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Friday, November 21, 2014

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan PieRussell Stover has been branching out into more pie flavors for their novelty confections. The Big Bite line already includes S’mores and Apple Pie, now there’s Russell Stover’s Big Bite Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie is actually just candy in a flaky pastry dough, as far as I’m concerned. The pecan pie filling is a cross between a custard and a fudge, a mix of fats and sugar ... all topped with caramelized pecans. Most pecan pie lacks enough pecans as far as I’m concerned, and I usually want mine in the filling, not just on top.

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Even though this traveled about a thousand miles, it did well. The graham cracker base was just a little rounded off and about half of the pecans fell off the top. (But were very easy to just pour into my mouth from the package.) This version of pecan pie has milk chocolate ... which isn’t a bad thing, I often enjoy a chocolate pecan pie, or at least a pecan pie with a hot fudge sauce on it.

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Like many pecan pies, the center here has no pecans in it, it’s just a penuche-type fudge center with excellent butter and brown sugar notes. The milk chocolate is actually less sweet than the center, which is nice, and the graham cracker moderates it all even more. The pecans are not integrated into this at all, which is disappointing, because they shouldn’t be the afterthought, they should be the center.

Still, as a confection, it’s quite nice, very sweet but a lot of textural interest. As a candy version of pecan pie, it fails. Don’t worry, I’m willing to eat Russell Stover’s mistakes.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Apple Pie & Pumpkin
  2. Russell Stover Eggs: Carrot Cake, Birthday Cake and Wedding Cake
  3. Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie
  4. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  5. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  6. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  7. Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Delight Egg
  8. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  9. Ethel Holiday Assortment


Name: Big Bite Pecan Pie
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Olympia, WA)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:11 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverChocolateCookieNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (1)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trolli Gummi Santa and Elves Mustaches

Trolli Gummi MustachesIt’s November and all over the world men are growing mustaches in support of men’s health issues and research. This annual holiday is known as Movember and can be tricky for children to participate in, since they’re usually facially hairless.

Enter a Christmas treat that’s available a little early ... the Trolli Santa & Elves Mustaches.

The package says: Wear it on your lip, then wiggle it into your mouth. Different mustache shapes and flavors twisted together for awesome gummi good times.

The flavors are Cherry, Cherry & Lime and Strawberry & Cherry.

DSC_7478rb

For the record, I rarely like cherry flavored candies ... and I don’t actually like mustaches.

The Green and White is Cherry & Lime: the texture is soft and chewy, very nicely molded and quite easy to bite. The tartness of the lime is apparent, though the cherry is still the dominant flavor. The color is strange but actually looks pretty good on the face.

The Red and White is Cherry & Strawberry: this is a little more mild than the lime one, the strawberry notes give it a floral berry note, but still has enough of a tangy kick to keep me interested. The cherry is balanced, definitely a partner and not overwhelming. I could tell the flavors apart, easily, even without looking at the colors.

DSC_7475rb

The White is Cherry: I was actually hopeful that the lack of red food coloring would allow me to really taste the cherry flavor. The black cherry notes are woodsy and deep, with some excellent jam flavors in there. I thought this was an excellent cherry gummi. Nothing I’d want to keep beneath my nose for any length of time, but quite appealing.

These are genuinely fun, a unique version of a candy with an interactive element that both girls and boys can enjoy. (I can see them featured in lots of Christmas photos.) I didn’t care for the cherry ubiquity, but maybe there will be an Easter version in all citrus flavors.

Gummis are made with gelatin, so not appropriate for vegetarians. This version contains coconut oil and is made in a facility where milk, tree nuts, peanuts and soy are present. There was no statement about gluten.  Trolli also makes a version called Swirly Mustaches in vibrant colors.

