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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Skittles Riddles

Skittles RiddlesI’ve been waiting for a new variety of Skittles to come along to blow me out of the water. Something that really turns expectations about Skittles on their ear, like the Skittles Carnival limited edition version a few years back. Mostly I’ve been hoping for Skittles Soda Pop: cola, root beer, lemon-lime, orange and grape soda. But that doesn’t look likely. Instead I picked up this teal blue bag of their newest called Skittles Riddles.

The newest version of Skittles have a new set of flavors and a new twist. The riddle is that The Colors Don’t Match the Flavors. There are the standard set of five colors, in this case aqua, light green, blue, red and pink. The flavors are apple, strawberry, punch, watermelon and raspberry. And as they note, they won’t necessarily match up with their colors. Some of the flavors aren’t actually that new, raspberry, strawberry and punch are found in other mixes.

Skittles Riddles

My big curiosity was whether or not the color swap would be consistent throughout the bag. Would all blues be the same flavor, or would it be completely randomized? My initial observation is that they’re randomized. (Though limited, I found one flavor in three colors at most.)

Watermelon was unmistakeable. The first time it was a dark red, another time it was aqua. It was like a Jolly Rancher in chew form. The flavor dissipates fast, but comes on strong.
Punch was strong, like a big chewy glop of Hawaiian Punch. I don’t care much for the flavor, and not having that ruby red color to warn me was a little discomforting.
Strawberry was, well, the classic Skittles strawberry. Sweet, floral, tangy and very consistent. It tasted a little like a strawberry kiwi.
Apple was a strongly artificial flavor, very little of an apple juice or apple peel note. In my case, it was actually green.
Raspberry was hard to find, I had to eat a lot of these before I stumbled on this one. It was subtle, a little tangy but missing the jam and floral notes I like in a raspberry candy.

On the whole, I like the idea of mixing up expectations. But one thing that I like about Skittles is how I eat them. I like to line them up, grouped by color and then eat them in matched pairs. When I get to the end with the singles, I like to keep my citrus flavors together and mix my grape with strawberry. With this version, I simply can’t do that. I can’t ever be sure I’m putting two of the same flavor together, and not all of the flavors actually go together well. I didn’t like watermelon combined with anything else and strawberry probably would have gone well with raspberry.

It’ll be fun for folks who don’t actually look at the colors and it is nice to see new flavors. But I’m still waiting for my Citrus Mix or Soda Pop. The novelty flavors like Crazy Cores and Fizzl’d Fruits are wearing thin and I don’t even want to talk about the poor execution of the Chocolate Skittles.

Skittles are gelatin free now and labeled as gluten free. There’s no statement about other allergens like nuts, eggs or gluten.

UPDATE 11/28/2012: Wrigley’s in the UK will be introducing a version of these called Skittles Confused (I believe they were a Sainsbury exclusive limited edition back in 2008.)

Related Candies

  1. Mystery Smarties
  2. Skittles Blenders
  3. Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits
  4. Skittles Crazy Cores
  5. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  6. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  7. Skittles Fresh Mint
  8. Skittles Ice Cream


Name: Skittles Riddles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $3.39
Size: 14 ounces
Calories per ounce: 110
Categories: Candy, Mars, Wrigley's, Chews, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:17 am     CandyReviewSkittlesMarsWrigley'sChews7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (22)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Bars: Hershey’s, Niederegger, Ghirardelli & Hachez

Here’s a small selection of what I’d call Christmas chocolate bars. I’ve got to eat them up before the holidays - it may be too late for you to get them by Christmas, but there are some special ones that are worth picking up at the after-Christmas sales.

Hershey's Golden AlmondHershey’s introduced their Golden Almond Bar in 1977. It’s a thick bar and clocks in at 2.8 ounces. The bar design and packaging has changed little over the past thirty five years. It’s still wrapped in gold foil with a gold sleeve. Bars are sold either singly or in gold gift boxes of five bars (see a 1984 ad here). They’re not that easy to find, I usually see them at the official Hershey’s stores at Chocolate World or the Times Square shop.

