Wednesday, January 10, 2007
More HiCHEW! This assortment was courtesy of a friend traveling in Japan though I’ve seen similar assortments at the Japanese grocers in Los Angeles. Since the label was all in Japanese (because it wasn’t imported), some of this stuff may be made up or perhaps pictures really are the universal language.
Grape is rather like the Grape Mentos I had late last year, it tastes more like concord grapes (most especially the skins of concord grapes). It grows more intense and complex as the chew goes along and it made me wish that there were more of them in the assortment.
It also makes me wish that we had a truer “grape” flavor in the States.
Litchi is odd. It’s a cross between a honeydew melon and a citrus aromatherapy candle. It’s fragrant and flowery and a little soapy but it also has a nice tangy quality with a bit of musk to it. It also tastes kind of creamy towards the end, like a yogurt.
I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of lichis. Maybe I’ve nust never had them prepared properly, but like macadamias, they’re not bad, just not for me.
Strawberry is sweet and tangy that begins with a strong natural flavor that makes me wonder if there’s a little stem in there somewhere. Later in the chew it starts to taste a little artificial, but still sweet and floral.
It’s less tart than a Starburst, and has a longer chew that doesn’t break down into a little grainy blob.
Like the Grape, it has a slight essence of the apple peel in it.
I kept half of them and put the other half in the family stockings ... I haven’t heard anything back from the family one way or another about them.
Here are my other HiCHEW reviews: Grapefruit (fantastic) and Strawberry (Doh, I didn’t realize I’d had them before. I wonder what I said.) There are lots of other flavors and one of these days I’m going to try the other citrus flavors because I’m pretty sure they’ll go over well.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Joseph Schmidt is a high-end chocolatier based in San Francisco and known for their stunningly beautiful sculptural creations of chocolate. I went to their shop and picked up the ugliest chocolates I could find, cuz I’m like that.
Okay, maybe they’re not the ugliest chocolates I’ve ever had, certainly some of my homemade creations have been pretty homely. The candy above is a strange disk of chocolate referred to as a Batik Slick. Sounds as good as it looks, eh?
It’s simply a very flat truffle. The disk has a little batik-inspired pattern on the top and a lightly flavored ganache in the center. It’s a lot of chocolate and very little filling.
They came in a box of four, weighed in at 3 ounces and had a strange design of bats made from artisan paper and gold googly eyes on the outside. (I bought them on November 1st ... they were from Halloween and 25% off). I have no idea what the different flavors are.
Dark Chocolate with Yellow Tulip may have been rum. Sweet and mellow, a bit creamy and with no real notable flavor except for maybe a hint of bubble gum. Milk Chocolate with Full Moon tasted a bit like coconut. Very sweet and a little greasy. Red-Centered Chocolate Blob had a nice milk chocolatey taste, smooth and creamy. Yellow Burst with Green tasted like lemon. How nice! I like lemon. The dark chocolate was very sweet but creamy and set off the zesty taste.
The truffles are a bit more traditional, except for the fact that they look like the nose cone of a missile. I’ve never been fond of molded chocolates, for some reason I prefer enrobed or dipped chocolates. I don’t know if it’s the rustic look or there’s actually some difference in the chocolate structurally. I’ve had Joseph Schmidt truffles before a few times but I’d never been able to pick them out myself. So at the store I picked the “mini” version because I thought the large ones were just so freakin’ huge that I’d want to eat them with a knife and fork ala Mr. Pitt.
This one is Raspberry Brandy and is nice and dark with a soft and flowing ganache. The shell cracks and falls apart quite easily but has a nice mellow and smoky taste to go with the raspberry infusion.
The other flavors were just as acceptable though nothing thrilling. Pecan Praline was sweet and woodsy, but more maple flavor than nutty. All Dark gave me a good sense of the chocolate, which is Belgian and smooth but the ganache was more buttery than chocolatey. Grand Marnier was ordinary, a touch of orange but it seemed lost in the butter and underwhelming chocolate.
I guess I just don’t understand the fuss about Joseph Schmidt. They’re interesting and certainly less expensive (about $25-$55 a pound) than some of the upscale chocolatiers out there makin’ noise. I have nothing against the tried-and-true flavors either (I’m a See’s nut, remember?) I just wasn’t satisfied after eating them.
Monday, January 8, 2007
I found a new feature on Feedburner (the same service that takes care of Candy Blog subscription feeds) ... it’s a daily email digest of posts!
So, if you’d like to have your Candy Blog in your email box every evening around 6PM then feel free to sign up.
Once you enter your email address and click, you’ll get a confirmation to confirm. Then every day there’s something new on Candy Blog, you’ll get the whole thing right in your email box. What could be sweeter?
A couple of notes: if you use an email client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) the images from the post should display okay. If you view the posts in a web-based email program they might not be available. But the text will all be there.
If you ever decide that you don’t like gettin’ all that email, then feel free to unsubscribe, there will be a link at the bottom of every email.
I’m not going to do anything else with the email addresses you submit, so don’t worry.
