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Switzerland

Monday, April 7, 2014

Equal Exchange Dark Bars: Raspberry, Lemon Ginger, and Coconut

Equal Exchange RaspberryEqual Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries 60% is part of the Equal Exchange line of chocolate bars.

They’re 3.5 ounces and priced competitively with other premium chocolate bars. Equal Exchange (I reviewed some Easter items on Friday) is a cooperative using fair trade standards to create a whole store filled with chocolate, coffee, tea and other goods.

This bar features organic freeze dried raspberries in organic and fair trade dark chocolate. The cacao is sourced from fair trade cooperatives in The Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador and Peru with sugar from Paraguay and vanilla from Madagascar. There’s no soy lecithin and it’s considered gluten free though it may contain traces of milk, hazelnuts, cashews and coconut. Equal Exchange makes their chocolate in Switzerland.

The bar is wrapped simply, in thin foil and then a thicker paper overwrap (the inside had all the sourcing details about the bar).

Equal Exchange Raspberry

The bar is glossy and attractive, with some bumps on the bottom from the raspberry bits. The molding is good as is the temper, it’s very consistent and I noticed no voids or swirling in any of the bars (which can happen with inclusions). It smells rich, though barely sweet. Like cherries, coffee and honey. Once snapped in half though, the raspberry scent, with its floral notes becomes much more noticeable. The chocolate is sweet on the tongue and has a good, cool melt with a creamy texture. The raspberry bits are crunchy and tangy, though the seeds in the center can be a bit tougher.

It’s a very easy to eat bar, with a lot more acidic tang than most other 60% bars. I don’t care much for the grassy, woody note of the seeds, but that’s berries for you.

Equal Exchange Lemon and Ginger

The Equal Exchange Organic Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper is 55% cacao, so it’s the lightest chocolate intensity of the bunch. The package gives the identical sourcing info for the major ingredients but doesn’t say where the lemon, ginger and black pepper is from, though they’re all organic.

It’s nice to see lemon used with chocolate, it’s not as common as orange, but can still combine well, especially with dark chocolate. The addition of ginger and black pepper makes this the most unconventional flavor in the Equal Exchange line. This package looked the same on the outside as the other bars, but instead of a foil inner liner, it’s in some sort of compostable mylar. I also noticed that the nutritional panel listed this one at only 200 calories a portion, not 230 ...which actually sounds more plausible. (But calorie calculations are fraught with error, as the basis for it is over 100 years old, so really they’re just a guide.)

Equal Exchange Lemon and Ginger

Though the bar contains no milk, it doesn’t look like a particularly dark chocolate bar. It smells woodsy and fresh, with a little note of rosemary and cedar.

The melt of the dark chocolate is very smooth, but I did start to detect a bit of sugar grain ... this was from the crystallized ginger in the bar. The lemon is a bit strong, rather astringent at first, but it dissipates. The chocolate is mild, woodsy and of course creamy. The ginger and black pepper hit come in slowly as a hint of warmth in the throat. The sugar from the crystallized ginger rather disguised the ginger kick at first, then it came forward.

It’s a satisfying bar.

Equal Exchange  Coconut

The final bar is the Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Coconut 60%. Like the Raspberry bar, this one has a thin silver foil wrapping.

It is also 60% cacao content and contains only one additional ingredient to the chocolate, the organic coconut flakes.

This bar reminded me most of Passover, which I’ve often thought of as Macaroon Season, as coconut macaroons (often dipped in chocolate) are a typical treat since they can be made without only coconut, chocolate, egg whites and sugar to follow the Kosher for Passover rules.

Equal Exchange  Coconut

The bar has a lot of coconut in it, and the silky chocolate goes well with it. There are cherry and raisin notes to go with the more tropical scent of the coconut and hints of the Madagascar vanilla bean.

The exciting development this year for Equal Exchange is their new designation of their dark chocolates as Kosher for Passover. Equal Exchange chocolates that are marked pareve (the 3.5 oz or 100 g line and dark chocolate minis) may be purchased before Passover and consumed on Passover according to Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University. The specific bars from Equal Exchange that qualify for this designation are: Organic Chocolate Espresso Bean Bar, Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bar, Organic Ecuador Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Mint with a Delicate Crunch Bar, Organic Orange Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Very Dark Chocolate Bar, Organic Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper, Organic Dark Chocolate Minis.

