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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Riegelein Confiserie Halloween Hollow Novelties

What are you giving out this year?

As of now, I have some Charms Candy Corn Lollipops, Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Pops, Airheads (the kids in this neighborhood really love them) and Payday Bars. I wanted another chocolate item and may still pick that up, probably the Unreal Peanut Butter Cups again, like last year. I try to balance the offerings so that there’s something gluten free, something nut free and something with chocolate and hopefully nothing that has slave chocolate in it.

The best news? After Halloween candy sales start tomorrow ...

UPDATE: I did go shopping at lunch today at Whole Foods and found individually wrapped Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups (on sale, 2 packages for $5.00) and Endangered Species Milk Chocolate Bug Bites (same sale price). CVS has stopped carrying the UNREAL brand. So it’s a chocolatey and hopefully ethically sourced Halloween.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:42 am     CandyHalloweenHighlightFeatured NewsComments (4)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Candy Tease: Wild Ophelia + Hunger Games: Catching Fire

There are often movie tie ins with candy, but they are most often just a packaging change. For the second of The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, Vosges Chocolate has released an interesting set of products themed with the movies characters and settings.

Hunger Games TrufflesThe Capitol Truffle Collection - $225.00

A ritual of degustation, this truffle collection is curated to guide your palate through opulence and ritual. The 18 different truffles in sets of two are an exploration of shape, texture, color and flavor. Rosemary with a touch of pink peppercorn is encased in pure, white chocolate. Coconut and banana are combined with dark chocolate and rolled in coconut charcoal ash. Candied walnuts and milk chocolate are thick and chunky, rolled in cocoa powder– to name a few…

Underneath the colorful truffles, 16 compartments await, each cradling a treasure to forward the degustation. Small vials of crushed violet petals, pearl dust, gold leaf and matcha tea are accompanied by detailed mixology instructions to create decadent libations. Trinkets and objects of desire dictate social rules and traditions.

The Capitol Truffle Collection includes: 36 truffles, accoutrements, and a menu of etiquette and recipes to serve an extravagant 18 course chocolate tasting

As a point of reference, a 32 piece truffle collection is $75.00. I don’t know what these other menus and recipes and accoutrements add to this, but it appears that it nearly triples the price. There is no smaller version of this either ... you just have to be willing to plop down the full $225 to get Catching Fire truffles.

Hunger Games Katniss BarThe Hunger Games Katniss Chocolate Bar

Quiet your mind and engage each of your senses in preparation for this unique, cinematic chocolate experience. Breathe in the deep, smoky aroma of the bar before taking a bite. Let the rich milk chocolate melt on your palate, and savor the subtle, salty crunch of hickory smoked bacon accented by sweet, crisp apples.

Katniss chocolate bar parfum includes: apples pierced uncured hickory smoked bacon + alderwood smoked sea salt + 44% cacao milk chocolate.(Retail $7.50)

Contains: milk, soy, gluten free (not all the bars are). Manufactured in a facility that handles tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, milk, wheat and soy.

I have to say, these are not flavors I would have quite picked out to represent Katniss ... but she’s definitely an unconventional girl. So an unconventional bunch of flavors would suit her. I have to say that it seems a bit fussy for her though.

Hunger Games Snow BarThe Hunger Games President Snow Chocolate Bar

Breathe in the aromatic tartness of the orange and chocolate before taking your first bite. Allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth, while the release of the bittersweet citrus caramel punctuated by nips of blistering pepper permeates your palate.

President Snow chocolate bar parfum contains: Blood orange & tellicherry peppercorns caramel + 72% cacao dark chocolate

Again, I’m not an expert on The Hunger Games at all, but if I understand this bar, it’s supposed to emulate the damaged feeling of the President’s mouth since he poisoned his political opponents?

Hunger Games Effie BarThe Hunger Games Effie Chocolate Bar

Breathe in the fragrant aroma of sweet strawberries before taking your first bite. Allow the bittersweet chocolate to melt on your palate, and savor the bar’s fruity bouquet and the pleasing crunch of candied French violet flowers.

Effie chocolate bar parfum includes: dried strawberries + candied violet flowers + 62% cacao dark chocolate

This bar actually seemed quite suitable for the character. Some light touches of excess but an undercurrent of seriousness with the dark chocolate.

