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Licorice Candy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goetze’s Licorice and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams

Goetze's Caramel Creams - Licorice, Chocolate & ClassicGoetze’s introduced new Gourmet Caramel Creams last year to their line. The two new items are Licorice Caramel Creams and Double Chocolate Caramel Creams.

Licorice Caramel Creams are not new, they were made years ago and then discontinued as licorice fell out of favor and Goetze’s concentrated on the core products in their line.

The new caramel creams are formatted in the same way. A hoop of wheat-based caramel surrounds a crumbly soft sugar center. They’re individually wrapped and in the case of this new line, they’re sold in 9 ounce stand-up gusseted bags.

The gourmet part isn’t about fine, locally sourced ingredients or small batches:

As with all Goetze products, the new Gourmet Caramel Creams are low in fat and sodium, have no cholesterol, and are made with the finest wheat flour, milk and cream ingredients. However, the Licorice and Double Chocolate treats have also been fortified to enhance their quality and content. Both of the Gourmet flavors are considered a Good Source of Calcium, with a single serving of each containing 30% RDA of Calcium (the same amount as an 8oz glass of milk)! In addition, the Gourmet Caramel Creams Licorice also contains 11% RDA of fiber!

Goetze's Licorice Caramel Cream

First, I have to remind folks that Caramel Creams are a little different. They’re really not caramels at all, they’re a wheat-based chew so they’re hardly even sweet on the outside. I liken them to cookie dough, but in the case of the Licorice variety I can only say that they’re like a very chewy version of the Aussie-style of soft licorice.

The scent of the licorice is strong on the anise and reminds me of Ouzo. The molasses notes are restrained. The chew is tough and long lasting, the acidic notes of the molasses and licorice come through very well. There’s a tar quality to it, the strength is so aromatic at times it’s practically corrosive (I mean the best way possible). The cooling sugar center gives a little splash of cold water and helps spread the flavors around.

I really enjoyed these a lot. I’ve tried them several times now as samples from trade shows and I’ve been looking forward to buying a full bag for myself in stores ... if only I could find them. (Looks like OldTimeCandy.com has them, maybe I’ll have to place an order.)

They’re so different from any other licorice or caramel product. The closest thing I can think of might be a Licorice Allsort - but with a softer, fresher and more intensely-flavored chew.

Each Bullseye has 40 calories each, 10% of your calcium one gram of fat plus they’re made in a no-nuts/no peanut facility.

Goetze's Double Chocolate Caramel Cream

The second gourmet version is the Double Chocolate Caramel Cream which honestly doesn’t differ that much from the straight Chocolate Caramel Cream. Sure the center has a little cocoa in it, but the chocolate flavor is all in the caramel chew outside. The selling point here is the addition of calcium, which is substantial.

The flavor is like eating brownie batter, or the edges of a freshly cooked brownie bar where it’s really chewy. It’s not terribly sweet, so the cocoa flavors are rich and a little milky with just a slight hint of salt.

They’re both really filling and sometimes feel more like a snack than a candy.

Related Candies

  1. Panda Soft Herb Licorice and Licorice Cremes
  2. Broadway Black Licorice Rolls
  3. Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts
  4. Goetze’s Caramel Creams


Name: Licorice Caramel Creams
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Goetze’s Candy Company
Place Purchased: sample from Sweets & Snacks Expo
Price: $3.69 retail
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Candy, Goetze, Chews, Licorice Candy, 8-Tasty, United States


Name: Double Chocolate Caramel Creams
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Goetze’s Candy Company
Place Purchased: sample from Sweets & Snacks Expo
Price: $3.69 retail
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 108
Categories: Candy, Goetze, Chews, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:07 pm     CandyChewsLicorice Candy8-TastyUnited StatesComments (4)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Panda Soft Herb Licorice and Licorice Cremes

Panda Soft Herb LicoriceIt’s National Licorice Day and I’m always up for some good black licorice.

I picked up the Panda Soft Herb Licorice after seeing Gigi Reviews coverage of the product.

First, I like the box that Panda uses. It’s foil lined and completely sealed, after opening the tab top there’s a little plastic film that keeps the contents fresh. Then I just tuck in the double tab top to keep it soft. The contents were soft for weeks, though there is some toughening after that.

