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Chocolate

Friday, August 4, 2006

More Satisfying Snickers Almond?

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This is breaking news. Or at least it was breaking news to me: the Snickers Almond bar now contains peanuts ... I’m not talking about “processed in a facility and equipment along with peanuts” kind of thing. I’m talking about a main ingredient. (Click on the photos for more readable versions.)

I don’t know if I would have noticed, except that the Sav-on had both the old version of the bar (sans peanuts) and the new one side by side and I was curious why the packaging was suddenly different and what made the new one “more satisfying.”

So I purchased both and went off to the Candy Blog labs to do some analyses. First, the bars say they weigh the same, but when placed on the trusty postal scale the More Satisfying with Peanuts version came in at exactly 2.0 ounces and the Less Satisfying with just Almonds clocked in at 1.9 ounces. What’s even more puzzling about this is that the label says that they weigh 1.76 ounces ... at least Mars is generous.

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The original version shown above was easier to slice and seemed more “solid”. There weren’t copious amounts of almonds, but a fair amount. The bar was rather bland, as I mentioned in my review before. But there is something missing here, a toastiness, some sort of flavor.

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So the big thing I noticed right away was how difficult it was to slice this bar easily. It was kind of mucky ... not melted or anything, just not as structural. I think there may be more caramel now. Instead of just going back to a better tasting nougat, the Mars folks created the hybrid Snickers/Mars Frankenbar. It’s a Mars bar that tastes like a Snickers. Really, why buy this? It doesn’t taste like almonds ... if anything, it’s just a Snickers bar that’s a little smaller.

As a touchstone I went out and bought/consumed a standard Snickers bar. It really tasted no different except the Snickers Almond was a little crunchier because almonds are bigger than peanuts.

This got me to thinking about the ingredients, so here’s a run down of the top contents of the Less Satisfying Snickers Almond, More Satisfying Snickers Almond and the Satisfying Snickers (Peanut):

LS Snickers Almond…...MS Snickers Almond…..Plain Old Snickers
Milk Chocolate….........Milk Chocolate…......Milk Chocolate
Almonds….................Corn Syrup…................Peanuts
Corn Syrup…...............Almonds…...............Corn Syrup
Sugar….....................Sugar….....................Sugar
Skim Milk…................Peanuts….................Milk Fat
Hydr’ted Palm Kernel Oil….Milkfat…................Skim Milk

But let’s go back to that statement on the new Snickers Almond bar ... what exactly makes satisfaction?

Less Satisfying Snickers Almond: 230 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 131 calories per ounce)
More Satisfying Snickers Almond: 240 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 136 calories per ounce)
Snickers: 280 calories & 2.07 ounces (that’s 135 calories per ounce)

Could satisfaction be another word for caloric density?

While I find the More Satisfying Snickers Almond a little more tasty than before, its resemblance to the classic Snickers Peanut makes it superfluous. There are so few almond choices out there, why take this one away? I’m giving the Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond bar the same rating I gave the original.

(I’m also a little miffed that I consumed about 750 calories for this one review! I just hope none of them contained mouse droppings.)

Note: I looked at the Snickers website and they still list the old ingredients for the Snickers Almond bar.

UPDATE 9/2/2008: Well, the old new Snickers Almond is back. Here’s a brief revisit with the bar:

Snickers Almond

I like the bar (though I prefer the dark chocolate version) and I’m glad they brought it back.

Product: Mars Snickers Almond
Previous Review: 12/28/2005
Change: reverting to old recipe (eliminating peanut ingredients from previous version)
Result: A great bar with a long history and I’m glad that it’s back to a more classic formulation so it bumps up a notch. 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch
  4. Snickers Almond Dark
  5. Snickers Dark
  6. Snickers Xtreme
Name: Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Savon (Hollywood)
Price: $.65
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 136
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Nougat, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:29 am     Comments (30)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Anthon Berg Filled Chocolates

Come on, half the fun of this candy is the packaging! They’re eensy-weensy liquor bottles made out of chocolate! They’re even smaller than those little bottles you find in the honor bar or on airplanes.

