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Germany

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)

Milka Naps MixOne of the most popular chocolate brands in Europe is Milka. It’s currently distributed by the international food conglomerate Kraft but began its existence as a family chocolate brand made by Suchard back in the early 20th century. I tried the version that’s available in the States about four years ago.

Milka is, of course, known as milky chocolate, very similar in profile and price to Cadbury. However, instead of putting vegetable oil in the chocolate, Milka uses just a touch of hazelnut paste.

Milka is now widely available in the United States but I wanted to pick up some while I was in Europe, just in case it was a little different. I did find this assortment called Milka NAPS Mix in Germany. It features four different varieties of tiny bars: Alpenmilch, Crunchy Caramel, Erdbeer & Creme au Cacao.

Milka Naps Mix

The little bars are about 4.25 grams, individually wrapped and easy to identify your favorite. The bars are about 1.5 inches long.

Milka

The traditional Milka is just as I remember it. Milky, sweet, smooth and not very chocolatey. They’re a good candy and at this size, and excellent little tough-covering pick me up. The hazelnut is just a light hint of roasted nuts, not like a thick gianduia. It’s much creamier than I recall the American packaged bar I tried, though as someone who likes a lot of either chocolate in my chocolate or hazelnuts in my gianduia, this didn’t quite fit my personal profile.

Milka Honeycomb

The Milka Crunchy Caramel is the same little bar with some toffee chips in it. (Not Daim chips, for some reason.) I liked the crunchy texture and light salty hint, though sometimes they tasted a bit like butterscotch and not quite like toffee. This was my favorite of the mix, now I’m sorry I didn’t pick up the Daim version of Milka.

Milka Strawberry

The Milka Erdbeer is the milk chocolate with dried strawberry bits in it. The strawberry bits taste real, but have a grainy quality to them that kind of ruins the texture of the chocolate at time. Still, the milk and strawberry flavor was great, it reminded me of neapolitan ice cream.

Milka Truffle

This was the only filled bar in the mix. The center was a thin little strip of chocolate creme. It really didn’t taste that much different than the standard Milka Bar, mostly because of the proportions. It had more of a chocolate frosting flavor to it though. It was my least favorite of the mix.

I like that Milka comes in so many different varieties and that the European versions also come in different sizes and seasonal variations. This box of chocolate though was a bit on the expensive side, compared to the large 100 gram (3.5 ounce) tablet bars at 3 Euros (about $4). Basically, I could have bought one of each of these varieties as a full sized bar for about the same amount of money, but had more than 3 times as much candy.

I have a dark chocolate version of a Milka bar at home, I’m hoping that’s a bit more to my personal liking, but mixes like this always have something to please most folks. (And I did finish most of the box without any help from anyone else.)

Related Candies

  1. Kraft Daim
  2. UK vs US Cadbury Dairy Milk
  3. Terry’s Chocolate Toffee Crunch Orange
  4. Toblerone Single Peaks
  5. Milka Alpenmilch
  6. Caffarel Gianduias


Name: Milka NAPS Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Kaufhof (Cologne, Germany)
Price: $4.00 (3.00 Euros)
Size: 4.87 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:34 pm     CandyReviewKraftChocolateNutsToffee7-Worth ItGermanyComments (3)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Haribo Sali-Kritz

Haribo Sali-KritzDuring my travels in Germany I was enchanted by the extraordinary selection of Haribo products. In some stores they took up an enormous amount of shelf space with dozens and dozens of items. Their products spans a much larger range in Germany where they have gummies, jellies, licorice, chews and marshmallows.

In the United States the only licorice items I see from Haribo are the Licorice Wheels, which are competent starter or snacking licorice. I was hoping to find the more exotic stuff. I was excited to find this bag of Haribo Sali-Kritz which was both beautiful and an interesting product idea.

The candies are described on the package as Lakritz Dragee, basically licorice pastilles. They’re large soft slightly salted licorice diamonds covered in a flavored candy shell.

Haribo Sali-Kritz

The lozenge shape pieces are large - about 1.25 inches long with soft rounded edges. They come in seven colors, all pastels: pink, green, yellow, soft red, blue, orange and white. They’re also flavored to match those colors, though I could find no code and kind of had to figure it out for myself.

