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Mars

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dove Desserts Tiramisu

imageTiramisu is another one of those desserts that I’d always assumed was around forever. That perhaps it originated in Italy, that every valley in Italy had a different regional take on it and every Italian-American grandma put their own twist on it.

Nope, totally invented, perhaps sometime in the 1970s, by a restaurant. But hey, traditions have to start somewhere.

Tiramisu is an odd dessert if you ask me, the recipe reminds me of other strange dessert concoctions torn from women’s magazines that require store bought cookies, flavored gelatins, saltines or pre-made syrups.

The flavors of tiramisu are coffee and sweet creamy cheese with a little cocoa thrown in. So it’s sort of like a mocha cheesecake.

The wrappers on these are more enticing that the day-glo yellow of the Bananas Foster, an attractive bronze with difficult to read gold print.

image

Caramel: corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel and/or palm oil, sugar, skim milk, milkfat, lactose, salt, artificial and natural flavors, potassium sorbate.

The Dove Desserts Tiramisu starts with a dark chocolate shell. It has a pleasant cocoa and light espresso aroma.

The caramel center has a light salty flavor, a custardy smooth texture. So the creamy marscapone aspect is missing, as are the spongy ladyfingers.

Does it scream Tiramisu to me? Nope. Caramel mocha is more like it, not that it’s a bad thing.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
  2. Banana n Cream & Red Orange Mentos
  3. Zotter Candy Bars
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
  6. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
  7. Dove Jewels
Name: Dove Desserts Tiramisu Promises
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: samples from Dove
Price: ~$3.50 retail
Size: 5.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Coffee, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:42 am     Comments (9)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dove Desserts Bananas Foster

Dove Desserts Bananas FosterBananas Foster is a New Orleans specialty created by chef Paul Blang?. The dessert consists of vanilla ice cream topped with bananas flambe’d in sauce of butter, dark rum, brown sugar, banana liquor and cinnamon. (I think it makes a great topping for pancakes or crepes.)

Dove has come out with a line of dessert-inspired bites including this one, the Bananas Foster and Tiramisu (made from lady fingers, marscapone and coffee). I picked the Bananas Fosters because I figured that the caramel format fit it really well (where I didn’t think it’d work as well with the Tiramisu in theory).

The little foil wrappers were a rather unsightly yellow color. Vaguely florescent, they don’t remind me of real bananas, it reminds me of Banana Runts. (But be warned as well, I rather like fake banana things, i you don’t that may interfere with your enjoyment.)

The Bananas Foster Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Promises come tightly wrapped in a strange twisted stand up box that didn’t want to stand up for me. (And in my frustration I ended up opening it on the bottom instead of the top and now I’ve completely ruined it.)

Dove Desserts Bananas Foster

Inside the foil is a light milk chocolate disk. It smells nicely of milk chocolate, sugar and green bananas. The bite is soft, but the chocolate snaps nicely, even in this heat. The milk chocolate isn’t particular intense, I think the aspect that Dove chocolate does best is silky smooth and that’s here all right.

The caramel filling is strange but completely consistent with the way that Dove has been making it for their other caramel filled Promises. It’s thick, but not chewy. It’s very smooth, but feels emulsified like pudding instead of like actual caramelized sugar and butter. But hey, caramel banana pudding is good, too. (I like butterscotch pudding with bananas in it.)

The banana flavor isn’t overwhelming, just a light touch. The caramel notes are non-existent, but thankfully the whole thing isn’t too sweet either. I wanted a little touch of rum and a little touch of brown sugar ... but while it wasn’t even close to imitating real Bananas Foster it was still satisfying.

