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Nougat

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trader Joe’s Lumpy Bumpy Bar

Lumpy Bumpy BarLast time I was a Trader Joe’s, I was on the prowl for new candies. Usually October is a great time to find new things on the shelves. I completely missed this Trader Joe’s Lumpy Bumpy Bar. Not because there weren’t a lot of them on display, but simply because I thought it was house brand pain reliever.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it doesn’t look like a candy bar, perhaps it’s a bit more long cube shaped than bar shaped. Perhaps it’s the red background with yellow text and blue accents which remind me of those visual disturbances that accompany migraines.

But now that I’ve found it (thanks to a phone call from my husband at the store asking me if I wanted to try it), I have to set aside all that and look at what’s on the inside.

Lumpy Bumpy BarThe box does seem like a bit of overpackaging, inside is a mylar wrapper around the bar as well. The wrapper itself is stupidly huge, about one and half times the length of the bar, so it’s folded over inside the box. Perhaps that keeps the bar from moving around.

But once out of all of that it’s obvious why they call it the Lumpy Bumpy Bar.

It’s pretty beefy looking and feeling. It clocks in at two ounces even, so about the same as a Snickers. And the description of it is also similar: creamy caramel and peanut nougat drenched in dark chocolate.

Lumpy Bumpy Bar

The first bar (pictured) had a rather liberal lump of peanuts on top. The second bar (the one I’m actually basing this tasting on) had only four.

The bar smells smoky and rich, like toasted sugar, peanuts and chocolate.

The textures are extreme. There are the deep crunches of the nuts - both on top and inside the nougat. The strip of caramel on the top of the nougat but under the chocolate is firm and stringy. The nougat is mostly soft and grainy, until I got to the bottom where it was more like a tough caramel.

When chewed up together the peanuts have a definite dark and burnt taste that pushes over everything else in its way. The thin chocolate coating doesn’t contribute much besides holding the rest of it together in its cloak. The nougat is mostly disappointing. I was hoping when I heard the $2 price tag, that the nougat would be Italian, Spanish or French style. Instead it’s more like a Milky Way Midnight with peanuts.

The only part I liked was the part that I think was a mistake - the chewy nougat at the very bottom was stringy and smooth and had a light touch of toasted marshmallow flavor to it. But since only one of my bars did this, I can’t even be sure that it was on purpose. The caramel on the top barely registers as a flavor or texture.

The good news for candy fans though is that this is a certified gluten free product and the ingredients are all natural. There are milk, soy and egg products in it though.

This bar is coming in all over the map from other reviewers (and from the photos, it appears that the bars are actually different in the amount of each element): Futile Sniff loves it (but had no peanuts on top and far more caramel), Gigi Reviews had a similar experience to mine except I found both of mine rather salty, Diana Takes a Bite found it too chewy and big while Patti at Candy Yum Yum wrote it a love letter.  (Yes, it appears that all reviewers are women, I’m guessing the package looks too much like Midol for men to have taken notice yet. I must note that I’ve never purchased Midol, so if this is the kind of analgesic that comes inside that box, please let me know what I’ve been missing!)

So after all that, I’m still stuck on the See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar, it’s half the price (though not quite as large) and more responsibly packaged though it does have almonds instead of peanuts.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
  4. Ferrara Nougats
  5. Payday Fresh from the Factory
  6. Trader Joe’s Espresso Chocolate
  7. Snickers Dark
Name: Lumpy Bumpy Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Peanuts, Nougat, United States, Trader Joe's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:20 am     Comments (12)

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 8, 2008

Bel Chocolatey Bars

Bel 12 Pack Candy BarsIn tough economic times it’s tempting to try to save a little money on items like candy. Buying in bulk is usually the most economical way to go, but some of us also recognize that a 5 lb bag of gummi bears will last as long as a 1 lb bag.

So another option is to find a generic or off-brand of a tried and true favorite. The bargain stores like 99 Cent Only are an excellent place to find these lesser known brands. While it’s understandable to assume that all the candy at 99 Cent Only or Dollar Tree or the like is past its prime, often these stores have special deals with candy companies to make sizes that can come in at their price point, so much of it is specially sized for value. (Well, either that or just be a reliable deal instead of waiting for the snack packs to come on sale at the grocery store.)