Related Candies

  1. Trolli Soda Poppers
  2. Trolli Gummi Bear-Rings
  3. Au’some Easter 3-Dees Gummy
  4. Trolli Little Green Men
  5. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  6. Albanese Gummi Butterflies
  7. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  8. Gummy Fishies


Name: Gummi Santa & Elves Mustaches
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $5.00
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Review, Christmas, Ferrara Pan, Gummi Candy, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:41 pm     CandyReviewChristmasFerrara PanGummi Candy6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (2)

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 3 -  Chewing Gum

Candyology101-Gum-v1

In this episode Lauren, Maria and I are taking on chewing gum, all its variations and waxing nostalgic about the gums of our youth.

Listen now:

You can also download the MP3 file, subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Check out all the links & show notes on the Candyology 101 website.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:09 pm     CandyGumHighlightFun StuffRadio InterviewsComments (1)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dubble Bubble Snow Balls

DSC_7418rbChristmas candy is mostly about peppermint and chocolate and shiny colored foil wrapping. Holiday gum is rather unusual, so I was pleased to see Concord Confections part of the Tootsie Roll company has a variety for winter: Dubble Bubble Snow Balls.

I enjoy novelty gums for the same reason I enjoy other candy coated morsels: they’re fun to look at before eating. The Snow Balls are extremely cute. Each is the size of a garbanzo bean and rattle around easily in the theater size box. What I also liked about this particular gum was that they were white ... there was no artificial coloring (though there is titanium dioxide as a whitener), so I didn’t have to worry about anything getting into the flavor except what they intended as the flavor. The gum is made with sugar and corn syrup with no artificial sweeteners.

DSC_7450rb

The pieces are beautiful. They’re rough and white and though spherical, they don’t roll around. The bite was wonderfully soft and easy to chew, but the flavor is ... well, it’s kind of like fabric softener at first. It’s floral - somewhere in the neighborhood of violet and maybe musk. After chewing (two pieces seemed like a good portion), the crunchy shell and gum base were very soft. However, within a minute, the sugar dissipated to the point that the gum was getting quite stiff ... another two minutes and it was an unchewable lump that was less appealing than a wad of paper. My style is to switch out at that point anyway, so I just spit out the first piece and repeat.

Now, since this was bubble gum, I should comment on those qualities. It works. The bubbles can’t get that big, as the gum base is too stiff and unforgiving. But it’s not particularly sticky, which is a plus. But it’s most definitely not bubble gum flavored, and any children you give this to might be turned off by the soapy notes.

After chewing, even a half hour later, I did notice a lingering floral taste in my mouth, rather like jasmine tea.

Dubble Bubble is peanut free and gluten free ... and in this instance is also free from dyes but may contain traces of soy. The gumballs are made in Canada.

Related Candies

  1. Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps
  2. Dubble Bubble Gum Cigars
  3. Musk Beechies Chewing Gum
  4. Ball Gum Balls (Football & Tennis)
  5. Jumbo Gum Ball Eggs
  6. Dubble Bubble Chick Eggs


Name: Snow Balls Bubble Gum
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $1.79
Size: 2.32 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Concord Confections, Tootsie, Gum, 4-Benign, Canada, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:31 pm     CandyReviewChristmasConcord ConfectionsTootsieGum4-BenignCanadaWalgreen'sComments (1)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Simply Gum: Fennel Licorice

Simply Gum FennelI feel like there is a perfect gum out there for me, I just haven’t found it yet. So when I saw Simply Gum at the checkout at Lolli & Pops one afternoon, I bought it on impulse just because of the name of the flavor: Fennel Licorice.

Upon further reading I saw that there was more going on here than just the unusual flavor and enticing package. Simply Gum is made with real chicle instead of synthetic gum base along with organic sugar and glycerine.

DSC_7248rb

The packaging is spare and thoughtful. Inside the flip top, there’s a little sleeve that holds “post chew wraps”, so even thought the pieces don’t come in little papers, there are papers to responsibly dispose of your gum when you’re through.

