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Morselization

Morselization is when a known product gets a new version where the pieces are ready to eat and without individual wrappers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Clark Bites

Clark BitesThe Clark Bar is one of the oldest still existing combination candy bars in the United States. It was introduced in 1917 and is now made by Necco. (You can read lots more here.) The bar is a simple layered peanut butter crunch center similar to Butterfinger & 5th Avenue (head to head review) or Reese’s Crispy Crunchy and the Chick-o-Stick.

To expand the line, Necco recently introduced Clark Bites, which as the name would imply, are bite sized, unwrapped pieces instead of a full bar. There’s a strange campaign going on to promote them, called Where’s Zipper, which uses a cartoon character called Zipper the Squirrel based on the Squirrel Nut Zippers candy also made by Necco. There’s a website and a poorly attended Facebook page for it. But there’s lots of info there about the new Clark Bites, the fact that they come in stand up snack bags, individual bags plus these theater boxes.

A while back I reviewed the re-introduced Butterfinger Bites, which I thought were terrible. The coating was greasy and waxy and overly sweet with no chocolate notes whatsoever. The center was too stiff or dense and lacked an easy crunch. Since I prefer the new Real Chocolate Clark Bars already, I had high hopes for these.

Clark Bites

The box is interesting, it feels masculine and utilitarian. All the info is there. They’re made with real chocolate, the image on the front shows what the candy looks like and they’re made in the United Sates. The box is a bit big for the contents, there are only 3.5 ounces in there, but I’d say it’s a good value for a buck for an all natural product. Inside the box, the candy is inside an unmarked cellophane pouch.

There are no preservatives in the candy, so it’s all natural. It’s a milk chocolate coating and there’s a confectioners glaze on it, so it’s not appropriate for vegans or even strict vegetarians. (There’s also soy, peanuts and milk in it for those with allergies and processed in a plant that also has tree nuts, egg and wheat.)

Clark Bites

The nuggets are well proportioned. They vary in size, some are sort of square shapes, other are more rectangular versions. They’re between three quarters to almost an inch long.

The center is light and crispy with lots of layers. The flavor isn’t strongly peanutty and the chocolate coating is rather thick. So the whole thing is pretty sweet though there is a small touch of salt in the center. The flaky crunch has a little bit of rustic peanut butter in it, but mostly notes of molasses.

One the whole, they’re quite poppable. They’re a lot lighter and crunchier than the Butterfinger version and of course the chocolate is real. There’s no partially or fully hydrogenated oils in here, but plenty of real chocolate, milk products, sugar and peanuts. A serving is a half of the package (1.75 ounces) which comes in at 240 calories but does have 4 grams of protein and even 4% of your calcium and 2% of your iron.

I really hope these become more widely available. I was so optimistic after reading the label when I bought them that I picked up three boxes and I’m glad I did.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Butterfinger Bites
  2. Treat Trip: Bevan’s Own Make Candy - Peanut Butter Sticks & Molasses Chips
  3. Clark Bar Wicked Mix
  4. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  5. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  6. Clark Bar (Get Real - Milk & Dark)
  7. Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
  8. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews


Name: Clark Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 137
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Necco, Chocolate, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:30 am     All NaturalCandyMorselizationReviewNeccoChocolatePeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (3)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nestle Butterfinger Bites

Butterfinger BitesButterfinger Bites made by Nestle come in a few sizes, but I picked up their theater box. It was a helpful box with a little image of the candy with the words “actual bite size” pointing to one of them that is actually far smaller than anything inside the box.

The box also says that they’re new, though I’m pretty sure Nestle has made these before, or something amazingly similar. Then the box also says that they’re Easy To Eat! which is a huge relief, because Butterfingers are menacingly difficult what with all that wrapper and ... largeness.

The box actually had 3.5 ounces of candy bites in it, which is a pretty decent deal for a buck. Of course it’s also filled with Butterfinger Bites, so maybe I’d be happier with less than 3.5 ounces considering what dismal tasting candy it actually is.

Butterfinger Bites

There are so many things wrong with this, like the fact that there’s more hydrogenated palm kernel oil in it than cocoa (and no chocolate), artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives.

The pieces are about an inch long and are, in fact, easy to eat. If you don’t have a sense of smell. I found the odor simply offputting. It’s overly sweet, artificial and reminds me of a combination of birthday cake and fake butter topping. They are not even vaguely peanutty or chocolatey.

The pieces are lighter and crunchier than a regular Butterfinger. The mockolate coating is chalky looking, very light in color and not the slightest bit chocolatey. The crispy layers of the center are wonderfully crispy and do have a lovely proportion of salt. But that’s about it, the level of peanut butter is so far below what I love in candies like Chick-O-Stick or Clark Bars that it’s more like a butter flavored center.