I found this line of snack sized candy bars at 99 Cent Only made by Bel. The package is a veritable Rosetta Stone with ingredients lists in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French with some other Arabic script on the wrapper as well. I found four varieties and bought three: Strawberry Burst, Vanilla Cookies and Toffee Taste. (The other flavor was some sort of Peanut Butter, but I stupidly grabbed two of the Toffee.)

Strawberry Burst - 12 pack

Strawberry Burst is billed as milk chocolate compound coating with strawberry filling.

Strawberry Burst Choc BarBefore even opening any of the individual packages, this smelled like strawberries. Like some sort of Strawberry Shortcake candle or something, but still, it was a nice floral and fresh scent.

The wrapper is generic and simply says ChocBar. Only in tiny print stamped on the back does it have the expiry and variety (“STRAW”).

I knew going in that these are mockolate, but I also know that there are some decent candies out there with fake chocolate in them, so I was keeping an open mind. It’s a rather thin coating and around the edges I could see the pink nougat filling underneath. But still, it was a nice looking little plank. Each bar is about 2.5” inches long and .75 inches wide.

The nougat is soft and fluffy. It has the scent of berries, but very little taste besides sweet. The mockolate doesn’t add much, but it also doesn’t distract. It’s not terribly waxy or grainy or flavorful. Basically it just seals up the nougat fluff.

It’s, well, just not my kind of candy, even when well done. (Witness the 3 Musketeers Strawberry limited edition from last year.)

Rating: 3 out of 10

Vanilla Cookies - 12 Pack

Vanilla Cookies is billed as vanilla candy with crispies and cookies coated in chocolate compound

Vanilla Cookies Chocolatey Bar

I regarded this one as promising, I thought some Oreo type crunchies in an otherwise bland nougat might be good. (Seriously, why isn’t there a 3 Muskteers version of this?)

The format is pretty much the same as the Strawberry Burst, but a little lumpier, as you can imagine the chocolate cookie crunches are irregular.

The crunches are, well, crunchie. But they don’t taste like anything. The whole candy tastes like the marshmallows from Lucky Charms. While those are fine as little marbits mixed in with oaty sugar sweetened cereal, this is just fake vanilla sweetness with no chocolate crunch relief.

It’s too bad because I thought this was a really good package design for a cheap product.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

Toffee Taste - 12 Pack

Toffee Taste is billed as milk chocolate compound coating with toffee filling.

Toffee Taste Choc Bar

The wrapper here was identical to the Strawberry Burst. It smelled like sugar cookies, which is a promising thing as far as I’m concerned.

The filling is a fluffed nougat, it looks like peanut butter but actually tastes a bit like sponge candy, but with a definite artificial bite to it. The burnt sugar notes were not authentic and the lack of a good chocolate component to balance it just kind of left this one hanging.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

If you’re looking for candy you can display in your house to demonstrate to people who barely know you that you have excellent self control (let’s face it, folks who you know will know the disposition of your self control, you’re reading a candy blog!), this is the stuff. The outer wrapper is enticing enough that someone might be impressed that you haven’t scarfed down all 12 in the package.

But if you’re looking for a great value, this isn’t it. You’re getting what you paid for, which is twice as much candy, but it’s only half as good as you’d like it to be. The previous week I bought some Almond Joy bars - 8 snack sized bars in the package for 4.8 ounces and only 99 cents ... this package has 12 bars but weighed only 5.5 ounces ... so really not that much more candy even. If you can’t afford to go upscale, at least get stuff that’s tried and true.

Related Candies

  1. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  2. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry
  3. Palmer Milk Chocolate Balls
  4. Bonkers
  5. Marpoles
Name: Chocolatey Bars: Strawberry Burst, Vanilla Cookies & Toffee Taste
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Bel
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $.99
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112
Categories: Mockolate, Nougat, Argentina

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:28 am     Comments (7)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Snickers Adventure Bar (Indiana Jones)

Snickers Adventure BarI was looking forward to this bar when I heard about it at All Candy Expo last September. It was teased, “Satisfy your taste for adventure! Rich chocolate. Crunchy nuts. And a cliffhanger kick of exotic spice and a hint of sweet coconut flavor.” That description doesn’t sound that gripping, but still a tasty combo.

