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Russell Stover

Monday, December 13, 2010

Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped Chocolates

Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped ChocolatesFor the past few months I’ve noticed this king sized bag of Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates {individually wrapped} at CVS and RiteAid. It’s a rather simple looking bag and perhaps this photo doesn’t convey the massive size of it. It holds 20 ounces (1.4 pounds), so it’s kind of like picking up a gallon of milk.

The price wasn’t bad, both places were selling them for $9.99. But I didn’t really want them, so I didn’t buy them. Then I saw them on sale at Rite Aid for $7.88 and thought this was as good an opportunity as any ... especially when the price was down to a little more than $6 a pound for American made candy that uses real chocolate.

Inside unassuming bag are individually wrapped pieces of some of Russell Stover’s most popular “handcrafted in small batches” pieces of candy: Pecan Delight, Caramel, Mint Patty and Coconut. The wrappers are pretty subdued as well, just a plain white plastic with a picture of the candy and the name. They’re also a bit color coded, so it’s easy to pick them out.

Russell Stover Pecan Delight

The Pecan Delights really are delights. Sure they’re sweet and not terribly complex, but I get the impression that this package is all about comfort candies that satisfy a wide variety of people.

The milk chocolate coating is sweet but very smooth and has a good sticky milky quality. There caramel inside is stiff and chewy without being too hard or a danger to dental work. The pecans aren’t quite as dense as I would like, but they were fresh and crunchy.

I’ve tried the organic version of these before and thought they were good but not great. These were actually better as far as I was concerned than the DeMets Pecan Turtles, which I find sweet and lacking a strong toasted sugar flavor from the caramel.

Russell Stover Caramel

The Caramel is a small patty, with an appealing artisan look. The milk chocolate forms pleasing ripples on top and smells milky. The piece is about an inch and a half around.

The caramel is firm and has a good chew to it without being too tough or stiff. The flavor is salty and has adequate burnt sugar notes to it. It’s a nice size, about two bites for me, but I could eat it all at once if I wanted to. The caramel reminded me of Milk Duds, but of course with a much better, real chocolate coating.

Russell Stover Coconut

The Coconut piece is simple. If you’re a Mounds fan, this will be very familiar. A moist little log of sweet coconut covered in dark chocolate. It’s not as sweet or creamy as the Easter fare, which is fine with me. The coconut is chewy and not too sweet. The dark chocolate had just the lightest haze of bloom on it, but I find that’s not uncommon with coconut products because of the moisture/fat content. The flavor of the dark chocolate is good, it’s not as chalky and rough as Mounds though not completely decadent, it holds its own.

The pieces are small but easy to pop or savor slowly as two bites.
Russell Stover Mint Patty

My Mint Patty I photographed has a slight bloom on it. I opened three for the photos and found them all in a similar state. Then I started eating them for review and found the rest to be pristine - dark and glossy and nicely molded.

The chocolate takes the center stage here because of the proportions. There’s a lot of chocolate and it has a strong woodsy and smoky flavor. The mint center is smooth and a little runny but also a bit salty. The mint flavor is subtle and has an almost toothpaste combination of both peppermint and spearmint.

I have to say that doing Candy Blog has really made me look at brands like Russell Stover again. I don’t think that I was wrong about them back in the eighties, I just think they’re a bit better than they used to be, at least they taste fresher. It’s pure luck that this assortment has all of my favorite combinations. Half the pieces are dark, there are some good quality nuts in there and for the sale price, I thought these were a good value.

The packaging isn’t really sexy or nifty, but it gets the job done. They’re a step above the Hershey’s, Mars or DeMets, so expect to pay for that. This is an assortment I plan on sharing at the office - a little something for everyone.

Related Candies

  1. Haviland Dark Chocolate Covered Thin Mints
  2. Mounds
  3. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  4. Robitaille’s Presidential Inaugural Mints & Turtles
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. See’s Scotchmallow


Name: Assorted Chocolates Individually Wrapped
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $7.88 (on sale)
Size: 20.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Mints, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:13 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverCaramelChocolateCoconutMintsNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (3)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream

Russell Stover Giant S'mores BarThere are a lot of candy bars that try to emulate fresh fireside S’mores. Russell Stover may have hit on the closest thing.

