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Head to Head

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Oh Henry!s

Oh Henry!The Oh Henry! bar is one of oldest extant candy bars in North America. There are two stories of the origin of the bar. The first is that the bar was invented by Tom Henry in 1919, who ran the Peerless Candy Company (known for their hard candies) where the bar was known as the Tom Henry Bar. He sold the recipe for the bar to Williamson Candy Store in Chicago.

Oh Henry (American & Canadian)The other story is that it was actually invented by the Williamson Candy Store and named for a helpful customer whom the female clerks would often ask favors of, by saying “Oh, Henry, could you move that heavy box.”

It was often billed as “the ten cent piece of dollar candy” and became popular in Chicago eventually expanding as a national candy bar through the tenacious efforts of John Glossinger (whom Glosettes are named after). Williamson Candy, at some point, sold out to Ward-Johnson which was swallowed up by Nabisco in 1981 (which was also holding the Curtiss bars - Baby Ruth & Butterfinger included- at that time). Finally in 1990 Nestle bought the Curtiss bars, SnoCaps, Goobers & Raisinets from Nabisco. (Some of this is a bit murky and I traced it mostly through trademark registrations, and probably matters very little in the end.)

Oh Henry (American & Canadian)The bar is simple enough, a vanilla fudge center with caramel & peanuts then covered in chocolate. It’s gone through some changes over the years besides ownership. This is where things get interesting from an evolutionary standpoint. In 1987 Hershey Canada got the rights to produce the bar (through Nabisco which owned Canadian confectioner Lowney). The Hershey’s Oh Henry! is more than a little different from the American bar, as we’ll see.

Though the American bar used to be a single, it has now morphed into a double bar (a la Mounds) while the Canadian version remains pretty much the same as it was 30 years ago.

The package on the Nestle version says: 2 peanutty * caramel * fudge bars in milk chocolate. It weighs 1.8 ounces (51 grams). It comes sealed in a simple yellow plasticized wrapper.

The package on the Hershey version says: crunchy peanuts, chewy fudge, creamy caramel, covered in a chocolaty coating. It weighs 2.2 ounces (62.5 grams). It comes in a mylar wrapper with a small folded paperboard tray.

Oh Henry (American & Canadian)

The innards of the two Oh Henrys! tell more about them. The American Oh Henry! is rather organized and stratified.

The Nestle one has a caramel base then a fudge mixed with peanuts. It’s all covered in what they call real milk chocolate. It has a nice roasted peanut flavor, but the difference between the caramel and the fudge is minimal. The fudge is a bit saltier, but caramel is short and grainy instead of being chewy and creamy. At first I thought it was just a not-so-fresh bar, so I bought another. And another. This is the third I’ve bought and second I’ve photographed for this review.

The two pieces are nicely sized and the flavor balance overall is good. I would prefer some really good creamy chocolate to pull it together, but that’s just not Nestle’s style.

The Hershey one reminds me a bit of a narrow Payday Chocolatey Avalanche. The fudge is at the center here and much lighter in color (reminding me quite a bit of a nougat except there are no eggs in it). On top of the fudge is a thin layer of caramel which holds the peanuts. The whole thing is covered in a chocolatey coating (which actually contains real chocolate with cocoa butter, but it also has modified palm oil in it, which takes it out of the real chocolate column).

The nuts play a much bigger role here, probably because they mingle with both the (mock)chocolate and the caramel. For fake chocolate, it does a much better job of being creamy and tasty than Nestle’s real stuff. The caramel has a kind of fake butter flavor to it, but this is only noticeable if you take the bar apart and try to eat the elements separately (now why would you wanna do that?).

Canadian Oh Henry! (Hershey)

While Nestle just lets the Oh Henry! bar do its thing here in the States, up in the Great White North it’s another story entirely. Hershey goes to down with the bar. First, it’s one of the largest single-serve bars in Canada, so it’s known as a good value. Hershey also does limited editions and other versions of the bar. I got a hold of a few.

Oh Henry DarkOh Henry! Dark is exactly what you’d think: the same Oh Henry! bar but with real dark chocolate.

It’s not quite as sweet as the regular Oh Henry! and really quite a nice bar. The dark chocolate gives it a bigger chocolate pop instead of all that dairy-tasting milk chocolate. I could use a dash of salt, but, that’s just me, eh.

All of the variation bars are slightly smaller, at only 60 grams (2.12 ounces).

Oh Henry Reese'sThe Peanut Butter Oh Henry! (with Reese (r) Peanut Butter) swaps out the fudge with a peanut butter mass in the center.

It’s a bit flatter than the other bars. It’s also a bit greasy. This one also has a mockolate coating which isn’t as creamy and just a bit bloomed.