Hunger Games Wild Ophelia

This is the most interesting of the bunch of the bars, I actually saw these at Walgreen’s priced at $3.99, though they’re $4.99 on the Vosges website. You can get the full “book” of bars shown above or buy the bars individually. Each is themed for a different district. The inclusions and flavor profiles are ... well, quite a stretch.

Hunger Games Mined SaltWild Ophelia Bars - retail $3.99
DISTRICT 12 - Mining: mined salt + 41% cacao milk chocolate
DISTRICT 11 - Agriculture: harvest cherry + 70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 10 - Livestock: beef jerky + smoked mesquite + 41% cacao milk chocolate
DISTRICT 9 - Grain: milled oats + vanilla hemp seeds + 70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 8 - Textiles: caramelized crispy rice +70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 7 - Lumber: smoked chipotle chili + 41% cacao milk chocolate
DISTRICT 6 - Transportation: crunchy runner peanuts in peanut butter + 41% cacao milk chocolate
DISTRICT 5 - Power: crispy crunchy caramel corn +70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 4 - Fishing: sea salt + coconut + 70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 3 - Technology: arabica coffee + crystal salt + 70% cacao dark chocolate
DISTRICT 2 - Masonry: caramel + pecan + 41% cacao milk chocolate
DISTRICT 1 - Luxury: rare harvest cashews + 41% cacao milk chocolate

You may now commence your rants or analyses of how this licensing seems more like District 1 partnering/exploiting the kids than anything faithful to Katniss and her friends.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo The Smurfs Gummi
  2. Wild Ophelia Milk Chocolate Bar Peanut Butter & Banana
  3. Sky Bar Twilight Saga - Eclipse
  4. Vosges Bombalinas - Black Pearl Cashews
  5. Vosges Haut Chocolate Skulls
  6. Snickers Nougabot Bar & Transformer M&Ms
  7. Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)
  8. Snickers Shrek
  9. Vosges Truffles - Fall 2006

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:05 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementVosgesHighlightFeatured NewsComments (4)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Candy Tease October 2013

Butterfinger CupsName: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
Brand: Nestle
Description: The cup just got crunchy!
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: I have no doubt that Butterfinger can make a good peanut butter filling, but I have to wonder if the chocolate cups will be any good. Their actual Butterfinger Bar is pretty waxy and tasteless. But the package says something about being part of Nestle’s Cocoa Plan for certified sustainable cocoa, that would certainly set them apart from Hershey’s which is still not using cocoa that is certified to come from slave-free sources. The product launch will get a commercial during the Superbowl, which is pretty wild since Mars has the official sponsor spot with their Snickers & M&Ms spots.

Lancaster CaramelName: Lancaster Caramels
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: The surprisingly soft, rich and creamy Lancaster Soft Cremes provide a modern caramel taste experience to meet a growing consumer demand. The soft cremes were inspired by similar candies that company founder, Milton Hershey, made more than 120 years ago in his original candy company located in Lancaster, Pa. Three flavors at launch: Caramel, Vanilla and Caramel and Vanilla and Raspberry.
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: This brand was launched in parts of China earlier this year that went well enough that they’re going to bring them out here. (No word if they’re making them in China, but I have my doubts they would.)

Werther's PopcornName: Werther’s Original Caramel Popcorn
Brand: Werther’s Original (Storck)
Description: Perfectly popped corn wrapped with rich and creamy Werther’s Original Caramel. The Caramel Popcorn for Caramel Lovers!
Introduction Date: 7/1/2013
Notes: I’m really curious if these are made in Germany like the other Storck products. Which might mean that this uses non-GMO corn, which would be an intriguing prospect for some folks who eschew many candies because of the GMO corn products used in them (mostly corn syrup). Ultimately, I’m never sure if caramel coated popcorn is a snack or a candy.

Name: Werther’s Original Baking Caramel
Brand: Werther’s Original (Storck)
Description: Rich and Creamy Caramels great for baking making delicious caramel apples! Easy to unwrap!
Introduction Date: 7/1/2013
Notes: I like that they feature the statement that they’re easy to unwrap, it looks like they’re twisted like the regular Werther’s caramels. I can attest that those Kraft caramels in their clear plastic are a devil to unwrap.