The bars began showing up on store shelves in the past few weeks, along with the other tie-in items like the new color & icons in the Milk Chocolate M&Ms and Peanut M&Ms as well as the Mint Crisp M&Ms.

Here’s the obligatory and gratuitous cross-section:

Snickers Adventure Bar

It looks like a regular Snickers, it has the same milk chocolate coating and two layers inside. The top layer is caramel studded with peanuts and the bottom is a fluffed nougat.

There is a faint whiff of coconut, but I’m not getting any chai spices in there.

Adventure Bar MinisI actually found the Minis first, and found them a little bland. So when I saw the full sized bar, I picked that up too, thinking maybe that would have the promised adventure.

Still, all I’m getting is a bit saltier nougat and the coconut flavor mixed into the caramel.

It’s not bad, but certainly doesn’t live up to its name. If you’ve always wanted a coconut Snickers (and I know a few people mentioned a love of coconut in the Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Ideal Candy Bar question) this might be the bar for you. Of course it may also be a big disappointment for true coconut fans, as there is no actual coconut in there. You might just want to pick up an Almond Joy and smash it on top of a regular Snickers for a better effect (and a true mash up!).

M&Ms Peanut Indiana JonesWhile this may have disappointed me (and the Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar didn’t), I’ve got to give them props for trying some new things instead of just using the same ingredients in different ways (like the Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch) or taking away an element (like the Snickers Xtreme).

The package design is a bit better on this one, I think, than the Mint Crisp M&Ms. Don’t forget to check out the new colors of M&Ms, too.

The Milk Chocolate M&Ms are in a muted color palatte: Red, Brown, Amber and Cream.

M&Ms Indiana JonesThe Peanut M&Ms also come in Red, Brown, Amber and Cream with the traditional Yellow thrown in.

They all have assorted new icons on them, integrated with the letter M in some way. I like the one that’s wearing the Indiana Jones hat and the map ordinal. There are also various pyramids and native masks. Some of them feel a bit like a retread of the Pirates of the Caribbean, including the skull. But I guess that’s the genre of movie. The Peanut ones rarely have a legible icon on them as well, but hey, that’s the hazard with using a real peanut center.

All of the Indiana Jones tie in Mars products are available in stores now. I found mine at CVS and Walgreen’s.

I don’t think many folks are excited about the Adventure Bar. Check out reviews by Sera at Candy Addict and Rebecca at Sugar Hog.

Related Candies

  1. Starbucks Truffles
  2. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
  3. 100 Grand Coconut
  4. Mounds Island Orange
  5. M&M Pirate Pearls
  6. Dagoba Chai
Name: Snickers Adventure Bar (Limited Edition)
    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: CVS (bar) & Walgreen's (minis)
Price: $.79 and $3.59
Size: 1.87 ounces & 10.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 134
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Coconut, Nougat, Peanuts, United States, Mars, Kosher, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:31 am     Comments (13)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar

I know nothing about this bar except what is in front of me: Limited Edition Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar.

image

I got it directly from the Mars company, but no press materials. So all I have to go by is what’s on the wrapper and of course what’s inside that chocolate enrobing.

The package says: Almonds, Caramel and Marshmallow-Flavored Nougat wrapped in Dark Chocolate.

I was kind of dubious. I wasn’t fond of the Hershey’s S’Mores bar ... but that’s S’Mores, this is Rocky Road, which has the addition of nuts and the subtraction of graham crackers.

Like all the limited edition Snickers bars, this is smaller than the regular, clocking in at 1.83 ounces instead of 2.07 for the original. I’m okay with the slight of .24 ounces, it’s a satisfying bar, it says so right on the back.