This feature will be available over there in the left area, so you don’t have to make a decision right this moment.
Though I try to be on top of the Limited Edition candies and review them when they first come out, I totally dropped the ball on this one. The KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis came out in time for Christmas, though they’re not specifically packaged as a holiday item (other Hershey’s holiday products had little snowflakes on the packages).
The good thing about them being a quasi-holiday item is that they came on sale after Christmas along with all the other holiday candy that may be fresh but sports a now dated red and green wrapper. According to the freshness code, these are good until July 2007!
(On a side note, I have not seen the Cookies ‘n’ Mint Nuggets again this year.)
Let me just start by saying that I liked these far better than the Mint KitKat that came out in the middle of last year. While that one was sickly sweet, this was minty and fresh tasting.
The little shape of these Minis is also fun. Instead of the usual two-fingered snack size, these are a little shorter and of course are only one finger. About the size of my pinkie, which is rather small as fingers go. Because of the small size I felt like there was more chocolate on these. But I also felt like the crispy wafers were really, really crispy. The minted chocolate is pretty smooth, a bit sweet and lacking a rich chocolatey experience, but generally in support of the cookie and mint elements.
I don’t know if I’d buy these again since I’m getting a little tired of them since it was a 10.5 ounce package, but I found them to be far better than most of the other Limited Editions I’ve had in the past year or so.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
I found a new candy store about six months ago but it’s taken me a while to get back there to fully explore it with photos.
It’s called Munchies and is located in West Los Angeles selling a very wide selection of candies from all over the world, all Kosher.
The main feature of the store is their extensive collection of Kosher goodies: jellies, halvah, chocolate covered nuts and fruits (lots of Koppers line) as well as a full selection of Paskesz (from Israel) bars and bags. They also have a decent range of European gourmet bars. For the most part though, it’s not a gourmet shop. It’s a store for plain old candy - a great place to go with kids or to tap into the kid inside of you as you gaze at the yards and yards of bulk bins.
Prices are pretty good. The bulk bins range from $4.00 a pound up to $10. I picked up:
Candy Blox (like SweeTarts, only shaped like Legos) - very dense and of course sweet.
I spent $11.04 for everything.
The best part was my husband was able to amuse himself in the back corner browsing their rather large selection of Kosher wines.
Closed Friday evenings and Saturday until sundown
They have a website, but I wouldn’t judge the store based on it. It’s a clean store in a charming neighborhood. Parking is likely to be difficult on weeknights (they are open late) but pretty easy on a Sunday afternoon. (If you do want to visit in the evening, park in the public lot behind the Walgreen’s on Robertson & Pico and walk the half a block to the store.)
(The little gallery module above is a thing I’m trying out, let me know if you like it or if you have technical problems with it.)
Saturday, January 6, 2007
What great results to see! It looks like giving candy is alive and well.
For the record, besides my stocking, I got several candy gifts:
So what did you give or get?
Friday, January 5, 2007
Here’s a strange product line from Hershey’s in the Philippines. They’re called Mallow Blast and are described thusly on the package:
I’ve tried other Asian marshmallows before with a fruity filling in them, but this was a first to have them dipped in chocolate.
The Grape Mallow Blast packaging was certainly fun looking. The overall package is a pack with five individually wrapped pieces. Mine were slightly smashed but otherwise unharmed by their journey.
The grape ones smell very strongly of grape jelly and no hint at all of chocolate. The little twist of marshmallow is about as big as my big toe, but with a fruity filling (my toes might be filled with fruit, I’ve never checked). The marshmallow is springy and not terribly sweet. The jelly center is firm and tangy and of course grapey.
The Orange Mallow Blast smelled more of chocolate. The orange inside was actually pretty nice. A bit on the artificial side, but with a balance of zest and tang to it. The chocolate was crumbly and not terribly creamy, but all things considered, it was tasty enough for me to finish off the package of five.
Of course it’s not real chocolate on the outside, but I guess the labeling restrictions are different for other countries. The package clearly calls it Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, but the only “chocolate” in there are some milk solids and cocoa powder much later on the list after the number three ingredient, hydrogenated palm kernel oil. That said, they’d probably make a good treat for dieters, as they’re rather satisfying but not that dense in fat calories (6 of them have 3 grams of fat and 150 calories).
I could see these being popular in the States. The way that they’re packaged though makes it easy for them to get crushed, so they’d probably have to place them in a little tray with sides or something to prevent that.
The Mallow Blasts are certified Hallal.
You thought the staff meetings where they talk about who’s responsible for filling the candy jar at the reception desk were difficult!
Looks like the non-re-election of Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania will have a lasting effect on the Senate.
Santorum was responsible for the “candy desk” which has been around since the sixties. Anyone holding that desk has traditionally been responsible for supplying treats to the Senators and staff. Santorum, as the Pennsylvania Senator, was given candy by his home state producers (Just Born, Goldenberg’s & Hershey’s) as ethics rules allow. But the new occupant of the seat is from a non-sweet producing state, Wyoming.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.