JB Camo BeansName: Jelly Belly Camo Beans
Brand: Jelly Belly Candy Co
Description: The new Jelly Belly Camo Beans were inspired by the art of camouflage. Sportsmen, military and outdoor enthusiasts will discover seven Jelly Belly bean flavors in a camo-colored mix: Chocolate Pudding, Green Apple, Licorice, Juicy Pear, Orange Sherbet, Toasted Marshmallow and Watermelon. With Jelly Belly Camo Beans, the company continues its initiative of supporting U.S. troops. For every bag of Camo Beans sold, Jelly Belly Charities will donate $0.25 to support U.S. veterans and their families.
Introduction Date: 10/1/2013
Notes: It’s a strange assortment of flavors, with watermelon and orange sherbet right next to chocolate pudding and licorice ... so many things could go wrong.

Fruit VinesName: Fruit Vines Bites
Brand: American Licorice
Description: Building off decades of loyal followers of the Red Vines brand, American Licorice Company is helping candy lovers “live on the sweet side” with the launch of Fruit Vines Bites – soft, chewy bite size candy packed with fruit flavors designed to give everyone a new candy experience.
Introduction Date: Early 2014
Notes: I’m not sure what the difference between Fruit Vines will be and the Grape Vines that have already come out ... unless these are more like the Natural Vines.

Ovation Mint OrangeName: Ovation Mint Filled Break-A-Part
Brand: SweetWorks
Description: SweetWorks is introducing a new flavor to the Ovation Break-A-Part family: Mint Filled! It’s an all-natural dark chocolate sphere that breaks into 20 individual slices and each segment is filled with a cool mint center. The 6.17 ounce sphere will retail for $3.99
Introduction Date: November 2013
Notes: This sounds like an After Eight mint formed into a break-apart orange. It’s a great idea, though I wonder how messy it might end up if the center is flowing like a Junior Mint.

Ovation Pumpkin OrangeName: Ovation Milk Pumpkin Spice Break-A-Part
Brand: SweetWorks
Description: Milk Chocolate Sphere infused with all-natural pumpkin flavoring. “Breaks apart” into 20 slices The 6.17 ounce sphere will retail for $3.99
Introduction Date: September 2013
Notes: I was surprised to see the ingredients listed not only spices like ginger and nutmeg but also natural pumpkin flavoring. Pumpkin Spice is all the rage, and this one sounds like it’s actually made with good ingredients, so I hoping to find one soon for review.

Images courtesy of the respective candy company

Update 10/31/2013 - An earlier version of this post listed Welch’s PB&J Snacks, but I was just informed that the information is not accurate, so I have removed it.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Mars 2014
  2. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo - Part 2
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo - Part 1
  4. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  5. Candy Tease: October 2012

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:52 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementAmerican LicoriceJelly BellyNestleStorckSweetWorks, IncHighlightNewsComments (2)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Candy Spotting 2013

When a candy season comes around, I take special interest in what’s new, what’s returning and trends on the store shelves with holiday candy. Here’s the 2013 Halloween shopping roundup.

Brach's Halloween Mellocremes

Last week I was invited to participate in the Nosh Show podcast, we’re talking about candy and a bit about Halloween candy. You can listen to the Nosh Show:


TRICK OR TREAT
I haven’t decided what I’m giving out for Halloween yet this year. I’m planning to make use of the leftover Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple and Charms Candy Corn Lollipops from my reviews and probably some Airheads, since the kids in the neighborhood seem to like those. As for the chocolate items, I don’t know yet. Last year I gave out Unreal Candy, which is ethically sourced and uses natural ingredients. I’d like to find another chocolate candy that is certified (not using child slaves), but it’s hard to find candy items for kids that are well priced (we have about 40 kids visit) and also of actual interest to kids.

HERSHEY’S
I didn’t see any new items from Hershey’s this year for Halloween, but most of the old favorites have returned.

  • Pumpkin Spice Kisses (review)
  • KIT KAT Orange Wafer Bars
  • Reese’s Pumpkins (review)
  • Cadbury Screme Egg Candy is a green yolk version of the fondant egg for Easter
  • M&Ms Pumpkin Spice

    MARS
    Mars also seems to be playing it safe, with only a few new items and returning items, but mostly Halloween themed regular items.

  • NEW: Pumpkin Spice M&Ms - a Target exclusive this year (review)
  • Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis (review)
  • Snickers Pumpkin (review) also comes in Snickers Squared Peanut Butter version
  • Candy Corn White Chocolate M&Ms (review)
  • Mary Janes

    NECCO
    Necco always seems to list some interesting things, but I never see them in stores.

