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Fondant

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Head to Head: Haviland Thin Mints vs. Maxfield’s Cream Sticks

Last week I reviewed the new Haviland Signature Dark Chocolate Thin Mints. As I mentioned then, Haviland makes several other varieties, the Orange and Raspberry. While shopping I also found these Maxfield’s All American Raspberry and Orange Cream Sticks. Since they’re similar prices and similar candies, I thought I’d compare them.

Haviland Signature Chocolate vs Maxfield's All American

The Haviland are patties and come in a long rectangular box of 21 that weighs 5 ounces. I paid $1.59 for one box and got the second half off. I’m going to hazard that the normal price for Haviland’s is going to be about $1.35. The Maxfield’s are sticks that come in a flat box with 13 sticks and weigh in at 3.15 ounces. I got both boxes for $1 on sale with a coupon. But let’s just say that these are normally about $1.00. So the price per ounce at my “regular” price estimates are 37 cents per ounce for Haviland and 32 cents per ounce for Maxfield’s.

Maxfield Cream Sticks - OrangeMaxifield’s little book shaped box is just a sleeve. It’s covered in a clear shinkwrapped plastic that seals out moisture. Once that’s off though, the sleeve does a good job of protecting the little tray inside that holds the sticks (because it meets up with the box very well and has wide edges.

The tray holds 13 perfect looking sticks. I wouldn’t say that the flimsy brown tray is great for serving from, except in the most casual company.

I don’t know much about the Maxfield’s All American chocolates. This is the first year I can recall seeing them in stores at Christmas. I saw a lot of boxed chocolates on the shelves most a lower prices than the standard Russell Stover which was in the same aisle. Maxfield’s is based in Utah and is part of Dynamic Confections (which also makes Kencraft candy which creates those fanciful panoramic sugar eggs at Easter).

Maxifield Cream Sticks - Raspberry

The Maxfield’s Raspberry Cream Sticks look great. I honestly didn’t expect much for the price and the fact that I hadn’t heard of the company before.

Each is nicely molded, fresh and looked like it just came off of the factory line. Each stick is about 2.75 inches long. They smell lightly of raspberry, like the seedy part of jam or perfume, not so much like the fresh berries.

The chocolate is smoky and pretty mellow, it’s not overly creamy or even sweet. The fondant center is moist and not quite crumbly, it’s softer than a York Peppermint Pattie but on the grainy side like the York. The raspberry flavor is all scent, there’s a light dash of pink food coloring in there.

The flavor was okay, not something I would just sit around eating. They’d be good, I suppose, to add to a plate of cookies or other desserts, but I wouldn’t just eat these without an accompaniment. They’re far too sweet for me without enough of a bonus of texture - the chocolate isn’t good enough and the fondant just lacks an authentic punch.

Maxfield Cream Sticks - Orange

The Maxfield Orange Cream Sticks were a bit more promising, mostly because I think it’s easier to do a cheap but good orange flavor than it is to pull off rasbperry.

The orange sticks were just as lovely as the raspberry. The orange scent from them was an excellent citrus zest. The fondant was moist and had a gentle chew to it, or I could let it dissolve. The zest wasn’t too strong, not harsh bitter note to it. It overpowered the chocolate completely though, the only thing the chocolate did was give me a break from the throat searing sweetness.

Again, with some very bold coffee or tea, I don’t think I’d mind the sweetness quite as much. Each stick has about 28 calories.

Haviland Dark Chocolate Covered Thin MintsThe Haviland patties really do no better in the realm of packaging. The box is nicely designed and the tray certainly does its job of protecting the candy, but I wouldn’t serve from them. It’s also sealed in cellophane.

The patties in my fruity versions were in a little bit better shape than the Peppermint ones I mentioned last week. These had no sign of bloom and even fewer scuffs on the tops from shuffling around in the box. The box boasts that they’re 63% cacao and are all natural.

Haviland Thin Mints - Raspberry

The Haviland Raspberry Creme Dark Chocolate Thin Mints box shows that the center is pink, but in actuality they were uncolored. That’s fine with me, I could tell them apart by smell alone. The raspberry scent is similar to the Maxfield’s sticks, like a puree that includes the woodsy notes of the seeds.

