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Germany

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mamba Duo Chews

Limited Edition Mamba DuoStorck Mamba were introduced in 1953 in Germany well before Starburst came around. According to Storck’s website, they were sold in little packs of 6 pieces at changemaker prices (probably the equivalent of two or three cents at the time).

The new variety of Mamba are the Limited Edition Mamba Duo Chews that come in a long package that holds three of those little packs of 6 pieces. There are four flavors in the new Duo Chews, which feature a combination of two flavors in each piece, but each package only holds three packets. So you never know what variety you’ll get. (I’ve never gotten a package that doesn’t have three different flavors in it.)

Mamba Duo Chews

The new flavors are Raspberry-Peach, Cherry-Banana and Watermelon-Apple. The final flavor, Redcurrant-Lime didn’t make an appearance in my pack. It’s a lot of wrapping, but it’s that think flow wrap on the outer wrap and for the flavor packs. Each individual piece is in a waxed paper.

DSC_9380rbIn the day glow yellow and red wrapper is Watermelon-Apple, which is definitely distinctive. The watermelon flavor is a little artificial but is balanced nicely by the subtle and kind of natural tasting apple. The flavor is not as intense as a Starburst or HiCHEW, but still has enough zap to get your salivary glands going.

The Cherry Banana comes in a more subtly soft yellow wrapper with red printing. The banana is immediately creamy and the cherry is tart and though slightly medicinal, has an actual natural note to it.

DSC_9387rb

Raspberry-Peach comes in a mango-orange wrapper. The peach is the forward flavor, a bit dusty and tart with a sort of pine and melon note to it. It wasn’t quite peachy. The raspberry portion was also tangy and had a sort of jammy note to it, but lacked a floral berry flavor that I was hoping would be there.

I prefer the more traditional flavors of the classic Mamba Chews. These combos are just slightly off from my taste preferences. Still, the candy is a good value, a Starburst package holds 2.07 ounces and Mamba are the same price but have 2.65 ounces in them. They’re also vegan (no gelatin like Starburst or HiCHEW) and contain no artificial colors (but do use artificial flavors and alpha-tocopherol as a preservative).

Related Candies

  1. Storck Mamba Gummies
  2. Storck Toffifay
  3. Mamba Sours
  4. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  5. Starburst
  6. HiCHEW Assortment
  7. Storck Mamba Chews


Name: Mamba Duo Chews
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: Glenoaks 76 Convenience Store (Glendale)
Price: $1.29
Size: 2.65 ounces
Calories per ounce: 125
Categories: Candy, Storck, Chews, 6-Tempting, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:26 pm     CandyReviewStorckChewsLimited Edition6-TemptingGermanyComments (1)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled

Werther's Original Caramel Apple FilledI wrote that Storck was introducing a new flavor of Werther’s Original caramels back in May, and finally found some in stores.

They’re called Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled Hard Candies and are a bit of a curiosity to me. They’re a green apple filling covered with a hard shell of the famous Werther’s butter toffee candy.

The objective is to emulate a caramel coated green apple.

Werther's Original Caramel Apple Filled

The ingredient list for this strange candy creation is, well, long. Here’s another example of a European candy (like the downscale version of Panda Licorice) that uses glucose-fructose syrup, which is the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup, except it’s made from something other than corn. There are other fun things in there like artificial colors though it does use actual concentrated apple juice.

Werther's Original Caramel Apple FilledAs much as I was turned off by the idea of the candy, and the idea that they cheaped out and used glucose-fructose syrup instead of just sugar I actually enjoyed them.

They look like a nice candy from the outside. They were in good shape, no crushed or sticky pieces. They’re hard and glossy and smell buttery-sweet. The candy shell is exactly what I’d expect a Wether’s candy to taste like. It’s silky smooth and sweet with a hint of salt. The shell is thin and the center is soft. It’s easy to just chew up the candy, which I ended up doing most of the time. The center is a soft goo with an apple flavoring, kind of like apple juice instead of a Jolly Rancher candy. It’s sweet and flavorful but without an artificial sourness to it.

