ABOUT

FEEDS

CONTACT

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Here are some frequently asked questions emailed to me you might want to read first.

EMAIL DIGEST

    For a daily update of Candy Blog reviews, enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

CANDY RATINGS

TYPE

BRAND

COUNTRY

ARCHIVES

Coffee

Monday, July 27, 2009

See’s Lollypops

imageI popped into See’s yesterday to see what was new for the summer. The Root Beer Lollipops are back in stock (through mid-August), so if you were a fan of those (mini review here), then pop by for your fix.

I realized that I’ve never reviewed the See’s Lollipops in their classic array. The nice thing about them is that they’re summer-proof but also that they’re pretty cheap.

On top of that, they’re creamy and satisfying, last really long but only 70 calories each. They come in four regular flavors that are available singly (don’t forget your free sample!) or by the box: Vanilla, Chocolate, Butterscotch & Cafe Latte.

Vanilla See's LollipopVanilla Lollipop

Vanilla looks like a block of nothing. The color is a creamy white, the texture & tint of glossy trim paint.

It smells sweet and vaguely like French vanilla ice cream. The flavor is like a toasted marshmallow - a sweet vanilla with a little hint of bourbon and butter.

It’s a smooth pop with a slightly oily dissolve, which only supports that feeling that I’m eating solid ice cream. It’s sweet, but doesn’t feel cloying or sticky. The pop lasts a long time, too.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Chocolate See's LollipopChocolate Lollipop

The chocolate pop doesn’t look like much. It’s not quite shiny ... it’s not really matte either.

It smells like brownie batter.

The texture starts smooth but quickly degrades to an oddly rich but chalky experience. It’s like the mud at the bottom of the cup of hot chocolate. Not that I don’t love that mud, but in this case the texture is rather rough like a cat tongue. 

It’s rich, and does deliver quite a bit of the chocolatey experience without melting. But the chalky/sand paper never quite thrills me.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Butterscotch See's LollipopButterscotch Lollipop

The color is lovely, like a rich caramel.

The immediate flavor on my tongue was salt. It was very salty to me, but perhaps that was because I was eating the vanilla one right before that.

The texture is ultra smooth, and has the same creamy & buttery melt. The caramelized sugar notes were good but the strongest flavor by far was salty butter.

I liked how smooth the block is, though this is one that I noticed how awkward the pops are in the mouth. It takes a while to smooth away the corners. Over the years this has been my favorite pop mostly because of its simple & true flavor but also the super-slick texture.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Cafe Latte See's LollipopCafe Latte Lollipop

This was the “softest” pop of the bunch. It was a little sticky from the humidity, which gave it a caramel consistency on the outermost layer.

The scent is like dark roast coffee or espresso, but the flavor is like coffee with lots of milk and some sugar in it. There’s a slight coffee bitterness to it, but for the most part it’s like a Coffee Nip with a stick in it.

I appreciated the silky texture and the stick prevented me from gluing my teeth shut as I often do with Nips or Coffee Rio.

Rating: 7 out of 10

A mixed box is a great addition to a vacation when you need a little pick me up, or something to keep you occupied at the office when wrangling endless spreadsheets of metadata.

Related Candies

  1. Das Lollipops
  2. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  3. Coffee Rio
  4. See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops
  5. Coffee Nips
  6. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  7. See’s Scotchmallow Eggs
  8. See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar
Name: Lollypops: Vanilla, Chocolate, Butterscotch & Cafe Latte
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: See's Candies
Place Purchased: See's (Fashion Square - Sherman Oaks)
Price: $.65
Size: .7 ounces each
Calories per ounce: 100 (70 each)
Categories: Hard Candy, Caramel, Coffee, United States, See's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:31 am     Comments (20)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meiji Pokka Coffee Caramel

Meiji Pokka Coffee CaramelOne of the iconic candies in Japan are caramels. There are oodles of caramels available, most in the classic style of a hard, short caramel (meaning it’s rather chewy but dry).

Often they come in different flavors, but the classic caramel has endured for nearly 100 years. One line is the Meiji Dice, which are little caramels that come in pairs inside cube boxes that also double as dice.  More recently, as Meiji has acquired the Pokka Coffee company, they introduced the Pokka Coffee Caramel.

The cute packages feature half with icons of the Pokka coffee brand with their logo & seal. The other half are the dice - in this case using little coffee beans on each side to mark the numbers.