The patties are beautifully rippled and are about 1.33 inches around. The break is crisp but the filling is slightly flowing and has a little pull to it. The fondant is smooth with a light confectioners sugar sized grain to it The darker chocolate balances out the sweetness. The raspberry flavor is all scent and no tartness or true berry bits. It was a clean flavor and would go best with tea or perhaps some strong hot chocolate. The ingredients mention a touch of peppermint oil, and at first I thought that was a typo, but it’s true, there is a subtle minty finish.

Haviland Thin Mints - Orange

The Haviland Orange Creme Dark Chocolate Thin Mints are strong. Even with my seasonal allergies, I could tell that these were orange. Biting into them it’s even more apparent that they’re too orange. Orange oil can be caustic at high concentrations and I think that may be pretty close here. The zest was overpowering, I got a hint of the chocolate texture and at the very least the change in the sweetness, but the orange oil too over everything else.

Each pattie has about 27 calories.

I like the change up of the standard thin mints or mint stick with these. Fondant is certainly a flexible element for a candy and I certainly support different flavors being combined with dark chocolate. In this case the sticks didn’t have the quality of chocolate that they should have and the fruity thin mints didn’t quite have the same balance of elements that the peppermint version had.

All were good values and in a situation where you just want to have something for folks who aren’t that discerning (perhaps drunk on your spiked wassail or have frostbitten tongues from screaming at a northern bowl game).

Related Candies

  1. Marich Halloween Mellocremes
  2. Choceur After Dinner Mints: Orange & Peppermint
  3. House Brand Creme Eggs
  4. Cream Drops versus Creme Drops
  5. Romanego Dragees, Cordials & Fondants


Name: Raspberry & Orange Cream Sticks
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Maxfield’s
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.15 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid


Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Raspberry or Orange Creme Thin Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 108
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Necco, Chocolate, Kosher, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:03 pm     CandyNeccoChocolateFondantKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesHead to HeadRite AidComments (2)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marich Halloween Mellocremes

All Natural Marich MellocremesI’ve honestly been curious why I don’t see all natural or organic Candy Corn this time of year. But here’s something pretty close. I found this little container at Whole Foods. They call them Marich Cream Jellybeans but they’re really mellocremes or fondant.

They’re all natural and come in a delightful variety of colors and shapes. There are bats, crescent moons, witches on brooms, owls and cats. I picked out a mix that was as evenly randomized as I could detect. They came in little box like a take out container, only made of a clear polyester-plastic that’s easy to open and close.

The candy was on the expensive side for something that’s all sugar, $5.99 a pound (far less expensive than the other mixes that I’ve picked up). But they were cute and I haven’t bought much for Halloween this year because there have been so few new products.

All Natural Marich Mellocremes

The pieces are about an inch to an inch and a quarter at their longest. Some were particularly flat, like the Witch and Cat, which means that they were a little dryer and firmer than the thick ones like the Crescent Moon. They all stand up on their sides except for the moon, which naturally wants to be curve side down. (I held that one up with a little piece of sticky clay for the photo.)

All Natural Marich Mellocreme Crescent MoonCocoa Brown - I hesitate to actually call this chocolate flavored because it doesn’t taste at all like chocolate, but cocoa is listed on the ingredients so that appears to be the intention. It’s a little woodsy and less sweet than the others. There are notes of honey, toffee, rum and coconut. This flavor also seemed moister than the others, no matter what shape it was, not sticky just not as dry.

Orange - a creamsicle sort of orange flavor, mostly zest but not intense at all. The color and the flavor wasn’t that different from the yellow.

Yellow - lemon in the softest and sweetest way possible. Just a hint of lemon peel and maybe a little note of honey.

White - was unflavored, I’d call them a light vanilla. They taste a bit like marshmallows, pretty clean overall but of course sweet.

The texture was a little firmer than Candy Corn, but very smooth with a fast dissolve. They have a strong sheen on them, some more than others. There’s a glaze on them (confectioners glaze plus beeswax and carnauba wax) which means that they don’t stick together but also don’t dissolve immediately.

The owl reminds me of those macrame owls from the seventies.

All Natural Marich Mellocreme Owl

It’s expensive for sugar candy, as I mentioned, but for a small bowl of candy matched to a Halloween or even harvest theme, they’re a great choice.

All Natural Marich Mellocreme Bat

They remind me of carved alabaster or soapstone figures. I can see that these are more sophisticated than brightly colored, strongly flavored kids fare ... but I can also imagine that there are kids out there would would love to play with these like edible chess pieces.

