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Target

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut CrispI was browsing for new candy at Target and noticed these Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp.

The stand up bag has a little banner across the top that says “now more chocolate in every bag.” I did a little research and it appears that the regular bags used to have 5.25 ounces and now they have 5.58 ounces. Not exactly noteworthy, especially when they don’t spell out the exact amount.

Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut Crisp Filling sounds pretty delicious to me. I wasn’t sure what a hazelnut crisp would actualy be, though the front of the package shows a little bowl of crisped rice and a few hazelnuts. So in my head it was going to be a mix of some sort of hazelnut paste and the crunchies inside the milk chocolate squares.

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

The mylar sealed squares are actually aqua, one of those colors that doesn’t photograph well and turns out more like light blue. Even with the heat in Southern California, these were still looking fantastic right out of the package. The chocolate squares are glossy and perfectly molded with the Ghiradelli eagle on top.

The ingredients aren’t great. It’s not a simple hazelnut paste center, instead there are lots of extra ingredients I don’t much care for like palm and palm kernel oil, distilled monoglycerides (well, I ‘m not sure how I feel about those), partially hudrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed & soybean) plus TBHQ, a preservative. There’s no mention of gluten, other tree nuts or peanuts as possible allergens.

Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp

The squares smell very buttery, less sweet than I expected with a light hint of hazelnuts. The bite is soft, but it’s summer and the chocolates were still tempered well enough that they hadn’t bloomed. The milk chocolate is sweet and sticky but has a good milk and toffee flavor to it. The creamy center is also sweet with more of a milky and malty flavor to it and only a hint of the promised toasted hazelnuts. The crisped rice is in the form of little ball, like bbs. It’s a nice texture, the whole this in very satisfying though doesn’t have quite enough of an intense or defined punch for me. Overall, I liked them, but not enough that I feel like finishing the bag. (I’ve eaten five though, just to be sure.) Something in a darker chocolate might be better suited to me, but if you’re into a sweet that has a bit of texture, this might be your thing.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Cookies and Creme + Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee
  2. Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp
  3. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  4. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  5. Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Crisp
  6. Ferrero Rocher


Name: Milk & Hazelnut Crisp Squares
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.58 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: Candy, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliChocolateCookieKosherNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Promises

Dove Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt CaramelI picked up the Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Silky Smooth Promises about a month ago at Target. At the moment they’re a Target exclusive flavor, though I understand that when the flavors are popular they go into wider distribution.

The blue and white and brown package is summery and bright and caught my attention right away. But I was curious how different the flavor would be from the regular dark chocolate with caramel that Dove already makes.

The chocolates are expensive, at $4 for just a little over a half a pound. Mars is * still not using certified sustainable or ethically sourced chocolate for the vast majority of their products, this price premium at least prompts me to expect high quality ingredients, not things like hydrogenated palm kernel oil and potassium sorbate.

Dove Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Caramel

The Dove dark chocolate is quite smooth and has an interesting flavor profile. It’s quite woodsy and a little on the dry side. But the melt is quick and slick on the tongue, so the dry finish keeps it from feeling to sweet or sticky. The flavor overall reminds me of chocolate sauce, not quite buttery but still silky.

The caramel filling is like most of the other Dove caramels I’ve had. It’s thick and almost like a sauce or syrup without a chewy component. I’d call it a pudding or custard. (Or perhaps German Chocolate Cake frosting without the coconut.) It has the advertised touch of salt to it and a smooth slightly toffee note to it. It’s not as rich or butterscotchy as some others I’ve had from artisan styled companies like Fran’s, but still a nice desserty flavored chocolate.

They felt less sweet than the regular Dove Caramel Promises, though it’s not like they had a lot of salt, there’s only 30 mg per 5 pieces. Because I picked up Hershey’s Simple Pleasures on the same trip, I have to say that I preferred these by quite a large margin. They’re less caloric than a solid chocolate bar, but still more than the Simple Pleasures or a Peppermint Pattie. Dove is still not my go-to premium chocolate. I’ll eat them if they’re sitting around, but when I want a chocolate treat I find myself shopping for things like Green & Black’s (which I wish came in little bite sized pieces) or something like Trader Joe’s which have more intense or vibrant flavors and better ingredients.

* UPDATE 7/18/2012: A rep from Dove Chocolate called me to let me know that Dove is switching to Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. This particular product is not Rainforest Alliance Certified, and still has unverified palm oil in it and preservatives. You can read more on their website, but the fact remains that Mars, the company that owns Dove, is far from converting their entire line of chocolate products to certified sustainable and ethical sources, but at least have a plan and are hitting targets. At this time they are sourcing only 20% of their cocoa from certified cocoa.

