Monday, June 06, 2005
Name: BruCo Rum and Vanilla
This is some lovely packaging. The box is matte cardboard with gold embossed names and a beautiful artisan quality to it. Inside the box is a mylar package with the bar with scoring for four servings. There’s also a little booklet in there, one side in English, the other in Italian. The brochure details the mission of BruCo which is to mix the finest chocolate with the finiest spices and essences to produce innovative combinations.
The Man brought this back from Portland, Ore as a gift. He picked it up in a gourmet deli (more review to come of the other gifts this week). This bar has a wonderful rich, roasted and sweet aroma upon opening the mylar. It’s followed by a lingering rum essence that compliments the alcoholic finish of chocolate. The bar is very dark, nearly black. The chocolate is a little sweet, but yields quickly in the mouth, melting easily. It has a slight fluffy grain to it (hard for me to describe) - the bar feels light on the tongue, where some feel heavier than they look. This chocolate has a cooling effect in the mouth and the rum flavor is very pronounced. However, I could not get beyond the taste of egg nog as the most overpowering element. It’s odd because nutmeg is a spice that I associate most with egg nog and this is purported to be vanilla flavored.
Overall, the bar is nice and I found myself gravitating towards it all weekend (it’s gone now). I don’t know if I would buy it again, with the price being the prohibitive part of this. However, if offered to me, I would certainly eat it again. I’ll have a review of their Arancio Cannella one later this week, which might prompt me to seek out this manufacturer again.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Friday, June 03, 2005
Dovetailing with my earlier post about revisiting classics with new interpretations, Hershey’s recently launched “Candy to Go!” It’s just smaller packaging of their previously introduced Bites, but what I found interesting is that I thought most candy was packaged for going ...
These are perfect little bites of candy bars. I picked up three at the store on the lot today. Kit Kat Bites, Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites and York Bites. Each is about the size of a small marble, more or less. The York bites are exactly what you’d expect, dark chocolate covering a mint cream center. The Reese’s bites are covering a peanut butter cup filling (not that waxy Reese’s pieces stuff) and the Kit Kat bites are like little Kit Kat cubes.
Here’s my thing: I like appropriate ratios. In the case of the Reese’s bites and the York bites, the ratio of chocolate to filling is appropriate. Though the chocolate in these little poppers is slightly different - because it’s in a spherical shape, I think they toss a little resinous glaze on it. This makes for a slight waxy coating, which in one respect is good, because you can actually hold them in your hand for a moment without getting melty all over you, but it also means that you’re eating this resin and that you need to kind of get past that when you put it in your mouth.
In the Kit Kat bites, it feels like too much chocolate (Kit) and not enough crisp wafers (Kat).
The other odd thing about these are the portion size: 2.75 oz and that’s a full serving. Most candy bars are about 1.5 oz and have about 200 calories. The Reese’s bites have 410 calories! If you can control yourself and not eat them all at once, you’ll make it to fifty without a coronary. Me? I ate the whole York Bites and then moved on to the Reese’s and of course had to open the Kit Kat for a taste. Sadly, all that’s left now are some of the Kit Kats.
Name: York Bites
Good chocolate, nice mint, pretty much a tiny spherical peppermint patty. The only problem I had with these was the variation in quality. Some were soft and fresh, but others were rather hard. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re spoiled, maybe the chocolate didn’t seal in the filling completely and they dried out.
Name: Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites
Okay, of the three, these smelled absolutely divine when I opened the package. A wonderful roasted peanut scent with the sweet overtone of chocolate. Really, these smelled awesome. They taste good, and I think I’d buy them again, especially as something to eat when at the movies, but I still prefer the miniatures for the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter.
Name: Kit Kat Bites
My least favorite of the three, but I’ve always been fond of Kit Kats and buy them often. But my favorite thing about Kit Kats is deconstructing them while I eat, which means prying off each layer with my teeth. That’s not really feasible with this iteration, so I’d just have to eat them and where’s the fun in that?
I’m not always fond of miniatures or giganto bars, but I think that Hershey’s really did a nice job of inventing these as candy that stands alone without the other versions. As always, freshness helps, if these were old and had bloomed or something, I’d find them absolutely unappealing. But I find these to be the perfect movie food or good to tuck in your bag to share with others.
UPDATE: It looks like these didn’t go over very well and have been discontinued. The remaining inventory can still be found at discount stores like 99 Cent Only. (But be sure to look at the expiration date before you take a chance.)
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Name: United Coffee Candy
Two different kinds of coffee hard candy. United Coffee Candy is from Thailand and the candies are little, flat rectangles and the Bali’s Best are from Indonesia (Bali) and are circular. Both have similar ingredients - leading with Sugar, then Glucose Syrup with Bali’s Best adding a little dried milk and then both round it out with coffee powder and oil. Pretty simple, and both get it absolutey right.
Each of them are crisp and densely rich. Sweet but with a robust and full sweet coffee flavor. Bali’s is just a little creamier because of the milk powder, but it also has a little more of a bitter twang to it.
