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Friday, October 6, 2006

Endangered Species: Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter

Around this time last year I barely knew what Fair Trade was and there really weren’t that many chocolate products out there that were Fair Trade Certified. Now you can not only get cocoa and plain dark chocolate, but also some pretty cool flavored chocolate bars. Endangered Species seems to be leading the way with the Fair Trade “candy” bars in their new Premium Organic line.

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Each bar is a single serving and easy to pick up at the checkout of your favorite “wholesome” market like Whole Foods, Wild Oats or Zoo gift shop.

Along with the Fair Trade and organic certifications, this bar boasts high cocoa content of 52% (high for a milk chocolate). This wrapper has a giraffe on the label and everyone knows that the pattern on giraffes is known as the peanut shell. (Okay, I made that part up.)

The chocolate is buttery smooth and very sweet on the tongue. It has very strong smoky qualities with a slight bitterness at the start but a good nutty flavor. Once I start eating the bar, the unpleasant burnt quality goes away, but each time I stop and start I have to go through the process all over again. I’m afraid I can’t give it the highest marks because of that. Now, I’m one of those “supertaster” people, so I tend to be more sensitive to bitter, so your mileage may vary.

Interesting fact about giraffes from the wrapper: A giraffe’s neck contains seven vertebrae, just like ours.

Name: Smooth Organic Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Endangered Species
Place Purchased: samples from Endangered Species
Price: retail ~$1.49
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Endangered Species, Kosher, Organic, Fair Trade

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:21 am     Comments (4)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Brain Candy! (gummi brains)

Brains! Brains! Must eat brains!

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I don’t have much to say ... they’re gummis in the shape of brains. The colors vary, some with blue in them, some white and pink or red. But they’re all the same fruity, berry flavor.

They’re lovely, if you like to look at brains. They have nice folds and detail, with a good left-brain/right-brain distinction. They’re soft and very fragrant.

I got mine in a large bag of 6.6 pounds. Yes, that’s as much as two actual human brains weigh! I know that the human brain weighs three pounds because there’s a show coming on CBS mid-season called 3 LBS that’s about brain surgeons! (This is different from the piece of information we gleaned from Jerry Maguire that the human head weighs 8 lbs - which I figure includes the skull and eyeballs and stuff.)

If you’re a zombie fan and are planning a big movie extravaganza for Halloween, you probably need 6.6 pounds of brains. I have the large brains here, they’re about 1 3/4” lengthwise, which is a good size for a three-bite brain. They also come in a little, one bite size. I kind of miss the variety of flavors like you get with gummi bears. But the appearance of a good squishy candy brain is pretty good. They’d be fun cupcake toppers, too.

Name: Gummi Brains (Large)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Lutti
Place Purchased: samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $27
Size: 6.6 pounds
Calories per ounce: 132
Categories: Gummi, Belgium, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:41 am     Comments (8)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Peanut Butter Kisses

These aren’t really called Peanut Butter Kisses ... I believe those are molasses taffy with a bit of peanut butter inside of them and are often wrapped in black or orange waxed paper with twisted ends. The real name of these is Hershey’s Kisses filled with Peanut Butter.

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PB Kisses were introduced as a limited edition item but were quickly deemed popular enough to become part of the regular repertoire and were added in June 2006.

The PB Kiss sports a light gold wrapper with red wiggly stripes and the word Peanut Butter on the foil. The little red flags say Peanut Butter as well. The Kisses look a little different out of the wrapper, the shell is smoother. These Kisses are molded instead of being extruded, so they’re shiny.

Inside the milk chocolate shell is a little dab of peanut butter filling. It’s got a good roasted flavor with a little hit of salt. It’s not super-smoothed like a Reese’s Pieces, but more like the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (but not quite as crumbly).

They’re very tasty and quite addictive. The only problem I have with them is they’re a little greasy feeling when you take them out of the foil - I know that’s because of the peanut butter.