It’s interesting that before this, there were no certified fair trade chocolates that were designated Kosher for Passover. Which is odd, because Passover is all about the commemoration of Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt. The best news is that these are tasty and come in a pretty wide variety of flavor options.

CNN has been covering modern day slavery, including in the cocoa trade in a series of articles, segments and documentaries.

Related Candies

  1. Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
  2. Original Beans Piura Porcelana and Esmeraldas Milk
  3. Kauai Chocolate Tour plus Nanea & Madre Chocolate Bars
  4. Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
  5. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  6. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate: 65%, 71% & 80%
  7. Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries
  8. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
  9. Equal Exchange Halloween Kit


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries 60%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 176
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, 7-Worth It, Switzerland


Name: Organic Lemon Ginger Chocolate with Black Pepper 55%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Ginger, Kosher, Organic, 8-Tasty, Switzerland


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate with Coconut 60%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 176
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Coconut, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:36 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEqual ExchangeChocolateCoconutEthically SourcedGingerKosherOrganic7-Worth It8-TastySwitzerlandComments (0)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs

Equal Exchange EggsEqual Exchange is cooperative that sells products with fair trade ingredients and/or labor. Many of these are products where the farmers that grow them live in poverty, lack educational opportunities. Things like coffee, tea, bananas and of course, cocoa. These are all grown in tropical regions and depend on a high degree of manual labor. With the chocolate industry, there’s the added issue of slavery of hundreds of thousands of children on farms, mostly in Western Africa.

Equal Exchange also makes its own chocolate, which uses fair trade certified ingredients, not just ethically sourced cocoa. The result isn’t charity, these are real, sustainable products that you can buy at a fair price that are actually good quality as well.

They’ve been making chocolate for a while, but only more recently has it become more mainstream ... and now they have holiday packaged foil-wrapped eggs.

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Eggs

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Foil Eggs are 41% cacao, which is as dark as some semisweet chocolate sold these days. The ingredients sound delicious: cacao butter, whole milk powder, cane sugar, chocolate liquor, unrefined white cane sugar, ground hazelnuts and vanilla. The ingredients are also fair trade (except for the hazelnuts and milk) and all organic. There’s no soy, no lecithin, no other fillers.

The melt is smooth and creamy. It’s not at all grainy but very fatty and thick on the tongue. The flavor is interesting and not something I initially liked. It’s deep and not terribly sweet. The milk flavors are definitely more on the powdered milk, flirting with the cheesy side. But the roasted flavors of the hazelnuts balances that. The chocolate itself is woodsy with a sort of green banana note to it. It sounds weird.

I can’t stop eating these. I actually did stop, when I ran out. Then I realized they also sent this to me:

Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Minis

Yes, that’s over a pound and a half of mini milk chocolate bars. In a handy dispenser box. I have it on my desk, like it’s dispensing tissues during allergy season.

Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Eggs

The Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs are also quite rich. They feature the same high fat, though in this case there are no nuts and no dairy at all. The 55% cacao content is rounded out only with sugar and vanilla beans. Like the Milk Chocolate, it’s all organic, but in this case it’s also all fair trade certified. There’s no soy in there, no GMOs though there may be traces of milk, peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and/or pecans. Though it doesn’t say on the ingredients, they should be gluten free. Finally, they’re vegan. While there’s not a lot in there, there are a lot of folks these could satisfy. ]

The 55% cacao content makes these quite mild. They smell woodsy, with a light cherry note. The chocolate has a good, silky melt with a light dry finish to it. The flavor profile is all over the map. I taste coffee, cherries, figs and bananas and sometimes even a hint of malt ... though that could have been its storage adjacent to my milk chocolate pieces. There’s a light bitterness in there, nothing too difficult to conquer, but might be enough to keep children away.

You could put these in front of anyone without any information about the origins or disposition and they’d never know that this is more transparently source, ethically accountable stuff. It’s just tasty. As you can tell, I preferred the milk chocolate version, but the dark is a wonderful middle of the road chocolate that’s not too dark for wide appeal.