The Girl Scout Handbook is the first recorded transcription of the recipe. For the uninitiated, S’mores are constructed like this: a fresh toasted marshmallow is mashed on top of a piece of milk chocolate between two graham crackers. Three great tastes are made better by their association.

I don’t consider S’mores themselves to be a candy, because they violate one of the primary rules of candy: it must be ready to eat and require no cooking or assembly.

The Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar takes the assembly and toasting out of the equation.

I had to buy my bars online at the Russell Stover webstore because I couldn’t find them in any of the shops near me. At $1.49 it’s a bit more expensive than other candy bars, but it’s also unique so I figured it was worth it.

Russell Stover Giant S'mores Bar

The bar looks exactly as it’s depicted on the wrapper. The 2.5” graham cracker squares sandwich a large square of milk chocolate covered marshmallow.

In all instances at least one of my graham crackers wasn’t quite stuck to my marshmallow, but reassembly was simple.

It was messy, biting into the corners was fine, but the deeper I got into the bar the more crumbling of the graham cracker and flaking of the chocolate I got. The marshmallow center was moist and fluffy, just like all the other chocolate marshmallow products from Russell Stover. The chocolate tasted milky and fresh. The graham cracker tasted like cereal and kept it all from being too sickly sweet.

In case you’re wondering, yes, you can microwave it. I put it in the microwave for 15 seconds, but took it out at 12 when the innards came oozing out. It makes a horrible gooey mess and the marshmallow deflates into a sticky latex bonding agent that gets dry and tacky. I lost a lot of it to the plate.

I’d say in the future I will just lay in a stockpile of whatever seasonal marshmallow product is around, like the Marshmallow Egg and then get my own graham crackers to make my own since these are so hard to find. It’s a great idea and pretty well executed with good quality ingredients.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Mint DreamThe other item that prompted me to do my web order was the Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Mint Dream. They’ve been out for about a year, but I hadn’t seen them in stores. (I thought for sure they’d do an Easter version.)

The dark chocolate puck is a fluffy mint cream covered in dark chocolate.

It’s about the same size as the holiday Eggs, at 1.125 ounces it’s a nicely sized portion and rather economical on the calorie front with only 140 calories.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Mint Dream

I bought three of them and all of them had cracks with innards leaking out. But still, they’re handsome and well proportioned at about two inches in diameter and about 1.25 inches high.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Mint Dream

I feel a little bad reviewing these because of the cracking problem. I can’t say for sure what the filling is supposed to be, as I wasn’t sure if the leaking problem meant that the texture changed. The inside was similar in texture to the Raspberry Whip, but perhaps smoother. It’s almost a marshmallow, just as fluffy but the ingredients list no gelatin.

The mint is light and fresh, the center has a little salty note to it to even out the sugary sweetness. The dark chocolate isn’t terribly rich but it’s still creamy and not so sweet that it makes it all too cloying. It’s different from the fondant style of a Junior Mint, far fluffier and creamier. It’s enrobed instead of panned with a light glaze, so the chocolate melt is better. I would probably buy these again and would be willing to re-evaluate the breakage and seeping issue at that time.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Color Me Candies
  2. Peeps Mash Ups - Savory
  3. Russell Stover Marshmallow Rabbits
  4. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  7. Artisan Marshmallows: Plush Puffs
  8. Hershey’s S’mores


Name: Giant S’mores Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: RussellStover.com webstore
Price: $1.49
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, Marshmallow, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Dark Chocolate Mint Dream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: RussellStover.com
Price: $.69
Size: 1.125 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Russell Stover, Chocolate, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:28 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverChocolateCookieMarshmallowMints6-Tempting7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (6)

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short

Easter DotsEaster Dots come in one of the happiest looking boxes I’ve seen in a long time.