I’m not quite sure why these needed to be created though ... how different are then from the Reese’s Miniatures, except that there’s only one wrapper on them instead of a cup and a wrapper? The ratio, which everyone knows is very important with peanut butter items, is different though - there’s less peanut butter to chocolate here. So if you’re a chocolate fan but not so keen on a giganto hit of peanut butter, this may be your new favorite candy.

I picked these up at the 99 Cent Only Store and at 99 cents for an 11 ounce bag, they’re quite a deal. Don’t worry, they’re not three years old or anything, I’ve got the Hershey’s code!

Name: Kisses filled with Peanut Butter
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: 99 cents!
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 159
Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Hershey

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:52 am     Comments (7)

Equal Exchange Halloween Kit

Equal Exchange has a new kit just for Halloween and Fair Trade celebrating and GreenLAGirl has the complete scoop.

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Basically it’s a fun kit that includes Equal Exchange miniatures (perfect for tossing in those trick or treat bags) as well as some decorations and informative cards about fair trade.

Because October is Fair Trade month, you can get a special discount: 10% off on all orders of $20 or more use the coupon code ftm2006. So throw in an additional bag of the miniatures to make the minimum and you’re good to go for your Green Halloween!

Here’s the original review of the chocolates.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:30 am     CandyGreen HalloweenReviewHalloweenEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically Sourced8-TastyComments (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Dalandan & Juicy Ponkan Mentos

You thought Pink Grapefruit and Licorice Mentos were exotic? How about these flavors from the Philippines ... sent to me by Santos of Scent of Green Bananas. They’re both citrus flavors: Dalandan Fresh and Juicy Ponkan.

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Dalandan Fresh comes in green, yellow and blue wrappers, but the candy itself is a lovely sherbet orange. A dalandan is a citrus commonly known in the Philippines as the Sweet Orange. They’re likened to Valencia oranges, but the main difference is in the appearance. A ripe dalandan has a green peel (hence the wrapper is green).

The candy has a nice chew, of course, and a good sweet burst of orange essence with a bit of a tangerine or clementine note and maybe a little pomelo thrown in. It’s more sweet than tangy, but the flavor is pretty intense. I miss the sour notes that are in the Pink Grapefruit but this is much better than the plain orange available in the mixed fruit box.

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The Juicy Ponkan flavor comes in an intense orange wrapper but the candy inside is a soft orange. Like the dalandan, the ponkan is a citrus but this one is in the tangerine/mandarin family and has an orange rind that’s leathery and easy to peel. It’s a bit more tangy than the dalandan and has a more robust flavor with floral notes, tartness and a zesty essence that lingers.

I really liked this one, but they’re both a great change from plain old orange. Every once in a while one would have a slight minty or menthol taste, which made me wonder about the manufacturing process. Both varieties were manufactured in Indonesia for the Philippino market. (More about ponkan here.)

I know that it’s going to be hard for readers to go out and find these (I couldn’t even find a source online), so I’m happy to put together a prize package for Mentos Adventurers that will include an assortment of these and some other hard-to-find Mentos. To enter simply .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with the subject line “MENTOS” by October 9th, 2006 at 12 noon Pacific. One lucky winner will get an all-expense paid package of Mentos from around the world. (The fine print: North America addresses only. No need to give me your address unless you win. One entry per person. Failure to follow rules will result in disqualification for drawing and general irritation.)

UPDATE (10/9/2006 - 3:02 PM) - No more entries, please… we have a winner! (To be announced shortly.)

Name: Juicy Ponkan & Dalandan Fresh Mentos
    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: 135 gram bags
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, Indonesia, Perfetti Van Melle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:00 am     Comments (11)

Monday, October 2, 2006

What does that Hershey’s code mean?

