... but hey, that’s the breaks. They started it by packaging it to look an awful lot like the Take 5.

For some other balanced reviews of snack bars, check out I Ate a Pie’s special roundup from earlier this year.

Nutrition versus Taste
Bar Twisted Take 5
Size 1.62 ounces 1.5 ounces
Fat Grams 6 g (9%) 10 g (15%)
Sodium 150 mg (6%) 180 mg (8%)
Protein 15 g (30%) 4 g
Carbs 21 g (7%) 26 g (95)
Calories 190 210
Brand Premier Nutrition Hershey
Dietary Status none Kosher
Rating 2 out of 10 9 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     Comments (8)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Melster Marshmallow Eggs

Eek! The end of the week is coming and I still have oodles of Easter candy left to review. Time to double up!

Melster Marshmallow EggsI’ve never heard of Melster before this year, but I have to say that I found their packaging of their Marshmallow Eggs prety appealing. It’s just an egg carton, so call me easily pleased.

The eggs themselves are about half the size of an actual chicken egg (sliced longways), so they don’t sit quite right in the egg carton. In fact, if you don’t carry the carton horizontally, they’ll all roll out of their little pockets. But not with the messy effect of real eggs. At 45 calories per egg and only 1.5 grams of fat they’re not a bad little treat for someone looking for a little chocolate and a bit more interaction satisfaction than 45 calories of straight chocolate can give.

image

The marshmallow inside is bouncy and light, not terribly moist. The chocolate outside wasn’t eggciting, just a rather unremarkable coating of plain dark sweet chocolate. The first one I ate (the one pictured) tasted rather like the carton they were in ... a little chemical-y. So for my next tasting I took them out of the carton and left them on a little plate for a half an hour. You know, “to breathe.” That little airing out helped. Now they taste sweet and flavorless. Not bad ... not eggstraodinary by any means, but I only paid 99 cents for the carton of twelve ... what could I have been eggspecting?

Rating: 4 out of 10

DSC09401rAfter I picked up the carton of Marshmallow Eggs, I found more of the Melster marshmallow line at the 99 Cent Only Store. They had the plain eggs in individually wrapped packets like this as well as these Caramel Marshmallow Eggs. There are only 6 eggs in this package and it doesn’t even weigh as much. But I still considered the price more than reasonable.

Where the plain eggs were only 45 calories each, the addition of caramel here makes them 60 calories though still only a gram of fat. I’m guessing the difference is that the caramel eggs are just a little denser (though the same size).

image

While I wanted to like these, they had a latexy quality ... and I don’t mean the texture. They tasted like someone had just painted my mouth. That fresh paint smell was coupled with the taste of cereal, maybe corn flakes.

So, maybe these needed the same “airing out” ... and that’s what I did. A half an hour out of the package. Ugh, it still tasted like a can of latex wall paint (maybe ceiling paint, my palette isn’t that sophisticated when it comes to interior coatings).

Now, I recognize that I’ve not reviewed candies for fans of paint fumes, so consider this your first whole hearted recommendation.

For those of you who are not fans of sitting around smelling the paint dry, well, I’d advise sticking to the plain eggs or splurge for Russell Stover or even better See’s.

Rating: 2 out of 10

More about the history of the Melster Company which is now owned by Impact Confections (makers of Warheads).

Name: Marshmallow Eggs & Caramel Marshmallow Eggs
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Melster (Impact Confections)
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Vermonica) & 99 Cent Only Store (Torrance)
Price: $.99 each
Size: 5 ounces & 3.375 ounces
Calories per ounce: 108 & 106
Categories: Chocolate, Marshmallow, Caramel, United States, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:12 pm     Comments (12)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Peruvian Candies

My next door neighbors went to Peru for three weeks and brought back a huge cache of Peruvian (and South American) consumer candies. (They also brought some cookies, but I’ll try to keep this focused.) I find it quite fun to sample the consumer candies of all countries and regions and Peru was no different. So here are nine candies from Peru:

LentejasName: Lentejas
Brand: Nestle
Size: 36 grams

These little guys probably look familiar. They’re chocolate lentils ala Nestle Smarties. Only they’re not quite Smartie-like ... they’re the same size as M&Ms (Smarties are just slightly flatter and larger than M&Ms). The shell on these is very thick and crunchy. The colors are unbelievably bright.

The chocolate itself is only so so - grainy, too sweet and completely lacking in chocolate taste.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Peruvian Milk ChocolateName: Prime Peruvian Milk Chocolate
Brand: Winter’s
Size: 100 grams

This bar had a lovely photo of the cloud-wrapped city of Machu Picchu on the box. Inside the box the large chocolate tablet was inside a plastic wrapper that looked exactly the same.

The bar was attractive: a dark looking milk chocolate.

Peruvian Milk ChocolateThe snap was not as sharp as some dark chocolates can be and it had a rather soft bite as many milk chocolates do. The flavor is rather milky, in a goat-cheese sort of way, with a little tangy note. The flavor of the chocolate was also strongly raisiny. It was very pleasant though completely different than most other milk chocolate bars I’ve had.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Cua CuaName: Cua Cua
Brand: Lacta (Kraft)
Size: 18 grams

This is one of those bars that looks huge. The package is about the size a set of Twix bars, yet it only weighs 18 grams. This featherweight bar is all wafers with some light mockolate coating. Between the wafers is a little cocoa cream.

The bar, called Cua Cua, I’m guessing is a play on the sound a duck makes.