It’s really peanutty. It’s also pleasantly salty ... or unpleasantly so if you think that 115 mg is a little much for a candy bar (the standard Hershey Oh Henry! has 50 mg).

The peanut center also made the caramel more noticeable, probably because it isn’t as dense and chewy as the fudge. (This one is not a limited edition but appears to be a permanent variation.)

Oh Henry Oh CanadaThe final limited edition item is the Oh Henry! Oh Canada. It first appeared last year for Canada Day (July 1st) so mine is a bit past its prime (the expiration says January 2008).

The bar is described on the wrapper: Crunchy peanuts, red chewy fudge, white creamy caramel, covered in a chocolatey coating. This combo results in red and white in every bite!.

Yes, that fudge center there is actually red. And maple flavored.

Even if it is expired, it was still pretty tasty. I liked the intense maple flavor that permeated the bar. It was like toasted, caramelized pecans.

Overally, I much prefer the Canadian Oh Henry! from Hershey, even if it does have mockolate on it. The Dark Oh Henry! is superior to all the others, but since it was a Limited Edition, the original (which by the way, better reflects the American original anyway) will do in a pinch. But given a choice, I’d probably opt for the whole thing sans (mock)chocolate and get a Payday.

Related Candies

  1. Caramilk Maple
  2. Payday Fresh from the Factory
  3. Eat-More
  4. Payday Avalanches
  5. Pearson’s Nut Roll
Name: Oh Henry! (American & Canadian)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle & Hershey
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park) & WalMart (Canada) - thanks Amber!
Price: $.85 each (approx)
Size: 1.8 ounces & 2.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127 & 136
Categories: Chocolate, Mockolate, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Canada, Hershey, Nestle, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:15 am     Comments (35)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lake Champlain & See’s Bunny Battle

Lake ChamplainYou thought I was done with hollow chocolate rabbits?

I can’t stop buying them. (And, um, taking photos of them, as this post will demonstrate, it’s mostly photos.)

Here are a couple of other more upscale models, in case you still haven’t outfitted your Easter basket for the year. Call it my Bunny Battle, spawned in part by sticker shock at Whole Foods (who doesn’t come away from WF without some degree of sticker shock?).

I picked up this extremely cute and extremely small goodie basket (I think they call it a favor basket) from Lake Champlain. It contains three filled half eggs and one tiny .6 ounce hollow milk chocolate rabbit. The price? $8.49.

Now, lest you think that it’s the little eggs that are racking up the tally there, the bunny all by itself on the Lake Champlain website is $3.25 ... it’s just chocolate, nothin’ special there. Just all natural milk chocolate.

Lake Champlain Eggs

I’ll get to the bunny in a moment, but first the unique items in this little basket (well, more like a cup) are the Lake Champlain filled eggs. They’re lovely little half eggs with a pretty molded shell that has the Lake Champlain logo and the word “Vermont” on it.

It comes with three eggs. I reviewed the blue foil wrapped egg before that has a hazelnut cream inside before, so I picked up the rest of the eggs in their set to make sure that I’ve covered them all. (The basket came with Raspberry, Caramel & Peanut Butter.)

Lake Champlain Gold EggGold = Caramel in Milk Chocolate. The shell is sweet and firm, the center is creamy and flowing. It’s pretty salty on the inside and with a real taste of burnt sugars.

Pink = Raspberry Cream in Dark Chocolate - very jammy center, definitely more fruit than chocolate.
Light Green = Coffee Ganache in Dark Chocolate - this was quite a treat, rich and robust coffee flavor, a little salty and not at all sweet. Not quite enough filling for me though, it seemed like there was a lot of shell and not a lot of cream.
Orange = Peanut Butter Cream in Milk Chocolate - oh so sweet. The filling is very light in color, much lighter than a Reese’s. It’s salty and a little grainy and very nutty.

I didn’t want to overwhelm everyone with too many See’s items, so I’ve had these Rabbits for a while. I picked up one of the milk (small in gold foil) and one of the dark (in blue foil). They’re hollow, but still rather hefty.

See's Milk & Dark Chocolate Rabbit

Lake Champlain & See's Milk Chocolate RabbitsThe See’s Milk Chocolate bunny is less than 5” tall, yet it towers over the little one bite Lake Champlain Hollow Rabbit.

Lake Champlain Milk Chocolate - it’s sweet and milky, but smooth and has a very slick melt on the tongue, almost like it has hazelnut in it. ($3.25 for .6 ounces) The larger sizes are priced at: $15 for a 9.5 ounce solid rabbit and a novelty one driving a car for $20 for 8 ounces.