They’re also crazy cheap, most of the time a theater box like this that holds 7 ounces is just a buck. When I looked at the flavors on this box I was a little confused about what made these an Easter version besides the box (Mike and Ike come in holiday boxes that are the exact same candy). The flavors are Blueberry, Lemon, Lime, Cherry and Orange. The flavors of the classic Dots box are Strawberry, Lemon, Lime, Cherry and Orange. So in this version the Strawberry has been swapped for Blueberry.

These were very fresh. Tootsie does a good job of sealing up the boxes well and Dots have a clear cellophane overwrap.

Easter Dots

Once I opened the box I found out the big difference, it’s the color. Easter Dots are bright and opaque little nubbins.

Well, maybe there was another difference. These seem to be just as smooth but have a “shorter” chew to them, so they didn’t stick to my teeth like Dots usually do. I liked the freshness of the flavors, though it’s a little bland it’s also soothing. The blueberry was pretty convincing though I wish that one replaced the cherry instead of the strawberry.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled EggsI’ve been searching all over for these for the past month and finally found them at Whole Foods yesterday ... not with the candy but at the end of the cereal aisle.

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled Eggs are all natural and fair trade milk chocolate eggs with a candy shell.

They’re freakishly expensive at $4.99 for 3.5 ounces, far more than I’d be willing to pay on a regular basis. I really only bought them because I’d been searching so hard for them it seemed weird to find them and then get decide they were too expensive. The chocolate is made from beans from the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa cooperative in Ghana. Seems like Easter is one of those holidays where folks may want to pay more attention to the social responsibility behind the treats.

The stand up box is charming. Inside is a little clear cellophane bag with a little more than a handful of eggs.

Divine Milk Chocolate Speckled Eggs

They’re very similar to Cadbury Mini Eggs. The shape is more football than pear. They beautiful muted colors and a matte finish.

The shell is smooth and softly decorated. The shell is quite thick and crunchy. The chocolate inside has a silky melt, a little sticky with a good caramelized dairy note. I liked them a lot and will probably buy them again next year. Hopefully they can be found in larger packages for better value. (Also, Whole Foods could do a better job of putting them where people can find them. I went to three different stores and it wasn’t until the fourth circuit of the one at 3rd & Fairfax that I found them - even after asking a stockperson.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Sour Patch BunniesThe Sour Patch Bunnies are like many other Easter versions of regular candies. As you can imagine these are little bunny shaped candies instead of being shaped like spiky haired children.

I liked the box a lot, it was easy to tell apart from the regular Sour Patch offerings. The only quibble is really the packaging. Like many theater box candies, inside the box the candy is inside a plain cellophane bag. As I mentioned above, the Dots are just tumbling around in the box and there’s a cellophane seal on the outside. For this version I have to open the box top completely to get the bag out, dump the candy into the box and then I’m faced with an opening that is really too large for dispensing.

Sour Patch Bunnies

They’re a little lighter in color compared to the Sour Patch Kids. Honestly, I prefer this. They’re colored enough that I can tell them apart and guess the flavor and that’s really all I need. Other than that, the shape was so vague, unless you told me these were bunnies I wouldn’t have known. Pink is the classic Swedish Fish flavor with a tangy coating. Green is lime, yellow is lemon and orange is orange. A biting sour coating, a chewy sweet jelly candy in the center ... they’re great.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Russell Stover Peanut Butter PastelleI bought this Russell Stover Peanut Butter Pastelle Rabbit online from Russell Stover. I just couldn’t find it in the stores and thought it was a unique product.

The rabbit is similar to the white chocolate one I tried last year (and didn’t like that much, so I wonder why I was curious about this one). It’s a peanut butter coating (like peanut butter baking chips) with a peanut butter filling.

The three ounce flat rabbit is nicely molded. The butterscotch color is also really appealing. It smells like vanilla pudding and peanut butter. The coating though is a bit waxy and stiff, it melts but not in a dreamy way that good white chocolate does. But it’s not too sweet, which is a relief as well. The filling is a crumbly peanut butter with a salty note and a dry grainy crunch. I kind of got into it. I’d prefer it in a smaller format though, maybe one of the smaller eggs they do.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Brach's Classic Jelly Bird EggsBrach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs are cheap jelly beans. I don’t know what classic is, the package gives no indication what the flavors are.