I’ve complained before that Marich’s excessive food colorings in their Easter Mix get in the way of my enjoyment of their holiday novelty candies, so it’s great to see that these are not only less expensive than those but also truer in their flavor profile. I’m in love with Marich’s all natural and organic lines. I’d still like these to have more intense flavors and maybe more variation (like maple, honey and better cocoa) but I could still pick up the Brach’s Halloween Mix for that.

Related Candies

  1. Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
  2. Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix
  3. Farley’s Harvest Mix
  4. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  5. Marich Easter Select Mix
  6. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix


Name: Cream Jellybeans
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Marich Confectionery
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $5.99
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Halloween, Marich Confectionery, Fondant, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:54 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewHalloweenMarich ConfectioneryFondant7-Worth ItUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (1)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Marich All Natural Holland MintsLast year I picked up the Marich Select Easter Mix. While I thought it was a beautiful assortment what I really wanted for that price was something equally cute but with more chocolate. I’ve been so pleased with Marich’s expansion of their line of all natural and organic panned items, it’s also nice to see them doing products more in the novelty area that still fit with that line.

So not only are these new All Natural Holland Mints just the right combo of mint and chocolate, they’re also all natural. So my previous complaint about the artificial flavors and their aftertaste messing with the overall experience is gone completely.

Holland Mints go by a few names, depending on who makes them including Dutch Mints and Wedding Mints. They’re a simple minty fondant ball covered in dark chocolate then a crisp candy shell.

Marich All Natural Holland Mints

Honestly, I wouldn’t have known that these were all natural if someone didn’t tell me. The colors are cool and muted but still vibrant and appealing: magenta, pale blue, pale yellow and white.

Marich All Natural Holland Mints

The version I had last year had a polished shell, these are a matte version which I actually prefer. They’re smooth and cool on the tongue at first. I’ve mentioned before that these were what I thought the York Pieces should be like. It leaves me to wonder why I’m trying to make something from Hershey’s into something else when there’s already a product that fits the bill for me (and is priced far better than the York Mints that come in the tins).

I can eat them several ways. Sometimes I let the shell dissolve, then getting a smooth hit of the bittersweet chocolate then a powerful blast of the mint fondant. Other times I cleave the shell off to crunch it up and get to the chocolate quicker. Then there are days where I just feel like chewing the whole morsel up for a crunchy, sweet, chocolately and minty combo.

Marich Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Marich’s All Natural Chocolate Jordan Almonds are what I’ve always wanted Almond M&Ms to be.

They’re a premium nonpareil almond at the center, fresh and perfectly roasted. Then it’s covered in truly rich dark chocolate then a crispy candy shell.

They’re huge, sometimes twice the size of the Almond M&Ms. They’re also beautifully panned and consistent (something that M&Ms haven’t been in the past 10 years or so).

Marich Chocolate Jordan Almonds

Instead of the matte shell of the Holland Mints, these are a polished and shiny shell. The colors seem more intense though they’re the same: magenta, yellow, light blue and white. I usually steer away from pink or red candies because of the foul bitter aftertaste of Red Dye #40, but these are all natural so all I taste are almonds, sugar and chocolate.

The chocolate is what stands out here, while it’s not a thick layer, it’s creamy and smooth without a trace of graininess or chalkiness. Yes these are more expensive than M&Ms, but they’re just so much better. I hope these are a year round item from Marich.

I got these half pound samples from The Natural Candy Store but I’ve also seen them at Whole Foods in the candy case. I haven’t seen them in the stand up boxes yet. Though they’re all natural there are no statements about other allergens like Wheat/Gluten and they’re not Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  2. Hershey’s York Pieces
  3. Marich Easter Select Mix
  4. Sconza Jordanettes
  5. M&Ms Premiums
  6. M&Ms Line
  7. Jelly Belly - Full Line
Name: Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Marich Confectionery
Place Purchased: samples from NaturalCandyStore.com
Price: $5.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, Nuts, Mint, United States, Marich Confectionery, Easter, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:06 am    

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Choceur After Dinner Mints: Orange & Peppermint

Choceur Orange After Dinner MintsSo far I’ve enjoyed my latest bundle of Aldi confections that my mother sent to me from Ohio. Two of the heftier items in the package are the long boxes of Choceur After Dinner Mints. I quite liked the Choceur items I’ve picked up before, especially since they’re nicely packaged into individual servings. (Each mint is 45 calories.)