Meiji Pokka Coffee Caramel

The caramels are bigger than the Morinaga ones I’ve had before, or the other, similar Meiji cubes.

They’re about 5/8 of an inch square with a distinct checkerboard texture on them. Each pair is wrapped in waxed paper and tucked into a box. So there are eight caramels total.

They smell very sweet and a lot like dark roasted coffee or espresso. There’s very little milk taste to it, though milk is a major ingredient. It’s definitely a sweet black coffee flavor. (Some coffee caramels taste like coffee ice cream.) I liked it much better than the grainy & gone texture of the Chewy Coffee Rio.

The dark, rich flavor and the soft, ample chew was really appealing to me. I found I ate three of the boxes before I was even ready to do this review. They were a bit on the expensive side for a mass-manufactured candy ... and the overpackaging is sweet for the first day or so, but silly and wasteful after that. I’ll likely stick with the Morinaga Caramels I know and love so well, or perhaps try the Meiji Chelsea Coffee if I can find them.

Related Candies

  1. Beechies Force Chewy Candy
  2. Coffee Nips
  3. Japanese Black Sugar & Tropical Chews
  4. The Candy Dump 2008
  5. Coffee Beat
  6. Green and Black Caramels
Name: Pokka Coffee Caramel (Dice)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Meiji
Place Purchased: Nijiya Market (Little Tokyo Plaza)
Price: $1.59
Size: 1.58 ounces
Calories per ounce: 132
Categories: Caramel, Coffee, Japan, Meiji

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:50 pm     Comments (1)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nips: Mocha and Chocolate Parfait

Chocolate Parfait & Mocha NipsThe last two varieties to complete my set of Nips reviews are Chocolate Parfait Nips and Mocha Nips.

In case you haven’t been reading along, Nips are a hard caramel, first made by a company called Pearson’s which was later bought out by Nestle. They’re a great summer candy because they don’t melt but have a rich creamy flavor that can satisfy that craving even on the stickiest of days.

Both are variations on previously reviewed Nips, as they’re filled & flavored.

Chocolate Parfait Nips

The Chocolate Parfait Nips are made up of a Caramel Nip outside and a chocolate flavored inside.

The caramel is a little salty, creamy and with a silky sweet melt on the tongue. Sometimes it softens up a bit for splitting & bending ... or cementing teeth together.

Inside the bliss of the confection loses track for me. The chocolate center is like an oily Tootsie Roll. The chocolate flavor is weak and the texture is worse than that, a sort of waxy, greasy mess.

I’ve had this box for several months and I’ve eaten all of four of them so far.

Mocha Nips

The Mocha Nips are a bit darker looking. The rich hardened caramel is coffee flavored, just like the original Coffee Nips. In this case the mocha element comes from the cocoa paste filling.

The creamy, milky coffee outer portion is just like the classic Nip ... a good rounded coffee flavor. The inside though, like the Chocolate Parfait isn’t quite chocolate, it’s more like a frosting.

The bold strength of the coffee flavored outside masks the chocolate deficiencies better than the Chocolate Parfait, so I did end up finishing most of the box.

While I appreciate the attempt to create a few other versions, the chocolate just isn’t good enough to make me chose these over the classic solid flavors.

Related Candies

  1. Coffee Rio
  2. Nips: Butter Rum & Peanut Butter Parfait
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Coffee Nips
  5. M&Ms Premiums
  6. Nestle Crunch Cappuccino Stixx
  7. Cafe Select Chocolate Coffee Trios
Name: Chocolate Parfait & Mocha Nips
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Coffee, Caramel, Mockolate, United States, Nestle, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:59 am     Comments (4)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jitterbeans vs GoGo Beans

GoGo Beans vs JitterbeansChocolate covered coffee beans are nothing new and caffeinated candy has been around for a while.

Here are two new super charged coffee bean candies. GoGo Beans are made by How Do You Take Your Coffee and feature “The Eating Roast” coffee, which are beans that are chosen & roasted to be tastier for consuming than for brewing (I already reviewed their JAVAZ). Jitterbeans are the overclocked version of Crackheads (review here) from Osmanium ... and when I say overclocked I mean it, each piece contains about 20 mg of caffeine so the package has as much as 6 small cups of coffee.