This version of Panda’s licorice bites are all natural black licorice tubes made with molasses and wheat flour with an added punch of 18 herbal extracts. They include peppermint, blackberry, plantain, torch weed, sage, star anise and thyme. Sniffing the box it’s like a tea shop: minty, woodsy and clean.

Panda Soft Herb Licorice

The pieces are soft but separate easily. I like the aerated tubes, it makes it easier to chew them if they do get a little stale. The color is nice, it’s dark but not artificially colored.

The taste isn’t licorice immediately and it’s not molasses either. It’s more like brown sugar in peppermint and chamomile tea. The licorice and woodsier notes come in later. It’s delicate and not as overwhelmingly dark and charcoal-like as Panda’s usual far. There’s a cool menthol aftertaste that makes this kind of like a mint.

There’s a little sticking to the teeth, but it’s not as bad as some other Aussie-style brands. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s mellow and might be a good “starter” licorice for folks who don’t care for the bitter, smoky and overwhelming licorice of Panda.

Panda Licorice CremesAs a little change of pace I picked up Panda Cremes as well. The stand up bag holds the same amount as the box but has a zipper lock to keep it fresh. I have to admit that it’s not as eco friendly but did a better job of keeping these soft and fresh. A bonus is that the bag is collapsible, so it takes up less space the more you eat. The box is always the size of the box.

Cremes are the same shape as the bites but inside those little tubes are creme fillings. They come in three flavors: Banana, Caramel and Strawberry. I can’t say that any of these were ever really on my mind as great complements to the flavor of black licorice, but Panda usually knows what they’re doing.

The bag says that they’re all natural and suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans, as there’s some milk in there). The creme center is made from palm oil and there’s no indication of the source of it. A 39 gram serving (9 pieces) has 160 calories and 4 grams of fat (3.5 of those are saturated). In case you’re curious, 40 grams of the Soft Herb are 130 calories and no fat. It’s not like either is calorie-dense but still, it’s notable.

Panda Licorice Cremes

The package smelled like strawberries and banana, like some sort of smoothie or yogurt.

The Strawberry were easy to pick out as they were pink. The Caramel and Banana were the same color as far as I could tell.

The creme isn’t soft and flowing, it’s kind of crunchy at first - but at mouth temperature it softens up. It’s cool on the tongue and not too sweet. The Strawberry is fresh and floral. Banana is actually pretty fun, it’s strong banana flavoring but the sweet notes go well. The Caramel had a slightly darker note but the toasted sugar was missing or maybe overshadowed by the strength of the licorice itself.

I don’t think I need this much fat for something that didn’t really satisfy me the same way that a creamy chocolate product does. I think I’ll stick to the regular Panda licorice products. These are pretty enough to put in a clear jar and as compelling as Allsorts (especially if you’re not a coconut fan).

Related Candies

  1. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores
  2. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  3. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Filled with Creamy Peanut Butter
  4. Anis de Flavigny
  5. Dutch Licorice
  6. Panda Bars
  7. Fazer Lemon Lakritsi


Name: Soft Herb Licorice
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Panda Licorice
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $2.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Panda, Kosher, Licorice Candy, 8-Tasty, Finland


Name: Licorice Cremes
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Panda Licorice
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Kosher, Licorice Candy, 6-Tempting

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:35 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewPandaKosherLicorice Candy6-Tempting8-TastyFinlandWhole FoodsComments (4)

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short

Easter DotsEaster Dots come in one of the happiest looking boxes I’ve seen in a long time.

They’re also crazy cheap, most of the time a theater box like this that holds 7 ounces is just a buck. When I looked at the flavors on this box I was a little confused about what made these an Easter version besides the box (Mike and Ike come in holiday boxes that are the exact same candy). The flavors are Blueberry, Lemon, Lime, Cherry and Orange. The flavors of the classic Dots box are Strawberry, Lemon, Lime, Cherry and Orange. So in this version the Strawberry has been swapped for Blueberry.

These were very fresh. Tootsie does a good job of sealing up the boxes well and Dots have a clear cellophane overwrap.

Easter Dots

Once I opened the box I found out the big difference, it’s the color. Easter Dots are bright and opaque little nubbins.

