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Chocolate

Monday, January 12, 2015

Alter Eco Organic Black Truffles

Alter Eco Black TrufflesAlter Eco Organic Black Truffles were on sale before Christmas, so I picked up a box to put in the mix for Christmas stockings.

The box is very simple and reminiscent of the Lindt Lindor range of truffles. They’re quite similar in many ways. The back of the box notes that this is a classic redefined. Then it goes on to mention the filling is made with nourishing coconut oil. It’s no wonder then that I think these are the fattiest fat bombs I’ve ever reviewed, at 180 calories per ounce (note: I think the Ferrero Raffaello ended up at the same calculation in review, but newer packaging has it down to 170).

Ingredients: Cane sugar, cocoa beans, coconut oil, cocoa butter, whole milk, natural flavors, vanilla beans.

The ingredients are 97% fair trade (probably the milk ingredient is keeping it from 100%) and all organic (except for the natural flavors). The cacao is only 58%, which seemed a little paltry for something called black. There’s also milk in there, which is disappointing as well, since I thought maybe these were vegan. (The top of the box says “made with pure coconut oil” which I guess is just to distinguish it from Lindt’s Lindor line which uses palm kernel oil in addition to coconut.)

Alter Eco Black Truffles

There are a lot of little symbols on the back: fair trade certified, non-gmo, organic, gluten free and carbon neutral. There’s no soy in there, either, though the chocolates are made on shared equipment with soy, hazelnuts and almonds. They’re not kosher (though Lindt Lindor truffle range is.)

They look like Lindor, little chocolate spheres, with a small seam around the center where you can press carefully to separate the sides if you wish. Alter Eco has a little fluting on it. They’re glossy dark and smell quite rich.

DSC_8051rb

The Ecuadorian chocolate shell is dreamy smooth. There are lots of berry notes like dark cherries, blackberries and a little hint of coffee and tobacco. There’s an acidic finish to the shell, but it’s moderated by the filling if you eat them together. (I seemed to end up with more shell than filling at some point, either at the beginning or the end of each piece.)

The center is smooth and varies in texture depending on the temperature. It was quite cold in Los Angeles when I prepared this review, so the centers were very firm and almost fudgy to the bite. (My little candy studio was about 62 degrees.) At a more normal room temperature like 70, the center is like a whipped cream, quite soft to the bite but not flowing. The flavor is a thinned out version of the shell. The milk doesn’t do much, it’s mostly coconut which doesn’t provide any additional flavors here, except to keep the berry flavors muted.

These are very expensive, I think about $7 or $8 a box. I got mine on sale, and think that $5 is about as high as I’d go for a package, even though they’re fair trade and all that. The good news is that a couple of stores near me sell these individually, I think for 75 cents each. So, I don’t have to commit to a whole box, just a little fix now and then.

Related Candies

  1. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  2. Zotter Scotch Whisky
  3. Lindt Fioretto
  4. Cholive
  5. Moser Roth Chocolate
  6. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  7. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  8. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles


Name: Organic Black Truffles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Alter Eco
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 180
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, 9-Yummy, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:17 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedOrganic9-YummyUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate SwirlFriday is good coffee day for me. All days are coffee days, but on Fridays I treat myself to a simple cappuccino in the morning when I get to the office. So, it’s only fitting that this week my Friday review is of a coffee flavored product: Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises.

I spotted them at CVS earlier this week, though it’s hard to believe I was able to tell that they were new. There’s no “new” flag in the corner of the package and the muted amber and brown doesn’t look that different from the burnt orange and brown of the peanut butter version.

It’s a very long ingredients list.