Haribo Sali-Kritz

The candy shell is a little thicker than a Good and Plenty rod. The colors are muted (they’re all natural) and sometimes a little less than consistent looking. The shell is crisp but grainy, but does a good job of keeping the licorice inside soft and chewy. The flavor of the shell was light, like the outside of a jelly bean ... and the inside was a very mild ammonia salt licorice. The most difficult thing I’m experiencing now as I’ve probably tried about 50 different kinds of licorice in the past month is that I don’t even know what I like any longer. But that’s something I can keep working at.

Some flavor combinations worked well for me, like lemon (yellow) or strawberry (pink) but others like pineapple (white) or apple (green) were just a little too different. But mostly what was a problem for me was the salted licorice center. The ammonia part wasn’t particularly strong unless I ate two or three, then I felt like every time I exhaled, I smelled like I needed to change the cat litter (which is alarming since I don’t have a cat). I think the salt level would have been moderated nicely by some stronger licorice, toffee and molasses flavors.

I find that I can just eat one of these and be happy. The more I eat in one sitting, the less pleased I am. The novelty of a flavored shell is a plus, but the ammonia level on the licorice is a negative. For a starter licorice for those who want to experience salted licorice, this might be a good start.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo Pontefract Cakes
  2. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  3. Licorice Assortment
  4. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
  5. Dutch Licorice
  6. Panda Bars
  7. Haribo Licorice Wheels


Name: Sali-Kritz
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Haribo
Place Purchased: Rewe (Cologne)
Price: .98 Euro ($1.35)
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Haribo, Licorice Candy, 5-Pleasant, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:25 pm     All NaturalCandyHariboLicorice Candy5-PleasantGermanyComments (1)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Die Besten von Ferrero: Mon Cheri, Kusschen & Rondnoir

Die Besten von FerreroWhile in Germany a couple of weeks ago I scoured the store candy aisle for products that were either unique or perhaps just like ones we get in the United States. I was excited to find this boxed selection in an Aldi Süd market in Cologne called Die Besten von Ferrero. It’s a dark chocolate mix of the best of Ferrero, makers of the famous Ferrero Rocher. This mix contains a luxurious sampling of their dark chocolate items: Dunkel Kusschen (10x), Mon Cheri (10x) and Rondnoir (6x).

The exciting part for me was twofold. First, I’ve never had the European version of Mon Cheri (more on that later) and second, that I found the Küsschen in the new dark chocolate version.

Die Besten von Ferrero

The box was nicely organized and though it felt like a bit of over-packaging from the viewpoint of someone who had to lug everything back to the States on the train/plane, it did the job very well. Each little compartment held its pieces in place. The whole box was shrink-wrapped, each piece was individually wrapped and the Mon Cheri has an additional sealed, plastic sleeve. All emerged un-scuffed and shiny. The package says that it’s a limited edition item, but it’s just this assortment and format, each of the items are available independently.

A few years ago I reviewed the American version of the Mon Cheri. It was a little nugget of milk chocolate filled with crushed hazelnuts and a hazelnut paste. People loved it, but it was confusing because in Europe the Mon Cheri is actually a liquored up cherry in dark chocolate. Slowly the hazelnut Mon Cheri disappeared from American stores. However, I noticed overseas that there was a product that was like the American version, the Küsschen. The Küsschen was introduced in 1968 but this dark chocolate version is a little more recent.

Ferrero Kusschen

The Küsschen wrapper is a light paper foil with the name clearly marked (though hard to tell from the milk version) and a little image of the candy on the front with some hazelnuts.

The Küsschen is a little piece, about the same size as the Mon Cheri or Pocket Coffee. It’s a hard chocolate shell filled with a thick, nutty chocolate cream filled with crushed hazelnuts and a whole nut at the center. It’s exactly one inch wide at the base and about 2/3 of an inch high.