Here’s how to decode the code on a Hershey’s wrapper. Hershey uses a two digit alpha-numeric code to denote the month and year of the expiration date. Here’s what the Hershey’s site says:

There is an ink stamped code on Hershey’s products. Within that code, usually at the end, there is a two character code that represents the year and the month until which the product is expected to be within its peak freshness. The first character is a number, (0-9) that represents the year. The second character is a letter, (A-L) that represents the month. A=Jan., B=Feb., etc. For example, a code of 7D is best before until April 2007.

My Hershey’s Twosomes Almond Joy (Limited Edition) bar has a code that’s on two lines:
1BE
7C K2

I’m guessing the 7C is the one I want, so that means that the bar is considered fresh until March 2007.

My York Peppermint Patties:
13NYU
6K

This would expire in November 2006, so I got in just under the wire.

A Heath bar:
14HR2
D 6L

This one would expire in December 2006. Just remember, L is the LAST month!

Related Candies

  1. What does that Nestle code mean?
  2. What does that Mars code mean?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:20 am     CandyExpiration CodesHershey'sNews

Endangered Species Halloween Treats

In the continuing series for a Green Halloween, I’m on the lookout for no-compromise treats for kids and adults.

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Endangered Species is offering up party packs of their individually wrapped tablets of milk & dark chocolate called “Halloween Treats” - I got a package of the Dark Chocolate ones as a sample directly from Endangered Species. 

The package contains 24 fall colored treats that look tasty and should appeal to trick-or-treaters. The cool thing about the dark chocolate ones is that they’re certified vegan, kosher and are ethically traded. Here’s my full review of this product under the name of “Bug Bites.” The dark chocolate is rather dark and intense, so I’d recommend the milk chocolate for trick-or-treaters (unless you want to go vegan).

That all comes at a price though, they’re on the expensive side at $5.50 a bag online but I saw them at Whole Foods for only $3.29. (The display was near the bulk foods, not by the registers or with the rest of the chocolate near the bakery in my store.) They’re a bit cheaper than the Bug Bites, I’m guessing because they don’t have the trading cards. Though that’s a bit much by the pound, the pieces are kind of small which means you get 24 in there. Mix it in with a few hard candies (College Farm - review next week) or lollies (College Farm or YummyEarth - review later this week) and the kids won’t be tempted to egg your house. Ethically traded means that you’re not taking advantage of families in Africa and South America, so it really can be a Happy Halloween all around.

To learn more about Fair Trade (and the difference between Ethically Traded and Fair Trade Certified) check out GreenLAGirl ... October is Fair Trade Month!

Name: Dark Chocolate Halloween Treats
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Endangered Species
Place Purchased: samples from Endangered Species
Price: varies
Size: 8.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Endangered Species, Fair Trade, Green Halloween, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:22 am     Comments (5)

Sunday, October 1, 2006

What does that Nestle code mean?

Following up on decoding the Mars code, here’s the Nestle code, thanks to Reader Dave.

Nestle uses something called the Julian code. The first four digits of the code on the wrapper will give you the date the product was manufactured.

Julian code is rather difficult to read on the fly, but here goes: the first digit represents the last digit of the year. The next three numbers represent the day of the year.

My Baby Ruth bar says:
602557471 D/A

That means that it was made on the January 25, 2006. (That was an easy one.)

My Nestle Crunch bar says:
52941211 A5 7A

Hmm, anything that begins with a 5 sounds kind of bad in October. This one was made on October 21, 2005. Almost a year old.

My 100 Grand bar says:
5334574823 6L

Again with the 2005 ... but at least the second number “334” is pretty large. That’d be November 30, 2005.

A quick way to calculate the month is to divide the three digit number by 30. If you can’t do that in your head, try dividing by 10 (moving the decimal place once slot) and then by 3. For the last one it gives you the approximation of November ... which is probably all you really wanted to know anyway.

For the record, the true Julian day number is a lot more complex and tracks the number of days since 4713 ... kinda like stardates!

Related Candies

  1. What does that Hershey’s code mean?
  2. What does that Mars code mean?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:07 pm     CandyExpiration CodesNestleNewsComments (36)

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Brach’s Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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