The “mints” come in two flavors: Orange and Peppermint with the boxes handily color-coded in orange and green respectively.

I liked the orange box because it captures the holiday vibe without resorting to red and green. It’s just an orange box with brown accents and a variety of white & brown snowflakes around the edges.

Inside the box it’s rather like every other box of after dinner mints I’ve had, such as After Eight and the Divine After Dinner Mints (which was fair trade and also had a nice design). The Orange After Dinner Mnits box weighs a hefty 10.5 ounces, kind of like a narrow brick. Each piece is tucked into an open brown glassine sleeve. Each sleeve reminds me that it is the Finest Quality, as if there could be some little folders that didn’t have that notation that contained sub-standard quality candies.

Choceur Orange After Dinner Mints

They’re two inches long and one and a quarter inches wide. They’re have a nicely rippled top and a decent chocolate scent with a touch of orange. However, once I bit into it the orange flavor is overwhelming. The dark chocolate has a thin layer of soft & smooth fondant inside. It’s a “whole orange” flavor with both juice and zest notes and reminds me more of the Jaffa orange candies I’ve had from the United Kingdom. The chocolate texture is creamy has a touch of cocoa bittersweetness, but mostly the flavor here is orange and a pure blast of sugar.

It’s a welcome change from the traditional mint and the orange does leave a clean and refreshed feeling. I liked them better in memory, not in practice though. I felt better about them after I was done while the zest was still kind of lingering, not while I was eating them.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Choceur Peppermint After Dinner MintsThe Peppermint After Dinner Mints are also pretty to look at, the dark green box is rather elegant.

The ingredients are pretty clean: Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Glucose Syrup, Cocoa Butter, Invertase, Soy Lecithin and Peppermint Oil. (However, this is also exactly what the Orange ones say, right down to the peppermint oil.) They’re made in Germany and feature the Aldi “Double Quality Guarantee” which means that if you don’t like it, they’ll give you your money back and another of the item. (You know, just so you can make sure you didn’t like it.) Honestly I had no issues with the quality of any of their items ... it’s often that they’re just not to my tastes.

Choceur Peppermint After Dinner Mints

While I found the Orange ones far too orangey, the mint ones were just right. I felt like I could taste the chocolate, which was dark and roasty as well as the clear peppermint flavor. The texture of the fondant was light and crisp. It was like they were flattened Junior Mints. With more chocolate by proportion than a Junior Mint but packing all the minty power.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Though I liked the design of the box from a graphics standpoint, it wasn’t actually substantial enough for something that holds so much candy. When the package is full and the stabilizing force of the shrink-wrap is gone, it was clear that the paperboard wasn’t built well enough. The single flap of the top and the simple folded over edges meant that the box had to be picked up carefully, best with two hands when full, or else the top would fold open and the candies spill out. Serving from it is good but putting them out in a large quantity inside their little sleeves is kind of problematic as they’re slippery.

Both are great hostess gifts and a really inexpensive item to include in a coffee when having friends over or easy thing to bring to an office to-do. (Note, I say they’re inexpensive but I don’t have the price info, so I can only guess that these are less than $4.00 for a box.)

These are not Kosher but are vegetarian and should be considered vegan (invertase is listed on the ingredients, which is an enzyme produced by bees, but for industrial food purposes is almost always made via yeast for cost savings).

Related Candies

  1. King Leo Dark Chocolate Crunchy Patties
  2. Rogers’ Chocolates Victoria Creams
  3. Manhattan Chocolates Dipped Mint Cremes
  4. Cream Drops versus Creme Drops
  5. Junior Fruit Cremes
  6. Junior Mints Deluxe
  7. York Pinkermint Patties
Name: Choceur After Dinner Mints: Orange & Peppermint
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Choceur Fine Chocolate
Place Purchased: Aldi (Youngstown, OH)
Price: unknown
Size: 10.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, Mint, Germany, Aldi, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:08 pm     Comments (1)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Russell Stover Santas

Russell Stover has a large assortment of holiday treats in Santa-themed packaging. What’s nice about them is that they’re always fresh and moderately priced (often on dramatic sale for three for a dollar but usually about 50 cents a piece). I picked up every variety I could find this year:

Russell Stover Santas

What I noticed first was that the packaging is inconsistent in its design. Sure they’re all a mylar wrapper, but beyond that the Santas are different drawing styles with the Maple Cream, Strawberry Cream & Coconut Cream sporting the same Santa holding a gift aloft as he sits in a chimney. But The Peanut Butter Santa is more streamlined, the Marshmallow Santa has some freaky bright red cheeks and insanely short arms and finally the Marshmallow & Caramel Santa is in the style of the European Saint Nicolas complete with staff.