Ferrero Kusschen

The piece smells much sweeter than it actually is. The scent is a combination of hot cocoa and dark roasted hazelnuts. The bite is crisp; there are a lot of crunchy nut pieces in the filling. The filling, however, is not like I would have expected. I thought it would be a bit of a Perugina Baci clone. Instead the center isn’t sticky or sweet, just a bit of a firm ganache type filling. The nuts take front and center, and by center I mean the middle of the piece is one large, perfectly roasted hazelnut. It’s crunchy and has wonderful toffee and pecan notes with no fibery chew that I get sometimes with the Oregon variety. The filling is airy, which promotes the hazelnut flavors mixing with the dark chocolate shell. The chocolate is smooth with a light bitter trace to it.

Overall, a not-too-sweet and satisfying little nugget.

Ferrero Mon Cheri

The Mon Cheri was a bit of a mystery to me. As far as I knew, it was a cherry centered chocolate candy. There was no need for me to try it, because I knew what it was, something that by its very conception and design was not something I could like.

Each piece is a similar format to the Ferrero Pocket Coffee (in fact, I think they use the same mold). It’s a whole cherry and some liqueur encased in a dark chocolate shell. They’re wrapped in foil and an extra piece of clear cellophane. (I bought them once before last year and was disappointed to find them either oozing a grainy syrup or looking a bit hollow so I never even bothered to photograph them.)

Ferrero Mon Cheri

The pieces are messy if you’re the type who likes to bite things open, then place them on a table to shoot with a camera. In fact, I recommend not biting them unless the whole thing is in your mouth.

The cherry is firm and crunchy, with an authentic Bing or Rainier cherry flavor. It’s tart and sweet with some deep raisin or fig notes. But the part that sells it is the liquor. This isn’t just a dash of the stuff or something within a sticky fondant. This liquor syrup is, well, all liquored up. There’s a slight alcoholic burn with some light rum notes to it. (The package and Ferrero website don’t specify the alcohol type.)

I loved the combination, the cherry brings a fruity sweetness, the chocolate has a creamy and slightly dry finish while the liquor syrup give it a decadent appeal of a cocktail. I’m not a big fan of harsh spirits (though I love a really herby Gin and Tonic sometimes) but there’s something about what a liquor does when it infuses a piece of real fruit.

Ferrero RondnoirI reviewed the Ferrero Rondnoir when it was first introduced in the United States in 2007.

At its heart is a small dark chocolate pearl floating in a mass of chocolate paste inside a crunchy wafer shell. That is covered in a crispy chocolate sprinkling. They’re wrapped in an elegant, textured brown foil and packaged in a little fluted cup.

I see them sold in the US, unlike the other two components to this box, at drug stores and discount chains like Target or KMart. They come in a little single serve package of three or in full boxes and sometimes in mixes, especially around the holidays.

Ferrero Rondnoir

As I’ve already reviewed them, this is just a little review for myself to confirm that they’re not only a unique product, they’re also quite tasty. In fact, I think my original review pegged them as tasty (8 out of 10) but I’m upgrading them to yummy (9 out of 10). That could just be the liquor talking though.

I feel like Ferrero is preparing to release the Küsschen in the United States, though I have nothing more to go on than the fact that they discontinued the hazelnut Mon Cheri. The big issue would be to find a name for it that doesn’t require an umlaut or resonates more with Americans. The fact that it means little kiss might be a trademark issue because of both the Hershey’s Kiss and possibly the Italian Perugina Baci (also means kiss).

This was the perfect sort of box of chocolates for me. It contained adventure (I tried something new), tried and true comfort and a conclusion to the search for a replacement for a discontinued product. The fact that they’re also all dark chocolate and less sweet than some other Ferrero products was a bonus for me. Some of these assortments can be purchased online as well as in Duty Free shops at airports around the world - the family of Ferrero Rocher products are quite popular in Asia.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights
  2. Hachez Edel Vollmilch Nuss (Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts)
  3. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites
  4. Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn
  5. Ferrero Rocher
  6. Ferrero Mon Cheri
  7. Baci Bar


Name: Die Besten von Ferrero
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrero
Place Purchased: Aldi Sud (Cologne, Germany)
Price: $8.00 (5.99 Euro)
Size: 8.96 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: Candy, Ferrero, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 9-Yummy, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:34 pm     CandyReviewValentinesFerreroAlcoholChocolateCookieLimited EditionNuts9-YummyGermanyComments (5)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chuao Venezuelan Origin Chocolate

Chuao is a small village in Venezuela, but to chocolate aficionados is the name for criollo cocoa beans from the area. Casey at The Chocolate Note has some wonderful coverage and photos.

