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Monday, June 9, 2008

Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)

Reese's Dark Knight Bats

One of the items teased at the September 2007 All Candy Expo was the series of The Dark Knight (Batman) tie in products. As the Indiana Jones Mars products (Mint Crisp M&Ms & Snickers Adventure Bar) found their way onto the shelves about 6-8 weeks in advance of the movie release, I was keeping a close watch for the new Reese’s & KitKat products in the past weeks.

The Limited Edition line features:

  • Reese’s Pieces - black and dark blue Reese’s Pieces (peanut butter with a crunchy candy shell) - comes in both large bags and single serve size.
  • KitKat Special Edition - a regular Milk Chocolate KitKat with a bat symbol molded onto the fingers. (I’m really sorry they didn’t bring back the dark chocolate KitKat for this tie-in.) Photo here.
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Bats

  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of dark chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.
  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of milk chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.
  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.
  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.
  • Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter BatI found the bags of the medallions at Target yesterday. They also had the Reese’s Pieces, but frankly, different colored RP just weren’t distinctive enough to get me to buy them. A new proportion of chocolate and peanut butter and the further enticement of dark chocolate is enough to get me to buy them, though.

    The Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats bag is a rich chocolate brown, setting it apart from the regular Reese’s orange offerings (though it has that signature orange on the wrapper as an accent).

    There’s also some sort of a sweepstakes thing going on where you can Find the bat-signal and win instantly but there was no game piece in either bag so I’m left to wonder how this thing works. (If it’s not a regular game piece that you open to find out if you’ve won, then what prevents someone from going through all the bags at the store and peeking through the little “window” in the package to see if there is a winning game piece?)

    Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The dark ones are just shy of 1.75 inches in length and a little over 1 inch across and a half an inch tall. They weigh about 10 grams each (a regular Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cup is about 9 grams).

    I assume that these are absolutely fresh, and have an expiry date of April 2009. However, the sheen of the chocolate was slightly greasy, as Reese’s products usually are. (The exception is pretty much the Fresh from the Factory cups.) The bag smells like dark roasted peanuts.

    The chocolate is very soft, so the whole thing has a mellow fudgy bite to it. It melts quickly, rather slick on the tongue but pretty smooth. The peanut butter filling, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of Reese’s peanut butter center you’d expect. A little sandy in texture, a bit salty and sweet.

    The dark chocolate is actually bitter, so there’s a whole mix of flavors here - sweet, salt and bitter plus the textures of the chocolate and light crunch of the rough peanut butter.

    It’s a great combination and really refreshing. The proportions here are weighted heavily towards the dark chocolate (which isn’t really “dark” as it has milk fat in it), much more than the previous regular-sized Limited Edition Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

    The foil wrapper is also very appealing; it’s a bronzy brown around the sides and the top has the Reese’s logo and bat logo.

    There’s a strange molding anomaly on them, just about all that I unwrapped had little bubbles on either end of the top. (I opened quite a few, looking for a pristine one for the photo, then finding this to be the norm, photographed it.)

    Rating: 9 out of 10

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter BatThe little oval medallion has the stylized bat-signal symbol molded into the top of each piece. Yes, the logo on these is a little different. As with most continuations of classic franchises, the bat-signal has evolved. The original was not an actual bat, but Batman & his cape ... at some point them omitted his head. Back in the old TV show days and the first few movies it looked like this which was pretty consistent with the TV series emblem.

    But just as superheroes change their costumes, the logo became more angular and lost some of its bat-ness and wing fringes. (To me it looks more like a car logo now.)

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats are simply tasty. They’re everything you’d expect in a flattened Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniature. The chocolate is sweet and pretty mellow but has a slight cool feeling on the tongue. The peanut butter center is immediately salty, squishy and has the dark roasted flavors of peanuts & a sandy texture.

    There’s less peanut butter, so fans of the peanut part and not the chocolate part should probably stick with the original or seek out the single serve size Bats (I haven’t found those yet).