The bar smells sweet and a bit of chocolate. It’s also a little smoky smelling, though I couldn’t quite figure that out from the ingredients.

Cua CuaThe smoky notes gave it a little bacon flavor that I wasn’t really happy with. The wafers were crunchy and foamy - providing more light texture than taste in this party in my mouth.

The mockolate was of course waxy and unappealing. It often flaked off the bar when I bit into it. I’m a big fan of wafer with cream (I can’t imagine how many pounds of Nabisco Wafers I’ve eaten over the years) but this one just wasn’t quite as ducky as I’d hoped.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

CanonazoName: Ca?onazo
Brand: Costa
Size: 26 grams

This bar calls itself “barrita ba?ada rellena con crema de chocolate” which I’m guessing means chocolate filling with crisp wafers bathed in chocolate.

The crisp log of wafer was interesting, kind of like a sweet Cheeto. The chocolate filling was like a frosting, with a good chocolate taste and slightly grain. Like the Cua Cua, this was a light bar. Though it’s big it only weighs 26 grams (and is the size of a Snickers ... which are 58 grams). Unfortunately the coating on the outside isn’t chocolate and it’s rather waxy and uninteresting.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Gomas EucaliptoName: Gomas Eucalypto
Brand:  F y D Inversiones, SAC
Size: 125 grams

These are crazy! Crazy, I tell you.

They’re little gummis covered with granulated sugar. About the size and shape of an incense cone. Nice and soft but with a good gelatin bounce. They look like they could be green apple or lime or maybe even spearmint. But they’re not. They’re mentholated eucaplytus flavored. Just like Hall’s Cough Drops.

Gomas EucaliptoThey’re sweet and aromatic and tingly.

It’s rather refreshing to get a cough drop that’s not all crunchy and hard, instead it’s soothing and invigorating all at once.

Definitely a winner in my book.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

NikoloName: Nikolo
Brand: Arcor
Size: 30 grams

The packaging here is pretty, it’s a white thick plastic wrap with a bold brown logo for the name of the bar and pretty little pictures of the nuts in the bar.

The label says, “tableta con sabor a chocolate rellena con mani almendra y cereal crocante” which means “peanut, almond and crispy cereal filled chocolatey bar.”

NikoloThe chunky look of the bar reminded me of Legos and was just about as tasty.

The nuts were fresh and crunchy and gave the bar a promising aroma, but the mockolate in this bar was waxy, chalky and just so bad. Look at it in the photo ... does that look like something you’re supposed to eat or something I molded out of dung?

Rating: 2 out of 10.

GolpeName: Golpe
Brand: Arcor
Size: 27 grams

If it weren’t for the Arcor brand on this, I’d be looking forward to this bar. The label says “Oblea rellena cubierta con caramelo y cereal crocante, con cobertura sabor chocolate” ... which translates to (courtesy of the wrapper, thankyouverymuch) “Filled wafer, toffee, crispies, all covered with chocolate flavor.”

Oh Arcor, again with the chocolate flavor? Is that why your company motto is “Le damos sabor al mundo” (translation: We flavor the world)?

GolpeIt’s a nice looking wrapper and it made me think of soccer.

The bar looks promising as well, with it’s crunchy studded mockolate. Inside are wafers with creme filling and then a scant covering of glistening caramel (I’m guessing that’s the toffee). The wafers are nice, and the toffee adds some nice flavor to the whole thing, but the bar had a rather chemical taste, like licking fresh dry cleaning. I don’t know if that’s the taste of Carbox/Methylcellulose (the last ingredient on the list), but it made my tongue buzz.

After this series of Arcor products they are now on my list as the Worst Candymakers in the World. (Granted, I haven’t tried everything made by everyone yet.)

This candy bar was made in Chile.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

SublimeName: Sublime
Brand: Nestle
Size: 22 grams

This is a cute little bar. The wrapper says, “Chocolate Blanco de leche con Mani” which is “white milk chocolate with peanuts.” Doesn’t sound too bad.

And it is pretty cute to look at.

SublimeThe chocolate is rather sweet, but also has a salty bite to it, which helped the peanut flavors stand out. I’m wondering if this was not de-odorized cocoa butter (most white chocolate is deodorized, so it has no chocolate flavor to it). It just may have been that the milk flavors with the peanuts were strong.

It was actually pretty good white chocolate bar. A little grainy but not the least bit waxy.

This bar was made in Bolivia.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

PrincesaName: Princesa
Brand: Nestle
Size: 38 grams

This is a cute little bar and of course has a upscale appeal of a regal name like Princesa. The ingredients are promising too, real chocolate in there.

The bar says that it’s “chocolate relleno con crema de mani” which means “chocolate stuffed with peanut butter.” Yum!

PrincesaThe chocolate here is dark (though there’s some milk listed in the ingredients, it’s way down the list). It’s a creamy though sweet bar. The peanut butter is very smooth and creamy as well and is completely overshadowed by the chocolate.

There’s a little spicy taste in the background, kind of like cinnamon.

This is a nice bar, not as peanutty as I expected, but as sedate and reserved as you’d expect from royalty.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:14 am     CandyReviewArcorKraftNestleCaramelChocolateCookieGummi CandyMockolateNutsPeanutsWhite Chocolate2-Appalling3-Unappealing4-Benign5-Pleasant6-Tempting7-Worth ItBrazilPeruComments (78)

Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

Facebook IconTwitter IconTumblr IconRSS Feed IconEmail Icon

COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-48 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

image

ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Russell Stover Cake Truffles

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

image