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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seattle Chocolates Truffles

Seattle Chocolates TrufflesSeattle Chocolates makes a wide array of little “truffles” wrapped in mylar in a rainbow of colors.

The company sent me a sample of 14 flavors of their current flavors to try. They came in a simple clear bag with the truffles actually stacked in color order. (But I chose to show you a photo of their Christmas mint assortment, because I don’t actually like photographing clear plastic packaging.)

Earlier I called them “truffles” because they’re really meltaways. The chocolates are little rectangular blocks of chocolate coated meltaway centers. The centers are a combination of chocolate, flavoring and coconut oil mixed with palm oil. This means that they melt at a different temperature than the chocolate itself. The centers are solid, unlike Lindt Lindor Truffles, which have similar ingredients, but more tropical oils.

If this sounds like a Frango, that’s because Seattle Chocolates also makes Frangos for Macy’s, but also sells them under their own name but with more colorful packaging.

Seattle Chocolates

The box I got at the top of the review contained three mint flavors: Mint, San Juan Sea Salt and the seasonal Candy Cane. Pictured above I have Dark Chocolate, Mint, San Juan Sea Salt, Cool Mint.

Mint Seattle Chocolates

I think the first one I should address is the Mint. It comes in a medium green mylar wrapper and is a milk chocolate confection. It smells deliciously pepperminty and takes me back to my childhood and the seasonal boxes of Mint Frangos I consumed (often surreptitiously). The milk chocolate has a strong dairy note and the minty center has a satisfying cool melt along with the peppermint. There are also teensy little pops of salt every once in a while. Often candies like this can be ridiculously sweet, but I didn’t find it that way at all.

Dark Chocolate Seattle Chocolates

The next to profile is a standard, a basic truffle on which so many other flavors are based, the Dark Chocolate. This one is in a medium blue wrapper.

The bite has a satisfying snap, and though the center doesn’t look creamy, it melts well. The dark chocolate has a mild flavor, like the common chocolate chips you’d use for cookies. It’s a toasty flavor, a little the bitter side but with a smoother melt than baking chips.

San Juan Sea Salt is a newer piece, and features a seafoam green wrapper. It’s a milk chocolate piece with little toffee bits and a little extra sea salt mixed into the chocolate center. The salt is a wonderful combination with the very milky chocolate and the little toffee bits are a great textural crunch. I did get some of these in the mint set, and they were actually infused with the mint flavors from the other truffles. Either way, it’s good.

Cool Mint Seattle Chocolates

Cool Mint was the last one in this set, a bit of a change from the previous since it features a light blue wrappers and a white center in dark chocolate. It’s quite minty and could use a little bit of that salt that the others seem to have. I enjoyed it, but prefer the other mint varieties.

Seattle Chocolates

Ah, things are getting a little nuttier in the next batch which features Salted Almond, Milk, Peanut Butter, Espresso.

Espresso Seattle Chocolates

I’ll start with Espresso because, we’ll, I’m in charge. The wrapper is brown, the chocolate is dark. The interior is smooth and has good roasted flavor note. The meltaway itself has little crispy bits ... coffee grounds. The flavor profile is good, I liked the coffee and the grounds or whatever they are aren’t too gritty. Out of the mix, this was the first flavor that disappeared. Not too sweet.

Milk looks just like the mint, so must give that a glance again except imagine the wrapper is gold. Since there are no other flavor elements in this one, it’s a little easier to pick out the profile of the milk chocolate itself. It has a strong dairy flavor, almost like the flavor of cream cheese. It’s sweet gets a little oily towards the end. I skipped these after getting the profile.

Peanut Butter Seattle Chocolates

Peanut Butter sounded fantastic. The bronzy wrapper holds a milk chocolate piece with a peanut butter meltaway center. The interesting aspect is that there are also crushed peanuts in there too. Again, this one is oily like the milk chocolate, though it didn’t bother me as much.

Salted Almond is a bit more trendy and comes in a goldenrod wrapper with a dark chocolate coat. The center is dark chocolate and features a bit of salt and a few almond chips here and there. The toasty flavors of the almonds and dark chocolate were excellent. I’d buy this as a bar, as well.

