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Coconut

Friday, November 13, 2015

Theo Coconut Salted Almond Bites

Theo Coconut Salted Almond BitesI have often desired a better version of the Almond Joy. I love the combination of chocolate and almonds and coconut, but the classic Almond Joy is just a little too sweet and well, has a lot of unnecessary ingredients.

Theo Chocolate of Seattle has been making organic and ethically sourced chocolate for quite a while, and even make one of my favorite bars, their Salted Almond Dark Chocolate. Their newest product expansion has been in the arena of traditional candy bars made with better ingredients (liked their peanut butter cups). The newest is Theo Coconut Salted Almond Bites. They’re part of a full line of coconut bites that come in milk or dark chocolate as well, but the twist here that combined an already well-loved bar was too enticing to resist, even at $2.39 for a scant 1.3 ounce package.

Theo Coconut Salted Almond Bites

The ingredients are non-GMO, fair trade, palm oil free, soy free and organic. It’s also vegan (but made on shared equipment, so not necessarily for folks with dairy or egg allergies.)

The little squares do not look like Almond Joy. The almonds are actually little slivers and chips within the coconut filling, not a couple of whole almonds on top with the chocolate coating.

The smell is comforting, a clean coconut scent, but not quite as sweet and perfumey as suntan oil. The bite is soft, the filling is chewy but not at all sticky. The coconut is moist and distinct. The best part of the whole thing though is the dark touch of the chocolate shell. It’s deep and has a light sweetness that really isn’t found in the coconut. The salt really isn’t evident as a discrete element, but the whole thing isn’t sweet or cloying. The almond provide a different crunch over the chewy coconut.

It’s a very light treat, with really strong flavors and textures. This could become a regular habit ... actually, it has, this is the third bar I’ve purchased since they came out. It took me a while to control myself long enough to take photos.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Coconut Minis
  2. Ritter Sport Winter Edition Caramelised Almonds
  3. Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond
  4. Adams & Brooks P-Nuttles plus Coconut
  5. Limited Edition M&Ms Coconut
  6. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  7. Sunspire Coconut Bars
  8. Almond Joy


Name: Salted Almond Chocolate Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Starbucks
Place Purchased: Starbucks (Beverly Center)
Price: $2.50
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Starbucks, Chocolate, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:38 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTheoChocolateCoconutEthically SourcedKosherNutsOrganic10-SuperbUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (1)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Russell Stover Coconut Minis

DSC_9273rbAll candies will be morselized. But at the moment there are no Mounds Minis from Hershey’s, so Russell Stover has a version that might satisfy your coconut-jones.

The new Russell Stover Coconut Minis are exactly what you’d think. They’re unwrapped little morsels of poppable dark chocolate covered coconut.

They’re the antithesis of the Russell Stovers icon, there’s no box. It’s just the candy, miniaturized and thrown in a bag.

They’re a little pricey, I picked up mine on sale at $3.50 a bag, but the regular price ticket said they’re $4.29. But there’s 8 ounces in the bag, which makes them a pretty good deal at $7 a pound.

DSC_9293rb

The image on the bag makes it look like these are little squares, but in reality they’re rectangular. They’re about an inch long and 3/4 of an inch wide.

Mine were a little scuffed up and appeared a smidge bloomed (but the Pecan Minis did not, which were purchased from the same shelf at the same time). However, the texture of the chocolate was just fine. They smell nice, like brownies and coconut.

The chocolate was soft, the coconut center was pretty tender and chewy. It’s not as sweet as I expected. In the ordinary Coconut pieces, from the wrapped bagged line, there’s a larger ratio of coconut to the chocolate. Here the chocolate and coconut seem well balanced. The chocolate has a good melt and stereotypical cocoa flavor. The coconut was very chewy and fresh without too much sticky sweetness.