What I also found out is that the definition of “Santa Shaped” is pretty loose in Russell Stover’s world. It’s not quite as egg shaped, and maybe the tapering ends can be a feet/boots and a head. But really, it’d be best to just call these Christmas Lumps or Snow Clods.

Russell Stover Peanut Butter Santa

The Peanut Butter Santa is pure simplicity: a peanut butter bar covered in milk chocolate. The shape of it is kind of figure-like. It’s the smallest of the pack as well, clocking in at only .75 ounces. It smells nutty and sugary and a little bit like peanut butter cookies. The milk chocolate is quite slick and melts easily, it has a light cocoa flavor to it. Most of all the salty peanut butter center is grassy-tasting. It’s a strange green flavor more like edamame than roasted peanuts.

It was tasty enough for me to finish it easily, but being small didn’t hurt either. The center is moister and a bit oilier than the center of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Tree (or Egg or Cup). This wasn’t a bad feature, just different.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: .75 ounces

Russell Stover Maple Cream Santa

I thought perhaps I’d tried these before and looked up to find that I reviewed the Maple Cream Egg way back in 2006. But the Russell Stover Maple Cream Santa is actually different. While the Easter version is coated in dark chocolate, the Christmas version is Milk Chocolate.

The amorphous lump didn’t remind me of Santa’s silhouette in the slightest but the maple cream flavor is a bit more Christmassy than Easterish so kudos for that, Russell Stover.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the dark chocolate version so I’ll spare us all comparisons. What I can say is that this is ludicrously sweet. The milk chocolate is sugary and not terribly creamy and the center while moist and fluffy is also throat searingly cloying and sticky. The maple flavor was simply a flavor, not something that felt natural or integrated into the candy itself.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russell Stover Strawberry Cream Santa

While the Strawberry Cream Santa is also milk chocolate like the Cream Egg, this one lacks the pretty little swirls and curls on the top. It does smell a little like berries, but mostly it smells like milky chocolate. It’s quite sweet and has only a faint hint of strawberry and is rather similar to a Nestle Strawberry Qwik shake. I know it was really sweet, but I like the texture of the cream center that Russell Stover uses for both this one and the Maple Cream. It’s rather like a marshmallow cream, quite smooth and fluffy and moist without being runny.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russell Stover Coconut Cream Santa

The Coconut Cream Santa is also unlike the Cream Egg in that it’s milk chocolate, not dark chocolate. In this case as well, I think the sugar-laden milk chocolate is simply over the top. I like the coconut flake texture of the cream filling and the nice size of the piece, but the sugary quality of the chocolate with its grainy and fudgy melt is just too much. It’s amazing what a difference dark chocolate can make, but it does.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russel Stover Marshmallow Santa

Things were looking up when I found the Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Santa. I didn’t really expect this to be terribly different from the Easter Rabbit version, except that one was huge at two ounces and only in milk chocolate where I shopped.

This one was by far the most attractive of my Santa set, a nicely detailed figure of Santa Claus scratching his head. Unfortunately I smashed him somewhere along the way and his face was a little worse for it (or maybe he wasn’t scratching his head, maybe he was holding his hand over his nose and cursing me).

The marshmallow is latexy and has a chewy pull. Not too sweet and with a faint whiff of vanilla flavoring.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: 1.00 ounces

Russell Stover Marshmallow & CaramelThe Marshmallow & Caramel Santa Covered in Milk Chocolate is the only other in the collection that estimates the shape of Santa Claus.

Of course this one looks like it could be a Mummy or Generic Figure for Unisex Bathroom Door.

It’s smaller in dimensions from the Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Santa, yet it’s actually heavier, it’s the same 1.25 ounces as the Cream Santas. I’ve had the Caramel and Marshmallow Pumpkin before and found it interesting.