Overall, it’s an interesting take on the apple and caramel combination. Sweet, salty and a little fruity. I ate the whole bag (which wasn’t hard considering that the fact that for a buck there were only 12 pieces in it. I don’t think I’d buy them again, but I do think they’re better than I gave them credit for in the concept stage.

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates
  2. Ginger People Spicy Apple Ginger Chews
  3. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
  4. Caramel Apple Kisses & Caramel Creams
  5. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  6. Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  7. Werther’s Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  8. Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels
  9. Storck Chocolate Riesen

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:07 pm     CandyReviewStorckToffee6-TemptingGermany99 Cent Only StoreComments (3)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Milka Bars, Milka Drops and some Li’l Milka

Milka Chopped HazelnutMilka is an old German chocolate candy brand that dates back to 1901. The Milka brand fell under Suchard, a popular chocolate bar maker which also made powdered cocoa. The bar was their milk chocolate and named by combining the German words milch (milk) and kakao (cocoa). The earliest chocolate bars sported the lavender wrapper that is still one of the distinguishing marks of their branding.

Milka is now owned by multinational conglomerate Kraft, which also makes Toblerone, Marabou, Cadbury, Cote d’Or, Freia and here in the United States, Baker’s Chocolate. Milka bars are known for their high milk content, soft and sweet melt and favoring of hazelnuts.

They’re far more available in the United States in the past 5 years than I think any other time in history. I’ve been seeing Milka products reliably at discounters like Target. This particular Milka Chopped Hazelnut bar was purchased at the 99 Cent Only Store. For only a buck, for a 3.5 ounce bar. Not a bad deal.

Now I must state that Milka is not chocolate by current American definitions, because it contains additional dairy whey. But the coolest additive they use is hazelnut paste, which more than makes up for it.

Milka with Crushed Hazelnuts

The bar is soft and extremely sweet. The only thing that moderates that sweetness are the crushed hazelnuts. They’re well distributed though I’d probably want more of them (but I understand that this is a bargain bar). The nuts are fresh and crunchy. The dairy flavors are on the toffee and toasted sugar side, instead of tasting like powdered milk Cadbury sometimes can.

Overall, this is one of the more satisfying bars I’ve had from Milka. I prefer the use of palpable nuts in addition to the hazelnut paste and of course the price can’t be beat. Though Kraft and Milka may have sustainability and ethical sourcing plans, they’re not noted on the package or their website.

Milka White Chocolate ConfectionThe Milka White Chocolate Confection was equally cheap, also a 99 Cent Only Store find.

I’m a fan of good quality white chocolate. I like cocoa butter a lot and this bar does use the real thing. Again, the only reason it’s not considered true white chocolate in the United States is the use of additional dairy whey.

The bar is nicely sized and the little domed pieces are easy to break off.

In the world of white chocolate, this is probably the best deal you’re going to find for a dollar that doesn’t include other fats besides cocoa butter and milk products. The use of whey doesn’t actually bother me that much. I understand it’s a filler but it allows things like chocolate to maintain their texture without becoming overly fatty or too sweet.Of course I would only endorse it for “candy” type applications, not fine chocolates.

Milka White

It’s a sweet bar, but not very complex. It’s a bit grainy and fudgy, not a lot of vanilla flavors and the even the fresh dairy taste isn’t that distinctive. I found this wasn’t very interesting eaten plain, but went well with other candy. It’s best with a good chocolate cookie (like an Oreo) or a salty item like nuts or pretzels. (Even tortilla chips.)

Milka Schoko Drops

While in Germany last December I also picked up a few other Milka items, because of their novelty. One of them was this box of Milka Schoko Drops. I know I’ll probably never see these again, which is too bad because they’re certainly a distinctive product. I think they were about one Euro but the little box only has 25 grams (.88 ounces). It’s a rather different price point for a brand that’s usually dirt cheap.

Milka Schoko Drops

The pieces are large, almost the size of a quarter in diameter and a beautiful purple or pearly white.

Milka Schoko Drops

The center is Milka’s hazelnut milk chocolate, the outer layer is white chocolate and then a crunchy shell. The box didn’t hold much, but I didn’t need much. I liked them quite a bit. They’re not better than M&Ms, just different. BTW - why doesn’t Mars make Hazelnut M&Ms?