Ingredients: Semisweet Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial and natural flavors), Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Skim Milk, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, PGPR, Coloring (Yellow 5, Red 50, Blue 1), Natural and Artificial Flavors

I was sorry to see the use of artificial colors and PGPR in there. I think of Dove as trying to be premium, sometimes, but this wasn’t as promising as I’d hoped. I had this problem with too much coloring with the Mint Swirl as well. What was also missing from the back was the Rainforest Alliance logo, Dove has been working towards certified sustainable cacao for a while, and some packages feature the logo (I picked up the dark chocolate RA ones for Christmas stockings).

It’s been a long time coming: a coffee Dove chocolate. There were Tiramisu Dessert Promises seven or eight years ago, but they were caramel filled just had too much going on. Dove has a pretty good track record of putting an appealing coffee flavoring into chocolate, as I did like their Mocha Premium M&Ms and Cappuccino 3 Musketeers (why don’t they make a coffee Milky Way?).

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl

I don’t know what manufacturing magic creates the swirl of dark chocolate and the mocha latte in the Dove Promises, but it’s genius. Each piece is like work of art, like looking at beautifully polished redwood burls.

When it comes to how I like my coffee, I’m very close to black. For brewed coffee, a little dribble of half and half (enough to cover the bottom of the cup) is all I need to give the bitterness a creamy edge. For an espresso drink, I lean towards the flat white or a less milky cappuccino (basically, only crema and a touch of steamed milk). So, I’ve been looking for a chocolate coffee candy that simulates that - not a milk chocolate candy or a chocolate with whole bits of coffee beans in it.

The pieces smell sweet, but authentically like brewed coffee. The bite is pretty stiff, but the melt is smooth. The flavors are balanced, I catch plenty of robust chocolate notes to go with the woodsy coffee. There’s a hint of bitterness along with the sweet aftertaste of the milk.

Basically, these hit all the right elements for an ideal chocolate & coffee candy for me: not too sweet, lots of coffee flavor, touch of bitterness and a creamy mouthfeel. With those met, I consider this great. They’re expensive, at least at my CVS they were marked at $5.29 though I did get them on sale for $3.50 and they’re not Rainforest Alliance yet. Other than that, I find them spectacular. Your mileage may vary, depending on how you like your coffee and your coffee flavored candies.

Related Candies

  1. Tcho Mokaccino
  2. Ritter Sport Coffee and Hazelnuts (Winter Edition)
  3. Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites
  4. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  5. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  6. Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Promises
  7. Meiji Corot & CoffeeBeat
  8. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
  9. Pocket Coffee


Name: Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: CVS (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.50 (on sale - regular price was 5.29)
Size: 8.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, 9-Yummy, United States, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:43 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateCoffeeKosher9-YummyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (2)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar

DSC_7977rbCombining spirits with chocolate is pretty common. There’s a new genre, though, the combination of brewed drinks added to chocolate. I picked up the Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar at an after Christmas sale, when it was only $1.49 for the Ireland-made bar.

I’m not a beer drinker, as I don’t care for very bitter things, so Guinness has long been on my list of things that I don’t drink. Guinness is a dry stout introduced in Ireland in 1759. It’s quite dark and has a very distinctive look and long history.

Flowing caramel skilfully handcrafted in small batches, flavoured with GUINNESS and set in a creamy milk chocolate shell to create a unique bitter sweet chocolate experience.

So, as is the case with most alcohol-infused chocolates, the stout is mixed with the caramel, not the chocolate itself.

DSC_7984rb

The bar is nicely crafted. It’s a long bar, with domed segments. The indentations between the segments are pretty thin, so my bar was broken in several places, but along those margins. The good news is that the caramel does not enter those segment breaks, so it didn’t become an oozy mess.

It smells distinctly of beer and milk, which really isn’t a pleasant smell in itself, only by association with pleasant experience with actual beer products. The yeasty notes reminded me more of bread, which is a nice combination with chocolate. The milk chocolate is quite sweet, though smooth and a bit on the fudgy side. The caramel filling dominated the flavors, though.

