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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sorini Maxipiu Assorted Chocolate Pralines

Sorini MaxipiuAround Christmas Cost Plus World Market usually has an eclectic collection of candies for entertaining and gifting. Many of their products are brands that have very little presence in the United States but are really well priced.

I saw this package of mixed chocolates called Sorini Maxipiu Assorted Chocolate Pralines. It’s a big bag, 500 grams (17.63 ounces) but I was attracted to it even though it was on the bottom shelf because it just looked so different from the little novelty marzipan, torrones and panettone on the shelves. I didn’t recognize the Sorini brand name but the images on the package made the assortment look like a good bet.

Sorini Assortment

The chocolates are nicely packaged and easily distinguished. They’re all in a bright gold mylar with clear print that says what’s inside. There’s also an inner paper-backed foil that just covers the candies and seems to cushion them and keep them from getting scuffed.

There were five varieties. Most of my assortment consisted of the Cereali and Arancia (well over half of the 42 pieces). The other three were Nocciola, Creme and Cocoa Beans.

Sorini Arancia

The Arancia (Orange) is a dark chocolate piece. The chocolate shell is thin but has a nice sheen and crisp snap. The pieces are about an inch and a quarter long, so a nice piece to put in your mouth whole or take two smaller bites.

It smells a lot like orange, but more like orange extract than orange zest. It’s like sniffing a bottle of baby aspirin.

The chocolate center is soft but not creamy, it’s more like a Frango. However, it has a smooth melt once it warms in the mouth. The chocolate notes are strong enough to stand up to the one-note of orange. It’s a bit on the dry side and a little bitter but the chocolate also has a fair amount of sugar in it. It was better when eaten as an accompaniment, like with coffee or strong tea.

Sorini Nocciola

I was disappointed that I only got three of the Nocciola and used two in the photo shoot. (I should have been paying more attention.)

There’s a milk chocolate shell with a darker hazelnut paste cream filling. Inside was a half of a hazelnut. It was nutty and fresh but could have used more of a chocolate punch. I would have preferred more of these instead of all the orange ones.

Sorini Cereali

The Cereali is a big milk chocolate ball filled with a milk chocolate cream and crisped rice. The size is similar to a Lindt Lindor truffle, about one inch in diameter.

These are fun because of the texture variations. They smell sweet and very milky. The chocolate shell is milk chocolate and very soft, the center is even softer but has a good sugary cocoa texture that’s extremely sweet but at least not as greasy as the Lindor. There are little crispy rice bits that provide a little hint of malt and salt.

I would prefer a bit richer chocolate, something that’s not quite so sweet.

Sorini Creme

The Creme piece is basically a milk chocolate truffle.

It smells milky and sweet with a little hint of cocoa (and a bit of a whiff of orange from the other chocolates). The milk chocolate cream center is soft and though not quite silky, it’s very smooth.

It’s a bit like eating a bit spoonful of chocolate frosting. I wasn’t that keen on them, but there weren’t that many of them (I think six), so it was easy to eat around them or just kind of grin and bear it until it was time to eat another variety that I preferred.

Sorini Cocoa Beans

Cocoa Beans Crema Caffe was the most interesting of the bunch. Unfortunately all four pieces I got were slightly bloomed. It wasn’t a bad bloom that made the chocolate hard or chalky, just a very slight white haze on the spheres.

The dark chocolate shell has a good flavor profile balanced with woody and coffee notes and a light fruity plum note. The cream center is a mix of strong, sweet coffee and cacao nibs. There are toffee and caramel hints along with the crunchy texture of the cacao nibs.