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road BarIt smells lightly of vanilla and dark toasted nuts with a touch of chocolate. The chocolate shell is decent, and sets off the sweet innards well. The caramel has a good mix of almond pieces in it, they’re all fresh and crunchy and much more noticeable than those in the Snickers Almond. The nougat though is where this bar really differs from all others I’ve tried. It’s not the grainy fluffed nougat that ends up in Milky Way and 3 Musketeers. Instead this is like a dense marshmallow. Smooth and not too sweet, a little stringy like the caramel.

It’s a completely different texture experience with this smoother “marshmallow flavored nougat”, kind of like real European-style nougats. (The ingredients list says egg whites, there is no gelatin in here like marshmallows have, so this is still vegetarian-safe ... and probably a nice option for vegetarians who miss marshmallows.)

Perhaps it’s because I have a bounty of these bars and have eaten at least five for this review (instead of the usual 1 or 2 for most reviews), it’s grown on me quite a bit. Dark chocolate was a good choice, it keeps it all from feeling heavy and sticky. Brian also liked them, but also stopped short of love (and I agree, regular Snickers is still the best.)

Still, I can’t tell you where you can find them or when they’ll be available. (Except, of course, from me if you read on.)

Here’s a special peek into the life of a candy blogger.

On February 27th I got an email from someone at Mars, thanking me for my positive review on the Twix Java and offering, “I will be happy to send you samples of new products as they become available.” (Emphasis mine.) She also mentioned that Mars has launched a new direct buy store, where you can pick up boxes of their candies, including the hard to find Munch and Snickers Dark. Instead of being more expensive than regular stores (like the M&Ms online store - $5.99 for 7 ounces of green M&Ms?) it’s about $.68 cents a bar.

Well, I’ve been looking for an “in” with Mars for quite a while, as I’d love to know about the new releases and get them in advance of release (it’s pretty frustrating to have people ask about something they found in the store, and I can’t find it in any stores near me and no where to order it on the web). I do get some notice from PR folks, but it’s not always consistent.

I replied with my address and reminded her that there is no need for thanks for any reviews, “I just call them like I taste them.” (And it’s not like I’ve raved about everything Mars has ever made, but in general I like their products and usually turn down offers for items I don’t think I’d like.)

Stuff from MarsThen on March 5th I came home from work and found this in my kitchen. Perhaps I don’t understand the term “samples” but even in the world of generous interpretations a single box of 24 bars would be an ample sample. A full case of the bars? (Yes, that’s 12 boxes of Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bars with 24 bars each = 288 bars.)

Plus a case of Twix Java! (360 bars.) And another more responsible box of 24 packages of Starbust GummiBurst (goo filled gummis) and another box of 24 Snickers Charged.

I wrote back to Mars, thanking them for their generosity, but gently nudging that I really don’t know what to do with all that candy (seriously, almost 700 portions!). She responded, “Share with your friends wink

So here I am, with oodles of candy. I’ve given away quite a bit, boxes to the office, a couple for raffle prizes for the American Cetacean Society, three to a neighbor to take to work.

It’s drawing time.

I’m offering a box of candy bars (your choice: Twix Java with 36 bars or this new Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar with 24 bars - you can tell me which you want if you win). There will be two lucky winners of this drawing. The rules are as follows:

  • Leave a comment here and tell me your ideal candy bar. It can be one that already exists, a better quality version of an existing bar, something that was discontinued or perhaps something that no one’s ever made before. (Mine would be a pretzel base, with good chewy caramel, pecans and covered in dark chocolate. A decadent Take 5.)

  • Leave a real working email address. I will not share this with anyone, but I will need to contact you if you’re the winner. If I don’t hear back from you in 72 hours after notifying you that you’ve won, I’ll draw a new winner. (I’ve got to get these out of the house before it gets too warm.)

  • Don’t click the “get updates to comments” or else you’ll get hundreds of updates. (If you do it accidentally, there’s an unsubscribe at the end of each email.)

  • All entries must be received by April 5th at 10 AM Pacific.

  • I can only ship to addresses in North America. (I’ll run a contest that’s a little more international soon.)

  • Winners will be drawn randomly from all eligible entries.

  • And there you have it, dear readers. With great candy comes great responsibility.