Well, maybe there was another difference. These seem to be just as smooth but have a “shorter” chew to them, so they didn’t stick to my teeth like Dots usually do. I liked the freshness of the flavors, though it’s a little bland it’s also soothing. The blueberry was pretty convincing though I wish that one replaced the cherry instead of the strawberry.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled EggsI’ve been searching all over for these for the past month and finally found them at Whole Foods yesterday ... not with the candy but at the end of the cereal aisle.

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled Eggs are all natural and fair trade milk chocolate eggs with a candy shell.

They’re freakishly expensive at $4.99 for 3.5 ounces, far more than I’d be willing to pay on a regular basis. I really only bought them because I’d been searching so hard for them it seemed weird to find them and then get decide they were too expensive. The chocolate is made from beans from the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa cooperative in Ghana. Seems like Easter is one of those holidays where folks may want to pay more attention to the social responsibility behind the treats.

The stand up box is charming. Inside is a little clear cellophane bag with a little more than a handful of eggs.

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled Eggs

They’re very similar to Cadbury Mini Eggs. The shape is more football than pear. They beautiful muted colors and a matte finish.

The shell is smooth and softly decorated. The shell is quite thick and crunchy. The chocolate inside has a silky melt, a little sticky with a good caramelized dairy note. I liked them a lot and will probably buy them again next year. Hopefully they can be found in larger packages for better value. (Also, Whole Foods could do a better job of putting them where people can find them. I went to three different stores and it wasn’t until the fourth circuit of the one at 3rd & Fairfax that I found them - even after asking a stockperson.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Sour Patch BunniesThe Sour Patch Bunnies are like many other Easter versions of regular candies. As you can imagine these are little bunny shaped candies instead of being shaped like spiky haired children.

I liked the box a lot, it was easy to tell apart from the regular Sour Patch offerings. The only quibble is really the packaging. Like many theater box candies, inside the box the candy is inside a plain cellophane bag. As I mentioned above, the Dots are just tumbling around in the box and there’s a cellophane seal on the outside. For this version I have to open the box top completely to get the bag out, dump the candy into the box and then I’m faced with an opening that is really too large for dispensing.

Sour Patch Bunnies

They’re a little lighter in color compared to the Sour Patch Kids. Honestly, I prefer this. They’re colored enough that I can tell them apart and guess the flavor and that’s really all I need. Other than that, the shape was so vague, unless you told me these were bunnies I wouldn’t have known. Pink is the classic Swedish Fish flavor with a tangy coating. Green is lime, yellow is lemon and orange is orange. A biting sour coating, a chewy sweet jelly candy in the center ... they’re great.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Russell Stover Peanut Butter PastelleI bought this Russell Stover Peanut Butter Pastelle Rabbit online from Russell Stover. I just couldn’t find it in the stores and thought it was a unique product.

The rabbit is similar to the white chocolate one I tried last year (and didn’t like that much, so I wonder why I was curious about this one). It’s a peanut butter coating (like peanut butter baking chips) with a peanut butter filling.

The three ounce flat rabbit is nicely molded. The butterscotch color is also really appealing. It smells like vanilla pudding and peanut butter. The coating though is a bit waxy and stiff, it melts but not in a dreamy way that good white chocolate does. But it’s not too sweet, which is a relief as well. The filling is a crumbly peanut butter with a salty note and a dry grainy crunch. I kind of got into it. I’d prefer it in a smaller format though, maybe one of the smaller eggs they do.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Brach's Classic Jelly Bird EggsBrach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs are cheap jelly beans. I don’t know what classic is, the package gives no indication what the flavors are.

They’re only 99 cents for a generous 9 ounce bag. Even at that bargain price, they’re not much of a deal. They’re pretty enough to look at and probably decorate with, but they’re inconsistent in flavor and execution. I also resent not knowing what’s inside. It’s not like the bag is tiny and has no room for information like the flavor array.