Jitterbeans vs GoGo Beans

GoGo Beans
Size: 2.43 ounces (69 grams)
Price: $2.50
Caffeine Content: approximately 125 mg (about 5 mg per bean)
Calories per ounce: 134
Other Fortifications: ginseng, taurine, B vitamins
Allergens: soy & milk - plus uses confectioners glaze so not vegetarian (but made in a peanut free facility)
Ingredient notes: not real chocolate, contains palm kernel oil, artificial colors: Yellow 6 & Red 40
My source: sample from How Do You Take Your Coffee

GoGo Beans

GoGo Beans are super-fortified and offer both the caffeine inherent in the bean plus an addition kick added to the candy shell plus some special B vitamins, taurine and ginseng. The format is an bean at the center (specially roasted for eating) then a mockolate coating all covered in a thick candy shell.

The shell has a pretty immediate light bitterness which may be the fortification or may be the food coloring. That fades away pretty quickly for me. The inside has a mellow cocoa flavor but not a huge kick for me. The texture is soft and has a decent melt, but at times felt a little waxy. The bean at the center was lovely, just as I found with the Javaz - crunchy and crisp with a strong coffee flavor but no oily bitterness.

JitterbeansJitterbeans
Size: 1.3 ounces (37 grams)
Price: retail $3.00
Caffeine Content: 600 mg (462 mg per ounce)
Calories per ounce: not available
Other Fortifications: none
Allergens: soy, peanuts & nuts - also uses confectioners glaze so not vegan
Ingredient notes: Uses guarana for extra caffeine, artificial colors: Red 40, Yellow 5 & Blue 1
My source: All Candy Expo

The Jitterbeans follow the tried and true format of chocolate over an espresso bean and adds a candy shell. Like the original Crackheads, these are in the classic tuxedo colors of black and white, though there’s no actual white chocolate in there.

JitterbeansThe candy shell is rather thin and offers a sandy crunch. Inside the chocolate is sweet and has a bit of a spicy woodsy ginger flavor to it along with the mellow coffee notes. The extra caffeine isn’t bitter at all though some of the beans in the center had a bitter kick. The whole thing is rather tasty and probably very dangerous for those who don’t know that there’s a lot of caffeine in these and consumes a whole box. I limited myself to three beans in the three different times I tried these. That said, I have a hard time believing they have that much caffeine in them without so much bitterness that I’ve found in other caffeinated candies - maybe someone can comment on the caffeine in “guarana seed extract.”

Both of these are great, durable & portable caffeine supplements. They’re tasty and what’s most important - portionable so you can control exactly how much caffeine you take in. That said, I much prefer the more sedate and non-fortified versions and will stick with the JAVAZ for my candy, coffee & caffeine combination. The addition of artificial colors wasn’t enough of selling point.

Jitterbeans and GoGo Beans get a 6 out of 10 - not bad candy, but not for me.

Related Candies

  1. Beechies Force Chewy Candy
  2. Loud Truck Energy Gummies
  3. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
  4. Trader Joe’s Espresso Chocolate
  5. Pocket Coffee
  6. No Time & Black Black

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:58 am     CandyReviewCaffeinatedChocolateCoffeeMockolate6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (1)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ginger Chews: Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee Ginger ChewsThere are a lot of confections I call traveling candies. They’re candies that both deliver that sweet boost as well as some other function. I often use hot cinnamon for long car rides to keep me focused and of course coffee items like Nips or Coffee Rio are great for a teensy caffeine boost without fluids.

I also tend to get motion sickness, so ginger candies are a great way to feed my sweet tooth and soothe my tummy.

Here’s a candy from The Ginger People that combines both the soothing spice of ginger and the kick of coffee: Hot Coffee Ginger Chews.

Hot Coffee Ginger Chews

The chews are just like the other ubiquitous Ginger Chews that are available unbranded at Asian markets or from The Ginger People or Chimes. (They’re all made in Indonesia.)

The soft little translucent chew is coated with a tapioca starch & sugar mixture. They still stick to the wrapper and don’t really look like much when pulled out. Sometimes I can find one that’s still block shaped, but most are smashed.

Hot Coffee Ginger ChewsThe scent is rather bland. Just sweet and maybe a little woodsy. But I popped one my mouth and the immediate sweetness gave way to quite a few flavors. There’s a strong root & earth component from the ginger then a very strong spicy warm feeling. The coffee kind of kicks in from the background - it’s rather weak coffee note but not tamed by any milk here like so many coffee candies do. It’s a brewed black coffee flavor.

It makes me wonder why I don’t throw sliced ginger into my coffee. It’s a really nice combination - the sugar is sweet but more like barley sugar with a mellow malty or toasted flavor to it.

