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Belgium

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate

Trader Joe's Crispy Rice Milk ChocolateOne of my favorite candy combinations is milk chocolate and cereal. You’d think it would be great to live in the United States, then, which has two nationally branded crisped rice bars: Nestle Crunch and Hershey’s Krackel. But they are both pale versions of what a crisped rice and chocolate bar could be.

So, I’ve been hunting for a great crisped rice bar and at the moment my go-to is oddly the Ritter Sport Cornflakes Bar because the chocolate is actually good and the cereal flakes provide that salty, malty crunch component that keeps it all from getting too sweet.

Trader Joe’s has finally come to the rescue with their Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate part of their line of stacks of small Belgian made bars sold near the check out counter (review of the dark chocolate here).

Trader Joe's Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate

The bars are well priced, you get three 1.4 ounce bars for $1.79. The whole stack is wrapped in cellophane and each bar is also individually wrapped and sealed for freshness. The bars are made in Belgium with high quality chocolate (for candy bars) which means 31% cacao content and 18% milk content. (And oodles of sugar, too.) Unlike the US counterparts, this is real milk chocolate (Krackel contains vegetable oil fillers while both also use artificial vanilla and lactose, a sugar filler).

Trader Joe's Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate

The size of the portion is ideal, at 1.4 ounces it’s 220 calories - more than enough for a snack but no risk of eating more (unless you really can’t control yourself and open one of the other bars). It smells milky and malty with a little toffee note. The melt of the chocolate is silky, it’s buttery slick and though sweet, the crunchy rice moderates it well. The crisped rice is the manufactured kind - you know, the perfect little spheres, not the rustic kernels from a breakfast bowl. This means that they’re very evenly distributed and very even overall, but I miss that variation in the crunch.

This really meets nearly all of my requirements for the perfect crisped rice bar ... there just aren’t enough Trader Joe’s.

The bar contains milk, wheat and soy and is made in a facility that also processed tree nuts and eggs. (No notation about peanuts.)

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Milk & Crisp Chocolate Eggs
  2. Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice & Corn Flakes
  3. Nestle Crunch - Even More Scrumptious
  4. Malley’s Chocolates
  5. Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Crisp
  6. Isle of Skye Seeds of Change Milk with Crispies
  7. World’s Finest W.F. Crisp
  8. Hershey’s Miniatures


Name: Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.79
Size: 1.4 ounces (3 bars)
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, 9-Yummy, Belgium

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateCookieKosher9-YummyBelgiumComments (1)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Godiva Cake Truffles

Godiva Chocolate was founded in Belgium in 1926 and since then has become a worldwide sensation and perhaps even a synonym for chocolate indulgence.

Godiva Cake Truffles

I’m often attracted to Godiva, because their packaging is so lovely and the marketing evokes all the right elements of delectability and luxury. But then I’m disappointed by the actual product. I’ve come to learn that the adjective Belgian is no better at describing quality than saying the word quality.

A reader, Sherrie, suggested I try the new Cake Truffle collection from Godiva. I saw the box at Barnes & Noble, and found it enchantingly appealing.

A perfect serving of cake in a classic Godiva delivery, this collection was crafted in collaboration with Chef Duff Goldman, star of the Food Network show Ace of Cakes. Each of the four truffles was inspired by a Duff cake creation, as well as his contagious culinary passion & imagination. Includes Butterscotch Walnut Brownie, Pineapple Hummingbird, Cookie Dough and Birthday Cake truffles.

Since I can’t have walnuts, I decided to visit one of their shops to make sure I only bought pieces I could eat and since I spotted it in the case, I substituted their Red Velvet Cake Truffle for the Butterscotch Walnut Brownie.

Godiva Cookie Dough Truffle
Cookie Dough Truffle white chocolate center with a dark chocolate inner shell and cookie dough flavored outer candy coating then decorated with sprinkles

This truffle had a nice soft bite to it with a light cocoa flavor from the shell and the rustic sprinkles. It wasn’t as sweet as I expected, but didn’t really have the flavor profile or notes of actual cookie dough to satisfy me from its name alone. Other than that, it was just a not-quite-as-sweet-as-all-white-chocolate truffle.