Check out other reviews for the Tiramisu: Chocoflyer tastes both Tiramisu & Bananas Foster, Gigi Reviews, Candy Addict and The Onion’s AV Club.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
  2. Banana n Cream & Red Orange Mentos
  3. Zotter Candy Bars
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
  6. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
  7. Dove Jewels
Name: Dove Desserts Bananas Foster Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Promises
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: KMart (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $3.59
Size: 5.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:55 am     Comments (5)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond

I realized when I started Candy Blog that there was no way I’d ever sample every single candy out there, let alone review them. What’s making it even harder now is that candies that I’ve already reviewed have changed and it hardly seems fair that the reviews here still stand against the present day products.

So, every once in a while I’ll revisit major products that have changed since my original review at least enough to warrant a new taste.

Take 5Hershey’s introduced the Take 5 in 2004 and it quickly became one of my favorite new candies. It combined all the great textures of crunchy pretzels and chewy caramel and creamy chocolate. But that was then, and this is now.

Sometime when I wasn’t looking (I photographed it last summer again) the Hershey’s Take 5 left the list of chocolate candy bars and joined the growing list of Hershey’s Real Mockolate

The package now says: made with chocolate & pretzels & caramel & peanuts & peanut butter. That “made with chocolate” part means that the coating may contain chocolate, but it has other additives such as vegetable oils that mean that it’s not pure chocolate. The actual chocolate as an ingredient comes far down on the list as the number 6 item, after vegetable oils and high fructose corn sweetener and before nonfat milk (you can imagine there’s not that much milk in there).

Take 5

The bars actually still look quite fetching. Little rather rectangular lumps with a pleasant sweet & peanutty scent.

Mine were exceptionally fresh, the pretzel was good and crunchy, a nice salty complement to the sweet coating. The coating didn’t have much flavor but did add a creamy texture.

This one was passably good, but I’ve had others in the past few months (I picked them out of a mix of snack size in a bowl at the office a couple of times) and I didn’t realize why they were kind of empty tasting for what I remembered. I just thought they were stale ... turns out that they’re just not designed to be good any longer.

Hershey’s still has an opportunity to reverse this and make it real chocolate again.

Product: Hershey’s Take 5
Previous Review: 7/13/2005
Change: milk chocolate coating is replaced with a fake chocolate coating (which contains chocolate but also other vegetable oils).
Result: For now they’re off my list but still get a passing rating of 5 out of 10.

Sunkist Fruit GemsSunkist Fruit Gems are made by Jelly Belly these days. An alert reader let me know that the little “single serve” trays are back on store shelves, but instead of holding six fruit jellies, they now only have four.

Worst part of this news? The grapefruit one was missing. (What is it about grapefruit disappearing lately? Is it because of the news that grapefruit juice interacts with some prescription drugs?) This is not to say that the Sunkist Fruit Gems don’t come in grapefruit any longer, just not in this particular package.

Sunkist Fruit GemsThe flavors included now are: Orange, Lemon, Lime and Raspberry. The old package was 2.4 ounces, the new one is only 1.35 ounces.

Seeing how Sunkist is known as a citrus company, the fact that they made an assortment the neglects one of the citrus fruits and includes a berry is beyond me. The package is also similar to the old one and actually includes images of grapefruit (though the text clearly says which flavors are in the package).

The change in manufacturing location and ownership, as far as I’ve been able to tell, has made no difference at all for the actual candy. It’s still a nice, soft and flavorful fruit jelly without too much of a granulated sugar coating.

The only real difference here is that you get only 2/3 as much as you used to. I was hoping when Jelly Belly took over that they’d sell the jellies in individual flavors like they do with their famous jelly beans. No such luck yet. (For now whenever I see the Jelly Belly booth at a trade show I pick a half a dozen grapefruit jellies out of their sample bin and move along.)

Product: Sunkist Fruit Gems
Previous Review: November 15, 2006
Change: New owners (Jelly Belly) and smaller package
Result: I didn’t care much for raspberry or lime, so with such a small package and only two pieces I do like it’s not worth it. 4 out of 10

Mars used to make a bar that was called, appropriately enough, the Mars Bar. That bar was discontinued and reintroduced under the much more famous Snickers umbrella of products as the Snickers Almond.