They’re only 99 cents for a generous 9 ounce bag. Even at that bargain price, they’re not much of a deal. They’re pretty enough to look at and probably decorate with, but they’re inconsistent in flavor and execution. I also resent not knowing what’s inside. It’s not like the bag is tiny and has no room for information like the flavor array.

Brach's Classic Jelly Beans

White is pineapple. It’s sweet and floral but bland. Green is lime and rather strong but lacking zest. Purple is grape and is utterly stupid ... seriously, it tastes like sweet stupidity. Black is licorice. All of the black ones seemed to be smaller than the other jelly beans. Still, they were tasty and well done. Pink is bitter and just dreadful. Perhaps it’s strawberry. Red is not as bitter but still dreadful. Orange is sweet and empty. Finally there’s yellow, which is actually pretty good, it’s like a sugared lemon peel.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Brach's Spiced Jelly Bird EggsSo as annoying as I found the Classic beans, you’d think I would be happy with the Brach’s Spiced Jelly Bird Eggs which are quite clear on the front that they feature spice flavors.

I was hoping for rich flavors, but of course I know Brach’s well enough that I really won’t be getting much more than a decent looking product. The bag doesn’t promise much more than a good value, so I should probably adjust my expectations.

Brach's Spiced Jelly Beans

Red is a mild cinnamon, not as good as Hot Tamales and kind of tinged with some of the mint notes, but still pleasant like a cup of spiced chai. White is peppermint. I have to say that a peppermint jelly bean is a little odd especially since it’s so grainy but still fresh tasting. Pink is wintergreen which I really love except when there’s too much food dye like this one that has a weird bitter clove & plastic aftertaste - but at moments it’s kind of like root beer. Purple is clove and is actually mild enough for me to enjoy though true clove lovers will probably be disappointed. Orange is sweet and again lacking in any pizazz. Black is again licorice and pretty good (though it makes my tongue dark green).

I think the problem is that I’ve already had some pretty good spice jelly beans from Hot Tamales (Just Born) and there’s really no need to switch brands, the price is comparable, availability is the only issue.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Halloween Dots: Bat, Candy Corn & Ghost
  2. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate
  3. Whoppers Reese’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy
  4. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  5. Cadbury Popping Mini Eggs
  6. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  7. Cadbury Mini Eggs
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Russell Stover Color Me Candies

Russell Stover Color Me CandiesA few months ago I discovered quite by accident that Russell Stover introduced a new candy. The Color Me Candies are little milk chocolate candy coated lentils. (Yes, the same thing as M&Ms, Nestle Smarties, Jots, Hershey-Ets and Koppers Milkies.)

Not an innovative new product, but still it warranted a tasting as far as I was concerned because they’re selling them in single color bags and for what appears to be a barn-buster price. I ordered one color about a week ago - and of course right after I ordered they introduced some color mixes based on sports teams.

There are 13 colors total, I chose the Igloo Blue, which looked like an icy powder blue. I thought it’d photograph well and have less food coloring that might influence the flavor profile.

The bags hold 8 ounces and was priced at $2.99 (plus shipping - I got a bunch of other stuff as well that I couldn’t find in stores).

Russell Stover Color Me Candies

The pieces are similar in shape and size to M&Ms. They’re a little thicker in the center but a sharper, thinner edge. They’re consistently shaped and colored for the most part. There were variations, but all were within what I’d call acceptable.

The only hesitation I had after opening the shipping box was that some of the candies - probably about 5% were chipped. Not terrible, but in a glass jar for display and serving it might be distracting for the light colored versions. (I expect for the darker colors it’d be less noticeable.) This might have been because I didn’t order very much, so my box had a lot of open space for shifting of the contents. If you’re ordering a large amount I don’t expect it to be as much of an issue - but maybe check with their customer service to confirm.