The only hesitations for most folks will be where to find them and how much you pay. Equal Exchange has them on their website for $6.99 per package, which is pretty steep compared to their very competitively priced bars. (For some reason foil wrapping just amps up the price of any chocolate, good quality or bad.) Some Whole Foods Markets and other natural product stores may carry them as well. The fall back is always the little mini-bars, which are also extremely cute and a bit better deal per ounce, but come in this 23.8 ounce box (yes, a pound a half) for $35.00 plus shipping. It’s hard to compare that to R.M. Palmer (which isn’t even real chocolate, let alone sustainably sourced), but Godiva or Lindt may be a good comparison on both price and ingredients.

On Monday I’ll have a review of Kosher for Passover chocolates, also from Equal Exchange.

Related Candies

  1. SweetWorks Foil Covered Chocolate
  2. Ghirardelli Milk & Crisp Chocolate Eggs
  3. Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
  4. Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Easter Eggs
  5. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  6. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate: 65%, 71% & 80%
  7. Eat with your Eyes: Fair Trade Eggs
  8. Madelaine’s Foiled Milk Chocolate
  9. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Organic Milk Chocolate Foil Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $6.99
Size: 3.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 163
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Easter, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Nuts, 9-Yummy, Switzerland


Name: Organic Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $6.99
Size: 3.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 163
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Easter, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, 8-Tasty, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:38 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEasterEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically SourcedKosherNuts8-Tasty9-YummySwitzerlandComments (1)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Original Beans Piura Porcelana and Esmeraldas Milk

Original Beans Piura Porcelana 75%Original Beans is a small chocolate company that starts with carefully selected, direct-purchased beans and makes them into single-origin bars. They take special care with all aspects of the sourcing, manufacturing and packaging, as their name might imply. The bars are not easy to find in the United States, but luckily a very good chocolate source has developed walking distance from my office, so you’ll be seeing more of these interesting finds in the coming months and years.

The selection of bars from Original Beans is very small, but quite specific. I chose to review their Original Beans Piura Porcelana 75% as my first. You can read up on the Peruvian Porcelana beans on the Original Beans website and on other chocolate aficionado sites. The history of chocolate is fascinating and many people have become interested in the generic diversity of the trees and their distribution. The Porcelana beans, as a variety of Criollo, are characterized by their white color and distinctive flavor. They’re quite rare and grown in a few small areas in South America, so single origin bars are not common and often limited editions.

The bar features all organic ingredients and is made only exclusively with white Criollo cacao from the Pirua River Valley in the Peruvian Andes. The cacao is 75% and the package says that it’s a 22 hour conch. The ingredients list is simple and short: Direct-trade cacao beans, cacao butter, cane sugar. There’s no soy and it’s vegan and gluten free.

The tasting notes for the bar online are: Vibrant, luscious with kumquat, lime, apricot, raspberry flavours and notes of toasted pecan; wonderfully balanced acidity and lingering finish.

Original Beans Piura Porcelana 75%

Though the beans are white, the chocolate is brown. The fermenting and roasting of the beans makes them indistinguishable at first glance from any other bean.

The bar is simply and beautifully molded. The segments have a great snap and neutral medium-brown color. The scent is mild, it has some smoky vanilla notes

The flavor is an interesting balance of acid like citrus and tannins, for the most part the flavors I got were black tea and roasted nuts. The texture was smooth and has and excellent melt and lack of grit. It still has a bit of a dry finish that’s sharp from the tannins.

I loved this bar, this is the third one I’ve eaten, I bought the first two over the summer but found they weren’t doing well in the heat so I ate them and waited for it to cool off to do a proper review. The flavor is not too intense but still very satisfying after three or four squares. The cocoa butter balanced out the clean but sweet sugar to make it very munchable for a high cacao bar.

Original Beans Piura Porcelana 75% & Esmeraldas Milk

The next bar I picked for review is Original Beans Esmeraldas Milk, which is a 42% cacao bar with a touch of fleur de sel. Like the dark bar, it’s made with organic ingredients. From the photo above you can see that it’s a dark looking bar for milk chocolate, but compared to many commercial milk chocolate bars, I’m inclined to call it a dark milk.

Original Beans Esmeraldas Milk 42%The beans for the Esmeraldas Milk is from the Esmeraldas Rain Forest of Ecuador. The conch is 16 hours, according to the package.

