Monday, July 11, 2005
Name: Vaque Tona (Chocolate and Caramel)
In an attempt to be more international, I picked up these curiosities last week at the Big Lots, after being sent there by a blog posting about ice cream toppings.
Now, I know I said that buying candy at dollar stores is scary. And I don’t think this review should dissaude you from that notion.
I could not get an accurate translation of Vaque Tona on the web. I tried both Spanish and Portuguese (the manufacturer is in Brazil) but didn’t get much out of it. So I’ve decided these are called Cowbells. I think that’s what they’re supposed to look like. Unless they’re udders.
What they are is a little tube that ends in a mesh dome. You press up on the plunger inside the tube to dispense lickable goo ... something akin to frosting. You can suck it right from the plunger or smash the little ring into it and lick it off of that.
The two flavors I picked up were chocolate caramel and caramel.
It’s basically frosting. A cutesy delivery device for frosting. And that’d be okay if it was actually good frosting. Frosting isn’t that hard to make, so it’s beyond me why these can’t be good. First, they’re rather stale tasting. Sure, they’re sweet, but the chocolate one doesn’t really have a cocoa punch to it, more of a cardboard taste to it. It’s mostly smooth and creamy except for a plethora of little chunks of what I think are sugar. They don’t seem to be distributed consistently enough to be a feature, but they were both like that. The caramel one was very strong in its flavor, which I think is kind of an artificial vanilla flavor.
I’m gonna have to give this one a resounding thumbs down. Though the packaging and concept is sound, the execution is, well, unappealing.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Name: Hershey’s Double Chocolate
I’m not sure what Hershey’s is up to with this one. It’s just a bad idea. There are plenty of good filled candy bars, but I’m not sure I understand how you’d go so wrong with this one.
Inside on the little white cardboard tray is a bar with four square segments of milk chocolate. Inside those is something that looks like Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Which we all know isn’t chocolate, it’s just cocoa/sugar/water. So what you end up with is a very sweet milk chocolate outside and a sickly sweet cardboard tasting sugar goo. It’s messy, it’s sticky.
I hope that this edition is very limited because this bar is just sad and cheap. I ate two out of the four squares and threw the other half out. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Hershey’s makes good product. It’s consistent and fresh and I applaud their use of the “Limited Edition” to try out new flavor combinations, but I’m not sure how this one made it past the test stage. I would also suggest the use of freshness dating.
Rating - 3 out of 10.
Monday, May 9, 2005
Name: Neon Lasers
I had high hopes for these, though I’ve steered clear of pixie stix and smarties for some years. I love the pure sugar rush, but of course hate the crash. I consider pixie sticks and smarties to pretty much be candy cocaine.
Pixie stix are notoriously expensive, which baffles me. They’re sugar and some sour stuff, probably citric acid or malic acid. That’s it. Maybe they’re hard to produce, stuffing them into those little paper tubes.
These Neon Lasers are in plastic tubes and are they ever tough to open. If you’re lucky, you get one that opens when you crack the seal at one end by pressing the little seal the opposite direction that it’s flattened. Otherwise, just keep some scissors handy.
Upon pouring about a third of a laser into my mouth, I found that it was not power, but little grains, well, really large grains. A cross between sea salt and kosher salt. The crunchy part is just sugar and the little grit around it is the flavor. Will seemed only slightly more pleased with them than I was, but given the opportunity to take them home, he declined. I’d venture that meant a low rating from him too.
I’m wholly unpressed. It’s not really that they taste bad, they just aren’t worth the trouble.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
In some ways I think that the Jelly Belly candies created after the flavors in the Harry Potter Books are more easily recommended than these candies. Those are meant to have an alarming taste. These, I think are supposed to be delectable.
For the record I like Jelly Bellies. Though not all the flavors. I like that I can buy just the flavors I like and that the flavor goes through and through, not just in the outside.
The candies, when tipped out of their little box, are a riot of dingy colors. I’m not a flavored chocolate snob. I like combinations of chocolate with such things as mint, fruit flavors, nuts, liquors - really just about anything can be combined with chocolate. The color coding is not terribly clear. The colors depicted on the box are not true to life, so the yellow they show for banana on the box is more like a caramel color in real life. Sometimes they’re supposed to have speckles on them, but I didn’t always get them on mine. They vary widely in size, too. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, but I’m used to my plain M&Ms being the same size.
The flavors are not alarming in and of themselves - blueberry, apricot, grape, *raspberry, *cappuccino, *honey graham cracker, strawberry cheesecake, *orange juice, tutti-frutti, green apple, buttered popcorn, sizzling cinnamon, *coconut, cotton candy, toasted marshmallow, ice blue mint, juicy pear, licorice, very cherry and top banana. I’ve marked those that I thought were tasty with a star.
Mostly they’re too sweet, grainy and the flavorings are overtly plastic. There’s no essence to them, just a hint of artificiality to them in the candy shell and some ordinary cheap milk chocolate in the center. The snackability is lost because I really wouldn’t want to inadvertently combine a juicy pear with a licorice.
Thank you, I’ll stick to my M&Ms.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.