    Rating: 8 out of 10

    Overall, this is a good tie in. I like the use of dark chocolate on a tried-and-true favorite. I also like that they tried a new shape instead of just tossing some different foil on the regular minis. (Of course then it just makes us sadder when they go away.) The proportions on the milk chocolate just didn’t have the same appeal as the regular minis or the larger eggs - but I’m sure some other folks will find them to be their ideal version.

    Anyone found the large sized bats yet?

    Related Candies

    1. Colt’s Bolts
    2. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
    3. KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis
    4. Darth M&Ms
    5. Bleached Reese’s
    Name: Reese's Dark Knight Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hershey's
    Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
    Price: $3.49
    Size: 10.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 142
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Reese's, Hershey's, Kosher, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:15 am     Comments (20)

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    The Oh Henry!s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Oh Henry (American & Canadian)

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

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

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

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

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

    Canadian Oh Henry! (Hershey)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Candies

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

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:15 am     Comments (41)

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Fairhaven Candy Crumblz!

    Crumblz - Chocolate PeanutHere’s one of those items that I never figured I’d see: Fairhaven Candy has created not only an all-natural flaked peanut butter, but it’s also Kosher, Gluten Free and Vegan. I tried it back in March at ExpoWest and have been waiting to get my hands on a full bag for the detailed review.

    They’ve appropriately named them Crumblzsoft, flaky peanut butter treat. It’s pretty much the center of a Butterfinger bar, minus the hydrogenated fats, minus the whey & nonfat milk, and of course minus the preservative TBHQ.

    So while they took out all those crazy additional ingredients, all that’s left in this little candy is this: peanut butter (peanuts & salt), organic sugar, non-GMO corn syrup, peanuts, water, vanilla, baking soda. This particular version also has squiggles of dark chocolate on it.

    If that looks like it’s really a lot of dense peanut butter, it’s much lighter than I expected.


    The pieces come in little scored quads. Each piece, when broken off is a nice two bite chunk (or a big mouthful). Inside are layers of the nutty flakes plus whole peanuts.

    While they don’t look particularly appealing by themselves, I can tell you that they smell mouthwateringly good. Roasted nuts, some toasty sugar notes and a little dash of salt ... like fresh baked peanut butter cookies. It remindes me of Halvah.

    They don’t quite have the flaky chew that something like the center of a Fifth Avenue, but then again, they don’t stick to your teeth the way that a Butterfinger can. And no mockolate! (You can even get them without any chocolate at all, if you’re all about the peanut butter.)

    Nutritionally, yeah, this stuff is loaded with calories because it has all that peanut fat in there, but the difference between this and plain peanut butter is negligible. It’s also really satisfying, because of, well, all that peanut fat and protein.

    The only other bad news about these is probably the price and the ability to find them. You can order online but they’re about $4 a package. I’m sure they’re in shops like Whole Foods & natural product stores. If you’ve spotted them, how are the prices? I’d love it, honestly, if they just made a single serving bar. It gets a little messy pulling the pieces out of the bag.

    Related Candies

    1. All Candy Expo in a Box
    2. Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
    3. Clark Bar
    4. Chick-o-Stick
    5. Head-to-Head: Butterfinger vs. 5th Avenue
    Name: Crumblz! Chocolate Peanut
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Fairhaven Candy
    Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
    Price: $4.00 retail
    Size: 7 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 143
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Kosher, All Natural

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:08 am     Comments (7)

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Roca Buttercrunch Thins

    Roca Buttercrunch ThinsI knew the Roca Buttercrunch Thins were coming out, but I still haven’t seen them in stores. There are four varieties, milk chocolate, 60% dark, dark truffle & caramel truffle. Luckily I got this sample box of the 60% Cacao Roca Buttercrunch Thins from All Candy Expo (the one that I was most interested in!). 

    While I love the toffee center of Almond Roca (and the Mocha Roca), I’m not fond of the greasy mockolate coating and messy crushed almonds. (Yes, I sometimes scrape them off and just eat the center.) Isn’t it nice that Brown & Haley finally recognized that they can use better ingredients.

    The 2.8 ounce box holds 8 pieces, each in their own little slot in a divided tray. It’s about the size of a VHS box (maybe a little thinner), but it seems like a lot of packaging and protection for what are probably pretty durable little candies.