Russell Stover Color Me Candies

The shell is crispy and crunchy - far more interesting as a texture than the M&Ms (it reminded me more of the new Hershey’s Pieces). The chocolate texture is creamy and smooth, far better and silkier than M&Ms (even the Premium ones). The primary flavor notes are dairy - a rich milky and caramel along with a mellow chocolate flavor.

They’re excellent, actually. Easy to keep eating, not too sweet and different enough from M&Ms that I would probably seek them out for a special occasion.

So, the pricing scheme: I see these as a candy buffet item so the price does make a difference. At the moment these are only available (as far as I know) from Russell Stover directly on their webstore. They are sold in 8 ounce (half a pound) bags in 13 single colors and 16 “team color” mixes. The cost at the moment is $2.99 per bag, which means they’re $5.98 per pound. The rival products to this are: M&Ms which are sold on their website in 7 ounce bags with a price tag of $15.98 per pound (or $11.60 if you’re willing to buy in a 5 lb box) and Koppers Milkies which are found on various webstores, I priced them at CandyWarehouse.com and found that they’re $9.90 a pound when purchased in a 5 lb box - some sites have them for less (but fewer colors) and some for more. Russell Stover doesn’t offer a bulk purchase, but I would expect that would make them even cheaper.

M&Ms and Koppers Milkies come in far more colors. M&Ms and Koppers Milkies are Kosher. None are nut free.

Related Candies

  1. Godiva Spring Pearls
  2. Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces
  3. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  4. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  5. Hershey Eggs
  6. Best Intentions: Sun Drops
Name: Color Me Candies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Russell Stover online
Price: $2.99 (plus shipping)
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Russell Stover, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:41 am     Comments (2)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Russell Stover Santas

Russell Stover has a large assortment of holiday treats in Santa-themed packaging. What’s nice about them is that they’re always fresh and moderately priced (often on dramatic sale for three for a dollar but usually about 50 cents a piece). I picked up every variety I could find this year:

Russell Stover Santas

What I noticed first was that the packaging is inconsistent in its design. Sure they’re all a mylar wrapper, but beyond that the Santas are different drawing styles with the Maple Cream, Strawberry Cream & Coconut Cream sporting the same Santa holding a gift aloft as he sits in a chimney. But The Peanut Butter Santa is more streamlined, the Marshmallow Santa has some freaky bright red cheeks and insanely short arms and finally the Marshmallow & Caramel Santa is in the style of the European Saint Nicolas complete with staff.

What I also found out is that the definition of “Santa Shaped” is pretty loose in Russell Stover’s world. It’s not quite as egg shaped, and maybe the tapering ends can be a feet/boots and a head. But really, it’d be best to just call these Christmas Lumps or Snow Clods.

Russell Stover Peanut Butter Santa

The Peanut Butter Santa is pure simplicity: a peanut butter bar covered in milk chocolate. The shape of it is kind of figure-like. It’s the smallest of the pack as well, clocking in at only .75 ounces. It smells nutty and sugary and a little bit like peanut butter cookies. The milk chocolate is quite slick and melts easily, it has a light cocoa flavor to it. Most of all the salty peanut butter center is grassy-tasting. It’s a strange green flavor more like edamame than roasted peanuts.

It was tasty enough for me to finish it easily, but being small didn’t hurt either. The center is moister and a bit oilier than the center of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Tree (or Egg or Cup). This wasn’t a bad feature, just different.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: .75 ounces

Russell Stover Maple Cream Santa

I thought perhaps I’d tried these before and looked up to find that I reviewed the Maple Cream Egg way back in 2006. But the Russell Stover Maple Cream Santa is actually different. While the Easter version is coated in dark chocolate, the Christmas version is Milk Chocolate.