The cumulative effect of these after a half a dozen is a strong and lingering warm sensation. (And a few little bits stuck in my teeth.)

The drawbacks to these are, first, that they’re vexing to get out of their wrappers. The plastic/mylar stuff is hard to tear open, and never quite opens the whole way. Not exactly easy to open yourself when driving. (This is what navigators were invented for ... not directing you where to go, but to unwrap & hand you your candy.)

Each piece has about 20 calories and no fat. If there’s caffeine in it, it’s not enough for them to note on the package (it’s a coffee extract so it’s not like some candies where you consume the whole bean). Their website says they’re gluten free (but the package doesn’t). They’re made in a facility that processes peanuts. Should be considered vegan, there’s no Kosher or Halal certification.

Related Candies

  1. Compartes Chocolates
  2. Mitchell’s Candies
  3. Candy Dump 2008 part 2
  4. VerMints
  5. Anis de Flavigny
  6. Sweetriot!
  7. Ginger Bears
  8. Peanut Butter Ginger Chews
Name: Hot Coffee Ginger Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: The Ginger People
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market LA)
Price: $1.99
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 93
Categories: Chew, Coffee, Ginger, Indonesia, The Ginger People, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:30 am     Comments (7)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

Javaz Milk & DarkSince the introduction of chocolate covered espresso beans sometime in the seventies not much has changed. Oh sure, sometimes they’re milk chocolate covered ... sometimes dark chocolate and even white chocolate.

At the Fancy Food Show in January I did get to try what I thought was one of the best revisions of the classic caffeinated confection: JAVAZ.

First, they’re all natural and use organic, fair traded coffee beans. Second, they use good quality chocolate. Third, they have a candy shell. But most of all, they actually roast the coffee for eating. That is, instead of roasting it for optimal brewing, it’s roasted with the idea that someone is going to crunch & consume it.

They come in two varieties: Milk and Dark.

Javaz Milk Chocolate

JAVAZ Milk are much larger than most chocolate covered coffee beans, so it’s a goodly dose of chocolate. I threw some coffee beans into the photo to show the scale.

They’re even larger than Peanut M&Ms.

They look like little bird eggs: a faint tan color with brown speckles.

The shell is thick and crunchy and the milk chocolate is sweet and has a strong dairy/milky flavor to it. The coffee bean at the center is crispy and light, I wasn’t getting the fibery, woody bits that some coffee candies seem to leave behind. The coffee beans don’t have that acrid, oily taste to them.

The whole thing tastes like coffee ice cream with crunchy bits.

Though there’s obviously caffeine in here it’s not as much as you might think: a 55 gram bag has about the same amount as a cup of coffee.

Javaz Dark Chocolate

JAVAZ Dark are decorated in the reverse of the milk ones. The shell is brown with beige speckles.

The chocolate layer here is dark chocolate, though not “pure” in the sense that there’s some dairy in there (sorry vegans, but the confectioners glaze spoiled these for you anyway).

The chocolate is quite sweet and the punch of the coffee bean is nice and balances that sugary-ness quite well. I might have preferred a little more coffee flavor.

They’re substantially crunchy, I can’t say that these are a quiet way to get a caffeine boost.

I like how thick the shells are and how easy it is to hold them in my hand or just throw a few in my jacket pocket without the protection of the bag. As long as they stay dry, they do just fine. (Okay, maybe that’s not the most sanitary thing, but I’m just being honest about my road-testing of the product.)

The coffee is sourced from Indonesia and uses only Arabica beans and benefits the Indonesia Relief Fund.

They’re made in the USA and are Kosher. The packages are a little expensive ($3.00 for 1.94 ounces), but I expect that’s because they’re just starting out ... volume usually helps to even these things out and they’re only sold in the small package. Right now I can only find them on Foodzie, though they’ve been at some food trade shows so might be in cafes and gourmet delis as well.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows
  2. M&Ms Premiums
  3. Crackheads
  4. Starbucks Chocolate
  5. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
  6. Pocket Coffee
  7. Coffee Beat
  8. Bali’s Best Coffee & United Coffee Candy
Name: JAVAZ Milk & Dark
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: How Do You Take Your Coffee?
Place Purchased: samples from HDYTYC?
Price: $3.00
Size: 1.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, United States, All Natural, Fair Trade, Organic, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:21 am     Comments (10)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Compartes Chocolates

Though I wouldn’t call Los Angeles a candy city, we certainly have our share of sweet spots. I’m more likely to go to San Francisco for candy adventures than the west side, but after promising for several years I finally made it to Compartes Chocolatier to pick up some items for Candy Blog.

