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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ghirardelli Squares

Name: Ghirardelli Squares - Milk Chocolate with Carmelized Almonds
Brand: Ghirardelli
Place Purchased: Savon
Price: $2.00 (on clearance - usually $3.98)
Size: 6.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 144
Type: Chocolate/Nuts

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I couldn’t resist picking up this bag of sweet treats. I was originally plowing through the clearance table at the drug store because they had Hershey’s cookies for 50 cents a package (and it was one of the few times I’d seen the York ones) and I was hoping for some Halloween finds but then I thought, $2 bucks for Ghirardelli? I’ll take it!

I suspect that this flavor is being discontinued because it has no page of its own on the site (well, there’s a link, but the page has a 404 error on it). Anyway, these are cute little 1.75” squares of milk chocolate with little crunchy almond bits in it.

The milk chocolate is smooth and creamy, not too milky tasting but a bit sticky. The almonds are nicely roasted and have a good carmelized bite to them. Mellow and a little bit zippy, there are really nice little sweets to have around.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliChocolateNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (5)

Baltic Candies: Dubingiai & Veliuona

Name: Dubingiai and Veliuona
Brand: AB Vilniaus Pergale
Place Purchased: gift (from Eastern Europe)
Price: gift
Size: 30 grams each
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Chocolate

What a gorgeous site Pergale has, seriously. The photos are fabulous and they document gobs and gobs of candy. It’s really a delight to browse around, it’s well organized and has great brief descriptions of all their products. The UK, Candian and American manufacturers could learn from this Lithuanian company - a lot of the candy sites I’ve seen are oriented towards capturing consumer information and not giving much in return in the way of information. I like a candy site that’s a full catalogue of the company.

These tiny bars were part of a larger cache of candy from Eastern Europe (I already reviewed the full sized Ritter Sport Rum Trauben Nuss and Capuccino bars). I’ll sprinkle more in as the weeks go on. The bars are 30 grams, which is less than an ounce and about the size of a thumb, well maybe your thumb, my thumbs are pretty small.

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Dubingiai - Dipped rum-flavoured confection of cocoa and milk paste containing waffle crisps. This tiny little bar was glossy with a beautiful dark sheen even after traveling across the world in a suitcase and then in my candy bag for weeks until I took a photo. Once I snapped it in half the rum scent wafted out and made my mouth water. The filling looks like a fluffy truffle, but it also has a bit of crisp mixed in. It’s an odd sort of combo, the flavors are nice, but the texture of the center is a little odd. The chocolate outside is smooth but the crisp gives the center a little grain. It’s got a nice rum flavor to it and the chocolate is pretty decent. It goes great with my morning coffee.


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Veliuona - Dipped confection of cocoa and milk paste containing waffle crisps. This bar seemed quite similar to the Dubingiai but didn’t have the rum flavor to it. It was actually a little weird and tasted a bit burnt. The chocolately taste was more evident and the little cookie bits in the fluffy, buttery center were nice, but I couldn’t get past the feeling that maybe a cigarette butt ended up in the mix that day.

Ratings: Dubingiai - 8 out of 10 (I really like rum and chocolate as a combo)
Veliuona - 5 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:33 am     ReviewChocolate5-Pleasant8-TastyLithuaniaComments (5)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Best Intentions: Sun Drops

Name: Sun Drops - Plain Milk & Peanut
Brand: Sun Spire
Place Purchased: Wild Oats
Price: $.79 (on sale)
Size: 1.19 ounces
Calories per ounce: 151
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts

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Here’s a perfectly good idea gone awry. There’s no reason there can’t be good, tasty, “natural” chocolate candies (I think that’s been proven more recently with things like Equal Exchange, Green & Black, Newman’s Own, etc.). This is an example of a weak candy line. Here’s why: First, the colors are dull and unappealing. They’re not colors that I want to eat (except for the yellow, they look like old-lady lipstick colors). They’re not strong or clean, they’re muddy looking and uneven. A grainy looking outside does not bode well for the inside.

The ingredients are basically sugar (natural with unsulfured molasses, blah, blah) then milk powder, then the chocolate ... that’s a long way down the list. And it shows in the final product. The addition of molasses is a little odd. It gives the whole thing a rather toasty burnt flavor, which I enjoy with my oatmeal but not in my chocolate. In fact, I can taste everything in these drops except for the chocolate. The powdered milk, overly sweet sugar and slightly grainy chocolate just combine for a depressing treat. The crunchy shell is too tough and again adds sweet without flavor and further distances me from any chocolately goodness. If it’s possible, the peanut ones tasted more like burnt sugar and milk powder.

With the same number of calories and fat as M&Ms, why am I eating these? I gave them to Amy to try and after much cajoling (because the package, colors and list of ingredients scared her off - and she was the one that wanted to go to Wild Oats on Saturday!) she did put one in her mouth. She chewed a couple of times and then spit it out in my trash can.

If you are a parent trying to find a wholesome treat for the kids, this isn’t it. It sets them up for a lifetime of disappointments, now that’s spoiling them. Just let them have some M&Ms in moderation (the Almond ones are actually not bad for you since the bulk of the candy is actually a very healthy nut). Or just let them have plain old semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dark chocolate really isn’t that bad as a food. Raisinettes? Really, anything but this. Don’t tease the poor kids by telling them this is candy.

Rating: 2 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:39 am     CandyReviewSunspireChocolatePeanuts2-AppallingUnited StatesComments (41)

Friday, November 18, 2005

York Chocolate Mint Truffle Pattie

Name: York Chocolate Mint Truffle Pattie
Brand: York (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Type: Chocolate

I have no idea how long these limited editions last. But I’m still seeing the Whopper’s bars in the 7-11 (I picked up three on this trip and I’m considering checking out CostCo to buy a whole box of them). York did a limited edition Pink Pattie this year too, but that wasn’t really a taste change, as they only made the center of the patties pink instead of white.