  • NECCO Batwing Wafers - like conversation hearts except shaped like bats and cinnamon flavored
  • NECCO Mummy Hearts - like conversation hearts except they’re marshmallow, hot chocolate, grape and candy corn flavored with ghoulish phrases
  • Skybar Zombie Food - milk chocolate brains, hearts and feet filled with red caramel
  • Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses (review)
  • Clark Wicked Mix (review)
  • Brach's S'mores Candy Corn

    FERRARA CANDY (Includes FARLEY’S & SATHERS and BRACH’S)
    There have been some big changes in these companies over the years. In the past 10 years alone Brach’s has been sold, sold again and now acquired through the Ferrara Pan acquisition of Farley’s and Sathers last year. Brach’s candy corn, one of their iconic candy products, moved production to Mexico about 2 or 3 years ago and I don’t think it tastes the same any longer. But I have high hopes for the new company making the most of each of the candy brands in its division and perhaps even improving the quality.

    That aside, Brach’s seems to be their only brand with seasonal candies, though Lemonheads and Trolli Gummis are available in treating packaging.

  • NEW: Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn (review)
  • Brach’s Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn (review)
  • Brach’s Autumn Mix (review)
  • Brach’s Halloween Mix (flavored mellocreams in holiday shapes) (review)
  • Brach’s Indian Corn
  • Brach’s Mellocreme Pumpkins
  • Bat Dots - Blood Orange

    TOOTSIE
    Tootsie has been making some great Halloween candies for years. I’ve always enjoyed Tootsie Pops but their newer introductions feel fresh but still like modern classics.

  • Blood Orange Dots (Bats) (review)
  • Ghost Dots (Clear)  (review)
  • Candy Corn Dots (Vanilla)  (review)
  • Orchard Mix Caramel Apple Pops (review)
  • Vanilla Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
  • (review) Available in snack packs for Trick or Treat

    Peeps Spooky Cats

    JUST BORN
    Just Born makes a few varieties of Peeps for Halloween and some Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike for treating.

  • Peeps Chocolate Pumpkins (review)
  • Peeps Ghosts & Pumpkins (I like the ghosts because they’re the only Peeps that aren’t artificially colored.)
  • Peeps Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Cats
  • Chocolate Dipped Peeps Orange Chicks in Milk & Dark Chocolate
  • Peeps Snack Size - individually wrapped small Peeps for Halloween trick-or-treating
  • Mike and Ike Mummy Mix and Vampire Variety
  • Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin

    NESTLE & WONKA
    Wonka had a hug flurry of innovative products for a few years, but has settled back into treat packaging without much in the way of seasonal specific flavors/iterations.

  • Butterfinger Pumpkins
  • Spooky Nerds
  • Spooky Nerds Rope
  • Russell Stover Giant S'mores Bar

    RUSSELL STOVER
    I’m always fond of Russell Stover’s pumpkins, since their holiday candies are really the only time I buy the brand. There are a few new ones this year that are in line with Russel Stover’s strengths.

  • NEW: Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple (review)
  • NEW: Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple with Peanuts (review)
  • NEW: Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie (review)
  • NEW: Russell Stover Red Velvet Pumpkin (review of Santa version)
  • Russell Stover Strawberry Cream Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Coconut Dream Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Chocolate Marshmallow Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Dark Chocolate covered Marshmallow Pumpkin (review)
  • Russell Stover Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter Pumpkin
  • Russell Stover Marshmallow Pumpkin (milk chocolate) (review)
  • Starburst Original Fruit Flavored Candy Corn

    WRIGLEY’S
    I didn’t see much new from Wrigley’s. I think they’re hiding from trick-or-treaters because they’re afraid they’ll get egged over the Lime to Green Apple Skittle switch. Their brands include Life Savers, Starburst and Skittles plus some gum brands that I rarely see in trick-or-treat packaging.

  • Starburst Candy Corn (review)
  • Jelly Belly Mellocremes

    JELLY BELLY
    Jelly Belly is a bit too upscale for trick-or-treat candy. But it’s fun for gifting or setting out for parties.