Though the box is square and the nuggets inside fill the package, after I dumped them out for photographing, I found that there was a spacer bit at the bottom. As if they’d either originally specified more gum in the box but later decided for less but didn’t want to change the package, or it’s just intended to mislead the consumer. The box only says 12 pieces (there were actually 18 in my box but they’re not consistently sized), but never says how big each piece is, the weight I came up with in the stats box is from weighing the pieces.

DSC_7249rb

The nuggets are just that, a rope of the brown-sugar hued gum is snipped into pieces. They’re a little smaller than a regular portion of gum, but not by half. When I chewed it, I wanted maybe 1.5 times as much.

The pieces don’t stick together, they have a little rice powder on them (kind of like a corn starch). They smell like fennel, just like sticking your nose in a bottle of fennel seed. The chew releases the sweetness quickly, and instead of becoming more firm, like most gums do, this became thinner. It was too thin really. It’s like riding a bike in the wrong gear, my jaw is going too fast for this gum. I’m just spinning and the gum is squishing around.

Aside from the texture, I love the flavor. It was earthy and substantial. The licorice flavors weren’t overly sweet or metallic. The mineral notes weren’t rusty. Instead it tasted rather of beets. I felt like it freshened my mouth, yet still went well with coffee or tea. The flavor lasted quite long and though the sugar was gone, fennel and licorice have a natural sweetness that lingers. But the gum base was just too squishy.

So, if you’ve been looking for an all natural gum that chews better with a glass of iced tea than hot tea ... well, this is your gum. I might try another flavor, like Maple, just in case the particular batch I got was anomalous. However, it’s pretty expensive, at $3.50 a box.

Related Candies

  1. PUR Sugarless Gum - Coolmint & Cinnamon
  2. Glee Sugar Free Gum
  3. Fruit Stripe Gum
  4. Hollywood Chewing Gum
  5. Wee Glee Gum
  6. Classic Gums: Black Jack, Clove, Beemans & Teaberry
  7. Sugar Coated Fennel
  8. Short & Sweet: Gums


Name: Fennel Licorice Gum
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Simply Gum
Place Purchased: Lolli & Pops (Glendale)
Price: $3.50
Size: .45 ounces
Calories per ounce: 80
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Gum, Licorice Candy, Organic, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am     All NaturalCandyReviewGumLicorice CandyOrganic6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (1)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bourbon Everyburger Black Cocoa & Vanilla Cookies

Everyburger closeupBourbon, a Japanese snack company, has been making Everyburger for at least 11 years (previews review). They’re an ingenious little snack ... a sesame cracker that looks like a bun filled with a chocolate cream (to look like the burger patty) and a vanilla cream (to look like the cheese). The cookie part is quite savory with a strong sesame flavor and the cream filling is sweet.

The Everyburger is similar to Pocky, a combination of a less-sweet cookie or more European-style digestive combined with a creamy coating.

Everyburger ChocolateI bought my package of Everyburger Black Cocoa & Vanilla in Little Tokyo at Nijiya Market, which has a good selection of Japanese candies (if you’re in Los Angeles). The package was, however, priced at $2.99 for only 64 grams. Kind of steep for what are sandwich cookies. Bourbon has introduced a “bitter” version before (photo evidence)

The box is quite enticing, it’s very dark brown with a friendly Everyburger logo on the front and enough images that non-Japanese readers can figure out what’s inside.

Part of what prompted me to buy this, aside from my love of Japanese candy, was the internet tizzy generated earlier this fall when Burger King released their Black Burger in Japan. This burger, if you don’t want to look at the photos in that link has a black bun and black cheese.

Everyburger Chocolate

One thing I noticed I have not been saying is “I wish Oreos were more like burgers.” If I was saying that, I would think that Everyburger is the answer to that request.

The black cocoa flavors, which are very similar to the Oreo cookie, are wonderful. It’s crisp, it has some bitterness and a rich sort of brownie flavor. The center is another story. The texture of the creams is fantastic, it’s like a white chocolate truffle ... but then there was a plastic outgassing note. I thought maybe it was me, but I saw other comments on the internet that mentioned the same thing with all the Everyburger varieties. If I ate them quickly, one after the other, it wasn’t noticeable. But with only eight of them in the package, that can’t go on very long. The other differentiating factor are the little “sesame seeds” on top, which do taste like sesame and add a smoky, nutty note.