Lake Champlain uses Belgian chocolate for their molded items. The ingredients are all natural.

See’s Milk Chocolate - it’s sweet and slightly less milky, with more of a roasted base to it. It’s not quite as sweet as the Lake Champlain, but still has similar silky qualities. ($2.45 for 2.2 ounces.) There is a smaller one that’s solid that goes for $1.00 at the stores and the other hollow novelites available are $4.90 for 4.5 ounces and the largest standing rabbit is $8.50 for 10 ounces.

Lake Champlain & See's Milk Chocolate RabbitsThe ingredients on the See’s are pretty standard, the only one that throws up a flag is the use of vanillin (but they also use real vanilla, go figure).

So they both taste good. They’re both good quality. They’re both cute ... I’ll admit that I like the squat and fat Lake Champlain format, but the foil wrapping and doe-like eye of the See’s is awfully lovable, too.

It comes down to two other things, I guess. Price and availability. See’s is pretty easy to find on the West Coast and of course you can order via the internet.

There’s a nice campaign to raise awareness about the hazards of giving children real rabbits (or baby ducks or chicks) at the holidays called Make Mine Chocolate. While a chocolate rabbit is not going to engender the same sort of squishy lovey feelings in a kid that a real animal will, it’s much more humane.

I had rabbits as a kid and I can attest to how much responsibility it is to care for a pet (especially one in a cage).

Dark Chocolate See's RabbitFinally, there is my huge friend the See’s Dark Chocolate Hollow Rabbit who clocks in at 4.5 ounces.

He sat around my office for weeks, I really liked the look of this rabbit in the light blue foil with his drowsy, heavily-lashed eyes and real bow.

Eventually the foil had to come off though, I had no idea what was beneath, I expected something similar to the milk chocolate one. The 2.2 ounce version (which also comes in dark chocolate) has those little drawn on hairs, so you know it’s a rabbit.

This one, well, it was startling. Mostly because it’s so stylized. I immediately thought of those Draw Me! ads that used to appear in the back of comic books and magazines.

It’s so smooth yet angular. And the eyes are so vacant.

The dark chocolate is tasty, very smooth but middle-of-the-road. Kind of like very good chocolate chips or a good cup of hot chocolate. A little hint of bitterness, no dry finish and a buttery melt.

The bunny isn’t really that much taller than the 2.2 ounce one, just wider and of course has a very thick wall. (Honestly, I had a hard time ringing his neck to break him after I bit off the ears.) They come in milk or dark, but no white.

     Dark Chocolate See's Rabbit

Related Candies

  1. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  2. Wonka Golden Egg
  3. Palmer Hollow Chocolate Flavored Bunny
  4. Russell Stover Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny
  5. Lindt Chocolate Bunnies (Dark & Milk)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:25 am     CandyReviewEasterLake ChamplainSee'sCaramelChocolateCoffeeKosherPeanuts8-TastyBelgiumUnited StatesHead to HeadComments (1)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies

Last year I reported that M&Ms was pulling back on candy stores on the internet being permitted to sell M&Ms ColorWorks candies. This means that if you want single colored M&Ms, you’ve either got to trek out to a candy store that carries them or order directly from M&Ms and their website.

image

ColorWorks are wildly popular as a candy for special gifts, parties, wedding favors and candy buffets ... but they’re also rather expensive when you think about how much a regular mixed bag costs at the drug store or grocer. A pound of M&Ms usually costs about $3 to $4 (I can get them for about $2 on sale at times) a pound in their standard mix. However, the ColorWorks on the M&Ms website are $10 a pound when purchased in 5 pound bags (and $13.69 when purchased in the next smaller size, 7 ounces).

So what’s a bride to do when she wants pretty chocolate pastilles for her favors? Well, unless you want to buy the regular M&Ms in bulk and separate them yourself ... or stock up around a holiday such as Easter or Christmas ... or pick something like Kissables then I thought I would look at an alternative brand: Koppers.

I’m very fond of Koppers as a brand to begin with, not only for their variety but also their innovative flavor combinations (they invented the chocolate covered coffee bean and chocolate covered gummi bears!) but mostly because they’re just so darned pretty. It’s a quality product, made in the USA and is certified Kosher. They also have a wide selection of color variations.

A few weeks ago I did a huge photo shoot with a large selection (14 different colors) of the Koppers Milkies and I figured it was a sign that I should do a piece on them, more specifically in a head to head with M&Ms.

image

Colors: I picked up a pound of pre-mixed M&Ms at The Jelly Bean factory which features 21 different colors. Though Koppers makes at least 28 colors (and would probably do a custom color for you directly if you ordered enough) I think it’s safe to say that both have a great selection of colors.