Though the shapes are different, each are individually wrapped in sealed pouches.
Both are definitely keepers, something I’ll keep in the car or my purse or even the desk drawer. Easy to share and since I’m the type who likes to crunch her hard candies, these are very satisfying with a toffee consistency.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Name: Turkish Delight (Hazelnut)
I’ve gotten the impression that some of those who come to the Candy Blog are curious about Turkish Delight. I’ve already detailed my impressions of The Ginger People’s Ginger Delight. Today’s review is of a more traditional Turkish Delight.
But first a little background from the back of the package:
Most Turkish Delight I’ve had in the past was coated in a mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, which makes it rather messy and though it’s a pretty bland coating, it does make for a sweet coating. Turkish Delight is generally flavored with scents - light and aromatic scents. In the past I’ve had Orange Blossom, Rosewater and Lemon.
This traditional Hazelnut Turkish Delight from Sultan is coated in coconut, which keeps the cubes from sticking together or to your fingers but also adds a wonderful nutty/chewy texture to the delicate sugar paste and hazelnuts (filberts).
Turkish Delight is probably not a treat for everyone. It’s not really a “snackable” treat where you can take it to a movie and pop them in your mouth. It’s more like something you’d put out with some nice cookies on a plate with some delicate tea.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Name: Peanut Butter Ginger Chews
I happen to love ginger. I love the stuff the Ginger People put out. I think I’ve seen this product offered by them as well.
Imagine a peanut butter taffy chew (with real nuts in it) and add some spicy ginger and you’ll have Peanut Butter Ginger Chews.
They’re soft, but not sticky. Chewy but not hard. Crunchy and smooth.
I was kind of dubious when I took it out of the package, because it looks like a powdery turd. But they’re rather addictive. And unlike the regular ginger chews, these aren’t as sticky and the peanut butter keeps them from giving you a hard sugar rush.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Name: Hi-SOFT Caramel and Milk Caramel
First, I give high marks to Morinaga’s packaging team. Like the Hi-CROWN chocolate, the Hi-SOFT caramel comes in a spiffy hard box, perfect for carrying in a pocket or purse and fun to flip open to share. I’m not sure how many caramel products Morinaga markets, but these are just two I’ve found.
Of the two, I prefer the taste and texture of the yellow box Milk Caramel. Both are soft and chewy without being grainy, but the milky smoothness of the Milk Caramel far outweighs the Hi-SOFT’s keen box. Of course nothing will ever top the happy fat cows that got me started on the Japanese caramels.
In fact, of all the caramels I’ve tasted over the past few months, I like the Milk Caramel best. Looking over the ingredients it has the right mix of sugar and milk products, a dash of salt and something I didn’t expect - tea extract.
Rating: Hi-SOFT - 6 out of 10; Milk Caramel - 8 out of 10
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Name: Dagoba Chai
There was a small selection of these organic bars at Whole Foods. Some are single origin and some are flavored, like this one. Basically I see chocolate in two different ways, some chocolate is for snacking and some is for savoring. It expected this to be savoring chocolate, however, I found it to be extremely snackable.
The Chai bar is milk chocolate with chai spices and ginger. Opening the package I found the spicy aroma quite evident. Not overly any particular spice, it smelled more like a spice cupboard. A little like pumpkin pie, actually.
On the tongue the chocolate melts easily and is immediately sweet. The mix of flavor is not intense but really a great compliment.
I plan on buying some more Dagoba chocolate again. I think I’ll try their tasting squares.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
PS - One of the problems with this candy is that every time I hear the name or see it or type it, it reminds me of the Weird Al song called Yoda (to the tune of the Kinks’ Lola). It starts with the line, “I met him in a swamp down in Dagoba.”
Friday, April 29, 2005
Name: Chewy Centered Gobstopper
I guess it’s appropriate to visit the Wonka line of candies since there will be another movie soon. There are very few actual products out there, I reckon, that were created based on a novel. And more than a novelty, some of the Wonka candies are pretty good. The brand itself is an odd one, changing hands from time to time and amassing some other brands in the meantime (did you know that Bottle Caps are now Wonka products?).
Besides the odd history, I thought I’d do a little review of the Everlasting Gobstopper since I found that they’ve created a new version - the Chewy Centered Gobstopper.
First, a Gobstopper is a jawbreaker that has different flavored layers and in the center is a sweet-tart sphere. When I was a kid the Gobstoppers were large, like real jawbreakers. I haven’t seen those in years, but have been able to find the boxes of Gobstoppers that contain little marble sized versions. They come in bright colors and the layers change flavor three or four times before getting to the center. The flavor itself is rather bland, more sweet than tart, but it has a pleasant cooling feel to the smooth surface.
The Chewy Gobstopper has the same flavor except for the center, which is much larger, so the layers are fewer or thinner (I couldn’t figure it out because I kept chewing them up before getting to the center). They’re very much the same as the regular Gobstopper and I think I might buy them again. Especially if I can find them at the 99 cent store.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
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