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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 (37)

Friday, September 29, 2006

What does that Mars code mean?

As I’m often found eating expired (or at least past prime) candy, it was a wonderful comment on the Skittles Fresh Mint post that breaks the code on the package of Mars products. Reader Dave posted the code in the comments and I’m putting it here for everyone to use.

Here’s how do figure out when that candy was made:

The date of packaging is within the first three digits of the code - the first digit is the last number of the year and the next two are the week of the year.

So, the Milky Way bar I have in front of me says:
620AB02

That means it was made in the 20th week of 2006 - or sometime between May 14th to the 21st. Pretty fresh.

The Milky Way Dark I have says:
614EFELZ02

That means it was made in the 14th week of 2006 - or sometime between April 2nd to the 9th. Not bad.

This seems to work with Canadian Mars products too, as this is what the Mars Dark says:
535CFELZ03

That means it was made the 35th week of 2005 ... hmm, sometime between August 26th and September 2nd. That’s a little old. But I it must have been stored properly as it was still fresh and tasty.

The week of the year thing is a little tricky unless you have a payroll calendar nearby, so a quick and easy way to approximate the month is to divide the week by four (it gets less reliable the higher the number because there’s usually a fraction of a week left in the month).

The UK Mars bar I have simply has an expiration date on it (12-11-06). I’m not sure if that’s the European date style (November 12th, 2006) or the American (December 11, 2006) but at least neither of them have passed yet.

Related Candies

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

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:50 am     CandyExpiration CodesMarsNewsComments (34)

Head to Head: Milky Way & Mars (Canada & UK)

I’m not quite sure what possessed me to do this array of bars, but here it is.  Readers write in and ask what sorts of American candy they should take with them as hostess gifts or ship to friends overseas as quintessential American bars. The Milky Way is right up there, as one of the earliest bars that Mars developed (1923).

It’s a bar that I should love, after all, it’s supposed to be a malted milkshake in a bar.

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There are several iterations of this bar both here and abroad. I got a hold of the American versions of both the milk chocolate and dark versions and the UK Mars (milk chocolate) and Canadian Mars Dark (dark chocolate).

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The bar is called Milky Way in the United States but everywhere else on the planet it’s known as the Mars. (There was once an American Mars bar, but that’s since been renamed Snickers Almond ... there is a bar called Milky Way in the rest of the world too, but that’s like the American 3 Musketeers bar.)

I haven’t had a Milky Way bar in about 10 years. I’ve always thought they were too sweet, but after breaking one open the smell of malt was really compelling, making me doubt the wisdon of my embargo. The nougat here is the highlight, a medium color of fluffy, slightly grainy nougat covered with a stripe of caramel and covered in milk chocolate.

The flavors go nicely together and the caramel has a slight salty note to it that balances out the very sweet and only passably smooth chocolate. The malt is earthy and brings flavor to the bar.

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The UK bar known as Mars has a similar cocoa colored and grainy, fluffed nougat covered with a stripe of glossy caramel and then milk chocolate. The caramel here was noticeably smoother, but the maltiness was much more subdued and replaced with a milky flavor.

image

The American bar is on the left and the British on the right. There was a difference in size, the British slightly larger at 62.5 grams over America’s 58.1 grams. The UK bar as slightly longer and a little taller.

Recently the standard bars started to appear in darker coats. Back in 1936, based on the success of the Milky Way bar, Mars introduced the Forever Yours bar. It remained in the Mars product line until 1979 when it was discontinued. Customers complained and the Milky Way Dark bar was introduced in 1989 and then the name changed to Milky Way Midnight in 2000.

image

Milky Way Midnight - beautiful dark bar with little folds of chocolate on the top. The dark chocolate has a little reddish tone to it. Inside is a fluffy white (with a yellow tone) nougat and a stripe of caramel. Smells slightly smoky and very sweet. The caramel dominates in this bar and its sweet stickiness isn’t completely offset by the smooth but otherwise flavorless dark chocolate.

image

Mars Dark - a stunning dark bar with glossy dark brown chocolate. Inside is a fluffy white nougat (with a slight yellow tone) and a stripe of caramel. The nougat on this one seemed slightly grainier but still sweet and only slightly less overwhelmed by the caramel. The chocolate, though pretty still doesn’t add much of a flavor counterbalance for the whole bar just a smooth texture.

The wrapper on the Mars Dark bar is a bit of a blunder, if you ask me, as it seems to indicate milk chocolate by its lighter, creamy color over the black package of the Mars bar.

image

So, you’re wondering what the difference is? The American one is on the left and the Canadian on the right. The Canadian bar is larger, by .1 grams. The ingredients list is virtually identical as well. The only difference on the labeling is that the Canadian one lists the true trans fat content at .1 grams (American food does not have to be labeled if it’s less than .5 grams).

