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Ethically Sourced

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rococo Easter Egg

Rococo LondonWhile in London I made a point of visiting Rococo Chocolates. I’ve picked up quite a few of their bars in the United States before, I loved the packaging design and the molding of the bar in addition to their choice of Grenada Chocolate Company and Valrhona as chocolate sources. It’s not hard to find their products, they were sold in some of the grocery stores and in most of the food halls at the flagship department stores. But I wanted to see the store for myself, and pick out some individual pieces of their famous violet creams (not a whole box).

The Rococo Chocolate Shop on Motcomb Street is not far from Harrod’s and in an area with a large number of embassies. I mention this because I happened to walk past the Ecuadorian embassy, which I probably wouldn’t have given a second glance except for the demonstrators calling attention to the fact that Julian Assange was in there.

Rococo Easter EggWith my limited space in my suitcase, I wanted to bring back something special, something seasonal but also something that would travel well. The Rococo Easter Egg filled with a Selection of Ganaches seemed like an ideal item.

It was expensive, at £11.75 for only 70 grams, but something I wouldn’t find in the United States. The box is lovely, a heavy cardstock printed box with no other branding on it once I removed the product sleeve. The decoration on the box are prints from catalogues of old chocolate molds.

The egg is a common format I’ve seen in Europe for Easter. Some places call them Flame Eggs. It’s a hollow egg, made of two sections that are usually wrapped in foil separately and then filled with a selection of other chocolates, like little ganaches or just a pile of Cadbury Mini Eggs or Smarties. They can be small, like this one, or gigantic centerpiece items that can weigh more than a pound and are meant for a whole family.

Rococo Chocolate Egg

Everything inside the box was also neatly wrapped. The egg itself was wrapped in tissue paper, in a print matching the box. Inside the two hemispheres of the egg were the little ganaches wrapped in another large piece of food-grade tissue paper. Even though this had traveled thousands of miles, it fared very well.

The egg piece are wrapped in a nice orange-gold foil that’s easy to peel off. The egg itself is about 3.25 inches high and 2.25 inches wide at the widest spot.

The chocolate egg was formed in two layers, as it kind of cleaves when bitten. The quality of the chocolate is excellent. The tempering is superb, as it looks great with its beautiful glossy sheen and silky melt. The flavor profile is very rich. The toasted notes of toffee and coffee are immediately forward with some bitterness along with a sort of brownie flavor. The shell is 65% cacao, but tasted far darker.

Rococo Chocolate Egg

The ganaches inside were unmarked, the package only said that they were a mix of ganaches, so I’m not certain what I had. Here are my guesses:

Milk Chocolate - orange ganache with mango & passion fruit jelly. The light orange truffle center was sweet and tangy with a little note of zest. There was a layer of firm jelly with a wonderful tart and floral flavor, the mango was more forward with only a hint of the passion fruit.

Dark Chocolate - Valrhona Manjari Madagascar single origin. This was a wonderfully reliable piece with a nicely acidic ganache center with notes of cherry and raspberry (which means it might have been a berry ganache). Very good melt and very little sugary grain to the whole thing.

Coffee - Irish coffee white chocolate ganache in dark chocolate. This had a little sprinkling of coffee bits and turbinado sugar on the top. It was much sweeter than I was expecting, not as intense or as chocolatey as I’d hoped. As soon as the coffee flavors developed, it was gone. Maybe if I ate several of them in succession ...

Rococo ChocolateI also picked up a few impulse items. The Honecomb Crunch bar is one of the Bee Bar line, which have a charming bar mold design (see that here). It’s organic milk chocolate with a bit of crushed cinder toffee (sponge candy). The bits of the candy were too small to appreciate properly, but provided a nice toffee note. The milk chocolate was dark and had a lot of cheesy dairy notes, rather in the Swiss style. It’s quite a munchable bar.