M&Ms and Koppers - AboveSize & Shape: The candies are pretty much the same. The M&Ms are a little bit bigger around, but the Koppers are slightly higher in the middle. The Koppers are much more consistent in their size and shape and shell than the M&Ms. Of the Koppers that I sorted through, I found perhaps 3 or 4 “rejects” per pound. For the M&Ms I found at least 15 rejects in the single pound that I had to go on. I find at least one reject in a single serving bag as well (this would be a candy that is markedly out of proportion, has a problem with its shell in some way like bumpiness or missing part of it or irregular coloration).

M&Ms and Koppers - CrossShell & Color - the M&Ms have a slightly thicker shell which appears to be colored all the way through. This gives it a consistent color depth. The Koppers has a white or colorless shell at its base and then a colored shell. I never encountered any that lacked a good coat of color on them. The color was more consistent and dense than the M&Ms, where sometimes had a slight mottled appearance, especially on the darker colors. M&Ms also have a little grey, lowercase M stamped on every one (including the grey ones, even though you really can’t see it). Koppers are unbranded and I like the look. I’m not sure I would if they weren’t so perfectly consistent.

The colors available for both are rather similar and it’s likely if you’re very picky for your occasion you should get some samples before you commit to large quantities. (I was able to buy a pound bag of the complete mix of colors at The Jelly Bean Factory.) Most of the colors in real life from both brands are remarkably consistent with those posted on their websites. Koppers has a larger variety of colors they produced, however, few stores carry all of them. (But might be willing to do a special order if you give them some lead time.)

Taste: M&Ms taste like, well, M&Ms. The shell is crispy and crunchy and the chocolate inside is mellow, sweet and has a slightly acidic milky flavor and maybe even a little hint of nuttiness.

The Koppers have a rather different chocolate flavor. In fact, they taste more like chocolate to me, especially since the shell is a bit thinner. The shell crackles at first but then dissolves away to leave only the chocolate. It’s a light milk chocolate which smells divine in large quantities. 

The nutrition info on both was virtually identical (200 calories per 40 grams).

Price: M&Ms ColorWorks prices seem to be pretty carefully controlled. Buying on the internet you’re going to find very few shops that still have inventory left, and they’re probably not selling for much less than M&Ms direct. Just about every shop I go into that has M&Ms ColorWorks sells for $8 to $10 per pound. Koppers are sold at a variety of online stores (and not very many brick & mortars). I got mine from Candy Warehouse (because I do photos for them) but there are a few other online stores that are starting to carry the line. Most are about $8 to $10 a pound - even less if you buy in HUGE quantities. (Please check out any online retailer before you order something for a special event.)

image

Here are a few things I noticed:

  • Both candies are prone to cracking when exposed to warmer temperatures, so keep that in mind if your candy buffet will be outdoors or in a warm environment (don’t point hot lights at them!). When I do my photos I have a 600 watt light on and it does get warm on the shooting table. The Koppers were the first to crack but the M&Ms weren’t far behind. Even if they didn’t crack, sitting around in 90+ temps will cause the cocoa butter to migrate, giving the lentils a glossy appearance, but greasy feel (and then when they cool, perhaps a chalkier texture inside). If you’re buying any kind of chocolate, be sure to store it properly! Even though temps in my house in the daytime have been in the mid nineties the chocolate has been doing fine sequestered in a large ice chest kept in a dark closet. I don’t put any ice in it, I think the insulation of the chest and the mass of the chocolate itself is enough to keep it within the safe range.
  •  

  • Both candies can also crack when handled roughly. Pouring a pound or two into a very large glass vase can cause some of them to shatter, as can dropping a big five pound bag like it’s a bag o’ pirate loot. So take care with them.
  •  

  • You need a lot of candy to make it “look” like there’s a lot of candy, so don’t be afraid to have too much. I’ll have more on the volumes & weights next week.
  • It all comes down to what you want at your party, what you prefer, and perhaps even which brand has the colors that go with your motif best. Definitely give both a try (and check out the rest of the Koppers line ... I’m rather fond of their mocha lentils and licorice lentils). It’s fun to think outside of the normal Jordan almonds motif and the great thing is that the internet has made so many different kinds of candy available.

    As mentioned earlier I have a lot of the Koppers Milkies and am planning a party for tomorrow evening where I intend to make all my friends eat pounds and pounds of the stuff. I’m going to create the ultimate “candy buffet” so look for some postings and photos in the future with ideas on how to make your own candy buffet.