They’re cute ... but I’ll probably just stick with Oreos.

Related Candies

  1. Glico Pocky Cookie Crush
  2. KitKat Otonano Amasa (Adult Taste)
  3. Oreo Bitter Bar (Japan)
  4. Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme
  5. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  6. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  7. EveryBurger
  8. Short & Sweet: Japanese Goodies


Name: Everyburger Black Cocoa & Vanilla Cookies
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Bourbon
Place Purchased: Nijiya Market (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.99
Size: 2.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Candy, Bourbon, Cookie, 5-Pleasant, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:29 pm     CandyReviewBourbonCookie5-PleasantJapanComments (3)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Brach’s Candy Cane Candy Corn

Brach's Candy Cane Candy CornNew this year for the holidays is Brach’s Candy Cane Candy Corn. I’ve never seen a product that uses the word candy so much in its name.

Now, there’s nothing new about Christmas-themed candy corn, Reindeer Corn has been around at least since 1997, probably longer though perhaps by a different name. What I was intrigued by when I saw this on the shelf was that it’s called Candy Cane Candy Corn. Though the package doesn’t actually describe what’s inside, I was left to hope that it was peppermint flavored until I read the ingredients which list peppermint oil.

It was expensive, for candy corn, at $2.99 for the bag, but it is 15 ounces, which is just shy of a pound ... and more candy corn than I actually needed.

Brach's Candy Cane Candy Corn

The pieces are actually different from Reindeer Corn, the current Jelly Belly version features a red base, green middle and white tip. These have a red base, white middle and green tip. Honestly, if I was making this, I’d make them in two colors only - red base with white tip and white base with red tip ... the effect of the randomized pieces would be much more candy-cane-ish than the inclusion of green.

The red base, however, uses Red #40 to color it. Which I don’t like. Which disappoints me.

In the package the candies smell pleasantly minty, but not overwhelming.

Brach's Candy Cane Candy Corn

The pieces are beautifully formed and very nicely made. There were very few broken or incomplete pieces. I always like how Brach’s balances the slender look of their candy corn with a tender bite. They’re soft but not crumbly or sticky.

The mint flavor is like the fondant filling of a peppermint patty. So basically, if you like peppermint patties without the chocolate (and maybe a little food coloring) then you’ll find these refreshing. I compared the minty flavor to the center of a Pearson’s Peppermint Pattie (because that’s what I had sitting around in inventory) and found that the fondant inside the patty is a little fluffier, but otherwise has the same smooth texture and mint density.

I think this is a great idea. It’s a great little after dinner mint that looks great in a bowl but isn’t chalky or messy or too sensitive to heat. I’m shocked that I’m not only giving these a positive review, but going further to recommend them. Often I end a review by “wanting” something else out of the product, like a different flavor version, but this is good the way it is.

(Okay, I still kind of want root beer float candy corn.)

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Candy Corn Nougats
  2. Brach’s Carrot Cake Candy Corn
  3. Hershey’s Candy Cane Bar
  4. Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn
  5. Toffee Flavored Chocolate Covered Candy Corn
  6. Hershey’s York Pieces
  7. Candy Cane Tootsie Pops
  8. Spangler Candy Canes


Name: Candy Cane Candy Corn
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $2.99
Size: 15 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Brach's, Fondant, Mints, 9-Yummy, Mexico, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:22 pm     CandyReviewChristmasBrach'sFerrara PanFondantMints9-YummyMexicoWalgreen'sComments (3)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crispy M&Ms (Returning 2015)

Crispy M&MsMars made an exciting announcement earlier this fall that they’re bringing M&Ms Crispy back to American stores starting January 2015.

Some folks at Mars were good enough to send me some samples (though not in the final packaging, so I included the press release version of the package design for reference).