    The initial description of them as Thins was intriguing, I was picturing little toffee tiles like Valerie Confections sells. Instead I saw a post on Chocolate Traveler that showed that these are little sticks, which is fine with me.

    Roca Buttercrunch Thins

    The smell like toasted nuts, burnt sugar and dark chocolate. The dark chocolate coating, in my case, was slightly bloomed (and I blame myself for that, as it started to get absurdly hot in Los Angeles and didn’t follow my own precautions). The texture was just fine though. (And the last two got really bloomed, so I know what bloomed chocolate is in this case.)

    I love the Roca toffee, it’s crispy and buttery at the same time. It has wonderfully complex burnt sugar flavors and the added nutty bits of almonds. The dark chocolate was also a smooth and creamy, adding a little more dimension with its own dark palate of flavors.

    While I consider this a very successful confection, I find the packaging a little overdone. Does it really need to have both the fold over flap (hand purse style) box, plus the tray? The whole thing is then overwrapped in cellophane.

    The price point, as far as I can tell from the Brown & Haley website is $3.95 a box, which puts it at over $22 per pound. For that price I’d either go up a notch and have some Carey’s of Oregon, Poco Dolce or Valerie Confections, or go down a notch and have a Heath Bar (why oh, why won’t they make them in dark chocolate?).

    Related Candies

    1. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
    2. Shaymee’s Toffee
    3. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
    4. Enstrom’s Toffee
    5. The Rocas
    Name: Roca Buttercrunch Thins: 60% Cacao
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Brown & Haley
    Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
    Price: $3.95 retail
    Size: 2.8 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 150
    Categories: Chocolate, Toffee, Nuts, United States, Brown & Haley, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:57 am     Comments (12)

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor Mix

    Jelly Belly is always coming up with new flavors and themes. This spring it’s their new Ice Cream Parlor Mix inspired by Cold Stone Creamery. Cold Stone is known for their freezing plank of granite where they scoop & mix your custom mix of ingredients (or you can pick from their standard menu). An appropriate tie in with Jelly Belly that already produces an extensive list of “recipes” for combing beans.

    Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Parlor Mix Jelly Belly

    As a mix, the list of flavors here is pretty short:

  • Chocolate Devotion: combines the flavors of Chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips, brownie and fudge. This is pretty similar to my reaction to all chocolate flavored items, it’s watery and being jelly based, it doesn’t even have the mild dairy component that Tootsie Rolls have. It’s not as sweet as I expected.

  • Apple Pie a la Cold Stone: combines the flavors of French Vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, graham cracker pie crust, apple pie filling and caramel. I’d say that they nailed this flavor, though part of me asks why they’d even bother. It has a nice cinnamon & apple essence at the start, which descends to a sweet frenzy of artificial graham and vanilla notes.

  • Our Strawberry Blonde: combines the flavors of Strawberry ice cream, graham cracker pie crust, strawberries, caramel and whipped topping. It smells only lightly of strawberry, but sweet. It’s immediately tangy and nicely berry, much like a strawberry sauce. I get nothing else, perhaps a hint of vanilla ... it tastes like a strawberry sorbet might. Nice and simple (and I’m kind of glad I don’t taste the caramel & graham crackers).

  • Birthday Cake Remix: combines the flavors of Cake Batter(tm) ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, brownie and fudge. This is very sweet, with all the artificial enjoyment of a boxed yellow cake mix. It does actually evoke a cake batter ... but then again, I don’t care much for cake or overly sweet frosting & sprinkles. It is a cute little bean, with little multi colored confetti flecks.

  • Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip: combines the flavors of Mint ice cream, chocolate chips, brownie and fudge. As I found in my tasting of the Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy, mint chocolate chip is probably best enjoyed as actual ice cream. This flavor is very minty but similarly watery tasting and flat. The cocoa notes are barely perceptable, and come in with that Tootsie Roll flavor.

    While I think that some folks may enjoy these mild little beans, I have to wonder if you want to grab a handful and actually mix the Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip with Apple Pie a la Cold Stone. Some combos obviously work fine, but I like to think that a custom mix like this would be completely compatible. The only ones I ended up eating were the strawberry.