I paid only $6.99 for well over a pound, so I thought it was a good deal for an assortment. They’re not really my style, I prefer chocolate that’s darker or with more powerful flavors. I wouldn’t say that they’re a great hostess gift, at least not in this bag, maybe if you put them in jar or basket. They do look nice though out of the bag and are an easy item to put into a candy bowl to share with folks for the holidays. They’re individually marked, which is a plus and they are different enough. I don’t know if Lindt fans would be satisfied with the milkier flavor and less slick texture but maybe if you’re looking for something to satisfy a larger crowd they’re a good choice. But if you like something like Ferrero Rocher, I’d say stick with those ... these aren’t for folks looking for nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Madelaine Duets
  2. Lindt Fioretto
  3. Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Crisp
  4. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  5. Ferrero Rocher

Name: Maxipiu Assorted Chocolate Pralines
Brand: Sorini
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $6.99
Size: 17.63 ounces
Calories per ounce: 154
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Coffee, Cookie, Nibs, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Italy, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:41 pm     CandyReviewChristmasChocolateCoffeeCookieNibsNuts7-Worth ItItalyCost Plus

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Perfetti Van Melle Golia

Pine Bros. Menthol Eucalyptus Throat DropsLong ago there was a cough drop line called Pine Bros Throat Drops. They were a glycerin drop, kind of like a hard gummi. They came in a variety of flavors like cherry, honey and licorice. I bought them often and ate them like candy, even though they said medicated on the package.

I bought this box pictured here on eBay knowing full well that I couldn’t actually eat them as they’re at least 15 years old. I just wanted to take their picture and remember them.

But I haven’t stopped looking for a replacement for them. The melt was smooth and even for a cruncher like me, they lasted a long time. And they really did soothe the throat.

Then a few years ago Gigi wrote about something that sounded similar, Golia Respira

Golia LicoriceI finally found this roll of Respira Golia at Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors. They were expensive ($2.50), but at least the little roll was cheaper than the box or bag version. (And certainly within their best by date, unlike old Pine Bros on eBay.) They’re made by Perfetti Van Melle, known best for their rolls of Mentos.

The wrapper says they’re caramelle gommose which I take to mean gummy candies and alla liquirizia which I know means with licorice. They’re made with both gum arabic and glycerine.

Golia Licorice

They don’t smell like my much beloved cough drops, but they do smell compelling. It’s a mix of smoke, black pepper and incense. The pieces are large, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and about 1/3 of an inch high. They sound like bakelite, crisp and hard, but they’re not. They’re a bit pliable in the mouth. The first flavor at the front is licorice, the light and true flavor of licorice which is sweet and a little syrupy. There are notes of anise and clove and of course a pervasive menthol, as that’s what the Respira part of the name is about (breathing).

They get quite soft but never soft enough to pull apart, just dissolve slowly and steadily.

I loved the strong eucalyptus flavor and background of licorice. They are slick and soothing and also, because they’re soft there are no little sores created by sharp edged voids like hard cough drops can do. But they’re really medicinal tasting, so they’re not a casual endeavor and everyone around you will know that you’ve been eating them. I know there are other versions of these, I’m hoping I can find something that’s a little more soothing, like the classic Honey Lemon Pine Bros Drops.

Related Candies

  1. Gimbal’s Scottie Dogs
  2. Eat with your Eyes: Old Timers Licorice
  3. Puntini Jujubes - Frutti Tropicali
  4. Dr. Doolittle’s Pastilles (Lemon, Grapefruit & Wild Berry)
  5. The Apothecary’s Garden: Herbs (and some Bees)
  6. Grapefruit & Blackcurrant Pastilles

Name: Golia Respira
Brand: Perfetti Van Melle
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors
Price: $2.50
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: Candy, Perfetti van Melle, Licorice Candy, 6-Tempting, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:27 pm     CandyPerfetti van MelleLicorice Candy6-TemptingItaly

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Honees Honey Filled Drops

Sometimes candy can be therapeutic. Honey is supposed to have cough suppressing qualities. Honey candies are a great, compact and less-sticky way to serve up honey.