    The results of this head to head? I prefer the Koppers. I like the more authentic chocolate taste and they simply feel a little more upscale to me, mostly because of their high degree of consistency. However, M&Ms have a lot to recommend them. They’re pretty easy to get a hold of (and I’m guessing if you order direct they’ll be super fresh) and a known crowd pleaser, if a bit more “casual” in feel because of the branding.

    Koppers (website) get a 9 out of 10 and M&Ms ColorWorks (website) get a still respectable 8 out of 10.

    Related Candies

    1. Romanego Dragees, Cordials & Fondants
    2. Rum Cordials
    3. Oriental Trading Company Candies
    4. Equal Exchange Miniatures
    5. Head-to-Head: Smarties vs. M&Ms

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:20 am     CandyReviewKoppersMarsChocolateM&Ms8-Tasty9-YummyUnited StatesHead to Head

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Head to Head: Twisted vs Take 5

    TwistedSometimes I wonder if these energy bars are really better than plain old candy bars. Back in the depression candy bars were meal replacements. Many were packed with nuts and over two ounces, which made them a pretty cheap source of satisfying calories at a nickle.

    Of course the object these days is not the maximum number of calories per ounce, but how good the nutrition profile is.

    Take 5When I want a little lasting energy & snack, I usually reach for some sort of nutty bar, as they tend to have a good amount of protein. Payday bars are always dependable. But I’m also a fan of Lara Bars, which are basically mashed up almonds and dates with a few spices thrown in. At about twice the price though, I often grab the Payday ... and I don’t feel that bad about it.

    TwistedAt the 7-11 I spied this little bar in a red metallic wrapper. It’s called Twisted, a “four layered protein bar” features pretzels, caramel, peanuts, nougat and a chocolate coating.

    This sounded familiar. In fact, it looked familiar ... very familiar. The Take 5 features pretzels, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter and milk chocolate. Wow, not much difference there ... even in the ordering of the elements.

    The price?

    Well, Twisted was $1.29 and a Take 5 is $.89 at the 7-11.

    The taste?

    Take 5I’ve reviewed the Take 5 before and I stand by it. It’s a good bar with a lot of variety of texture in it, not too sweet and because it’s in two pieces, it’s easy to have a little now, have a little later.

    The Twisted bar is merely a Tiger’s Milk bar covered in weak chocolate with a pretzel thrown in. It smells like baby formula. It seriously tasted like I was chomping on vitamin leather or something. I often enjoy things that are rather unpalatable, just because I’m fascinated by all the different flavors there are and maybe catty things I can say about it. I didn’t enjoy this, even for the prospect of reviewing it. Luckily the two piece format of the Take 5 meant that I had a palate cleansing second piece at hand.

    So you might feel like you’re doing the right thing when you eat this lower calorie version of a Take 5, but you’re certainly not going to enjoy it.

    I have to admit that it’s probably unfair to match a candy bar with an energy bar ... but hey, that’s the breaks. They started it by packaging it to look an awful lot like the Take 5.

    For some other balanced reviews of snack bars, check out I Ate a Pie’s special roundup from earlier this year.

    Nutrition versus Taste
    Bar Twisted Take 5
    Size 1.62 ounces 1.5 ounces
    Fat Grams 6 g (9%) 10 g (15%)
    Sodium 150 mg (6%) 180 mg (8%)
    Protein 15 g (30%) 4 g
    Carbs 21 g (7%) 26 g (95)
    Calories 190 210
    Brand Premier Nutrition Hershey
    Dietary Status none Kosher
    Rating 2 out of 10 9 out of 10

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     Comments (8)

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    M&M and Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Eggs

    DSC00205rIn my bargain hunting last weekend I was able to secure bags of the M&Ms Peanut Butter Speck-tacular Eggs and the Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs at rock bottom prices.

    I picked up the M&Ms Peanut Butter Speck-tacular Eggs mostly because folks are still commenting on the Wonka Oompas (currently fruity) post lamenting the loss of the old Peanut Butter Oompas.

    First, a rewind to the old Peanut Butter Oompas (see wrapper here) from Wonka. Introduced in 1972 after the film Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, they were larger than M&Ms but the same ovoid shape. The top half was peanut butter and the bottom half was mockolate then it was all covered with a crisp candy shell. (There may have been other flavor varieties.) The separation of the peanut butter and chocolate meant that you could cleave them in half in your teeth if you wanted, or suck the shell off and then melt away the chocolate creme to have only the stiff peanut butter left. I liked them and recall buying them rather often (there was no such thing as a Peanut Butter M&M at the time and Reese’s Pieces didn’t come along until 1978).

    imageI was hoping that the larger format of the Speck-tacular Eggs would be similar to the old Oompas.