The amorphous lump didn’t remind me of Santa’s silhouette in the slightest but the maple cream flavor is a bit more Christmassy than Easterish so kudos for that, Russell Stover.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the dark chocolate version so I’ll spare us all comparisons. What I can say is that this is ludicrously sweet. The milk chocolate is sugary and not terribly creamy and the center while moist and fluffy is also throat searingly cloying and sticky. The maple flavor was simply a flavor, not something that felt natural or integrated into the candy itself.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russell Stover Strawberry Cream Santa

While the Strawberry Cream Santa is also milk chocolate like the Cream Egg, this one lacks the pretty little swirls and curls on the top. It does smell a little like berries, but mostly it smells like milky chocolate. It’s quite sweet and has only a faint hint of strawberry and is rather similar to a Nestle Strawberry Qwik shake. I know it was really sweet, but I like the texture of the cream center that Russell Stover uses for both this one and the Maple Cream. It’s rather like a marshmallow cream, quite smooth and fluffy and moist without being runny.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russell Stover Coconut Cream Santa

The Coconut Cream Santa is also unlike the Cream Egg in that it’s milk chocolate, not dark chocolate. In this case as well, I think the sugar-laden milk chocolate is simply over the top. I like the coconut flake texture of the cream filling and the nice size of the piece, but the sugary quality of the chocolate with its grainy and fudgy melt is just too much. It’s amazing what a difference dark chocolate can make, but it does.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Russel Stover Marshmallow Santa

Things were looking up when I found the Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Santa. I didn’t really expect this to be terribly different from the Easter Rabbit version, except that one was huge at two ounces and only in milk chocolate where I shopped.

This one was by far the most attractive of my Santa set, a nicely detailed figure of Santa Claus scratching his head. Unfortunately I smashed him somewhere along the way and his face was a little worse for it (or maybe he wasn’t scratching his head, maybe he was holding his hand over his nose and cursing me).

The marshmallow is latexy and has a chewy pull. Not too sweet and with a faint whiff of vanilla flavoring.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: 1.00 ounces

Russell Stover Marshmallow & CaramelThe Marshmallow & Caramel Santa Covered in Milk Chocolate is the only other in the collection that estimates the shape of Santa Claus.

Of course this one looks like it could be a Mummy or Generic Figure for Unisex Bathroom Door.

It’s smaller in dimensions from the Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Santa, yet it’s actually heavier, it’s the same 1.25 ounces as the Cream Santas. I’ve had the Caramel and Marshmallow Pumpkin before and found it interesting.

Russell Stover Marshmallow & Caramel Santa

This one seems to be more evenly balanced between the caramel and the marshmallow. It’s dense for a marshmallow product, the marshmallow is fluffy and has a light hint of vanilla to it with a smooth and velvety melt. The caramel isn’t runny nor quite chewy but has a good stringy pull to it.

It’s lacking a punch like the See’s Scotchmallow, but for 50 cents and in the shape of a clothes pin, well, I don’t want to sound too ungrateful for a decent piece of candy especially since this one seems to have the proportions just right. I wish the caramel was a little more chewy, a little more salty, but still a fun piece.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Size: 1.25 ounces

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  2. Reese’s Enigma & Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs
  3. Russell Stover Marshmallow Rabbits
  4. Russell Stover Eggs
  5. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  6. See’s Scotchmallow Eggs
  7. Russell Stover Coconut Wreath
Name: Santas: Peanut Butter, Maple Cream, Strawberry Cream, Coconut Cream, Marshmallow and Marshmallow & Caramel
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreens & Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 each
Size: .75 ounces to 1.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130 to 160
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Coconut, Fondant, Marshmallow, United States, Russell Stover, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:29 pm     Comments (11)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow PumpkinThis is a pretty simple product and is part of a large line of Halloween candies from Russell Stover.

The Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin is what it says. A marshmallow in the shape of a pumpkin covered in a thin shell of semi-sweet chocolate.