Brach's Classic Jelly Beans

White is pineapple. It’s sweet and floral but bland. Green is lime and rather strong but lacking zest. Purple is grape and is utterly stupid ... seriously, it tastes like sweet stupidity. Black is licorice. All of the black ones seemed to be smaller than the other jelly beans. Still, they were tasty and well done. Pink is bitter and just dreadful. Perhaps it’s strawberry. Red is not as bitter but still dreadful. Orange is sweet and empty. Finally there’s yellow, which is actually pretty good, it’s like a sugared lemon peel.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Brach's Spiced Jelly Bird EggsSo as annoying as I found the Classic beans, you’d think I would be happy with the Brach’s Spiced Jelly Bird Eggs which are quite clear on the front that they feature spice flavors.

I was hoping for rich flavors, but of course I know Brach’s well enough that I really won’t be getting much more than a decent looking product. The bag doesn’t promise much more than a good value, so I should probably adjust my expectations.

Brach's Spiced Jelly Beans

Red is a mild cinnamon, not as good as Hot Tamales and kind of tinged with some of the mint notes, but still pleasant like a cup of spiced chai. White is peppermint. I have to say that a peppermint jelly bean is a little odd especially since it’s so grainy but still fresh tasting. Pink is wintergreen which I really love except when there’s too much food dye like this one that has a weird bitter clove & plastic aftertaste - but at moments it’s kind of like root beer. Purple is clove and is actually mild enough for me to enjoy though true clove lovers will probably be disappointed. Orange is sweet and again lacking in any pizazz. Black is again licorice and pretty good (though it makes my tongue dark green).

I think the problem is that I’ve already had some pretty good spice jelly beans from Hot Tamales (Just Born) and there’s really no need to switch brands, the price is comparable, availability is the only issue.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost
  2. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate
  3. Whoppers Reese’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy
  4. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  5. Cadbury Popping Mini Eggs
  6. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  7. Cadbury Mini Eggs
Monday, February 8, 2010

Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans

Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy BlackLicorice CentersMost candy coated licorice is the same. They’re little snips of licorice laces covered in a hard candy shell. The exception might be Good & Plenty, which uses a thicker and softer licorice nib for coating. Now there’s a new version on the marketing called Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy Black Licorice Centers.

Wiley Wallaby is the Australian Style licorice brand from American maker Kenny’s Candy. They’re known for making licorice twists in a rainbow of flavors, from Root Beer to Spearmint to Pina Colada.

I picked these up at the Fancy Food Show and was told they should be hitting the stores via wholesalers sometime later this month. This format is a generous 13 ounce tub, which makes it easy to serve right from the package then seal it back up.

Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy Black Licorice Centers

The short little rods are about one half to three quarters of an inch long. They’re matte and bright - a mix of purple, hot pink and a slightly lavender white. The shell is not quite crispy and becomes grainy and cool when chewed. It has a light anise flavor to it, but the real licorice impact comes with the black licorice center. It’s a soft and chewy mix of molasses woodsy notes and clean and sweet licorice. (There’s real licorice extract in there plus anise oil.)

My only hesitation with these is that the pink ones use Red 40, and I just couldn’t stand the bitter aftertaste. (There was a hint of it in the purple ones, but not enough to dissuade me from eating them after I’d gone through the white ones.)

The consistently soft chew and well rounded flavor put these right up there with Good & Plenty. Even after keeping the tub around for several weeks with the seal broken, they were still fresh (try that with a theater box of Good & Plenty). The good news for vegans is that it’s all artificial colors and no glazes in there (and mostly natural every thing else).

Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy Red Licorice CentersThe most exciting part of this new product line (and perhaps I’ve buried my lead) is the closest thing I’ve found to the classic Good & Fruity.

Since Hershey’s created their new version of Good & Fruity, which is no more than a crazy neon jelly bean, I’ve mentioned to more than one candy maker that there are still plenty of candy fans who long for a candy coated red licorice.

The Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy Red Licorice Centers may fit that hole in the confectionery pantheon quite well.

Wiley Wallaby Outback Beans with Chewy Red Licorice Centers

The short little pieces come in three colors, a festive mix of orange, green and yellow. At the center of each grainy and not quite crunchy candy coating is a piece or red licorice.

I don’t know what flavor this red center is. At times I think it’s strawberry, but other times it’s a mild cherry. Whatever it is, it has a nice soft chew, a pleasant smoothness and a light tangy note of berries. The candy shell is very much like that on Good & Plenty. It’s smooth on the outside but not quite a hard crunchy shell, instead it becomes grainy and sweet. They’re quite satisfying and addictive to keep popping.