Milka und Oreo

My favorite of the European Milka Bars was this one I picked up at a Kaufland grocery store (on a big sale display that I think was .59 Euro, or about 80 cents American) in Schmalkalden, Germany. It’s the Milka und Oreo which is a natural combination, since Kraft owns both brands.

Milka Oreo

If there was a disappointment with this bar, it was the use of that cream in the center instead of just more Oreo Cookies. The cream was okay, more on the yogurt side, though less sweet than the actual filling of Oreos. But without the filling, I suppose there’s nothing to distinguish it from regular Chocolate & Cookies bars.

Milka Oreo

I would buy this again, though I’m not sure if they’re sold in the United States.

Milka L'il Stars CrispeesI was pretty excited to see these Milka L’il Stars bags at the 99 Cent Only Store on a more recent visit. The reignited my interest in Milka, and spurred me to dig out these photos from earlier this year and finish this write up.

Again, for only a dollar, it’s a great deal for a chocolate hazelnut product. Think of them as giant, shell-less Crispy M&Ms.

The Milka L’il Stars Crispees look completely different than anything else on the American market and fill that hole I often have for a cereal and chocolate combination. The bag is a decent deal for a buck, it holds 3.88 ounces of little spheres of wheat crisps covered in Milka chocolate coating.

Milka L'il Stars Crispees

The pieces are a bit rugged and uneven. The good part about that is that they don’t roll around as well as a Malted Milk Ball would.

Milka L'il Stars Crispees

The crispy center is airy and light. It’s a little crunchier and less honeycomb/foamy than a malted milk ball. The flavor is also delicate and cereal-like. It’s a rice puff, made with rice malt and malted barley syrup. It’s not very malty, not like a malted milk, but has the hints like Corn Flakes do.

Of course there’s gluten in there and hazelnuts, dairy and soy. They’re made in Slovakia.

Milka L'il Stars HazelnutsThe Milka L’il Stars Hazelnuts are a simpler product, and kind of loop me back to the first one in this list.

They’re just single, whole roasted hazelnuts covered in the Milka chocolate which has hazelnut paste in it.

This bag (also made in Slovakia) also has 3.88 ounces in it, though not as much volume as the Crispees because of the density of the nuts.

Milka L'il Stars Hazelnuts

They’re crazily simple, but really well done. The nuts are well chosen, good quality and lightly roasted. The coating is soft and sweet, a little on the fudgy side but the dairy flavors come out more than I noticed them in the bar. The roasted hazelnuts are crunchy and satisfying.

Since chocolate covered hazelnuts are so hard to find, I can see myself picking these up again, especially if I wanted to combine them with the Crispees and some other savory items for a little bit of trail mix to create the perfect movie snack.

The touch of hazelnut paste in Milka products distinguished them from other dairy milk chocolate products like Cadbury. Though it’s not great quality chocolate, it is satisfying candy.

Related Candies

  1. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  2. Oreo Bitter Bar (Japan)
  3. Crispy M&Ms
  4. Milka L’il Scoops
  5. Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)
  6. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  7. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  8. Milka Alpenmilch

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:18 pm     CandyReviewKraftCookieMockolateNuts7-Worth It8-TastyGermany99 Cent Only StoreComments (12)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp

Choceur Dark Hazelnut CrispWhile at Aldi last month I picked up a few tried and true favorites as well as a few new things. The candy selection at Aldi, a German grocery chain with locations in the east and mid-west of the US, is a bit lighter during the non-candy-season months.

I picked up this slim box that holds 11 small candy bar sticks. They package describes them this way, Dark chocolate bars with hazelnuts and rice crisps in a chocolate creme filling,

For only $1.99, it’s a pretty good deal and I like the little portions inside.

Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp

Inside the light, paperboard box are 11 small candy bar sticks. They’re wrapped in a matted printed foil and individually marked (in case you wanted to put them in a bowl or candy dish but still be able to identify them). Each is a little shy of 2/3 of an ounce and about 105 calories. Two is a very nicely portioned treat.