Seattle Chocolates

The last set is a little fruity and contains some different concepts in the meltaway concept: Peanut Brittle, Strawberry Creme, Raspberry Creme, Blackberry Creme.

Peanut Brittle is similar to the Salted Almond, a little crunchy peanut, maybe with some crispy caramelized sugar in there. Since this is a dark piece, it’s far and away different from the Peanut Butter, though far less peanutty.

Seattle Chocolates Strawberry

The Strawberry is a white center with what I think is bits of freeze dried strawberries in there. It has some authentic strawberry flavors but suffers from the same oily feeling towards the end.

The Raspberry and Blackberry Creme were similar, with some nice berry flavors with a tangy pop here and there.

Not Pictured:

Coconut Macaroon is in a lighter blue mylar and features a dark chocolate coating and center. This is a pure tropical piece, the coconut oils in the meltaway work their magic here along with a few little bites of toasted coconut. There’s a definite coconut smell to it, so much it overpowers the chocolate flavors.

Extreme Chocolate comes in a magenta wrapper (I mistook it for one of the berries when I was photographing). This is excellent. It tastes darker than its reputed 65% cacao, with good bitter notes but still enough sweetness. The meltway qualities are still there, but none of the oily textures I didn’t like. Also as a bonus, there are crunchy cacao nibs in there. All of the nibs I came across were crisp, not fibery like some origins.

Seattle Chocolates also makes a wide variety of Truffle Bars, many in the same flavor profile as the Truffles ... though the ratios differ quite a bit, with more solid chocolate and less meltaway filling in most cases.

Seattle Chocolates Truffles are made with non GMO ingredients and are gluten free. They do contain soy and dairy ingredients and obviously the ones that don’t have peanuts or tree nuts in them were still processed on shared equipment. They sell most of the flavors singly as well as different flavor assortments, like the Mint, just dark and coffee flavors.

As a product line, I give it all a 7 out of 10. For the pieces I liked, such as Salted Almond, Extreme Chocolate and San Juan Sea Salt, I go to 8 out of 10.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-21/news/ct-met-schmich-1221-20121221_1_frangos-candy-kitchen-macy

Related Candies

  1. Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Minty Melts
  3. Seattle Chocolates Perfect Peanut Butter
  4. Fannie May Mint Meltaway
  5. Malley’s Chocolates
  6. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  7. Frangos Dark (62%)
  8. Espresso Truffle Bar


Name: Truffles Assortment
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: samples from Seattle Chocolates
Price: $21.95
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Seattle Chocolates, Brittle, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, Nibs, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:14 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSeattle ChocolatesChocolateCoconutCoffeeKosherMintsNibsNutsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Godiva Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World

Godiva Chef InspirationsGodiva was founded in Belgium as a premium chocolatier. The company is now owned by a Turkish holding coming (Yıldız Holding) but is headquartered in New York and named after an Old English noblewoman.

The chocolate is reliably of good quality, though the prices are on the high side compared to other brands now available. I love their packaging, but I’m usually disappointed by the products as they tend to be bland.

Still, I was tempted enough by a press release about a new collaboration collection that I stopped by the local Godiva shop and picked up a box of the Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection. It was $18 for a box of eight chocolates in six different flavors.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

So, six flavors and eight pieces means that I got two duplicates. The box is nice, a rounded rectangle with a plastic formed tray inside. The whole thing was shrink-wrapped and definitely fresh and flawless when I opened it. It included a little brochure that described both the chef and chocolates themselves. Here’s a little bit from the website:

Welcome our debut Flavors of the World collection—part of our new Chef Inspirations series! GODIVA Chef Chocolatiers crafted these extraordinary pieces based on inspiration from their culinary journeys in six countries - Japan, Belgium, Brazil, the United States, China, and South Africa. Let our chefs guide your through this flavor-filled adventure.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Banana & Caramelized Coconut: Milk and white chocolate enhanced with caramelized coconut flakes, coconut milk and banana essence topped with the crunch of West African cocoa nibs. The banana flavors are sweet and have a bit of a creamy note. The coconut has a little tropical flavor, the whole thing is soft and chewy. The milk chocolate is smooth, but extremely sweet.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Black Tea Mousse & Sichuan Pepper: Chinese Sichuan pepper flavored ganache blended with an aromatic black tea mousse and wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. The mousse has a very light chocolate note but strong tannins from the black tea. I didn’t catch much of the pepper, which is too bad. But I did enjoy the tea and this one was less sweet than the others.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Sirop de Liege with Speculoos: Classic Belgian Sirop de Liege, a pear and apple syrup, and a Speculoos cookie mousse wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. This is a beautiful piece and an interesting combination. It is by far the most innovative and successful in the assortment. The speculoos is soft and creamy with a hint of gingerbread spices. The syrup is more like a fruit jelly, tart and smooth and bright, it’s really a great pairing with the dark chocolate and cookie butter. They should make this in a bar format.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Japanese Dark Sugar Ganache: Dark chocolate layered with Kuromitsu molasses and Valencia almond praliné mixed with diced hazelnuts and Guerande sea salt. Since I started Candy Blog, I’ve been obsessed with Japanese black sugar, so this was the piece was thinking would be a home run. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but lacks any sort of black sugar note at all. The almond and hazelnut notes are great and the touch of sea salt does really balance the piece which gets a bit sweet, but the molasses is just so slight, I missed it. And I had three of these ... the two that came in the box and I bought one on the spot and ate it at the mall.

Brazilian Coffee Nut Praliné: Brazilian coffee and Costa Rican chocolate blended with hazelnut praliné enrobed in white chocolate and decorated with crispy chocolate confetti. As you would expect, this one was sweet with the white chocolate coating. The coffee notes a fresh and bright and the hazelnut flavors really mixed well. The little crisps on top gave it the texture it needed as a finish. Dark chocolate enrobing would have made me a bit more satisfied.

Honey Roasted Caramel: Caramel infused with hints of honey, almonds, brown sugar and condensed milk covered in milk chocolate and crunchy almonds. This sounds rather pedestrian and it really is, but that’s no reason not to appreciate it. It was chewy, but not too sticky. The honey and darker toffee notes were good and the milk chocolate brought it together well with some other dairy notes. The almonds were kind of lost, but at least fresh and crunchy.

Overall ... well, it was too sweet and not intense enough. I liked the attempts and part of the fun was just imagining what the combinations would be like. But I think I’ll stick with my local chocolatiers like Compartes or Valerie if I want to get into that price range, or just stop at See’s and be happy with their caramels.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
  2. Godiva Cake Truffles
  3. Meiji Chelsea Kokutou Black Sugar
  4. Amsterdam on Foot: Three Chocolate Shops
  5. Godiva Spring Pearls
  6. Teuscher
  7. Lillie Belle Farms Assortment
  8. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Godiva
Place Purchased: Godiva (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Godiva, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Coffee, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:01 pm     CandyReviewGodivaCaramelChocolateCoconutCoffeeNibsNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (2)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan PieRussell Stover has been branching out into more pie flavors for their novelty confections. The Big Bite line already includes S’mores and Apple Pie, now there’s Russell Stover’s Big Bite Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie is actually just candy in a flaky pastry dough, as far as I’m concerned. The pecan pie filling is a cross between a custard and a fudge, a mix of fats and sugar ... all topped with caramelized pecans. Most pecan pie lacks enough pecans as far as I’m concerned, and I usually want mine in the filling, not just on top.

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Even though this traveled about a thousand miles, it did well. The graham cracker base was just a little rounded off and about half of the pecans fell off the top. (But were very easy to just pour into my mouth from the package.) This version of pecan pie has milk chocolate ... which isn’t a bad thing, I often enjoy a chocolate pecan pie, or at least a pecan pie with a hot fudge sauce on it.

Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

Like many pecan pies, the center here has no pecans in it, it’s just a penuche-type fudge center with excellent butter and brown sugar notes. The milk chocolate is actually less sweet than the center, which is nice, and the graham cracker moderates it all even more. The pecans are not integrated into this at all, which is disappointing, because they shouldn’t be the afterthought, they should be the center.

Still, as a confection, it’s quite nice, very sweet but a lot of textural interest. As a candy version of pecan pie, it fails. Don’t worry, I’m willing to eat Russell Stover’s mistakes.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Apple Pie & Pumpkin
  2. Russell Stover Eggs: Carrot Cake, Birthday Cake and Wedding Cake
  3. Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie
  4. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  5. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  6. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  7. Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Delight Egg
  8. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  9. Ethel Holiday Assortment


Name: Big Bite Pecan Pie
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Olympia, WA)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:11 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverChocolateCookieNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (1)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced AlmondI’ve reviewed a couple of the new Ghirardelli panned chocolate items, but up until now they’ve been pretty standard items. I was intrigued enough with the description of the new Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond to pick them up.

The perfect snack to satisfy your craving for crunchy nuts and smooth chocolate ... with a little spice.

I liked the package. It’s very easy to understand, the images on the front and back are appealing, clear and not too fussy. But mostly I appreciated that the nutrition label and ingredients are easy to read. The ingredients list the allergens in bold, as well as noting them at the end of the list and it was all in a typeface that was large enough for me to read without glasses.

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond

The ingredients are pretty clean with no artificial flavors or colors. They even helpfully list out what the spices are: cinnamon, allspice and cayenne. Instead of just mixing the spices into the chocolate to create something slightly gritty, Ghirirdelli instead made a spiced toffee glaze for the almonds before panning them in chocolate.

These remind me of the Lindt Holiday Almonds that come out seasonally, but are also coated with powdered sugar.

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond

The almonds are big and glossy. They don’t smell of spice, just a light sweet dairy note. They have a great crunch if you bite them. The glaze is crispy and the almond are tougher and have a substantial crunch. The chocolate is soft and combines readily with the elements. It’s all a bit sweet, even with the neutral almonds to balance it out. The glaze has a generous touch of the spices, with quite a bit of cayenne that builds up slowly until there’s a light burn after about five or six.

I didn’t care for the how sweet they were, maybe I just wanted a smidge of salt in them or a darker milk chocolate. But they are less sweet than the Lindt sister confection, so I’ll take that as progress. I have to say that if this trend of mixing the textures of a glazed nut with chocolate takes off, there are a lot of variations that could be quite delectable. The best that I’d tried to date would be the Sconza 70% Toffee Almonds.

Ghirardelli is owned by Lindt & Sprungli. They don’t have a lot on their website about the sourcing of their cacao except for a statement that they’re in compliance with the California transparency act and then point you to the Lindt policies. Now that Lindt owns Russell Stover, they’re the third largest chocolate company in the United States, and will probably have a lot more clout when it comes to insisting on transparency and certification within their supply chain for all ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Cashew
  2. Ovation Mint Filled & Pumpkin Spice Oranges
  3. Ritter Sport Winter Edition Caramelised Almonds
  4. M&Ms Pumpkin Spice
  5. Eclat Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65%
  6. Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond
  7. Trader Joe’s Almondictive Bits
  8. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  9. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds


Name: Milk Chocolate Spiced Almond
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $4.00
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Ghirardelli, Brittle, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:15 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewGhirardelliBrittleChocolateCinnamonNuts8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good and DeLISH Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds

Delish Turbinado AlmondsHouse brands are often cheap knock-offs of well known brands. But every once in a while a house brand has some sort of wizard-visionary behind the scenes ... I think Walgreen’s found one and put them to work on their Good & deLISH line of candies and snacks.

Many of these new candies are on trend with flavors like Red Velvet and Caramel Apple but also do a better job than some of the major brands like Russell Stover and Ghirardelli at creating well-priced candies you’d prefer to not share.