Snickers Almond

Then something happened, Mars mucked around with it and created the “More Satisfying Snickers Almond” which was really just the Snickers Almond with peanuts thrown in to make up for a lack of, well, almonds. It wasn’t a bad bar, but it wasn’t really distinctive.

Well, the old new Snickers Almond is back. It’s a white lightly sweet & salty nougat with a caramel stripe and whole almonds covered in milk chocolate.

I like the bar (though I prefer the dark chocolate version) and I’m glad they brought it back.

Product: Mars Snickers Almond
Previous Reviews: 12/28/2005 & 8/14/2006
Change: reverting to old recipe (eliminating peanut ingredients from previous version)
Result: A great bar with a long history and I’m glad that it’s back to a more classic formulation so it bumps up a notch. 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Grapefruit Mentos (Japan)
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. Head to Head: Twisted vs Take 5
  4. Snickers Almond Dark
  5. Take 5 Peanut Butter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:09 am     CandyReviewSnickersHershey'sJelly BellyMarsCaramelChocolateCookieKosherMockolateNougatNutsPeanuts4-Benign5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited StatesRite AidComments (16)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chocolate Dipped Altoids - Creme de Menthe

Altoids has a pretty wide variety of flavors and their newest innovation (from late 2006) is offering their most popular mint flavors covered in dark chocolate. This summer Wrigley’s has not only brought out a new mint flavor, Creme de Menthe, they also offer it in the Altoids Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints format.

Chocolate Dipped Alitoids Creme de Menthe

The dark brown tin with gold and green accents looks rich and inviting. It was easy to spot on the rack at the checkout at Safeway when I was up in the Bay Area and I was lucky enough to catch them on sale, too, at only $1.50 for the package.

The tin design has been revised a bit in the past year. (Here’s the old and here’s the new.) Inside is a kraft brown waxed paper liner.

The dark chocolate covered mints don’t look like much and look identical to the previous varieties. They smell, well, minty and chocolatey.

I prefer crunching mine. The chocolate cleaves off pretty easily and the mint inside has a satisfying crunch. But the chocolate is pretty good too, though tastes more of mint than chocolate, it’s creamy and has a buttery melt and dry finish.

I can’t quite peg what Creme de Menthe is in the first place, so all I can say is that this variety is for people who would like Altoids but find them too strong.

These are like eating a hardened Junior Mint. The dark chocolate complements the mellow mint well, the mint lingers and feels fresh and cool longer after it’s gone.

I ate the whole tin. While the curiously strong Peppermint variety keeps me from eating more than, say, eight or ten in one sitting, it took me only two sessions to eat this whole package. But of course the package only holds 1.76 ounces, so it wasn’t a huge binge. And my breath smells pretty good now. I think I might prefer the softer bite of something like Junior Mints, Dutch Mints or York Peppermint Patties, but I have to say that the crunch was different enough that these aren’t quite interchangeable. (But they are more expensive.)

As with all the traditional Altoids mints, these have gelatin in them and are unsuitable for vegetarians.

Related Candies

  1. Altoids Chocolate Dipped Ginger Mints
  2. York Mints
  3. Junior Mints - Heart Shaped
  4. Chocolate Dipped Altoids
  5. Jelly Belly - Full Line
  6. York Pinkermint Patties
Name: Altoids Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints - Creme de Menthe
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley's (now Mars)
Place Purchased: Safeway (Oakland)
Price: $1.50 (on sale)
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 152
Categories: Chocolate, Chalk, Mint, United States, Wrigley's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:59 am     Comments (11)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

LifeSavers Tangy Fruits Gummies

imageI went to the Bay Area last weekend and instead of going on a spree to all the most luxurious chocolatiers and confectionery shops I went to the Dollar Tree and Long’s. (Yes, we have Long’s & Dollar Tree in Los Angeles, but this plaza in Dublin had some really good shops.)