I liked them quite a bit, and found them very munchable. They’re a little messier than some morselized candies, since they’re still enrobed, not panned and sealed. I think the ratios were much more successful here than the Pecan Delight Minis, which lacked pecans ... these are coconut and filled with coconut.

These candies contain soy and milk and created on shared equipment with wheat, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coconut Macaroon
  2. Zitners: Butter Krak, Peanut Butter, Double Cocoanut & Butter Cream Eggs
  3. 3 Musketeers Coconut
  4. Dove Milk Chocolate Coconut Creme Eggs
  5. Twix Coconut (Limited Edition)
  6. Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped Chocolates
  7. Brach’s Indulge Almonds: Coconut & Caramel


Name: Coconut Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: CANDY BLOG, Morselization, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Coconut, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewRussell StoverChocolateCoconut7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (1)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 9 -  House Brands

Candyology_Episode_9

In this episode of Candyology 101, Maria and I talk about house brands. You know, generics or downmarket clones of popular candies.

You can download the file directly: MP3.

Here’s a quick review to go with the podcast.

In preparation for the episode, I picked up the 99 Cent Only Store version of the popular Mars candy bar array. The cross sections are shown in the image above. They’re all packaged by Momentum Brands in Turkey. Though the wrappers said that they were milk chocolate covered candy bars, the milk chocolate actually contained dairy whey, which is considered a filler in the United States and cannot be labeled chocolate here. In general whey is used in place of extra sugar in cheaper milk chocolate. Think about it, if you want to make an inexpensive chocolate, you’re going to use as little of the most expensive ingredient as you can. So the cacao content (not even listed) is probably not more than 20%. Then there’s milk, which is usually milk fat and milk powder (which includes both the milk proteins and milk fats) ...and sugar. Too much sugar and the chocolate is unappealing and too much milk fat and the chocolate won’t set. So, milk protein does nicely as a filler that has a slightly malty flavor but is generally benign.

Choco Coco (Bounty) are like Almond Joy without the almonds. The coconut was very firm, but thankfully not that sweet. The milk chocolate has an odd malty flavor to it and a sort of “vitamin” note. Overall, satisfying for a cheap candy ... there were three little bars in the package for 60 cents.

Choco Duo (Twix) - This was a smaller package instead of the king size versions of the others. The sticks smelled malty and sweet. The biscuit base was very hard with a sort of graham cracker or digestive note to it, instead of the exceptionally bland version in the US Twix. The caramel was quite stiff but ultimately chewy ... much chewier than a Twix. The texture of the whole was more within my preferences than actual Twix. But it still isn’t in my arena of candy bars.

Coco Nut (Snickers) were also a king sized package that had two not-quite-full-sized bars. Mine were bloomed (all others were shiny) and I noticed right away that they’re much flatter than Snickers. The ratios are completely off and the peanuts taste foreign, as if they’re a different variety from the US bars. It’s not very peanutty, the caramel and nougat had the same chew ... it was fine for eating, but did not scratch the same itch that a fresh Snickers does.

Coco Nougat (Milky Way) is not at all like a Milky Way. This is actually more like the Milk Munch (also make in Turkey) that I had years ago. Very malty, a little too stiff and not fluffy enough.

I’ll stick to paying full boat for my Mars family of bars, especially when for a similar price, the 99 Cent Only Store sells those snack package with 6 or 8 little bars for a dollar anyway.

Don’t forget you can check out the show notes for Candyology 101 and my previous “Designer Imposter” reviews.

Related Candies

  1. Good and DeLISH Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
  2. Walgreen’s Good and Delish Milk Chocolate Cornflake Clusters
  3. Head to Head: Haviland Thin Mints vs. Maxfield’s Cream Sticks
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Powerberries
  5. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  6. Head to Head: Milky Way & Mars (Canada & UK)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:20 pm     CandyCaramelChocolateCoconutMockolateNougatPeanuts5-PleasantTurkeyHighlightRadio Interviews99 Cent Only StoreComments (4)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seattle Chocolates Truffles

Seattle Chocolates TrufflesSeattle Chocolates makes a wide array of little “truffles” wrapped in mylar in a rainbow of colors.