I expect these to be well-priced, as the Wiley Wallaby brand is usually less expensive than the true Australian imports. I also expect these to show up in bulk bins and probably stores that already carry the Wiley Wallaby line.

Related Candies

  1. Walgreen’s Australian Licorice (Chocolate Covered)
  2. Spearmint Licorice
  3. Young & Smylie Traditional Licorice
  4. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  5. Good and Fruity
  6. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  7. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
Name: Outback Beans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wiley Wallaby (Kenny's Candy)
Place Purchased: samples from Fancy Food Show
Price: unknown
Size: 13 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Licorice, Chew, United States, Kenny's Candy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:29 am     Comments (22)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Marich Black Heart Licorice

Marich - Black Heart Licorice & Black Cherry LicoriceThis isn’t necessarily Valentine’s Day candy, but the shape, goth styled packaging and uncommon flavor might just win over a few hearts.

Marich Confectionery is a California candy maker that specializes in panned items and novelty molded creams and fondants for all holidays. I’ve recently fallen in love with their extra dark chocolate panned items like 72% Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews and Dark Cacao Nib Toffee (which I’ve bought twice with the intention of reviewing but ended up eating).

Their new Black Heart Licorice items are all natural and instead of being wheat-based with molasses, these are more of a gumdrop style dense jelly candy.

I picked up my samples from the Fancy Food Show last month. They were showing off two versions: Black Licorice and Black Cherry Licorice.

Marich Black Heart LicoriceThe package design is nicely done. The six inch stand up box with the cut out window shows off the candy and is no bigger than it needs to be. The tab on the back folds into a little slot and keeps the candy closed and pretty fresh inside its inner cellophane bag. There’s a little story on it about a candy maker creating the candy to woo a woman, but I skipped right to the candy. (You can see a snapshot of the ad about it here.)

Marich Black Heart Licorice

The Black Heart Black Licorice are darling little matte hearts. They feel a little rubbery, like they’re made out of silicone. The scent is only very lightly of anise.

The texture is a smooth and dense chew, a bit firmer than a Dot, but still easy to bite. The flavor is clean and clear - anise with some deeper woodsy licorice. It’s not very sweet, in fact, these have a bit of salt in them (75 mg per serving). Though they are colored, it’s all natural coloring so there are no strange artificial bitter flavors to get in the way of the real stuff.

They do stick in my teeth a little bit, so that’s a distraction. The flavor isn’t too strong to mean that I was constantly munching them without getting that overly full or burnt out feeling.

Marich Black Cherry Licorice

The surprising item for me was the Black Heart Black Cherry Licorice. I didn’t even want to take the samples, but figured they were red and would photograph well, I should at least try them. When I read the ingredients, it actually sounded pretty good. Again, all natural so no nasty Red #40 to give me a weird aftertaste ... but there’s also licorice root extract in there too. So it’s truly red licorice.

They don’t smell promising to me, like black cherry flavoring. However, the texture is quite dreamy ... it’s silky slick and easy to chew. The flavor is tangy and has a black cherry note to it. It’s woodsy and has an actual cherry pie flavor and then just a hint of the bouncy sweetness of licorice. The whole thin isn’t too sweet either, again, the benefit of the touch of salt in here. Wow, a cherry candy I actually like, because it actually tastes like cherries. For those who don’t like licorice, it’s not a bold anise flavor, just a different kind of sweetness that highlights the woodsy notes of the cherry flavors.

I don’t know if they’re in stores yet, I didn’t see them at Whole Foods, which is usually where I pick up Marich candies (though I also see them at Gelson’s in Southern California as well). I expect the price to be around $3.50 to $4 per package, so a little steep.

Related Candies

  1. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  2. Marich Easter Select Mix
  3. Hot Tamales Black Licorice Jelly Beans
  4. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  5. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  6. Black Ace Licorice
Name: Black Heart Black Licorice & Black Cherry Licorice
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Marich Confectionery Company
Place Purchased: samples from Fancy Food Show
Price: unknown
Size: 5.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92 & 99
Categories: Licorice, Jelly, United States, Marich, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:59 am     Comments (3)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Broadway Black Licorice Rolls

Broadway Licorice Rolls - Black LicoriceThe old Danish Rolls or Delfa Rolls are back, though now with the name Broadway Rolls. I finally found the black licorice version being sampled at the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Gerrit Verburg (a licorice importer) booth.