The bar is simple, it’s just milk chocolate with lots of whole roasted almonds in it. It differs from the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar as it’s supposed to be better quality chocolate. The ingredients do not differ from the Hershey’s standard milk chocolate which includes PGPR but is at least made in the United States and not Mexico as the other supposedly upscale Pot of Gold line is.

Hershey's Golden Almond

The bar is wonderful looking, it’s thick and has a great snap. It’s about 1.7 inches wide, 4.75 inches long and a beefy half inch high. There are some almonds in there though not as many as I feel are promised but they look like they’re fresh and of good quality. The chocolate looks a little darker than the standard Hershey’s but smells like I’d expect. It’s sweet with a slight yogurty tang to it.

The texture is smooth and fudgy, with a sticky melt and a light caramel and woodsy chocolate flavor. It’s not complex and it’s not extraordinary. But if you like Hershey’s chocolate and enjoy the decadence of a thicker piece, this is a good bar to choose. I liked the nostalgia of an actual foil wrapped bar, which is so rare these days. If there’s someone on your list that loves Hershey’s, this is a little bit more elegant way to give them what they desire.

Size: 2.8 ounces
Price: about $2.00
Rating: 5 out of 10

Niederegger Marzipan WeihnachtsschokoladeI’ll have more about my German adventures, including a tour of the Niederegger Factory in Lubeck in the coming weeks.

I found this seasonal bar called Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtsschokolade at the Niederegger cafe at Marktplatz in Lubeck. The front of the package says Saftiges gewurz marzipan mit vollmilch-schokolade. So it’s a spiced marzipan in milk chocolate. The image shows almonds, cinnamon sticks and star anise. The ingredients don’t specifically list anise, just “spices” though cinnamon is a separate item.

Inside the paper wrapper there’s a stiff card (advertising the company and their website) and the foil wrapped bar.

Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtsschokolade

The packaging did a great job of protecting the bar. It was glossy and unscuffed.

Niederegger Marzipan Weihnachtschokolade

The milk chocolate is very light in color (33% cocoa solids and 14% milk solids). The bar smells like milky chai, a little spicy and very sweet. The marzipan is moist and a bit like eating Snickerdoodle cookie dough. The chocolate is smooth, but doesn’t contribute much in the way of cocoa to this, it just nicely encases the marzipan. The texture of the marzipan is a little more rustic than the French style fondant type that’s used for creating figures and shapes. Niederegger is meant for eating and enjoying.

The ratios on the 100 gram bars from Niederegger favor the chocolate more than the enrobed little classic loaves. (I’ll get into that more in my master post.) If you’re looking for a starter marzipan that’s more about the texture and celebrates almonds as the source ingredient, Niederegger really can’t be beat. It’s not too sweet and doesn’t have any fake amaretto flavors to it.

I would prefer a version of this with dark chocolate, but I can’t argue with the traditional recipe they have. It’s a great balance of subtle spice, sweetness, milk and almonds.

Size: 3.5 ounces
Price: 1.95 Euro (about $2.50)
Rating: 8 out of 10

Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark BarsI’m no stranger to the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark. They’ve been making it for years and it comes in a clever little square that’s perfect for some afternoon tea or coffee.

I found this set of bars at Target last month on sale for $2 each. They’re heralded as limited edition and come in milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

I’m not actually a fan of barks. I like my inclusions fully immersed in the chocolate. So the bar version of Peppermint Bark is perfect for my strange fondness for things being hidden in the chocolate.

Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Bars

Unlike most Peppermint Barks, which combine white chocolate with crushed peppermint candies (like candy canes or starlight mints), the Ghiradelli version uses minty, artificially colored corn flakes. I haven’t the foggiest why they did it that way, but honestly, they created something unique enough to be a new genre.

Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Bars

The milk and dark vary a little bit in their coloring. The milk version is sweet and has a lot of dairy notes to it from both the milk chocolate base and the white chocolate top (made with real cocoa butter). The mint is clean and bright, the little cereal bits are crunchy and a little salty and keep it all from being too cloying.