  • NEW: Vile Villains Jelly Belly Mixes - single serve packages featuring Disney villains with their own flavors. Seen in the store: Captain Hook (treasure chest mix) and Snow White’s Evil Queen (a mix of apple flavors)
  • Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix (review)
  • Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans (review)
  • Jelly Belly Giant Candy Corn
  • Jelly Belly Sour Gummi Pumpkins
  • Jelly Belly Fall Festival Mix
  • DSC02135r

    OTHER COMPANIES:

  • Pop Rocks Pumpkin Patch Orange
  • TicTac Bewitching Blend - I couldn’t figure out what flavors they are, but they’re orange and green, so let’s say Orange and Green Apple.
  • Halloween Candy Mega Buttons - you know those strips of paper with dried candy on them, there’s a giant version and now a Halloween version on black paper with grape, candy corn, green apple and mystery flavors.
  • Trader Joe’s Ghoulie Gummy Tummies Pumpkins & Spiders
  • Sixlets come in trick or treat packaging with orange and black colors. One of the few that’s gluten free.
  • Candy Corn Kisses

    NOT RETURNING:

  • Russell Stover “Day of the Dead” Skeletons (review)
  • Russell Stover Peanut Butter Candy Pumpkins
  • Hershey’s Candy Corn Kisses (review) and Caramel Apple Kisses (review)
  • Mary Jane Wicked Mix (review)
  • Brach’s Gummy Candy Corn (review)
  • Halloween Lifesavers Gummies Spooky Shapes
  • Have you seen anything new & exciting in stores this year? What are you planning to give out to kids, if they come to your house?

    Related Candies

    1. M&Ms Pumpkin Spice
    2. Starburst Original Fruit Flavored Candy Corn
    3. Halloween Candy Spotting 2012
    4. Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
    5. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
    6. Halloween 2010 Product Run Down
    7. Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:34 pm     CandyHalloweenHighlightShoppingComments (4)

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Candy Tease: Mars 2014

    I usually wait until a trade show rolls around to introduce new candy product notes, but I was really excited about the new products set to be presented at the The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing show (NACS) in Atlanta from 12-15 October by Mars. So, I decided to roll out the announcement for these a little early. Sadly, nothing comes out this year, the earliest new release is January:

    MMs Birthday CakeName: M&Ms Birthday Cake
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Delicious milk chocolate infused with birthday cake flavor creates an exciting new treat worth celebrating. Available in single serve bags and 8 ounce packages.
    Introduction Date: May 2014
    Notes: There’s no word whether this is a limited edition or if it’s a permanent addition to the M&M varieties. Also, no indication what birthday cake flavor is, I think it’s something like vanilla poundcake. (Personally, my birthday cake has usually been chocolate devil’s food with peppermint whipped cream.)

    UPDATE: Here’s the review of Milk Chocolate flavored Birthday Cake M&Ms which started showing up in CVS stores in February.

    Mega MMsName: Mega M&Ms Milk Chocolate & Peanut
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Featuring 3x the chocolate of regular M&Ms. The peanut variety uses larger peanuts in the center. Available in single serve bags and 11 ounce packages.
    Introduction Date: May 2014
    Notes: This is at least the third time Mega M&Ms have been introduced, if you include the Shrek version. The limited edition and flavored varieties, such as Coconut and Pumpkin Spice are already using this larger format, so it seems like Mars already has the equipment in place for this new/rebooted line.

    Dove Sea Salt CaramelName: Dove Promises Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel
    Brand: Dove
    Description: offers a decadent blend of creamy caramel mixed with savory sea salt and wrapped in silky smooth dark chocolate. Will retail for $3.49 for a 8.5 ounce bag.
    Introduction Date: January 2014
    Notes: These have been a Target exclusive for over a year now, and I can attest that they are quite good. With their upcoming sustainable sourcing certification, these might just be the best mass-produced dark chocolate caramel in the big box stores.

    Twix BitesName: Twix Bites
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Unwrapped, bite-sized cubes that are a miniature version of the iconic bar brand, ideal for consumers looking for the full taste experience of a TWIX Bar in a smaller portion. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
    Introduction Date: April 2014
    Notes: Twix is strange for me. Conceptually, I should love it, but I never like them when I try them, they’re not ideal for the ratios I prefer. So this version, which I suspect will have more chocolate, might hit that perfectly. I’m quite excited about this, especially if they decide to make the Triple Chocolate or Java version.