This is a different product.

First, I have to say that the Pattie that I got at the 7-11 was exceptionally fresh. The chocolate on the outside was smooth and glossy, the smell was minty with a hint of chocolately promise to it. The center of a York is usually a bit more crumbly, like fudge than it is like a truffle cream. The chocolate truffle pattie is no different. More mint than chocolate, it was much more mild than the traditional mint pattie center. Not quite chocolately, but a nice mellow taste to it. Almost like a brown sugar instead of a sweet white confectioners feel to it.

If you can get past to the promise of a truffle inside, it’s actually a really nice bar. The calorie count per ounce is pretty low for a chocolate candy, so if you’re on a diet and looking for a little treat, this might be very satisfying.

As for the difference from the regular pattie, well, it’s not substantial. If they stick around for a while, I’ll continue buying them. They’re a little creamier, a little mellower than a regular York.

Rating: 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:30 am     ReviewHershey'sChocolateDiscontinuedLimited EditionMints8-TastyUnited StatesComments (13)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sweet Snacks May Slacken Stress

Yes, more good news from the candy science front. Not only is chocolate a health food (something that I’ve been espousing since I was in high school and did a term paper on it with that thesis), but sugar may ease stress hormones.

Scientific American reports on a recent study where rats were given twice daily doses of water - either sugar sweetened, dosed with artificial sweeteners or left pure.

Rats, like humans, love sugar. So it comes as no surprise that during two weeks of training for a recent lab experiment, the rodents queued up twice daily for small doses of sugar water. What researchers did not anticipate was the apparent effect of the sweet stuff on their stress levels: when they placed the rats in stressful circumstances at the end of those two weeks, the animals were less agitated than expected.

Multiple blood samples taken from the rats showed lower levels of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids than those that were given a saccharin solution or just plain water before being subjected to psychological or physical duress, according to research presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C. “We actually found that sugar snacks, not artificially sweetened snacks, are better self-medications for the two most common types of stress—psychological and physical,” explains Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati who led the study.

Have a look via this link to the article.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:51 pm     ReviewNewsComments (0)

Dairy Milk Bubbly

Name: Dairy Milk
Brand: Cadbury
Place Purchased: Sainsbury (West Los Angeles)
Price: $1.29
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Type: Chocolate

I picked this up in the interest of documenting all the UK frothed chocolate bars. For those of you keeping score at home, the most well known is the Nestle Aero Bar (which comes in several flavor variations).

Not as wide or plank-like as the Aero (about a third of an ounce smaller), this is a little bar contains bubbleated Cadbury milk chocolate. Cadbury milk, for those of you that have had it, is distinctive in that it tastes like chocolate and powdered milk. Some people think that’s a good thing. I don’t find it that appealing as it reminds me of that time when I was poor.

But with a little positive reinforcement I’m getting over that and finding the flavor rather intriguing (just like it took me many years to get over the rather yogurty flavor of Hershey chocolate).

The bar is light and melts easily on the tongue. It’s sweet, but not as sticky as I found the Aero bar. As with the Aero bar, the bubbles really help to bring out the toasty nuances of the chocolate (I’m guessing the air allows more aromas to combine and give more “flavor” to the bar).

Rating: 7 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:40 am     ReviewCadburyAeratedChocolate7-Worth ItUnited Kingdom

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

New Site Design!

Whew! I know I’ve been promising this since I launched Candy Blog, but here it is. I engaged Hop Studios in Vancouver for the redo and brought both my blogs into one place. Yes the design is pretty (thanks go out to Susannah Gardner’s special skills) and the code/layout is super awesome (thanks go out to Travis Smith).

Why change? Well, the old blog template was used by at least 83.6 million other blogs and when you land here, you shouldn’t feel like you could be anywhere. I wanted more CANDY PHOTOS! (Hit refresh to get another treat… well not too many times, there are only five right now.)

Second - we’ve got categories! We’ve got search! Now you can find out what I thought about Pocky last spring or White KitKats last summer. I’m still working on the categories, but at least now you can see all the ratings in one place.

Third - if you notice something wonky, post here in the comments and I’ll try to figure it out. I’m not completely moved in yet. Some stuff is still in boxes, but if you click something and it doesn’t go anywhere, lemme know.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:48 pm     ReviewNewsComments (22)

Nutrageous

Name: Nutrageous
Brand: Reese’s (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: Long’s Drugs
Price: $.33 (on sale)
Size: 1.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts/Caramel

Again I’m trying another Reese’s candy bar. I’m not sure why. I think Reese’s cups are pretty darn close to candy perfection. The Nutrageous bar adds whole nuts and caramel to that.

The bar, as the photo shows, is a center of peanut butter (which is more crumbly than creamy), which has a caramel stripe under it, then the whole thing is rolled in nuts and covered in milk chocolate. It’s a really satisfying, meaty bar. Not too sweet, a good hint of salt to it and some good textures. I don’t know why I haven’t tried this bar sooner. I prefer it far and away over a Snickers bar, which is a little too sticky sweet for me.

It’s still not a “go to” bar for me. I’ll still pick up a packet of Reese’s cups before this, unless I was really looking for a calorie charge with more protein in it. (Reese’s cups has 4 grams of protein, the Nutrageous has 6 grams.)

Rating - 7 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:12 am     ReviewHershey'sCaramelChocolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (17)

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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

Halloween Candy Season Ends

30 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Eat with your Eyes: Fruity Gumballs

• Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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