Ambrosolio Candies Honees

I’ve picked up these Honees made by Ambrosolio Candies of Italy a couple of times in the past year. The first time I found them at Mel & Rose Wine & Liquors, which they were $1.25 ... not bad as far as I was concerned. But then I went to downtown Los Angeles last weekend to a place called Jack’s Wholesale Candy & Toy (photos) and found a box of $24 for only $12.99 ... that’s about 54 cents a package. I bought the whole box (and they said that when their current inventory was gone, the price was going up to $14). They were far cheaper than the lovely French Boules de Miel I got last year at a gourmet store.

The candies are simple. It’s a honey flavored hard candy with a gooey honey center. They come in this simple foil package of nine candies. Each rectangular rod is about one inch long with rounded sides. It fits in the mouth easily, it’s about the same mass as a Starlight Mint (5 grams).

They’re sweet but not cloying or throat searing, it’s more soothing. The honey notes are a little malty, soapy and floral and sometimes I get a little whiff of lemon or eucalyptus. I found that sometimes I could let the candy dissolve and reach the honey center but most of the time I bit them and sucked out the honey or chewed them up.

They’re all natural and only have three ingredients: sugar, corn syrup and honey. (But the honey keeps them from being vegan.)

They’re less like cough drops and more like candy. I can’t say that they calmed my cough that much (but it’s just allergies at the moment, not a cold). They also come in a menthol version and a milk & honey version.

Related Candies

  1. Gimbal’s Honey Lovers
  2. Jelly Belly Honey Beans
  3. Boules de Miel (balls of honey)
  4. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:43 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewHard Candy & Lollipops8-TastyItaly

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cedrinca Gran Mix

Cedrinca Gran MixWhile in Illinois last month I visited Caputo’s Market, which boasts a huge selection of candies from all over the world. I tried some Polish candies and also picked up a few mixes of Italian candies from Cedrinca. I’m familiar with the brand as I’ve tasted a few of their mints and fruit candies at Italian restraurants when a handful is usually presented with the bill at the end of the meal. (Usually an Eastern US thing, on the West Coast they just have a bowl by the door.)

Caputo’s had a great selection of Cedrinca but I opted for a mix so I could get to know more of their items. This version is called Gran Mix and says Caramelle ripiene assortite which I took to mean assorted filled candies. And that turned out to be exactly what these are!

Cedrinca boasts that these are all natural candies, no artificial colors, flavors, additives or preservatives. Each candy was also individually wrapped and most were labeled to show what was inside.

Cedrinca Gran Mix

The majority of the mix was a mix of little rod shaped candies. Most were marked on the wrapper what they were.

The first notable one was Menta Ripeno Al Cacao which were a light mint hard candy filled with a chocolate paste. I’ve had a lot of experience with those disappointing starlight mints with the chocolate (why would you finish an excellent meal with a piece of candy like that?) and this was nothing like that. The chocolate filling was a like a fantastic chocolate buttercream. It tasted fresh and creamy and like real cocoa.

Mandorlatte looked the same but was crunchy delight with almonds and milk. It was fascinating, like vanilla pudding distilled into a hard candy. The crunch was almost like the center of a Butterfinger bar, the flavor was sweet and milky but with a hint of lemon and almond. Some had a slightly soft creamy reservoir, others were just the crispy stuff. Either way, I loved them. Fascinating and like nothing else, so of course I pulled those out of the mix to save for later.

The colorful metallic wrappers with the gold swirls on them were fruity, Bonbon Fourre. The outside was softer than the other candies, it was a hard candy but still a little bit on the mushy side. Crunchy into them to get to the jam center was easy. Savored in layers, it was okay, but I preferred to chew the whole thing up to mix the stiff chew of the candy outside with the tart fruity goo inside. They were supposed to be different flavors, but I never really noticed much of a difference. They were all perfectly pleasant but not intense or distinct.

Cedrinca Gran Mix

I don’t know what fruit they were supposed to be. These weren’t labeled, just color coded.