    Milky Way Caramel BitesName: Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Gives consumers more of what they love in the MILKY WAY Simply Caramel Bar – rich, creamy caramel coated in irresistible MILKY WAY chocolate – in sharable bite-size pieces. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
    Introduction Date: January 2014
    Notes: I’d be curious to try these head to head with the Rolo Minis, as they’re a similar product. (Rolo are molded, Milky Way Caramel are enrobed.) The Milky Way Simply Caramel has become far more popular than I would have thought, and I think the brand is ripe now for its own new versions, such as new flavors.

    3 Musketeers BitesName: 3 Musketeers Bites
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Offers the same taste experience as the full-size bar—light and fluffy nougat covered in delicious chocolate – in unwrapped, bite-sized cubes. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
    Introduction Date: January 2014
    Notes: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Milky Way Bites, as they seemed to have more malt flavor and a fresher overall taste. So, now I’m looking forward to the 3 Musketeers, which is a brand that has slipped away from me as something I might eat. These sound like they would be great with those flavor extensions they do for the different holidays (though I wonder how you’d be able to tell if they did mixes).

    Snickers Rockin Nut RoadName: Snickers Rockin Nut Road
    Brand: Mars
    Description: Packed with marshmallow flavored nougat covered with crunchy almonds and smothered in dark chocolate.
    Introduction Date: January 2014
    Notes: This bar also came out back in 2008 (original review) during a time when Snickers was trying out a lot of different limited editions. I liked this one the best, as it seemed less sweet and the marshmallow-cream style nougat was smoother. I’m looking forward to this return.

    Related Candies

    1. Candy Tease: Mars 2012 Announcements
    2. Candy Tease: Mars 2011 Announcements
    3. Candy Tease: Mars 2010
    4. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 - Mars

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:36 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementMarsM&MsHighlightFeatured NewsComments (4)

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Eat with Your Eyes: Caramel Bar

    I’m taking a few days off. I’m on a cookie vacation. (No, that’s not a vacation from cookies, it’s a vacation with lots of cookies.)

    Fran's Almond Gold Bar

    I’ll be back later this week with more candy, but in the mean time, enjoy this photo of a Fran’s Almond Gold Bar which was “buttery caramel, toasted almonds and dark chocolate.” (Full package photo.)

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:34 am     CandyCaramelChocolateNutsUnited StatesHighlightPhotographyComments (3)

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Short & Sweet: Figs

    I went through my list of candies that I haven’t reviewed and wanted to do a little roundup with at least some basic impressions. Today I have a little theme of Figs, since I had four products with fig as an element still sitting in the review queue.

    DSC02521

    I have a black fig tree in my back yard, this photo shows what was the best harvest of my 15 years in this home way back in 2006. This year I got one delicious fig off the tree, then returned two days later in hopes that the others were ripe only to find that the critters got them all. So I must turn to candy for my fig fix. (Well, that’s not entirely true, I buy fresh figs from time to time and dried ones as well.)

    Mitica ChocoHigosI got a birthday gift earlier this year of these Spanish chocolate covered figs called Mitica ChocoHigos.

    The packaging is mostly utilitarian but did an excellent job of protecting the chocolates inside. They’re not as decadent as some others I’ve had that might be soaked in liquor or filled with ganache. Instead this is the simple pleasure of dark chocolate and a sugary and crunchy whole, dried fig.

    Mitica ChocoHigos

    They were tasty, I enjoy the leathery and smoky notes of dried figs and chocolate. The chocolate was a little on the sweet side, I like a rather bitter chocolate with my very-sweet dried fruits. The figs were also a bit tough, but I suppose all that chewing just made them last longer.

    Dick Taylor Fig

    For some reason I never documented the wrapper on this one, which is too bad. It’s the Dick Taylor Fig bar. It’s made in Arcata, CA, a place I used to live. It’s another bean-to-bar artisan chocolate company.

    In this case the bar was beautifully molded and had all the things I liked about the fig/dark chocolate combo. There were lots of fruit and tannic notes, a bit of wood, tobacco and smoke. It was expensive though (I picked up the bar in NYC at The Meadow), I think about $9.00.

    Liddabit Sweets Fig Ricotta

    I finally found Liddabit in NYC when I was there last year, then a few months later there were places in Los Angeles selling them and a friend gave me this box of Liddabit Sweets Fig Ricotta Caramels.

    The pieces are wrapped in wax paper. I wanted to love them, but there was something that wasn’t quite caramelly enough and not quite cheesy enough and lacking in the oomph and power of figs It could be the balsamic vinegar was too much tangy for a sweet. I love Liddabit’s bars, but I find that I’m very picky about caramels, especially when they have so many elements going on.