    UPDATE 3/30/2008: Since this post has now been linked a couple of places (I kind of thought it was a treat for regular readers), I’m going to award three prize boxes instead of two if the entries reach 500. Just to keep the odds similar. (So if the deadline is coming and we haven’t hit it yet, tell your friends!) Thanks to everyone new who’s stopped by, I hope you keep reading!

    UPDATE 4/9/2008: Thanks to everyone who entered. I drew three winners: Elise, Stijn & Donna ... two picked the Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bars and one chose the Twix Java. They’re all in the mail on their way to their recipients! To everyone else who is interested in trying the bars, they’ll be available starting in July 2008 according to Mars. Comments are open again.

    Related Candies

    1. Snickers Charged
    2. Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch
    3. Snickers Dark
    4. Snickers Xtreme
    5. See’s Scotchmallow
    6. Hershey’s S’mores
    Name: Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar
      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: "samples" from Mars
    Price: $.68 if Mars sold them on their site
    Size: 1.83 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 131
    Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, nougat, Nuts, United States, Mars, Limited Edition, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:46 am     Comments (893)

    Friday, February 1, 2008

    Short & Sweet: Fancy Food Bites

    Nougat aux FiguesLast year I ordered some wonderful products from Artisan Sweets which included this Nougat aux Figues: Cuit au Chaudron. I promptly took a photo of the product and then ate it.

    Made by Suprem’ Nougat G. Savin in Montelimar, France it is much like the Arnaud Soubeyran Montelimar Nougat  that I’ve had previously, meaning it has wonderful lavender honey in it along with a generous embed of almonds. Of course it also has bits of figs in there too, as you might have guessed from the picture and name.

    The figs gave the nougat a bit of texture, with the crunchy little seeds and combined well with the musky notes of the lavender honey. It seemed to make the whole thing a little sweeter, but it was a fresh taste. It’s expensive stuff, so it’s a sometimes-indulgence for me. ($8.00 for 3.52 ounces.)

    Walters Handmade Honey NougatI picked up these nice sized samples at the Fancy Food Show from K.L. Keller Imports. She also handles the excellent G. Savin nougats

    This particular nougat has full macadamias in it. It’s a light nougat, it actually felt lighter than many nougats in the hand. The scent was a light vanilla, almost like toasted marshmallows. Wow, the marshmallow comparison was evident once I bit into it. The nougat is fluffy and completely smooth ... there’s no hint of sugary grain to it at all.

    While I was completely missing any honey notes and macadamias aren’t my favorite nut, this was fantastic. Sweet without being sticky or cloying and just the right balance with the neutrality of the macadamias.

    Walters is a South African company (which explains the macadamias) and besides these samples and a store I found in the UK online, I don’t know where else to get this. I guess I’ll just have to keep hitting Keller’s booth at the trade shows. Here’s a review from Our Adventures in Japan of the Almond variety.

    I’ve been on the prowl for good sources of Caffarel in the United States. Besides picking up those few pieces at The Candy Store in San Francisco and seeing them at trade shows, I’m completely at an impasse on how to find them besides hyping them on Candy Blog in hopes that more shops will carry them.

    Caffarel - Conetto

    And why? Their products are good quality and in most cases so freaking cute I want to put a leash on them and buy them squeaky toys.

    Above is one of the new items they were showing called Conetto, which is like a teensy Drumstick Ice Cream Cone (warning, sound on that site).

    The little confection is about 3 1/2” tall. The waffle cone holds a firm guanduia that is then rolled in little toasted cereal “nuts” with a few little chocolate chips tossed in there. The hazelnut paste is soft enough to bite like ice cream with the added bonus that it doesn’t melt. So take your time.

    It only weighs .9 ounces, so it’s probably not a show-stopper when it comes to calories and since indulgence is partially about appearance, this might be an excellent calorie controlled treat. (Of course the wrapper doesn’t say how many calories, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not more than 150.) Now the only things holding me back are where to get them and how much do they cost?

    BruCo confectionsAnother little sample from another hard-to-find Italian chocolatier.