The mockolate coating really ruins it, it tastes about as good as sucking on the cardboard box. These can’t be stale (they were plenty crispy and they expiry is more than 6 months away), they’re just poor excuses for candy. What’s sad is that I would absolutely love to buy little nuggets of real chocolate covered peanut butter crisp, even at twice the price.

I have a little poll running over there on the sidebar about what companies should do when they need to cut costs. Maybe we should let them know that making bad candy really isn’t a way to increase sales.

Related Candies

  1. Treat Trip: Bevan’s Own Make Candy - Peanut Butter Sticks & Molasses Chips
  2. Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle
  3. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  4. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  5. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  6. Butterfinger Buzz (Caffeinated)
  7. Chick-o-Stick


Name: Butterfinger Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Mockolate, Peanuts, 3-Unappealing, United States, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:43 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewNestleMockolatePeanuts3-UnappealingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (7)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rolo Minis

Rolo MinisRolos were introduced in the United Kingdom back in 1937 by Mackintosh’s, which was a well known toffee company. (Toffee in the UK is generally more like caramel is in the United States, soft and chewy or actually a flowing syrup.) Mackintosh later merged with Rowntree (creator of the KitKat) in 1969 and that company was then bought up by Nestle in 1987. Though Nestle and Hershey’s are huge rivals in the United States, Hershey’s maintains their license for Rolos and KitKats here.

Rolos are available in two formats currently, the rolls with an individual serving and foil wrapped versions which are usually sold in mixes in bags along with other Hershey’s favorites. (Here’s an early Candy Blog review of Rolos.)

Rolo Minis are new from Hershey’s, to go with the other items in the new Hershey’s minis line like Hershey’s Drops and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis. They’re a smaller version of the popular candy, though might not have the precise ratios of elements. The point, I guess, is to provide candies that don’t have all that messy packaging:

Unwrapped, bite-sized convenience meets the delicious combination of smooth chewy caramel rolled in creamy milk chocolate.

Rolo Milns

Why is it called a Rolo? One of the key features wasn’t what the candy was, but how it was packaged, it was a roll. That’s it. But here it is in a bag. They kind of roll, but just in small circles. They’re just little knobs of milk chocolate with a chewy caramel filling. That could be called anything.

Geometrically speaking, the form of a Rolo is called frustum-shaped. That is, a cone that has had its pointy end lopped off. So the base is wider than the top. In the case of Rolos, there’s also a little rim around the top, which has no purpose as far as I know. There is no logo or any other branding on the candy itself.

The pieces are rather scuffed up from rolling around in that bag. In fact, they’ve come all the way from England, where they were made. Seemed a little odd to me, but these are imported from England and made by, well, I’m guessing Nestle.

Rolo Milns

Though the chocolate is a bit dry looking, it’s actually pretty good. It’s smooth enough to melt well, the caramel center is stiff enough to provide a good chew but not so hard to pull out any teeth. They remind me of a softer version of Milk Duds back when they were made with real milk chocolate.

Overall, they’re much better, less sweet and smoother than the large version of Rolos. I found myself munching on these a lot more readily than the regular Rolos. They go well in a mix, too, with some nuts and pretzels.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Triple Dazzle Caramel Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  3. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  4. Storck Chocolate Riesen
  5. Fran’s Gray Salt Caramels
  6. Head to Head: Rolo vs Caramel Kisses
  7. Short & Sweet: Caramello /  Mega M&Ms / Orange Kisses


Name: Rolo Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.89
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Chocolate, 6-Tempting, United Kingdom, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:24 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewHershey'sCaramelChocolateKosher6-TemptingUnited KingdomTargetComments (4)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hershey’s Pieces - Milk Chocolate with Almonds

DSC_9765rbHershey’s has been chugging along with their Pieces line, the long-overdue expansion of the Reese’s Pieces product into other pelletized versions of popular Hershey’s candy bars.

The new Hershey’s Pieces - Milk Chocolate with Almonds isn’t as innovative as some of the other candies, such as the Almond Joy Pieces or the initial Reese’s Pieces. But they fill a void in Hershey’s offerings and I was looking forward to them.

The first big stumbling block I had, though, was the price. 8 ounces for about four dollars. Other stores sell them for $4.50. I have a hard time paying 8 or 9 dollars a pound for Hershey’s candy in bulk quantities.

They also don’t reinvent the niche with some new quality. They’re not low in allergens, the list on the back says that they may contain soy, wheat, other tree nuts and peanuts. A great selling point would have been a nutty candy that is actually peanut and/or gluten free.