The dark version has two kinds of bits, the red bits and some little dark brown bits, which I think are little chocolate cookie pieces. The dark chocolate has a little smoky note to it which overshadowed the minty layer a bit, which I enjoyed. There’s a definite difference between the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark and the Dove Peppermint Bark, which can also be found for comparable prices at similar stores. Personally, I prefer the Dove version, because it’s a bit butterier. This one is about the crunch, a grown up sort of crunch.

Size: 3 ounces
Price: $2.00 (on sale at Target)
Rating: 7 out of 10

Hachez Weihnachts Knusper BarThe last item I have is not quite a full review. The Hachez Weihnachts Knusper Bar (Christmas Crunchy Bar) is a darling looking bar. The soft white paper wrapper has a classically illustrated scene of a child ice skating on a pond.

Feine Vollmilch-Chocolade mit Zimt, Mandeln und Nussen

My German was getting pretty good, even though I’d only been listening to German podcasts for a week and was only there for a day. The front of the package said Fine milk chocolate with cinnamon, almonds and nuts. The little image also showed all of the above -cinnamon sticks, milk chocolate blocks, almonds and a hazelnut in its shell.

So I was very excited when I got it home and put at the top of my list to photograph and review before Christmas. I took it out of the wrapper, snapped it in half ... it looked and smelled so good:

Hachez Weihnacht Knusper Bar

The bar was glossy and showed no ill effects from the long journey (about 750 more miles on a bus at that point then the 5,700 mile plane ride).

I broke off a little piece of it to try after the photo, I was greeted by wonderfully smooth and milky chocolate and amazingly fresh, crunchy and crushed nuts and a hint of cinnamon. I could taste the hazelnuts and something else ... it wasn’t pecans, it was walnuts. What I didn’t realize was that while Nussen might be a generic word for nuts, it usually meant walnuts. (Walnusse is the more specific word.) So technically, I didn’t eat any of the bar. I had to spit it out and rinse out my mouth (I still ended up itchy and with a sore throat all evening - my allergy has not developed beyond this irritation stage). But I’m going to go out on a limb after eating many of the other Hachez products in the past week (which I’ll have reviews for) and say that this really is a good bar.

Size: 3.5 ounces
Price: 2.20 Euro ($2.89 purchased at Hachez factory store)
Rating: 8 out of 10

Do you have a favorite winter flavor combination? Anything regional or something from long ago that they don’t make any longer?

Related Candies

  1. Lindt Holiday Almonds
  2. Choceur Nougat Bites & Marzipan Bites
  3. Dove Peppermint Bark
  4. Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolate
  5. Hershey’s Special Dark with Almonds
  6. Niederegger Ginger Marzipan
  7. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds


Name: Golden Almond
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: gift
Price: $2.00 retail
Size: 2.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, 5-Pleasant, United States


Name: Marzipan Weihnachtsschokolade
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Niederegger
Place Purchased: Niederegger Cafe (Lubeck, Germany)
Price: 1.95 Euro (about $2.50)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 143
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Niederegger, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Germany


Name: Peppermint Bark with Milk Chocolate & with Dark Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target
Price: $2.00
Size: 3.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Cookie, Limited Edition, Mints, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States, Target


Name: Weihnachts-Knusper
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hachez Chocolade
Place Purchased: Hachez factory store (Bremen, Germany)
Price: 1.90 Euros ($2.89)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 161
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Hachez, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:49 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasGhirardelliHachezHershey'sNiedereggerChocolateCookieKosherLimited EditionMintsNutsWhite Chocolate5-Pleasant7-Worth It8-TastyGermanyUnited StatesTargetComments (2)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows + Vanilla, Cinnamon Bun, Strawberry, Chocolate Royale, Gingerbread

Jet-Puffed MarshmallowsThe best known American marshmallows are Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows which are big, airy cylinders of fluffed sugar and gelatin. Lately there’s been a movement in the United States for more artisan marshmallows, flavored and in different shapes and often with less chalky corn starch on the outside. In other countries marshmallows are usually flavored (France and Japan have wonderful marshmallow offerings that are rather grown up, while the United Kingdom and Netherlands still have a large selection geared towards kids).