Godiva Pineapple Hummingbird Truffle
Pinneaple Hummingbird Truffle Pineapple flavored white chocolate ganache with an orange white chocolate coating and a jaunty yellow flower decoration

I liked this one the best of the assortment. The flavors were mild and it was certainly a sweet truffle, but it did have a nice touch of pineapple. The milky white chocolate was a bit like coconut, so the whole thing was evocative of a Pina Colada.

Godiva Birthday Cake Truffle
Birthday Cake Truffle A vanilla white chocolate center with a milk chocolate inner shell, a pink confection coating and white nonpareils on top

I have to say that this was one of the most attractive of the set. I loved how they looked in the tray in the candy case. The reminded me of the ever-so-trendy cake pops right now. As far as birthday cake, I would say that this truffle, with this mostly white chocolate ingredients really nailed the yellow cake profile. It’s sweet and milky, but also a little greasy feeling on the tongue. There are more vanilla notes in this one but the one saving grace are the little crunches of the sprinkles.

Godiva Red Velvet Cake Truffle
Red Velvet Truffle Chocolate ganache in a white chocolate shell. This was not a Duff Goldman creation.

I’m not fond of Red Velvet cake to begin with, but the key elements of the cake would be its light cocoa note to a buttermilk cake and a cream cheese frosting. What I found here was a weakly chocolate ganache center and a bland white chocolate shell. Sweet but lacking the tangy notes that buttermilk and cream cheese bring along. It was just a bland chocolate truffle.

I bought my truffles by the piece, saving myself a smidge of money. I got five truffles (the fifth is not pictured and was the 70% Noir, which was good but not intense) and spent over $11. The standard box of 8 truffles (5.25 ounces) is $25. That works out to about $76 per pound. Ultimately this purchase confirmed my current feelings about Godiva. There are so many wonderful local confectioners that use high quality ingredients to create fresh and scrumptious delicacies, I don’t need this sort of mass produced product any longer. If I’m going to buy boxed chocolates at the mall, I will go to See’s, where the price is around $20 a pound and there are always free samples.

Related Candies

  1. Niederegger Marzipan Classics
  2. Cupcake Bites
  3. Godiva Gems Peppermint Truffles
  4. Godiva Spring Pearls
  5. Godiva Shamrock Truffles
  6. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Cake Truffles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Godiva
Place Purchased: Godiva (Glendale Galleria)
Price: $8.80
Size: 2.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Godiva, Chocolate, White Chocolate, 4-Benign, Belgium

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:22 am     CandyReviewGodivaChocolateKosherWhite Chocolate4-BenignBelgiumComments (11)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs

Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini EggsIn the past five years it’s gotten a little easier to find ethically sourced candies for the holidays.

Divine Chocolate makes Fair Trade certified chocolate using cocoa from the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana. For the most part in the United States we just get their bars, but for the past two or three years, I’ve seen some of their holiday items at stores like Whole Foods.

The Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs are described as milk chocolate eggs with hazelnut praline filling. The upright box comes in the palest pearl blue color with some very light icons in the background in the same style as their bars. The box only holds 3.5 ounces, which is about 8 foil wrapped praline filled eggs. At Whole Foods they cost $4.49 per package.

Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs

These remind me an awful lot of the fair trade Tony’s Chocolonely Easter Eggs available in Europe. So much that I’m wondering if there’s a common production facility in common.

The eggs are 1.5 inches long and about an inch at the widest. They come in two different foil colors: gold and pale blue. Inside the foil the eggs have an interesting shell pattern that reminds me of crocodile.

Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs

Each egg is about 13 grams or .46 ounces, so they’re quite a little morsel. The suggested serving is three eggs and I calculated that they’re about 70 calories each, which means 153 calories per ounce ... a rather fatty little chocolate egg. But there is one gram of protein per egg. The ingredients say that the chocolate is 27% cocoa solids and 20% milk solids. Also, the entire candy is 19% hazelnuts. The chocolate is fair trade certified, but that only makes up 67% of the ingredients.

The milk chocolate shell is filled with a thick and dense milk chocolately hazelnut cream. They smell deeply toasty and nutty. The milk chocolate is sweet and sticky and tastes pretty much the same as the filling. It’s soft and rib-sticking with a good mouthfeel and melt. It’s a little on the fudgy side, but barely grainy (the particles from the hazelnut). They’re really filling and though very sweet, it’s not to the point that it burns my throat.