    BruCo makes wonderful flavored chocolate bars. I’ve had their orange one and rum one and thought they were quite nice with an attractive package. Last year at the Fancy Food Show I also tried their spiced chocolate and found it far too spicy for me. This year that had some other items that were definitely to my liking: BruCo Salt Tasting Chocolate, Ciocc’Olio & Cabosse.

    BruCo Olive Oil Chocolate

    Ciocc’Olio: The firm white chocolate center has a quick buttery melt. The taste is not strongly of olives. I was expecting a sort of grassy quality to it, but instead it was more nutty. It was definitely smooth and set off by the equally smooth and slippery melt of the dark chocolate shell.

    Cabosse: I wasn’t quite sure what this was supposed to be. At first I thought it was a dark chocolate guanduia, but later I thought it was simply a firm ganache with cacao nibs in it. Strong and fruity, this was a nice piece, the perfect size and really attractive.

    I also tried a Salt Tasting Chocolate set. I’ll probably have a full review of that at a later date. Basically it’s two different versions of a salted chocolate in one package. Hooray for variety.

    Triple Chocolate ToffeeOne of the other companies that I see at the trade show a lot is Marich. They’re known for their fine panned chocolates, especially their Holland Mints and produced the first gourmet malted milk balls in flavors like Espresso and Peanut Butter.

    They’re based in Hollister, California (which seems to be a hotbed of panning with other confectioners like Jelly Belly, Sconza and Gimbal’s nearby) but seem rather hard to find. Part of it is that they sell in bulk to many shops that repackage the product without reference to the supplier or they end up in bulk bins. In this case I found this little package of their Triple Chocolate Toffee at Ralph’s in Glendale after trying them at the All Candy Expo.

    Triple Chocolate Toffee

    They were absurdly expensive considering everything else in that aisle, $2.89 for that handful pictured above. But they are lovely to look at. They smell great too, like burnt sugar.

    I didn’t know at first if the triple was referring to how much chocolate was on the outside or the fact that there were three different kinds. But suffice to say that either title works, because there is a lot of chocolate on each of these ... a pretty precise proportion that matches well with the chunk of butter toffee at the center. The toffee itself is wonderfully crisp and has that great cleave that very buttery toffee has. A little salty, it balances well with the not-so-dark but also not-too-sweet chocolates.

    I’d probably pick these up again, but not at this price. Luckily Marich has a webstore.

    Everything here gets an 8 out of 10 but no further specs as I don’t know retail prices (unless otherwise noted), calorie profile and often not even the ingredients.

    Related Candies

    1. Fancy Food Show 2010 - Day 3 Notes
    2. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
    3. Laica & Caffarel Chocolate Eggs
    4. Caffarel Figs & Chestnuts (Fico & Castagna)
    5. Nougat de Montelimar

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:07 am     All NaturalCandyReviewCaffarelMarich ConfectioneryChocolateCookieNibsNougatNutsToffeeWhite ChocolateFranceItalySouth AfricaUnited StatesRalph'sComments (3)

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Snickers Charged

    imageMars has messed around quite a bit with Snickers over the past few years with various limited editions. Snickers Almond (more nuts with added almond pieces), Snickers Xtreme (all caramel & nuts), Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch (all peanuts & nougat), Snickers Dark (dark chocolate) and Snickers Shrek (green nougat).  What they haven’t done yet is put something in Snickers that wasn’t already there.

    That comes to an end as Snickers thinks that we need to wake up.

    They’ve introduced their new Limited Edition Snickers Charged which boasts 60 milligrams of caffeine, taurine and other B vitamins (about 10% of your RDA).

    The bar is slightly smaller than their regular one, again this is the same with all the limited edition bars. It’s 1.83 ounces instead of 2.06.

    imagealt=“Snickers Charged” />

    Of course a slightly smaller bar means fewer calories. This one is 250 calories compared to the 280 in the regular bar.