The company sent me a sample of 14 flavors of their current flavors to try. They came in a simple clear bag with the truffles actually stacked in color order. (But I chose to show you a photo of their Christmas mint assortment, because I don’t actually like photographing clear plastic packaging.)

Earlier I called them “truffles” because they’re really meltaways. The chocolates are little rectangular blocks of chocolate coated meltaway centers. The centers are a combination of chocolate, flavoring and coconut oil mixed with palm oil. This means that they melt at a different temperature than the chocolate itself. The centers are solid, unlike Lindt Lindor Truffles, which have similar ingredients, but more tropical oils.

If this sounds like a Frango, that’s because Seattle Chocolates also makes Frangos for Macy’s, but also sells them under their own name but with more colorful packaging.

Seattle Chocolates

The box I got at the top of the review contained three mint flavors: Mint, San Juan Sea Salt and the seasonal Candy Cane. Pictured above I have Dark Chocolate, Mint, San Juan Sea Salt, Cool Mint.

Mint Seattle Chocolates

I think the first one I should address is the Mint. It comes in a medium green mylar wrapper and is a milk chocolate confection. It smells deliciously pepperminty and takes me back to my childhood and the seasonal boxes of Mint Frangos I consumed (often surreptitiously). The milk chocolate has a strong dairy note and the minty center has a satisfying cool melt along with the peppermint. There are also teensy little pops of salt every once in a while. Often candies like this can be ridiculously sweet, but I didn’t find it that way at all.

Dark Chocolate Seattle Chocolates

The next to profile is a standard, a basic truffle on which so many other flavors are based, the Dark Chocolate. This one is in a medium blue wrapper.

The bite has a satisfying snap, and though the center doesn’t look creamy, it melts well. The dark chocolate has a mild flavor, like the common chocolate chips you’d use for cookies. It’s a toasty flavor, a little the bitter side but with a smoother melt than baking chips.

San Juan Sea Salt is a newer piece, and features a seafoam green wrapper. It’s a milk chocolate piece with little toffee bits and a little extra sea salt mixed into the chocolate center. The salt is a wonderful combination with the very milky chocolate and the little toffee bits are a great textural crunch. I did get some of these in the mint set, and they were actually infused with the mint flavors from the other truffles. Either way, it’s good.

Cool Mint Seattle Chocolates

Cool Mint was the last one in this set, a bit of a change from the previous since it features a light blue wrappers and a white center in dark chocolate. It’s quite minty and could use a little bit of that salt that the others seem to have. I enjoyed it, but prefer the other mint varieties.

Seattle Chocolates

Ah, things are getting a little nuttier in the next batch which features Salted Almond, Milk, Peanut Butter, Espresso.

Espresso Seattle Chocolates

I’ll start with Espresso because, we’ll, I’m in charge. The wrapper is brown, the chocolate is dark. The interior is smooth and has good roasted flavor note. The meltaway itself has little crispy bits ... coffee grounds. The flavor profile is good, I liked the coffee and the grounds or whatever they are aren’t too gritty. Out of the mix, this was the first flavor that disappeared. Not too sweet.

Milk looks just like the mint, so must give that a glance again except imagine the wrapper is gold. Since there are no other flavor elements in this one, it’s a little easier to pick out the profile of the milk chocolate itself. It has a strong dairy flavor, almost like the flavor of cream cheese. It’s sweet gets a little oily towards the end. I skipped these after getting the profile.

Peanut Butter Seattle Chocolates

Peanut Butter sounded fantastic. The bronzy wrapper holds a milk chocolate piece with a peanut butter meltaway center. The interesting aspect is that there are also crushed peanuts in there too. Again, this one is oily like the milk chocolate, though it didn’t bother me as much.

