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Monday, March 17, 2008

Ferrero Prestige (Ferrero Garden)

imageFerrero always does a nice job of packaging their chocolates. They’re best known for their clear plastic boxes, which show off the lovely foil wrappings of their spheres of Rocher, Rondnoir and now the Ferrero Garden.

While most of what you’re paying for in these boxes is the box itself, for drug store or discounter fare, the Ferrero line is dependable and unique enough in its offerings that I’m often drawn to it.

Ferrero sent me a box of one of their special packages for Easter. This one is the Prestige assortment, which includes their trio of favorites weighing 4.8 ounces and shaped like an egg. There are five Rochers, four Rondnoir and four Garden (13 pieces total, I don’t know if that’s a comment on the Last Supper or not ... I’m doubting it).


I’ve reviewed the Rafaello and the Mon Cheri, but not the Garden. Honestly, I thought it was the Rafaello, just thrown inside some silver foil and given a new name. And it pretty much is.

There seems to be a lighter coconut coating, and instead of being completely spherical, these have a little flat bottom. The top has a little dollop & drizzle of a white confection (they call it meringue, but really it’s more like a white chocolate).

Inside is a milky tasting cream and a little sliver of almond. It’s all very sweet but has a nice touch of coconut and the crisp of the wafer cookie sphere balances it all well.

The assortment here has a good balance between the very sweet, mild & nutty and dark intense chocolate. The plastic tray can be popped out and the domed egg container can be reused. (There are no stickers to take off or anything.) The only drawback is that the plastic box doesn’t stay closed very well when tipped up on its side, so it’s more of a display box than a utility one.

They also come in other shapes, like bunnies and a stand-up egg. These should retail for about $5.50. (The non-holiday version of this is $6.99 on the Walgreen’s website for 5.5 ounces.)

Related Candies

  1. Kisses Coconut Creme
  2. Godiva Easter Eggs
  3. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
  4. Lake Champlain Hazelnut Eggs
Name: Ferrero Prestige Egg
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Ferrero
Place Purchased: sample from Ferrero
Price: $5.50 retail
Size: 4.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 163
Categories: Chocolate, Coconut, Cookie, Nuts, Germany, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:01 am    

Friday, March 7, 2008

Nestle Creme Eggs

It’s funny how many different interpretations there are in the confectionery world for the word “creme”. In the case of Cadbury Creme Eggs, it’s simply a runny fondant. In the case of many of the Hershey’s Kisses it’s a firmer fat based ganache style and in Starbursts it’s just a flavor.

In the case of Nestle, it means “something softer than chocolate”. I picked up their Nestle Crunch Creme Egg with Caramel and Butterfinger Creme Egg at the drug store to complete my All Egg Week.


At 1.1 ounces, the Nestle Crunch Creme Egg with Caramel is virtually the same weight as a Cadbury Creme Egg, but slightly narrower and denser.

The outer shell looks almost like dark chocolate. It has a pleasant little squiggly design and the name Nestle on both sides of the egg.

It’s easy to bite without any mess. The chocolate shell is pretty thick and contains the fillings well (no sticky eggs for me). The base of each half of the hemispheres is filled with a firm and lightly salty chocolate creme studded with crisped rice. Each side is a little shy of full and that reservoir holds a scant bit of flowing caramel along with a rather large void.

The caramel is a bit salty, not very caramel flavored, but I don’t expect that from Nestle. The chocolate creme is still chocolatey without any greasiness or sticky-milk qualities. I wanted more crunches though, I really like crisped rice and think this would benefit from more of it.

It’s a very dense egg, I think I might prefer it in a slightly smaller form (maybe a half an ounce like the Canadian Cadbury Eggs I tried last year) but it’s a rare egg these days in the drug store that’s just going for chocolate (with that little bit of caramel & crunchies).

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Nestle also makes the Wonka Golden Creme Eggs, which are pretty much the same thing except there are graham cracker flavored bits in there instead of crisped rice.