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree
  2. Trader Joe’s 70% Dark with Caramel and Black Sea Salt
  3. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  4. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels
  6. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  7. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds


Name: Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Silky Smooth Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.99
Size: 8.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Candy, Mars, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:05 pm     CandyReviewMarsCaramelChocolateKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hershey’s Simple Pleasures

Hershey's Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate with Vanilla CremeHershey’s is introducing its first new candy line since, well, the last time they did it. (The last one was 2007.) The new Hershey’s Simple Pleasures line launched with three different products, all little foil wrapped chocolate patties that boast 30% less fat than most other chocolate things. Or something like that.

It’s odd to be reviewing another little chocolate covered patty after just reviewing some yesterday. Yesterday was something utterly simple, with only three ingredients (though peppermint). The Hershey’s Simple Pleasures Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme has oodles of ingredients:

Simple Pleasures, Complex Ingredients*: Milk chocolate (sugar, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin), corn syrup, sugar, glycerin, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), sorbitol, nonfat milk, contains 2% or less of: natural and artificial flavor, milk fat, modified cornstarch, soy lecithin, glyceryl monostearate, caramel color, tocopherols, PGPR

* Actually, I added the Complex Ingredients part, so to be clear, their package copy actually states:

Hershey’s Simple Pleasures combines quality ingredients, including dry-roasted cocoa beans, brown sugar and pure milk to create a velvety-smooth chocolate outside and a rich, creamy center

Go ahead, look back up at that list of ingredients and see if you can find brown sugar. Nope, I couldn’t either. Also, I’m not certain why they called them dry-roasted cocoa beans. I don’t know of another process. I don’t think anyone deep fries them, microwaves or steams them in a pressure cooker. So why mention that? To confuse people.

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The patties are only 1 inch across and nicely made, a dome shape with a swirl on top. They were glossy and well tempered to give a snap when bitten or broken in half. (That’s actually not easy to do, because the filling comes out.)

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The filling is less of a thick fondant like Junior Mints, it’s quite a bit more runny than that. It does smell quite a bit like vanilla, almost like pudding, which I found appealing. But the appearance of the filling is a little less appealing, since it’s just a sugar goo, like a lemon pound cake glaze that hasn’t set up yet.

The chocolate is more like the Bliss line, not the standard flavor profile of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. It’s sweet, a little grainy but consistent and with a mild cocoa note to it. The vanilla flavoring of the center pretty much screams the loudest though it’s closely rivaled by the severe sweetness of all the sugar components.

The lower fat is achieved in this product by creating a filling that’s pure sugar and water. There are also a few sugar alcohols in there, sorbitol is used, though in very low amounts (3 grams per serving of 6 pieces). So while the UNREAL candy line I reviewed last week gets its lower calorie profile by adding in fiber and other nutrients (also ending up with an incredibly long list of ingredients), Hershey’s gets there with oodles of carbs.

Hershey's Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Dark Chocolate with Chocolate CremeThe Hershey’s Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Creme is kind of the richer version of the Milk Chocolate & Vanilla Creme version. They both have the same calorie profile, though the Dark variety has twice the fiber (a whole 2 grams).

In this case the package description on the back is slightly more accurate, this variety does have brown sugar in the ingredients list. But the qualification of the 30% less fat is qualified that it’s based on the average of milk chocolates on the market. I don’t know what the average fat content of dark chocolates is (I don’t even know where to find the source material for those statements - it’s not on their website).

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

The pieces are, again, well made and packaged. The red foil creates an appetizing wrapper and the chocolate does look really good, well molded and glossy. Each piece is only 30 calories, and a recommended serving is 6 pieces, which is quite generous. (The whole package holds 22-24 pieces, or if you lose it and eat the whole thing, it’s about 675 calories.)

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

This smells a bit fudgy, a bit like brownies. Sweet and dark. The chocolate center here is a bit thicker than the Vanilla Creme. It’s like a frosting, thick and sweet and not quite grainy. The cocoa flavors are actually much better than any commercial frosting in a can. The dark chocolate shell is much sweeter than the center and actually started giving me a sore throat after the second one.

The portion control is pretty good on these. Three could be a nice treat and come in under 100 calories and look like a sufficient indulgence. But the bang for the buck and actual satisfaction I got was sub par. The reliance on sugar instead of flavor meant that mostly I was left with the feeling that I’d eaten a bunch of sugar, not some chocolate.

The Hershey’s Simple Pleasures line also includes Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate with Chocolate Creme but I didn’t find those at the Target I got these at.

The fact that Hershey’s has such huge brand recognition and is on so many shelves means that these may succeed in spite of their drawbacks. I don’t care to spend that much money on so little chocolate, I’d rather have a handful of at least all-chocolate chips in a smaller portion. That’s a simple pleasure. This is just too complex for me.