They smell lightly sweet with a note of toasted nuts and cereal.

Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp

The little bars have a hazelnut cream filling studded with little crisped rice spheres. That’s all inside a molded dark chocolate shell. The dark chocolate isn’t terribly dark, I’d say about 55%. The flavor is woodsy, overshadowed by the hazelnut flavors from the chocolate hazelnut cream center. The crisped rice provides only a slight crispy texture that mostly keeps the center from being too sickly sweet or sticky. Still, I found it all a bit sweet after the second little bar.

I’ve had quite a few of these Choceur bars over the years and they’re always quite good and extremely well priced. This particular one is note quite on the level of a Perugina Baci, but still a nice little treat especially in the afternoon when you want something more sophisticated than a Twix or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There’s no statement about the ethical sourcing of the ingredients on the package. The product contains soy, dairy, nuts and gluten and may also contain traces of peanuts.

Related Candies

  1. Perugina Baci
  2. KitKat Hazelnut Cream
  3. Choceur Chocolate Crisp Bars
  4. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights
  5. Choceur Luxury Mini Chocolate Bars


Name: Dark Hazelnut Crisp
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Aldi
Place Purchased: Aldi (Camp Hill, PA)
Price: $1.99
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: Candy, Aldi, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:06 pm     CandyReviewAldiChocolateCookieNuts7-Worth ItGermanyComments (0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Route 1 Racer Bar

Aldi Route 1 RacerOne of the most popular candy bars in the country is the Snickers bar. This is not review of that.

Instead I’m testing a knock off version, presented by Aldi, the German grocery chain under their house brand Route 1.

The Route 1 Racer Bar comes in a well priced bag of nearly 10 ounces (9.8) fun sized bars for only $1.79.

Aldi Route 1 Racer

The little bars smell good, like milky chocolate and roasted peanuts. They’re small bars, smaller than the Romeo and clock in at about .70 ounces and about 110 calories. The size is still a nice portion, and two make a good treat.

Aldi Route 1 Racer

The construction of the bar is just as you’d anticipate for a Snickers knock off. There’s a nougat base, which has a light peanut butter flavor to it then a caramel over that studded with peanuts. The whole thing is covered with a very thin coating of chocolate.

Aldi Route 1 Racer & Snickers 3X Chocolate
(Racer Bar compared to Snickers 3X Chocolate for ratios)

The textures were great, though the ratio of chocolate was a bit lacking. I didn’t miss it though, because it really wasn’t that good. It was more a toffee milk flavor than chocolate. The flavors though, well, sometimes they were what I’d call good. But there were bad peanuts. The photo of the first bar with a bite up there, that was a bad peanut, like spit it out bad. And I accept that when using a natural ingredient that there will be bad peanuts, but then I got another. I’ve eaten seven of these little bars and two had bad peanuts. The flavor of the peanuts is a little more grassy than I’m accustomed to, which leads me to believe they may not be American peanuts.

This is the first product I’ve bought at Aldi that I’ve been truly disappointed about. I doubt I’ll finish the bag, and I doubt that folks who come grazing for candy in my office will be interested in them. I’ll stick to Snickers, even if it is twice the price.



Name: Racer Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Aldi
Place Purchased: Aldi (Camp Hill, PA)
Price: $1.79
Size: 9.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Aldi, Caramel, Chocolate, Nougat, Peanuts, 5-Pleasant, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:46 pm     CandyReviewAldiCaramelChocolateNougatPeanuts5-PleasantGermanyComments (3)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Route 1 Romeo Bar

Aldi Route 1 RomeoAldi is a German chain of stores that are very popular in parts of the United States. They carry low priced merchandise, usually Aldi’s house brands and most of the packaged products made in Germany.

They have a great selection of low-priced, good quality candy. Much of it is under the brands Moser Roth, Choceur or Grandessa. But two years ago I noticed that they launched a line more traditional candy bars under a more North American-oriented brand called Route 1. This assortment features knock-offs of common candy bars. The Route 1 Romeo Bar is like the Mounds Bar but is made with milk chocolate instead of dark. Or you can call it an Almond Joy without the almonds. In reality this is most similar to the Bounty Bar, which is made by Mars, but rarely seen in the United States.