I was pleased to find the new LifeSavers Gummies Tangy Fruits which were announced at All Candy Expo a few months ago. I was drawn to them because they feature tangerine, which is my absolute favorite LifeSavers flavor (and will prompt me to by Tropical LifeSavers just for those).

I wasn’t sure when they were announced if they were going to be like the LifeSavers Sour Gummies, which are coated in a grainy sugar/sour sanding or if they’d be like the traditional smooth rings of the LifeSavers 5 Flavors. After purchasing and opening, I was pleased to see that they are the smooth variety. (Yes, I prefer my gummis without the grainy mess, because I like to play with them.)

image

While the LifeSavers 5 Flavors Gummies follow the flavor set of the 5 Flavors hard candies, the Tangy Fruits were free to be whatever tangy fruits they wanted to be without a parallel. In this case they’re Tangerine, Watermelon, Lemon, Sour Apple, Tangy Cherry & Wild Fruit Punch. Now, what I found most interesting about that list was that three of those flavors are kind of in the 5 Flavors (Green Apple, Watermelon & Cherry). So in order to fully compare, I also bought a pack of the 5 Flavor Gummies.

The new packaging that LifeSavers introduced last year has a helpful key on the front that details the color & flavor combinations.

Aqua = Wild Fruit Punch - I don’t think there’s a wild fruit flavor in here at all. It tastes like a chemistry set. Perfumy, a bit like Kool-Aid fruit punch but there are some citrus notes and even though it’s blue, it was kind of bitter.

Green = Sour Apple - yeah, it’s green apple, but I was really missing the tangy bite I felt I was promised. Granted it does taste different from the 5 Flavors Green Apple, but not any more sour. Just different.

Light Red = Watermelon - I’ve never understood the desire to make anything watermelon flavored sour. Watermelon flavor has nothing to do with tartness as far as I’m concerned, so it’s like making sour honey, it just doesn’t make any sense. In this case it’s not sour, it’s actually quite nice. It reminds me of the perfect Jolly Rancher.

Dark Red = Tangy Cherry - I was expecting the black cherry flavors of a regular LifeSaver and I got a lot of those really intense woodsy-floral notes here. It’s not that “tart cherry pie” flavor but it’s also not at all the same as the Cherry in the 5 Flavors (which after tasting again reminds me of lipstick).

Yellow = Lemon - I’ve been missing lemon in the 5 Flavors, so I was glad to see its return here. And it was lemon! Tangy, zesty (almost too zesty!), soft and fragrant. Much more potent than the old hard candy LifeSaver.

Orange = Tangerine - I saved the best for last. And I wasn’t disappointed. This is no drink mix flavor, it tastes like someone peeled a tangerine right in front of me. There’s even a slight bitterness, plus the juicy taste of the gummi is enhanced by the soft and rubbery chew. I think it could be tarter, but I think all of them need to be more sour if they’re going to call the product Tangy Fruits.

The texture of the gummis was nice. They felt less greasy than they used to, but a little tougher.

While Tangy Fruits has more flavors that I actually like, buying six flavors just to get two that I like (tangerine & lemon) is insane. So here’s my request: Citrus Mix. Orange, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine and Grapefruit. (And if they wanted to throw Pineapple in there, I wouldn’t argue with the violation of the definition of citrus.)

LifeSavers hard candies are made in Canada, but these are made in the USA. They contain gelatin so are not suitable for vegetarians and are not Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Albanese Gummi Butterflies
  2. Starburst GummiBursts
  3. Meiji Gummy Choco
  4. Krunchy Bears
  5. Gummi Lightning Bugs
Name: LifeSavers Gummies Tangy Fruits
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley's (Mars)
Place Purchased: Long's (Dublin, CA)
Price: $.69
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 87
Categories: Gummi, United States, Wrigley's, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:20 am     Comments (9)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dove Beautiful vs Bloomsberry Beauty-Bar

Beautiful vs Beauty BarWith all the health claims & research studies revolving around chocolate these days it’s not surprising to see bars also capitalizing on our vanity to get a few more sales.