Hershey's Pieces - Milk Chocolate with Almonds

The Pieces look like the package illustrates. They come in three colors: dark brown, brown and cream. They vary widely in size, based on the core of almond. Some are as small as a Peanut M&M, others are huge, sometimes over an inch long.

They’re a standard construction of a well-roasted almond, a milk chocolate coating and then a colored candy shell. The colors are pleasing. I actually enjoyed their muted tones more than the loud and artificial M&Ms Almond. Of course these are also artificial, with Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 & 2 ... just less bang for the coloring.

The almonds are roasted to a very dark color, roasted in cocoa butter and/or sunflower oil). This is a good choice. I found them all crunchy and fresh tasting, not a single fibery or bitter one in the bag.

The shell is thin enough to crunch easily and provide only a modicum of sweetness. The milk chocolate is only marginally acceptable. It has the Hershey’s sour note to it, which I actually like sometimes, especially when mixed with more savory elements. Here it was such a back seat to the large almonds, it worked.

I prefer this, by far, to the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar. But I don’t like it better than M&Ms Almond, because of the difference in the chocolate flavor. What I’d really like to see is a Heath Pieces at this point, that’d really set the Pieces line apart from their current iteration as an M&Ms clone.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces
  2. Hershey’s York Pieces
  3. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds
  5. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  6. Reese’s Pieces
  7. M&Ms Line
  8. Reese’s Pieces with Peanuts


Name: Milk Chocolate with Almonds Pieces
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Sherman Oaks)
Price: $3.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:18 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewHershey'sChocolateKosherNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (5)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sour Punch Bits - Tangerine-Lemonade

Sour Punch Bits - Lemon & TangerineSour Punch Straws are a sour sanded fruity licorice made by the American Licorice Co.. They’re fun and certainly pack a lot of flavor, but they’re messy to eat and share. So the Sour Punch folks came up with Sour Punch Bits which are little nibs of fruity chewy with a similar sweet & sour sand. The fun part for me was that they came up with some new flavors. I got a hold of their new Sour Punch Bits Tangerine-Lemonade.

It comes in a theater box (but I think they also have peg bags), so it’s easy to dispense and share. And of course they’re meant for taking to the movies, so you can get that sour fix without a lap full of tart dust.

Sour Punch Bits - Lemon & Tangerine

The pieces are small: about 3/4 of an inch long and 1/4 of an inch around. They’re not as “sanded” with the sour sugar powder as the Sour Punch Straws I’ve had before, but that’s okay with me. The only issue I had was that these were a little stickier. There are two flavors in each piece supposedly: lemon (yellow) and tangerine (orange) though actually separating them was nearly impossible.

Sour Punch Bits - Lemon & Tangerine

They don’t smell like anything at all. Maybe a faint whiff of Play Doh or erasers.

They’re quite sour on the tongue right away, but also extremely flavorful. There’s an intense wave of citrus that hit me when I first bit into them - an almost bitter orange and lemon zest note. Even though there’s no real orange or lemon oil in there, it tasted like there was. The tart chew is firm, hearty and almost creamy because it has a starchy wheat base to it, instead of a taffy chew like Starburst. Still, there is some sticking to the teeth. They’re not really sour, just sour enough to make my mouth water, but not quite enough to get my neck tingling.

I liked them more than I thought I would initially. When I talked to some folks at American Licorice about them last year, they were positioning these as a sour treat for adults, instead of kids. I think they succeeded there. They’re a little chewier though and the bitterness got to me after a while, it certainly kept me from eating the whole package (which is technically two servings).

They also come in Lemon-Lime and Strawberry-Watermelon.

Related Candies

  1. Galerie Decorated Chocolate Shoe
  2. Chewy Sour Extinguisher
  3. Topps Blue Razz Wazoo
  4. Skittles Crazy Cores
  5. Red Vines
  6. Twizzler Sourz


Name: Sour Punch BitsTangerine-Lemonade
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: American Licorice
Place Purchased: sample from Sweets & Snacks Expo
Price: $1.25 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Candy, American Licorice, Chews, Sour, 5-Pleasant, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:26 pm     CandyMorselizationAmerican LicoriceChewsSour5-PleasantUnited StatesComments (0)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups MinisI got an early taste of the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis courtesy of the Sweets & Snacks Expo. As the name explains, they’re an extra miniature version of the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

The selling point in this version is that there’s no wrapper, no fluted paper cup. These morsels are ready to pop right in your mouth. The initial launch will be in King Size packages of 3.1 ounces, but I also expect them to be released as 8 ounce bags for baking. They won’t be hitting the stores until December 2010.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

They look exactly like the foil wrapped miniatures, except of course, they’re smaller still. As ratios go, you can expect this to be the most chocolate version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you can get. (On the peanut-butter-heavy end of things, the Reese’s Egg is tops.)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Each is exquisitely formed, they all had a precise and consistent shape. As you can tell, they get a little scuffed up rolling around loose in the bag, so no glossy chocolate sheen.