Rococo Carre squares are single origin pieces, probably about 7 grams each. They’re each a different color, depending on the source of the chocolate.

63% cacao from Peru’s Chanchamayo Province smells strongly of honey. The melt is quick and a little thin and sweet. It later develops with excellent cherry and raisin flavors: dark and jammy. A very nice munching chocolate, especially if you like those fruity flavors that typify Peruvian chocolate.
71% cacao from Grenada Chocolate Company starts with a roasted scent and an olive note. The melt is very smooth, but a little cool on the tongue compared to the other two squares. There’s a tangy note towards the back with some black tea and maybe even a little smoke notes in there.
70% cacao from Jamaica was pretty bold with a lot of coffee notes from the smell but the flavor was far more complex. The balsam start went into pure green wood and a hint of and a lot of green eucalyptus and green tea. A little acidic towards the end with a dry finish. Actually pretty odd.

Finally, I also picked up four little chocolates from the candy counter while I was there to consume while I was in London. The key piece worth noting was the Violet Cream. This is something of a British traditional chocolate. I’m not adverse to floral flavors, I like them very much ... if I had to rank them, it would go something like this: orange blossom, jasmine, lavender, rose, geranium, elderflower and then violet. I don’t have photos, but they’re as you would imagine, a small dollop of sugary fondant covered in dark chocolate. The texture of the cream center was very nicely done, not grainy at all, not even too sweet. But the violet as overwhelming. There was scarcely a note of chocolate in the coating. They’re simply not for me.

I’ll continue to seek out Rococo Chocolates, the flavor combinations are a little more traditionally British, which is refreshing when so many other brands I’ve tried from the UK seem more in line with the Swiss/Belgian traditions.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:58 pm     CandyChocolatierReviewEasterChocolateCoffeeEthically SourcedSingle Origin7-Worth ItUnited KingdomComments (1)

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)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs

Equal Exchange EggsEqual Exchange is cooperative that sells products with fair trade ingredients and/or labor. Many of these are products where the farmers that grow them live in poverty, lack educational opportunities. Things like coffee, tea, bananas and of course, cocoa. These are all grown in tropical regions and depend on a high degree of manual labor. With the chocolate industry, there’s the added issue of slavery of hundreds of thousands of children on farms, mostly in Western Africa.

Equal Exchange also makes its own chocolate, which uses fair trade certified ingredients, not just ethically sourced cocoa. The result isn’t charity, these are real, sustainable products that you can buy at a fair price that are actually good quality as well.

They’ve been making chocolate for a while, but only more recently has it become more mainstream ... and now they have holiday packaged foil-wrapped eggs.

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Eggs

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Foil Eggs are 41% cacao, which is as dark as some semisweet chocolate sold these days. The ingredients sound delicious: cacao butter, whole milk powder, cane sugar, chocolate liquor, unrefined white cane sugar, ground hazelnuts and vanilla. The ingredients are also fair trade (except for the hazelnuts and milk) and all organic. There’s no soy, no lecithin, no other fillers.

The melt is smooth and creamy. It’s not at all grainy but very fatty and thick on the tongue. The flavor is interesting and not something I initially liked. It’s deep and not terribly sweet. The milk flavors are definitely more on the powdered milk, flirting with the cheesy side. But the roasted flavors of the hazelnuts balances that. The chocolate itself is woodsy with a sort of green banana note to it. It sounds weird.

I can’t stop eating these. I actually did stop, when I ran out. Then I realized they also sent this to me:

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Minis

Yes, that’s over a pound and a half of mini milk chocolate bars. In a handy dispenser box. I have it on my desk, like it’s dispensing tissues during allergy season.

Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Eggs

The Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs are also quite rich. They feature the same high fat, though in this case there are no nuts and no dairy at all. The 55% cacao content is rounded out only with sugar and vanilla beans. Like the Milk Chocolate, it’s all organic, but in this case it’s also all fair trade certified. There’s no soy in there, no GMOs though there may be traces of milk, peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and/or pecans. Though it doesn’t say on the ingredients, they should be gluten free. Finally, they’re vegan. While there’s not a lot in there, there are a lot of folks these could satisfy. ]

The 55% cacao content makes these quite mild. They smell woodsy, with a light cherry note. The chocolate has a good, silky melt with a light dry finish to it. The flavor profile is all over the map. I taste coffee, cherries, figs and bananas and sometimes even a hint of malt ... though that could have been its storage adjacent to my milk chocolate pieces. There’s a light bitterness in there, nothing too difficult to conquer, but might be enough to keep children away.

You could put these in front of anyone without any information about the origins or disposition and they’d never know that this is more transparently source, ethically accountable stuff. It’s just tasty. As you can tell, I preferred the milk chocolate version, but the dark is a wonderful middle of the road chocolate that’s not too dark for wide appeal.

The only hesitations for most folks will be where to find them and how much you pay. Equal Exchange has them on their website for $6.99 per package, which is pretty steep compared to their very competitively priced bars. (For some reason foil wrapping just amps up the price of any chocolate, good quality or bad.) Some Whole Foods Markets and other natural product stores may carry them as well. The fall back is always the little mini-bars, which are also extremely cute and a bit better deal per ounce, but come in this 23.8 ounce box (yes, a pound a half) for $35.00 plus shipping. It’s hard to compare that to R.M. Palmer (which isn’t even real chocolate, let alone sustainably sourced), but Godiva or Lindt may be a good comparison on both price and ingredients.

On Monday I’ll have a review of Kosher for Passover chocolates, also from Equal Exchange.

Related Candies

  1. SweetWorks Foil Covered Chocolate
  2. Ghirardelli Milk & Crisp Chocolate Eggs
  3. Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
  4. Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Easter Eggs
  5. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  6. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate: 65%, 71% & 80%
  7. Eat with your Eyes: Fair Trade Eggs
  8. Madelaine’s Foiled Milk Chocolate
  9. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Organic Milk Chocolate Foil Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $6.99
Size: 3.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 163
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Easter, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, 9-Yummy, Switzerland


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $6.99
Size: 3.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 163
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Easter, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, 8-Tasty, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:38 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEasterEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNuts8-Tasty9-YummySwitzerlandComments (1)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Crispy Candy Bar

Amy's Crispy BarIt’s a great time to be alive as a candy eater. Though some folks lament the loss of the regionally made candy bars, there’s so much more diversity when it comes to sweets as long as you know where to look. There are artisanal versions of popular candies, crazy new flavors, and incredible combinations as well as candies that cater to specific dietary restrictions.

I’m pretty pleased to see that there are more options for organic and all natural candy bars than ever before with products from Justin’s Candy Bars, Ocho, Angell and Eli’s. The other new entry into this marketspace is Amy’s Organic, with their exhaustively long-named bars. Today I have the Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Crispy Candy Bar which features rice crisps, almonds & caramel covered in chocolate. Though some of the bars in the Andy’s Dandy line are organic versions of existing bars, this one really has no match in the hypermegaglobal corporate candy world.

Amy's Organic Andy's Dandy Crispy Candy Bar

Like the other bars, this is actually a pair of bars. I like this approach, as it gives me the opportunity to save some for later or share. It also means that the chocolate coating is a more consistent ratio for more of the bites, since the bar is shorter. The dark coating is smooth and creamy, it has a nice flavor of it’s own that’s a little green (olive notes) but holds up well to the light, malty cereal flavors. The texture is not as airy as a Whatchamacallit and the almonds are just pieces in there, not an almond meal (like peanut butter) or whole nuts. The brown rice has less of a malt note than regular crisped rice, but it’s also barely sweet. It’s crunchy but gets a bit of a chewy texture of its own later. The caramel layer is barely perceptible, it does more to just hold it all together.