Many fair trade sweets are more for adults, this one would definitely please children. It’s attractive, filling and well made. The price is a bit dear, but that’s what happens when you pay everyone involved a decent wage.

Related Candies

  1. Pernigotti Gianduia: Piedmont Hazelnut Paste
  2. Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Easter Eggs
  3. Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)
  4. Real Eggshell filled with Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle
  5. Choceur Nougat Bites & Marzipan Bites
  6. Caffarel Gianduias
  7. Lake Champlain Hazelnut Eggs


Name: Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Divine Chocolate
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $4.49
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Easter, Divine Chocolate, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Belgium, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:26 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEasterDivine ChocolateChocolateEthically SourcedNuts7-Worth ItBelgiumWhole FoodsComments (3)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trader Joe’s Les Chocolats Belgique (Belgian Bars): Caramel, Chocolate Buttercream & Speculoos

Trader Joe's Belgian BarsFor the past few weeks running up to Valentine’s Day I’ve noticed quite a few ads for Cartier, especially in my New Yorker magazines. They feature three rings and extoll the virtues of this trinity: love, friendship and fidelity. Trader Joe’s has done something different with their new trinity, but I think they embody the same attributes.

There are three new petite bars at Trader Joe’s, sold under the banner of Les Chocolats de Belgique. They’re only a dollar each, so I figured why not try all of them. There’s the standard Milk Chocolate {filled with} Caramel, Dark Chocolate {filled with} Chocolate Buttercream and the most intriguing of the set, Dark Chocolate {filled with} Speculoos Cookie Spread. I’m going to go with Chocolate Buttercream representing love, Caramel represents fidelity and Speculoos represents friendship.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie BarI have to be honest, I had no idea what Speculoos was until about a year ago, and now it seems to be as trendy as bacon. In reality I actually knew Speculoos quite well. In the United States and Canada they’re known as Dutch Windmill Cookies. They’re just molded, rather thin, butter cookies that are not quite a shortbread, have more molasses or brown sugar in them and a touch of spices (usually cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger). The variety my grandmother always kept in a tin on her counter usually had sliced almonds in them and were less spicy than the German/Dutch varieties I’ve tried since. The cookies are common in Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, especially before Christmas and the Epiphany.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Bar

Lately the confectionery trend has been to add crushed cookies to chocolate bars and now Trader Joe’s has a version that employs a spread made with Speculoos (think of it as a cookie version of Nutella).

All of the bars are the same format: a nicely molded long and thick filled chocolate bar. This one clocks in at 1.58 ounces (the others are 1.5 ounces) and a whopping 165 calories per ounce or 260 calories for the full bar.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Bar

The filling looks much lighter than the package, more like a light peanut butter than a chocolate spread. The filling is made from crushed cookies (so not gluten free) and some palm and coconut oils. It’s quite creamy with only a light grainy note to it of the cookies. The flavor is a lot like ground up shortbread with a light ginger and cinnamon spice note.

It’s comforting and pleasant, the texture is definitely fatty without feeling greasy. The chocolate is silky smooth with some light woodsy bitter notes that make the sweeter filling stand out. It’s a great change of pace for the price, but the calories make this one bar that I’m less likely to pick up.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate ButtercreamThe Dark Chocolate {filled with} Chocolate Buttercream bar is a little more traditional, but I must note that I was assuming that buttercream was going to be more ganache-like.

The buttercream center is actually made with something called “butter concentrate” and “milk concentrate.” If you’re dairy-adverse, steer clear of this bar. Even though it has lots of fat in it, it’s less calorie laden than the Speculoos bar, coming in at 230 calories for the 1.5 ounces or 153 calories per ounce.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate Buttercream

The dark chocolate is much more front and center on this bar. It’s silky smooth and melts well. The center is quite soft and reminds me a bit of the middle of a Lindt Lindor Truffle, but less watery tasting. The chocolate buttercream is not quite as intense as the shell but has an excellent full texture. There were a few sugar grains in it, but I didn’t mind (I find the graininess of some buttercream frostings to be a selling point).

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Filled with CaramelThe puzzling bar in the mix, and judging by how elections in this country go, the most popular is the Milk Chocolate {filled with} Caramel. (I don’t know why I have to keep putting those brackets in there, they were on the wrappers, so now they’re here.)