    It smells much like the regular Snickers, has the same texture ... same crunchy peanuts, chewy caramel and super-sweet nougat with a hit of salt. And then it comes along, the caffeine kick. And when I say kick, I mean in the mouth. It’s a bitter aftertaste that sits high and in the back of the mouth. It just kind of lingers there, like maybe it’s not something you ate but something you smelled (sometimes strong skunk will do that to me). And it stays with you, probably as long as the caffeine is in your system. I clocked my aftertaste for eating one half of a bar at 90 minutes.

    If you’re one of those people who doesn’t notice the bitterness of coffee, it might not be such a big deal. The nice thing about a regular Snickers is that it’s an anytime bar ... this one I wouldn’t be able to eat late in the day or the evening because I simply can’t sleep if I have caffeine that late. If they’d made this a coffee flavored bar like the Twix Java, well now then we’d have something!

    That 60 milligrams is nothing to sneeze at:

    1 - 8-ounce soft drink contains 20-40 milligrams (about 150-170 calories)
    1 - 8-ounce regular coffee contains 65-120 milligrams (5-100)
    1 - 8-ounce energy drink contains 72-80 milligrams (110-140 calories)

    Honestly, it’s a great value as an edible dose of caffeine goes. A candy bar is usually about 75 cents at a convenience store. A cup of coffee is usually $1.25 and a soda is $1.00 ... you might be able to get an energy drink for about $2.00. (Let’s not even go into the caffeine, calories & price of those blended coffee drinks.)

    I got four bars as samples from Mars and I’ll probably eat them all, but unless I have a specific need for unhydrated caffeine, I don’t see myself picking up one of these. (Add that to the fact that they’re limited edition, which will likely make them harder to find.)

    Some other early reviews: Crown Combo Blog & Digital Ronan.

    Related Candies

    1. Butterfinger Buzz (Caffeinated)
    2. Loud Truck Energy Gummies
    3. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
    4. Trader Joe’s Espresso Chocolate
    5. Pocket Coffee
    6. No Time & Black Black
    Name: Snickers Charged
      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: samples from Mars PR reps
    Price: $.75 retail
    Size: 1.83 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 137
    Categories: Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel, Peanuts, Caffeinated, Limited Edition, United States, Mars, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:36 am     Comments (80)

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch

    Snickers Nut 'n Butter CrunchYou know what makes a candy satisfying? Sweet fat and protein. It’s a delicate balance, but I find that peanuts are usually up for the job. Mars pretty much knows that and designed the Snickers bar to take full advantage.

    When I first heard about the Limited Edition Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch I was wondering if it was going to be a Butterfinger knockoff, as the Butter Crunch portion of the name might indicate. Then I wondered if it was a remix of the Snickers Cruncher. But it turns out it’s something altogether different.

    Instead of nougat, peanuts, caramel and milk chocolate in the regular Snickers, this new Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch is peanuts and some sort of peanut butter mass (something they call “peanut butter taste” on the wrapper) in milk chocolate. I’d characterize this stuff as a chewy peanut butter fudge or maybe a chewy peanut butter nougat. I think it falls into the nougat camp since there are egg whites in there.

    The bar is a little smaller at 1.71 ounces, but still rivals the fat content of the regular Snickers which is 2.07 ounces.

    Snickers Nut 'n Butter Crunch

    It’s odd, because the texture of the bar makes me think that there’s some caramel in there, it is definitely chewy. But look at that cross section ... it’s jammed full of that “peanut butter taste.”

    I like it, I really really like it. I actually like that it’s smaller than a regular Snickers bar, which is always just one bite too much for me. I like the solidness, I like that it’s less sweet and I actually like that it has 5 grams of protein. I’ll be curious to see if this becomes a regular item like the Snickers Dark did.

    It took me a while to get a hold of the bar, so if this sounds familiar you may have seen reviews at the AV Club or over at Candy Addict.

    Related Candies

    1. Twix PB
    2. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
    3. Eat-More
    4. Munch Bar
    5. Snickers Xtreme
    Name: Snickers Limited Edition Nut 'n Butter Crunch
      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: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
    Price: $.65
    Size: 1.71 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 146
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, Nougat, United States, Mars, Limited Edition, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:23 am     Comments (11)

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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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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Rogue Chocolatier

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

    • Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

     

     

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