The Butterfinger Creme Egg says it’s 1.15 ounces but I have my doubts with that huge void there. At first I thought it was just that one that was a little underfilled, but the second one (still wrapped in the photo) had a similar large cavern of nothingness.

It smells sweet chocolatey with a good roasted peanut butter undertone.

My major complaint with Butterfinger bars is that they don’t use real chocolate on the outside. In the case of these (and the Butterfinger Jingles), it’s real Nestle Milk Chocolate (which still isn’t spectacular) ... well, that’s what the foil says, “Butterfinger Pieces & Peanut Butter Creme in a Milk Chocolate Shell” but I’m kind of unclear when I read the ingredients that featured the second ingredient as “confectionery coating” but that may be a mock white chocolate base of the creme filling.

All that aside, it’s an enjoyable egg. The center has all the flavor of a Butterfinger. That buttery flavor with the little crunchy bits of peanut butter brittle (that don’t stick to your teeth!) a little bit of salt to even out the very sweet chocolate shell. It’s nothing like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg, but that’s okay, they’re both pretty inexpensive, get both.

A solid 7 out of 10 for this one as well.

Related Candies

  1. Godiva Easter Eggs
  2. Palmer Nest Eggs
  3. Melster Marshmallow Eggs
  4. See’s Scotchmallow Eggs
  5. Dove Truffle and Snickers Eggs
  6. Lake Champlain Hazelnut Eggs
  7. Hershey Eggs
Name: Nestle Crunch Creme Egg with Caramel & Butterfinger Creme Egg
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.44 (on sale)
Size: 1.1 ounces & 1.15 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Caramel, Cookie, United States, Nestle, Kosher, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:43 am    

Friday, February 22, 2008

Same old things, different flavors

Since I’m still down with this aggravating illness, I thought I’d do some short & sweet briefs on a few things that I’ve been eating. Mostly it’s stuff that I’ve reviewed but in different flavors & varieties ... so they don’t warrant a full write-up on their own.

Strawberry Gummy Choco

I took a little jaunt to Little Tokyo three weeks ago because I was craving the Gummy Choco I had last year. Mitsuwa Marketplace (3rd & Alameda) has an awesome selection, including single flavor packs of Muscat and Strawberry. I opted for the Strawberry Gummy Choco. (Oh, and I got another tube of the mixed fruits.) However, the price seemed to be better at Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo Village at only $1.49 instead of $2.49 ... but of course parking is a little more difficult over there at times.

They have a milk chocolate coating with an innner coating of real white chocolate. The gummy center is a rich and jammy strawberry. Ultra-soft and combines well with the creamy chocolate.

They’re still a satisfying candy to eat when you have no sense of smell, the combination of textures and the zap of the tart berry center keeps me amused.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wheat ChocolateI picked up another brand of Wheat Chocolate at Mitsuwa. This bag was a little smaller, but basically the same price per ounce and had the same decent quality chocolate coating.

It’s as simple as can be, just puffed wheat (I think puffed barley, actually) that’s covered in a shiny & thin coat of milk chocolate.

It’s sweet and kind of earthy and freakishly addictive. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I think I prefer the Japan Confectionery brand, if only because each kernel was separate from the others. It seemed like more of these were stuck together. ($1.69 for 4 ounces ... which doesn’t sound like much, but there’s a lot of air in there.)

This stuff should be sold in movie theaters ... it’s an ideal movie candy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Charles Chocolates Candied Hazelnut Chocolate BarBack in November I visited with Chuck Siegel at Charles Chocolates and saw all the new stuff, including a preview of one of his new bars that sounded right up my alley: Candied Hazelnut in Dark Chocolate.

What has me so excited (besides the prospect of creamy dark chocolate with perfectly roasted hazelnuts) was that it might be an easier to find version of that wonderful Spanish bar I had last summer: Avellana Caramelizada Chocolate by Mallorca.