Original Beans is in The Netherlands, and the packaging is largely in Dutch (though the website also in English) while the chocolate is made in Switzerland.

The ingredients list is a little longer than the dark bar, but still short: direct trade cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, milk and sea salt. The tasting notes suggest: Exceptionally velvety with salted caramel, hints of summer red fruits and spice.

The Original Beans website has a feature where you input the batch code from your bar into their website that says:

Enter the tree tracking number on your Original Beans chocolate here. See where your chocolate comes from and follow our ongoing conservation efforts in your chocolate’s rainforest of origin.

Unfortunately that feature just takes you to the same page you could browse to based on the name of the chocolate bar. For true transparency and education, I kind of wanted specifics about the harvest that made my bar. What was that year like? Were there special issues that would distinguish that vintage from the previous year or the coming year? Or even just things like how many pounds of beans were harvested, how many bars were made in that batch.

Original Beans Esmeraldas Milk 42%

The bar has a roasted, caramelized scent that has a bit of a cheese note to it, something a little more savory. The melt is great, it’s soft and fudgy without feeling too sugary or sticky. The flavor has molasses notes, maybe even a little fennel but a lot of milk. The hint of salt does keep it from tasting too much like sugar, but it doesn’t jump out. There’s a sharpness to the bar, again, that powdered milk cheese-ness that doesn’t quite satisfy me. I’m not a big fan of the powdered milk flavors in some milk chocolates; it’s a personal preference, not an indication of quality.

I also tried the Bolivian Beni Wild Harvest bar, as I was a big fan of Lillie Belle’s Wild Thing, also from wild beans, but found the 66% far too sweet for me.

Related Candies

  1. Kauai Chocolate Tour plus Nanea & Madre Chocolate Bars
  2. Soma Black Science Carenero Superior
  3. Madre Chocolate: Dominican, Jaguar & Rosita de Cacao
  4. Amsterdam on Foot: Three Chocolate Shops
  5. Amano Dos Rios 70% Chocolate
  6. Lillie Belle Farms: The Wild Thing
  7. Amadei
  8. Stainer: Peru & Bianco


Name: Piura Porcelana
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Original Beans
Place Purchased: Monsieur Marcel (Farmers Market)
Price: $8.00
Size: 2.469 ounces
Calories per ounce: 161
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, Single Origin, 9-Yummy, Switzerland


Name: Esmeraldas Milk
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Original Beans
Place Purchased: Monsieur Marcel (Farmers Market)
Price: $8.00
Size: 2.469 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, Single Origin, 8-Tasty, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:22 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedOrganicSingle Origin8-Tasty9-YummySwitzerlandComments (3)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond

Toblerone Crunchy Salted AlmondAs a kid, a Toblerone bar was a special treat reserved for holidays, partly because they were expensive and partly because they were difficult to find year round. The bar was different from anything else on the market from the shape of the box and the exotic name to the interesting combination of flavors and textures.

The Toblerone company was bought from Jacob Suchard in 1990 by Kraft and is still made in Bern, Switzerland. The bars are much easier to find now, and easily located any time of the year. Their newest bar released in the United States is the Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond and features Swiss milk chocolate with salted caramelized almonds and honey and almond nougat.

Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond

Rosa at ZOMG Candy gave the bar pretty high marks, so I was eager to find one in the wild. I spotted them at Walgreen’s over the weekend, though not on sale. It’s $2.99 for the 100 gram (3.5 ounce) bar, which is what I’d expect to pay for something from Kraft that’s in their Green & Black’s range of ethically sourced and all natural chocolate.

The serving size is 1/3 of the bar, and it would be nice if they just said how many peaks that is (there are 12 in the bar, so 4 is a serving). But I did like the packaging. The snug triangular box protects the bar, even though it’s just in a thin foil wrapper inside. I liked the color and the bold, simple design. The nutrition panel, otherwise, is really easy to read. 

Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond

The look of the bar is the same as the classic milk chocolate bar. Inside I expected to see more almonds, as they’re both in the nougat bits and included as the salted pieces as well. The bar smells milky and sweet. The bite is soft and has a lot more crispy bits in it than I was accustomed to. The chocolate is fudgy and has a lot of milky flavors to it, mostly it holds together the inclusions. The nougat pieces are crispy ... unless they’re a little bigger which may mean that they’re a little tacky if chewed. The almonds are a little larger and have a nice, fresh crunch to them. As for the salt promised, I didn’t really taste it. There’s only 55 mg per serving, so it’s not a liberal dose. Though I can’t say that I perceived it, I will say that this bar seemed less sweet than the standard Toblerone. I actually prefer this to the Classic.

Kraft and Toblerone have scant information on the sourcing of their ingredients except to say that the chocolate is not Fair Trade on their website in the FAQ section and the the cocoa is sourced from around the world (well, at least it’s Earth chocolate). The bars contain milk, soy, almonds and eggs plus are manufactured on shared equipment with other tree nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Frey Chocobloc AIR
  2. Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)
  3. Ferrara Milk Chocolate with Almond Nougat
  4. Toblerone Fruit & Nut
  5. Terry’s Chocolate Toffee Crunch Orange
  6. Toblerone Single Peaks
  7. See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar


Name: Toblerone Crunchy Salted Almond
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.52 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Switzerland, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:26 pm     CandyReviewKraftChocolateNougatNuts8-TastySwitzerlandWalgreen'sComments (5)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ovomaltine Chocolate Bar

OvomaltineEuropeans have an appreciation for malt beverages. I’m not talking about beer, I mean malted milk. One of the most popular is Ovomaltine, which is sold as Ovaltine in the United States.

Of interest to Candy Blog readers though is the line of confections made by Wander, the Swiss company that makes Ovomaltine. I picked up this 100 gram (3.5 ounce) Ovomaltine Milk Chocolate Bar, called Schweizer Milkchschokolade mit Ovomaltine in Germany.

The front of the wrapper is bold and uncomplicated, just the familiar logo of the drink and some squares of chocolate.

Ovomaltine

The bar isn’t really that attractive. The squares all bear the logo for the Ovomaltine, but the inclusion of the actual malted milk powder makes the surface of the chocolate bar itself a bit dusty looking. The segments are nicely sized and scored for easy breaking and sharing.

Ovaltine is not just a flavoring for milk, it’s also supercharged with vitamins and minerals. The chocolate bar is no different, though it’s not exactly the same as swallowing a couple of multivitams there are a few B vitamins and minerals in there.

Ovomaltine

The bar smells just like a jar or Chocolate Ovaltine. There’s a light milky and malty note to it along with that scent of B Vitamins. I don’t know what that smell is, but it reminds me of baby formula.

The bar is grainy, the flavors are bold, the malt is front and center. The milk chocolate is passable, it’s smooth but barely gives a cocoa kick to the bar. There’s a strange umami quality to the whole thing, it’s not too sweet but still tastes like a treat. I would definitely eat this bar regularly if I could find it.

Ovolino - I love this barWhile in Amsterdam in January 2011, I also picked up this bar called Wander Ovolino, though I don’t recall where (I think it was at Jamin). It was a little on the small side but very light. The center was a creamy, malty nougatine. I would have bought more but I never saw them at the stores again on my trip. It had more of a hazelnut note to it instead of the sort of multivitamin flavor that Ovaltine sometimes has.

If you want to know more about the origin of Ovaltine, here’s a good article from Slate shortly after Nestle scooped up the rights to the powdered mix in the US. Also, Wikipedia explains why it’s called Ovaltine in English speaking regions instead of Ovomaltine ... there was a typo on the trademark registration. More importantly, in France they have a version that’s spreadable like Nutella or Speculoos. Please, someone send this to me!

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs (2012)
  2. Target’s Market Pantry Malted Milk Balls
  3. Nestle Milo Bar
  4. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Eggs (Plus a Bonus)
  5. Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
  6. Mighty Malts


Name: Ovomaltine Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wander
Place Purchased: Kaufhof (Berlin, Germany)
Price: 1.35 Euro (about $1.80 USD)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Malt, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:51 pm     CandyReviewChocolateMalt7-Worth ItSwitzerlandComments (6)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice & Corn Flakes

Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Rice CrispsI saw the Organic Moo Chocolate bars from Organic Children’s Chocolate, LLC at Whole Foods. It’s a line of chocolate just for kids with fun cereal inclusions like crisped rice, corn flakes, granola and graham crackers.