    JCoCo Black Fig PistachioThis was another find while on a trip and prowling stores in Philadelphia. The JCoCo Black Fig & Pistachio has amazing packaging. I was sold on the name which included black figs and pistachios.

    Little did I realize the extraordinary packaging within. First, the three ounce package has three one ounce bars. Each is individually wrapped in foil, then has a sleeve with a black and white fashion photos (each is different). They’re all tucked into the envelope style paperboard box. (All using recycled packaging.)

    DSC_0409rb

    Dove and Seeds of Change (both run by Mars) tried this style of packaging a few years ago, but reverted back to the single bar. Personally, I prefer the inner wrapped portions, because I don’t eat a 3 ounce bar in one sitting and don’t have enough friends who can share one ounce portions at the same time. It’s easy to pull one out and toss it in a lunch bar or purse as well.

    DSC_0413rbThe chocolate itself is good, it’s quite dark and Seattle Chocolates definitely did well in their sourcing for this assortment of bars. In the line of bars there are a few quirky hipster sort of versions like Agave Quinoa Sesame but others are classic like Veracruz Orange.

    I didn’t think there were enough bits of fig and pistachio in there, or maybe they weren’t distributed well. There’s a bit of salt, I think from the pistachios, that again wasn’t distributed well.  On the whole it was good, but I only ate one of the three bars. It’s all Kosher and all natural.

    On the whole, I want to give this line another try but they’re not a bean to bar company. So I find myself drawn to other bars that are truly unique and am probably missing out on products like the JCoCo line which is more of what I’d call a curated product - where the chocolatier sources finished chocolate and formulates inclusions and flavor combinations themselves.

    DSC_0416rb

    Though I don’t think I found a new favorite in this series of explorations, all were good. (I think if I were to go buy a fig and chocolate item right now, it would be the Compartes chocolate covered figs.)

    Related Candies

    1. Niederegger Marzipan Classics
    2. La Higuera Rabitos Royale (Chocolate Truffle Filled Figs)
    3. Compartes Chocolates
    4. Lillie Belle Farms Assortment
    5. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
    6. Caffarel Figs & Chestnuts (Fico & Castagna)
    7. Figamajigs

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:53 pm     CandyReviewSeattle ChocolatesChocolateSpainUnited StatesHighlightFun StuffComments (0)

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Sugarfina: The Gummis

    Sugarfina - Bento BoxesSugarfina is a new candy webstore with a unique set of offerings.

    Based in Southern California, Sugarfina brings a chic aesthetic to all their candy with their minimalist packaging in robin’s egg blue and square formats. The candy is sold in “bulk” that is, it’s repackaged by them and sold in an array of different weights. They have created a superb curated list of candies. Some you’ll recognize, but their biggest selling point is an array of exquisite European candies that I’ve never seen sold anywhere else.

    Candy is sold in little boxes of different weights or in mixed boxes (they call Bentos) that make excellent gifts. Their team truly understand that candy should appeal first to the eye and then to the rest of the senses.

    Sugarfina Bento Box

    I still get plenty of offers for free candy samples, but lately it has to be something pretty special to get me to bite. But when you see this list of candies, you’ll see what got me interested. Today I’m presenting the assortment of gummis (and one jelly candy). All of the gummis are from Germany and most feature natural colors.

    Sugarfina - Bitty Berries

    Bitty Berries is a mix of three different gummis. There’s a large raspberry looking gummi that has a rather raspberry flavor. Then there are three smaller berries, kind of like petite blueberries that are different colors and flavors. The light amber ones are like a white grape juice flavor, lightly tangy but with a black currant note to them. The pink version is and the purple is like a jammy raspberry.  Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Cranberry and Bilberry.

    They’re just exquisitely beautiful. Even when I wasn’t interested in eating them, they were just too cute to look at.

    Rating: 8 out of 10

    Sugarfina - Champagne Bears

    Champagne Bears come in two colors: a soft peachy pink and a lightly yellow clear. The clear is like a clean apple juice flavor with a light peppery note. The peachy one is, well, much the same. I couldn’t really tell them apart except that sometimes the pink one seemed to be a little more raspberry flavored. They’re firm and intense. They’re well formed and held their shape well, even though they were jammed into their little cube.