Charles Chocolates Candied Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Instead of whole hazelnuts encased in a crunchy sugar glaze, these were bits of hazelnuts. The bits were crunchy and fresh, but didn’t have quite the burnt sugary crust that I was aching for. (But how was Chuck to know that’s what my expectation was?)

It’s still a great bar, I love his 65% dark chocolate blend. It has an excellent soft and silky melt, it’s a little tangy with mostly mellow flavors that let the other inclusions shine. I would have liked slightly bigger crunchy bits.

The packaging has changed slightly with the Charles Chocolates bars as well. When I first tried them each bar was wrapped in a microthin piece of foil. Now they’re a metallic airtight pack inside the box. Probably a much better way to keep the chocolate fresh in the stores, but not as easy to reseal if you tear the bag when opening.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Lifesavers - New & OldThe last item is kind of a fun thing that I picked up last summer. I noticed that there were two different designs for the same roll of Cryst-O-Mint Lifesavers on the shelves at Walgreen’s, so I picked them up.

Over the years Lifesavers has changed more than their packaging. The only thing that has remained the same is the shape of their product. The familiar donut shape is here to stay, even if they’re made in Canada now.

The Cryst-O-Mint is unlike the other mint Lifesavers in that it’s a boiled sugar sweet, not a compressed dextrose candy.

It’s not an intense mint like an Altoid, just a soft and clean peppermint flavor. The production of the candy is good, the pieces were all intact and didn’t have any voids or sharp spots like some of those Brach’s Ice Blue mints.

Also a plus, there are no artificial colors in there, because they’re colorless. If they’d just left out the High Fructose Corn Sweetener, they’d actually be an all-natural candy.

You can read more about the Lifesavers redesign here.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Short & Sweet: International Flavors
  2. Candy Dump 2008 part 2
  3. The Candy Dump 2008
  4. Welcome to the Candy Dump
  5. Charles Chocolates Bars
  6. Lifesaver Musk

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:55 am     CandyReviewCharles ChocolatesMeijiWrigley'sChocolateCookieGummi CandyHard Candy & LollipopsMintsNutsWhite Chocolate6-Tempting8-Tasty9-YummyCanadaJapanUnited States

Thursday, February 7, 2008

BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch

BonBon Bar BoxI’ve been following Nina Wanat’s blog Sweet Napa for a couple of years now. Mostly because she was writing about making gourmet candy bars but the post that really got me was her details of making a Malted Caramel Bar. If I wasn’t already married, I’d be engaged to the recipe for that bar!

I was further excited when I saw that she’d moved to Los Angeles ... just within my reach. Oh, so close.

And finally, at the beginning of December she launched her company, called BonBonBar and webstore with her first gourmet candy bar creations. These are not knock-offs of consumer bars, these are unique combination bars with fresh ingredients. So fresh that it’s recommended that you eat your bars within two weeks of them leaving the kitchen.

BonBon Bar Box (first layer)I vacillated on whether or not to try them. (I know, it sounds weird.)  The bars are not cheap, at $5 each the price makes me feel like I’m promised a transcendent experience. But she had only two items ... the Malted Ganache & Shortbread Bar (slightly different than the initial malt bar that caught my attention) and a Caramel Nut Bar which sounded fabulous all except for the walnuts. (Drat!) So I thought if I was going to go through the trouble of ordering, I should get an assortment ... I didn’t want to judge this nacent company on a single product.

Luckily I read that she was going to add a Valentines item (and I even voted on her blog) ... a Single Malt Scotch Bar.

I put my order in as soon as I saw it in her webstore. She even had a cool Valentine’s sampler package that included all of her bars: 3 Scotch, one Milk Malt and one Dark Malt plus the Caramel Nut Bar. I made a request to swap out the walnut-laden Caramel Nut Bar with another Dark Malt and they were made to order over the weekend.

Since we’re both in Los Angeles, it took only a day for the package to get here! (And of course the cool weather meant that they were in perfect conditions ... I admit that I get very nervous about chocolate deliveries, even in February.)