Chuao Collection - Amano, Coppeneur & Chocolat Bonnat

For many years Amadei (Italy) had an exclusive deal for the beans from the region, so the only chocolate made from them was Amadei’s Chuao bars. The bars were hard to find and of course quite expensive (though bars from Chocolat Bonnat existed, that’s kind of another story). And of course there was just the one company’s concept of what was best about the beans (from the fermentation to the roasting & conching). Amadei is no longer the only purveyor of the coveted beans. I picked up three different bars from three different countries to see how they created a chocolate bar from the esteemed cacao: Chocolat Bonnat (France), Amano (USA) and Coppeneur (Germany).

Chuao - Chocolat BonnatThe Chocolat Bonnat Chuao bar is the largest of the group, a generous 100 gram bar (3.5 ounces). It’s 75% cacao and Kosher. There are only three ingredients in the bar: cacao, cocoa butter and sugar. No emulsifiers like soy lecithin and no vanilla.

The packaging is simple and the same as all the other Bonnat bars I’ve had. It’s a large bar with petite but thick rectangular segments. It’s wrapped in a simple paper-backed foil which is then covered in a simple glossy, embossed paper sleeve.

Chuao - Chocolat Bonnat

The bar has a beautiful sheen, a light touch of red to the brown color and though the photo makes it look a creamy color, it’s really quite dark.

The scent is rather earthy with a few green notes like olives. The melt is exquisite, smooth and thick without being chalky or dry. The chocolate is flavorful, angled mostly towards the deep flavors like smoke, coffee, dried cherries and molasses. There are some slight mineral notes, like iron. While it sounds like this would be heavy and rich, it still comes off a little lighter than that, mostly because of the texture and a lighter acidity. There’s a trace of bitterness towards the end but nothing distracting, more like a finish of a citrus marmalade.

Coppeneur ChuaoI’m already quite fond of Coppeneur. From the packaging, which is this smart little matte black “wallet” that’s sealed with a dot of wax to the beautiful design of the bar’s mold. I’ve bought several of their Ocumare bars in the past (straight dark chocolate and Mit Chili & Cacao-Nibs) but never wrote about them. They’re difficult to find in the United States, I’ve been buying my bars at Fog City News in San Francisco.

Like the Bonnat bar, the Coppeneur Chuao Dunkle Schokolade is made only with cacao mass and sugar. There is no added soy lecithin or vanilla. This bar is 70% and comes in a 50 gram tablet (about 1.76 ounces).

Chuao Collection - Amano, Coppeneur & Chocolat Bonnat

The bar has a similar red hue. The format of the bar is different from both the Bonnat and Amano, so I photographed them together. It’s quite thin but has an excellent snap to it.

The initial melt is quick and smooth but the thing I noticed first was the raisin flavors and light tangy notes. Though it’s only 70% instead of the 75% of the Bonnat, it’s not sweeter though perhaps a little more acidic and has a dry finish. Though most of the flavor notes were overwhelmingly fruity, like prunes and raisins and dried cherries there were some light roasted notes of pecans. Towards the end, the flavors got deeper with notes of toffee, leather and tobacco.

There were a couple of little gritty bits, this bar is a 70 hour conch. I have another set of bars from Coppeneur that I got in Germany that are paired: a 70 hour conch and a 100 hour conch. I’ll be trying those soon.

Amano ChuaoThe third bar in my roundup is the American Amano Chuao bar. I’m fond of Amano’s other Venezuelan single origin bar, the Ocumare, so I was excited to taste the Chuao.

This bar comes in the same package style as the other Amanos, a slim and glossy box. The bars are 2 ounces (56 grams) and wrapped in a sturdy gold foil. This bar differs from the other two in the ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla beans. So I was curious what the vanilla beans would contribute to the profile of the Chuao cacao. The cacao content is 70% and is Kosher (note that it’s also made in a facility with nuts, peanuts, dairy & soy present).