One of the items I found on the shelves kind of hidden in with the nuts were these new snack containers of candy or chocolate covered nuts and fruits. This one is Good and deLISH Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds, a name so long it’s a wonder they fit it on the little wrapper.

http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/trader_joes_dark_chocolate_almonds
Delish Turbinado Almonds

Those of you’ve been reading for a while or have a Trader Joe’s in your area may recognize these, they’re similar to the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds. They’re an almond, covered in dark chocolate that’s also studded with small sea salt and raw sugar nuggets.

The package is a squat plastic jar that holds 5 ounces. The wide black cap is to be used as a snack cup, perhaps in the car. The jar is wide mouthed, so you can get your fingers in there, if you’re not using the lid as a dish. The overall look of the packaging is utilitarian but not at all appetizing. It looks like something I’d be more likely to find in use to store bolts and fasteners than candy.

Delish Turbinado Almonds

They’re kind of homely little nuggets. It’s a crunchy roasted almond covered in semi-sweet chocolate (I’d guess about 50% cacao) with a little dash of salt or sugar sometimes ... then there’s a slight dusting of cocoa on the outside. The chocolate is sweet, not exceptionally smooth and boosted a little bit by some extra butterfat (not a vegan product, sorry). The nuts are crunchy and well roasted, with skins on. This leads to a lingering fiber to the chew. The chocolate has a light bitter note towards the end as well, but the beginning and middle is quite sweet for a dark chocolate item.

The thing is, I didn’t love these the first time I had them at Trader Joe’s, I don’t love them now, though on paper they seem to have all the right qualities. I want to know more about the chocolate in them and I want a little more consistency with the sugar and salt on top. While I found the Trader Joe’s batch I had too salty, these were merely too sweet ... even before the sugar crystals kicked in. I’ll see what else this line has to offer when they’re on sale ... I do like the concept of the package and would probably find this great for car or plane trips. The Walgreen’s site also shows this in an 11 ounce size, which is likely to be a better value.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Royals: Caramel Apple and Sea Salt Caramel
  2. Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites
  3. Walgreen’s Good and Delish Milk Chocolate Cornflake Clusters
  4. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  5. Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies
  6. Starbucks Salted Almond Chocolate Bites
  7. Gardini Bitter Chocolate and Gianduia with Sea Salt
  8. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels
  9. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt


Name: Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Good and Delish
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Nuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:43 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateNuts6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ritter Sport Coffee and Hazelnuts (Winter Edition)

Ritter Sport Coffee & HazelnutsRitter Sport has been releasing seasonal variations on their popular square bars for the past few years. Only in the past few years have they appeared reliably on US shelves, and usually for the Winter Editions.

The new Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts is a new bar, though it combines elements from other existing bars. I found my bar at Cost Plus World Market with the Christmas candies, they had all three varieties for this season, including the return of the Caramelized Almond and the also new Vanilla Crescents. It’s nice to see new bars in the mix, but disappointing that they’re all milk chocolate. This bar was $2.99, a smidge higher than the regulars, which sell for $2.49.

Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts

The bar looks like all the other Ritter Sport bars ... a 4x4 grid of sections, each with the Ritter Sport logo on top. This is a filled bar, a coffee cream studded with crushed hazelnuts. It’s a simple concept and rather baffling that no one has been doing this all along.

The ingredients, however, were not promising when it comes to cocoa content:

Ingredients: sugar, palm fat, milk, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, lactose, milk, hazelnuts, skim milk, butterfat, hazelnut paste, coffee powder, soy lecithin, natural flavor, natural coffee flavor.

I’m not against fat, I love the stuff. All that fat made this bar pretty high on the calorie count, 172 calories per ounce ... that’s 600 for the whole bar (for reference the whole hazelnut dark bar has 550 calories for the whole bar). Ritter Sport has been pretty good about the sourcing of its cacao, but they’re not forthcoming about their palm oil. For that reason and others mostly of taste preferences, when buying their bars for just eating, I usually stick to the solid chocolate varieties (or marzipan).