BonBonBar Valentines BoxWhen I opened the box I though, this is it? The box is so teensy! But hefty, as I found when I picked it up. Inside were two layers, the top layer had the three Scotch Bars and the bottom layer had the three Malt Bars. (It’s like she planned out all these sizes fitting into things or something ... genius!)

The bars are each packaged in their own cellulose sleeve with a simple label. Through the clear plastic it’s evident that they’re perfectly formed, that the enrobing is well tempered. The only thing missing was the smell.

Honestly, I was happy to see that the bars were enrobed. Some of Nina’s earlier exploits on her blog showed molded bars, which are necessary with certain ingredients, but I prefer an enrobed bar, there’s something about the way the chocolate sits on the center, the way that it falls into place, like a blanket instead of walls.

Malt BarMalt Candy Bar comes in both milk and dark chocolate and features a malt ganache on a crunchy butter shortbread all covered in chocolate. (1.6 ounces)

Biting into the narrow bar, the ganache is soft and yields quickly until I got to the dense and buttery shortbread. Crispy, crumbly. The mix of flavors the immediate hit of dark malt, the cookie and the distinct saltiness ... it was all quite dreamy.

This is what I always wished a Twix would be, super smooth milk chocolate, strong cookie flavor ... well in this case instead of caramel it’s a ganache.

I tried both the dark and the milk chocolate varieties, and to be honest, I prefer the milk. I think milk chocolate and malt are just natural companions. Also, because the ganache and shortbread are a bit on the salty-sweet side, the milk chocolate’s sweetness really balances it all out.

Scotch Ganache & Caramel BarSingle Malt Scotch Candy Bar features a scotch ganache and chewy caramel dipped in dark chocolate with a little sprinkle of salt. (1.5 ounces)

In this bar the caramel is on top and the ganache is the base.

Upon first bite, the caramel is the perfect consistency of stringy and smooth but not too sweet. The first flavor is of a dark single malt scotch ... it’s kind of like tobacco and leather with that ultra-buttery base of deep chocolate truffle ganache. The chocolate shell is sprinkled with a little flaked salt, so it gave little additional hits of salt to the otherwise incredibly consistent experience.

The dark chocolate shell is creamy and not too dry or chalky for the rest of the bar.

Scotch Bar

Just to check my own opinion (and the fact that I still had three bars and that ticking clock of freshness) I took two bars over to the neighbor’s last night (it was just Robin, Amy’s out of town and will probably be quite mad to miss this as she’s the one I usually give the terrible candy to). Robin said, “This is one of the best things you have ever given me to try.” (The other thing that she really liked was the Nutpatch Nougat, so you know she has great taste.)

For the record, Nina did offer me free samples, but I really wanted the whole experience of knowing that I just ate a $5 candy bar so that I could report it authentically here. This is one of the reasons I didn’t have an early review like Serious Eats and Candy Addict (who both loved it too!). I did try a bite of the Malt Bar at the Fancy Food Show last month, as Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolates had just met up with Nina and I guess Chuck remembered my prediliction for malt and shared. So it’s not like I was going into this order completely on trust & faith in my fellow bloggers.

Basically, they’re not candy bars at fine boxed chocolate prices. They’re fine chocolates in bar format ... which is why they’re named BonBonBar. Though $5 a bar sounds like a lot, the price per pound is about $51, which is on par with most other fine chocolatier. (And honestly, if these were in little bon bon sizes and I was in some haut chocolatier, I wouldn’t flinch at that price.) Right now you have to order online if you want some (her list of stores is rather short at the moment).

Many of her ingredients are organic and all are all natural (no high fructose corn sweetener either).

It’s not an everyday treat, but if I was given this set for Valentine’s Day, I’d know someone loved me.