The effect of the bar is great, it’s crunchy but not too filling. It tastes more chocolatey than a Whatchamacallit, though I miss any sort of almond note to it, it’s really just there for an extra durable crunch.

The bars are free of GMO ingredients, gluten and preservatives. Made on shared equipment with other nuts, seeds and wheat. They contain soy, dairy and almonds.

Related Candies

  1. Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Creamy Candy Bar
  2. Amy’s Organic: Andy’s Dandy Chewy Candy Bar
  3. Eli’s Earth Bars - Dream Big Bar
  4. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  5. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  6. Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice & Corn Flakes
  7. Crisp Angell Organic Candy Bar
  8. Crispy Cat


Name: Andy’s Dandy Crispy Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Amy’s Organic
Place Purchased: Mother's Market (Laguna Woods)
Price: $2.49
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Amy's Organic, Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, Organic, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:22 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewAmy's OrganicCaramelChocolateCookieEthically SourcedKosherNutsOrganic7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (0)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Creamy Candy Bar

Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Creamy Candy BarAmy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Creamy Candy Bar is another bar in the new organic line from the famous ready-made food company.

The package describes the bar as Whipped Creamy Center with Caramel Covered in Chocolate. So, rather like a Milky Way Midnight bar.

The back of the package spends a lot of space telling you about what ingredients are in there, what ingredients may have been near the other ingredients and what ingredients are never in anything they make. It’s free from GMOs, preservatives, peanuts, eggs and gluten. Made from 99% organic ingredients (salt and water are the only non-organic items). It contains soy and dairy (made with rBHT free cows), but it’s also manufactured in a facility that processes tree nuts, wheat and seeds.

Amy's Organic Andy's Dandy Creamy Candy Bar

The two bars are a nice size. They’re one ounce each (a total of 2 ounces for the whole package). For comparison, a Milky Way Midnight bar is 1.76 ounces. The price for the bars is steep, I paid $2.49 for this, so twice as much as a regular Mars candy bar but actually larger. Inside the wrapper (which was devilish to open) the bars are set in a tray which protects them pretty well.

The bar just out of the package smells rich, like woodsy cocoa. Biting into the layers, it’s soft, not quite foamy but very forgiving. The fluffy center is less than creamy. It’s more like the nougat center of a 3 Musketeers. It’s airy and slightly grainy. It smells a little, well, cheesy. The caramel is unremarkable. There’s a malt note to the whole thing, but overall the center is quite sweet.

The dark chocolate is good, it’s at least bittersweet and cuts through some of the sweetness. The overall effect of the sort of the brewers yeast flavored center with the overt sweetness and lack of toasty caramel notes left me unimpressed. Granted, Milky Way has never been a huge favorite of mine, so the alternate versions I’ve had over the years are trying to measure up to something that I don’t care for in the first place. At this point, I’d say the other offerings in the Andy’s Dandy bar line are going to be more satisfying.



Name: Andy’s Dandy Creamy Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Amy’s Organic
Place Purchased: Mother's Market (Laguna Woods)
Price: $2.49
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Amy's Organic, Caramel, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nougat, Organic, 5-Pleasant, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:08 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewAmy's OrganicCaramelChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNougatOrganic5-PleasantUnited StatesComments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marabou Black Saltlakritz Milk Chocolate

Marabou Black SaltakritsI knew from the first time I heard about this bar from Sweden that it was not for licorice haters. It’s called Marabou Black Saltakrits. It’s described (in English!) on the front as Milk chocolate with pieces of salty licorice.

When Swedes say salty licorice, they don’t mean sodium chloride, like the regular sea salt or table salt. They mean ammonium chloride which has a distinctly more metallic flavor profile and can give the licorice an ammonia note at times.

It’s marked as a king sized bar, and in Sweden that means 7.76 ounces ... they’re a unitary parliamentary representative democracy under constitutional monarchy, so they have a slightly more generous meaning for king-sized candy bars than we do here in our federal presidential representative democracy under constitutional republic.