Aldi Route 1 Romeo

The bar is listed as delicious sweet coconut bars covered with milk chocolate. Some of the Route 1 bars are sold as single serving sizes, but the Romeo I could only find in the fun size bag. The bag is really well priced at $1.79 for 9.7 ounces. It’s a far better deal than the Hershey’s Mounds, which are usually about $3.00 for a similarly sized bag. The little bars are a little shy of an ounce (.88 ounces) and come in at about 125 calories each. The packaging is simple, but easy to spot and tell apart from the other candies in the brand line.

Aldi Route 1 Romeo

The little bars are 2.25 inches long and 1 inch wide. The milk chocolate coating is swirly and looks appealing. It has a nice snap to it and a very milky scent, like heavily sweetened powdered milk.

The whole thing is very milky, the chocolate is more milky than cocoa, the coconut center has just as many cream and dairy notes as coconut. The coconut is soft and has a moist and easy chew without being to dry and fibery.

While I enjoyed them while eating them, I didn’t find the chocolate notes satisfying enough. The combination of the chocolate outside and the coconut inside never quite felt integrated. If you’re not really picky or are looking for a really good value for something like Halloween or a Pinata, this is a good option. If you’ve always thought that Almond Joy wasn’t sweet enough, this is also a good choice.

There is no indication of the source of the chocolate. There are allergens present, made with soy and dairy and may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, gluten and eggs.

Related Candies

  1. Choceur Chocolate Crisp Bars
  2. Blue Ribbon Neapolitan Coconut Bar
  3. Choceur Nougat Bites & Marzipan Bites
  4. King Leo Dark Chocolate Crunchy Patties
  5. Sunspire Coconut Bars
  6. Moser Roth Chocolate
  7. Choceur Luxury Mini Chocolate Bars
  8. Ritter Sport Capuccino and Rum Trauben Nuss

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:40 am     CandyReviewAldiChocolateCoconut7-Worth ItGermanyComments (7)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Feodora Mocca’s Dark and Milk

Feodora Mocca's - Zart-Bitter & VollmilchI’m traveling again, which means I’ve got a hankering for portable coffee. I know that coffee flavored chocolates don’t have the same caffeinated kick as actual coffee, but a little snacking on some coffee-ish candy probably has some sort of placebo effect.

I’ve written about Feodora Moccas before. When I was in Germany I actually visited the factory where Feodora and Hachez chocolate is made and picked up both versions of their chocolate coffee beans. Even at the factory store, they’re still not cheap, though certainly less expensive than the prices I pay in the United States.

The Feodora Moccals Zart-Bitter is the most common version, but I was eager to try their Feodora Mocca’s Vollmilch because Feodora is so well known for their extremely smooth milk chocolate. The Feodora website had a product page for them in English:

Besides the well-known chocolate specialty FEODORA Mochas – mocha beans of superior semi-dark chocolate with coffee – a new product was introduced in September 2009: FEODORA Mochas WHOLE MILK. The premium whole milk chocolate refined with coffee gives the Mochas new momentum.

The handy, resealable pack is easy to use and the compact size fits ideally in any shirt pocket and handbag. FEODORA Mochas – the ideal companions for chocolate gourmets and everyone who wants to become one!

Feodora Mocca's - Zart-Bitter

The previous review of these holds up, as I still feel the same way about the slightly grainy texture. They’re quite strong in flavor, on the bitter side but not too acidic. They’re very woodsy but also sweet and have a note of cinnamon to them.

Feodora Mocca's - Zart-Bitter & Vollmilch

The pieces are excellently detailed, larger than a real coffee bean but with the little crease down the middle. They fit well in the mouth, and one is actually a great portion. There chocolate is mixed with 3% coffee beans ... I don’t know what that means for caffeine content, but I’d probably put it at least than 20 mg per portion.