After those awesome martini cordials I had from K Chocolatier that were so freakishly expensive, I was hoping to find something similar at a fraction of the price. While these don’t quite measure up, they’re still pretty good. The unique selling proposition here is that they don’t have that sugar shell inside like the K Chocolatier Martinis did.

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I didn’t eat all of them, but I did try quite a few. The first one I started with was the Drambuie. I’m not that fond of Drambuie, I find it a tad sweet and so was this.

The second one I tried was the one I was most curious about - Ricard, which is an anise flavored liquor. I’ve never had straight Ricard, so again, it’s hard to judge. What I found was that it was rather sweet and not at all anisey. It’s definitely alcoholic, but not as strong as I’d expect for a liquer.

Next was the Stoli Oranj, but unfortunately this one ruptured somewhere along the way and there was a little bit of sugary crust at the bottom of the bottle and a smidge of the liquid missing. I ate it anyway. It was okay. The chocolate was fine, but the alcoholic bite was pretty much gone.

The Stoli Vanil was also very nice, without much of a flavorful bite, but the chocolate shines through effectively. The last one I had was Cointreau, which I think was my favorite. A little touch of orange, not quite as sweet as the others and still with a subtle alcoholic bite.

They’re very nice and certainly far cheaper (and probably more widely available) than other real alcohol filled chocolates. The filling was a little syrupy, but I’m guessing you can’t put true alcohol without some sugar stabilizer in there or else they’ll dissolve the chocolate.

It’s kind of hard to peel the little bottles sometimes and of course if you hold them in your hand for any length of time you risk softening the chocolate to the point of an accident when unwrapping.

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So if the liqueur chocolates are an evening things, maybe the coffee chocolates should be considered a morning one.

These flavored coffees are cloaked in the same dark chocolate and again, have no sugar crust in them. This is a big difference over the Pocket Coffee that I reviewed before.

I tasted a few of the varieties, though I think there are more. You can only buy them in the assortments, so there’s no point in wishing you could buy only one kind.

Cappuccino - a nice sweet coffee inside chocolate, but it didn’t seem to have much of a dairy component to it, no milkiness at all.

Toffee Macchiato - this one confused me, but I have to admit that I’ve never had a macchiato. It tasted like coconut and coffee, which is not a bad thing, but it certainly doesn’t seem at all like toffee.

Espresso - this is the money shot. Very much like the Pocket Coffee, not as sweet as the others. It was a bit tangy and rich.

Vanilla Frappe - that’s the one pictured unwrapped and tipped out ... so you can see I didn’t get to taste it completely. Sometimes I have to sacrifice for the art.

Irish Cream Coffee - this one was sweet as well and had a pretty mellow minty quality, but very little coffee flavor in the mix.

I’ve never seen these at the store, but I’m sure they’ll be more prevalent as the holidays get closer. They’re a pretty nice hostess gift for the right person and if CandyWarehouse’s price is any indication, they’re not even that expensive.

Name: Chocolate Liqueur Bottles & Chocolate Coffee Dreams
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Lake Champlain
Place Purchased: Anthon Berg
Price: All Candy Expo samples
Size: varies
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, Denmark

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:45 am     Comments (10)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate

If you’ve ever been in a Trader Joe’s, you’ve probably found the candy overwhelming. You may also have found that they have a lot of house-branded products. Luckily they’re inexpensive enough for you to shrug and throw it in the cart and give it a whirl. I’ve had a few bad experiences, but most are pretty darn good.

I’ve resisted these lilac foiled bars for a long time. They looked a little dowdy to me, and I’m all about the hot new candies. They come in a three pack - each bar is a single portion, so it’s easy to stockpile them, but also to have an immediate fix.

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The Dark Chocolate bar is smooth and shiny and smells a little smoky and sweet. It has a nice melt, but a smidge of grain/chalkiness. It’s not too sweet and has a slight dry bite to it.

Overall, it’s a good deal and the size of the bars (1.75 ounces) makes it easier to tuck them in your bag for later indulgence instead of a larger 3.5 ounce ones that you often see. Still, if I were looking for fully satisfying indulgence I’d still go for a Chocovic and I also enjoy the Trader Joe’s Organic Dark Chocolate with Pecans and Raisins.