Salted Almond is a bit more trendy and comes in a goldenrod wrapper with a dark chocolate coat. The center is dark chocolate and features a bit of salt and a few almond chips here and there. The toasty flavors of the almonds and dark chocolate were excellent. I’d buy this as a bar, as well.

Seattle Chocolates

The last set is a little fruity and contains some different concepts in the meltaway concept: Peanut Brittle, Strawberry Creme, Raspberry Creme, Blackberry Creme.

Peanut Brittle is similar to the Salted Almond, a little crunchy peanut, maybe with some crispy caramelized sugar in there. Since this is a dark piece, it’s far and away different from the Peanut Butter, though far less peanutty.

Seattle Chocolates Strawberry

The Strawberry is a white center with what I think is bits of freeze dried strawberries in there. It has some authentic strawberry flavors but suffers from the same oily feeling towards the end.

The Raspberry and Blackberry Creme were similar, with some nice berry flavors with a tangy pop here and there.

Not Pictured:

Coconut Macaroon is in a lighter blue mylar and features a dark chocolate coating and center. This is a pure tropical piece, the coconut oils in the meltaway work their magic here along with a few little bites of toasted coconut. There’s a definite coconut smell to it, so much it overpowers the chocolate flavors.

Extreme Chocolate comes in a magenta wrapper (I mistook it for one of the berries when I was photographing). This is excellent. It tastes darker than its reputed 65% cacao, with good bitter notes but still enough sweetness. The meltway qualities are still there, but none of the oily textures I didn’t like. Also as a bonus, there are crunchy cacao nibs in there. All of the nibs I came across were crisp, not fibery like some origins.

Seattle Chocolates also makes a wide variety of Truffle Bars, many in the same flavor profile as the Truffles ... though the ratios differ quite a bit, with more solid chocolate and less meltaway filling in most cases.

Seattle Chocolates Truffles are made with non GMO ingredients and are gluten free. They do contain soy and dairy ingredients and obviously the ones that don’t have peanuts or tree nuts in them were still processed on shared equipment. They sell most of the flavors singly as well as different flavor assortments, like the Mint, just dark and coffee flavors.

As a product line, I give it all a 7 out of 10. For the pieces I liked, such as Salted Almond, Extreme Chocolate and San Juan Sea Salt, I go to 8 out of 10.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-21/news/ct-met-schmich-1221-20121221_1_frangos-candy-kitchen-macy

Related Candies

  1. Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Minty Melts
  3. Seattle Chocolates Perfect Peanut Butter
  4. Fannie May Mint Meltaway
  5. Malley’s Chocolates
  6. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  7. Frangos Dark (62%)
  8. Espresso Truffle Bar


Name: Truffles Assortment
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: samples from Seattle Chocolates
Price: $21.95
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Seattle Chocolates, Brittle, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, Nibs, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:14 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSeattle ChocolatesChocolateCoconutCoffeeKosherMintsNibsNutsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Godiva Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World

Godiva Chef InspirationsGodiva was founded in Belgium as a premium chocolatier. The company is now owned by a Turkish holding coming (Yıldız Holding) but is headquartered in New York and named after an Old English noblewoman.

The chocolate is reliably of good quality, though the prices are on the high side compared to other brands now available. I love their packaging, but I’m usually disappointed by the products as they tend to be bland.