There’s not a lot of caramel in there, but certainly flavorful stuff. It’s the flowing kind, with bready, malty flavors and a definite bitter hop note that wasn’t too distracting. There’s a smidge of salt, but not a lot of toffee or toasted sugar.

I’m curious to try their Guinness Fudge, if it’s done with a lot of butter, because I think the yeasty flavors might go well. I’ll pass on the beer, caramel and chocolate here, though. It’s just too sweet, which is exactly what I wouldn’t want with beer.

Related Candies

  1. Jelly Belly Draft Beer Beans
  2. Meiji Dark Rum Chocolate Sticks
  3. Michael Mischer Kentucky Bourbon Whisky Truffles
  4. La Higuera Rabitos Royale (Chocolate Truffle Filled Figs)
  5. Doulton Liqueur Chocolates (Cointreau & Teacher’s)
  6. Bouquet of Fruits Vinyeard - Wine Filled Chocolates


Name: Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lir Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Park La Brea)
Price: $1.49 (on clearance)
Size: 3.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Ireland, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:48 pm     CandyReviewAlcoholCaramelChocolate7-Worth ItIrelandCost PlusComments (2)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nestle Damak Pistachio

DSC_7955rbI found this curious little Nestle bar at Ralph’s grocery store tucked in with the Christmas merchandise last month. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I wanted to know more.

So, I bought the Nestle Damak bar, without even knowing how much it was ($3.99, I find out).

It’s square, its made in Turkey. It’s just milk chocolate with pistachios. I figured I’ve probably spent most of my life eating California pistachios, it’s nice to find a bar that actually lists the sourcing of their pistachios ... would they taste different?

Taking its name from the Turkish word for taste, NESTLÉ® Damak™ /dih-mok/ features a unique combination of creamy chocolate and world-renowned Turkish pistachios. Backed by an over-80-year heritage, this beloved indulgence derives its deliciously distinct taste from Turkey’s time-honored craft of cultivating the world’s most savory and intensely flavored pistachios. Each piece is packed with whole pistachios from the revered Gaziantep region, surrounded by silky smooth chocolate.

Nestle Damak

The bar is similar to a Ritter Sport in shape and format. It’s just shy of 3 ounces. The bar is wrapped in foil and that is wrapped in the paper label. Inside, it was glossy and quite fresh, divided into 15 pieces sporting the Nestle logo.

DSC_7962rb

The bar smells nice, sweet and milky but with a little grassy note which I’m guessing is the pistachios. There’s no fake pistachio flavor to it. The ingredients are good, plenty of sugar, pistachios and cocoa butter (actually listed in that order). They use sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.

The milk chocolate is so different from normal Nestle milk chocolate, it’s hard to believe it’s the same company. The flavor is authentically dairy, rich and with a toasted note to it. The melt is exceptionally smooth. The pistachios are crisp and buttery, with a crunch that’s almost like a macadamia nut but with a sort of green tea freshness to it. There’s a hint of salt. Though sugar was listed first, it’s not that sweet.

I ate the whole bar, and I’d try the Turkish Nestle items again if the opportunity presented itself. I’d also seek out some Turkish pistachios too, they were exceptional.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Kisses with Macadamia Nuts
  2. Nestle Crunch Noisettes
  3. Ritter Sport 100th Anniversary Edel-Nuss Mix + Bonus Previews
  4. Nestle Milo Bar
  5. An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short
  6. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  7. Askinosie White Chocolate (Plain, Nibble & Pistachio)
  8. Nougat de Montelimar


Name: Damak
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $3.99
Size: 2.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Turkey, Ralph's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:05 pm     CandyReviewNestleChocolateNuts8-TastyTurkeyRalph'sComments (4)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lindt Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie

DSC_7491rbLindt‘s line of Hello chocolates seems to be well established now. I’ve seen them at a few stores regularly, though Target seems to have a few exclusive flavors from time to time.