Ritter Sport Coffee & Hazelnuts

It looks great, smells mildly like coffee and cocoa but mostly sweet. The bite is soft, as most of the milk chocolate Ritter Sports are. The cream center has a cool melt and a vague coffee note to it, but it’s not as strong as the Espresso Bar, which is disappointing. The cream center is a little slick and thin, ultimately. The bar is extremely sweet for something that’s supposed to be coffee and hazelnuts. There are some hazelnuts, enough for a crunch and a touch of gianduia in the center. I really wanted a deep roasted experience ... the mix of the hazelnuts and coffee were promising, but ultimately not as deep as I’d hoped. But if you like Ice Cubes, you’ll appreciate the decadence of this bar. Dark chocolate would improve this bar immensely.

It’s not a bad bar, but like many of the bars that Ritter Sport has been making, especially the filled ones, they’re sweet and too oily without enough flavor. I want more dark chocolate options.

Related Candies

  1. Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites
  2. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  3. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Kona Coffee Truffles
  4. Mast Brothers Stumptown Coffee
  5. Ritter Sport Espresso
  6. Meiji Corot & CoffeeBeat
  7. Choceur Coffee & Cream
  8. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites


Name: Coffee and Hazelnuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Germany, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:45 am     CandyReviewChristmasRitter SportChocolateCoffeeLimited EditionNuts7-Worth ItGermanyCost PlusComments (1)

Monday, November 3, 2014

See’s Bridge Mix

See's Bridge MixI picked up the Bridge Mix from See’s Candies over the weekend, mostly because the comments from readers were so adamant that it was worth having a try.

At $18 a pound it’s about 2.5 times more expensive than the Brach’s Bridge Mix. It also has all natural chocolate and at least lists a sample of what is probably in the mix: Bite-sized pieces of raisins, coconut, caramel, brittles, almonds, pecans, nougats and more covered in milk and dark chocolate.

See's Bridge Mix

The kind folks at See’s actually gave me a little cup of the mix to sample before I made my purchase ... because it just comes in this one pound box. The box has four little sections, which keep the mix from wandering too much. I don’t know if I would necessarily serve it from the box, but the nice thing about Bridge Mix it’s a panned candy, which means that it has a little glaze on each piece to keep it from sticking together and you can put it out in a bowl without worrying that it’ll all melt into a lump.

See's Bridge MixOne of the first things I should mention is that I’m allergic to walnuts. Not deathly allergic, as I’m still alive, but for the most part my reactions to walnut traces lately has been a swollen throat and flushed skin. The See’s Bridge Mix does contain walnuts. One of the items is chocolate covered nougat, which has walnuts in it. It’s hard to tell, in Bridge mix, which pieces are which, so it’s a little difficult for me review these in the normal manner. For any piece that is the right shape to be a nougat, I have to split open first to see what’s in it.

The good part is that most of the pieces are easy to just chomp. The little items that look like raisins or almonds are raisins and almonds. The pillow things that look like molasses chips are molasses chips. The lumpy things that look like pecans are pecans. It was the little cubes I had the trouble with ... which leads to the general complaint with Bridge Mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Dark Chocolate covered Caramel Rectangles had a more stringy, chewy caramel than the little cube ones I found a few times. These were quite nice, but maybe a little heavy on the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Lump is Rum Raisin Nougat This is the piece that has walnuts in it.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Cube is Caramel The picture makes this one look like it might be a chocolate caramel, but it tasted rather rich but caramelly overall.

Milk Chocolate Rounded Cube is Butterscotch The See’s Butterscotch is one of my favorite pieces. This version is a little drier and has a different set of ratios for the chocolate and center. I prefer the enrobed piece (not the bar), but the creamy melt of the chocolate and sort of buttery brown sugar fudge do work well, especially with the nuts. This and the caramel looked the same to me, and most of the milk cubes were Butterscotch.

Dark Chocolate Cube is Toasted Coconut These are wholly unexpected for this type of mix. You can see from the cross section, these are packed with coconut, so they’re not too sweet and it is nicely toasted to bring out the tropical flavor.