These are made in China but bear a striking similarity to the original Danish Rolls.

The construction of the candy is that it’s four small spools of flat licorice strands served up as one long bar in a single wrapper. The Strawberry Broadway Roll I tried before was interesting, but not so much that I would long for it if I couldn’t get it again.

Broadway Licorice Rolls - Black Licorice

The black licorice is glossy, smooth and quite dark. They’re soft and as long as I unrolled them, were easy to bite. (Biting a whole roll was tough and kind of silly.) Each spool is about 3/4 of an inch tall and one inch wide. Each strip, unrolled, is about one foot (12”) long - though that varied a little bit.

It didn’t smell like much at first, just a bit spicy and like anise. After unrolling and biting one though, it was quite complex and good. The main ingredients are wheat flour, sugar and molasses with real licorice extract and artificial flavors. I’ve noticed that I prefer licorice made with molasses, as I like the mineral and earthy flavors and how they combine with the sweet and spicy licorice. In this case the licorice tasted more like a really good ginger spice cake than a plain black licorice. Notes of cloves, ginger and nutmeg were quite apparent.

For a single serve black licorice, it’s great. It’s hard to find really intensely flavored licorice that’s not overly sticky. This had a good bite that became a bit crumbly and short after chewing, so it didn’t stick to my teeth at all. The aftertaste was a little bitter, but I blame that on the artificial food colors (which is too bad as well). There are some shortcomings to it, but overall I can see myself buying this again, especially since it’s a single serve, fun to play with and interestingly flavored roll.

Related Candies

  1. Broadway Strawberry Rolls
  2. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps
  3. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  4. Organic Finnska Soft Licorice
  5. Ribbon Candy
  6. Haribo Licorice Wheels
Name: Broadway Black Licorice Rolls
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Gerrit Verburg
Place Purchased: sample from the Fancy Food Show
Price: retail $1.19
Size: 2.12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Chew, Licorice, China

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:08 am     Comments (4)

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Natural Necco Wafers

All Natural Necco Wafers (7 flavors)It’s hard to believe that I’ve never reviewed Necco Wafers. In the early years of Candy Blog I tried to concentrate on candies I’d never had before, but it became apparent that in order to discuss things that were new (or new to me) I had to cover the classics as well. So I’m slowly adding those.

Necco Wafers were introduced in 1863 by the Chase and Company candy makers. They were known for their hard candies (boiled sweets), lozenges and “Oriental style” sweets including Turkish Delight. They also innovated machinery and techniques to create confections like the wafers. Chase later merged with Ball and Forbes and Bird, Wright and Company to become the New England Confectionery Company in 1901. By the time they’d been around for almost fifty years they finally settled into their present day name, assortment and packaging style in 1912.  Necco Wafers were available in different sizes and were a popular penny candy of the time.

All Natural Necco Wafers (7 flavors)The wafers are lightly flavored and colored disks of sugar. The product is rather unusual for the modern era of confections and is more similar to breath mints than regular candy. They’re not fussy but perhaps a little homely and dated.

To make them, a dough of sugar and corn syrup is mixed up and stabilizers and binders such as gelatin, tragacanth, xanthan and gum Arabic are added. Then after the base is created it’s customized with the flavors and colors. The whole mass is loaded into a roller like it’s some sort of infinitely long pie crust then the disks are cut and stamped with the Necco name. They’re not baked, just air dried.

What’s created is a beguilingly crunchy lozenge. Crisp, thin and sweet.

The classic roll of Necco Wafers contained eight flavors and has always been a random assorted stack sealed in a glassine wrapper. I know most folks who like them also searched the store shelves for one that had just the right mix of colors they preferred.

This year marks a new generation of Necco Wafers now with all natural flavorings and colors. Because of the new restrictions Necco placed on itself, they dropped one flavor from the original that could not be replicated adequately: Lime.