Cedrinca Gran Mix - Caramele Cedrinca Gran Mix - Cafe Espresso Cedrinca Gran Mix - Cappuccino

Caramella (peach wrapper) - a light, rather white large filled hard candy. It looked like the one above, but completely uncolored. The hard candy shell was lightly tart and vaguely fruity. The gooey jam filling was nondescript. It wasn’t citrus, perhaps it was peach. Tangy, very sweet but not very flavorful. I got another one that was in a purple wrapper that was also simply marked Caramella. It looked just the same (no artificial colors here, in fact, I don’t think they used any colorings on the candies themselves). The filling was a light yellow color and reminded me of red currant.

Cedrinca Gran Mix - Espresso

Espresso this was the variety of this format that I got the most of. The candy shell was the darkest of the three though it didn’t smell like anything at all.

Cedrinca Gran Mix - EspressoInside the candy was a thick coffee tar. It was a lightly grainy paste that tasted just like the sludge at the bottom of a coffee pot left on the warmer over the weekend. Yes, it was bitter and a little sweet, but also a bit burnt like charcoal. It was a curious candy, because it didn’t really please me, yet I kept eating them.

Cappuccino - the candy shell was crisper and had an excellent crunch. The candy shells was lightly coffee flavored, but mostly sweet. The filling was very interesting, it was a frothy sweet, slightly salty cream with little shards of bitter coffee hard candy. The combination of textures is fun and the light coffee flavor did give me the impression of a cappuccino with lots of sugar in it.

I’m a huge fan of assortments like this. It’s a great way to sample the whole line of products and narrow in on what you like before taking the leap of a full bag. The price is a little steep for sugar candy, but the fact that they’re all natural and that many were unique help to offset that. It’s a low-risk/medium-reward purchase. I think if I were to buy them again, I’d focus in on the Mandorlatte and Cappuccino. (Both were available at Caputo’s as single flavor packages.) I picked up a chocolate variety too, called Puccini that I’m still working my way through.

Related Candies

  1. Krowki: Polish Cream Fudge
  2. William diCarlo Perle di dolcezza
  3. Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
  4. Pralus Creme de Noisette
  5. Puntini Jujubes - Frutti Tropicali

Name: Gran Mix
Brand: Cedrinca
Place Purchased: Caputo's Market (St. Charles, Il)
Price: $2.29
Size: 5.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Coffee, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Mints, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:26 pm     All NaturalCandyCoffeeHard Candy & LollipopsMintsNuts7-Worth ItItaly

Thursday, June 24, 2010

William diCarlo Perle di dolcezza

Perle di dolcezzaItaly has probably been a confectionery center for thousands of years. Before cane sugar came along candies were made from dates, honey and nuts. But when Italy became a center of trade in the Mediterranean and had access to white sugar they became a hotbed of candy invention.

The heart of this tradition is the panned sweet. A nut or seed is the starter and then layers of sugar or chocolate are added as they tumble in a bin (rather like a cement mixer). The bonus in this kind of candy making was that a thick sugar coating actually preserved the nut or seed at the center. So a candied almond or pistachio could be easily carried around without worry that they’d get rancid and of course they were ideal for gifting.

In 1833 William diCarlo was founded in Sulmona, Italy, an area known for confetti (panned nuts and seeds). Their traditional methods and care in selecting their ingredients is evident from the packaging, list of ingredients and the product itself. I was given this box of Perle di dolcezza by their distributor Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods in the United States after I saw them at the Fancy Food Show in January.

Perle di dolcezza

The box is a fascinating construction. It’s like a flower (see this page at Amazon). Pop the top off and the sides fold out, like origami. Inside that is a little clear cellophane bag nestled inside the foil lined box.

Let’s face it, they’re drop dead gorgeous candies from the outside. But the construction is just as tantalizing: they’re a hazelnut covered in rich chocolate and then a candy coating. The whole thing is finished with a bronzy sparkling layer.

They smell sweet and a little like roasted nuts, but not much like chocolate.