Name: Belgian Dark Chocolate
    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
Price: $1.59 for three bars
Size: 1.75 ounces each
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Chocolate, Belgium, Trader Joe's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:21 am     Comments (13)

Monday, July 17, 2006

M&M Shipwreck Treasure

I’ve never tried M&M minis before, and I figured the gimmicky Shipwreck Treasure mix was as good a reason as any to pick some up. The little plastic tube with a large flip top was brown with a slight woodgrain to it. The trick here is that the colors of the M&Ms are kind of oceany - blue, aqua and green.

imageThe green ones actually change color ... if you put them in your mouth and take them back out, it’ll be gold. Or so they say. I tried tossing them in a little glass of water and it seems to work.

They’re certainly cute and the little tube is a great way to carry them in a resealable container.

But I’m not that keen on them. The shell is thinner and not quite as crunchy, but still very sweet. Because of the small burst of chocolate, they didn’t seem as chocolatey.

Part of what you’re paying for here is the tube, which is cute and the EXACT size for storing quarters. If I still went to the laundromat or rode the bus, this would be very helpful.

The size is cute, but unnecessary unless you’re using them for cooking (I can see them going over much better in cookies than the traditional size) or some sort of decorative purpose.

These M&Ms are part of a marketing tie-in for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. I also reviewed the Pirate Pearls White Chocolate M&Ms.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  3. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  4. Cherry Almondine M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. M&M Pirate Pearls
  7. Darth M&Ms
Name: M&Ms Minis Shipwreck Treasure Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: M&Ms (Mars)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.08 ounces
Calories per ounce: 139
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Mars, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:24 am     Comments (14)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feel Envy

When I was in New York earlier this year I took a trip down to Chinatown where I prowled the aisles of several grocers in search of candy. Much of it was familiar stuff I’d seen before ... and stuff you’ve seen too like M&Ms and the occasional plain UK KitKat.

But one of the thigns that I was compelled to buy was this package from Chocolat NY called Feel Envy. They look like the Kitten Tongues I’ve seen before. These are packaged in a rather tacky-but-trying-to-be-upscale and I pretty much dig it.

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The one I picked out (there are several varieties in the line) that said it was rich milk chocolate featuring a blend of Vanilla and coconut flavor.

Most of the front of the package was in English, with all of the reverse in Japanese.

The top of the box flips up to reveal more of the embossed faux-croc cardboard in the oh-so-lovely purple and the acid green matte texture inside. Four little compartments hold three pieces each.

There little paddles of chocolate, each is individually wrapped, in clear cellophane with more of the black butterflies on it. The little paddle is all milk chocolate with a little swirl of white/coconut chocolate on one half.

The milk chocolate is pleasant, but has a strong flavor of dried milk (the second ingredient is whole milk powder). You’d think it would have more than a trace of calcium for all that milk! After getting over that there is a distinct coconut flavor it the chocolate and a few little coconut bits.

The packaging is cute, if a little bulky, but keeps the candy fresh and makes it easy share. It’s a bit expensive as well for the product quality (about $16 a pound) but a nice novelty item or stocking stuffer.

Other reviews: Dreamlogic.net, Giant Jeans Parlor tried Feel Safari and Platinum Cats. The official website seems to be gone ... maybe someone can tell me what this page says.

Name: Chocolat NY: Feel Envy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Fujiya
Place Purchased: Dynasty Grocery (Chinatown, NYC)
Price: $1.88
Size: 1.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:26 am     Comments (9)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tootsie Roll Mini Chews

I picked these up several months ago, the same time I got the Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies. I ate a few, and while they were fresh, they weren’t really stunning and I gave the rest of the package away.

When I was at the All Candy Expo, Tootsie really seemed to be pushing them, so I thought I’d give them another try.

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My first mistake was eating a Storck Chocolate Riesen before eating a Mini Chew ... how could a Tootsie Roll, chocolate coated or otherwise, ever measure up to the chocolatey perfection of a Riesen? Let me just say that it can’t.

The glossy little Mini Chews are certainly cute, though they look like some sort of pelletized animal feed.

The chocolate is sweet and smooth once you get past the food-grade shellac that makes them so shiny. They’re not very chocolatey, but certainly more complex than the Tootsie center.

The Tootsie centers were nice and soft, easy to chew and had a slightly chocolatey hit that never really reached that creamy state that you expect.