Amano Chuao

I find the size and format of the bar to be ideal for the way that I like to each dark chocolate. The bar is thick, but not so thick that a lot of chewing is necessary. The segments are a great size for a single taste and the foil is of good quality for rewrapping and saving for later.

The first flavors I got were woodsy and green with a little citrus peel twang in there of grapefruit. The melt is smooth but a little more gritty and sugary than the previous two bars ... and when I say gritty, that’s just a comparison. Taken by itself I don’t know if many folks would notice. The vanilla is noticeable in the flavor profile, I definitely got some oak cask and cognac flavors in there and the finish has that vanilla note and the freshness of white tea. There are more floral notes, like orange blossom and jasmine. But there’s also a kind of volatile quality, a sort of burn like orange oil can give after a while.

Chuao - CoppenhauerI’ve been nibbling and formulating my tasting notes for these bars for about two months. I traveled with the bars, taking them all the way to Europe and back. The Venezuelan Chuao beans are extraordinary and very expensive. They create a wonderful chocolate, apparently every chocolate maker is able to do something extraordinary and unique with the beans. The price is prohibitive though and in some ways it makes me question spending that much on a bar ... the Chuao bars are usually priced 20-25% more than the other bars in that company’s line - so my Coppeneur bar was $8, where a regular single origin bar from them would be $6 and these are only 50 grams to begin with. 

My final conclusion is that everyone makes a wonderful chocolate bar from these beans. But I’ve also been very impressed with each of these company’s chocolate bars made with other less expensive beans, they’re simply good chocolate makers. I’m not convinced that the chocolate bars are worth the premium for these beans in particular, but fans of chocolate in general should try at least one of the bars made from Chuao beans as a point of reference. Personally, I’m not afraid to go back to blended bean bars, which offer a good balance of consistency of flavor over they years and affordability. But with some folks, once you go Chuao you never go back.

Related Candies

  1. Amano Dos Rios 70% Chocolate
  2. TCHO Fruity
  3. Domori Cru
  4. Four 99%-100% Chocolate
  5. Amano Single Origin Bars: Madagascar & Ocumare
  6. Chuao Chocolatier


Name: Chuao 75% “Venezuela”
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Chocolat Bonnat
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $8.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Kosher, 9-Yummy, France, Mel and Rose


Name: Chuao 70% Dunkle Shokolade
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Coppeneur
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $8.50
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Single Origin, 8-Tasty, Germany


Name: Chuao 70%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Amano
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $9.75
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Amano, Chocolate, Kosher, Limited Edition, Single Origin, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:50 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewAmanoChocolateKosherLimited EditionSingle Origin8-Tasty9-YummyFranceGermanyUnited StatesMel and RoseComments (0)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Divine Milk Chocolate with Spiced Cookies

Divine Milk Chocolate with Spiced CookiesI found the Divine Milk Chocolate with Spiced Cookies while in San Francisco last month. It seemed like the perfect place to pick up a limited edition bar for the winter season, as San Francisco always seems to be cold when I’m there.

I usually like the Divine packages; I like the simplicity and flexibility of the icons on the solid color field. The designs are color coded so it’s easy to pick out your favorite on a crowded shelf at the store. This breaks with that tradition and the wrapper sports a shiny red ribbon and bow. Not a pretty hand tied bow, but one of those cheap stick on bows. The design is done with a bit of tromp l’oiel that just ruins it because of the violation of scale.

The bar is made of mostly fair trade ingredients (the chocolate and the sugar) and is all natural though not organic.

Divine Spiced Cookie

The bar is soft, both because the cookies are crumbly and the milk chocolate isn’t quite as crisp as some. The chocolate has a very strong yogurty-dairy flavor to it, a little on the side of cheese even. I’m not keep on this more earthy and grassy flavor of milk chocolate. The chocolate melt is also a bit thick and sticky but very smooth. The cookies are quite good and have a well rounded flavor profile with a hint of ginger, black pepper, a graham cracker base and a hint of salt.