I was a little disappointed by the Vollmilch variety (called Superior Milk Chocolate with Coffee on the back of the box in English). The Feodora chocolate is extremely smooth and milky, slick and cool on the tongue. However, the Moccas lack that smoothness, probably because of the addition of the actual coffee beans. It’s a little bit grainy, bitter and the milky flavors are more toffee and almost molasses.

Much to my surprise though, I went through the milk chocolate variety much quicker than the dark chocolate. It really shouldn’t surprise me, I prefer my coffee with a bit of milk in its liquid form. My favorite coffee flavored chocolate lentil is still the Meiji Coffee Beat from Japan, but this one does have an authentic coffee kick to it.

Related Candies

  1. Askinosie Intelligentsia Coffee Bar
  2. Sukoka Soft Coffee Candy
  3. Ginger Chews: Hot Coffee
  4. Coffee Rio
  5. Coffee Nips
  6. Feodora Chocolates
  7. Pocket Coffee
  8. Coffee Beat


Name: Mocca’s Vollmilch
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Feodora
Place Purchased: Feodora & Hachez Factory Store (Bremen, Germany)
Price: 2 Euro (about $2.89)
Size: 2.47 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories:

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:26 am     All NaturalCandyReviewHachezCaffeinatedChocolateCoffee7-Worth ItGermanyComments (1)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Niederegger Marzipan Classics

Niederegger Marzipan FactoryIn December I went on a grand tour of Germany. It was a junket sponsored by German Sweets, an export organization. Their goal was to improve awareness of German confectionery in North America.

One of the places that sealed the deal to get me to attend was Lubeck, home to Niederegger Marzipan. If there was a candy that I was introduced to through the blog that changed my mind about a long held prejudice, it was Niederegger’s Cappuccino Marzipan bar.

Lubeck is actually home to many marzipan makers. At one time there were dozens, now there are a handful, but enough of them that there is a strict standard they must follow if they wish to be called Lubecker Marzipan. Kind of like sparkling wine can’t be called Champagne unless it’s from Champagne. How Lubeck became a center of marzipan creation when they don’t actually grow the sugar or almonds necessary for its creation is kind of an odd tale.

Lubeck is a Hanseatic City, which means it was a member Dudesche Hanse, an economic alliance of cities and merchant guilds in Northern Europe starting in 1358 until the 1860s when it was one of the last remaining members. As a center of trade Lubeck had access to the almonds and sugar it needed to make marzipan and the shipping routes to export it.

Niederegger Cafe in Lubeck (across from the market)

In 1806 Johann Georg Niederegger purchased Maret Confectioner, where the current Niederegger Cafe stands to this day. The company is still family owned, in its seventh generation.

Niederegger is widely regarded as one of the best marzipans from Germany. It’s characterized by its consistent texture and high quality. The marzipan is made in one facility, just outside of town in the traditional style of open copper pots.

image
Hand checking of blanched almonds - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

The almonds sourced for Niederegger are from Spanish, mostly Marcona almonds though at times they also source from Italy. To start the almonds are cleaned and then blanched and then the fibrous peels are removed. There’s a lot of hand work involved in the entire process, as workers pick over the almonds after the blanching process to keep the quality high.

image
Ground almonds & sugar added to copper kettle - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

The almonds are then mixed with sugar and ground and cooked in open copper pots. The staff were hesitant to give us exact times for how long these processes take, but it’s probably more than an hour and less than a day.

image
Paste cooked in open kettle & mixed constantly - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

The cooking and mixing is carefully supervised by the cooks. The day we were there it was cold and rainy and it’s pretty much assured that the room was probably not heated and it was quite balmy. I can’t imagine what it’s like in there even with air conditioning in the summer. The pots generate quite a bit of steam and moisture.

Once the marzipan is finished multiple pots are dumped into a large one and quickly cooled with dry ice. The last step is the addition of rosewater, which I believe has a touch of alcohol in it. The marzipan is then molded into blocks and sent along to other parts of the factory for different purposes.

image
Marzipan molded into hearts are enrobed in chocolate - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

Though Valentine’s Day isn’t as big of a deal in Europe as North America, the Niederegger Hearts are extremely popular year round but do show up in American stores for special holidays.