I got both these bars around the same time, both samples. The Dove Beautiful bar is fortified to help promote beautiful-looking skin. The Beauty-Bar from Bloomsberry & Co is formulated to make you feel gorgeous ... on the inside.

Dove Beautiful Bar

Well, I admit, it’s a beautiful bar to look at.

Dove Beautiful BarThe Dove Beautiful bar features vitamins C & E plus the natural flavanols in cocoa to make you attractive.

The full array of additives is: tricalcium phosphate (10% of the RDA of calcium), ascorbic acid (10% of the RDA of Vitamin C), vitamin E acetate (10% of the RDA of Vitamin E), niacinamide (10% of the RDA of Niacin), zinc oxide (10% of the RDA of Zinc) and biotin (10% of the RDA).

The bar looks a bit darker than the standard Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate fare. It has the same slightly soft snap. A sweet scent.

The melt is nice, a bit cool on the tongue, milky and less sticky than its unfortified counterpart.

The flavor has some dairy components to it ... and an odd taste as well. I can’t put my finger on it, but I want to say that it tastes like drinking out of a galvanized bucket. Slightly metallic ... not in a bad way, just in a narrowly noticeable way.

I’ve come to understand that I’m not the kind of person who likes to compromise on my candy. My candy is made for enjoyment and mucking around with the taste in order to pump up its nutritional value means that it simply doesn’t fulfill its primary obligation - make me happy. Instead it makes me furrow my brow ... and that’s not beautiful.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Beauty Bar - Bloomsberry & CoThe second bar is just another in Bloomsberry & Co. huge line of high end novelty bars.

Bloomsberry & Co. has made a name for themselves world-wide with their inventive, imaginative and whimsical box designs (flat pack Easter bunny and eat me have made me chuckle - laugh lines are beautiful right?). I have fully advocated using chocolate bars instead of greeting cards, and their line meets most needs with all the major holidays covered and a line with an ultra-modern take on romance (and chocolate obsession).

All that aside, the funky box is fun the first time, but just like the pretty picture on the greeting card, what does it say inside? Well, to start with, the foil inner wrapping is also lovely. It’s a graphic paper with a foiled paper under that ... plus the box. That’s a lot of protection.

Beauty Bar - Bloomsberry & Co

And all that protection paid off, the bar was pristine.

Instead of a lot of crazy additions, this is simply dark chocolate (sugar, chcoolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin & vanilla). It doesn’t say what the cacao percentage is.

If I understand it correctly the idea goes like this: if dark chocolate is what you want and if you get what you want, you’ll be happy and happy people are beautiful. Or something like that.

The bar is thick and has a profound snap to it. The flavor is well rounded, if a little bland. It satisfies a craving, but doesn’t really do much else to make me swoon. As the bars usually retail for $4 to $5, unless the box is just so spot on, I’m going to pass. There are some wonderful bars that not only come in nice packages (that say more about the chocolate than my desires, of course) but area also tasty on the inside.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Both bars are Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
  2. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
  3. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  4. Charles Chocolates Bars
  5. One Dollar Bars
  6. Vosges Exotic Candy Bars
Name: Beautiful & Beauty-Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove & Bloomsberry & Co
Place Purchased: samples from Dove & All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156 & 160
Categories: Chocolate, United States, New Zealand, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:20 am     Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

M&Ms Premiums

M&Ms Premiums AssortmentWith a smidge of fanfare last month, M&Ms/Mars introduced their new M&Ms Premiums line. The inaugural product launch includes five flavor variations that are a delightful chocolate gem with a colorful outside and a rich scrumptious inside.

These are not to be confused with the Special Edition offerings M&Ms had last year which featured such combinations as Cherry Almondine, Vanilla Crisp, Orange Creme and a few others I can’t remember. Those sold for $6.00 in a bag that held less than 6 ounces. (That bag was also unremarkable, similar to packaging for the regular M&Ms.)