I liked it and eventually finished the bar (with a little help) but I don’t think this is quite for me. It’s a good candy bar that uses fair trade chocolate, but it’s not what I’d consider a good chocolate bar. The spiced cookies are a nice change from crisped rice and plain ginger, but not quite enough for me to wish that they’d make this bar all year round.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Indulge Cookie Nibbles
  2. Ferrara Dark Chocolate Covered Biscotti
  3. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps
  4. See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops
  5. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate


Name: Milk Chocolate with Spiced Cookies
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Divine Chocolate
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $4.50
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Divine Chocolate, Chocolate, Cookie, Ethically Sourced, Limited Edition, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:55 am     All NaturalCandyChristmasDivine ChocolateChocolateCookieEthically SourcedLimited Edition7-Worth ItGermanyComments (3)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Storck Merci

Merci Chocolate AssortmentStorck Merci were introduced 45 years ago by the German candy maker. It was always position as a hostess item, small individually wrapped pieces of chocolate in flavors to suit everyone.

The package calls it the Finest Assortment of European Chocolates. They’re priced pretty well for an upscale styled hostess gift, I paid $5.29 for my box that weighs 8.8 ounces (that’s less than $10 a pound). The ingredients are heavy on the sugar and milk and a bit lighter on the cacao content, but it’s all real chocolate in there.

I picked these up mostly because I’ve never reviewed them. But I was also curious if there was a difference between these and the newer Werther’s Chocolates.

Merci Chocolate Assortment

The assortment comes in a smart and spare little box. It’s made of thin card but styled to fit the sticks perfectly. There are 20 but only 7 varieties ... so the breakdown was a little odd for my tastes:
4 x Milk Chocolate
3 x Hazelnut-Creme, Dark Mousse, Hazelnut-Almond & Praline-Creme
2 x Coffee and Cream & Dark Cream

The little bars are three inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. There’s a little score in the center to snap them in half easily. All are imprinted with the word Merci on each segment.

Merci Chocolate Stick Assortment

Praline-Creme

I didn’t take an individual shot of this one. It’s a milk chocolate bar, the wrapper has a purple band on it. The filling is a sweet cocoa paste that’s rather truffle like. It’s all quite buttery and melts well, there’s even a slight hint of salt to it. It didn’t do much for me, there’s something missing, probably a stronger chocolate note.

Merci Milk Chocolate Creme

Milk Chocolate

The focus on this piece is milk. Actually, it’s more like butter. The melt is silky smooth and quick with a slight grain to it. The dominant flavors are powdered milk, caramelized sugar and a light note of cocoa.

Merci Hazelnut Creme

Hazelnut Creme

It’s a milk chocolate bar with a filling of sweet, milky hazelnut paste. It’s very sweet but has a good grassy and roasted flavor of hazelnuts to it. I’d probably prefer it in dark chocolate ... but then again if I were really looking for a gianduia fix I’d go for some Caffarel. It’s definitely rib-sticking.

Merci Coffee Creme

Coffee and Cream

This was far and away my favorite. It smells like freshly ground coffee. There are two layers, a dark chocolate and a white chocolate base. The coffee is far and away the strongest flavor, so much so that I couldn’t really detect any chocolate notes in there. The texture is smooth and has an excellent melt that’s a bit firmer than the milk chocolate varieties. The coffee is bold with a light acidic note and a hint of charcoal and toffee.

Merci Dark Mousse

Dark Mousse

The Dark Mousse is dark chocolate filled with a chocolate cream. The bar was beautiful looking, glossy and nicely tempered. The chocolate has strong berry notes with a little hint of black pepper and raisins. The mousse filling was a little more of a paste than a cream but wasn’t very sweet, it was like a good chocolate frosting. The whole thing had a lightly dry finish to it.


Merci Dark Cream

Dark Cream

I was confused at this point about the difference between Dark Cream and Dark Mousse. Dark Cream was more like a dark bar, no filling as far as I could tell.

The flavor was like a dark milk chocolate, there were strong dairy notes, something I didn’t get at all from the Dark Mousse. It wasn’t as sticky or sweet as the milk chocolate and also had a hint of a dry finish to it without being chalky. It was firmer than the nut and milk versions of the little bars, but it was still pretty soft and melted quickly into a puddle in my mouth. (It was not swirled though like the Werther’s Dark Cream was.)