They smell sweet and nutty. The chocolate is cool and melts quickly, with only a light milky cocoa note. The peanut butter center is just a quick pop of roasted peanut butter, crumbly texture and salt. Since they’re so small, a mouthful takes at least two.

These would be ideal for snacking and I could see them as a huge hit in theater boxes. For those who miss the Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites, these might be just the thing (there’s no waxy glaze either). The ratios weren’t quite to my liking but I enjoy the fact that you don’t have to unwrap each individual piece.

Related Candies

  1. World’s Largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Whoppers Reese’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy
  3. Reese’s Pieces
  4. Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line
  6. Hershey Bites: York, Reese’s Peanut Butter and KitKat


Name: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: $1.49 retail
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hershey's, Chocolate, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:56 am     CandyMorselizationReese'sReviewHershey'sChocolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (11)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme

Hershey's Milk Chocolate DropsLast year Hershey’s announced their new expanded Hershey’s Pieces line at National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo. This year the new product line is Hershey’s Drops.

Hershey’s Drops are billed as Hershey’s Happiness in a little drop of milk chocolate without a candy shell and featuring a light, shiny, mess free finish. They’ll be on store shelves starting in December 2010, starting with King Size packages of 2.1 ounces.

The packages I got to try are just sales samples, in little .6 ounce packets with ingredients listing but no final nutrition panel (which isn’t that surprising since they won’t be available for another six months).

Now your family can have all the goodness of bite-sized chocolate without the candy shell.

HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate DROPS have a light shiny finish, so there’s no mess. They’re perfect for snacking and sharing anytime, anywhere!

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The drops are larger than the Pieces about as big around as a nickel. Brits may be familiar with the size and shape, they’re rather similar to Mars’ Galaxy Minstrels, except without the shell - in fact, they’re exactly like the re-released Galaxy Counters (which I haven’t tried, but Chocablog did a nice review of a couple of months ago).

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

Some may wonder if the light coating is like that on M&Ms Premiums. There is a light waxy coating on there, but it’s thinner than the latexy and colorful stuff on the M&Ms Premiums. It’s more like what you’d find on Junior Mints or Whoppers. Just a simple glaze that melts away quickly.

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The flavor is pure Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, not much else. A little tangy and fudgy, sweet and milky. The coating keeps them fresh and smooth, I’ve found that Kisses can taste a little rancid when left out of the bag, even though they have a foil wrapping. Of course I didn’t have these candies for very long, so I can’t say for sure that they’d be like that if left out in a dish.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsThe second item in the Drops line is a bit more inventive, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Drops.

The confection is made of a white chocolate with cookie bits like Oreos mixed in. The white chocolate ingredients are a little muddy, the label says “cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil” so I don’t know how much of this white chocolate is actually cocoa butter. That and/or confuses me.

Hershey’s currently offers the Cookies ‘n’ Creme in a few formats. The original is their bar but there are also Kisses from time to time, Nuggets, as well as holiday foil wrapped versions. This little morsel version with no wrapper is actually a great new take on the candy.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

I have to admit they don’t look so great. They look muddy and dirty. The cookie bits show through. They’re consistently shaped, but the white isn’t quite white and not even that light yellow that French vanilla ice cream sports.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

They smell especially sweet and milky. The texture is thick and a little fudgy and heavy on the dairy flavors. The crispy bits of cookie are crunchy and crumbly, with a sandy grain to them that sets off the sticky melt of the white confection very well. It’s a little salty, so though it’s sugary at times and kind of throat searing, it doesn’t stay that way to the end. It’s more like cookies and cream ice cream than a candy version of a chocolate sandwich cookie.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsI haven’t been much of a fan of the Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar up to this point, but I have to say that the smaller discrete bites do help. They’re best, as far as I’m concerned, mixed with the Milk Chocolate ones to keep it all from getting too sweet.

Overall, I think this is a fun new take. I’m glad that Hershey’s is making them with the bar version ingredients, instead of going the route they did with Kissables as a “chocolate candy”. I see the benefits to getting rid of the foil wrappings and the candy shells plus making the morsels larger than a chocolate baking chip. I’m sure some folks will be happy to see that there are no artificial colors in here either, since there’s no colored shell.