Flat Milk Chocolate Square is Toffee (not pictured) I like the See’s Toffee, it’s crisp and buttery and easy to bite. The toffee notes are good, but for some reason it’s never had that smooth burnt sugar dissolve that I often crave. It’s a personal preference issue.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pillow is Molasses Crisp. These might have more chocolate on the regular version available by themselves. They’re crisp and crunchy, with just enough aeration to the honey-molasses candy to make them easy to bite. The lingering honey notes of the center goes well with just about everything else in this mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pecans & Almonds - the pecans are fantastic. They’re roasted perfectly, they have a great woodsy maple flavor, so you get a sweet crunch combined with the chocolate. The almonds are very small, if I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed that they were peanuts. They’re well toasted and decent, a good crunch and probably a different variety than the nonpareil almonds I’ve been eating, because they’re less fibery.

Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins are quite niece. The raisins are big, though the chocolate isn’t particularly dark, it is generous.

The mix is very strong, it doesn’t have any items that feel like they’re cheap filler. I did find that the almonds were left at the end, I was picking out the big bits. But I think once I figured out the code, it was easier to mix and match without worrying that I was going to get a “bad piece.” I do not recommend playing roulette if you have a food sensitives when it comes to this sort of thing.

I would prefer an actual guide on the package, or at least a real listing the items that are in i. I’d also like to just make my own mix… but that’s not the way mixes work. I would definitely buy this again. But I play Canasta, not Bridge.

Related Candies

  1. Snack Mix for Traveling
  2. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  3. See’s Double Caramel
  4. Cedrinca Gran Mix
  5. Eat with your Eyes: See’s Butterscotch
  6. Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix
  7. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  8. Marich Easter Select Mix
  9. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: See’s Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: See’s
Place Purchased: See's (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Morselization, See's, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Nougat, Nuts, Toffee, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:40 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewSee'sCaramelChocolateCoconutNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesComments (5)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Brach’s Bridge Mix

Brach's Bridge MixYou might wonder why my Halloween review is of Bridge Mix. It’s because it’s actually the scariest candy on the market today. Every maker has a different set of what they include in their mix, and because everything is coated in chocolate, it’s a game of Russian Roulette if you’re a picky eater. 

If I were to rank candies according to age demographics, most results would land where I expected. Super sour candies are targeted to tweens, dark chocolate to adult women and sweet and savory candies to men who love sports. And the sales data pretty much bears that out. Then there’s Bridge Mix. First of all, Bridge Mix doesn’t seem to have any sort of marketing campaign associated with it. But if you were to find out how old the average buyer is, I’m going to guess somewhere around 73.

I picked up the Brach’s Bridge Mix because the package made it look appealing and compared to some of the other chocolate bag offerings lately, it seemed like a good value. The package is vague, but it mentions that it’s a mix of all natural milk and dark chocolate. However, there was no listing on the back of the package as to what the actual items inside would be. The front just showed the coated pieces ... the ingredients were so long, all I could say for sure is that I could expect raisins, peanuts, sugar and Brazil nuts inside the chocolate.

Brach's Bridge Mix

My first impression upon opening the bag was good. It’s a resealable bag that holds a 8.7 ounces which makes for a full cereal bowl of candy. The pieces look good, they’re shiny and for the most part distinctive. I thought I could tell which were peanuts and raisins, though the larger spheres were a mystery.

The ingredients listed Brazil nuts and the picture on the front shows a piece that really looks like a chocolate covered Brazil nut. No such item appears in the bag. Maybe my mix was missing the Brazil nuts ... it was certainly not sufficiently randomized for my tastes.

Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk, Chocolate Liquor, Lactose, Soy Lecithin, Butter Oil, Salt, Vanillin, Ethyl Vanillin), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Peanuts with TBHQ and Citric Acid (preservative), Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Raisins, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Sugar, Nonfat Milk, Buttermilk, Whey Solids), Corn Syrup Solids, Brazil Nuts, Malted Milk (Milk, Barley Malt, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sodium and Potassium Carbonate), Modified Food Starch (Corn), Malt Extract (Barley Malt, Wheat Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean, Cottonseed, Palm Kernel), Salt, Pectin, Baking Soda, Citric Acid, contains 2% or less of the following ingredients: Tapioca Flour, Soy Lecithin, Red 40, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Gelatin, Confectioner’s Glaze, Acacia (Gum Arabic), Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate. [Contains: Milk, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Wheat and Soy]

Though it’s all natural chocolate, there are a lot of not-so-natural items in there, too. There’s also gelatin, which was hard to find on the list if you’re vegetarian.