The wrapper follows the same design, a stylized colored pumpkin drawing ... this one features a darker background from the milk chocolate version. It’s also smaller than they used to be. My 2006 review showed them at 1.25 ounces, but as sugar & chocolate prices go up, either the candy increases in price or gets smaller.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin

It’s a big, rather flat and vaguely pumpkin shaped piece. About 2.5 inches across at the widest. Even though they’re just wrapped in a little mylar sleeve, they seem to take traveling pretty well. This one only has a crack from me trying to get it to sit upright for the first picture, not anything that happened in transit or at the store.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin

Breaking it in half is not advised. This is a candy that’s best bitten & eaten in one sitting. The marshmallow is soft, moist and bouncy. It has a good pull, it almost looks like caramel or latex when I tried to pull it apart. The flavor is only the lightest vanilla, it’s mostly about the fluffy texture and sweet melt. The dark chocolate is decent. The sticky marshmallow keeps it from flaking off, even when it cracks. It also keeps the whole thing from tasting too cloyingly sweet.

I definitely prefer them over the standard milk variety and hope they do the Marshmallow Rabbits in a dark version next year.

For those watching their calories, this is a nice, spare treat. It’s only 110 calories but feels rather filling. (Of course as a marshmallow product it contains gelatin. They’re not Kosher and are made on shared machinery with peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and wheat.)

Other traditional Russell Stover Easter treats are now restyled for Halloween. So if you can’t wait until spring you can get Solid Milk Chocolate Pumpkins, Sugar Free Marshmallow Pumpkins, Caramel Pumpkins, Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Pumpkins, Coconut Cream Pumpkins, Strawberry Cream Pumpkins, Orange Marshmallow Pumpkins, Coconut Buzzard Nest, Strawberry Cream Buzzard Egg, Vanilla & Chocolate Creme Buzzard Egg, Marshmallow & Caramel Creme Buzzard Egg, Peanut Butter Ghosts, Marshmallow Ghosts and Coconut Ghosts.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  2. Pete’s Gourmet Confections: Marshmallows
  3. Elmer’s Toasted Marshmallow Eggs
  4. Russell Stover Eggs
  5. Russell Stover Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin
  6. Frankford Marshmallow Pals
  7. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkin
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.45
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 110
Categories: Chocolate, Marshmallow, United States, Russell Stover, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:04 am     Comments (3)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Private Reserve Russell Stover and Whitman’s Reserve

Private Reserve Russell Stover & Whitman's ReserveI was at the drug store a few weeks ago and wasn’t really thrilled with the selection of candy. Well, it was a nice selection but I’ve tried all of that stuff before. Then I spotted the new display of Russell Stover & Whitman’s Samplers (they’re owned by the same company now) and was debating whether to review a full box of candy from them.

Instead I wussed out, blaming the heat that it was impractical to bring a large amount of chocolate into my 90+ degree home. So I got one of each of their little 1 ounce boxes - just as a teaser. I thought, here’s an opportunity for Russell Stover & Whitman’s to wow me ... they have two pieces to do it. For the opportunity to snare me, I gave them $1.25 for each sample sized box.

Russell Stover Private Reserve

Russell Stover Private Reserve features two pieces of their premium assorted chocolates. The red foiled box is elegant and simple.

I have no idea what they are, the box tells me nothing specifically about them, well, it specifically tells me the combined ingredients and that’s about it. I only have the shapes go on. Inside is a little tray with spaces shaped like the candies.

The nut looking one was in fact a nut flavored paste inside ... perhaps a gianduia since far down on the list of ingredients were hazelnuts.

This was terrible. It looked great, I’ll grant you but had an odd waxy & greasy feel to it. The hazelnut paste as more of an amaretto flavor, which is fine with me ... though confusing because the nut shape was kind of like a walnut and kind of like a hazelnut but definitely not an almond.

The second one was a lovely milk chocolate covered caramel. The caramel was stiff & had an excellent pull. It had a good combination of toasted sugar flavors and a touch of butter. A little bit of vanilla. It was sweet, the milk chocolate was decent but didn’t really contribute much of a chocolate punch.

Whitman's Reserve

The Whitman’s Reserve was the same price, but honestly didn’t look as appealing on the box. It bills itself as a Premium mini collection as if a pair is a collection. Like the Russell Stover, it makes no mention on the box as to what’s actually in the box besides the ingredients. As far as the actual ingredients go - they both use vanillin (fake vanilla) but otherwise rather decent source materials.