This very big bar is about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide. As it traveled quite a distance to me (from its origin in Sweden to Kristian in Germany who packaged it up and sent it to the far side of North America) it was broken in several places, so photographing the whole was not very attractive.

Marabou is owned by Mondelez (Kraft) and this particular bar uses Rainforest Alliance certified cacao (30%). It doesn’t say anything else about the sourcing of the milk products or sugar. The bar contains soy and milk and may also have traces of almonds, other nuts and wheat.

Marabou Black Saltlakritz

The bar smells great, like sweet creme brulee and a hint of anise. The licorice was not at all what I was expecting. The bits are little little toffee shards, they’re crunchy, not chewy. There’s no molasses, so it’s a much more pungent licorice flavor than a mixed sort of Australian or American chewy flour-based licorice. If you’re familiar with cinder toffee or sponge candy, which has a note of sodium bicarbonate in it, you might find this familiar, too. The licorice has a sharp note that’s rather salty but sometimes taste more acidic. It’s sharp and sweet but overall pleasant in small bits, but large pieces are off-putting. The creamy and ordinary chocolate is great as a background, it balances it all out, though offers nothing in the way of actual cocoa flavors. It’s quite milky, which is also fine.

A few bites, and I like it. But more than a square and I definitely start getting an overabundance of the ammonia going and have to give it a rest. This is something I absolutely do not need a king sized bar of, I simple little one or two ounces would have sufficed. Still, it’s one of the best salted licorices I’ve had - I liked the crispy texture and quick dissolve.

Related Candies

  1. Marabou Noblesse Crisps: Original, Dark & Orange
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond
  4. Darrell Lea Dark Choc Liquorice Bullets
  5. 12 European Licorices
  6. Kookaburra Choc Coated Liquorice
  7. Dutch Licorice
  8. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout


Name: Black Saltlakritz Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Marabou
Place Purchased: candy swap with CandyBrain.de!
Price: $4.50 retail
Size: 7.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Licorice Candy, 6-Tempting, Sweden

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:21 pm     CandyReviewKraftMarabouChocolateEthically SourcedLicorice Candy6-TemptingSwedenComments (7)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Amy’s Organic: Andy’s Dandy Chewy Candy Bar

Amy's Organic Andy's Dandy Chewy Candy BarA couple of years ago I was treated to a small tasting of a new line of candy bars. They’re from Amy’s Kitchen, which already makes vegetarian convenience foods. I finally started seeing them on store shelves at the end of last year, even at major grocery retailers like Von’s, not just Whole Foods or Mother’s Market. I’ll have reviews of all four of the bars, but I thought I’d start with their unique offering first, the Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Chewy Candy Bar.

The package says Soft caramel with pecans covered in chocolate. Well, that not only sounds good, it doesn’t sound like any other candy bar on the shelves.

All the bars in the line are color coded and feature the name large and in the middle of each wrapper.

Packaged in bright colors with distinctive artwork, Andy’s Dandy Candy will be easy to spot in stores. Amy’s mom, Rachel, who oversees all of Amy’s packaging, was inspired to reach out to artist Stanley Mouse, creator of the iconic Grateful Dead posters, to design the candy wrappers.Mouse’s use of brilliant, saturated color and unique typography capture the essence of a past era.

As you’d expect with an organic candy, they’re expensive. I didn’t see them selling for less than $2.29 a bar, and as high as $2.79.

Amy's Organic Andy's Dandy Chewy Candy Bar

They’re 3/4 of an ounce each, about 2.25 inches long and one inch wide.

The bite is excellent, it’s soft and chewy, with a stringy pull to the caramel that’s not too sticky. The pecans are small, but provide a lot of texture and maple-flavor. The milk chocolate is robust and stands up well to the rest of the ingredients. The whole thing isn’t too sweet, though it is rather milky.