Kraft’s Jet-Puffed brand has a large selection lately that go beyond the unflavored white version. I picked up all that I could find over the past month for comparison and review.

Kraft Jet-Puffed MarshmallowsI’m often conflicted about whether Marshmallows are candy. Part of the confusion might be the fact that the most popular marshmallow brands in the United States are not sold in the candy and snack aisle but in the baking section. They’re used to make Rice Krispie Treats and S’mores, but I rarely see people just eating them.

The marshmallows are simple and cheap. I picked up most of the bags in this review for only a dollar - this bag was 10 ounces and nearly the size of an airplane pillow ... a lot of candy for a buck.

Jet-Puffed Marshmallow

Jet-Puffed are large, they’re about an inch and a third tall and about an inch in diameter. Each is about 7.5 grams (about a quarter of an ounce). Marshmallows are pretty low in calories, as there’s no fat in them - they’re just sugar with a little protein (gelatin) to keep them fluffy. Only 100 calories per serving of 4 (one ounce).

They’re chalky on the outside, coated with a light powdering of corn starch to keep them from sticking. They’re puffed, pliable but still firm. They’re a little latexy, like memory foam - squish it and it bounces back eventually.

The flavor isn’t quite vanilla and not a strong as pure sugar. They’re, well, marshmallows. Not much to write home about and not a candy I’d eat on its own. They toast up very well, with more of the burnt sugar flavors. The large size means that the center of mine usually cool while the outside is crunchy and the mantle is molten.

They’re very soft and moist when fresh, but I don’t mind a slightly stale marshmallow either. They get a little stiff and chewy on the outside, providing a little more textural interest.

Kraft Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallowsWhat started this whole marshmallow episode was this bag of Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallows I spotted at Target. They’re French Vanilla flavored, which sounded good, like a custardy version of the traditional American marshmallow.

They’re called mini-marshmallows on the bag, but they’re actually about the size of two of the standard mini-marshmallows.

Kraft Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallowsIs there a difference between the standard and the French Vanilla? Well, not really. There’s some yellow food coloring and a smidge less salt. So they did taste sweeter.

I prefer the format of the little one inch tall and half inch wide Man. He toasted up well, the smaller size meant that the center became molten as the outside crisped. Of course it was ridiculously easy to catch him on fire.

Kraft Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallowsThe Kraft Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallows were the only ones that I bought at the 99 Cent Only Store, which may mean that they were for an earlier season. (They expire at the end of the year.)

Jet-Puffed StrawberrMallow

They’re pink and remind me of the French guimauve, which often come in long ropes. The color is soft and pleasant. The scent is like Frankenberry Cereal. The flavor is a mild, floral and artificial strawberry. It was like a very watered down Strawberry Quik.

I toasted it hoping it would taste like cotton candy, but it just tasted like hot Strawberry Quik. Like many of the candies that I eat with Red #40 food coloring, I taste a weird, metallic bitterness towards the end and for a few minutes after.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Gingerbread MallowsThe Kraft Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Mallows made all of this worth it. They were the variety that inspired me to buy them all and review them.

This was the first variety that struck me as seasonal, obviously, but also the first one that I felt like achieved its goals of being an actual good candy. I recognize that not everyone likes gingerbread, so a gingerbread flavored marshmallow will not be as popular as strawberry or vanilla.

They’re shaped like little men. The get squeeze and deformed in the bag, so their little arms point in different directions. They’re about an inch and a quarter tall and about a half an inch thick and an inch from fingertip to fingertip.

Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Marshmallows

They smell rich and spicy. And they taste that way too. If you’re fond of the gingerbread spices: ginger, cinnamon, clove and pepper, you will probably dig these. The overriding flavor is actually ginger but there’s a little cinnamon and pepper warmth to them. It doesn’t taste artificial at all - just like a spicy marshmallow. It’s absolutely like eating a foamy cookie.

I tried toasting them and liked the result, but prefer the soft and foamy texture of them at room temperature.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Cinnamon BunI figured if Gingerbread was good, Kraft Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun would rate highly as well. After all, it wasn’t just a pink marshmallow with a little cinnamon oil like the StrawberryMallow.