Russell Stover Marshmallow & Caramel Santa

This one seems to be more evenly balanced between the caramel and the marshmallow. It’s dense for a marshmallow product, the marshmallow is fluffy and has a light hint of vanilla to it with a smooth and velvety melt. The caramel isn’t runny nor quite chewy but has a good stringy pull to it.

It’s lacking a punch like the See’s Scotchmallow, but for 50 cents and in the shape of a clothes pin, well, I don’t want to sound too ungrateful for a decent piece of candy especially since this one seems to have the proportions just right. I wish the caramel was a little more chewy, a little more salty, but still a fun piece.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  2. Reese’s Enigma & Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs
  3. Russell Stover Marshmallow Rabbits
  4. Russell Stover Eggs
  5. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  6. See’s Scotchmallow Eggs
  7. Russell Stover Coconut Wreath
Name: Santas: Peanut Butter, Maple Cream, Strawberry Cream, Coconut Cream, Marshmallow and Marshmallow & Caramel
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreens & Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 each
Size: .75 ounces to 1.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130 to 160
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Coconut, Fondant, Marshmallow, United States, Russell Stover, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:29 pm     Comments (11)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Heart’s Desire Sky Bar

Twilight New Moon Heart's Desire SkybarThe Twilight Saga: New Moon opens in theaters all over the world at the end of November. It’s expected to be a huge hit, as was the first movie in the series, Twilight. New Moon again stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen. If you’ve been under a literary rock for the past five years, it’s based on the popular young adult/fantasy Twilight quadrilogy by Stephenie Meyer.

Necco, maker of Necco Wafers, Sweethearts, Clark Bars and Mary Janes has a licensing deal with Summit Entertainment. It started earlier this year with Forbidden Fruits Sweethearts and has expanded now with the line of chocolate candies under their Sky Bar brand called Heart’s Desire.

The products are various bars and individually wrapped pieces. Gigi Reviews had the full bar, which is like a regular Sky Bar but with only three segments but a hipper looking wrapper. I found these little individually wrapped pieces, which are one ounce each and retail for about fifty cents.

Twilight New Moon Heart's Desire SkybarThere are two different wrappers. One features Bella Swan and the other (shown above) is Edward Cullen.

The package calls it a creme filled milk chocolate heart. The ingredients actually sound pretty decent for a movie tie in product. Real milk chocolate filled with a sugary, corn syrup, invert syrup, artificial flavors, salt, egg whites and invertase.

It’s odd though that the candy of choice for New Moon would be a boring old vanilla cream. The Sky Bar has four fillings: caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge. Of those I think the peanut one would be best. It’s definitely different from other candy products on the market because the peanut section in the Sky Bar is a peanut flavored caramel ... worthy of a starring role by itself.

Twilight New Moon Heart's Desire Skybar

It’s rather large for a filled chocolate, they’re 2 1/3 inches tall and 1 1/4 inch wide at most. The highest part in the center heart is just shy of one inch.

The molded design is of two stacked hearts. The heart on top bears the female protagonist’s name: Bella (though when I first looked at it I thought it said Petta, which made no sense to me). The second heart says Cullen and looks like it may be the family crest. The crest is a hand print over a profile of a lion with a chevron with the outline of three shamrocks.

Twilight New Moon Heart's Desire Skybar

It smells rather like a Cadbury Creme Egg and honestly, it’s not that different. Of the three that I opened, two were cracked around the edges and leaking (but dried).

The chocolate is pretty good for a cheap piece of candy. It has a nice snap and a milky flavor. The creme center is smooth, a bit soupy and merely sweet with no other features worth mentioning. The whole thing though was a bit off, a little bit musty tasting and lacking that fresh pop of real vanilla. It’s too bad that it couldn’t distinguish itself with a fresh vanilla flavor so it would be more like a Valomilk than a Cadbury Creme Egg.

As a little treat to stuff in your pocket before heading out to stand in a long line at the movie theater, it’s a decent enough value. Not something I would buy, but if I were a parent and going to see the movie with my kids (or just driving them there) it would be a thoughtful little celebratory gift.  As an enduring confection ... well, it’s not befitting immortal status, especially when it bleeds its contents so easily.