Related Candies

  1. Nutpatch Nougats
  2. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
  3. Charles Chocolates Bars
  4. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
  5. See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar
Name: Single Malt Scotch & Malt Bar
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: BonBonBar
Place Purchased: online store
Price: $30 for six bars
Size: 1.5 & 1.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Cookie, Malt, United States, All Natural, Organic (some ingredients), Los Angeles, Chocolatier

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:42 am    

Friday, February 1, 2008

Short & Sweet: Fancy Food Bites

Nougat aux FiguesLast year I ordered some wonderful products from Artisan Sweets which included this Nougat aux Figues: Cuit au Chaudron. I promptly took a photo of the product and then ate it.

Made by Suprem’ Nougat G. Savin in Montelimar, France it is much like the Arnaud Soubeyran Montelimar Nougat  that I’ve had previously, meaning it has wonderful lavender honey in it along with a generous embed of almonds. Of course it also has bits of figs in there too, as you might have guessed from the picture and name.

The figs gave the nougat a bit of texture, with the crunchy little seeds and combined well with the musky notes of the lavender honey. It seemed to make the whole thing a little sweeter, but it was a fresh taste. It’s expensive stuff, so it’s a sometimes-indulgence for me. ($8.00 for 3.52 ounces.)

Walters Handmade Honey NougatI picked up these nice sized samples at the Fancy Food Show from K.L. Keller Imports. She also handles the excellent G. Savin nougats

This particular nougat has full macadamias in it. It’s a light nougat, it actually felt lighter than many nougats in the hand. The scent was a light vanilla, almost like toasted marshmallows. Wow, the marshmallow comparison was evident once I bit into it. The nougat is fluffy and completely smooth ... there’s no hint of sugary grain to it at all.

While I was completely missing any honey notes and macadamias aren’t my favorite nut, this was fantastic. Sweet without being sticky or cloying and just the right balance with the neutrality of the macadamias.

Walters is a South African company (which explains the macadamias) and besides these samples and a store I found in the UK online, I don’t know where else to get this. I guess I’ll just have to keep hitting Keller’s booth at the trade shows. Here’s a review from Our Adventures in Japan of the Almond variety.

I’ve been on the prowl for good sources of Caffarel in the United States. Besides picking up those few pieces at The Candy Store in San Francisco and seeing them at trade shows, I’m completely at an impasse on how to find them besides hyping them on Candy Blog in hopes that more shops will carry them.

Caffarel - Conetto

And why? Their products are good quality and in most cases so freaking cute I want to put a leash on them and buy them squeaky toys.

Above is one of the new items they were showing called Conetto, which is like a teensy Drumstick Ice Cream Cone (warning, sound on that site).

The little confection is about 3 1/2” tall. The waffle cone holds a firm guanduia that is then rolled in little toasted cereal “nuts” with a few little chocolate chips tossed in there. The hazelnut paste is soft enough to bite like ice cream with the added bonus that it doesn’t melt. So take your time.

It only weighs .9 ounces, so it’s probably not a show-stopper when it comes to calories and since indulgence is partially about appearance, this might be an excellent calorie controlled treat. (Of course the wrapper doesn’t say how many calories, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not more than 150.) Now the only things holding me back are where to get them and how much do they cost?

BruCo confectionsAnother little sample from another hard-to-find Italian chocolatier.

BruCo makes wonderful flavored chocolate bars. I’ve had their orange one and rum one and thought they were quite nice with an attractive package. Last year at the Fancy Food Show I also tried their spiced chocolate and found it far too spicy for me. This year that had some other items that were definitely to my liking: BruCo Salt Tasting Chocolate, Ciocc’Olio & Cabosse.

BruCo Olive Oil Chocolate

Ciocc’Olio: The firm white chocolate center has a quick buttery melt. The taste is not strongly of olives. I was expecting a sort of grassy quality to it, but instead it was more nutty. It was definitely smooth and set off by the equally smooth and slippery melt of the dark chocolate shell.