Compartes Assortment

This wasn’t actually my first visit to the Brentwood shop, but certainly the first one in this century (I was a D-Girl in the 90s and my office was not far from there). I had to see the place since the new generation, Jonathan Grahm expanded the classic line of stuffed fruits & novelty molded chocolates with truffles & ganaches with inventive flavor combinations.

The shop is compact but has a lovely display area on the wall of the chocolates and the main counter that appears to be divided in to two areas: classic offerings and modern. (My distinctions, not theirs.) They serve gelato so there are a few tables inside and out front. (For those who follow Compartes on Twitter, I did spot Jonathan at his laptop tucked in the corner at one of the tables.)

Compartes Ginger Medallions & Orange Peels

The classic products are sold by the pound (as fruits & nuts tend to come in various sizes) while the truffles & bonbons are sold by the piece. The classics were $35 a pound and the bonbons were $2 each. I left the shop with $50 worth of chocolate in one rather large & heavy box.

Classic Chocolates

Compartes Glace Fig in Dark ChocolateChocolate Dipped Glace Fig

The fig is glossy is and sticky. It looks like a light fig (green) like a Kalamata. I prefer black figs (Mission) mostly because they have darker flavors ... it’s like the difference between golden raisins & regular raisins. It’s very sweet at first, the figgy flavors are tangy, a little grassy from the seeds with some raspberry & floral-like green tea flavors. The dark chocolate offsets this well, especially by bringing in the creamy melt.

It’s definitely show-stopping beautiful. Best eaten fresh & quickly.

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in ChcoolateCandied Orange Peel dipped in Dark Chocolate

These tiny little fingers were wonderfully shiny on the peel edge. It was all peel, too, cooked in sugar syrup to a light and translucent tenderness - no trace of acrid & foamy white pith. The dark chocolate looked silken brown. Each piece was a combination of bitterness from the orange oils and dark chocolate, vibrant zest and sweet citrus & cocoa flavors. The texture was chewy & a buttery creaminess. Perfection.

Hazelnut & Orange in Dark Chocolate (not pictured)

These were simple little dark chocolate cups that could have easily been coconut haystacks. I was hoping that the combo of the chocolate & nuts with those awesome orange pieces would work ... sadly the whole thing tasted a bit “cheesy” and I couldn’t figure out why ... something about the hazelnuts lacking their nuttiness. I’ll pass on these in the future.

Compartes Ginger Medallions

Ginger Medallions

The ginger coins are tender and soft, a bit juicy. With citrus notes and a warm woodsy burn, the sweet candied ginger goes well with the bittersweet chocolate that has a slightly dry finish. There’s no trace of sugary grain here, it’s more of a smooth jelly texture. Beautiful to look and and expertly made.

I would buy a pound of these. Ginger is a root vegetable, right?

Compartes Assortment

Modern Chocolate

Mexican Hot - (skull & crossbones)

A strong mix of cayenne & black pepper notes in dark chocolate. The ganache is smooth while the dark chocolate flavors are woodsy with a slight tannin to go with the earthy pepper flavors.

Compartes Classic Dark Chocolate Truffle

Original - (blue stripes)

I try to buy these wherever I go. It’s always good to try the base for everything else. The chocolate enrobing was perfect, the little design on top was cute and easy to remember. The dark chocolate flavors were mild, the ganache was very buttery with a good smooth and quick melt.

Vanilla & Black Pepper - (stripes with dots)

I should have taken a photo of this, I didn’t realize it would be a white cream center until I bit into it far from the camera. The immediate hit was of vanilla and butter, in a cupcake sort of vibe. Then the peppercorns kicked in, giving the vanilla more of a rum & woodsy moderation. Rather sweet, but with a lingering brightness from the pepper & vanilla pods.

Jasmine Tea (pink flowers & blue lines)

The dark chocolate takes a back seat to the strong & musky floral notes of the jasmine. The tea adds a little pop of acidity to it that gives a fresh lingering feeling to this. The ganache is silky smooth and not too sweet.

Blackberry & Sage (blue & purple square mosaic)

The blackberry is a dark and jammy flavor with a light tangy touch, the sage brings it back around with an herbal splash - a bit on the strong side, so much so that I’m not sure I’d know that it was blackberry without a key. Still, a sage truffle is great.