Related Candies

  1. Rogers’ Chocolates Victoria Creams
  2. Twilight Sweethearts: Forbidden Fruits
  3. Cadbury Raspberry Bunny
  4. Russell Stover Cream Eggs
  5. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
Name: Sky Bar New Moon Heart's Desire
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Las Vegas, NV)
Price: $.50
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, United States, Necco

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:45 pm     Comments (6)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween MixEvery once in a while I wander into a Gelson’s grocery store. If you don’t have this small upscale market chain in your area, perhaps you have a similar one. Regular food you see everywhere, only more expensive, but then they also carry hard to find and superior items. They do have a good produce selection, but charge a premium.

What I find interesting about the store is the candy. They have Twizzlers and 3 Musketeers but they also tend to have an odd idea (or maybe perfectly appropriate for their customers) of what Halloween is like. Their trick or treat selection tends to be a little upscale.

One of the items in their area was not a trick or treat item, but just a Halloween themed one: Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix. I got a similar mix a few years back for Easter, but this one seemed a little different so it was definitely worth a try. (Even though it was $3.99 for a 9 ounce bag.)

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix

The mix likely offers something for everyone. There are mellocreme items, a few jelly beans, crisped rice milk chocolate balls and some licorice dots.

There aren’t that many jelly beans in there. As far as I can tell, they’re lemon, licorice and orange. All are definitely favorites of mine, so we’re off to a good start.

Jelly Belly MellocremesMellocreme Mix

The story goes that the Goelitz family was making Candy Corn sometime around 1900, one of the earliest candy corn makers (and they made a lot of other mellocremes, which they called Butter Creams). They might not have been first, but they’ve definitely be doing it uninterrupted for over 100 years.

The Candy Corn in this assortment is the big stuff. It’s basically an equilateral triangle, but the tip is just a bit pinched. (Yes, they look a little breast-like to me.) The texture is smooth and the flavor quite mellow. Not as salty or honey tasting as the Brach’s/Farley’s stuff. There is a slight butter note to it.

Mellocreme pumpkins are cute. They’re quite squat and about half the height of the Farley’s/Brach’s stuff, but with a much more pronounced stem. They’re quite firm, but still have a smooth and not-quite-grainy texture. The flavor was surprising. It’s supposed to be orange, but it was just horribly bitter to me. I can’t fathom why, as they’re not that intensely colored, but I ate them several times over a week and each time they were just so bitter to me that I couldn’t finish a whole one.

The yellow ears of corn are the cutest of the bunch. Long and narrow, they’re a pretty big punch of pure sugar. The design on them isn’t very well defined so they didn’t photograph well. The flavor is lemon. It’s sweet and more of the floral lemon, now the tangy or zesty kind. Far too sweet for me.

Jelly Belly Halloween Crispy Chocolate Balls

To break up all that sweetness, I indulged in some of the foil wrapped chocolates.

The odd thing about the package was its vagueness. There was no inventory of the stuff inside. The ingredients were just a huge messy listing of all the ingredients of each element in one list (which I think is a huge disservice to customers).

I was careful to pick a bag that had a lot of the foiled chocolates, so I wasn’t disappointed here.

The balls are small and are the perfect single bite of milk chocolate with crisped rice. I wouldn’t call them the perfect milk chocolate and crisped rice though. It was sweet, perhaps a little waxy. The texture of the chocolate wasn’t quite creamy enough for me, but at least wasn’t grainy. Compared to the other items though, they were far from sweet. So at least they were a little counterpoint.

Jelly Belly Licorice ButtonsNon-pareil Licorice Buttons

I wasn’t sure what these would be (again, no inventory), but I recall seeing these in the Licorice Bridge Mix years ago.

The flavor of the licorice is a little different from the Licorice Jelly Belly. It has more anise and a less watery flavor.

The issue for me again though was the bitterness of the artificial color from the nonpareil coating.

It’s a fun mix that everyone should find something in it they like. I found that there was too much I didn’t like for the price though. Jelly Belly also makes a Fall Festival Mix, which is all flavored mellocremes in different shapes. They also make three different flavors of the giant candy corn: traditional, chocolate and cinnamon.