Instead the new Premiums have radically different packaging, jewel tone boxes and most of all, a new type of colored coating in iridescent and speckled shading.

M&Ms Premiums Packages

The packages are narrow and tall, with curved waists. They look rather modern, but more like they have some sort of grooming product in them or perhaps even feminine hygiene products. (All joking aside, it’s rather cute how the boxes have little feet at the back that keep them standing up.)

The flavor variety is at once classic and adventurous. They use white, milk and dark chocolate in the line, often in combination with a layered effect and the only nut present in their initial offerings is the almond.

Shell Comparison between regular M&Ms and M&Ms PremiumsBut the radical departure here for M&Ms is the loss of the crisp, candy shell. Instead these morsels have no sugar shell. They have a wash of mottled colors and then a confectionery glaze to seal it all in and give it a shine.

As comparison I picked up some regular M&Ms to contrast this. The standard Milk Chocolate M&M has a clearly delineated shell, created by coating the tumbling lentil several times with the sugar syrup which dries in layers and builds up the familiar crunch.

So what is this new covering? It can’t be described as a shell, instead it’s more like a skin. It’s made from colorings, a little dash of oil and confectionery glaze (which contains shellac, a natural product but probably not vegetarian) - so it’s rather like a coat of latex paint. It’s not exactly flavored, but dissolves quickly, but into rather unappealing waxy flakes.

The new Premiums are also bigger than regular M&Ms. If you’ve have the limited edition Mint Crisp or even the Razzberry or Wild Cherry, these are more that size. Fatter and slightly irregular.

Chocolate Almond M&Ms Premiums

Chocolate Almond M&Ms Premiums

This cobalt blue and dark blue speckled egg shaped candies are milk chocolate around an almond.

They’re really not that different from the M&Ms Almond or if the shell thing is a bother, then compare them to the Dove Chocolate Covered Almonds, because other than the coloring, that’s exactly what they are.

It’s milk chocolate and to be honest, I would have preferred dark, but I have to review what’s in front of me.

The almonds are rather puny, some are smaller than peanuts. But they’re fresh and the milk chocolate is sweet and consistent and the right proportion. I can do better for the price. (Trader Joe’s.)

Raspberry Almond M&Ms Premiums

Raspberry Almond M&Ms Premiums

If I was disappointed with the classic milk chocolate covered almond, I should have kept my mouth shut. Because the twist on that is the over-engineered and under-tasty combination of raspberry flavored white chocolate over almonds covered in dark chocolate.

They smell like lipgloss and look like fake fingernails.

The texture is quite smooth and creamy, the white and dark chocolate a velvety. The almonds are fresh and crunchy, but the raspberry flavor just goes and spoils it all. It’s that fragrant raspberry essence - all flash and no real depth. I had a bunch of these mixed together in a bowl and they just polluted all the other ones. (That’s a tip if you were planning on using these for an event ... do not mix the raspberry.)

Mocha M&Ms Premiums

Mocha M&Ms Premiums

This amber and bronze little beads are a milk chocolate base lightly flavored with coffee.

The milk chocolate is moderately smooth, a bit milky and tastes rather like a mocha with a light fudgy grain to it. They’re even slightly bitter.

I’ve always wanted coffee M&Ms. These are pretty good. Pretty pricey and probably much harder to find but a nice change of pace from plain chocolate.

Triple Chocolate M&Ms Premiums

Triple Chocolate M&Ms Premiums

This is where things get exciting for this new line.

The triple chocolate is not triple the size of the others, instead if offers the three different kinds of chocolate: milk, white an dark.

The dark outer layer is buttery smooth, only a slight bitter tinge. It’s pretty thin and gives way to the slightly salty and very sweet white coating. Then the center is the milk chocolate. Kind of typical milk, a little more on the dairy side that I recall regular M&Ms tasting.

I liked chewing them up, but they’re fun to let melt through the layers.