The current flavors are chocolate, cinnamon, clove, lemon, licorice, orange and wintergreen. Since no artificial colors are used I was hoping that the flavors would be truer. (I’ve always had a problem with the pink ones having a bad bitter aftertaste.)

All Natural Necco Wafers (7 flavors)

I haven’t been able to find the large two ounce rolls in the stores near me, but I did finally find this package of the mini rolls at CVS in the Halloween section. (I visited about a dozen stores in two states in a month looking for them.)

The colors are quite a bit more subdued, as if Necco Wafers weren’t already a bit washed out. They’re so muted that I have trouble telling the pale yellow, lavender and white apart. And for folks that like to preview a roll before they open it, it’s quite hard to tell the light colors apart. The new wrapper also sports an updated logo ... though I find the logo to look more like something from 1998 (when the titled oval was all the rage in logos) than a modern candy, but not quite a reflection of its classic past.

Clove - I always avoided the clove for two reasons. I don’t like clove flavor and I didn’t like the food coloring aftertaste. In this case the clove (faint lavender) is much more mild and less caustic than before. Of course there’s no weird aftertaste either. I still didn’t like it much and was a little irritated that it was so hard to pull them out of the mix in anything other than bright sunlight.

Chocolate - the easiest to spot and one that needs no coloring. I found the cocoa flavors to be overly sweet, but at least true. It was like an old piece of dried chocolate frosting. A little pointless if you really want chocolate, but it has a freshness to it that doesn’t leave me thinking of cardboard.

Wintergreen - I was so happy about these. The color is still a teaberry pink, so they’re easy to spot. It’s exactly like a piece of teaberry gum if it was a crunchy piece of sugar (and a stale piece of gum can be like that). The flavor starts out rather soft and quaint, but builds up to a bit of a Ben Gay burn later. There’s a lingering buzz in the mouth. The best part of the finish is that it’s all flavor and no food coloring mess. My tongue looks like when I started (normal pink) and no metallic aftertaste.

Cinnamon - this white piece lots its mojo in the conversion to all natural. It’s sad how lacking in cinnamon punch it is now, it’s not that it’s bad, but I just don’t feel like picking them out and eating them first any longer.

Licorice - the color is so much lighter on these, it took me a while to realize that they weren’t the clove ones. They’re a light putty color that sometimes has a lavender cast to it. The flavor is quite a strong anise note. It’s sweet and has an aromatic and slightly menthol quality to it. It reminds me a little bit of the Fisherman’s Friend lozenges.

Lemon - the lemon flavored Necco Wafers were never spectacular and they haven’t changed one way or the other. Sweet and with only the slightest hint of lemon flavor, there’s no tartness (thank goodness - if you’ve had the SweetHearts Sour Conversation Hearts you’ll know what I mean), no zest.

Orange - this faint orange colored one has a little orange peel note to it. It didn’t seem as sweet as the lemon one, but that’s not saying much about it. It was mostly inoffensive.

I don’t miss Lime, but I did enjoy the flavor. As an assortment, I’ve found myself munching through the bag of minis without any problems. I’ve picked out most of the clove, but find all the other flavors enjoyable. So I consider the new mix a definite winner. The only issue was the strength of the flavors varies - the clove, licorice and wintergreen were very strong and left a distinct burn in the mouth while the rest were pretty mellow. So after a licorice, I could barely tell that I was eating a lemon.

Each roll of 9 pieces has only 50 calories. They take a while to eat and of course there’s the variety, so it’s a nice snack that’s easy to take anywhere. I do have a problem with the little white powder that seems to get everywhere though. (I tend to wear a lot of dark colors.)

I think this is a great development and I’m actually looking forward to see if the classic SweetHearts Conversation Hearts will also go all natural. They do still have gelatin in them, so sadly no good for vegetarians and they’re not Kosher/Halal. I really like my candies to taste like candy, not artificial colors.

Related Candies

  1. Chocolate Dipped Altoids - Creme de Menthe
  2. Canada Wintergreen
  3. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  4. VerMints
  5. Chocolate Dipped Altoids
  6. Lifesaver Musk
  7. Pastiglie Leone
  8. Necco Smoothies
Name: All Natural Necco Wafers
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: CVS (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.29
Size: 11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Chalk, Cinnamon, Licorice, United States, Necco, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:37 pm     Comments (23)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween MixEvery once in a while I wander into a Gelson’s grocery store. If you don’t have this small upscale market chain in your area, perhaps you have a similar one. Regular food you see everywhere, only more expensive, but then they also carry hard to find and superior items. They do have a good produce selection, but charge a premium.