Niederegger Marzipan

All enrobed chocolates had the Niederegger name embossed on the bottom.

image
Foil wrapped marzipan hearts are hand sorted into trays - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

Because the company makes such a huge variety of shapes, sizes, varieties and packaging styles, much of the work is done by humans, who are far more adaptable. This also helps to account for the higher price of Niederegger products.

image
Eyes of marzipan pigs are applied by hand - Photo Courtesy of Niederegger

In addition to the machine made products, some are molded by hand and then hand decorated. Though no photos were provided, we visited one room where they did custom molded pieces, especially for corporate clients as well as favors for weddings that can be personalized for the couple.

Niederegger Marzipan Mini Loaves

Though many of the Niederegger products are expensive when priced out by the pound, there are plenty of items available for less than a buck. They have stick or log versions of their bars which are usually about one Euro and their little loaves are about 35 cents or so. The box above is their Klassiker which featured pistachio, orange, pineapple and espresso. I think this assortment is about 6 Euros. It’s one of the products I see for sale in the United States around Christmas but often for somewhere more in the neighborhood of $9 or $10.

Neideregger Marzipan

The loaves are enrobed, like the hearts in the factory photos above. I generally prefer enrobed chocolates, I like the way the coating adheres to the fillings better than molded products.

Niederegger Marzipan Collection

At the end of our tour, the Niederegger folks gave us a sampler tray of their most popular current products. (Later we also went to their cafe and shop where I bought about 40 Euros more of stuff.)

Niederegger Pineapple Marzipan

I think the little loaves are my favorite. The chocolate is quite thin and the foil is always cute. They’re barely an inch long, so it’s not even two full bites. Since there’s little chocolate, it’s very much about the marzipan. There’s not as much sugar in the Niederegger marzipan as in some other varieties. Also, it has a more rustic grind to it, it’s not a smooth dough or paste like some. Think of it like peanut butter cookie dough - it holds its shape but has a slight grain. The sugar is completely integrated though. There’s a toasty flavor throughout.

The trick with the little loaves though is that they get dried out quickly. I found that there’s no point in hoarding them, they should be eaten within 3 months if possible, and be sure to keep them in a sealed tin or zippered bag.

Niederegger Espresso Marzipan

The long bars solve that dryness problem with a thicker chocolate coating and a fully sealed plastic wrapper. Those seem to seal the moisture in much better. The Espresso Marzipan is by far my favorite of their standard flavors. So much so that I pick them up whenever I see them at a trade show, gourmet shop or when in Europe.

The marzipan is generally sweet, but the dark toffee flavors of the espresso really balance it out and even give it a little bitter edge that pairs well with some of the bitter note of the almonds.

Niederegger Liqueur Marzipan Collection

In that big assortment from the Niederegger folks I got to try something new, their liqueur marzipans:

Rum Truffel - this was the most traditional and perhaps the most boring of the set. The reservoir center had a little slab of rum infused chocolate truffle. It was sweeter than the others, but had a nice little kick to it.

Orangen Liqueur is moister than most of the other Niederegger marzipans I’ve had. It’s hard to tell if there was a liquored up center, which was a little darker than the rest of the marzipan, or that was just where the stuff concentrated itself. The scent has a light touch of orange zest to it. The flavor of the marzipan is delicate, the chocolate creamy and only a very thin shell of it to seal in the marzipan and cut the sweetness. The bite of the liquor isn’t intense or harsh, just a light warming. I liked this one quite a bit, and tasted it compared to the classic Orangen piece as well. The liqueur does add a little more zest and less juice flavor to it, and the alcohol’s ability to make me blush probably gives me the impression that it’s said something flattering.

Armagnac Pflaume - is a plum brandy. The idea didn’t really sound that appealing to me, but I know that I’ve enjoyed many of the things that the Japanese have done with plums and confectionery, so I thought I’d give it a chance. This piece has a little ribbon of plum jam of some sort in the center. The flavor is a little like brandied prunes, tangy and with deep cherry and raisin notes. The alcohol was quite distinctive and hit me high in my chest, between my collar bones. 