It’s great to see some organic candy products that are formulated just for kids, because most of them seem to be just for adults, with mature palates. The packaging here is easy to read and appeals to youngsters with cartoon cows and simple formulations. It’s really about time someone came up with an organic version of the Nestle Crunch bar.

Moo Chocolate - Crisped Rice Bar

But the big question becomes, why organic chocolate? Is it better than traditionally grown chocolate? Well, yes and no. Traditionally grown cocoa is fraught with pests, so most of the cacao grown is treated with a variety of inorganic pesticides. Because of the way the cacao beans are situation with a hard pod, and the fact that most treatments are on the canopy of the tree (not in the soil) means that very is absorbed or becomes a residue in finished chocolate. (For example spot tests in the UK have found very low levels of Lindane at less than .02 mg per kilogram in about 45% of chocolate tested.)

Chocolate is a very small part of our diet (about 12 pounds per person per year in the US), so that’s a very small, very slowly ingested amount. But children are smaller and more susceptible to toxins, so it’s understandable that many parents want to limit their exposure. There’s also the fact that the farm workers who apply the stuff are exposed to it at much higher levels and are for more likely to suffer from side effects than we would be. So you have a choice now, organic chocolate is available. But how does it taste?

Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Rice Crisps

The Organic Moo Milk Chocolate with Rice Crisps bar is made with all organic ingredients, including organic crisped brown rice. Even the packaging is made from recycled paper.

The bars are big, 2.1 ounces for this one, and a lot of crisped rice there when I flipped it over.

Moo Chocolate - Crisped Rice Bar

The bar smells milky and sweet, but has a toasted sugar and malty cereal scent to it ... along with a kind of musty odor, a bit like hot cocoa but also slightly reminiscent of wet paper.

The texture is quite smooth, much smoother than Hershey’s or Nestle. The milk flavors are strong and a little earthier, but that could be the malt of the crisped rice. It’s sweet, much sweeter than other organic chocolates, as this is a chocolate for kids so it’s a little less intense. The flavor reminds me of the Thompson’s Organic I’ve had before. When I contacted Moo Chocolate to ask about the source of their organic chocolate, they wouldn’t say except that it is Swiss.

The crisped rice are crunchy, but also not quite airy and light, as I think many of us might be accustomed to with Rice Krispies. It’s quite satisfying to eat just half the bar (a little over one ounce). The sections (whimsically alternating between a cow and the Moo logo) are easy to break off and small hand friendly.

Overall, it’s a great combination of textures, but the kind of goaty flavor of the chocolate is not to my liking, so I’d probably skip this entire brand line. However, kids are often less discriminating and the packaging here doesn’t make this feel like it’s “special”, just that it’s fun and tasty.

Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Corn FlakesThe Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Corn Flakes is also made with the same milk chocolate, though the bar weighs a little more at 2.7 ounces (I guess corn flakes are denser than crisped rice).

The ingredients are all organic, except for the sea salt. The package has a pleasing yellow color coding, which actually helped me make the natural assumption for corn.

Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Corn Flakes

This bar was not as amusing to look at as the Rice Crisps. The mold is generic, and only breaks into fourths instead of eighths. The breaks were messy, as the corn flakes were big and would keep the cleavage irregular. I didn’t get as much of the musty taste in this bar as the Rice Crisps one, but it tasted much sweeter.

Organic Moo Chocolate Milk Chocolate with Corn Flakes

The corn flakes are thick and a little rustic. I didn’t find them as light and crispy as the commercial brands though I’d probably love them in actual milk. I wanted to like this bar, because of my deep devotion to the Ritter Sport Knusperflakes (milk chocolate and corn flake bar), but the textures, chocolate flavor notes and ratios just weren’t there. Plus it cost more than twice as much.

I did a little research about organic chocolate versus traditionally grown for this post. It’s hard to find independent information on the subject, as most publishers of information freely available are biased one way or the other (usually in favor of selling their own product). This article was well researched with plenty of citations, if you want to read more on the subject. As far as my opinion, it would be good to reduce pesticide use through sustainable methods that both preserve the ecology of the plantations, are safe for the workers and the final consumers. For the latter folks though, chocolate is such a small part of our diets, there are far better places to spend your money to reduce pesticide residue exposures. I would advise prioritizing the “dirty dozen” and working from there.