Mint Chocolate M&Ms Premiums

Mint Chocolate M&Ms Premiums

As a twist on the ordinary minted chocolate M&Ms that are available around the holidays, the Mint Chocolate Premiums have layers as well.

Here the center is white chocolate (and it’s real white chocolate with actual cocoa butter) and then a thinner dark chocolate coating, all in the crazy mottled green.

They’re fresh tasting, smooth and really enjoyable.

I have to say that after I got over the no-shell shock, I really liked the Mocha and Mint (and the Triple Chocolate were also nice). The pricing is far better than I expected for a product called Premiums. I picked up this set at Target for $3.99 per package. They’re six ounces inside a little reclosable cellophane pouch. They’re far less expensive than the 7 ounce packages of single color M&Ms that are sold on the M&Ms website for $7.99 a package.

These are likely to be popular with brides and other folks planning large parties. I can only hope that M&Ms will provide more efficient packaging for that purpose.

M&Ms are by no means the first to create this sort of product. Koppers Chocolates has been selling jewel-toned chocolate covered almonds (and these are huge almonds) for at least 18 months and little flavored unshelled chocolates called Savouries (I tried the cayenne one here) for years. Koppers has also been making Mocha Lentils & Mint Lentils at least since I was a kid. Madelaine’s Chocolate has also been marketing jewel looking Malted Milk Balls for a couple of years.

Related Candies

  1. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  2. Naked Chocolate Maltballs
  3. York Mints
  4. Fairway NYC
  5. Head-to-Head: Smarties vs. M&Ms
Name: M&Ms Premiums
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Hollywood)
Price: $3.99
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Nuts, Mint, Coffee, United States, Mars, M&Ms, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:58 am     Comments (39)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars

imageDove has been adding quite a few new items to their line. Not only do they have the Dove Bites and Caramels plus the little chocolate covered almonds, they’ve expanded their line of bars to include Single Origins, Organics and new flavor inclusions for their standard dark and milk chocolate. None of this new stuff, oddly enough, is included on their website.

I have a huge cache of 9 different bars that I’ve been making my way through for the past two weeks. Today I’ll cover their 3.52 ounce packages of Milk Chocolate products: Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Almond Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate and Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

While many of the flavor inclusions items are new, the biggest change is the packaging redesign. The large bars used to come in a simple foil wrap with paper sleeve design. The new version is a radical and welcome change.

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The bars come in a paperboard box that opens like an envelope. Inside are tucked three individually foil wrapped bars, each a little over 1 ounce (the total weight for the package is 3.53 ounces).

My consistent complaint with the large 3 plus ounce tablet bars is that they’re not made for “eat some now, save some for later”. I usually end up putting my partially eaten bars into a ziploc bag because the foil wrapper is usually not enough, and of course the paper sleeves are often glued to the foil and are trashed when opening.

All of that is solved here. The box closes and opens easily, the bars are simple enough to pull out and unwrap ... and even if you don’t finish one, it’s easy to tuck it back into the package. It also helps with portion control. The 33 gram servings come to about 180 calories (a regular candy bar is usually around 50 grams and clocks in at 220-280 calories) so you feel like you’re getting a lot, especially since it’s presented so nicely.

imageI’ve had the Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate before, but I thought I’d give it another try.

The format of the bar is really pleasant. The pieces are thick enough to give a good snap, but not so thick as to make you feel like you’re gnawing on the bar to bite off a piece. The squares break easily, each little bar has six.

The bite is far softer than a dark chocolate, but true to its name it is silky smooth. It doesn’t give up a lot of flavor at first, it’s mostly the texture and sweetness that I noticed.

A little later, on the second piece the more subtle notes of mild cocoa and caramel toasted milk came out. It’s still extremely sweet - so much that I really can’t eat it straight. Some coffee or plain almonds do a nice job of cutting it.

Still, it’s not for me. It’s not chocolatey enough, not roasted enough and reminds me of the difference between skim milk and whole milk when it comes to density.