Perle di dolcezza

The shell is thick and very crispy. The nuts are well roasted, so they’re also crunchy with no hint of raw chewiness. The dark chocolate layer is thick, but not overpowering. So the whole thing munched together has an excellent balance between the nut and the chocolate. The shell is kind of odd, the pearly coating not only looks metallic, it tastes slightly metallic, kind of like pennies. Maybe that was my mind playing tricks on me, but it had a mineral salt flavor to it, like a strong mineral water with a little zinc or copper note.

I loved the look and the crunch with the fresh nut plus the good quality chocolate was definitely different - this is the M&M I’ve always wished existed. But the metallic taste to it was a little off-putting - like my mouth was saying “danger” so I was careful not to eat too many in one day. The price is something that would keep most mortals from chowing down on lethal levels anyway, I saw them on Amazon for $13.50 a package (that’s $49 a pound). So they’re definitely a “sometimes food” not an everyday indulgence. They’d be ideal for a small wedding/shower/party - and I’d probably mix them in with other not-so-expensive items as part of a favor or candy display.

Related Candies

  1. Real Eggshell filled with Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle
  2. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites
  3. M&Ms Premiums
  4. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Line

Name: Perle di dolcezza
Brand: William diCarlo
Place Purchased: sample from Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods
Price: $13.50 retail
Size: 4.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:46 pm     All NaturalCandyChocolateNuts7-Worth ItItaly

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Puntini Jujubes - Frutti Tropicali

Every once in a while when I’m at an Italian restaurant, I see a bowl of tiny waxed paper candies offered by the hostess desk. They’re usually green and look a bit like confetti. I used to get these in my stocking as a kid (in the eucalyptus version). They’re Italian jujubes called Puntini ... tiny little firm jelly disks that seem to last forever.

I got a whole bag of the Frutti Tropicali (Tropical Fruit) version from Candy Warehouse a few weeks ago and have been enjoying these tiny nibbles that come in five flavors.

Puntini Tropical - PineappleYellow = Pineapple

These are tiny little candies. Think the size of CeDe Smarties. About one half an inch around and a quarter of an inch high, the disk has a slight depression in one side.

Drop one on a hard surface and it sounds like a bit of plastic. Smooth and dry to the touch, it looks more like a piece of unpolished amber than candy.

While it may not look like candy immediately, it tastes like it. This little nubbin of yellow has an immediate flavor of pineapple. Granted, it’s more like canned pineapple, but still tangy & floral.

It dissolves slowly, and as it melts away it has a bit of a glycerin texture that I find soothing to my throat. Of course if you’re not patient enough to let it dissolve, it can get stuck in the teeth.

Puntini Tropical - PinkPink = Passion Fruit

The candies are mostly all natural. They’re naturally colored and flavored with some artificial flavors as well.

What I surprised about, since this was the first time I’ve had them with an actual packaged to check the ingredients, was that there is no gelatin in them. They’re thickened with Gum Arabic and starch. So these are completely vegan (the pink color comes from elderberry juice not cochineal).

The passion fruit was kind of like a punch flavor with a little hint of hibiscus ... not quite like the passion fruit flavors I’m used to. But what worked really well here was the texture, that smooth and gooey style works to sell the passion fruit as that’s what the fresh seeds are like.

Puntini Tropical - BlueBlue = Guava

Guava was my least favorite, but that’s a personal thing. I’m not that keen on fresh guavas and this has that same musky flavor to it - kind of like a really potent cantaloupe rind. It’s tangy and sweet and definitely fragrant.

Besides taking rather long to eat, these are ridiculously low in calories for a candy that’s not made with any low cal sweeteners. They clock in at less than 3 calories a piece ... yeah ... you can eat a whole ounce of them (which would be about 30 of them) and only take in 75 calories.

Puntini Tropical - LimeGreen = Key Lime

Tangy and zesty. I didn’t really get that key lime chalky note, but the zest seems true and more on the grapefruit side of things to keep it from going into bathroom cleaner territory.