Cabosse: I wasn’t quite sure what this was supposed to be. At first I thought it was a dark chocolate guanduia, but later I thought it was simply a firm ganache with cacao nibs in it. Strong and fruity, this was a nice piece, the perfect size and really attractive.

I also tried a Salt Tasting Chocolate set. I’ll probably have a full review of that at a later date. Basically it’s two different versions of a salted chocolate in one package. Hooray for variety.

Triple Chocolate ToffeeOne of the other companies that I see at the trade show a lot is Marich. They’re known for their fine panned chocolates, especially their Holland Mints and produced the first gourmet malted milk balls in flavors like Espresso and Peanut Butter.

They’re based in Hollister, California (which seems to be a hotbed of panning with other confectioners like Jelly Belly, Sconza and Gimbal’s nearby) but seem rather hard to find. Part of it is that they sell in bulk to many shops that repackage the product without reference to the supplier or they end up in bulk bins. In this case I found this little package of their Triple Chocolate Toffee at Ralph’s in Glendale after trying them at the All Candy Expo.

Triple Chocolate Toffee

They were absurdly expensive considering everything else in that aisle, $2.89 for that handful pictured above. But they are lovely to look at. They smell great too, like burnt sugar.

I didn’t know at first if the triple was referring to how much chocolate was on the outside or the fact that there were three different kinds. But suffice to say that either title works, because there is a lot of chocolate on each of these ... a pretty precise proportion that matches well with the chunk of butter toffee at the center. The toffee itself is wonderfully crisp and has that great cleave that very buttery toffee has. A little salty, it balances well with the not-so-dark but also not-too-sweet chocolates.

I’d probably pick these up again, but not at this price. Luckily Marich has a webstore.

Everything here gets an 8 out of 10 but no further specs as I don’t know retail prices (unless otherwise noted), calorie profile and often not even the ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Fancy Food Show 2010 - Day 3 Notes
  2. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  3. Laica & Caffarel Chocolate Eggs
  4. Caffarel Figs & Chestnuts (Fico & Castagna)
  5. Nougat de Montelimar

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:07 am     All NaturalCandyReviewCaffarelMarich ConfectioneryChocolateCookieNibsNougatNutsToffeeWhite ChocolateFranceItalySouth AfricaUnited StatesRalph's

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cookie Dough Bites

Here’s another candy that has been around for years but I simply have not tried: Cookie Dough Bites. The concept of the candy is pretty simple, soft nuggets of “cookie dough” covered in chocolate. After all, loads of people love to eat cookie dough as they’re making a batch and how many romantic comedies feature the heroine sitting around eating a chub of the pre-made stuff to drown her sorrows in the third act?

Cookie Dough Bites Array

I guess the main reason that I’ve never tried them is that they don’t come in a single-serve size, just in these big theater concession boxes. I don’t go to the movies that often and I’ll admit that I stick to my tried-and-true favorites: Junior Mints, Good & Plenty and SweeTarts. 

All of the boxes make note that they are EGG FREE. Now, at first I looked at that and I though, what is E.G.G., is this something like Non-GMO? It took me a few moments to realize that they meant, eggs, plain old eggs. It makes sense that when you say cookie dough people might think that there’s raw eggs in there. Not only are there no raw eggs though, there simply aren’t any eggs at all. Of course the allergen alert does go on to mention that they’re made in a facility that also processes eggs (and peanuts, nuts, milk solids, wheat and soy), so it’s not like that note is anything other than an advertisement that there’s no salmonella.

Milk Chocolate Cookie Dough BitesMilk Chocolate Cookie Dough Bites are the original product in the line. The nuggets vary in size, some are as large as a hazelnut and some as small as a pea.

The image on the front shows little bits fo chocolate chip cookie dough being drenched in milk chocolate. However, I bit a lot of these in half and never found any chocolate chips. Or even flecks.

No biggie, the chocolate coating takes up that contribution of chocolate chips quite well.

The center is not quite a moist dough, it’s a little more chalky ... but not quite shortbread territory. It reminds me more of sugar cookie dough than chocolate chip cookie dough, as CCCD has a touch of brown sugar.