The important thing to note is that the milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions differ in more than their coats. The nougat is markedly different. The dark bars are missing the malt component, and instead have the vanilla nougat (that’s found in the American Snickers Almond bar). The difference between the American and foreign bars isn’t that marked and I think that fans should be happy with either when they’re traveling. I give all bars a 6 out of 10.

Overall, I wish that the Milky Way Midnight or Mars Dark really was just a dark chocolate version of the Milky Way/Mars bar - I think the combo of dark chocolate and malted goodness would be great. But Mars must not believe that (I’m not sure if the Forever Yours had the malted nougat or not ... honestly I think it’s wrong to muck with too many ingredient variations and try to stick the same name on it). I might pick one of these out of a bowl of miniatures, but I’ll stick to the See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar as my favorite nougat candy bar for now.

Related Candies

  1. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  2. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  3. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  4. Snickers Dark
  5. What does that Mars code mean?
  6. Head-to-Head KitKat vs KitKat!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:23 am     CandyReviewMarsCaramelChocolateMaltNougat6-TemptingCanadaUnited KingdomUnited StatesHead to HeadComments (27)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Skittles Fresh Mint

imageThis isn’t the first time Skittles has introduced a mint assortment. They did it back in 2002 (if I recall correctly) and sold them in little plastic containers instead of the normal bags and charged twice as much for half the amount of product. I tried them, and actually liked them, but just couldn’t pony up a dollar for a little box.

This is where buying stuff at the 99 Cent Only Store gets me into trouble. I don’t know if this is a leftover from 2002 or they’re reintroducing the Fresh Mint Skittles. They seem pretty fresh (if someone knows how to decode the batch numbers, please help me figure out what 349BX3 means). They come in five flavors - white, green, aqua, turquoise and light green.

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White - tastes like a mint combo of spearmint and peppermint. Like toothpaste.

Green - tastes like toothpaste

Aqua - tastes like toothpaste

Turquoise - tastes like toothpaste

Light Green - wait, this might be wintergreen.

As a chewy mint, they’re fun and refreshing. If they’re different flavors, they’ve done a great job of making sure that none is too distinct so that you can’t combine them instead of picking through the flavors.

I’d actually buy these again. They’re pretty and very agreeable for most purposes. I’ll probably put them in a dish on my desk - a good little pick me up throughout the day. They’re the first Skittles you can eat with your morning coffee (well, I suppose you could have the Ice Cream ones, if you wanted to start the day wrong). If they’re four years old, I have to say they keep really well. I suspect it’s possible because the nutrition label doesn’t mention trans fat content as they’re now required to. Yeah, I’m gonna guess that they don’t make these anymore.

The package advertises that they’re only 5 calories per piece.

Related Candies

  1. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  2. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  3. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  4. Skittles Ice Cream
Name: Fresh Mint Skittles
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Skittles (Mars)
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99
Size: 5.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Chew, Mint, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:15 am     Comments (27)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bubble Roll Message Maker

This really isn’t a candy review so much as a product highlight. While I generally don’t like candy novelties, there are a few new products this year that really engaged me (the Gummi Lightning Bugs). Mostly because they combined candy and interactivity, instead of just being a fancy shaped container.

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The Bubble Message Maker is a like the old Dymo label makers that uses strips of tape that you embossed letters on, one at a time. Here you make messages one letter at a time on bubble gum strips (bubble tape).

The center handle portion holds the roll of bubble tape, in this sample I have green apple, but the cool thing is that you can refill the Bubble Roll Message Maker with ANY standard width bubble tape.

The top of the message maker has a dial with all 26 letters (but no numbers or punctuation). You simply turn the dial to the desired letter and then press firmly on the little button to imprint the bubble tape. Roll the tape forward a full click and then repeat for your desired word or words.

The button was a little hard to press, so it took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it. The message isn’t really that clear, but it’s possible different colors of bubble tape are better for this than others.

Making a message is a little time consuming and of course takes patience (and there’s no delete button) but looks like a fun toy with a bit of candy with it with the added bonus that it’s refillable.

(The gum is made in the US, the toy is made in China.)

Name: Bubble Roll Message Maker
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Au'some Candy
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo sample
Price: retail ~ $2.50
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: varies
Categories: Gum, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:44 am    

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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

-151 days

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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:

• Il Morso Coffee Bars

• Lindt Hello Pretzel Bites

• Lindt Hello Toffee Bites

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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