If you’re a parent looking for something a little more wholesome for your kid, the Moo Chocolate brand is well rounded and a good bet. Of course with all things organic you’re going to pay more. Ultimately, I’d like to see Fair Trade go with that and maybe some diversity of package sizes (little one ounce bars are more appropriate for kids). A great stocking stuffer, they’re available at Whole Foods and other stores that sell natural products.

They’re Kosher and contain milk and soy. Also made in a facility that processes wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
  2. Crisp Angell Organic Candy Bar
  3. Dark Angell Organic Candy Bar
  4. Sunspire Coconut Bars
  5. Theobroma Chocolate y Maiz
  6. Sweet Earth Chocolate Cups
  7. Crispy Cat
  8. Ritter Sport Assortment


Name: Moo Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Organic Children’s Chocolate
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $4.50
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 151
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Organic, 6-Tempting, United States, Whole Foods


Name: Moo Milk Chocolate with Corn Flakes
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Organic Children’s Chocolate
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $4.50
Size: 2.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Organic, 6-Tempting, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:27 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateCookieOrganic6-TemptingSwitzerlandUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (2)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Six Kilos of Felchlin Arriba 72% Chocolate

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 HourThis is not so much a review as a recounting of an ongoing chocolate Odyssey.

I regularly watch the eBay candy auctions. And when I say regularly, I actually check the pages several times a day during the week. Partly to spy new candy products, partly to find international candies that are hard to get in the US, partly to find deals and partly to squash folks who like to use Candy Blog photos for their auctions without asking.

About a month ago I saw a new auction pop up for someone selling 13.2 pounds of Felchlin Swiss Couverture chocolate coins of Grand Cru Arriba 72% Cocoa (conched 72 hours).

The auction was priced at $95 and included local Los Angeles delivery. I bid. I won.

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Because it’s for use as an ingredient, it’s packaged modestly. The mini case holds three bags. Each bag is 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). I pulled out one bag for immediate enjoyment and put the other two, inside the box, into the bottom of my wine fridge. (Okay, I’d probably call it a chocolate fridge, which keeps everything at 58 degrees.)

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Each little coin is about 3/4 of an inch around and has a set of embossed cacao pods on it. They’re kind of scuffed up, as they come in a bag like chocolate chips. They work as extra large baking chips but function better as eating chocolate. At this writing I am finishing up the first bag. I’ve made one batch of chocolate pudding, one small batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Rocher (meringues from a recipe from Tartine) and the rest has simply been eaten.

The disks fit in the mouth wonderfully, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to let their chocolate melt. (Put two together to create an oblate spheroid and they’re doubly good.) The flavor is exceptionally well rounded, there is no dominant flavor though I get notes of molasses, honey, coffee and raspberry jam sometimes. 

As noted above, this is a 72 hour conch. Conching is the process of both mixing and grinding chocolate over low heat. The longer the processing the smaller the grain size of the cacao bits and the more emulsified the chocolate becomes. This process varies in time depending on what the cacao is like and the necessities of the final product. It can be anywhere from 24 hours to 100 hours. The grinding part is done with either stones or metal rollers.

This long conch also allows Felchlin to make an uncompromising chocolate without emulsifiers. So all that’s in there is cacao mass, sugar and vanilla. (So if you must avoid soy, try this.) It’s also creamy without cream. (So if you’re a vegan, try this.) It’s made from Criollo beans from the Los Rios area of Ecuador.

Yesterday I mentioned to Coppeneur Chocolate that I loved their Chuao origin. Today they gave me these:

Earlier this year I got to try a great example of how important conching is. When I was in Germany at ISM Cologne, one of my favorite chocolate companies, Coppeneur gave me this box of two chocolate bars. They were both made from highly prized Chuao beans (review of those bars here) but inside this box were two versions - one that was conched 70 hours and one that was conched 100 hours. The difference is quite remarkable. The longer a bar is conched, the silkier it becomes.

What I’ve learned is that I love long conched chocolate. It’s so smooth that the texture itself becomes like a flavor because it’s simply so forward in the experience.

