Sunday, February 14, 2010
Anyone who has visited this blog regularly knows my fondness for Caffarel, the Italian chocolate maker that invented gianduia. What’s even more remarkable about them is that they don’t just make little nuggets of the stuff, they fashion it into beautiful morsels in clever shapes & wrappers to look at before you gobble them up.
While at the Fancy Food Show I was happy to see the Caffarel booth. Caffarel is devilishly hard to find in the United States, but if they’re planning to distribute directly, maybe things will improve - wider distribution and perhaps the prices will be a little better.
These were simple little milk chocolate hearts, barely larger in diameter than a penny, the chocolate is silky smooth, sweet and milky with a cool melt on the tongue. As far as I’m concerned, the script Caffarel on any candy says I Love You.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you get chocolate or candy from your sweetie?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I got these in a bulk bin at the mall candy shop because I thought they were pretty. I love the grape and banana-yellow ones - they taste nothing like nature. I haven’t actually eaten many of them, I have them in some unused spice bottles on my shelf. I suspect they’ll keep for 20 or 30 years that way.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Another example of something that I bought but never really ate. I loved the look of them, they’re about the size of playing cards and rather thin.
The assortment was two different dark chocolate single origin bars and one milk chocolate one.
What I loved about these was that I bought them right where they were made, at the Michael Mischer shop in Oakland, CA. So they were absolutely perfect, they hadn’t been shipped or knocked around by a stock boy. I didn’t eat them because I forgot I had them, not because they didn’t look good. I enjoyed everything I got there. I need to go back, buy some again and then actually write about it.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
These are a fantastic idea. Miniature ice cream cones with a marshmallow candy topping.
Yeah, great idea but really not that good. They’re about three inches high and come individually wrapped in clear cellophane. I don’t know if it’s the packaging or the fact that a lot of egg white things smell kind of like wet dog to me, but they were icky.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I will eat See’s Scotchmallow in any shape or size. Witness See’s Valentine’s version.
The construction of the See’s Scotchmallow Heart is actually upside down from the piece (but consistent with the Egg): marshmallow then caramel then covered in chocolate. It’s tougher to eat in layers than the piece. I usually nibble the sides off of the piece, then pull the chocolate lid off, pull the marshmallow off of the caramel and eat it separately. Messy? Sure. Tasty? Definitely. In this version though it’s less about the dark chocolate and more about the chewy textures of marshmallow and caramel. I also think the marshmallow is less fluffy from being smashed down by the caramel.
I thought it was a pretty good deal at $1.40 for a one ounce heart but I still prefer the pieces.
UPDATE 9:20 AM: About 45 minutes after I posted this I got an email offering me $30 to post a version of some provided text with a link to See’s. (The text was generic, about how a Ses’s gift would be great for Valentine’s day.) Please note that I have never taken money for any of my posts and I actually bought all of the See’s candies I’ve posted about on Candy Blog (well, someone might have given me some of it as a gift and there are the free samples in the store). Please note that this is the second time that I have been offered this sum of money in exchange for posting a generic item about See’s with an SEO building link.
The first time was in November, before the new FTC full-disclosure rules for bloggers. The email came from a gmail address but after some prodding I found out that the woman who refused to actually name the company she worked for but some digging revealed that she worked for a company that does search engine optimization with social media. Today’s email was formatted similarly, came from a different person, but also via a generic gmail address. (I saw a half a dozen of these posts on other blogs, an example of one is posted here with identifying info blanked out.)
So if you see some rather generic looking posts about See’s in the next few days (the deadline to post for this premium of a whopping $30 is Friday, February 12, 2010) you might want to ask the blogger. The offer specifically admonishes do not disclose this is a paid post. Again, this is now against the FTC rules governing paid posts by bloggers which says that bloggers must disclose.
But also note that these emails did not come directly from See’s nor did any of them say that they were employed to do this by See’s.
The sad thing is that See’s does not need to do this to buoy their reputation. A better option would be to offer samples to bloggers and allow them to voice their own opinions and disclose how they came about the candy. Right now I just don’t know what to do. I love their candy, but I detest this road they’re going down.
UPDATE 2/11/2010: After posting this I wrote to the one contact I had at See’s and explained the situation, naming names as I knew them. Last night I heard from one of the principals of the agency where the offer originated. He disavowed any knowledge of the campaign and apologized. He was very sincere and fully recognized that this rogue activity was not within any guidelines or boundaries of acceptability (or probably even effectiveness). At this time I consider the matter closed. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about See’s PR practices, but it hasn’t influenced my feelings about the products.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
While I might complain of some candies being too sweet, I love candies made from straight boiled sugar. The Japanese traditional candies of Juntsuyu and this Ogontoh are gorgeous examples.
These little pieces are like gems or beads. They taste like toasted sugar. They dissolve slowly and have an exceptionally smooth texture with no voids or bubbles at all. The yellow color is all natural, simply the result of the sugar boiling to the not-quite-caramelized state.
Monday, February 8, 2010
On a cold winter morning we can all use a little toasty comfort.
ClaireSquares are a triple layer sandwich starting with a block of buttery shortbread, a layer or chewy caramel and a thick topping of dark chocolate. It was a big three inch by four inch block.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
My mother sent me these Milk Chocolate Domino Cubes from Aldi before the holidays.
The package says: Gingerbread cookies with apple jelly and persipan coated with milk chocolate. I didn’t know what persipan was, but when I tasted it, it was a lot like marzipan. I looked it up and it pretty much is marzipan except it’s made with apricot kernels instead of almonds. Ultimately I wasn’t sure if these were candy or petit fours. I preferred the dark chocolate ones, the milk version (which photographed better) were very sweet and the gingerbread cake part just wasn’t spicy enough for me.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.