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Friday, December 2, 2011

Trader Joe’s 2011 Holiday Candy

Did you notice the theme this week was all Trader Joe’s candy for the holidays? Here’s a roundup of what’s at Trader Joe’s this season.

New for 2011

:

Trader Joe's Classic Holiday Candy MixTrader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix - classic hard candy straws & pillows made with all natural ingredients. $1.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Eggnog Almonds - $3.99 (read review - 9 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Minty Melts - it’s peppermint bark for people who don’t like the crushed candy canes in it - $4.99 (read review - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Mosaic of Chocolates - squares of different kinds of bar - $3.99

Trader Joe’s English Toffee with Nuts (Tall Can) $7.99 (previously in a box like this? It’d call it a step above Almond Roca)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Liqueur Cherries - the name says it all - $4.99

Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Coal - dark chocolate covered candy cane bits - $1.99

Trader Joe’s Merry Mingle - caramel with pecans and cranberries dipped in dark chocolate -$7.99 (read review - 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramels

Returning for 2011

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty MallowsTrader Joe’s Peppermint Bark $9.99 a tin - an great bargain for a very well made product.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Brittle - $2.99 - I haven’t tried this yet, mostly because Los Angeles tends to be very humid in the winter and brittles just don’t do well when they get sticky.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows $2.99 (2010 review - they’re quite moist and dense 7 out of 10)

DSC04140rTrader Joe’s Chocolate Palette (a beautiful stack of single origin bars - they’re only okay, but a beautiful introduction to the idea of single origin at an excellent price) $9.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins $2.99 (made in England)

Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans - these have been coming back on and off for years, they tend to sell out really early - $2.99

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels $4.99 (2007 review - more of a flowing caramel than the chewy style of the Fleur de Sel - 6 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Cocoa Truffles - inexcusable fat bombs - (Imported from France) $2.99 (see my review - I gave them a 3 out of 10, though I think the ingredients have changed a little bit, they’re still quite thin tasting yet stupidly fatty)

Rabitos RoyaleTrader Joe’s 9 Rabitos Royale $6.99 (2010 review - quite decadent and elegant but doesn’t use all real chocolate - 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Assorted Chocolates - I have no idea about these, the boxed items from Trader Joe’s are hit or miss with me, at this price I might stick to See’s - $9.99

Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels (wood box) $6.99 (2006 review, still the same packaging. Classic, nicely done but a little pricey for boiled sugar. 7 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Sweet Sticks - barber pole candy sticks in classic and new-agey flavors - $2.99

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate OrangeTrader Joe’s Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate Oranges $2.49 (Reviewed in 2009 as Florida Tropic Oranges. Good quality & price plus always charming package and dark is vegan 7 out of 10 & 8 out of 10)

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Rings with Sprinkle - they’re just little disks of dark chocolate with sprinkles, like giant SnoCaps - $1.99

Also returning are the chocolate covered Peppermint JoJos and a variety box of other chocolate covered flavors. Though I reviewed the JoeJoe’s before, I can’t really call them candy.

What have you picked up that you liked this year? What do you miss from years gone by? I miss the Trader Giotto’s Soft Almond Nougat and the Dark Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:56 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementTrader Joe'sHighlightShoppingComments (6)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Merry Mingle

Trader Joe's Merry Mingle

Just a little preview of a new Trader Joe’s holiday candy. I picked up a few of their new item last week and will do a review of all the returning items as well before Thanksgiving.

Merry Mingle is like a dark chocolate pecan turtle with a few dried cranberries thrown in.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:09 am     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (7)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Candy Tease November 2011

imageName: Hershey’s Rolo Minis
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Rolo Minis are bite-sized and unwrapped versions of Hershey’s chocolate-covered caramels. They are available in 2.5-ounce king size packs and in eight-ounce reclosable bags.
Introduction Date: March 2012
Notes: These look like a great idea for movie theater snacking or baking projects. I wonder if they’ll be sold in large bags or theater boxes as well. (A king size bag is actually ideal for a movie.)

imageName:
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Milk Chocolate With Almonds Pieces are whole almonds covered in milk chocolate and coated in a candy shell. They pack in eight-ounce pouches that ship in 12- and 20-ct cases.
Introduction Date: March 2012
Notes: These look suspiciously like Almond M&Ms, but I’m not going to complain if I can actually find these reliably. I’m curious what the quality of the chocolate will be. I was fond of the Almond Joy Pieces (which had coconut bits and crushed almonds in milk chocolate). The brown and cream colors feel like they’re more natural, but it’s not like it doesn’t take just as much artificial coloring to make brown as red or blue.