This bag was slightly smaller, for some reason, with only 8 ounces in it. The mallows were also smaller, which was fine with me as I like to pop a whole one in my mouth. (The back of the package actually has a warning that says to eat only one at a time and supervise children plus cut them up for smaller children.)

Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun Marshmallow

They’re cute as foamy sugar buttons. They smell good, not that different from the Gingerbread, but definitely on the sugar and cinnamon side of things.

The flavor is like cinnamon the spice, not the hard candy. The corn starch coating kind of pushes that along with the slight chalky texture before it dissolves away. It doesn’t taste overtly artificial, but it’s also not as fun and nuanced as the Gingerbread. I expect they’d go great in hot chocolate. Toasted they were quite nice, but tasted much more sweet when hot.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Chocolate RoyaleThe Kraft Jet-Puffed Chocolate Royale was a problematic flavor. First, it’s a chocolate flavored marshmallow. There is no actual cocoa, let alone chocolate in there. The scent is ghastly. It was like wet cardboard. It was so bad that after I took a picture of the package and opened them, I had to sequester them.

The problem is that I don’t remember where I put them (I admit the Candy Blog Studios are pretty messy right now) but I can still smell them even though I stuffed them inside another bag first.

Overall, I’m inclined towards the generic American marshmallow and enjoyed the different flavors. I prefer the corn starch coating to the sugar sanding of Peeps. They’re a great candy to share and versatile to keep on hand as an ingredient. If you’re watching your calories, they’re very low stress - I can’t eat that many because their airy texture makes me feel full very quickly. But they’re also all sugar and the texture can be bland (but that’s why folks invented Rice Krispie Treats, Rocky Road and S’mores).

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover “Day of the Dead” Skeletons
  2. Trader Joe’s Smashing S’mores
  3. Peeps Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
  4. Hello Kitty Pineapple Marshmallows
  5. Campfire Mini Marshmallows
  6. Russell Stover Santas
  7. Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae


Name: Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Marshmallow, 6-Tempting, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed SnowManMallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Von's (Glendale)
Price: $1.50
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Marshmallow, 6-Tempting, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Marshmallow, 4-Benign, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Mallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Ginger, Marshmallow, 8-Tasty, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Cinnamon, Marshmallow, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Chocolate Royale
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Marshmallow, 1-Inedible, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:06 am     CandyReviewChristmasKraftCinnamonGingerMarshmallow1-Inedible7-Worth ItUnited States99 Cent Only StoreTargetComments (18)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dove Promises White Chocolate

Dove Promises White ChocolateMars has finally hopped into the white chocolate game with both feet. Their new Dove White Chocolate Silky Smooth Promises stand alone as the only mass-market true white chocolate in bite size pieces.

I don’t know if this is a regular item or a seasonal offering from Dove. They’ve already proven that they can make a good white chocolate, which has been their base for their rich Peppermint Bark offerings for the third year in a row.

The package is a stylish amber and gold design with the Dove logo featuring most prominently. The see through part reveals the pieces are foil wrapped in two different shades of gold with white snowflakes.

Dove Promises White Chocolate

Hershey’s has their White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss, but that’s a filled candy, with some sort of palm oil & cream inside. The Dove White Chocolate is truly a white chocolate product, in that it contains only cocoa butter and dairy as its fat base without any other vegetable fats.

Still, it’s pricey stuff. The bar was just shy of 8 ounces while the true chocolate varieties at the same price are over 9.5 ounces.

Dove Promises White Chocolate

The flavor is oddly buttery, as in milky with that sort of churned flavor to it. However, there’s more of an aged dairy taste than a fresh milk flavor. There’s a light hint of salt (45 mg per 5 pieces).

The texture is firm but has a smooth melt, not nearly as silky as the regular Dove Promises but still decadent. It’s sweet, and that sugary quality does give it a but of a thick and sticky quality as it dissolves. Sometimes though it tasted a little on the rancid or perhaps slightly stale side of things. This could be because it picked up some flavors from other items (such as some chocolate flavored marshmallows), but considering the fact that they’re tightly foil wrapped and then in a heavy plastic bag, they shouldn’t be doing that.