    The normal M&Ms Peanut Butter have a core of peanut butter and a covering of milk chocolate then a shell. A little larger than a regular M&M, they average about the same size as a Peanut M&M. The Speck-Tacular Eggs are larger still and thus have a larger proportion of the peanut butter center since the chocolate coating seems about the same thickness.

    It’s been at least thirty years since I’ve had the old Peanut Butter Oompas, so I can’t say that the Speck-Tacular Eggs are as good or even the same, but the proportions feel better to me. I’m going to say that this is the best modern day equivalent to the old Peanut Butter Oompas.

    Reese's Pieces Pastel EggsThe other fun aquisition were the equally large Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs.

    I don’t eat Reese’s Pieces much, though I do recall loving them as a kid. I used to buy bags of M&Ms and mix them with Reese’s Pieces. I could always pick the Reese’s Pieces out on my tongue by feel because their shells were ultrasmooth. (Ah, the ways I used to amuse myself.)

    While the Speck-Tacular Eggs were rather uneven in size, the Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs are exceptionally regular. The colors are pretty much the same as the Hershey’s Pastel Eggs, though a little more egg shaped (with a pointier end).

    image

    The shells on the Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs are thicker than the regular Reese’s Pieces and provide a satisfying sharp crunch. The larger mass of peanut butter creme allowed me to really taste it. It has a slight floral taste to it and reminds me a bit of eating peanut butter cookie dough. Sweet with a little dash of salt. Pretty smooth and not as roasted tasting as the M&Ms Speck-Tacular Eggs.

    I liked both varieties of eggs equally well. As appearances go, I preferred the Reese’s. But the freak-tacular price of only 52 cents for the Speck-Tacular Eggs is hard to argue with. They are both being added to my repertoire of Easter Candies to pick up at ridiculous prices.

    Note: both products are certified Kosher.

    Related Candies

    1. Reese’s Whipps
    2. Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
    3. Peanut Butter Kisses
    4. Reese’s Pieces with Peanuts
    Name: M&Ms Peanut Butter Speck-tacular Eggs & Reese's Pieces Pastel Eggs
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Mars & Hershey's
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid & Long's
    Price: $.52 & $.85
    Size: 11 ounces & 13 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 147 & 138
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Hershey, Mars, Kosher, Easter

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:48 am     Comments (16)

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Head to Head: Milky Way & Mars (Canada & UK)

    I’m not quite sure what possessed me to do this array of bars, but here it is.  Readers write in and ask what sorts of American candy they should take with them as hostess gifts or ship to friends overseas as quintessential American bars. The Milky Way is right up there, as one of the earliest bars that Mars developed (1923).

    It’s a bar that I should love, after all, it’s supposed to be a malted milkshake in a bar.

    image

    There are several iterations of this bar both here and abroad. I got a hold of the American versions of both the milk chocolate and dark versions and the UK Mars (milk chocolate) and Canadian Mars Dark (dark chocolate).

    image

    The bar is called Milky Way in the United States but everywhere else on the planet it’s known as the Mars. (There was once an American Mars bar, but that’s since been renamed Snickers Almond ... there is a bar called Milky Way in the rest of the world too, but that’s like the American 3 Musketeers bar.)

    I haven’t had a Milky Way bar in about 10 years. I’ve always thought they were too sweet, but after breaking one open the smell of malt was really compelling, making me doubt the wisdon of my embargo. The nougat here is the highlight, a medium color of fluffy, slightly grainy nougat covered with a stripe of caramel and covered in milk chocolate.

    The flavors go nicely together and the caramel has a slight salty note to it that balances out the very sweet and only passably smooth chocolate. The malt is earthy and brings flavor to the bar.

    image

    The UK bar known as Mars has a similar cocoa colored and grainy, fluffed nougat covered with a stripe of glossy caramel and then milk chocolate. The caramel here was noticeably smoother, but the maltiness was much more subdued and replaced with a milky flavor.

    image

    The American bar is on the left and the British on the right. There was a difference in size, the British slightly larger at 62.5 grams over America’s 58.1 grams. The UK bar as slightly longer and a little taller.

    Recently the standard bars started to appear in darker coats. Back in 1936, based on the success of the Milky Way bar, Mars introduced the Forever Yours bar. It remained in the Mars product line until 1979 when it was discontinued. Customers complained and the Milky Way Dark bar was introduced in 1989 and then the name changed to Milky Way Midnight in 2000.

    image

    Milky Way Midnight - beautiful dark bar with little folds of chocolate on the top. The dark chocolate has a little reddish tone to it. Inside is a fluffy white (with a yellow tone) nougat and a stripe of caramel. Smells slightly smoky and very sweet. The caramel dominates in this bar and its sweet stickiness isn’t completely offset by the smooth but otherwise flavorless dark chocolate.

    image

    Mars Dark - a stunning dark bar with glossy dark brown chocolate. Inside is a fluffy white nougat (with a slight yellow tone) and a stripe of caramel. The nougat on this one seemed slightly grainier but still sweet and only slightly less overwhelmed by the caramel. The chocolate, though pretty still doesn’t add much of a flavor counterbalance for the whole bar just a smooth texture.