imageName: Hershey’s Bliss Dark Chocolate with Caramel
Brand: Hershey’s
Description: Individually wrapped Hershey’s Bliss Dark Chocolate With Caramel is also new, packing in 8.6-ounce bags.
Introduction Date: March 2012
Notes: The Bliss line just keeps looking more and more like Dove Promises. I’m not saying that it’s bad to have a little competition, but I’d like to see some differentiation, Hershey’s should do the kinds of flavor combinations that Dove isn’t doing.

imageName: Lindt Holiday Friends
Brand: Lindt Chocolate
Description: Escape to Lindt’s winter wonderland with the help of our lovely enchanting characters: Bear, Snowman & Santa.  Lindt Swiss Maitres Chocolatiers have passionately created the most traditional characters in the finest Lindt chocolate.
Introduction Date: currently available
Notes: Lindt also offers miniature foil wrapped versions of these characters, plus some reindeer for Santa. The bears are on par with the reindeer and iconic bunny they do for Easter. It stands to reason that the bear could be a year round item now.

imageName: Warheads Sour Twists
Brand: Impact Confections
Description: The latest Warheads product is pretty twisted. Sour Twists feature a twisted extruded chewy candy with a fruity center and just-right sour coating. Three delicious flavors of lemon, green apple, and watermelon are twirled in every twist, which can be eaten as one, or pulled apart and enjoyed one flavor at a time.
Introduction Date: available now
Notes: Super sour fruity licorice. I like that the twists can be untwisted. It looks like they have a good corner on this part of the market with a truly sour product.

imageName: Jelly Belly Snapple Mix
Brand: Jelly Belly
Description: Jelly Belly Candy Co. has teamed up with Snapple to create a new line of Jelly Belly beans with Snapple Juice Drinks. The candymakers began at the source, Snapple Juice Drink concentrates in five tangy and sweet Snapple flavors: Fruit Punch, Mango Madness, Cranberry Raspberry, Pink Lemonade and Kiwi Strawberry. The gourmet jelly beans burst with Snapple goodness. Jelly Belly Snapple Mix flavors are made from real fruit juice and purees. These jelly beans have no artificial coloring; the colors come from natural fruit and vegetables.
Introduction Date: available now
Notes: I like that Jelly Belly is expanding their all natural line of jelly beans. I’ll be on the lookout for these in stores.

imageName: Tropical Cotton Candy Swirlz
Brand: Taste Of Nature
Description: Watermelon, banana and pineapple/coconut cotton candy comes in 3.1-ounce bags and join the company’s five existing flavors.
Introduction Date: unknown
Notes: I’ve never been fond of pre-packaged cotton candy, it’s completely lost its fluff by the time it gets to the stores. But I can say, from personal experience, that pineapple and pina colada cotton candy is a great combination.

Images courtesy of the respective manufacturer.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: October 2011
  2. Candy Tease: Mars 2011 Announcements
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 2
  4. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 1
  5. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  6. Hershey’s Bliss
  7. Lindt Chocolate Bunnies (Dark & Milk)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:11 pm     CandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightNewsComments (4)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Choceur

Choceur Chocolate Bars

Aldi sells absurdly inexpensive Germany chocolate. Here’s a tease of an upcoming review for their mini chocolate bars. They’re called Choceur Fine Chocolate and are 1.4 ounces each in packages of 5. The perfect single serving of chocolate.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:51 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (3)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween (now with fewer slaves)

Halloween Trick-or-Treat 2011

Here’s what I’m giving out for Halloween this year. I decided that it was more important to take a stand against child slavery in West Africa than give out the most loved objects of Halloween, such as Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Hershey’s, Nestle and Mars have had more than 10 years to assure consumers that they’re not buying from growers that enslave children on their cacao plantations. When they have, then I’ll start giving it out to children.

So to avoid this issue completely I bought sugar candy - that is, candy made without chocolate.

Airheads - multiple flavors of chewy fruity flavors. Made in Kentucky, USA.
Chick-O-Stick Nuggets - peanut butter flaky goodness. Made in Texas, USA.
Annabelle’s Abba Zabba & Big Hunk - nutty nougat. Made in California, USA (by union labor).

