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Friday, November 3, 2006

Soft Candy

imageSometimes I feel like eating candy that reminds me of clothing. I don’t know why, but something that looks like a pretty scarf or knit cap just makes me happy.

But this candy had the double whammy of being cute looking but also having a completely vague name that I was too curious to pass up the 98 cent gamble. I found these at a Chinese grocer in Chinatown in New York City earlier this spring and just let them sit there looking vaguely sock-like for months. The girl on the package said “I like it!” but that still couldn’t quite compel me to open them up and eat them. 

Eventually Halloween came around and they looked kind of Halloweeny so I opened up the pack to give them a try.

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First, here’s what I expected. Based on the ingredients (sugar, glucose syrup, flavorings and pectin) I thought it was going to be an orange flavored gummi.

They were definitely soft, as advertised, but I’d actually call them firm. I’m not sure how well something called Firm Candy would sell, but then again, I question how well Soft Candy sells.

They were firm but had an easy bite to them. Kind of like a gumdrop, but a little tougher without feeling stale. The flavor was, well, not there at all. They were pleasant and not too sweet. It tasted like a mild millet jelly candy, which in turn tastes simply like an unflavored, uncoated jelly bean. They are truly the definition of a benign candy.

Besides being pleasantly cute enough for me to want to string them into a bracelet, they’re not much as a candy. Nothing to spit out into the gutter but just no oomph or compelling texture to keep me eating.

Name: Soft Candy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: YiZhaoLi Co.
Place Purchased: Dynasty Grocer (Chinatown, NYC)
Price: $.98
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Jelly, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:15 am     Comments (6)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Botticelli Signature: Cashew Butter Truffle

Botticelli is an upscale chocolate brand in Canada that makes nice bars at reasonable prices. I’ve never seen them in stores, but last year my husband brought me one that he got a London Drugs, so they’re pretty easy to find.

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Sam, whom I met at All Candy Expo earlier this summer sent me some excellent bars to try in their Signature line. I want to post about all of them, but I have to finish tasting them all. I had to post about this one first because he sent me TWO bars and both are gone now. The listing of quality ingredients on the label alone made my mouth water.

The Cashew Butter Truffle is a milk chocolate bar with a filling of cashew butter. It’s not quite truffle-like in my estimation, more on the nut butter end of things, but that suits me just fine. The smooth and nutty butter has a good salty hit (though it says there’s no added salt) and a true-to-life flavor of cashews that just sends me over the moon.

My only disappointment about the bar was there were some “unfilled” squares on one end of the bar that were just chocolate. I like chocolate and all, but I really wanted more of that cashwey goodness.

Cashews are so rare in consumer branded chocolates it’s so refreshing to not only find a bar, but find it to be good. If you’re a nut fan, this might be the bar for you. If you’ve seen them in stores in Canada, do let me know where they’ve turned up.

Name: Signature Cashew Butter Truffle
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Botticelli
Place Purchased: samples from Botticelli (thanks Sam!)
Price: unknown
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Canada, Botticelli

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:56 am     Comments (4)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Halloween Poll Results

The results are in on the latest poll and I have to say, Candy Blog readers are generous.

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Other industry polls have said that kids prefer chocolate candies in their treat bags and most folks who were opening their doors to the munchkins were handing out at least some chocolate.

(I’m guessing the toothbrushes and raisins folks are joking and I’m certainly wondering what “way better stuff” actually is. I saw some forums talking about giving out matchbox cars or pez dispensers.)

I was very happy to see ten folks going green! I would have gone green except I ate all my organic and fair trade samples already ... all the other candy I gave out were also leftover samples and stuff from photography projects. Remember, regifting is green, too.

Some folks were a little surprised that there were so many people not giving out candy this year, but I’ll chalk that up to not being in the right neighborhood, not being home that night or living in a country that does not have Trick-or-Treating.

So, weigh in here if you want to elaborate on any of your votes!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:49 am     CandyFun StuffPollsComments (7)

Mini Mentos

Mmm, more Mentos from the Pacific. These little cuties were also in my package from Santos. It was a mixed bag of miniatures in three flavors. Grape, Apple and Watermelon.

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Starting from the left the light yellow-green ones are Apple. It’s a mild apple, not very tangy, but floral and sweet and very pleasant. The candies themselves are a little smaller than the normal Mentos, not just small pack like you’d get Lifesavers.

In the middle are little lilac wonders in Grape, these were, to put it mildly, odd. They were kind of concord grapey and completely unlike those malic acid wonders you find in a roll of SweeTarts. These were floral and had a sort of balsam note that reminds me of concord grape skins when you eat them fresh off the vine. At first I was a little put off, but I chalk that up to the whole expectations thing. When I stopped thinking about it, I really like them and now I’m regretting sending a bunch of them off to the Mentos winner last month.

The more vivid green ones are Watermelon which are very sweet and have an odd note of mint to them (which could be a manufacturing problem). The melon flavor is true and has that sort of woodsy note to it, but no tartness to it. Not my fave but not terrible.