If you were to pick out one of the three based on calorie count, well, you’d probably opt for the Caramel bar because it’s only (only!) 220 calories and one more gram of sugar than the Speculoos bar. But many folks will like this because it features Belgian milk chocolate. So the concept is sound, but perhaps a little ordinary.

Trader Joe's Caramel Belgian Bar

The sugar is quite apparent. The milk chocolate is smooth and milky but so incredibly sweet that it’s hard to get any actual chocolate flavor from it because it seared my throat so badly. The caramel filling is wonderfully smooth as well and has a strong toffee flavor to it, it’s also salty and, well, sweet. It’s a tough bar for me to love. It’s certainly better than a Caramello, but it makes me realize that I don’t really like these sorts of bars much ... even when done well.

I’m more likely to buy these Belgian bars again than ever be interested in Cartier jewelry, but neither are quite to my style. The quality of ingredients is good and the price is excellent, but they’re just not for me. I’m hoping if they’re popular we’ll get some other variations.



Name: Dark Chocolate Filled with Speculoos Cookie Spread
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.58 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, Belgium


Name: Dark Chocolate Filled with Chocolate Buttercream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Belgium


Name: Milk Chocolate Filled with Caramel
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Belgium

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:00 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateCookie7-Worth ItBelgiumComments (6)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Belgian Milk Chocolate Thins

Belgian Chocolate ThinsA couple of years ago Trader Joe’s started carrying something called Chocolate Crisps. They’re thin pieces of chocolate, slightly bent with a few little bits of crisped rice in them.

As with many of Trader Joe’s products, they’re actually a much larger product line. I started seeing a nearly identical product in stores like Cost Plus World Market and Target called Belgian Chocolate Thins. In this case they’re made by a company called Royal Chocolates who actually patented their machine process for making these little thins. It’s underUS Patent 6,303,171. The process is kind of simple, according to the patent, deposit a little disk of chocolate on a flexible surface, then before it cools completely bend the sides up. (I’d hazard that Pringles are made in a similar fashion - but are fried while in their little forms.)

Belgian Chocolate Thins

The package describes them as Luscious, milk chocolate filled with crispy rice puffs. Simply irresistible!

They come in a tray, which is sealed in cellophane. The tray holds three stacks of approximately 12 pieces. Each little flick is two inches long and an inch and a half across, so a bit smaller than a Pringles potato snack.

Belgian Chocolate Thins

The package exhorts buyers to enjoy them all year round and suggests serving them with ice cream, coffee or decorating cupcakes. I think it’s safe to say that simply eating them is also a good year-round option. But I can imagine that they melt much quicker in the summer heat than more solid bars.

Belgian Chocolate Thins

The milk chocolate is rather dark, much darker than UK and American style dairy milk chocolate. The smell as much like sweetened cereal as they do like chocolate. They break easily and melt pretty well too. The first thing I got was a caramelly sweetness. The cocoa notes do come out and are quite woodsy. The rice crisps are crunchy, but not overly present as a texture as they disappear quickly. It does give a little malty flavor to it though.

Overall, a good little treat. It’s very easy to manage portions, because each piece is so light but takes a while to consume. They suggest a full stack of 12 pieces (1.5 ounces) but I found that about 8 or 9 was plenty and stretched out the package for four portions. I feel like it’s priced rather expensive, but a Belgian chocolate bar that actually weighs less often costs more. There’s a lot of packaging, but it’s well engineered since every single piece was whole and nothing was melted or bloomed.

They come in a variety of flavors: Caramel, Almond, Hazelnut, Dark and Mint. They’re not the first company to make this sort of thing. For a few years Hershey’s made a version called Swoops, which were pricey and didn’t catch on. Fast Company recently did a brief profile on the product line.

Belgian Chocolate Thins contain gluten, dairy and soy plus may contain traces of other tree nuts. (There’s no statement about peanuts, but they are made in Belgium where peanuts are less common.)