What I lack in chocolate, I’ll likely make up for with quantity and variety. We usually only get between 25 and 40 visitors. With more than 300 pieces of candy, each kid gets a heaping adult-dispensed handful. And it won’t melt. (Yes, it’s still in the 80s here this week in Los Angeles.)

So what are you giving out for Halloween this year?

Related Candies

  1. Look! and Big Hunk
  2. Airheads
  3. Abba Zaba
  4. Chick-o-Stick

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:50 am     CandyHalloweenHighlightFun StuffComments (18)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Six Kilos of Felchlin Arriba 72% Chocolate

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 HourThis is not so much a review as a recounting of an ongoing chocolate Odyssey.

I regularly watch the eBay candy auctions. And when I say regularly, I actually check the pages several times a day during the week. Partly to spy new candy products, partly to find international candies that are hard to get in the US, partly to find deals and partly to squash folks who like to use Candy Blog photos for their auctions without asking.

About a month ago I saw a new auction pop up for someone selling 13.2 pounds of Felchlin Swiss Couverture chocolate coins of Grand Cru Arriba 72% Cocoa (conched 72 hours).

The auction was priced at $95 and included local Los Angeles delivery. I bid. I won.

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Because it’s for use as an ingredient, it’s packaged modestly. The mini case holds three bags. Each bag is 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). I pulled out one bag for immediate enjoyment and put the other two, inside the box, into the bottom of my wine fridge. (Okay, I’d probably call it a chocolate fridge, which keeps everything at 58 degrees.)

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Each little coin is about 3/4 of an inch around and has a set of embossed cacao pods on it. They’re kind of scuffed up, as they come in a bag like chocolate chips. They work as extra large baking chips but function better as eating chocolate. At this writing I am finishing up the first bag. I’ve made one batch of chocolate pudding, one small batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Rocher (meringues from a recipe from Tartine) and the rest has simply been eaten.

The disks fit in the mouth wonderfully, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to let their chocolate melt. (Put two together to create an oblate spheroid and they’re doubly good.) The flavor is exceptionally well rounded, there is no dominant flavor though I get notes of molasses, honey, coffee and raspberry jam sometimes. 

As noted above, this is a 72 hour conch. Conching is the process of both mixing and grinding chocolate over low heat. The longer the processing the smaller the grain size of the cacao bits and the more emulsified the chocolate becomes. This process varies in time depending on what the cacao is like and the necessities of the final product. It can be anywhere from 24 hours to 100 hours. The grinding part is done with either stones or metal rollers.

This long conch also allows Felchlin to make an uncompromising chocolate without emulsifiers. So all that’s in there is cacao mass, sugar and vanilla. (So if you must avoid soy, try this.) It’s also creamy without cream. (So if you’re a vegan, try this.) It’s made from Criollo beans from the Los Rios area of Ecuador.

Yesterday I mentioned to Coppeneur Chocolate that I loved their Chuao origin. Today they gave me these:

Earlier this year I got to try a great example of how important conching is. When I was in Germany at ISM Cologne, one of my favorite chocolate companies, Coppeneur gave me this box of two chocolate bars. They were both made from highly prized Chuao beans (review of those bars here) but inside this box were two versions - one that was conched 70 hours and one that was conched 100 hours. The difference is quite remarkable. The longer a bar is conched, the silkier it becomes.

What I’ve learned is that I love long conched chocolate. It’s so smooth that the texture itself becomes like a flavor because it’s simply so forward in the experience.

Chocolate by M NonpareilsI’m not sure why the local gal was auctioning the bulk lots of chocolate, but I did find out that she runs a local chocolate catering company called Chocolate by M. She was kind enough to leave me with these huge nonpareils along with the delivery. The photo might make them look small, but they’re huge 3 inch platters of dark chocolate (I don’t know if it’s the same as the Felchlin 72%) with a dense sprinkling of nonpareils on the bottom.

It’s just one easy idea of what I could do with my bevvy of chocolate.

Chocolate by M Nonpareils

Mostly what I think I’m going to do with my chocolate stash though is eat it. It’s incredibly munchable but also exceptionally intense. I’ve found that I can’t make it an evening snack as there are too many caffeine-like compounds in there that keep me up at night. But I’ve found that it’s a great treat during the day while I work, I’ve been keeping a little dish of them on my desk and probably eat about an ounce of them a day. They’re filling and sustaining.