Related Candies

  1. Farley’s Harvest Mix
  2. Marich Easter Select Mix
  3. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  4. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
  5. Jelly Belly Licorice Bears
  6. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
  7. Licorice Bridge Mix
Name: Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silverlake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Licorice, Jelly, Fondant, United States, Jelly Belly, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:38 am     Comments (4)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Farley’s Harvest Mix

Farley's Harvest MixCandy Corn haters probably think all candy corn is alike. And for the most part it is. It’s just a very sweet fondant lovingly crafted to resemble a stylized piece of field corn.

There are dozens of new version that are flavored, but by far the most popular and best selling is the classic stuff that comes in the Harvest Mix of mellocreme items.

Farley’s is an old company, making candy under the Farley’s name since 1891. They’ve distinguished themselves by making a huge variety of generic and popular candies such as gumdrops, candy coated peanuts and hard candies. In 1996 Farley Candy Company merged with Sathers Candy Company, a company with a strong distribution arm to become Favorite Brands International. In 1999, Nabisco bought up Favorite Brands and then within a year Kraft Foods purchased Nabisco. Then in 2002 Kraft Foods sold off Farley’s Candy Company and Sathers Candy Company which became Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, Inc. Since then Farley’s and Sathers has swallowed up a few other candy companies, most recently Brach’s in 2007. Other brands include the classic Fruit Stripe Gum, Heide, Now and Later, Trolli Gummis, Super Bubble and Bob’s.

Farley's Harvest Mix

I found this Farley’s Harvest Mix at the Dollar Tree. The Harvest Mix (or Autumn Mix) is usually a combination of Candy Corn, Indian Corn and Mellocreme Pumpkins. This is no different. I found the bag a little odd. It’s a pretty big bag, and I think that 9 ounces for a buck is a good value, but the bar seemed barely half full. 

Farley's Harvest Mix - Candy CornFarley’s Candy Corn is made in Mexico, as is Brach’s ... which as I mentioned earlier (if you didn’t skip that paragraph) is now owned by Farley’s & Sathers, so I have to wonder if it’s just the same stuff. Both are made with honey and both contain gelatin (most other brands of fondant type candies are made with egg whites).

They look very much the same (well, most candy corn looks the same). I wouldn’t call the attention to detail fantastic, some were smudgy at the margins of the colors, others were of course shortened two color or one color versions. But the general flavor of them was a smooth and sweet dissolve. The texture is only slightly grainy and satisfyingly dense with a light moisture to it to keep it from being completely crumbly.

The honey note is noticeable as is a little hint of salt, which keeps the sweetness in check.

Farley's Harvest Mix - Indian CornThe Indian Corn from Farley’s is definitely not the same as Brach’s or any else that I’ve photographed to date.

Instead of three color stripes, there are only two here. A deep brown base and an orange top.

The brown base has a light cocoa flavor but the orange top seems less like the traditional candy corn. It doesn’t have that little bit of salt or honey flavor. It’s just bland and sweet. There’s not enough of the cocoa to balance out all that sweetness, so this Indian Corn, though it has a nice texture, is just too sweet.

I also got a little bit of a bitter aftertaste from it, which I suspected was from the food coloring. (More orange means more Red #40.)

Farley's Harvest Mix - Mellocreme PumpkinThese little pumpkins are quite cute. They’re nicely made, I found virtually all of them to be well formed, without bubbles or uneven bottoms.

The green stem and deep creases give them a nicely stylized look of real pumpkins. (If real pumpkins were smaller than your thumb and had flat bottoms.)

Like most other Mellocremes, these are just a dense sugar fondant. The flavor isn’t as pronounced or salty as the corn, so it’s all sugar. The texture is extra smooth, as the centers are quite soft.

But the sweet is simply too electric for me. It shoots bolts straight through my teeth and into my brain, leaving me feeling weary and abused after eating a half. There’s also the orange aftertaste, a lingering metallic note.

UPDATE: I talked to a representative at Farley’s & Sathers who confirmed that the Farley’s Candy Corn & mixes are now the same as the Brach’s. (They kept the Brach’s recipe.) So there you go ... I just re-reviewed the same product.

Related Candies

  1. Toffee Flavored Chocolate Covered Candy Corn
  2. Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost
  3. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  4. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  5. Candy Corn Kisses
  6. Gourmet Goodies Candy Corn
  7. Brach’s Autumn Mix
Name: Harvest Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Farley's (Farley's & Sathers)
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
Price: $1.00
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Fondant, Mexico, Farley's and Sathers, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:05 am     Comments (12)

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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

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

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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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