The ability to combine these with other items to create a custom trail mix snack is also intriguing. I’d like to mix them with nuts, pretzels or sesame sticks. I can also see a lot of possibilities with expanding this with other candies in the Hershey’s line.

Related Candies

  1. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  2. Galaxy Minstrels
  3. Hershey’s Nuggets Double Chocolate
  4. Kissables (Reformulated)
  5. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  6. Hershey Eggs
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint


Name: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: $1.39 retail
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Hershey’s Cookies’ n’ Creme Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: 1.39
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am     CandyMorselizationHershey'sChocolateCookieWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (12)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces

Special Dark PiecesThe final of my series of reviews of the new Hershey’s Pieces line is Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces.

The Special Dark bar was introduced in 1971 (though Hershey’s made a dark chocolate bar on and off before that). With the news of dark chocolate’s high antioxidant content the line of Special Dark products has been expanding to include baking chips, its own assortment of Miniatures, Kisses, Syrup, Cocoa and Kissables.

It seems kind of odd that not only are Kissables being discontinued, but that this new Pieces line doesn’t have a simple milk chocolate version. Further, the Special Dark Pieces are the only product in the line that has a comparable item in the M&Ms line.

Special Dark Pieces

The Pieces are simple. Dark chocolate lentils with a candy shell. The colors are muted and dark: maroon, red and brown.

The shell is quite crunchy and has only a slight “cereal” flavor to it, for the most part it’s just sweet.

The center is smooth and has an excellent melt. The chocolate flavor is rather ordinary - a mix of coffee notes, a light touch of raisin or berry with a dose of smoke. It’s quite sweet, so any lingering bitterness is covered up completely.

Dark Chocolate M&Ms vs Hershey's Special Dark PiecesI pretty much did the above review a couple of weeks ago when I first got my Pieces samples. I was hanging onto it because I wanted to do a full comparison of the product to both Dark Chocolate M&Ms as well as the Kissables Dark which came out in 2007.

So I went to the store to buy some.

And I came up empty handed. I went to a lot of stores. I couldn’t find any Kissables in any variety anywhere, except for a wrinkly old pack of original Milk Chocolate Kissables at the 99 Cent Only Store in Mid Wilshire and some Valentine’s that were likely as old. It’s like someone combed the country and pulled all Kissables from all stores. (I don’t think this is any loss for the confectionery world seeing that the Pieces line is far superior in quality.)

Dark Chocolate M&Ms vs Hershey's Special Dark Pieces

Comparing them side by side with M&Ms, it’s easy to see now how the shapes are slightly different.

The Pieces, though they have the same diameter as the M&Ms, are meatier. They’re thicker & puffier.

The shells on the Pieces are slightly thicker, which gives them more crunch but also makes them a bit sweeter and hides the chocolate flavor a little longer.

The chocolate punch of the M&Ms is a bit bolder, but the flavor is also chalkier/dryer. The Pieces have a smooth melt on the tongue and a mellow cocoa note.

I can’t say that one product is better than the other. I found myself preferring the Special Dark Pieces to the Dark Chocolate M&Ms, even though they were sweeter. I liked the consistent crunch and the buttery melt. The M&Ms, though, did have a good dark chocolate flavor to them though a little bitter towards the end.

Final Thoughts on Pieces Line:

image

Now that I’ve tried them all, I thought I’d give a bit of a review of the new line, that won’t be out in stores until December 2009.

The Pieces line is based on some of Hershey’s most popular candies: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy, York Peppermint Patties and the Special Dark bar.

The creation of a lentil version doesn’t quite measure up to the combination of textural elements in quite the same way as the previous Bites line did, but these are definitely a winning confectionery creation. Instead these are more “inspired by” than just a new shape & ratio.

My only comments on how this could have been done better would be to set themselves apart further from M&Ms by enlarging their customer base to people who can’t eat M&Ms. That would be using all natural food colorings for the shells (granted, a tough proposition seeing that two of the three lines employ blue shells) and to be gluten free & nut-free (even the Almond Joy could be peanut-free, one of the most common allergy issues in candy).

I’m looking forward to the product launch later this year.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 - Hershey
  2. Hershey’s Special Dark Miniatures
  3. Hershey’s Miniatures
  4. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  5. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  6. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms
  7. M&Ms Line
  8. Coffee Beat
Name: Special Dark Pieces
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: samples from Hershey's
Price: unknown
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:39 am     Comments (15)

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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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COUNTDOWN

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-65 days

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Wonka Randoms (and some Rowntree)

• Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

 

 

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