They’re suprisingly tasty. The chocolate isn’t at all notable, it smells a bit like chocolate, but isn’t really that creamy or satisfying. The easy chew & pop some more qualities make them an excellent movie snack.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Dark Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough BitesUnlike the Milk Chocolate version, I actually found a few chocolate chips in the Dark Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites! I don’t think it made much of a difference overall. 

The dark chocolate also isn’t truly dark, it has some milkfat in it, but it’s not like anyone expected these to be vegan otherwise.

The general texture and bite was similar to the milk chocolate, perhaps a little “drier” but still very munchable. I appreciated that they didn’t taste quite as sweet (those paying attention to the nutrition label will see that the dark one actually has more fat and less sugar). The dark chocolate was a little chalky sometimes, but had a dry finish that kept them from being too cloying. The cookie centers have a slight sugary grain to them that works pretty well.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough BitesTo be honest, I was more interested in the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites than the original and I think that interest was well founded.

They look just like the original Milk Chocolate Cookie Dough bites, but even after I took them out of the package for the photographs, I could tell them apart with a quick sniff. These smell like peanut butter all the way.

The chocolate seems creamier on this version than the other bites, I’m going to guess that the fattiness of the peanuts helped. The center is softer and not quite as chalky as the others, it seemed to almost melt in the mouth. The peanut butter flavor is light and fresh, but kind of lacks that “fresh roasted flavor” that peanut butter cups have. I could have used just a smidge more salt and perhaps a sugary grain to sell the dough part.

Though they’re not quite the same, fans of Reese’s Bites might enjoy this as a replacement of that discontinued product. (It’s still not quite as peanutty.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough BitesThe final variety is Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough Bites. This one had a nice brownie batter consistency for the center with a good sugary grain to it. The cocoa flavors of the center went well with the chocolaty flavor of the coating. They rated a little higher for me than the regular Cookie Dough Bites, but I still think the Peanut Butter ones are the most successful of the array.

Rating: 6 out of 10

The only ones I’ve actually seen in stores are the original at places like Target, Dollar Tree, 99 Cent Only and Walgreen’s, usually for about a buck a box. They’re also sold at movie theater concession stands, probably for about $3 a box.

My other basic complaint with the candy is the packaging. I think the box itself is a bit misleading. First, in order to preserve the freshness, the bites are in a little clear plastic pouch. That’s fine, although it makes it kind of silly to have the box itself, because it’s not like you dispense from the box. The box is 3.5” wide, 6” long and .75” deep. The bag dimensions are technically the same, except that it’s of course flat. It seems that the box could be flatter or maybe the bag be narrower but fuller to be more efficient. Each box has only 3 ounces in it. A similar sized Junior Mints box has 4.75 ounces. Dots have 6.5 ounces. (Granted, Cookie Dough Bites probably aren’t as dense as Dots.)

Maybe I’m getting too snooty or expected too much after Brian at Candy Addict rates the Milk Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites as Awesomely Addictive (tm). But hey, everyone has slightly different tastes, which is why it’s so great there are so many different review sites. Here’s a roundup of other opinions: Taquitos.net has Fudge Brownie, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip and Review Busters.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
  2. Jujyfruits & Jujubes
  3. Dots
  4. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. Hershey Bites: York, Reese’s Peanut Butter and KitKat
  7. Chocolate Pocky
Name: Cookie Dough Bites - Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Fudge Brownie
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Taste of Nature, Inc.
Place Purchased: samples from Taste of Nature
Price: $1.00 to $1.50 retail
Size: 3.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127-142
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Peanuts, United States, Taste of Nature

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:22 am    

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nestle Crunch Cappuccino Stixx

Crunch Cappuccino StixxHere’s something I haven’t seen at the stores. Nestle has expanded their Crunch Stixx line into the coffee arena with these Nestle Crunch Cappuccino Stixx. They come in a vivid red box that actually stopped me in my tracks at the Dollar Tree.