The zest actually gives a lingering bitterness to it, but also means that the flavor lasts as well, giving this a good freshening aspect.

One of the other things I enjoyed, besides having a jar of them in my office with their bright & summery colors was the size. There’s a place in this world for a tiny candy. They’re pretty discreet to, so it’s easy to suck on one in a meeting without having a big bulge in your cheek if you need to talk.

Puntini Tropical - TangerineOrange = Mandarin Orange

This one was rather vividly colored orange.

Before I looked up what the flavors were supposed to be, I thought this was tangerine. But Mandarin Orange is probably a better description.

It’s tangy and has a zesty pop to it. It tastes a little like marmalade from time to time, less like an orange hard candy or a Tang drink mix.

I was really pleased with these, far more than I thought I’d be. They’re rather enduring. Simply packaged, compelling and probably a flavor for everyone in the mix. (I definitely want to try the Sambuca or Licorice version.)

I actually saw these for sale in little tins at Starbucks on Sunday, so they’re available in more reasonably sized packages than the internet ... but once you fall in love with them, the investment for a 3.3 pound bag might be worth it.

Note: the importer’s website says they are Gluten Free. Unfortunately there is no listing that says they’re Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Short & Sweet: Tropical Flavors
  2. Gourmet Gumdrops
  3. Dr. Doolittle’s Pastilles (Lemon, Grapefruit & Wild Berry)
  4. Licorice Assortment
  5. Jujyfruits & Jujubes
  6. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  7. Pastiglie Leone
Name: Puntini Frutti Tropicali
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Chipurnoi Inc.
Place Purchased: samples from Candy Warehouse
Price: $50.00
Size: 54.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 75
Categories: Jelly, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:34 am    

Monday, April 27, 2009

Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes

Leaf SchoolchalkI got an email from Leaf to try their new fruit Schoolchalk licorice.

I’ve had my fair share of skoolkrijt (schoolchalk) licorice on the past few years, after being given some by a coworker returning from a vacation. Since then I’ve bought pounds and pounds of the stuff to eat over and above the normal Candy Blog review queue. For those who have never had it, it’s a mild fondant/cream inside a black licorice tube, then covered in a crunchy, slightly minted candy shell. The little pieces look like blackboard chalk.

The idea of fruit flavored licorice was more than intriguing. I had no idea what it’d be like ... would it be flavored licorice, like Red Vines/Twizzlers or the traditional black stuff? Would it be white?

Leaf SchoolchalkThe answers came quickly as the box arrived and I opened it up.

The package explains it all pretty well - the candy coating outside is pastel colored and lightly flavored, then a black licorice rope filled with a creamy flavored center. There were three flavors: Lemon, Apple and Raspberry.

I am accustomed to the Venco brand of licorice chalk, but this was pretty much the same shape and size. One inch long and about one half an inch in diameter.

Leaf Schoolchalk

The pieces look an awful lot like chalk. They smell an awful lot like raspberry flavor ... doesn’t matter which piece I pick out of the assortment, they all smell like sticky, sweet, floral raspberry body wash. I separated out the pieces and dove in.

Raspberry is pink, of course. The crunchy shell is all sweetness, the cream center is more sweetness of a deeper more jam-flavor. The licorice is hard to discern, it contributes a slight woodsy and molasses note to the whole thing, but chewing quickly means missing it entirely.

Apple is light green. These were rather vague on the outside, perhaps because of the strong raspberry thing going on. On the inside though, the cream center is very strong and tastes of apple juice. The licorice is a nice texture variation, but there is no anise, no molasses, not beet-like root notes. I did not like apple.

Lemon in the lightest yellow is the redeemer here. The shell has a kiss of sweet lemon essence, like lemon balm. The cream center, though, is like a regular Skoolkrijt, a bit minty/menthol. The black licorice notes aren’t very strong, but dark and tasty.