Simple Pleasures are made with dairy and soy. There’s no mention of shared equipment with nuts, peanuts, eggs or wheat/gluten. They’re made in Mexico.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters
  2. Nestle Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp
  3. 3 Musketeers Richer Chocolate Taste
  4. Pretzel M&Ms
  5. Nestle Cranberry Raisinets
  6. Hershey’s Bliss
  7. Hershey’s Favorites - Sugar Free


Name: Simple Pleasures: Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target


Name: Simple Pleasures: Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.49
Size: 5.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:46 am     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosher5-PleasantMexicoTargetComments (8)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dove Cookies and Creme + Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee

I’m a huge fan of Oreos. I love them. For my 16th birthday my little brother gave me a package of Oreos, and though some people would think, “What a cheap gift!” It was in reality just what I wanted. My love of the cookies is all about the cookie part, not the cream filling. It’s salty and barely sweet, slightly sandy in its crunch and has a deep, dark chocolate flavor that borders on charcoal.

Cookies and Creme

Now Kraft has their own Oreo candy bars, of course not in the United States, spawning ground of Oreos. Instead the best Oreo Bars came from Japan. So Americans have to eat Cookies and Cream candy (which is based on the awesome Cookies and Cream Ice Cream). It’s a white chocolate base with crushed chocolate. The thing about Oreos is that there is no substitute. People who like other brands of chocolate cream cookies (such as Hydrox) prefer them. I happen to prefer Oreos and find anything that’s like an Oreo but not an Oreo slightly disappointing. (But still usually delicious.)

Dove Cookies & CremeWhile Hershey’s has a 22 year head start in the Cookies and Cream arms race, Dove has an advantage when it comes to ingredients and texture.

The new Dove Silky Smooth Promises Cookies & Creme are the newest in Dove’s recent entry into white chocolate products. For a while everyone was going extra dark and all of sudden white chocolate is legitimate decadence. (Personally, I think we can have it both ways, they’re not mutually exclusive.)

Dove Cookies & Creme

I got a handful of these as a sample from Mars last month. I didn’t think it was the final packaging because of the rather generic looking black and white foil. (This wouldn’t be the first time I got samples from Mars in temporary packaging.) Well, when I opened the bag after picking them up at Target last weekend, it was clear that this was what the wrapper was supposed to look like.

Dove Cookies and Creme

I really wanted to love these, but as I mentioned before at the top, I love the cookie part of cream sandwich cookies. So I want a lot of cookie. The white chocolate Dove uses is very creamy, very smooth but also has a bit of a cocoa flavor of its own. It may not be deodorized cocoa (where the cocoa butter is filtered completely to remove any traces of cocoa solids or anything that makes it smell like chocolate). It’s not as sweet as some other white chocolates, especially those at this price point. But it’s still sweet and lacks that moderation that a larger proportion of cookie bits would bring.

The cookie bits themselves are okay, they’re crunchy, but missing a really dark and lightly salty note to them.

They’re okay eaten one at a time and with something else in between. I don’t find myself wanting more after I finish one.

Ghirardelli Sublime White Cookies JubileeI was on the lookout for the Dove Cookies & Creme but had no idea that Ghirardelli had their own new version. The Ghirardelli Sublime White Cookies Jubilee was far more expensive per ounce, at $2.79 for the 3.17 ounce bar.

The box is nicely made and protects the bar well, at paperboard sleeve over a foil wrapped bar. The price per ounce is 88 cents per ounce while the Dove is half that at 44 cents per ounce. So it should be twice as good. It should be all natural. It should be fair trade. It should complement my skin tone and make my eyes sparkle. (Candy doesn’t work that way, or so I’ve been told.)

What Ghirardelli does with there bar is actually different and sounds really good. They describe it on the front of the box as rich layers of chocolate with crunchy cookie bits..

Ghirardelli Cookies Jubilee

The ingredients are weird and the photo on the package (and physical examination of the opened bar) looks like there’s a milk chocolate base then a white chocolate layer filled with cookie bits.

But what it smells like is chocolate cupcakes. Not good chocolate cupcakes but those cupcakes that people buy at the grocery store bakery, that smell of automation and mixes. The ingredients list cocoa butter as the second ingredient, so that’s not a problem, the chocolate content seems all good. The cookie though seems to be made from rice flour, tapioca starch and corn starch. There’s no wheat flour in there, not that I need it to be made with wheat flour, but this isn’t a gluten free product. (Or is it?)