    I liked them, but didn’t think that they were anything better than the new juicy Haribo. But I do like the colors and think that for a special occasion, they’d be a nice favor.

    Rating: 8 out of 10

    DSC_2474rb

    Sugar Peach Sweethearts - I was pretty scared of these. They smelled strongly of peach, not in a bad way but in a strong way. They were so strong that I had to take them out of the bento box and sequester them by themselves so as not to contaminate the chocolate pieces they were co-mingling with. So I was afraid that they’d be overwhelmingly chemical tasting.

    Quite the opposite is true. They’re little miracle pieces, on the tongue they actual feel for a moment like a real peach. The texture of the sugar sanding is velvety like the fuzz of the peach. The flavor is at once tangy and fruity and honey-sweet and floral and woodsy, like actual peaches. There’s no weird artificial coloring in there to give it a metallic aftertaste. They’re a bit more tart that I’d probably like if I were to eat them by the handful, but as a little refresher on a hot day when I have a dry mouth, these are unbeatable. 

    Rating: 10 out of 10

    DSC_2260rb

    Queen of Hearts were billed on the website as three different flavors: pineapple, grapefruit and black currant. They’re also three different sizes of hearts. So it’s a lovely looking combination, although the largest heard gets folded over a bit inside the little cube.

    Pink was indistinct, but reminded me enough of pineapple to make me think that’s what it was. Slightly floral with a tart bite and a crisp flavor to it. It was more like canned pineapple though not as syrupy.

    Clear tastes like peach. I’m not sure what flavor it was supposed to be, I was hoping it was the promised grapefruit, but it was tangy and a little peppery. (I did notice that the peach mentioned earlier were very strong, I was wondering if the flavor migrated from the more delicate grapefruit.)

    The dark one was definitely black currant. It was strong and had notes of wine and deep boiled cherry.

    Rating: 7 out of 10

    Sugarfina - Cuba Libre Gummi

    Cuba Libre is simply amazing. It’s a cola gummi, so far so good, with a little softer bubble of rum within. It’s stunning. The cola flavor is spicy and tart, a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon and perhaps a little warm kick of ginger but nothing overt and then the acidic bite of lemon. The rum is sweet and a little on the caramel side. I’ve never seen these anywhere else, and I can’t believe they aren’t being imported and sold in the US by the cargo container as it is. If there’s a reason to order from Sugarfina, it’s the Cuba Libre gummi.

    Rating: 10 out of 10

    Sugarfina - Minty Polar Bears

    Minty Polar Bears are downright weird and I’ll go ahead and warn you that they’re not mint. They’re like a bubble gum flavored mentholated chewy cough drop. The first note on the tongue is a little tartness then a huge whiff of what I can only describe as acetone (which I sometimes get confused with banana flavoring). Then there’s a menthol hit, a little more of a sort of mild lime flavor and the bitterness of that zest. It all ends with a slight queasy feeling.

    I’ve had eucalyptus gummis before and liked them quite a bit, so I was hoping for something like that. I find them curious enough that I continue to sample them from time to time. But I never feel like I want to eat another one, just that I should.

    Rating: 6 out of 10

    DSC_2466rb

    Heavenly Sours are little stars, comets and crescent moons in fruity flavors. They’re sour sanded and come in lovely naturally tinted colors. They’re not actually gummis, they’re jellies. They’re made in the US, not in Germany like most of the other gummis from Sugarfina. They’re tart and have nicely distinguished flavors. Orange is a zesty and tart orange. Lemon is wonderfully sour. Blue is raspberry and a little overdone. Red is cherry and is, well, cherry.

    Rating: 7 out of 10

    As a thank you gift or something for someone who has everything, this is a great option. It’s not cheap, so it’s not something I’m likely to treat myself to very often. They also have lots of themed boxes and kits, so it’s easy to pick for Coffee Lovers, Licorice Aficionados, or Caramel Fiends. The large bento boxes with 8 x 4 ounce boxes of treats are $50. By the pound, the candy is $17.50.

    They do a good job of labeling for allergies as well, even if they won’t tell me who make those Cuba Libre gummis.They’re currently only available via the web, but there’s talk of a store in the future here on the west side of Los Angeles.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:24 pm     CandyReviewColaGummi CandySour6-Tempting7-Worth It8-Tasty10-SuperbGermanyUnited StatesHighlightShoppingComments (14)

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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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