Dove White Chocolate Promises

White chocolate is definitely a tough item to do well. These are good, and true white chocolate is hard to find, especially in the grocery or drug store these days. The ingredients are pretty good: sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, milk fat, soy lecithin, salt, natural flavor and PGPR. They’re made in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts. There’s no mention of gluten. They’re Kosher.

It’s a good quality product for the price, but it’s not going to be my go-to white chocolate. I’ll still opt for Green & Black’s super-vanilla infused White Chocolate which is also fair trade. But if I needed something festive and foil wrapped, I’d grab a bag of these.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Eggnog Almonds
  2. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  3. Dove Peppermint Bark
  4. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  5. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  6. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  7. Green and Black’s White Chocolate


Name: White Chocolate Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Glendale)
Price: $3.49
Size: 7.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Mars, Kosher, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:27 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasMarsKosherWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (9)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Brach’s Milk Chocolate Stars

Brach's Milk Chocolate StarsBrach’s, now owned by Farley’s and Sathers has had its ups and downs. Lately I’d say they’re on the upswing. They have newly designed packaging and a new logo along with a return to their classic formulas.

One of Brach’s standard candies for many years has been their Brach’s Milk Chocolate Stars which are not only a favorite for candy dishes, they’re occasionally featured in cookie recipes. This explains why I spotted this bag not in the candy aisle at Target but with a special display of holiday baking items.

Brach's Chocolate Stars

The pieces are large what I’d consider a big bite or two small bites. They’re a full inch across and weigh a little less than 4 grams each. (For comparison, a Hershey’s Kiss is about 4.5 grams.)

Brach's Milk Chocolate Stars

The front and back of the package make multiple mentions of the fact that the stars are made from 100% milk chocolate. Some Brach’s items stopped using real chocolate over the years (oddly enough some of that cheapening occurred while the company was run by Barry Callebaut, a Swiss company and one of the largest makers of chocolate in the world. (But they also make mockolate.)

The ingredients do actually qualify this product as milk chocolate, though the list is very long for what is usually a six ingredient product:

Milk Chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, whole and skim milk powder, lactose, butter fat, cocoa powder, milk fat, salt, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin

Brach's Chocolate Stars

The stars a bit scuffed up but I was still pleased at how attractive they are. They vary a little bit, as they’re not molded but squirted out onto a line. The have a sweet scent, a bit on the caramel side of milk chocolate. The melt is pretty quick and very sweet but with a very mellow salty note to it.

Though the melt is passably smooth, it is quite sticky. I did a quick analysis of the chocolate compared to Hershey’s Kisses. There’s just a smidge more sugar in it and a little less fat. (Basically, my calculations put Hershey’s Kisses at 29.3% fat by weight and Brach’s Milk Chocolate Stars at 26.3%. So if there’s less fat there’s either going to be more sugar or more protein, in this case it’s the sugar with Hershey’s at 56.1% and Brach’s at 57.9%.)

The flavor is not complex or difficult. There’s a slight dairy twang to it, but nothing like the sour belch of a Hershey’s Kiss nor the powdered dairy taste of Cadbury. I suspect that they stand up well in the oven and probably get an even better toasted taste to the sugars that bring out the fudge notes. It’s a little too sweet and sticky for me to eat alone, but with some nuts or pretzels or really anything else like a tall glass of water or strong coffee to cut it, I’d find them passable.

If I were baking the only reason to use them would be for aesthetics. If I were going for taste, I’d pick up Ghirardelli or Guittard which are only slightly more expensive ... or if I needed something really stunning Valrhona.

They’re made in a facility with nuts, peanuts and wheat plus they contain soy and dairy. Not Kosher.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Maple Nut Goodies
  2. Hershey’s Kisses Air Delight
  3. Brach’s Peanut Butter Poppins
  4. Brach’s Christmas Nougats
  5. Brach’s Peanut Butter and Caramel Pumpkins
  6. Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Kisses
  7. Dove Chocolate
  8. My Favorite Chocolate


Name: Milk Chocolate Stars
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.99
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:12 pm     CandyReviewBrach'sFarley's & SathersChocolate5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Starburst Flavor Morph

Starburst Flavor MorphWrigley’s which now runs the Starburst franchise of products just came out with a new variety, called Starburst Flavor Morph. They come in both the long single serving pack, a king size and the 13 ounce bag I picked up at Target over the weekend.