I would buy just Yellow Chalk. I would not buy this fruit Schoolchalk. As it is, I’m just picking out the yellow stuff to eat. Eating the other flavors last week gave me a tummy ache and spoiled my appetite for dinner.

Made in Slovakia. I gave the Lemon a 7 out of 10, the rest a 5 out of 10.

Leaf Liquorice AllsortsThe nice thing about the Leaf folks was that they were happy send along some of their other classic products to give me a sense of their product line. So after the Schoolchalk, I visited with their Licorice Allsorts.

Allsorts vary from company to company but are generally mild, sandwiched squares of flavored fondant and licorice along with various pieces of coconut fondant and the occasional jelly button covered in nonpareils.

I loved the colors and font on this package.

Leaf Liquorice Allsorts

My favorite was the little cream filled licorice tube. The outside was a tough and only mildly spicy licorice with a lemon cream center. Easy to eat in one bite.

Next came the plain licorice bites. Tough to chew but a good woodsy flavor along with some beets & charcoal.

Chocolate sandwiches had a slight cocoa flavor to them. The licorice slabs were less flavorful than the plain bites, I figure they must leach flavor into the fondant. The yellow layers were lightly lemon and the pink ones might be a slight strawberry.

Leaf Liquorice AllsortsI was fond of the blue jelly dots, though the nonpareil crunchies kind of fell off large parts of them, and there were only four in the whole bag. They’re still so cute ... I wonder how necessary the blue food coloring is and if anyone makes a white version. The jelly center is lightly anise, soft and smooth.

The little pink and yellow circles were coconut. There may have been some flavor in there as well, but the coconut was the big player here. The licorice centers were softer than the other pieces.

On the whole the Allsorts were pleasant. I found myself picking through the assortment and finding enough to eat in there and nothing left over at the end that I found so unpalatable that I would throw it out (and I’m not shy about throwing out candy I don’t like). They’re pretty to look at and don’t necessarily get stale even when left sitting open on my desk overnight.

Made in Denmark. I give them a 7 out of 10

Leaf Liquorice PipesFinally, thrown in the box amongst the bags of Allsorts & Schoolchalk were these little individually wrapped Liquorice Pipes.

I know that licorice shapes are pretty popular, and in many European countries there are dozens. Here in the states I think that licorce comes in whips (twists or laces) and perhaps Scottie dogs, and that’s pretty much it.

I have no idea how licorice and pipes became so intertwined, but from the first moment I opened this package, I felt that Leaf had this one nailed.

Leaf Liquorice Pipes

Not only is this piece of black, wheat flour based & molasses sweetened licorice shaped like an old tobacco pipe ... it has glowing pink embers in the bowl!

The licorice is softer and maybe even denser than the others, perhaps because they’re individually wrapped. They smell like toffee, anise and a little touch of sulfur, figs and banana notes. The licorice isn’t that strong, not like other “Finnish” licorice like Panda. It has more of a dark & mild spice cookie-like texture and flavor.

Made in Italy. I give them a 7 out of 10.

Leaf is a Finnish brand but available widely in Canada at drug stores & large retailers (WalMart, Dollarmax, London Drugs, etc.). In the United States they may be harder to find, so stick to import shops.

Overall, one of the cool things about licorice and the family of licorice candies is that it’s rather low in calories (usually about 100 to 110 calories per ounce), colorful and fun and with some fun flavor combinations. They can be very satisfying because of the wheat flour ingredient, but of course that means they’re unsuitable for those with wheat & gluten issues. Schoolchalk contains gelatin, so is not suitable for vegetarians.

Related Candies

  1. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  2. Young & Smylie Traditional Licorice
  3. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  4. Licorice Assortment
  5. Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts
  6. Dutch Licorice
Name: Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Liquorice Pipes
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Leaf
Place Purchased: samples from Leaf
Price: unknown
Size: 7 ounces, 10.6 ounces & .6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106, 99 & unknown
Categories: Licorice, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:58 pm    

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Laica & Caffarel Chocolate Eggs

Laica Chocolate EggsMy office is now next door to a Cost Plus World Market. Which means that I browse there about once a week ... and try to resist buying more than twice a month. It took three trips before I succumbed to this one kilo (2.2 pound) bag of Sweet Moments Chocolate Eggs (Ovetti) made by Laica. Priced at $9.99 it wasn’t that it would cost me a Hamilton, it was that it was more than two pounds of foil covered chocolate eggs. That’s a lotta candy!