I picked up the Lindt Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie while they had a sale earlier in December, as I was interested in trying a less-sweet dark bar from them. Dark chocolate with a creamy chocolate filling and dark cookie pieces. Experience your dark side!

The packaging and molding rivals a Godiva item for a fraction of the price. The box it comes in opens like a clutch style purse, and has some very nicely done graphics on the inside that really enhance the experience of decadence. The brown foil wrapper is generous enough that it’s easy to reseal the bar and tuck it back in the box for later. (There are 2.5 portions, according to the nutrition panel.).

Lindt Hello

The bar mold is enchanting. The pieces are domed and shiny with various motifs like the Lindt logo, the Hello logo, the motto “nice to sweet you,” and little hearts. It’s easy to break the pieces off, and each is a good portion in itself if you’re moderating.

There’s no mention of how dark the dark chocolate is, but I’m going to guess it’s not darker than 60%.

Lindt Hello Chocolate Cookie

It smells sweet, more like milk chocolate than dark. The bite is pretty soft, since the domed pieces are filled and the filling is a bit softer. The chocolate is smooth, with a silky melt and slightly acidic finish. The filling is very much like the usual Lindt Lindor Tuffle, only with little crispy cookie bits in it.

As with the other Lindor items, the thinness of the ganache melt is disappointing, because the tropical oils do nothing to support and release the natural chocolate flavors. It’s a pleasant bar, but nothing I’d buy again. I’ve had it for about a month and still haven’t finished it. It sounds like it should be great, but it’s just okay. The quality of the chocolate is much better than most candy bars, but the use of palm oil really tips the saturated fat levels up to a space where it just wasn’t worth it to me to finish the bar.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Cake Assortment Chocolates
  2. Ghirardelli Minis - Sweet Dark Chocolate and Cookie Bits
  3. Lindt Bars: Wafer, Cresta and Dark Hazelnut
  4. Droste Cookie Milkchocolate XXL Pastille
  5. Lindt Hello Coffee Blast (Limited Edition)
  6. Lindt Hello Crunchy Nougat
  7. Dove Cookies and Creme + Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee
  8. Cookie Dough Bites
  9. Hershey’s Cookies and Brownies


Name: Hello Dark Chocolate Cookie
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Lindt, Chocolate, Cookie, 6-Tempting, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:24 pm     CandyReviewLindtChocolateCookie6-TemptingGermanyTargetComments (1)

Monday, December 29, 2014

barkTHINS: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed

Bark ThinsbarkTHINS comes in seven varieties. They bill themselves as snacking chocolate ... as we’d be confused and think it’s for dinner or to be used as drink coasters.

barkTHINS won the Most Innovative New Product award at the Sweets & Snacks Expo for the Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut variety. I can’t see quite what’s so innovative about that. I picked up a package of the barkTHINS Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed because it was on sale. The stand up package holds 4.7 ounces and was on sale for $3.99.

The top of the package says that it’s a serious twist on snacking. Which is a grandiose statement for a bunch of seeds in chocolate, which is one of the oldest forms of chocolate inclusions. Perhaps the twist they’re referring to is the fact that the chocolate and the sugar in the chocolate is Fair Trade certified. And the soy lecithin is non-GMO. There are no dairy ingredients, though it may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat or eggs. The FAQ on their website explains that their innovation is the fact that the bark is thin enough to snap into pieces.

All my grumbling aside, I like what I saw on the ingredients label and the concept of simple, ethically sourced dark chocolate with some fresh toasted seeds in it.

Bark Thins

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of bark as a product. I understand why I make it, because I have leftover chocolate from a kitchen project and then just mix up some stuff I have sitting around and call it a tasty mess. I can’t imagine selling it. I want my pieces consistent and I want my seeds integrated.

The good news is that the pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are actually integrated into the chocolate. The pieces are pretty consistent in size and thickness and with a good amount of pepitas. The general size of the pieces is what I’d call, “too large.” They’re about 2.5” by 1.5”. This is a nice portion, however, I found them a bit large and wanted more small pieces. Luckily, I could make my own ... while providing lots of small pieces would mean that large piece lovers would have some assembly to do.