Chocolate by M NonpareilsI’m not sure why the local gal was auctioning the bulk lots of chocolate, but I did find out that she runs a local chocolate catering company called Chocolate by M. She was kind enough to leave me with these huge nonpareils along with the delivery. The photo might make them look small, but they’re huge 3 inch platters of dark chocolate (I don’t know if it’s the same as the Felchlin 72%) with a dense sprinkling of nonpareils on the bottom.

It’s just one easy idea of what I could do with my bevvy of chocolate.

Chocolate by M Nonpareils

Mostly what I think I’m going to do with my chocolate stash though is eat it. It’s incredibly munchable but also exceptionally intense. I’ve found that I can’t make it an evening snack as there are too many caffeine-like compounds in there that keep me up at night. But I’ve found that it’s a great treat during the day while I work, I’ve been keeping a little dish of them on my desk and probably eat about an ounce of them a day. They’re filling and sustaining.

But maybe the last bag will make it to December and I’ll end up making chocolate truffles for Christmas.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:29 pm     All NaturalCandyChocolateSingle Origin9-YummySwitzerlandHighlightComments (5)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frey Chocobloc AIR

imageI mentioned this bar a couple of months ago in a candy tease. It’s called Frey Chocobloc AIR and as you might guess from the name, it’s an aerated chocolate bar. Frey is a large Swiss chocolate company (I used to see their bars at Target and often at airport duty free shops) but they’re not as well known in North America as some others.

Now that I’ve had the Hershey’s Air Delight Kisses, I thought it was a good time to compare it to another newly introduced product.

Frey makes a line of bars called Chocobloc which have a similar format to the Kraft Toblerone bar. They’re a long, chunky block that has little divided, angular sections. The regular Chocobloc bars are 100 grams, the aerated AIR bar is only 70 grams. But what’s really different about this bar from all the other aerated chocolate out there right now is that this is a milk chocolate bar with honey nougat and almonds. The milk chocolate does have a lot of cocoa content, 34% according to the label.

Frey Aerated Bar

I know it seems odd to note it, but there are a lot of bubbles in the bar. I’m not calling your attention in this case to the ones in the center, but the edges of the bar, the peaks and corners have a lot of voids. A well molded bar, even one with inclusions will have an even surface.

The bar does feel light and the color is also on the creamy milky side of things. The pieces cleave off easily, much better than some other blocky bars (like the Toblerone). It smells quite milky and a little like malt and honey. There are little hard nougat bits in there, just tiny chips.

The bar melts quickly and has a very strong, sweet flavor to it. There are caramel and honey notes and quite a bit of the powdered dairy taste that Swiss chocolate often has. It’s not very chocolatey but still the melt is velvety enough.

As far as its performance as an aerated bar, it was light and did have a bit of a foamy melt with all the air included. About 30% of the mass of an ordinary bar was missing because of the air bubbles. But it also tasted a lot sweeter. Perhaps a dark chocolate version of this would be more to my liking.

The comparison to the other bars I’ve tried to so far is similar. The texture of this one in particular felt a bit smoother and I liked the notes of honey. But aerated still isn’t a trend I’m hopping on. There’s really nothing here that’s perceptibly better than solid chocolate. If you’re looking for something that gives the appearance of more to trick yourself that you’re eating lots, well, maybe this will do the trick for you but be warned that ounce for ounce, this is some pretty high calorie stuff. But the sugary flavor couldn’t match the satisfaction of slightly bitter, very dark chocolate for me.

(I used a photo from Frey for the package image. In the case of the review bar I received, it was in the Swiss packaging, which is sold there as Mahony Sweet Air - photo.)

Related Candies

  1. PUR Gum: Xylitol Sweetened
  2. Aldi Chocolate Swiss Assorted Chocolate Squares
  3. Ferrara Belgian Milk Chocolate
  4. Swiss Army Energy Bar Chocolate
  5. Toblerone Single Peaks
  6. Frey Supreme: White, Lemon & Lime and Citron & Poivre


Name: Chocobloc AIR
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Frey
Place Purchased: samples from Frey at ISM Cologne
Price: $3.25
Size: 2.47 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Frey, Aerated, Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:04 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewFreyAeratedChocolateNougatNuts7-Worth ItSwitzerlandComments (1)

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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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