I was actually a little worried that this was a product that had come and gone and these were remnants, but these had an expiry date of May 2008, so for just a buck (they’re $2 or more at the grocery store), I figured I should give them a go. (I’ll admit I’m still confused because they’re not listed on the Nestle-Stixx website.)

(This is the same Dollar Tree where I stood there wondering why there were two different package designs for Goetze’s Caramel Creams ... then I looked at the expiration date, some were perfectly fresh and new, the others expired in early 2006. They were both the same price. Seriously, why would I buy the old ones, except perhaps as a wrapper collector? I bought the fresh ones.)

Nestle Crunch Cappuccino Stixx

The official definition of these on the package is milk chocolate covering a wafer filled with cappuccino creme. I think they’re positioned to be a calorie-controlled portion, as they’re only 90 calories per stick.

Honestly, I didn’t expect much. I expected sweet milk chocolate and fake coffee creme.

However, they smelled pretty good. Like a good hot mocha. The crisp of the wafer tube was good, bland but with a slight cereal taste. The inside cream had a strong coffee essence to it and some actual bitterness. I welcomed that light bitter bite to go along with the sweet chocolate.

This is what Coffee Crisp should be like ... good coffee flavor, not too sweet with some light crunch and real chocolate.

I ate them. I ate them all.

Related Candies

  1. Cafe Select Chocolate Coffee Trios
  2. Butterfinger Stixx
  3. Pocket Coffee
  4. Nestle Crunch Dark Stixx
  5. Coffee Beat
  6. Coffee Crisp
Name: Cappuccino Stixx
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.64 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Coffee, United States, Nestle, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:04 am    

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts

White Chocolate with Whole HazelnutsI haven’t written about Ritter Sport in a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been eating them. There’s a wonderful feature for the All Candy Expo attendees, it’s a candy room where they give you a little bag and you can fill it to the top with candy in a huge room of bins and barrels of the stuff. I found a tub of Ritter Sport Minis and took home about two pounds of the tiny buggers.

But I also stopped at the booth for the Ritter importer to see what was new and found a few bars I’ve never reviewed, including this hefty White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts bar.

White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts

I’ve hung onto this bar for a while because I really need to be in the “mood” for white chocolate. It was 43 degrees this morning in Los Angeles when I got in my car to go to work; brisk weather usually helps to push me over into the white chocolate territory.

The wrapper says whole hazelnuts and they’re not kidding. Just look at that first bite I got! The bar itself is a lovely creamy ivory color, a little on the yellow side.

What the front label leaves off that the back mentions is the whole description for this bar: white chocolate with hazelnuts & crispy rice. (Turn it over and the hazelnuts are quite evident sticking out as are the little nibs of rice.)

The bar smells like hazelnuts and milk with a light touch of vanilla. It’s not until I bit into it that I got the malty notes of the crisped rice (hey, barley malt is actually listed on the ingredients).

Most of the hazelnuts are large and nicely toasted to bring out their flavor. The crisped rice adds a texture to the bar as well, keeping the pure white chocolate (made with sugar, cocoa butter, cream, skim milk, whey, lactose and vanillin) from feeling too sticky or cloying. I think it could use a smidge more salt (there’s a little in the crisped rice) but for non-white-chocolate consumers, this could be a gateway drug (well, the real gateway drug for white chocolate would be Green & Black’s White Chocolate bar).

It’s a very pleasant bar and I had no trouble finishing the whole thing.

Related Candies

  1. Frey Supreme: White, Lemon & Lime and Citron & Poivre
  2. Peruvian Candies
  3. Ritter Darks
  4. Green and Black’s White Chocolate
  5. Ritter Sport Capuccino and Rum Trauben Nuss
Name: White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: usually around $2-$2.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 159
Categories: White Chocolate, Nuts, Cookie, Germany, Ritter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:06 am    

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





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