Name: Mentos Minis - Watermelon, Apple & Grape
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mentos (Perfetti Van Melle)
Place Purchased: gift from Santos (thanks!)
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Indonesia, Perfetti Van Melle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:14 am     Comments (6)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Come on to my house!

Yes, I’ve got the sweets for the Tricker or Treaters this evening. Even though I’m not home I left a deluxe bowl of goodies for my husband to give out.

image

You can’t see everything in there (and I can’t remember it all) but there are Junior Mints, Tootsie Pops, Blow Pops, Jolly Rancher Lollipops, Chewy SweeTarts, Kissables, SweeTart Gummi Bugs, Heath Bars, various full sized bars from some photos I took, Lik-m-Aid, Laffy Taffy, Chewy Runts ... I think that’s about it. I like to balance out the candy offerings with a variety of chocolate and sugar, lollipops were always a favorite of mine.

Happy Halloween!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:12 am     Comments (9)

Queen Anne Orange

imageI have to call this one the deal of the month. I find a lot of great deals out there in candy world, but I had to mention this one because I gave the Queen Anne Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries a bad review last year.

So that makes it all the more wonderful that I took a chance on these.

I found them at the 99 Cent Only Store. In fact, I saw them for several weeks at several different stores, which usually means it’s a new item and probably more likely to be fresh. I’ve seen the Queen Anne line at Von’s for $2.99, so at 99 cents, it was quite a deal for 5 ounces of chocolate. They come in a rather elegant stand up cardboard box/bag with a sealed cellophane pouch inside.

I’m a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peel and the fact that you can’t get such a thing at Trader Joe’s is rather disheartening (I got the “orange sticks” once thinking that’s what they were, but it was a jelly stick covered with chocolate).

These were fresh and glossy and had a wonderful scent of orange zest. The orange peel inside was firm and a little chewy but not overly sweetened. The dark chocolate though not the best in the world was a wonderful sweet complement to the zesty innards.

If I see these again, I’m definitely going to pick them up. I have quite figured out how to decipher the code on the back as to how old these are (164513 was all it said), so I consider them a limited opportunity good deal. At this price they’re an 8 out of 10, at regular price they’re a 6 out of 10 ... so I’m calling them in the middle for the review rating at 7 out of 10.

(Queen Anne Candy is made by the same company that makes those World’s Finest Chocolate bars that the band kids are always trying to sell you.)

Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Orange
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Queen Anne
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Queen Anne, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:06 am     Comments (6)

Trader Joe’s Figments

I know it’s Halloween, but I’ve decided to cover chocolate covered fruit today. I’ve just had a craving for it, maybe it’s because it’s fall or maybe it’s because I’m lacking some micronutrients or something. I’ve also discovered that chocolate covered fruit is great for snacking on while writing. Especially when mixed with a few nuts like plain raw almonds and pretzels.

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Trader Joe’s and their wonderful panned candy supplier have done it again. I just spotted Figments a couple of weeks ago and picked them up immediately. They’re dried black mission fig pieces covered in dark chocolate.

The pieces are quite variable, some as large as the tip of my finger and others the size a sunflower seed. The big ones, of course, were the best because there was a high density of both chocolate and fig. The figness got lost in the smaller pieces.

Dried figs have a wonderful earthy flavor to them, less sweet and tart than raisins. There’s the added bonus of the texture of the seeds, which some people don’t care for, but I think of as tree caviar.

Sometimes the chocolate overpowered the figness and sometimes the figness just wasn’t very powerful. This is definitely an excellent treat to have by your side when writing a novel. (Which I plan to start tonight at midnight, but have sadly eaten all my Figments already.)

Name: Figments
    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 (Silverlake)
Price: $3.29
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Trader Joe's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:31 am     Comments (17)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Green Halloween Final Thoughts

Honestly, I didn’t know it would be so hard to go green. Ten years ago, yeah, I think I would have expected it. But it’s 2006 and there are stores like Whole Foods and even Target and Wal-Mart are carrying organic foods. So why is it so hard?

Halloween represents over $2 BILLION in sales each year (and it grows and grows). The average household spends over $16 on Halloween candy, it seems that there’s room to give them more choices for wholesome and thoughtful candies.

The winners I found this year were:

Equal Exchange Minis (though it’d be cool if they came in Milk Chocolate as that’s what kids prefer)
Endangered Species Treats
Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops
College Farm Organic Lolliops

How hard would it be for someone to make fun packs of organic chocolate covered peanuts or raisins? I’ve seen lots of natural gummis and fruit chews, but what about something that’s not bulk that you can give to the kids without them turning up their noses? Organic candy tastes as good (if not better) than regular mass-produced candy. Kids don’t even have to know it’s fair trade or organic ... they just want something tasty, something they probably don’t get every day.

The good thing is that you can make a nice assortment out of the above and still serve 40 or so kids with multiple treats and still stay within that $16 average. Maybe next year there will be more items on that wishlist available.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:41 am     CandyGreen HalloweenHalloweenShoppingComments (0)

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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.

Candy Season Ends

-53 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Mars Milky Way Marshmallow with Caramel

• Snickers Mixed Nuts

• Flavor Trends: The Slow Extinction of Lime

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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