Rating: 7 out of 10

imageThe first thing I noticed about the Dove Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate was how light in color it is. The second thing I noticed was the smell. It’s very sweet and smells more like a toasty hot coffee cake than a chocolate bar. It’s milky and sugary with only a faint whiff of cocoa.

The bite is also soft, like original Silky Milk Chocolate. But this one has a much stickier melt. It’s smooth, don’t get me wrong, they haven’t led anyone astray, but it’s also thick and slightly fudgy.

Oddly enough, because of the lightness in color I was expecting this to be sweeter than the original, but it wasn’t, it was actually less sweet tasting.

The milk flavors were much stronger here, but mostly it was just an experience in sweet and silky texture.

So I turned over both boxes and tried to figure out what the difference was. Before tasting them I just assumed it was sugar. What I found is that it’s actually milk. The Extra Creamy, doesn’t have more “cream” as the name implies, it’s actually more skim milk.

The ingredients list goes like this:

Silky Smooth .................. Extra Creamy Silky Smooth
Sugar…............................................Sugar
Cocoa Butter…..............................Cocoa Butter
Chocolate…....................................Skim Milk
Skim Milk…....................................Chocolate
Milkfat…........................................Milkfat
Lactose…........................................Lactose
Chocolate Processed w/Alkali….............Soy Lecithin
Soy Lecithin….........................Artificial Flavor
Natural & Artificial Flavors

Even though they both have the same 11 grams of fat per mini bar and it’s really only the skim milk that’s more plentiful in the Extra Creamy, the Extra Creamy has twice the cholesterol (10 mg versus 5 mg for the regular Milk). Extra Creamy also has 50% more calcium ... 6% of your daily RDA.

Rating: 6 out of 10

imageBeyond the choices in levels of milk chocolate, Dove has added some more decadent “candy bars” to the line now. The Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate pretty much had me loving it before I even opened the box.

The Peanut Toffee Crunch is simply crushed Munch bars (a great candy bar!) mixed into the milk chocolate. If you’ve never had a Munch bar, it’s just a thick slab of peanut brittle. The peanut toffee crunch is very simple, adds a wonderful texture, a hint of salt and the toasty flavors of both burnt sugar and roasted peanuts.

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This is a great tasting bar. It’s creamy, it has the right proportion of crunchy bits and has pretty much real ingredients (some artificial flavors).

Rating: 9 out of 10

imageThe final bar is the Blueberry Almond Silk Smooth Milk Chocolate. The package says: pairs the sweetness of blueberries and perfectly roasted almonds with Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

The almonds are crushed into little bits, but quite abundant. The blueberries, on the other hand, are not as plentiful and not spaced as evenly. The big thing I got out of this bar was a sore throat. I don’t know how it ended up tasting so much sweeter than the other bars but it did. There is an addition of sugar on the label after the blueberries (perhaps sweetened dried blueberries?). It’s totally unnecessary and really I wish there were more berries, with some sort of tart chewy component (but I have their Cranberry Almond in Silky Dark Chocolate to compare it to). Even weirder, a close reading of the nutrition facts says that this has less fat and less sugars but the same level of carbs (must be the almonds) than the three other bars.

It’s also the only one in the group that uses a preservative in it, TBHQ (I’m guessing for the blueberries).

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Given the choice of this and the Peanut Toffee Crunch, I know what I’m grabbing every time.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Patti at CandyYumYum has a review of some of the other bars that I haven’t seen yet (Hazelnut) and mentions some Dessert Bars (she has the Bananas Foster which sounds right up my alley). I need to recover from this seriously sweet chocolate binge and then I’ll do a roundup of the Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate offerings plus the nutritionally enhanced Beautiful & Vitalize bars.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Desserts Bananas Foster
  2. Hershey’s Bliss
  3. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
  6. Dove Jewels
  7. Dove Chocolate
Name: Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: samples from Dove
Price: $2.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Peanut, Toffee, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:32 am     Comments (8)

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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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