Still, I was tempted enough by a press release about a new collaboration collection that I stopped by the local Godiva shop and picked up a box of the Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection. It was $18 for a box of eight chocolates in six different flavors.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

So, six flavors and eight pieces means that I got two duplicates. The box is nice, a rounded rectangle with a plastic formed tray inside. The whole thing was shrink-wrapped and definitely fresh and flawless when I opened it. It included a little brochure that described both the chef and chocolates themselves. Here’s a little bit from the website:

Welcome our debut Flavors of the World collection—part of our new Chef Inspirations series! GODIVA Chef Chocolatiers crafted these extraordinary pieces based on inspiration from their culinary journeys in six countries - Japan, Belgium, Brazil, the United States, China, and South Africa. Let our chefs guide your through this flavor-filled adventure.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Banana & Caramelized Coconut: Milk and white chocolate enhanced with caramelized coconut flakes, coconut milk and banana essence topped with the crunch of West African cocoa nibs. The banana flavors are sweet and have a bit of a creamy note. The coconut has a little tropical flavor, the whole thing is soft and chewy. The milk chocolate is smooth, but extremely sweet.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Black Tea Mousse & Sichuan Pepper: Chinese Sichuan pepper flavored ganache blended with an aromatic black tea mousse and wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. The mousse has a very light chocolate note but strong tannins from the black tea. I didn’t catch much of the pepper, which is too bad. But I did enjoy the tea and this one was less sweet than the others.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Sirop de Liege with Speculoos: Classic Belgian Sirop de Liege, a pear and apple syrup, and a Speculoos cookie mousse wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. This is a beautiful piece and an interesting combination. It is by far the most innovative and successful in the assortment. The speculoos is soft and creamy with a hint of gingerbread spices. The syrup is more like a fruit jelly, tart and smooth and bright, it’s really a great pairing with the dark chocolate and cookie butter. They should make this in a bar format.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Japanese Dark Sugar Ganache: Dark chocolate layered with Kuromitsu molasses and Valencia almond praliné mixed with diced hazelnuts and Guerande sea salt. Since I started Candy Blog, I’ve been obsessed with Japanese black sugar, so this was the piece was thinking would be a home run. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but lacks any sort of black sugar note at all. The almond and hazelnut notes are great and the touch of sea salt does really balance the piece which gets a bit sweet, but the molasses is just so slight, I missed it. And I had three of these ... the two that came in the box and I bought one on the spot and ate it at the mall.

Brazilian Coffee Nut Praliné: Brazilian coffee and Costa Rican chocolate blended with hazelnut praliné enrobed in white chocolate and decorated with crispy chocolate confetti. As you would expect, this one was sweet with the white chocolate coating. The coffee notes a fresh and bright and the hazelnut flavors really mixed well. The little crisps on top gave it the texture it needed as a finish. Dark chocolate enrobing would have made me a bit more satisfied.

Honey Roasted Caramel: Caramel infused with hints of honey, almonds, brown sugar and condensed milk covered in milk chocolate and crunchy almonds. This sounds rather pedestrian and it really is, but that’s no reason not to appreciate it. It was chewy, but not too sticky. The honey and darker toffee notes were good and the milk chocolate brought it together well with some other dairy notes. The almonds were kind of lost, but at least fresh and crunchy.

Overall ... well, it was too sweet and not intense enough. I liked the attempts and part of the fun was just imagining what the combinations would be like. But I think I’ll stick with my local chocolatiers like Compartes or Valerie if I want to get into that price range, or just stop at See’s and be happy with their caramels.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
  2. Godiva Cake Truffles
  3. Meiji Chelsea Kokutou Black Sugar
  4. Amsterdam on Foot: Three Chocolate Shops
  5. Godiva Spring Pearls
  6. Teuscher
  7. Lillie Belle Farms Assortment
  8. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Godiva
Place Purchased: Godiva (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Godiva, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Coffee, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:01 pm     CandyReviewGodivaCaramelChocolateCoconutCoffeeNibsNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (3)

Monday, November 3, 2014

See’s Bridge Mix

See's Bridge MixI picked up the Bridge Mix from See’s Candies over the weekend, mostly because the comments from readers were so adamant that it was worth having a try.

At $18 a pound it’s about 2.5 times more expensive than the Brach’s Bridge Mix. It also has all natural chocolate and at least lists a sample of what is probably in the mix: Bite-sized pieces of raisins, coconut, caramel, brittles, almonds, pecans, nougats and more covered in milk and dark chocolate.