Merci Hazelnut Almond Milk Chocolate

Hazelnut Almond

This was my second favorite variety. As far as I can tell it’s just the milk chocolate with crushed almonds and hazelnuts. The scent is still sweet and milky but has a great roasted nut flavor. The little nibs of nuts are chewy and fresh - mostly hazelnut comes through.

I enjoyed these, though I hesitate to say that they’d satisfy any of my strong chocolate cravings. This had a wonderful texture and luxurious melt, but not a lot of cocoa punch. I see them more as accompaniments than stand alone treats.

Each stick is about 73 calories (it does depend on the variety) and features 14% of your recommended daily allowance of saturated fats. (But there’s also a bit of protein, calcium & iron in there.) There are also a lot of allergens in here. The only ones that aren’t listed are eggs and of course shellfish.

As for the Werther’s Chocolates that Storck also makes ... I don’t see any reason to pick those up instead of these unless you’re only going by price. The ingredients seem a bit better, I like the packaging and the fact that you get a variety in the box is a plus in my mind (though if you don’t like all the flavors that’s a negative). They really are a great hostess gift and a nice item to have on hand to serve with coffee or dessert. A little stack along with some cookies would make an excellent little treat without being too fussy. And the word Merci doesn’t hurt, everyone enjoys a little thank you.

Related Candies

  1. Storck Toffifay
  2. Choceur Coffee & Cream
  3. Ice Cubes
  4. Milka Alpenmilch
  5. Storck Chocolate Riesen


Name: Merci
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $5.29
Size: 8.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: Candy, Storck, Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:30 pm     CandyStorckChocolateCoffeeNutsWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItGermanyTargetComments (3)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Werther’s Original Dark Cream Caramel Chocolates

Werther's Original Caramel Chocolates - Dark CreamLast week I reviewed the Werther’s Original CaraMelts which were a buttery flavored white confection. I found them confusing and disappointing. But I had hopes that Storck who makes the Merci Chocolates and Chocolate Riesen caramels could do chocolate well.

So I picked up these Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates Dark Cream. They’re billed as Rich European Cream Chocolate Marbled with Smooth Creamy Caramel. That marbling of smooth creamy caramel had me worried, as I don’t think that you can mix caramel and chocolate together to make a chocolate-like product, it yields something more like a caramel product.

The ingredients sounded pretty good - there’s a lot of milk in there in various forms, but none of the weird tropical oils that I experienced in the CaraMelts.

Werther's Original Dark Cream

The pieces are just like the CaraMelts and pretty much the same as the traditional Werther’s Original hard caramel pieces. They’re ovals about 1.25 inches long and a little under an inch wide. They have an attractive swirl of two kinds of chocolate, a dark milk chocolate and a white chocolate along with a hefty extra dose of cocoa. They’re wrapped in little twisted plastic with maroon color coded ends.

I loved the look of the swirly pattern, each piece was different and the swirls go all the way through the chocolate piece (not like some Hershey’s Kisses that just have stripes on the surface).

Werther's Original Caramel Chocolates - Dark Cream

But let me back up a little bit here for a moment. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with candy. As I got older I found ways of getting money to buy it, but there was a certain lattitude in the house when I was growing up that sweets that you made were more permissible. So to ease a craving I would actually make candy or cookies. And sometimes I would make frosting. Just frosting and eat it. At first making frosting involved a recipe (and sometimes the smearing of the result on Ritz crackers, Saltines or bread). Later frosting was simply: butter, powdered sugar and cocoa. Cream until smooth and consume from the same dish. If there was no cocoa in the house, vanilla frosting would result. (Other variations of desperation would be brown sugar & butter, sometimes with peanut butter.)

The point of that story is that I’ve eaten a lot of butter mixed with cocoa. Pounds of it. I’m very familiar with the mouth feel, smell and the taste of it. The Dark Cream Caramel Chocolates are like chocolate butter. If that’s what you want, well, here it is. The melt is quick and smooth. There’s a buttery taste to it, but more of a clean dairy note than a powdered milk or yogurty tang. It’s certainly not at all fake tasting either. There’s a light salty note, like cocoa often has. They’re slick when melting, but not in a thin or greasy way.