Compates Candied Fennel Chocolate

Candied Fennel

This little ganache center was topped with some lightly candied (glazed) fennel seeds (instead of the brightly colored candy shells that most of us are familiar with). Fennel on its own has a light sweetness and anise flavor. These brought out the dark licorice and molasses notes of the chocolate. Smooth and satiny with a curious fibery crunch from the seeds.

Compartes Lavender Marshmallow

Lavender Marshmallow in Dark Chocolate

Yes, it’s a bit jarring to see that bright lavender center. The marshmallow was moist, fluffy but dense. Sweet but not sticky, it had a good bite. The flavor was woodsy & floral - but a bit odd combined with the chocolate. The whole thing reminded me of bug spray ... though not in a bad way, just that the floral notes weren’t quite as balsam-ish as I’d hoped.

Compartes Coffee & Cacao Nib and Coffee Chocolate

Coffee & Cacao Nib and Coffee

The ganache in this pair is flavored with real coffee, so there’s a slight grain to the otherwise silky center. The flavor was good, rich & bold. I liked the crunchy nibs but I’m not that fond of eating coffee beans when it messes up the texture of well-tempered chocolate.

Compartes - Fleur de Sel Caramels (milk & dark)

Fleur de Sel Caramels

I’ve made it pretty well known that I favor “wet” caramels, that’s the chewy stuff that has a good stringy pull and long, smooth chew. These were the “short” caramel style and have a strong butter flavor. I wasn’t fond of the texture, which was a cross between fudge & caramel and the lack of toasted sugar notes.

Compartes - Exotics

Shichimi - (the spice dusted one) this is made of seven spices: red chili pepper, roasted orange peel, yellow and black sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, seaweed, and ginger. The spices here angle towards the toasted sesame and chili peppers. I didn’t get much citrus out of it. The whole thing kind of left my lips burning, but the chocolate & fatty ganache balanced it well. The only issue here was that the spices kind of got out of their cup and I caught a few of these flavors in the other chocolates I ate.

Smoked Salt - (square with black crystals on top) delicate and light chocolate ganache with an earthy & metallic aftertaste to the salt. I’m beginning to think that I don’t care for smoked salts. Often they remind me of a campground in the morning, that lingering scent of a fire gone out mixed with damp sleeping bags from the morning dew & coffee made in an aluminum pot.

Cashew Fruit - (gold sphere) - this wasn’t a ganache but a bit of gooey cream center, kind of like a runny creme brulee. The flavor was a bit like green bananas. Smooth, a touch of grassy brightness and sweet milk.

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in ChcoolateI loved the classic items. I’d go back and buy the orange peels (some of the best I’ve ever had), figs (though I’d like to have some candied figs too) and ginger medallions in a heartbeat. I thought the price was really competitive and fair ($30 when sold in full pound boxes) for a line that is so labor intensive and requires top quality ingredients.

The truffles & bonbons were good and I enjoyed some of the flavor combos and of course the plain one. The price was a bit higher than I’m willing to do for such small items unless they’re particularly unique. The great option though is that it’s a fun shop to visit, they’re very knowledgeable about their products (they’re made right there, after all). They also have a line of African-themed bonbons called Chocolate for a Cause that are made with African-sourced flavors (mango, coconut, cardamom, plantain, grains of paradise, red rooibus tea). They’re a fundraiser for Relief International and their projects in Darfur and include a bead bracelet. After getting emails about these for year and pretty much going there to pick up a box ... they were sold out.

If I’m in the area, I will definitely visit again. The bonbons change constantly as new produce comes into season & Jonathan experiments with new combinations so I give them a 7 out of 10. I’ll probably continue to taste the bonbons but will go home with the fruits/ginger so they get a 9 out of 10.

Compartes Brentwood Boutique Chocolate Lounge
912 South Barrington Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

310-826-3380

Related Candies

  1. Pete’s Gourmet Confections: Marshmallows
  2. Valerie Confections: Pour Homme and Pour Elle
  3. L’Artisan du Chocolat
  4. Valerie Lemon Hazelnut Nougat
  5. Chuao Chocolatier
  6. K Chocolatier
  7. Jacques Torres
  8. Boule Chocolates and Fruit Pate
Name: Candied Fruits & Chocolate Bonbons
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Compartes Chocolates
Place Purchased: Compartes (Brentwood)
Price: $50.00
Size: approximately 22 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate,Caramel, Coffee, Ginger, Marshmallow, Nuts, United States, Chocolatier, All Natural, Los Angeles

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:30 am     Comments (8)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rosa’s Fudge

Rosa's FudgeI don’t know much about fudge. What I do know is that when I accepted an offer of fudge samples from Rosa’s Fudge last month I became the proud recipient of more fudge than I have ever possessed before.