The large and puzzling piece here was the white chocolate item with the stripes. It does look just like the one on the box - both pieces are pristine - so I’m satisfied right away with the appearance.

Sniffing it brought me no closer to discerning what it was (no nuts, that was certain, though). It smells simply sweet & milky.

The bite is soft and I decided it was either a poor excuse for a truffle or simply a chocolate cream. It’s a milk chocolate center - sweet and greasy but at least not as sweet as the white chocolate coating. It doesn’t do a thing for me.

Happily the second piece was identical to the second piece in the Russell Stover - a simple milk chocolate covered caramel. I couldn’t tell it apart at all and that’s not a bad thing.

For the $1.25 I spent, I got two pieces of candy. One I liked and one I didn’t. So for the future I’ll probably stick to the Russell Stover Pecan Delights, which are usually a better value and of course a good variety of textures & flavors. (They can now be found in a “candy bar” format for about the same price in stores.)

Am I missing something about the appeal of Russell Stover & Whitman’s boxed chocolates?

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee
  2. Storck Chocolate Riesen
  3. Caffarel Gianduias
  4. Russell Stover Organic Pecan Delight
  5. Dove Jewels
  6. Whitman’s Sampler Tin
Name: Premium Assorted Chocolates
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover and Whitman's
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $1.25
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 140 & 170
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Nuts, White Chocolate, United States, Russell Stover

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:04 am     Comments (15)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter Rabbit

Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter RabbitThe last item I’ve picked up from Russell Stover this year is their White Chocolate Peanut Butter Rabbit.

I bought it because Hershey’s has tweaked their White Reese’s Peanut Butter products. They were once a real white chocolate coating with cocoa butter, but now they’re a hydrogenated tropical oil concoction.

So I was careful to read over the ingredients on the Russell Stover white chocolate: White Chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk, soy lecithin, artificial flavor & salt), peanut butter (peanuts, hydrogenated vegetable oils, salt) sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, tapioca dextrin, dextrose and salt.

Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter RabbitIt’s a pretty sizable rabbit, though it’s also over-packaged. The box is 4.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches high but the bunny is only 3.25 inches at its widest and 5 inches at its tallest. The rabbit is inside the sealed box in a little plastic tray.

It weighs three ounces and this one cost me $1.50 which I didn’t find at all unreasonable.

Opening the box, it smells like Easter baskets - milky sweet and fake.

It’s a nicely molded Rabbit with good details. The proportion of white chocolate to peanut butter varies greatly, depending on where I bit into it. The edges and creases were loaded with more white chocolate and the domed portions were mostly peanut butter.

The white chocolate is sweet and surprisingly smooth. But it was oddly waxy, not in a bad way, just in a fake way, like it needed an authentic dose of real vanilla beans or something. The peanut butter center is the crumbly peanut butter with the slight grain to it. It’s salty and nutty, but also rather sweet, too. The effect of the product is that it burns my throat. I think I might like it with more peanut butter and less white chocolate, perhaps a version of the peanut butter egg?

It just didn’t thrill me much. I ended up eating the whole thing, but it took me about three weeks of nibbling on it now and then. But if you’re a white chocolate & peanut butter fan and are disappointed with Hershey’s turn towards the oily side, it might be a good option ... especially if they’re on sale starting Monday.

Related Candies

  1. Askinosie White Chocolate (Plain, Nibble & Pistachio)
  2. Choceur Coffee & Cream
  3. Vanilla Beans KitKat & Bitter Orange Aero
  4. Toblerone Single Peaks
  5. M&M Pirate Pearls
  6. Bleached Reese’s
Name: Small World Chocolates: Select Origin
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Glendale)
Price: $1.50
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: White Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Russell Stover, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:58 am     Comments (0)

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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

7 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Brach’s Royals: Caramel Apple and Sea Salt Caramel

• Dove Dark Chocolate Cranberries

• Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

 

 

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