You can read more on Crispy M&Ms in this write up I did a few years ago when I reviewed the European version. Basically, the American version of Crispy M&Ms came out in 1998 and were discontinued in 2005. They had their fans, and current social media allowed them to speak directly with Mars to voice their enthusiasm for the return of the candy.

M&Ms Crispy

The Crispy M&M, if you’ve never heard of them, are described as feature a unique, crispy center covered in creamy milk chocolate, enclosed in a colorful candy shell. The center is like a little cereal puff.

The new package will hold only 1.35 ounces, which is more than the Pretzel M&Ms which are only 1.14 ounces but less than the standard Milk Chocolate M&Ms which is 1.69 ounces.

M&Ms Crispy

The new version comes in the same color array as regular M&Ms: red, orange, yellow, blue, green and brown.

The pieces are much smaller than I expected, since I’ve had the European versions, which are closer to the size of a Peanut M&M. These are a similar diameter to a Milk Chocolate M&M, but puffy. But they’re also quite irregular. They’re lumpy and sometimes close to spherical, while others are long or pointy in spots.

They’re easy to bite and crunch, and extremely light. The center crunch is kind of like the flavor of a corn flake ... very mild with only a hint of salt and malt. But for the most part they’re neutral. The chocolate is sweet, but otherwise generic. The crunchy shell provides a different sweetness compared to the chocolate and a different more brittle crunchy compared to the centers.

Overall, it’s a pleasant snack that I have no trouble scooping by the handful. But it made me wish for something else ... I wanted a Malted Milk M&M. This is not so hard for Mars to manage, they’d just take the Maltesers they make in the UK and give them a colorful candy shell.

Crispy M&Ms
Canadian Crispy M&Ms circa 2006

The earlier versions of Crispy M&Ms used a blue wrapper, but that has since been usurped by the Pretzel M&Ms, so the 2015 version will be in lime green packages. I can’t say for certain that these are better or similar to the originals, as it’s been a long time since I’ve had them. They definitely fit into a niche that’s not well served in the chocolate market right now, which is the crossover with snacks. Here’s what the Crispy M&Ms announcement said about it:

Consumers’ desire for new textures has resulted in the creation of a new Crispy Crunchy Segment within the Chocolate Category. This segment is growing 1.8x the rate of the Chocolate Category and 1.7x the rate of the Non-Chocolate Snack Category with an average of 9.2 percent per year increase in category sales.3 Approximately 40 percent of the Crispy Crunchy Segment growth has been driven by the bite-sized format, of which M&M’S® Brand is the market leader.

M&Ms briefly had Mint Crispy M&Ms as a limited edition.

Yes, Crispy M&Ms
Crispy M&Ms made in France and purchased in Germany circa 2012

The European Crispy M&Ms featured mostly natural colors for the shells, which meant a slightly muted palette. Natural colors can sometimes bring their own flavors, though, so some folks can tell the difference between the colors (I can usually pick out the yellows and oranges by taste). It would have been interesting, though, for Mars to make this revival of Crispy M&Ms with the European colors, just to see if that would catch in the US.

I’m curious to see how Crispy M&Ms do this time around. The survival rate for revived candies isn’t great, but the success rates for completely new candies aren’t any better. I have no stats for that, just personal experience paging through the blog at home many candies I’ve reviewed over the past 9 years that don’t exist any longer. Maybe read about M&Ms Premiums or compare the early Mega M&Ms that were discontinued, and the new version.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate
  2. Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao
  3. Ghirardelli Milk & Crisp Chocolate Eggs
  4. Crispy M&Ms
  5. Pretzel M&Ms
  6. M&Ms Premiums
  7. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  8. M&Ms Line


Name: M&Ms Crispy
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: samples from Mars
Price: $1.09 retail
Size: 1.35 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, M&Ms, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:09 am     CandyReviewMarsChocolateCookieKosherM&Ms6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (2)

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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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COUNTDOWN

Halloween Candy Season Ends

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Godiva Chef Inspirations

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