The box pictured is over 6 inches long, 4 and a half inches wide and almost three inches deep. Inside were 24 1.25 ounce squares. Yes, the box weighed about two pounds (counting the weight of the box itself).

This was an ideal time for me to get over my fudge ambivalence. It’s not that I don’t like fudge, it’s that I don’t know fudge.

For the most part I find fudge tasty, but difficult. After all, it usually requires implements to eat ... cutting it with a knife, storing it awkwardly, it dries out easily. Candy should be low fuss.

Rosa's FudgeRosa’s Fudge, based in Springfield, Massachusetts makes 22 flavors. They sent me 16 of them to try (no walnut or cherry for me!). It took me two weeks to get through them. 

Their fudge is sold in these little cubes, one serving, each stays fresh and they’re easy to eat, store & share.

They’re made with mostly wholesome ingredients: milk, butter, sugar but also a dash of hydrogenated palm kernel oil (can’t be much based on how far down on the list it comes) plus chocolate or nuts as dictated by the flavor then some potassium sorbate to keep it all fresh.

Rosa's Fudge - ChocolateChocolate - the bite is soft and the chocolate flavor is immediate (chocolate is the second ingredient in this flavor). It’s rich and has both the cocoa flavors and some nice fatty “melt” going on with the slight sugary grain. It was appealing and went especially well with salty/crunchy snacks like pretzels or plain almonds. *

Peanut Butter - this is a classic flavor and I find that fudge made from peanut butter to be one of the ideal ways to use peanuts in confection (along with peanut butter cups & peanut brittle). It smells dark and a little bitter. The stuff is fatty, but not greasy ... though it did make the little waxed paperboard bottom label a clear translucent. It has a softer and crumblier bite than the chocolate. The nut flavors were wonderful with a mellow not-too-sweet powdery quality that kept it together without giving me that “sticky” feeling on the tongue. *

Rosa's Fudge - Chocolate Peanut ButterChocolate & Peanut Butter - this block is a combination of the first two flavors, about 25% is chocolate on the top and the 75% on the bottom is peanut butter. The variation between the two textures is awesome, and of course chocolate and peanut butter are a natural fit. *

Chocolate Mint - this piece could have gone a few ways. It could have been a vanilla piece flavored with mint and then a layer of chocolate fudge. Instead this is a chocolate fudge with a creme de menthe flavor to it. It was quite cool, not too strong and refreshing with a good authentic peppermint note (it does have peppermint oil in it). The mint made it seem a bit less sweet but the mint wasn’t so overpowering that it infected the neighboring pieces. *

Rosa's FudgeVanilla - I was a bit lost on what this should be. It’s just butter and sugar, right? Well, this isn’t quite grandma’s recipe. Sugar, milk, butter, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and cottonseed oils, cream, corn syrup, maltodextrins, natural and artificial flavors, invert sugar, soy lecithin, potassium sorbate and salt. Maybe it needs some real vanilla bean in there.

Penuche - I love the idea of penuche and sometimes get a version of it I love at the local shop by my office. Penuche is basically a brown sugar fudge. It’s grainy and maybe even a bit greasy, but I love it. This one was smooth and had the brown sugar notes, but mostly it just tasted like a good cooked buttercream frosting would.

Rosa's Fudge - MapleMaple - was much softer than the other pieces. Not so soft that it lost its shape once out of the wrapper, but definitely a little droopy. The flavor also seemed smoother, very strong in the woodsy pecan end of things. Sweet, aromatic and definitely one of my favorites. *

Butterscotch - I wasn’t sure what butterscotch would be like, I assumed it’d be like butterscotch pudding. Instead, when I opened the package I was greeted with an aroma like putting my head into a bucket of butterscotch disks (the hard candy). The fake “flavorishness” aside, I enjoyed it. It was artificial and throat-searingly sugary, but the texture was nice and I really knew that this was supposed to be butterscotch.