The chocolate is nice, a little on the fatty side which means that there’s a nice silky melt, but also that the calories per ounce on this were 164 ...quite high. (Pepitas have between 145 and 160 calories per ounce, depending on the variety.) The cocoa flavors have a lot of toasty toffee notes and a little hint of grassy olives (or maybe that’s the pepitas). There’s a hint of salt, which offsets the sweetness very well. The pumpkin seeds are crunchy and crisp with no really flavor of their own, just a clean chew with maybe a hint of pistachio.

I enjoyed it, though I do find snacking on bark to simply be difficult. The inconsistency of the sizes and the inclination for me to want to pick through and find the right size and density of seeds is problematic. I’m not sure why they can’t be little bars or puddles. The use of pumpkin seeds is different enough, though the price on these is a bit steep. I’ll finish the bag and probably consider the salted almond and coconut version in the future if I see them on sale again.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  2. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  3. Las Trojes Pepitoria Brittles
  4. Joyva Sesame Crunch
  5. Eat with your Eyes: Gummi Bear Rings
  6. Vosges Bombalinas - Black Pearl Cashews
  7. Lake Champlain Organic Dark Bars


Name: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ripple Brand Collective
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silver Lake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:28 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedNuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker BrittleTheo Chocolate makes organic and fair trade chocolate from bean to bar in their factory in Seattle. They have a selection of seasonal bars in addition to their regular items, this year I picked out their Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle because I liked their Salted Almond bar. It features almonds, hazelnuts and sugary brittle chunks in smooth, rich 70% dark chocolate

The most notable quality of this seasonal bar is that it’s vegan. That’s right, the brittle is not made with any dairy, so the bar is free from any animal-derived products. (Though it is made in a factory that also processes milk, eggs and wheat, so it may contain traces of gluten or dairy as well as peanuts or other tree nuts.)

The wrapping is nice, a simple paper over-wrap with the chocolate bar enclosed in foil underneath. The bar is made with 88% fair trade ingredients and all organic products (except for the baking soda and salt). The corn syrup is also non-GMO and they do not use soy lecithin (or lecithin of any kind).

Theo Chocolate Nutcracker Brittle

The bar looked great and smells wonderful. It’s a woodsy cocoa blend, it smells like toffee and fresh brewed coffee and toast. For a 70%, it’s well balanced. The cocoa flavors are a little on the acidic side with some bright sour cherry notes along with the other woodsy components mentioned earlier. It’s sweet, at first, but the baked brownie flavors dominate towards the end. The nuts are kind of separate as a flavor and texture. The almonds and hazelnuts are crunchy and fresh (though hard to tell apart) and the little brittle pieces are crunchy without being tacky or chewy. I missed the little hint of salt from the Salted Almond bar, but that’s not what was promised here.

It’s a nice seasonal bar, but I have to wonder why it’s not a year round offering ... no reason not to have this for Valentine’s.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Lindt Excellence Toffee Crunch
  4. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  5. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  6. Endangered Species: Peanut Butter Brittle & Rice Crisp


Name: Nutcracker Brittle 70% Dark Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $3.99
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Theo, Brittle, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, Organic, 8-Tasty, United States, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:10 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTheoBrittleChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNutsOrganic8-TastyUnited StatesCost PlusComments (1)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Villars Mini Tasting Chocolates

Villars AssortmentFor Christmas stockings, I prefer a bit of international flair for the contents. Since Santa Claus travels the world, I figure he must know all about candies from different areas.

I picked up this box of Villars Mini Tasting Chocolates made in Switzerland. It was a bit expensive at $12. The box says it’s “at least” 45 pieces, but I counted 50 in mine. There are four different kinds of chocolate: Milk Chocolate (20 pieces), Milk Chocolate with Caramel 10 pieces), Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts (9 pieces) and 72% Dark Chocolate (11 pieces).