There’s a lot of information on the wrapper. I love transparency. But it’s poorly organized. So here’s all the info provided, in order for people who read left to right, top to bottom. (I don’t, but I’ll list them that way.)

0 g of trans fat
No added MSG
No preservatives
No GMOS
No Bioengineered Ingredients
All dairy ingredients made with pasteurized , rBST hormone-free milk
[The ingredients lists everything as organic except the filtered water and sea salt]
Contains milk, soy and tree nuts
Made with Rainforest Alliance (tm) certified cacao
Made in a facility that processes wheat, tree nuts and seeds
Amy’s Kitchen does not use any peanuts or eggs
Gluten Free

So when I went looking for the peanut statement it wasn’t with the gluten free statement (which may or may not be contradicted by the wheat in the facility statement), it was on a separate line in different type. It’s a big old mess. Some are marketing statements, some are transparency statements, some are FDA mandated inclusions.

My issues with the back of the package aside, this is a no-compromise bar when it comes to taste and ingredients. It tastes like candy, but I feel like someone is putting a lot of thought and consideration into it behind the scenes. For this bar, the fact that it’s not even something that I can get in GMO form means that I’m more likely to reach for an Andy’s Chewy Bar in the future.

Related Candies

  1. Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Eli’s Earth Bars - Celebrate Bar
  4. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  5. Double Dutch Sweets: The Ramona Bar
  6. Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice & Corn Flakes


Name: Andy’s Dandy Chewy Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Amy’s Organic
Place Purchased: Von's (Glendale)
Price: $2.29
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Amy's Organic, Caramel, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, Organic, 8-Tasty, United States, Von's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:10 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewAmy's OrganicCaramelChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNutsOrganic8-TastyUnited StatesVon'sComments (2)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsJustin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a limited edition version of their dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups. They’re available only at Whole Foods this winter.

What sets these apart from other white peanut butter cups is the fact that Justin’s not only uses real white chocolate, it’s also fair trade cacao butter.

All of the ingredients are organic except the sea salt,which is an inorganic item anyway. The palm oil is sustainably sourced and the cacao comes from Rainforest Alliance certified growers. Justin’s is gluten free as well.

Still, with all those qualifiers, they’re still a white chocolate candy, which has a pretty narrow band of fans.

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are beautiful, a creamy yellow white with a little dollop in the center. The white chocolate has a lot of milk in it (the third ingredient) and has a lot of dairy flavors to it. The peanut butter center is salty, with a grainy crunch but also a smooth roasted flavor to it. From my early taste tests of Justin’s peanut butter cups, they’ve really come a long way in balancing out the texture of the center without being too oily or too dry. The white chocolate bring a lot of creaminess and vanilla flavors, the overall effect is like eating peanut butter cookie dough.

I’m a fan of good white chocolate (and will eat bad white confections against my better judgement) and this is some very well made stuff. Since Reese’s switched to a white confection, as far as I know, these are the only nationally distributed white chocolate peanut butter cups available.

I did notice one odd thing on the package. The cups are 1.4 ounces total and it says that it’s 180 calories. But the rest of the nutrition panel does not support that. There are 16 grams of fat (9 calories per gram) and 19 grams of carbs (4 calories per gram) then 4 grams of protein (4 calories per gram) all tallies up to 236 calories, not 180. (Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter cups are 210 calories for 1.5 ounces.) So if these calculations are correct, that’s 169 calories per ounce. Mmm, high fat density.

I like these and I’d probably pick them up again. But Justin, where are those dark chocolate hazelnut butter cups I’ve been longing for?

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  3. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  4. Short & Sweet: Summer Bites
  5. Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter Rabbit
  6. Koeze Cream-Nut Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cluster
  7. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 169
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Justin's Nut Butter, Ethically Sourced, Limited Edition, Organic, Peanuts, White Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States, Whole Foods

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

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

Candy Season Ends (Easter)

1 days

 

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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