    The wrapper on the Mars Dark bar is a bit of a blunder, if you ask me, as it seems to indicate milk chocolate by its lighter, creamy color over the black package of the Mars bar.

    image

    So, you’re wondering what the difference is? The American one is on the left and the Canadian on the right. The Canadian bar is larger, by .1 grams. The ingredients list is virtually identical as well. The only difference on the labeling is that the Canadian one lists the true trans fat content at .1 grams (American food does not have to be labeled if it’s less than .5 grams).

    The important thing to note is that the milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions differ in more than their coats. The nougat is markedly different. The dark bars are missing the malt component, and instead have the vanilla nougat (that’s found in the American Snickers Almond bar). The difference between the American and foreign bars isn’t that marked and I think that fans should be happy with either when they’re traveling. I give all bars a 6 out of 10.

    Overall, I wish that the Milky Way Midnight or Mars Dark really was just a dark chocolate version of the Milky Way/Mars bar - I think the combo of dark chocolate and malted goodness would be great. But Mars must not believe that (I’m not sure if the Forever Yours had the malted nougat or not ... honestly I think it’s wrong to muck with too many ingredient variations and try to stick the same name on it). I might pick one of these out of a bowl of miniatures, but I’ll stick to the See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar as my favorite nougat candy bar for now.

    Related Candies

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    4. Snickers Dark
    5. What does that Mars code mean?
    6. Head-to-Head KitKat vs KitKat!

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:23 am     CandyReviewMarsCaramelChocolateMaltNougat6-TemptingCanadaUnited KingdomUnited StatesHead to HeadComments (27)

    Friday, September 1, 2006

    Head to Head: Chewy SweeTarts vs Chewy Tart n Tinys

    imageThere are a lot of candies that are not unique, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good to have choices. But usually there are similar products on the market becaue they’re made by different companies. I ran across these recently: Chewy Mini SweeTarts and Chewy Tart n Tinys. SweeTarts and Tart n Tinys used to be nearly identical products, except for the shape of the little pieces. And that was fine because one was made by Sunline (SweeTarts) and the other was made by Wonka (Tart n Tinys). Then Tart n Tiny’s were glazed in a bright candy shell and they were suddenly a vastly different product and coincidentally now owned by the same company (Nestle).

    But here we are again with the same thing?

    Chewy Mini SweeTarts are little spherical versions of the larger Chewy SweeTarts which, in turn, are like the original SweeTarts. They come in five flavors: grape (purple), cherry (red), orange (orange), lemon (yellow) and apple (green). There are also Giant Chewy SweeTarts, which have been around since I was a kid.

    They have a little glaze on them to keep them from sticking together and their colors are a little mottled, but not unattractively so. The chew is soft but grainy, with a nice cool feeling to it and a quick dissolve. The flavor is about what you’d expect from a SweeTart - a lot of tart at the beginning with a round, chemical flavor and then it finishes sweet and grainy.

    image

    Somewhere back in the distant past Tart n Tinys were not colorful - they were plain and chalky, like SweeTarts only pellet shaped. Then someone gave them a shiny color coating. They have little character versions of the candies on the package, but I’ve never paid much attention to them, but I guess that’s what sets them apart from SweeTarts.

    imageThe Chewy Tart n Tinys are little chewy pellets of tartness, a bit of flavor and a grainy chew all coated in a thin, crunchy shell. They come in five flavors: grape (blue), cherry (red), orange (orange), lemon (yellow) and apple (green). Sound familiar?

    Besides the colorful coating and the difference in the color of the grape flavor, and the slight difference in size (the Tart n Tinys are 11% smaller than the Chewy SweeTarts Minis) they’re the same candy.

    SweeTarts come in a handy dispenser tube (but I’ve seen them in the bags before, too), which is kind of fun for sharing and saving for later. There’s a little more in the Tart n Tinys package (1.6 ounces vs 1.75 ounces) but I guess it all comes down to how you want your candy to look. Chewy SweeTarts Minis look kind of like tiny Trix and Chewy Tart n Tinys look like little beads. Chewy Tart n Tinys have fewer calories per ounce, I can only guess this is because the tartness ingredients are higher on the list and perhaps there are more colorings in the Tart n Tinys, which take up mass but have no calories. Both deliver a lot of variety and a consistent product. Why they both exist from the same company is beyond me, but then again they stopped making Wacky Wafers because they said they were too similar to Bottle Caps, and I really miss Wacky Wafers.