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp
  2. Nestle Crunch - Even More Scrumptious
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps
  4. Ferrara Belgian Milk Chocolate
  5. Q.Bel Wafer Rolls
  6. Ritter Schokowurfel
  7. Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
  8. Reese’s Swoops (Chocolate Chips)


Name: Belgian Milk Chocolate Thins
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Royal Chocolates
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Glendale)
Price: $2.99
Size: 4.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, 8-Tasty, Belgium, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateCookie8-TastyBelgiumCost PlusComments (5)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NewTree Belgian Biscuit

New Tree Belgian BiscuitNEWTREE is a Belgian chocolate company with a different take on the decadent chocolate traditions of their country. They make chocolate bars with interesting flavor combinations (like milk chocolate with lavender or dark chocolate with thyme). They also make bars that are fortified with healthy ingredients.

I picked up their new petite bar called NEWTREE Belgian Biscuit. It’s cute and just a little over an ounce.

Last year I reviewed their dark milk chocolate bar which has added fiber and less sugar. This bar also boast a reduced amount of sugar, though it doesn’t really save much in calories for a petite bar like this (about 5 calories as far as I can tell).

NEWTREE Biscuit Bar is rich in cocoa since it contains 65% pure cocoa. It is not only generous, but also light and crunchy. The delicacy of the biscuit and the subtle blend of flax seeds will stimulate your sense for a moment of relaxation and well-being.

The NEWTREE Biscuit Bar is rich in Omega 3 thanks to flax seed-based recipe, and contains 30% less sugar and 3 times as much fibers than an equivalent chocolate. A crunch snack bursting with creativity.

New Tree Belgian Biscuit

It’s a really nice looking bar - lovely molding and I like the shape for eating. It’s shiny and has a good cocoa aroma with a fresh woodsy note to it. It’s a long block with five thick sections.

The thickness let me really get the crunch of the biscuit bits. They were kind of like graham crackers, but not quite so sandy. They were small but well distributed. Then there were whole flax seeds. I like the idea of flax, but in reality they’re slimy little seeds that taste like fish to me. I’ll eat them and they’re just fine for savory crackers but I’ve decided they don’t belong in my chocolate.

The chocolate itself was strange. It was stiff and was lacking something in the melt, it wasn’t waxy but it also wasn’t quite the silky quick melt that I wanted. The flavor was rich but not deep.

I blame this on the added fiber, which probably takes away some of my much-loved cocoa solids or cocoa butter. The fiber comes from inulinoligofructose and dextrin.

I think I’ll stick to the more traditional Belgian chocolates and have an extra helping of green beans at dinner instead.

Related Candies

  1. NewTree Dark Milk
  2. Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious
  3. Eat with your Eyes: Choceur Choco & Biscuit
  4. The Alien Forehead Chocolate Collection
  5. Choco-Omeg
  6. Ritter Sport Assortment


Name: Belgian Biscuit
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: New Tree
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $1.50
Size: 1.06 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Candy, New Tree, Chocolate, Cookie, 6-Tempting, Belgium

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:04 pm     CandyNew TreeChocolateCookie6-TemptingBelgiumComments (1)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NewTree Dark Milk

New Tree Milk ChocolateNewTree is one of those feel good chocolate companies that balances the desires of the chocolatiers with nutritionists. Most of their products that I’ve tried until now have been their standard Belgian dark or milk chocolate blended with herbs or spices. Things like ginger, coffee, mint or lavender.

More recently they’ve been doing herbal infusions with alpha omega 3 fatty acids - so going more towards a nutraceutical than a simple decadent indulgence. One of the bars that seemed more mainstream is this NewTree Dark Milk 51% Cocoa I found at Target.

It boasts 3x more fiber, a full 51% cacao content and 30% less sugar than regular milk chocolate. I don’t usually expect my chocolate to do anything other than be chocolatey, but I thought I’d give it a try.

The box is simple, an easy to open tab top with a thin silver foil around the bar itself.

New Tree Milk Chocolate

The first thing I noticed was that the bar didn’t look anything like the package image. It doesn’t say New Tree on the pieces. It’s just a generic bar.

It’s a thin tablet, six by four. The snap is good, a little softer than a straight dark but not as soft as some fudgier milks I’ve had. The color is between a dark and a milk.

There’s a definite dairy scent to it, more than a cocoa note. The texture is smooth for the most part and rather light on the tongue. It’s a little sticky and has a cooling effect as it melts. It’s slightly chalky and every once in a while there’s a little fiber to it, or maybe it’s grit.

The cocoa notes are smoky and toasted, a light caramel tone and quite a bit of dairy.