What I find interesting about the store is the candy. They have Twizzlers and 3 Musketeers but they also tend to have an odd idea (or maybe perfectly appropriate for their customers) of what Halloween is like. Their trick or treat selection tends to be a little upscale.

One of the items in their area was not a trick or treat item, but just a Halloween themed one: Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix. I got a similar mix a few years back for Easter, but this one seemed a little different so it was definitely worth a try. (Even though it was $3.99 for a 9 ounce bag.)

Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix

The mix likely offers something for everyone. There are mellocreme items, a few jelly beans, crisped rice milk chocolate balls and some licorice dots.

There aren’t that many jelly beans in there. As far as I can tell, they’re lemon, licorice and orange. All are definitely favorites of mine, so we’re off to a good start.

Jelly Belly MellocremesMellocreme Mix

The story goes that the Goelitz family was making Candy Corn sometime around 1900, one of the earliest candy corn makers (and they made a lot of other mellocremes, which they called Butter Creams). They might not have been first, but they’ve definitely be doing it uninterrupted for over 100 years.

The Candy Corn in this assortment is the big stuff. It’s basically an equilateral triangle, but the tip is just a bit pinched. (Yes, they look a little breast-like to me.) The texture is smooth and the flavor quite mellow. Not as salty or honey tasting as the Brach’s/Farley’s stuff. There is a slight butter note to it.

Mellocreme pumpkins are cute. They’re quite squat and about half the height of the Farley’s/Brach’s stuff, but with a much more pronounced stem. They’re quite firm, but still have a smooth and not-quite-grainy texture. The flavor was surprising. It’s supposed to be orange, but it was just horribly bitter to me. I can’t fathom why, as they’re not that intensely colored, but I ate them several times over a week and each time they were just so bitter to me that I couldn’t finish a whole one.

The yellow ears of corn are the cutest of the bunch. Long and narrow, they’re a pretty big punch of pure sugar. The design on them isn’t very well defined so they didn’t photograph well. The flavor is lemon. It’s sweet and more of the floral lemon, now the tangy or zesty kind. Far too sweet for me.

Jelly Belly Halloween Crispy Chocolate Balls

To break up all that sweetness, I indulged in some of the foil wrapped chocolates.

The odd thing about the package was its vagueness. There was no inventory of the stuff inside. The ingredients were just a huge messy listing of all the ingredients of each element in one list (which I think is a huge disservice to customers).

I was careful to pick a bag that had a lot of the foiled chocolates, so I wasn’t disappointed here.

The balls are small and are the perfect single bite of milk chocolate with crisped rice. I wouldn’t call them the perfect milk chocolate and crisped rice though. It was sweet, perhaps a little waxy. The texture of the chocolate wasn’t quite creamy enough for me, but at least wasn’t grainy. Compared to the other items though, they were far from sweet. So at least they were a little counterpoint.

Jelly Belly Licorice ButtonsNon-pareil Licorice Buttons

I wasn’t sure what these would be (again, no inventory), but I recall seeing these in the Licorice Bridge Mix years ago.

The flavor of the licorice is a little different from the Licorice Jelly Belly. It has more anise and a less watery flavor.

The issue for me again though was the bitterness of the artificial color from the nonpareil coating.

It’s a fun mix that everyone should find something in it they like. I found that there was too much I didn’t like for the price though. Jelly Belly also makes a Fall Festival Mix, which is all flavored mellocremes in different shapes. They also make three different flavors of the giant candy corn: traditional, chocolate and cinnamon.

Related Candies

  1. Farley’s Harvest Mix
  2. Marich Easter Select Mix
  3. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  4. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
  5. Jelly Belly Licorice Bears
  6. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
  7. Licorice Bridge Mix
Name: Jelly Belly Deluxe Halloween Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silverlake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Licorice, Jelly, Fondant, United States, Jelly Belly, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:38 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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