In short, they’re very fatty. The cocoa flavors are well rounded, mostly woodsy, brownie-like with a little coffee note. But they’re cocoa flavors, I don’t quite get actual chocolate from it.

I liked them quite a bit, much more than I thought I would for a product that has, by my calculations, 170 calories per ounce. (Most chocolate is about 145 or so.) There’s also a lot of cholesterol in there for something called Dark Cream (I guess that’s the cream part) - 10 mg. But all that milk also gives the serving of 7 pieces (240 calories) 3 grams of protein, 10% of your RDA of Iron and 6% of your Calcium.

I like their packaging, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s spare and light but still protects the candy. It’s made in facility with all the major allergens: wheat, soy, milk, tree nuts, peanuts. (No eggs mentioned.)

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original CaraMelts
  2. Madelaine Duets
  3. Wonka Exceptionals: Chocolate Waterfall
  4. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  5. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  6. Werther’s Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  7. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles


Name: Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates Dark Cream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.50
Size: 5.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 170
Categories: Candy, Storck, Chocolate, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany, Kmart

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:09 pm     CandyStorckChocolateWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItGermanyKmartComments (3)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Werther’s Original CaraMelts

Werther's Original CaraMeltsThe past few times I’ve been in Target I’ve eyed these Werther’s Original CaraMelts. I wasn’t quite sure what they were, but the did seem to be different.

I like the bag, it’s a little gusseted mylar/plastic bag that stands up easily. There’s not a lot of extra air or weight to it, so it seems efficient but still inviting and durable.

The package says that they’re Soft Creamy Caramel that Melts in Your Mouth. I didn’t know what that meant because the image on the front was just a drawing, not a photo of the actual product. The ingredients list didn’t actually sound that tasty: Sugar, Vegetable Fat (from one or more of the following: Sheanut Oil, Illipe Butter, Mango Oil, Sal Oil, Palm Oil), Cream Powder, Sweet Whey Powder, Butter Fat, Maltodextrin, Skim Milk Powder, Fat Reduced Cocoa, Soy Lecithin, Caramel Sugar Syrup, Artificial Flavor, Salt.

It sounds like some sort of artificial coffee creamer.

Werther's Original CaraMelts

The pieces inside are individually wrapped and look a lot like other Werther’s Original Caramel products. Each was well protected and emerged looking in good condition.

Werther's Original CaraMelts

The pieces are odd. They’re stocky oval swirls of solid “white confection” in some sort of butter toffee flavor. I was thinking they’d be like butterscotch baking chips. The color is kind of dead - it’s not yellow (or even artificially colored at all) but more of a that grayish color that some people turn before they faint. They’re shiny, but not slick looking. The color reminds me of support stockings.

The smell is, well, buttery. It’s fake but not like the Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly. It’s pleasant and not overwhelming. There’s a lot of milky dairy notes to it, and guessing from the ingredients that’s an authentic scent. The bite is like a white chocolate confection. It’s quite smooth but lacks a good melt - it’s like the melting point is a little too high for the human mouth. So it’s vaguely waxy and greasy at the same time. The flavor is lightly salted and buttery with a toffee and caramel note.

I just can’t figure out why I’d want to eat these, unless I was looking to put on weight and perhaps get some calcium (8% of your RDA in 7 pieces). They’re not too sweet, but also just not very satisfying for any of the cravings I get on a regular basis.

I like the classic Werther’s products, but their diversion into chocolate products (I don’t know what to even call this) is hugely disappointing. I think the best caramel product Storck makes is Reisen.

Related Candies

  1. Rococo Bee Bars
  2. Storck Toffifay
  3. Werther’s Original Caramel Dreams
  4. Werther’s Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  5. Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels
  6. Green and Black’s White Chocolate


Name: Werther’s Original CaraMelts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $2.29
Size: 5.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Candy, Storck, 5-Pleasant, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:26 pm     CandyStorck5-PleasantGermanyTargetComments (17)

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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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