The package says that they have Flavor Changing Beads, which sounds kind of high tech and kind of like a feature of cosmetics/hygiene products.

The newest Starburst offers more than just a variety of flavors in each pack - now, consumers will get to experience a variety of flavors in every square. The candy, which features flavor changing beads, morphs from orange to orange strawberry or cherry to cherry lime.

So, basically, instead of four flavors in the package, there are just two.

Starburst Flavor Morph

Cherry -> Cherry-Lime is wrapped in red with white waves on the little waxed paper wrapper. They’re dark pink and at first do taste just like the traditional Cherry Starburst. The Cherry Lime notes come in rather late, and the advertised flavor beads aren’t evident as pops or crunches. The lime notes were actually a welcome transition in the flavor of the chew, the citrus goes well with the very traditional artificial cherry flavor.

Starburst Flavor Morph

Orange -> Orange-Strawberry looks just like an Orange Starburst, but with a few little flecks. However, it smells like a Strawberry Starburst. So the flavor morph in this instance was not really transitional ... the flavor was absolutely orange and strawberry the whole time. I liked the combination, it’s different from the usual citrus or strawberry combinations.

I haven’t been excited or converted from the classic Fruits package by any of the new Starburst introduction in the past 10 years. This version is no different, it’s a novelty. It’s missing the usual variety and the flavor combinations while appealing aren’t radical enough. While it doesn’t say Limited Edition on the package, I don’t expect them to stick around very long.

Starburst are marked as a gluten-free product. They do contain gelatin, so are not appropriate for vegetarians/vegans and are not Kosher. There are no statements about nuts or other allergens on the package though other sources say they’re nut free. A serving of 8 pieces contains 20% of your daily RDA of Vitamin C. I found them expensive as well, $3.14 for a 13 ounce bag of sugar candy is a bit steep.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo Maoam Fruit Chews
  2. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  3. Starburst Sours (New)
  4. Starburst Retro
  5. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  6. Starburst Berries & Creme and Fruit & Creme
  7. Starburst
  8. HiCHEW Assortment
  9. Starburst Icy Bursts
  10. Storck Mamba Chews


Name: Starburst Flavor Morph
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.14
Size: 13 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Mars, Wrigley's, Chews, Starburst, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:04 am     CandyReviewMarsWrigley'sChewsStarburst6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Limited Edition M&Ms Cinnamon Milk Chocolate

M&Ms CinnamonWhen I saw a tweet from The Impulsive Buy that there was a new kind of M&Ms, I was on the case. Marvo tracked them down, they’re called Cinnamon M&Ms and they’re an exclusive to Target stores right now (though some folks have them on eBay as well).

The bags are slight, with only 9.9 ounces compared to the standard 12 ounce bag of Milk Chocolate M&MS for the same price.

The package features the Green M&M in a white knit cap & scarf holding some cinnamon sticks. The illustration shows that the candies come in three deep red colors.

M&Ms Cinnamon

The pieces vary in size and slightly in color. The deep red and maroon are almost indistinguishable in lower light situations.

M&Ms Cinnamon
Ciinnamon on the left, Milk Chocolate on the right

The pieces are larger than the regular Milk Chocolate M&Ms. The color is not quite as dense or shiny as the regular M&Ms. They’re a little dusty colored, like the color coating isn’t as thick or they aren’t as polished. It appears that the shade of brown and red are identical to the standard Milk Chocolate red and brown, but the maroon is new.

The flavor, as Marvo pointed out in his review, tastes like it’s concentrated in the shell of the candy, not in the milk chocolate. Some shells taste more cinnamony than others, but the red tastes the most like cinnamon. It’s not a “red hot” sort of flavor, it’s more of the ground spice flavor. It’s woodsy and rich with a slight heat to it, but nothing that’s too warm. 