The ingredients list is quite long: sugar, cacao mass, pure cacao butter, (inulin & oligofructose, dextrin) added for fiber, whole milk powder, natural vanilla flavor, vanilla bean powder extract, soy lecithin.

The trick with this bar is that the fiber takes up space that would ordinarily be occupied by sugar, milk or chocolate. The sweetness level of the chocolate is perfect, so the only reason to add more sugar would be because it’s cheaper than chocolate or milk. It doesn’t need more milk and any more chocolate and it wouldn’t really be milk chocolate any longer.

For folks watching their sugar intake, this is an impressive fete. There are 13 grams of sugar in a 40 gram serving, but also 2 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber & 14 grams of fat and only 170 calories (about 20 fewer per ounce than standard milk chocolate). It doesn’t taste like a compromise and is actually a nice, less sweet but still rich experience. I ended up eating the whole bar, and not just because I was reviewing it.

It’s a bit expensive, but again, for something that’s slightly better for you than the usual candy aisle fare that doesn’t taste like “healthy candy” it would be a nice option.

Related Candies

  1. Green & Black’s Peanut Milk Chocolate
  2. Scharffen Berger Dark Milk (68%)
  3. Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar
  4. Scharffen Berger Milk Nibby Bar
  5. Choco-Omeg
  6. Adora Calcium Tabs
  7. New Tree Chocolates


Name: Dark Milk 51% Cocoa
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: New Tree
Place Purchased: Target (Glendale)
Price: $2.99
Size: 2.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, New Tree, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Belgium, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:46 pm     CandyNew TreeChocolate7-Worth ItBelgiumTargetComments (2)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Hearts

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle fillingIf the statistics braniacs are correct, you’re less likely to receive chocolate this year than a year when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. This is because the major heart-shaped confectionery purchasers are men and when the holiday falls on a weekend the celebrations are more likely to be date-related than object-related.

I picked up this box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Hearts with Rich Truffle Filling on a weekend (long before Valentine’s Day though). The box holds 7.05 ounces and 16 Belgian truffles. Well, the package calls them truffles, I’m not convinced as you’ll see in a moment.

The flat and simple box has a stylized cartoonish design on the front though the overall format is similar to the Belgian Fancies I bought before Christmas.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle filling

I like the overall design, it’s simple and spare and not so precious or frilly that it couldn’t work for either gender or as a gift between friends or family.  The box does and excellent job of protecting the candies, which were all shiny and flawless.

Trader Joe's Truffle Hearts

The hearts are nicely sized for a single bite. They’re about one and a half inches at the widest, about three quarters of an inch high.

The ingredients list for these non-flavored bonbons is extremely long. In my perfect world the definitions of things like ganache and truffle are pretty strict. A truffle is chocolate mixed with extra dairy fats like butter or cream. That’s it. There can be flavorings, inclusions and maybe even nut butters but then it becomes a bonbon with a truffle ganache base filling. The Belgian maker of these has things in here like corn syrup (third ingredient) vegetable oils (fourth ingredient) and some other things like glycerin, crystalline fructose, mono & diglycerides and citric acid.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle fillingThe result of those ingredients is not so much of a mock ganache but something that I think of as really good chocolate frosting. The thing is, the reason to put all that extra fat into ganache is to make the melting point lower, so that it actually melts in your mouth quicker than chocolate. (Cocoa butter has a higher melting point than dairy butter.) Putting all those different oils in there just isn’t the same and things like corn syrup add moisture, which makes it chewy and gives it an almost-caramel like pull when it’s bitten.

Now, all that aside, they’re not bad to eat. The chocolate shell is rather sweet but very smooth. The flavors are berry and a little bit on the woodsy spice side. The semi-sweet shell plays well with the very sweet center. There’s a slight fudginess to it, I hesitate calling it a graininess but it simply tastes sugary instead of chocolatey. For a store bought box of chocolates, they’re not bad, but at $5 for a box I expect a little better. In fact, I wouldn’t mind paying an extra dollar for fewer ingredients and a more intense chocolate punch.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Belgian Chocolate Fancies
  2. Valerie Confections: Pour Homme and Pour Elle
  3. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  4. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  5. Choxie 3 Ounce Chocolate Bars
  6. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
Name: Dark Chocolate Hearts
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Chocolate, Belgium, Trader Joe's, Valentine's Day

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:36 am     Comments (7)

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