Williams Christ is a Pear William brandy puree in the center of the marzipan. Though it looked rather like the Armagnac one, it definitely tasted distinctly of pear and a little like ripe bananas.

Niederegger Eier Liqueuer Marzipan

Eier Liqueur - is made with an egg liqueur. This is one of those drinks that I’ve never actually had except in confections (all German) so it’s hard for me to compare it to anything else. It’s like a creamy vanilla pudding center, with a slight rum buzz to it. I liked it, though the idea of egg cream in a candy is a little strange at first, and then I remember my love of nougat and custards.

Niederegger Vodka Fig Marzipan

One of the newer flavors I was really excited to pick up in Germany was their Niederegger Vodka Fig Marzipan. They’re wrapped in bright purple foil and came in a long package like the sticks, but really just a strip of the loaves.

Again, freshness was the key here. The center had a definite grain alcohol blast to it. The figs were well supported by the delicate flavors of the almond paste and the vodka did a good job of helping disperse that flavor throughout.

On the whole, I’m not sure I needed the vodka, just a fig marzipan would be fine with me. And when I say fine, I mean, I wish there were fig marzipans available easily. I might have to make my own.

Niederegger Marzipan WeihnachtskofektThe last box I bought was called Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtskofekt and I think I paid 6 Euros for it. It was a combination of three different winter flavors for Christmas. (Remember, I was there in December.)

The box was very simple, as are most of their packages. It was a paperboard box with a metallic gold plastic tray with little sections for each piece of candy. It protected the pieces extremely well (this was early in my trip and had to go on and off the bus every day for nearly 1,000 kilometers plus the flights home). So the inside did well, but the exterior got quite dinged up.

Since it was a seasonal product it was extremely fresh, the centers were soft and moist.

Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtskofekt

Arabisch-Mocca - toasty flavors of coffee and a little hint of chocolate in the center. The marzipan has more of a toffee and coffee flavor than anything almond. The dark chocolate shell seals it all up and has a nice bittersweet component that also gives it a creamy start.

Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtskofekt

Dattel-Honig is the only milk chocolate piece of the set. It smells like ripe bananas. In fact, it tastes like ripe bananas. Like actual fermented bananas, with a light alcoholic and tangy note towards the top. The milk chocolate and the dates keep it all rather sweet. I didn’t catch much on the honey side of things.

Ingwer is one of my favorite bars from Niederegger. The little pattie version is a gem as well. The ginger is soft and glace style, the dark chocolate keeps it all from being to sweet or sticky. There’s less chocolate in this version than the bar, and more of an alcoholic bite as well.

Kaufhof Candy Section in BerlinI know I have oodles more photos of the store, the cafe and the products I bought. But it’s more of the same. The ingredients are simple and great and I think Niederegger has very high standards for what they’ll produce. They make some other nougat (gianduia) products which I haven’t sampled extensively. They do great marzipan, one of the other marzipans that I’ve ever tried that I truly love, so I’m always eager to try more of those. I’ve noticed that no matter what kind of store I was shopping in, a department store like Kaufhof or a grocery store like Rewe, the prices were always the same. So no sense in going bargain shopping, the trick for me when traveling was finding a store that carried the size and format of the flavors that I liked.

(Disclosure Note: The trip to Germany was sponsored, so I did not pay for my airfare, ground transportation, accommodations or food while I was there. At the factory tours we were given generous samples to consume on site as well as some to bring home. Any reviews of those products will be noted as to that fact. But I also brought a couple hundred Euros with me and spent them liberally and almost exclusively on candy both from the companies we were introduced to as well as many other Germany/European products that I found in my prowlings of grocery stores, department stores and the factory outlets.)

Related Candies

  1. 2012 Fancy Food Show Notes - Day 2
  2. Limited Edition Ritter Sport Winter Kreation + Factory Store
  3. Haribo Ingwer-Zitrone Gummis
  4. Krauterbonbons from Lubeck Christmas Market
  5. 12 European Licorices
  6. Niederegger Ginger Marzipan
  7. Soubeyran Array

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:37 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasNiedereggerChocolateCoffeeGingerNuts8-TastyGermanyShoppingComments (9)

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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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• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

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