Rosa's FudgeCoffee - looked a lot like the Maple or Penuche. Instead the texture was quite different once I bit into it. It has the same grainy consistency that melts in the mouth that I like about fudge. The coffee flavors were mild but sweet and milky. It reminded me of coffee ice cream. This was my top pick of the whole assortment. *

Coffee & Chocolate - this one is rather simple, just a coffee fudge with a layer of chocolate fudge. But I didn’t like the addition of the chocolate much. It didn’t give it a chocolate punch, but did lessen the coffee flavors. The two fudges had a slight consistency difference as well, the chocolate was firmer with a tighter grain (is that a way to describe fudge or hardwood?).

Amaretto - my appreciation of amaretto is pretty shallow. I like almonds but I don’t care for marzipan because of the strong amaretto notes, which I associate with the same fake flavor that butterscotch is to true toffee. This smelled, to me, like a fine bath product. Sweet, a little floral and a lot like amaretto. It was actually pretty good ... nothing I’d eat, but I think amaretto fans would like it.

Irish Creme - is a combination of three flavors: Irish Whiskey, coffee and cream. Instead this tastes like coconut, butterscotch and maple. I’m missing the deep woodsy tones that whiskey can bring ... and I’m definitely not getting any coffee in there, but there’s a creamy flavor. I’d definitely keep eating it, if I didn’t have a bunch of other fruit & nut flavors to get to.

Rosa's FudgeChocolate & Coconut - looking at the side of this, it was evident that this was more than a coconut flavored chocolate fudge, there’s coconut flakes all through it. It smells woodsy, herby and a little bit like granola. Biting into it, it has a lot of chew from the coconut but the biggest flavor hit here is chocolate. The chocolate tastes deeper, richer and less sweet than the other versions I tried singularly and in combination earlier. This stuff is awesome. It reminds me of a less-sweet Mounds bar. *

This was where I reached a stumbling block. While I usually like bright colors & fun incorporated into my candy, something about these fruit ones just seemed wrong. So I picked around them in the box.

Pina Colada - this was bright yellow. While I was hesitant because of the color and the idea of pineapple and coconut in fudge didn’t sound like a good idea, the chocolate coconut was a pleasant surprise. This one doesn’t have as much coconut in it as the chocolate version, but there’s still a fair bit. It smells sweet and like a floral/peppery pineapple. The bite is soft, dry but with a very small grain (besides the bits of coconut). There’s a lot of pineapple flavor, but no tang to it. The coconut gives a lot of texture and a fair bit of authentic coconut butter flavor. It’s better than I expected, but still far too sweet.

Rosa's Fudge - Raspberry ChocolateChocolate Raspberry - the bright pink and malleable texture makes this look something I made with Playdoh. The raspberry flavor is all fragrance and food coloring. I ate that one bite shown and didn’t want to go back for more even if it meant a scathing paragraph here.

Chocolate Strawberry - this smelled like strawberry ice cream and kind of tasted like it too. It was very sugary and the chocolate kind of brought it down a notch, but then the bitter taste of the food coloring kicked in. I know some folks probably like this, but it’s not my thing.

Even though it ended on a down note, the tasting experience with Rosa’s Fudge was fun. I found out that there are some specific flavors that I think go well with fudge. (I also think nuts go great with fudge, so if you’re a walnut person, I wholeheartedly recommend it even though I’ve never tried theirs.)

Rosa's FudgeRosa’s offers custom packed boxes based on your flavor preferences, so you’ll never end up with a block you don’t want. My choices (marked with a *) now ranked in order: Chocolate & Coconut, Coffee, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Chocolate & Mint and Maple.

The whole thing gets a 7 out of 10 rating. Good price, spare packaging & excellent shipping. The flavors were distinct, classic and well executed.

Rosa’s Fudge is sold on their website ($12 for 12 pieces - 15 ounces) as well as at some candy counters in the northeastern United States.

Related Candies

  1. Spoonfudge
  2. Mint Chocolate M&Ms
  3. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
  4. Trader Joe’s Irish Cream Chocolates
  5. Flippin’ Fudge
  6. Jim Beam Fudge
  7. Coffee Beat
Name: Rosa's Fudge Assortment
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Rosa's Fudge
Place Purchased: samples from Rosa's Fudge
Price: $17 for 24 pieces (30 ounces)
Size: 30 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112-140 (varies)
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, coconut, Mint, Peanuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:18 am     Comments (15)

Page 6 of 16 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6 7 8 >  Last ›

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

Facebook IconTwitter IconTumblr IconRSS Feed IconEmail Icon

COUNTDOWN.

Candy Season Ends

-476 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

image

ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Crispy M&Ms S’mores

• HiCHEW Sours

 

 

image