Brach's Bridge Mix

Cherry Jelly Ball covered in Dark Chocolate were one of two that I could reliably pick out of the mix. It’s a big, very strongly cherry flavored jelly ball covered in dark chocolate. I was hoping there would be other flavors, but this was it. The jelly center is nice, dense and very floral. However, there’s a grainy sugar layer in there that messed with the texture and sweetness level. I don’t like cherry candies, but I thought this was a refreshing item to have in a mix ... and it was easy for me to avoid.

White Sugar Cream covered in Dark Chocolate - if you’ve ever wanted a York Peppermint Pattie without the mint flavor, this might be your candy. But the fondant in the center is hard and grainy ... so it’s not really a good texture combination at all. The dark chocolate outside is in a much larger ratio than most other mint candies, which is fine because that’s the only flavor you’re going to get out of this thing. I felt like about 1/4 of my bag was filled with these. I would bite them in half to see if it was a large peanut or something else and then toss the other half when I found it was the fondant ball.

Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Ball - I’d like to have a long and wonderful commentary here, but that photo of the one bitten in half is the only one I got in this bag. I’ve been searching for Brach’s Milk Chocolate Milk Balls for a couple of years, and found that this Bridge Mix is the only place I can find them ... and I got one lousy one. I didn’t savor it enough to be able to review it.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut - excellent. The peanuts have skins on them, which I enjoy. It highlighted the bitterness of the chocolate. The peanut had a light touch of salt, and though not large, they were crunchy and deeply roasted.

Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut - not as good as the dark one, the milk chocolate hides the peanut notes somehow, but after stumbling across so many of those fondant balls, I was happy to have these.

Milk Chocolate Brown Sugar Ball - I have no idea what this is. The center was not grainy, not smooth, not flavorful, not appealing. It tasted sweet, but also dusty. I just have no idea what the point was, except to fool me into thinking that I was going to get a Malted Milk Ball.

Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins - pretty good. The raisins were soft and chewy, not tough or tacky. The raisins dominated, the chocolate was sweeter than the actual dried fruit but didn’t contribute more than texture to the experience.

Brach's Bridge

The one item that was easy to pick out were the little flattened bullets that came in both milk and dark chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the chocolate coating isn’t as thick as the other candies, but that didn’t matter. The center of this little morsel is a nicely made, crispy nut brittle. There may be Brazil nuts in there, but definitely peanuts. It’s salty, it’s barely sweet and I’d like to just buy a bag of these.

Dark Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the dark chocolate version was even better, as it enhanced the roasted nut flavors.

I’ve come away with an appreciation for people who simply throw caution to the wind and pop a handful of candy pieces in their mouth. I’m not a Bridge Mix person. In fact, this bag of candy made me angry. There were good things in it, but too many horrible things. There’s no listing anywhere that I can find that says what kind of candy is even in the bag ... it’s as if Brach’s is evasive and doesn’t want to commit to what they might put in there on any given day. I ended up with a pile of half bitten candies on my desk after I determined what I did and didn’t like ... I spit out the other halves in the trash. It was, in the end, a bad value for me, since I ate so little of it, though, technically, I finished the bag.

I really just wanted some Malted Milk Balls.

Related Candies

  1. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  2. Brach’s Dark Chocolate Blueberry Acai
  3. Christopher’s Big Cherry - Dark
  4. RJ’s Licorice Allsorts
  5. Trader Joe’s Allsorts -a- Licorice
  6. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips
  7. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 8.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Brittle, Chocolate, Fondant, Jelly Candy, Malt, Nuts, Peanuts, Toffee, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:55 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewBrach'sFerrara PanBrittleChocolateFondantJelly CandyMaltNutsPeanutsToffee5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (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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