Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Thanks goodness Ikea’s proclivity for sassy names does not extend to their treats at the food section. I have enough trouble buying candy shaped like rats that looks like the felt pulled out from a highlighter pen that I don’t need it to be further called Bjarf, Puke or Funkis.
Name: Licorice Boats
I gave these to Russ to try the other night and he agreed that, “The licorice in my licorice boat had already set sail.” These are definitely sweet - you just open the bag and the sugary smell permeates the air. But there’s no there there. The jelly center has a bit of a licorice perfume to it, but no bite. I think I’ve come to expect molasses with my licorice as it’s a good anchor for the flavor.
Name: Jelly Rats
They’re rather scary looking, and I’m telling you that’s the actual color - some sort of slightly translucent-neon hazard color. They also have a strong sweet smell infused with violet which didn’t thrill me, but biting into them I found a nice, tart and fruity jelly candy. The flavors aren’t complex or strong, but just nice. If I am planning on having a Swedish jelly candy though, I really want some Swedish fish.
Name: Marabou Milk Chocolate with Nuts
This was the positive find in the whole experience. They’re little chunks of milk chocolate with crushed hazelnuts. Really creamy, very sweet with good nuts. The chocolate is smooth and the toasty taste of the nuts infuses it well.
It’s simple and satisfying. The roll is easy to share and I might make a point to pick these up at the start of my shopping experience at Ikea as a little boost. I ate them all before I finished typing this review.
Ratings: Licorice Boats - 4 out of 10
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Name: Chocolate Truffles
I know, I’ve said it before but I truly believe that candy is for the masses. I’m not sure if this counts as candy - it might be edible art or perhaps just some sort of upscale “proof of exclusivity.” They’re just chocolates, so why are they so damn expensive?
I only bought four, because they were so dang expensive. They are, from left to right - Bronte: Raspberry & Earl Grey; Maya: Espresso; Veda: Ginger and Jade: Green Tea. (I think they all had chic names.)
The raspberry & earl grey was my first try - it was definitely the one that I was most interested in. We’d started our visit with some caramel ice cream and another scoop of their black tea ice cream. These folks know how to work with botanicals. The raspberry flavoring is in an ultra-soft and creamy bittersweet chocolate center. After that melts onto the tongue, a dryness is noticeable and then the bergamot of the Earl Grey really shines. I could have used more chocolate taste though.
The green tea was next and didn’t really thrill me. The texture at first was beautifully smooth. The center on this one is a creamy, well, cream, no chocolate there. The green tea gave it a woodsy flavor but also a bit of a chalkiness (I’m guessing they used matcha instead of an essence).
Espesso was definitely coffee-ish. Predictable - but dependable. Smooth, woodsy, strong and with a slight smokey quality and a caffeinated charge with bits of espresso beans on the top.
The only milk chocolate choice I made was the ginger one (which the woman at the counter said was her personal favorite). Upon biting into it, the ginger was wonderfully fragrant. It didn’t smell like powdered ginger, it was fresh and zesty. The milk chocolate is a great foundation for this.
All the centers were a bit too buttery for me - they needed a bit more of the cocoa solids or something for it to not feel like I was eating a stick of butter.
So there you have it, my two favorites are Veda and Bronte with Maya making a good showing. Will I buy them again? Unlikely. But if someone were to give them to me as a gift, well, I’d tsk, tsk and protest that you shouldn’t have and then probably give you a kiss.
Name: Fruit Pate
The other purchase, which was much more affordable were the slabs of fruit pate. Think fruit jellies and then jam twice as much flavor in them and you’ve got fruit pate. I picked up three of these flavors:
Raspberry, Blood Orange and something called Calamansi which is a Philippino citrus similar to a lime.
These are more flavorful and a bit fresher feeling that those Sunkist fruit gems (which I also enjoy). Of course no one’s going to mass produce uncommon flavors like calamansi so you have to go to one of these places to get that kind of stuff. In fact, the calamansi was divine. It was zesty, tart and sweet. It was like lime but also had some grapefruit notes to it. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for this fruit in other forms. The raspberry was really flavorful, like distilled jam but the blood orange was a little bland after all that. I’d definitely buy these again and would look for some more exotic tea/botanical essences.
Ratings - Chocolate Truffles - 7 out of 10 (for $2.50 each, they should do the dishes or wash my car)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Name: Mike and Ike Orange ‘n Cream
Mike and Ikes are made by the Just Born candy company. They make such love-‘em-or-hate-‘em products as Marshmallow Peeps, Hot Tamales and now Goldenberg Peanut Chews.
Now, this review probably comes a little late as I’ve found no mention of these on their website (that’s what I get for shopping at the 99 Cent Only Store). They’re a special edition of Mike and Ikes in Orange ‘n Cream.
Think of a chilly orange creamsicle.
Then think of orange aspergum.
It’s somewhere in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Mike and Ikes are great. Well, I’ve loved Hot Tamales for years. They were like the original Jelly Bellys because they actually put lots of flavor into the candies instead of those bland jelly beans that were on the market before. In fact, Just Born makes a line of Teenee Beanees.
Mike and Ike also put out a limited flavor last year called Root Beer which I liked in principle but not in practice. However, Just Born did the right thing by making the hotter version of Hot Tamales.
So, to sum up, don’t buy really old candy that’s been discontinued. They probably stopped making it for a reason.
Rating - 4 out of 10
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Name: Turkish Delight (Hazelnut)
I’ve gotten the impression that some of those who come to the Candy Blog are curious about Turkish Delight. I’ve already detailed my impressions of The Ginger People’s Ginger Delight. Today’s review is of a more traditional Turkish Delight.
But first a little background from the back of the package:
Most Turkish Delight I’ve had in the past was coated in a mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, which makes it rather messy and though it’s a pretty bland coating, it does make for a sweet coating. Turkish Delight is generally flavored with scents - light and aromatic scents. In the past I’ve had Orange Blossom, Rosewater and Lemon.
This traditional Hazelnut Turkish Delight from Sultan is coated in coconut, which keeps the cubes from sticking together or to your fingers but also adds a wonderful nutty/chewy texture to the delicate sugar paste and hazelnuts (filberts).
Turkish Delight is probably not a treat for everyone. It’s not really a “snackable” treat where you can take it to a movie and pop them in your mouth. It’s more like something you’d put out with some nice cookies on a plate with some delicate tea.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Name: Ginger Delight
When I was a kid I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. In it, Edmund is lured into the White Witch’s carriage with promises of Turkish delight. I found something called Turkish Paste at Middle Eastern markets and decided that’s what was in the book.
Turkish Delight is basically jellied sugar. Usually just a mixture of sugar, a dash of corn starch and a little flavor. Typical flavors for Turkish Delight are aromatic in nature (there’s no sour tang, just sweetness, smooth texture and scent). Most common are rose and lemon.
At Whole Foods over the weekend I found that The Ginger People have created a Turkish Delight with the scent of ginger and even smooth little ginger pieces. First thing to know about Turkish Delight is that it’s very messy. The little jelly squares are usually cut into cubes and then dusted generously in confectioners sugar and corn starch to keep them from sticking. You can’t help but get it everywhere, so I recommend wearing white when consuming Turkish Delight so as not to look like a slob.
The cubes are not heavily fragranced, but upon biting into them they’re smooth and delicately flavored with ginger. Occasionally there’s a little treat of a smooth pieces of ginger in there. There’s no bite to it, which I was a little disappointed with, but that’s not really Turkish Delight’s style.
Turkish Delight is not an everyday snacking candy, it’s a special treat or for specific occasions. I’ll probably buy this again, but not anytime soon.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
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