I used to pick up Villars milk chocolate with hazelnut bars at Trader Joe’s many years ago. I suspect that Villars is still making products for Trader Joe’s under the house label, but I can’t be certain. This is the first time I found them at the local grocery store, though it seems like the kind of package you might see at an airport duty free shop. 

Villars Chocolate Bars

Villars is a small chocolate company, according to Wikipedia they’re bean to bar, based in Fribourg, Switzerland and employ about 140 people. They’ve been around over a hundred years.

In my assortment, it was pretty well balanced, with slightly more of the Milk variety than the other three. The little bars are, well, tiny. They’re about 5 grams each, but that also means there’s only about 30 calories in each one.

Villars Lait

The pieces are 1.3 inches high and .8 inches wide. The wrappers are made of some sort of mylar type plastic. They’re shiny on the inside but devilishly hard to tear. Each piece is glued shut with a teensy little dot of well-stuck glue.

Just smelling this little Lait bar I was reminded why I liked Villars: they add barley malt to their chocolate. It’s just a little hint of malt that keeps it from being too sweet. It’s a little roasted and the quality of the milk gives it a light yogurt bite. I can’t eat a lot of it, which is why these little bites are just right for me.

Villars Caramel

The Lait Caramel smelled quite milky. It’s not actual caramel though, it’s more like toffee chips, which is great. I enjoy a little toffee mixed into my milk chocolate and this is a good version. Like the milk chocolate, it’s sweet but wonderfully creamy and rich. The little toffee bits break up the stickiness with a little crunch and hit of caramelized sugar. The thinness of the little bars means that the bits are also small, but Barbie dolls and Star Wars action figures may find them just right.

Villars Noisettes

The little Lait Noisettes bars come in a purple accented wrapper.

The sweetness of this bar is quite strong, but the chips of nicely roasted hazelnuts mellow that out. It’s a little chewy, almost like coconut. It could use a touch of salt, but otherwise, I liked the Noisettes best.

Villars Dark Chocolate

I was looking forward to the Noir 72% quite a bit. It’s hard to find little tasting squares in very dark chocolate. I also noticed that Gelson’s, where I bought these, also has Villars in bulk tubs, so I could buy little callets and disks of their dark chocolate for about $12 a pound. Well, that’s not going to happen, now that I’ve tried this. The chocolate smells good, a little toasty and like coffee. The melt is quite nice ... but the feeling on the tongue is dry and chalky. The finish is far too dry for me, far too acidic and yet it’s quite sweet for a 72%.

I think for baking or maybe as a base for chocolate mousse, this would be excellent. But it’s not my style for straight eating.

For the price, these aren’t phenomenal, I want a lot better dark chocolate for $24 a pound. But the miniature size and variations are just what I needed this week. Now that I’ve had my samples for the review, the rest will be distributed by Santa Claus into the Christmas stockings. I’m hoping for lots of the Noisettes in mine. I also wonder if Villars has also made repackaged items for Aldi, as these were rather similar (though the chocolate moulds were different, the tasting notes are very similar).

Villars is owned by a French company called Bongrain, which bills itself as one of the top transformers of milk in Europe and worldwide. Maybe it sounds better in French. They make cheese and yogurt in dozens of different countries in Europe, North America and Africa ... and chocolate in Switzerland.

Related Candies

  1. Ovomaltine Chocolate Bar
  2. Aldi Chocolate Swiss Assorted Chocolate Squares
  3. Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
  4. The Real Nestle Swiss


Name: Mini Tasting Chocolates
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Villars
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silver Lake)
Price: $11.99
Size: 8.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Villars, Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:48 pm     CandyReviewVillarsChocolateNutsToffee7-Worth ItSwitzerlandComments (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

-114 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:

• Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Caramels

• 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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