See's Bridge Mix

The kind folks at See’s actually gave me a little cup of the mix to sample before I made my purchase ... because it just comes in this one pound box. The box has four little sections, which keep the mix from wandering too much. I don’t know if I would necessarily serve it from the box, but the nice thing about Bridge Mix it’s a panned candy, which means that it has a little glaze on each piece to keep it from sticking together and you can put it out in a bowl without worrying that it’ll all melt into a lump.

See's Bridge MixOne of the first things I should mention is that I’m allergic to walnuts. Not deathly allergic, as I’m still alive, but for the most part my reactions to walnut traces lately has been a swollen throat and flushed skin. The See’s Bridge Mix does contain walnuts. One of the items is chocolate covered nougat, which has walnuts in it. It’s hard to tell, in Bridge mix, which pieces are which, so it’s a little difficult for me review these in the normal manner. For any piece that is the right shape to be a nougat, I have to split open first to see what’s in it.

The good part is that most of the pieces are easy to just chomp. The little items that look like raisins or almonds are raisins and almonds. The pillow things that look like molasses chips are molasses chips. The lumpy things that look like pecans are pecans. It was the little cubes I had the trouble with ... which leads to the general complaint with Bridge Mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Dark Chocolate covered Caramel Rectangles had a more stringy, chewy caramel than the little cube ones I found a few times. These were quite nice, but maybe a little heavy on the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Lump is Rum Raisin Nougat This is the piece that has walnuts in it.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Cube is Caramel The picture makes this one look like it might be a chocolate caramel, but it tasted rather rich but caramelly overall.

Milk Chocolate Rounded Cube is Butterscotch The See’s Butterscotch is one of my favorite pieces. This version is a little drier and has a different set of ratios for the chocolate and center. I prefer the enrobed piece (not the bar), but the creamy melt of the chocolate and sort of buttery brown sugar fudge do work well, especially with the nuts. This and the caramel looked the same to me, and most of the milk cubes were Butterscotch.

Dark Chocolate Cube is Toasted Coconut These are wholly unexpected for this type of mix. You can see from the cross section, these are packed with coconut, so they’re not too sweet and it is nicely toasted to bring out the tropical flavor.

Flat Milk Chocolate Square is Toffee (not pictured) I like the See’s Toffee, it’s crisp and buttery and easy to bite. The toffee notes are good, but for some reason it’s never had that smooth burnt sugar dissolve that I often crave. It’s a personal preference issue.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pillow is Molasses Crisp. These might have more chocolate on the regular version available by themselves. They’re crisp and crunchy, with just enough aeration to the honey-molasses candy to make them easy to bite. The lingering honey notes of the center goes well with just about everything else in this mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pecans & Almonds - the pecans are fantastic. They’re roasted perfectly, they have a great woodsy maple flavor, so you get a sweet crunch combined with the chocolate. The almonds are very small, if I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed that they were peanuts. They’re well toasted and decent, a good crunch and probably a different variety than the nonpareil almonds I’ve been eating, because they’re less fibery.

Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins are quite niece. The raisins are big, though the chocolate isn’t particularly dark, it is generous.

The mix is very strong, it doesn’t have any items that feel like they’re cheap filler. I did find that the almonds were left at the end, I was picking out the big bits. But I think once I figured out the code, it was easier to mix and match without worrying that I was going to get a “bad piece.” I do not recommend playing roulette if you have a food sensitives when it comes to this sort of thing.

I would prefer an actual guide on the package, or at least a real listing the items that are in i. I’d also like to just make my own mix… but that’s not the way mixes work. I would definitely buy this again. But I play Canasta, not Bridge.