But maybe the last bag will make it to December and I’ll end up making chocolate truffles for Christmas.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:29 pm     All NaturalCandyChocolateSingle Origin9-YummySwitzerlandHighlightComments (5)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eat with your Eyes: Chocolate Knife

Mindestens Swiss Chocolate Knife

I saw these little candies making the rounds as a meme, but I didn’t see them in person until I went to Germany.

It’s a Swiss hazelnut chocolate confection shaped into a pocket knife and wrapped in red foil to look like a Swiss Army Knife.

Mindestens Swiss Chocolate Knife

The Mindestens Swiss Chocolate Knife is a pretty simple little candy. The center is soft gianduia (chocolate hazelnut paste) and covered with milk chocolate. It’s sweet and soft, nothing spectacular, as I’ve had much better gianduia before. But it’s hard to quibble with the design, as both the foil and the molding of the chocolate is so attentive to details. Seek them out if you have a Swiss Army Knife fan in the family.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:10 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (1)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

6 Candy Corn Candies That Aren’t Candy Corn

Jelly Belly Candy CornCandy Corn is a sugar confection made by depositing different colored layers of fondant into the shape of a narrow triangle. The flavor of candy corn is muted but often bears notes of honey, marshmallow and occasionally butter. It’s created with starch molds and the most common color layering puts yellow as the base, orange as the center band and white as the small tip. It’s an American candy, originating in the 1880s with dozens of manufacturers now in North America. The molded fondant confection is generically called Mellocreams and can come in a variety of shapes, often lightly flavored and colored.

The first thing I noticed as a trend was Candy Corn appearing out of season with other names or color variations. As a kid, I remember there were two kinds of Candy Corn. The standard yellow, orange and white and then the Indian Corn variety that was brown (a little cocoa flavor), dark orange and white. But later on came Reindeer Corn which comes in red, green and white. There’s Bunny Corn that comes in pastels and sometimes I see Cupid Corn for Valentines that’s red, pink and white.

More recently Gourmet Candy Corns have come along. They’re not really superior in any way to classic Candy Corn, they’re just different color varieties and flavored like Egg Nog, Candied Apples, Green Apple, Tangerine, Cherry, Pumpkin Spice and Toffee.

But more importantly, Candy Corn has come into its own as a flavor and is now spinning off its own set of candies. Here are a few candies that are Candy Corn flavored, but not actually Candy Corn.

M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn

Mars makes M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn. They’re white chocolate centers with a light, sweet flavor covered in candy shells in three colors: orange, white and yellow.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 5 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 7 out of 10

Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Bean

Jelly Belly introduced Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans earlier this year. Too bad they couldn’t get the stripes on them.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 5 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 7 out of 10

Puffy Candy Corn

Vidal, a maker of fascinating gummis in unusual shapes, created a rather unique take on Candy Corn with their Puffy Candy Corn. It’s a foamy gummi that’s actually more fruity flavored than generic sweet fondant is.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 8 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 5 out of 10

Candy Corn Kisses

For several years Hershey’s issued Hershey’s Candy Corn Kisses, a butter flavored white confection. The shape was a natural for Candy Corn treatment, too bad they didn’t go with the honey flavors and real cocoa butter.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 8 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 4 out of 10

Whitman's Candy Corn Marshmallow

Last year was the first for Whitman’s introduction of the Candy Corn Marshmallow. It’s a large triangular marshmallow covered with “white confection” in two colors.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 4 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 4 out of 10

Candy Corn Dots

Dots, made by Tootsie, have been a bit edgier and hipper lately. Their Halloween offerings are spot on, with Ghost Dots and Blood Orange Bat Dots. Of course their Candy Corn Dots also make this list. They’re just vanilla Dots, but cute as buttons.

Level of Candy Corn-ness: 9 out of 10
Actual Candy Blog rating: 6 out of 10

The level of Candy Corn-ness is evaluated on the basis of the following attributes: stacked color, colors, flavor, scale, and shape.

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  2. Jelly Belly Candy Corn Jelly Beans
  3. Whitman’s Candy Corn Marshmallow
  4. Flix Sour Gummy Pop Corn
  5. Kimmie Sweet & Salty Corn Bits
  6. Pumpkin Pie Gourmet Candy Corn
  7. Puffy Candy Corn
  8. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:06 am     CandyHalloweenHighlightFeatured NewsComments (1)

Page 9 of 18 pages ‹ First  < 7 8 9 10 11 >  Last ›

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

Candy Season Ends (Easter)

3 days

 

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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