M&Ms Cinnamon

The largest pieces feel like they’re layered; as if they start out as a regular sized M&M, then get another layer of chocolate to supersize them. (They used to make Mega M&Ms, maybe this is just the same equipment being put to use.)

The flavor is different but not radical. It’s subtle and pleasant, but masks the also mild chocolate flavors from Mars very sweet milk chocolate. The candy shell is fun to crack and the textures work exceptionally well in this instance because of the ratios with the larger chocolate pieces.

I can’t say that I’ve been longing for these all of my life; and I can’t say, especially at this price, that I’d buy them again. Like the Coconut M&Ms, they’re only vaguely different but the cinnamon, like coconut, is a polarizing flavor. Either you like it or you don’t. So there will be folks out there that won’t.

I can say that these go very nicely with coffee, the cinnamon adds that fall, harvest essence to the whole event. So settle down with the morning paper and toss a few Cinnamon M&Ms onto your saucer for a little extra bump.

For traditionalist, the Milk Chocolate Mint M&Ms are also returning for Christmas.

Related Candies

  1. Crispy M&Ms
  2. Pretzel M&Ms
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Domed Dark Chocolate
  4. Limited Edition M&Ms Coconut
  5. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  6. Mint Chocolate M&Ms
  7. SweetRiot: flavor 70 cinn
  8. M&Ms Line


Name: M&Ms Cinnamon Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.99
Size: 9.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Mars, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:31 pm     CandyReviewChristmasMarsChocolateCinnamonKosherLimited EditionM&Ms7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (10)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry CremeRitter Sport makes dozens of different chocolate bars. A few are seasonal varieties, such as their new Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme which debuted last fall in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Some packages feature the pink ribbon, others do not.)

The picture on the front of the package along with the name of the bar gave me most of what I needed to know: Milk chocolate filled with a cream of low fat yogurt, strawberry and crispy rice.

The ingredients don’t quite match up with that description. The first ingredient is sugar, which is fine with me as I fully expect my candy to be mostly sugar. The second ingredient is palm kernel oil. Nowhere in my chocolate, low fat yogurt or crispy rice do I ever expect to find palm kernel oil. So, its dominating presence here is unwelcome but the bar is at least redeemed with its third ingredient, cocoa butter, one of my favorite butters.

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme

The bar is a familiar format for Ritter Sport. It’s 100 grams and comes in a square bar made up of 16 sections (four by four). The recommended portion is six pieces, which of course doesn’t create a whole number of portions. (I found for this review one bar was a portion, which means that it replaced my breakfast calories and all my snack calories for the day.)

Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme

The cream inside the bar is a faint pink with spots of actual dried strawberries. In addition, there are little bits of crisped rice. The chocolate outside is sweet and milky, like the Alpine Milk variety (though I’m not certain which version of the many Ritter Sport chocolates they used for this bar). The cream inside is sweet and mostly smooth without being greasy. The crunchies in the cream were interesting, sometimes they were the crisped rice, so they were a little salty and a little malty. But other times they were freeze dried strawberry bits so they were tangy and would soften into a slick reconstituted fruit mush. I liked the different pops of tartness or saltiness to go with the cream and milky chocolate background.

It’s a good quality bar (though not great, since a large portion is palm kernel oil) and is different from other American chocolate offerings. I found it on sale at Target for $1.66 over the weekend. For a 3.5 ounce bar of this it’s a good deal. Other bars are a bit lower in fat and have no palm kernel oil, but this is a limited edition item so it’s not as if I’m going to eat them all year round.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Olympia
  2. KitKats: Royal Milk Tea, Ginger Ale, Bubbly Strawberry, Kinako Ohagi & Milk Coffee
  3. Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry
  4. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  5. Ritter Sport Peppermint
  6. Whoppers Milkshake Strawberry
  7. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  8. Ritter Sport Capuccino and Rum Trauben Nuss


Name: Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Target (photos are of sample from Ritter Sport)
Price: $1.66 (on sale)
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, Cookie, Limited Edition, 7-Worth It, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:42 pm     CandyReviewRitter SportChocolateCookieLimited Edition7-Worth ItGermanyTargetComments (6)

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

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• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

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