The description on the front says milk chocolate eggs with hazelnuts cream and cereals filling. There’s also a little logo in the top right that says puro cioccolato.

Laica Chocolate EggsAll of the candies are the same flavor, but feature four designs on the foil. Each has the company logo on it and calls these Nocciola (hazelnut).

The light blue has an angry chick, the green has a white duck, the tan has a decidedly unhappy sheep and the yellow features emotionless butterflies and flowers.

The eggs are about 1.25 inches long with little lines on the widest part. They smell sweet and a little like roasted nuts and hot chocolate.

Laica Chocolate Eggs

The bite is soft and easy. The chocolate shell melts easily, it’s real chocolate and in the European milky style.

The center is creamy with dots of little cereal pieces. They’re like crisped rice, only spherical and according to the ingredients made of a mix of corn, rice, wheat and barley. They’re crispy and provide a nice malty crunch. The creamy paste in the center is sweet and sticky with a hint of hazelnut flavor - not as much as I’d hoped. The ingredients show that the center is sugar, fractionated oils, the cereal bits and then 8% hazelnut paste followed by cocoa & milk plus some other stuff.

Overall, they’re quite easy to eat. They don’t satisfy in the sense that after three I don’t want any more, instead I keep eating them. Though they’re more expensive than some other American made chocolate confections available for Easter, they edge out on the quality front and they certainly taste good. And they’re cute.

Last year Easter came much earlier (March 23, 2008), so I think there were far more after holiday deals to be found because of the compressed selling period between Valentine’s and Easter. One of them I was eager to take advantage of was this set of Caffarel Eggs being sold at Williams-Sonoma (they’re back this year). At regular price, they’re pretty expensive at $24 for 10 ounces (19 eggs). But I ordered them on clearance after Easter for $6.99 a bag. I also got the candy shell version which didn’t return this year.

Caffarel Eggs

Each little egg had a collar and label: mandorla (almond), torroncino (nougat), gianduja (hazelnut & chocolate paste).

Caffarel Gianduia EggSadly my clearance deal netted me two bags of bloomed chocolate. I ate most of the first bag, and though the bloom wasn’t too bad, it did make the outside of the eggs rather oily and difficult to remove the clingy thin foil.

The chocolate is smooth and silky (other than the bloom issue), the center was rich and thick, much like the other Caffarel gianduia products I’ve had. The nougat one had little crunchy bits in it. The almond one had an amaretto flavor to it that I didn’t care for at all ... so about a third of the bag was a flavor I didn’t care for (but luckily others I know do).

The quality of the ingredients is top notch and the hazelnut flavor (or almond, in the case of the mandorla) is rich and decadent. The packaging is exceptional, each one is a little gift (though also makes a lot of little bits of paper for cleanup). I’m not going to give them a rating because of the bloom though.

They’re a wonderful little treat, but very expensive when there are other products around like the Ovetti or even the Moser Roth Truffles my mother sent me from Aldi. However, I do see them sold singly from time to time, usually for a dollar at fine delis ... so it’s definitely worth it to have a little treat now and then.

Related Candies

  1. Lindt Chocolate Carrots
  2. Nestle Creme Eggs
  3. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  4. Caffarel Figs & Chestnuts (Fico & Castagna)
  5. Caffarel Chocolate Truffle Mushrooms
  6. Caffarel Gianduia 1865
Name: Sweet Moments Ovetti (Chocolate Eggs)
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Laica
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $9.99
Size: 38 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Cookie, Italy, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:06 am    

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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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