    Jelly Belly are Kosher and Gluten Free. There are no dairy products in here (even though they’re ice cream flavors) so they may be suitable for Vegans (as long as you’re okay with beeswax). Made in a facility that processes peanuts.

    Related Candies

    1. Baskin-Robbins Soft Candy
    2. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
    3. Jelly Belly Dark Chocolate Jelly Beans
    4. Mentos Xtrm: Mint & Spearmint
    5. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe
    Name: Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Parlor Mix
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Jelly Belly
    Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
    Price: unknown
    Size: 3.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 99
    Categories: Jelly, United States, Jelly Belly, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:35 am     Comments (10)

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2008


    One of the more timely items I got from the All Candy Expo folks is this box of Crackheads candy. It’s been around for at least a year, but I haven’t seen it in stores.


    I first saw them on ThinkGeek and reviewed on CandyAddict. I wasn’t terribly interested in them, after all, they’re just chocolate covered coffee beans, not exactly an innovative new product. The unique selling proposition in this case is that they’re in “single serve” boxes and come as a mix of both white chocolate and dark chocolate coatings.

    The boxes look similar to Lemonheads or Boston Baked Beans. Easily portable and resealable.

    Crackheads Close-UpThey’re really nicely panned coffee beans. Though they’re not all consistent in size, the panning is excellent with shiny coats and well-tempered chocolate. The white chocolate is real white chocolate made with cocoa butter. The mellow malty milky flavors go really well with the coffee bean. This was the first time I’d had a white chocolate coated one, and it’s a natural match - the fatty sweetness with the dairy flavors are pretty much a dense version of a latte.

    The dark verison are not nearly as sweet, but still provides a nice counterpoint to the dark and lightly bitter beans. The beans are crunchy without being fiberous or too burnt tasting. My box had a bit more white chocolate to it, but I was okay with that.

    imageThe “creator” of Crackheads, John Osmanski, was on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch last night on CNBC. The segment was One Minute to Millions where they featured a panel of three experts: Kevin Nealon (who was there promoting his book and probably provided the consumer point of view), Pam Macharola of Blair Candy and Brian Pipa of Candy Addict!

    The product was introduced with a little pretaped segment. It made no mention of the fact that chocolate covered espresso beans have been around for at least 30 years. They’re pretty widely available, at least in specialty stores or at coffee locations like Starbucks (and of course the new Hershey’s Starbucks chocolates). While the back of the box has a breakdown of caffeine content of other beverages (cocoa, cola, tea, coffee & espresso), it doesn’t exactly spell out the caffeine content of the actual product. However, the Crackheads website pegs it at about 120 mgs (about half of a cup of coffee).

    imageOsmanski introduced the product as a solution to those low caffeine moments, especially for students and academics.

    The new tagline “because everyone’s addicted to something” works well with the name. The product packaging has been redesigned since my sample (you can see the new one here). But the general consensus from the panel was that the name would never have the wide appeal that would guarantee it placement on the shelves of stores like Walmart (which might be necessary to make millions off a single $2 product). Instead it would probably stay in places like Think Geek and coffee houses (where it’s currently found).

    imageWhile I think it’s a good quality product, the packaging feels a bit downscale, not rising to the $2 per package price tag - which translates to over $24 per pound (the Starbucks version is about $12 a pound). The name, which tries to co-opt drug culture fails ... there may be other names that might fit the addiction tag better (but I’m not going to come up with it here, Osmanski has a blog if you want to give him feedback directly). Perhaps coming up with two lines, one under this name and another more mainstream version would be a success story worthy of follow up on Donny Deutsch.

    (I suspect that Osmanium doesn’t actually manufacturer these, just repacks them, as they package says that they are made in a facility that processes peanuts & tree nuts. The website also says that they’re Kosher. My prime candidate as the maker of these is Koppers Chocolates.)