Related Candies

  1. Snack Mix for Traveling
  2. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  3. See’s Double Caramel
  4. Cedrinca Gran Mix
  5. Eat with your Eyes: See’s Butterscotch
  6. Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix
  7. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  8. Marich Easter Select Mix
  9. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: See’s Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: See’s
Place Purchased: See's (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Morselization, See's, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Nougat, Nuts, Toffee, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:40 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewSee'sCaramelChocolateCoconutNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesComments (7)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Equal Exchange Dark Bars: Raspberry, Lemon Ginger, and Coconut

Equal Exchange RaspberryEqual Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries 60% is part of the Equal Exchange line of chocolate bars.

They’re 3.5 ounces and priced competitively with other premium chocolate bars. Equal Exchange (I reviewed some Easter items on Friday) is a cooperative using fair trade standards to create a whole store filled with chocolate, coffee, tea and other goods.

This bar features organic freeze dried raspberries in organic and fair trade dark chocolate. The cacao is sourced from fair trade cooperatives in The Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador and Peru with sugar from Paraguay and vanilla from Madagascar. There’s no soy lecithin and it’s considered gluten free though it may contain traces of milk, hazelnuts, cashews and coconut. Equal Exchange makes their chocolate in Switzerland.

The bar is wrapped simply, in thin foil and then a thicker paper overwrap (the inside had all the sourcing details about the bar).

Equal Exchange Raspberry

The bar is glossy and attractive, with some bumps on the bottom from the raspberry bits. The molding is good as is the temper, it’s very consistent and I noticed no voids or swirling in any of the bars (which can happen with inclusions). It smells rich, though barely sweet. Like cherries, coffee and honey. Once snapped in half though, the raspberry scent, with its floral notes becomes much more noticeable. The chocolate is sweet on the tongue and has a good, cool melt with a creamy texture. The raspberry bits are crunchy and tangy, though the seeds in the center can be a bit tougher.

It’s a very easy to eat bar, with a lot more acidic tang than most other 60% bars. I don’t care much for the grassy, woody note of the seeds, but that’s berries for you.

Equal Exchange Lemon and Ginger

The Equal Exchange Organic Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper is 55% cacao, so it’s the lightest chocolate intensity of the bunch. The package gives the identical sourcing info for the major ingredients but doesn’t say where the lemon, ginger and black pepper is from, though they’re all organic.

It’s nice to see lemon used with chocolate, it’s not as common as orange, but can still combine well, especially with dark chocolate. The addition of ginger and black pepper makes this the most unconventional flavor in the Equal Exchange line. This package looked the same on the outside as the other bars, but instead of a foil inner liner, it’s in some sort of compostable mylar. I also noticed that the nutritional panel listed this one at only 200 calories a portion, not 230 ...which actually sounds more plausible. (But calorie calculations are fraught with error, as the basis for it is over 100 years old, so really they’re just a guide.)

Equal Exchange Lemon and Ginger

Though the bar contains no milk, it doesn’t look like a particularly dark chocolate bar. It smells woodsy and fresh, with a little note of rosemary and cedar.

The melt of the dark chocolate is very smooth, but I did start to detect a bit of sugar grain ... this was from the crystallized ginger in the bar. The lemon is a bit strong, rather astringent at first, but it dissipates. The chocolate is mild, woodsy and of course creamy. The ginger and black pepper hit come in slowly as a hint of warmth in the throat. The sugar from the crystallized ginger rather disguised the ginger kick at first, then it came forward.

It’s a satisfying bar.

Equal Exchange  Coconut

The final bar is the Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Coconut 60%. Like the Raspberry bar, this one has a thin silver foil wrapping.

It is also 60% cacao content and contains only one additional ingredient to the chocolate, the organic coconut flakes.

This bar reminded me most of Passover, which I’ve often thought of as Macaroon Season, as coconut macaroons (often dipped in chocolate) are a typical treat since they can be made without only coconut, chocolate, egg whites and sugar to follow the Kosher for Passover rules.