    In the end, the Chewy Tart n Tinys win out by a very slight margin. I’m not sure why, I think it’s just that I like the look of them better, and when the taste is the same, that’s just about all it comes down to.

    Name: Chewy SweeTarts Minis vs Chewy Tart n Tinys
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Nestle
    Place Purchased: samples from CandyWarehouse
    Price: retail $.85 each
    Size: 1.6 ounces vs 1.75 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 113 vs 95
    Categories: Sour, Chew, United States, Nestle, Head to Head

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:41 am     Comments (14)

    Thursday, June 1, 2006

    Head to Head: Mentos Sours & SweeTarts Shockers

    When I came up with the idea to do this head to head comparison, it was because of the most obvious similarities between SweeTarts Shockers and Mentos Sours. They’re both rolls, they’re both sour and they’re both chewy pastilles. But they have completely different flavor mixes (the only flavor in common is green apple), different shapes and rather different takes on what a sour chew should be.

    image

    Mentos has always been known for intense chewy mints, so it seems only natural that they’d develop Mentos Sours. The package is a little odd because it says “The Chewy Mint” above the Mentos logo ... but these are not mint flavored. I guess “mint” has become a kind of candy, not a flavor.

    Mentos Sours come in three flavors: Watermelon, Green Apple and Lemon. The colors are beautiful, and if they weren’t candy you’d want to string them into a chunky beaded bracelet. The finish on them is matte and not quite a continuous color. They don’t smell like much.

    They’re soft and chewy, the shell is a tad bit waxy only lightly sweet. Upon biting into them the flavor erupts.

    Green Apple: typical fresh sour flavor. Not too tart.

    Watermelon: at first it’s sweet, like a cotton candy flavor with some floral overtones, then it kicks into sour gear. This is a really nice flavor, not too chemical tasting.

    Lemon: immediately it has a good zesty essence to it and then the sour follows quickly behind to combine into the protype of lemony goodness.

    Basically, they’re nice without being radically toxic feeling on the tongue. There’s a strange waxy thing that develops at the end of the chew though. I’m not sure if it’s the remnants of the “glazing agents” on the shell, but it’s an odd, undissolveable substance on my teeth that tastes only vaguely like the chew.

    Mentos Sour are made in Brazil. (Note: the packaging I have may not be the way you see it in the stores - the website shows them in little reclosable boxes.)

    image

    Green Apple: intense and chemically flavored, it dissolves away into a sweet grit pretty quickly.

    Orange: oh, this is the best! There’s an immediate blast of blisteringly sour tangerine on the tongue. Not as long lasting in the chew department as the Mentos.

    Grape: it’s like a Purple Pixy Stix made chewy. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. (TMI Alert - for some reason the grape ones make me burp.)

    Cherry: the sour outside tastes like a very cherry candy, much like the SweeTarts, but with a stronger flavor instead of just more sour.

    Blue Raspberry: an immediate sour hit is followed by some fragrant notes that remind me of cotton candy and violets.

    All of the Shockers are intensely sour on the tongue from the moment you place them in your mouth but then mellow out to have a pleasant cooling sensation towards the end, but the chew doesn’t last long before they descend into sugary grit.

    As all round chews, the Mentos Sours are middle of the road - they’re exceptionally pleasant and can be shared with adults who might ordinarily be afraid of something called “sour”. The SweeTarts Shockers, on the other hand, are a blast but you can’t keep eating them if you’d like to preserve the tasting functions of your tongue.

    The packages hold slight different masses - SweeTarts Shockers clock in at 1.65 ounces (which the label says is three servings) and Mentos Sours are 1.32 ounces (which the label says is 14 servings ... one Mentos is a serving). Both contain hydrogenated oils, but not enough to warrant any fat content on the nutrition label.

    Personally, I love the Shockers, if only for the intense orange ones. But the Mentos Sours have a much longer, consistent chew, especially the full flavor of the lemon ones, and I would probably pick them up in a pinch.

    Name: Mentos Sours & SweeTarts Shockers
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Mentos (Perfetti Van Melle) & Wonka (Nestle)
    Place Purchased: samples (Perfetti Van Melle & CandyWarehouse.com)
    Price: ~$.85 MSRP
    Size: 1.32 oz & 1.65 oz
    Calories per ounce: 106 & 109
    Categories: Chew, Brazil, United States, Nestle, Perfetti Van Melle, Head to Head

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:30 am    

    Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 > 

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