    Related Candies

    1. Starbucks Chocolate
    2. Snickers Charged
    3. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
    4. Java Twix
    5. Green & Black’s Espresso Chocolate
    6. Pocket Coffee
    Name: Crackheads
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Osmanium
    Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
    Price: $2.00 retail
    Size: 1.3 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 146
    Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Coffee, United States, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:52 am     Comments (10)

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Hershey’s Bliss

    imageI’ve been a little mad at Hershey’s and while it’s only partly because of this new Bliss line*, I haven’t been that eager to try it. Their website & advertisements for the candy are so bland and generic, they may as well substitute the shots of the computer animated candy with shampoo bottles.

    I’m not the only one who wonders why Hershey’s is coming out with a Dove-style bite at this time. It’s not like Hershey’s doesn’t already have a premium creamy chocolate line, whatever happened to Symphony? That’s a great name ... why go off and invent a whole new line? It just seems so silly and useless. And why is it $4 for a bag ... the price is at least a third more than the standard miniatures? How good could it be? Seeing how they’re also pushing another new line of premium chocolates via their Starbucks tie in (stuff that’s actually, I dunno, premium), how is this going to cut through the clutter of choices?

    Knowing myself and how my irritation can color my enjoyment of confections, I waited. (And while I waited, I read other reviews: CandyAddict & Chocolate-Snob plus Candy Critic’s special demonstration of why Canadians don’t lock their doors.)


    Hershey’s is wise to create these little packets above, I spotted them at Walgreen’s (though the ones I have are free samples) for 50 cents and they include a coupon good for a dollar off of a regular sized bag (so if you like them it’s a good deal). Of course you can also get a coupon on the Hershey’s website for a dollar off without the sample purchase.

    Each little packet had three foil wrapped Bliss bites (.76 ounces). No, no package to sample all three varieties: Rich & Creamy Dark Chocolate, Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with a Meltaway Center.

    (The names are actually all in lower case, because women dig that, it makes them think that these chocolates cry watching movies on AMC with them and they’re not into yoga but they’re into champagne.)


    rich & creamy dark chocolate: comes in a dark maroon foil (the same shade that I love as nail polish but just can’t pull off because I’m so pale and freckly). The little square melts well, and certainly has a silky texture on the tongue. The flavor, well, it’s kind of like hot chocolate - all middle of the road. (There is milkfat in this dark chocolate.)

    smooth & creamy milk chocolate: comes in a rather odd purple foil, one of those purples that looks blue under florescent lights but purple under sunlight. Just to compare, I go a hold of a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate miniature to remind myself of the taste and texture. The Bliss bite has a silky melt, it’s rather sweet, a little sticky and has a less nutty and tangy taste than the regular Hershey’s chocolate. If you’re hesitant to try this because you don’t like the taste of Hershey’s Chocolate, this is definitely a different process that doesn’t have that yogurt flavor.

    milk chocolate with a meltaway center: comes in rich brown foil. It doesn’t smell like much, but true to its name it does meltaway. This is because instead of being filled with chocolate, it’s filled with chocolate with an added boost of palm kernel oil. And before you go thinking that I don’t like tropical oils, I actually love them when they’re used properly. Instead of being used for a firm center like Frangos or a super-soupy one like Lindt Lindor Truffles, this strikes a nice balance ... think hazelnut paste, but a bit smoother.

    I was surprised at how well Hershey’s delivered on the creamy part of their pledge (and without PGPR). They don’t satisfy me, really, they might have a great texture but lack the chocolate punch that would really make them a rich indulgence. Three pieces of the dark chocolate are 100 calories, the other two varieties are 110 calories for three pieces.

    * For the record, some of the other things that have Hershey’s in the dog house for me would be: closing the Canada & California factories & moving production to Mexico, changing the chocolate on 5th Avenue to mockolate, changing the Candy Cane Kisses so they no longer have cocoa butter in them and backing the FDA petition to downgrade chocolate definition and even though I didn’t mind them that much, for changing Good & Fruity.

    Related Candies

    1. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
    2. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
    3. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
    4. Hershey’s Heart’s Desire
    5. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
    6. Caffarel Gianduias
    7. Ferrero Rocher
    Name: Bliss
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hershey's
    Place Purchased: samples from Hershey's
    Price: $.50 retail
    Size: .76 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 132-145
    Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:47 pm     Comments (22)

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar (no sugar added)

    MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar (No added Sugar)This is the oddest bar I think I’ve ever tried and that’s not a bad thing.