Equal Exchange  Coconut

The bar has a lot of coconut in it, and the silky chocolate goes well with it. There are cherry and raisin notes to go with the more tropical scent of the coconut and hints of the Madagascar vanilla bean.

The exciting development this year for Equal Exchange is their new designation of their dark chocolates as Kosher for Passover. Equal Exchange chocolates that are marked pareve (the 3.5 oz or 100 g line and dark chocolate minis) may be purchased before Passover and consumed on Passover according to Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University. The specific bars from Equal Exchange that qualify for this designation are: Organic Chocolate Espresso Bean Bar, Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bar, Organic Ecuador Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Mint with a Delicate Crunch Bar, Organic Orange Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Very Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper, Organic Dark Chocolate Minis.

It’s interesting that before this, there were no certified fair trade chocolates that were designated Kosher for Passover. Which is odd, because Passover is all about the commemoration of Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt. The best news is that these are tasty and come in a pretty wide variety of flavor options.

CNN has been covering modern day slavery, including in the cocoa trade in a series of articles, segments and documentaries.

Related Candies

  1. Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
  2. Original Beans Piura Porcelana and Esmeraldas Milk
  3. Kauai Chocolate Tour plus Nanea & Madre Chocolate Bars
  4. Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
  5. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  6. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate: 65%, 71% & 80%
  7. Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries
  8. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
  9. Equal Exchange Halloween Kit


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries 60%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 176
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, 7-Worth It, Switzerland


Name: Organic Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper 55%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Ginger, Kosher, Organic, 8-Tasty, Switzerland


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate with Coconut 60%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 176
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Coconut, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:36 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEqual ExchangeChocolateCoconutEthically SourcedGingerKosherOrganic7-Worth It8-TastySwitzerlandComments (0)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coconut Macaroon

Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coconut MacaroonThe final bar in the trio of seasonal bars from Ritter Sport that I wanted to review is the Winter Edition Coconut Macaroon. As I mentioned in the review of the Caramel-Orange and Caramelised Almonds, the Ritter Sport seasonal editions are becoming much more readily available in the United States now.

I found mine at Cost Plus World Market, they were priced up at $2.99 a bar, instead of the usual $2.49.

I was most interested in how different this bar is from the Ritter Sport Coconut bar that debuted earlier this year. Like many of the Ritter Sport bars, this one is a cream filling, which means the first ingredients are sugar and palm oil. The Coconut Macaroon bar is filled with a milk creme and pieces of coconut macaroons and crispy rice. So the filling is a bit more textured. (I also recognize now that I tried a test market version of this a couple of years ago at the Ritter Sport factory.)

Ritter Sport Winter Edition Coconut Macaroon

The milk chocolate is soft and the bar is easy to break. The coconut scent really permeates the whole thing, giving it a tropical note. The chocolate is smooth and creamy and milky. It might have been fun to see a dark chocolate used on this one to differentiate it from the Coconut bar.

The filling is light and has lots of crispy coconut bits and little rice flakes. The rice gives it a malty note, which balances out the sweetness a bit.

Overall, the cream bars are not a huge favorite of mine, they’re not greasy or heavy, but not really satisfying for some reason. The balance here is good, but I’d like to see Ritter Sport go for some more dark chocolate options for their seasonal bars going forward.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Coconut
  2. Nestle Crunch Girl Scout Cookie Candy Bars: Peanut Butter & Caramel and Coconut
  3. Ritter Sport 100th Anniversary Edel-Nuss Mix + Bonus Previews
  4. Dove Milk Chocolate Coconut Creme Eggs
  5. Ritter Sport Sommer-Genuss 2010 Limited Editions
  6. Limited Edition M&Ms Coconut
  7. Russell Stover Coconut Wreath


Name: Coconut Macaroon (Winter Edition)
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, Coconut, 7-Worth It, Germany, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:08 am     CandyReviewChristmasRitter SportChocolateCoconutLimited Edition7-Worth ItGermanyCost PlusComments (1)

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