If anything, the chocolate coating makes it quite evident that a Tootsie roll is no substitute for chocolate. It tastes too much like cardboard. Watery cardboard.

However, if you set aside your expectations for a chocolate experience and come at Tootsie Rolls like they’re taffy or a chew, they’re pretty good. The best thing about Tootsie Rolls is their durability. With the summer months, I often look for a chocolate alternative because of the heat and Tootsies were often a solution. The Mini Chews probably won’t fit the bill because of the real chocolate though. If you’re dieting, they might be a good option - a little blast of chocolate, but not much in the way of fat. For me, I’m sticking to Orange Tootsie Pops as a Tootsie delivery device.

Name: Tootsie Roll Mini Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Chew, United States, Tootsie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:03 am     Comments (6)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate

Candy Blog reader Karen clued me in to Villars bars. I had no idea these Swiss-style milk chocolate bars had MALT in them! I’ve seen them at the checkout at Trader Joe’s for some time, but the old-fashioned looking packaging just didn’t grab me.

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Don’t be misled - they’re not malted milk bars or anything, must sweet, creamy Swiss milk chocolate with a little hint of malt. If I didn’t know better, I would have said it was hazelnut, but it’s definitely a malty quality.

The packaging is quite nice, a decorated box with a flip and tuck top for storing uneaten portions and the bar itself is cloaked in thin aluminum foil. A little thin for my taste, but it’s nicely designed with large and flat with flowers inside each of the squares (I’m going to say they’re edelweiss). This chocolate doesn’t have that cloying dairy flavor that some other Swiss chocolates have but it is creamy and certainly melts easily.

I ate the bar pretty quickly as it was hot this weekend and for most of the time it was the consistency of fudge because it was about 90 degress in my house. Instead of breaking off small pieces (after I’d broken into big ones for the photograph while it was still cool in the morning), the bar pretty much bent or tore. Holding the pieces in the heat was dicey too, as they got very slippery.

I fear that chocolate must be put aside for the rest of the summer or reserved for the early morning cool.

But back to the chocolate bar! It’s a great deal for a Swiss style chocolate with a more interesting malty hit than you might be used to. If you’ve got a Trader Joe’s around you, pick one up. They also have a dark bar (no malt) and a hazelnut bar (which I’ll be trying after it cools off).

Name: Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Villars
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's
Price: $1.69
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Chocolate, Switzerland, Malt

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

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mounds Island Orange

This review is in honor of the New York Times Magazine column yesterday, called Consumed and written by Rob Walker on the subject of limited edition candies.

This particular candy is the perfect example. It’s a good, tasty bar that probably has limited appeal and will therefore never be seen on shelves again. Oh, how I mourn for some of these here-and-gone bars.

When I was a teenager my mother got a hold of a tapioca pudding mix that was coconut and orange flavored. You wouldn’t think that’d be a good idea, and I’m not sure I even liked it at first, but here it is, some 25 years later and I’m still pining for it.

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The Mounds Island Orange bar is as close as I’ve come to recapturing that taste. (Yes, my mother tried to make it from scratch last time I was at her house, but it just wasn’t the same - something about the proportions was wrong ... don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty and I had two helpings. I love tapioca.)

It’s a regular old Mounds bar from the outside, it doesn’t even smell any different. A strong chocolatey aroma but no trace of the orange burst that awaits inside. That’s right, the coconut is orange flavored. Zesty orange and coconut, which really cuts the sweetness of the filling and allows the chocolate to shine through. (This is a much better idea than last years Key Lime Almond Joy which had a white chocolate coating flavored with lime ... whereas I would have preferred a coconut center with some lime essence in it.)

The center is a freakish orange color, as if someone took the pulp out of a fresh orange. It’s rather unnaturally orange, and it seems pretty silly that they would color the inside of it like that. But the flavor feels natural - not chemical in the least and I really enjoyed how each of the flavors played off each other.

I bought two of these bars, mostly because I saw that Joanna loved them as well, so if you’re a Mounds fan and enjoy zesty flavors, pick it up before it’s gone.

Name: Mounds Island Orange
    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: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.65 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, United States, Hershey's, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:09 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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Il Morso Coffee Bars

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