    It’s called MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar 70% single origin Colombian cacao - unsweetened. That’s the extent of the description given. What I found interesting reading the back of the package is that this bar is made in Colombia. And it’s made by Eneh Compania Nacional de Chocolates, and only distributed by MarieBelle (in their bar format, of course). It’s certified Kosher.

    Now, besides its origin, it has other tricks up its sleeve. Unlike the 99% & 100% cacao stuff that I’ve been eating for the past two days, this is more like Michel Cluizel’s Cacao Forte 99% truffle. While there’s no added sugar here, there is a lot of milk ... probably more milk than some chocolate bars have chocolate.

    MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar (No added Sugar)The bar may be 70% cacao, but the second ingredient is milk. The whole list of ingredients goes like this: Cocoa mass, skim milk powder, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, PGPR-90 polyglicerol polyricinoleate (emulsifier) and natural vanilla.

    From what I understand from reading the label, what MarieBelle (or Eneh) has done is take some intense, unsweetened chocolate and diluted it with some milk & emulsifiers. Much like coffee becomes much more drinkable to the majority of folks with a bit of milk to temper the bitterness but still allow the flavors to come through, that’s how this bar operates. Milk adds a bit of sweetness with its natural sugars (lactose) as well as simple bulk with its fats & protein. (This bar has about 20% more protein per ounce than straight chocolate but also has 16 grams of carb per ounce though none of them straight sugars.)

    Yes, it has PGPR in it too, which I was a little concerned about, as I associate it with cheap chocolate ... it’s a simple filler in most cases, it maintains the texture & mouthfeel of chocolate but of course is far cheaper than actually have chocolate content. In this case, I’m guessing with such high milk content the extra emulsifiers are handy to keep the bar properly integrated.

    But all that technical stuff aside, it’s a nice looking bar. It reminds me of a rye crisp, with the little divets in it or maybe a game board that should have little pegs.

    MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar (No added Sugar)

    The thick plank of chocolate has a nice stiff snap to it. I was concerned with all the extra milk & emulsifiers it’d be fudgy or soft, but it has a texture consistent with a 70% dark bar.

    It smells a bit dusty, a little caramelized but actually slightly sweet as well.

    On the tongue it has a very slow and viscous melt. It reminds me of peanut butter. It actually tastes a bit like dark roasted peanuts. It also has those toasted burnt sugar notes, like the crust of a creme brullee.

    It’s quite sticky in the mouth, but that makes it feel substantial and long-lasting if savored. The other way to go is to chew it up, but I have to say that makes a big mess in the mouth. Once it melts, it’s clingy. Chocolate with sugar in it wants to fall apart, kind of like fudge. Instead, this is almost like a caramel, it wants to stay together.

    I have to say that even though this bar is jarringly different than many chocolate bars, the way they’ve solved the problem of leaving out sugar without being chalky or blazingly bitter is quite pleasing. (Kudos for not going to the sugar alcohols that mess with the texture and of course have those unwanted side effects.) If you’re a fan of peanut butter flavors and textures, this bar won’t feel too unfamiliar.

    I don’t know if I’d buy it again for myself, but if you’re on a low carb or no sugar diet (but have no problem with the immense amount of fat) this could be the indulgence you’re looking for. I don’t think this bar is that easy to find. I got mine at Chocolate Covered in San Francisco, you can also order online directly from MarieBelle.

    Related Candies

    1. Four 99%-100% Chocolate
    2. Hershey’s Favorites - Sugar Free
    3. Choxie 3 Ounce Chocolate Bars
    4. Milka Alpenmilch
    5. MarieBelle Chocolates
    Name: Mayan Chocolate Bar
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: MarieBelle (made by Eneh Compania Nacional de Chocolates)
    Place Purchased: Chocolate Covered (SF)
    Price: $7.50
    Size: 3.52 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 158
    Categories: Chocolate, Colombia, MarieBelle, Single Origin, Kosher, Sugar Free

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:53 am     Comments (4)

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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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