The flavor balance is weird, it’s like fake buttered popcorn. The little cookie bits have a nice crunch, but little dark toasted cocoa goodness of their own. The chocolate layers are smooth, far smoother than the Dove. It was weirdly greasy at the end and melted too quickly to become thin and watery. It’s just weird and I found it really unpleasant. (For the record, I have liked a lot of Ghirardelli’s other white chocolate products.)

Hershey's Cookies & CremeIn order to completely review a Cookie and Creme candy, I had to revisit the one that pretty much dominates the market, the Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme.

I love the idea of the Hershey’s and there’s so many things that are right with this bar, but the primary reason I can’t or don’t eat it is because of the ingredients. Instead of real cocoa butter the Hershey’s version uses, well, it’s hard to tell, because the ingredients list is vague. The second ingredient, after sugar, is vegetable oil. It says then, parenthetically, that it may include cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower. So there’s really no telling which or any of those are in there.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme

It’s extremely sweet and slightly grainy and I think not quite milky enough for a white chocolate style product. But then I get to the cookies. There are so many of them, they’re so consistently crunchy and salty and sandy and really exquisite. They balance out the sickeningly sweet white confection exceptionally well.

This purchase was the King Size bar, which was well priced, but far too much of this for me to eat and really, really smelly. The Drops version introduced more recently is a better portioning, though doesn’t have quite the same cookie density and satisfaction.

Cookies & Creme: Dove, Hershey's & Ghirardelli

I have to say, after all these years, I still haven’t found a Cookies and Cream candy I actually like enough to keep eating. Dove is pretty close, it needs more cookies, it needs better cookies. Or Hershey’s could go back to a real white chocolate with cocoa butter and a little less sugar. Instead I’ll probably just keep eating Oreos.

Related Candies

  1. Milka Bars, Milka Drops and some Li’l Milka
  2. Cookies ‘n’ Cream Bites
  3. KitKat Otonano Amasa (Adult Taste)
  4. Oreo Bitter Bar (Japan)
  5. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  6. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint


Name: Dove Cookies & Creme Silky Smooth Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Mars, Cookie, Kosher, White Chocolate, 6-Tempting, United States, Target


Name: Sublime White Cookies Jubliee
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.79
Size: 3.17 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, White Chocolate, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:41 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliMarsChocolateCookieKosherWhite Chocolate6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (5)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lollipops at The Candy Store at Target

The Candy Store at TargetThe Candy Store is exactly the kind of confectionery shop I’d like to have in my neighborhood. Sadly for me, it’s in San Francisco, and I only get to visit about once a year.

So I was pretty excited when I heard that Target was going to make some curated shops within Target enlisting the help of Diane and Brian of the Russian Hill store. What I love about the store is that they have such an interesting collection of little tidbits from around the world. Sure, there’s some that’s completely common, but there were things I’d pick up there, especially licorice, that I have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Unlike Target’s house branded line of Choxie items, this is not a permanent addition to Target, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

The Candy Store at Target

The store at Target amounts to an endcap near the candy aisle in the food section at Target. The theme colors are black and white with a field of some sort of weird light green that I associate with government buildings, black and white. There aren’t really that many products and only three or four formats. There are lollipops and different candy in jars and then some tins of chocolate confections. The price points vary from $2.49 for the lollipops to $9.99 for the large tins.

The Candy Store at Target

The cornerstone, I would say, is the display of lollipops. The packaging is simple but the actual pops are clever and appealing. There are swirl pops and clear pops with little Necco wafers embedded in them.

$5 for a half a pound of Bit o Honey? The Candy Store at Target

The largest array of products, though, are the ones in the jars. This is where my disappointment originated. They’re $4.99 for 11 to 14 ounces of bulk candy. The candies themselves are underwhelming and expensive. I appreciated the harder to find items, like the sour sanded jelly stars, the gummi fried eggs and licorice scotty dogs. But $5 for less than a pound of Bit O’ Honey or Necco Wafers? That’s insane, the packaging is nice, but not like the tins for the chocolates. They’re just plastic.

Necco Dot Lollipop - The Candy Store at TargetSo I bought the lollipop. Because it was the one item that I’d never seen before and I did really appreciate the whimsical touch of using Necco wafers as decoration.

The lollipop is double wrapped, which is a good idea. The outer wrap is loose and is closed with just a little twist tie that holds the bow on. Inside that, the pop itself is shrink wrapped. It was tough to get off, the shrink wrap had a big glob of melted plastic at the stick that took quite a bit of work with some scissors to remove.

The pop is 3.5 inches square and came in a variety of colors/flavors. I chose orange because I thought it would be a good representation of how flavors are handled.

Necco Dot Lollipop - The Candy Store at Target

The hard candy part of the lollipop is nicely poured. It’s a little uneven in spots but has only small bubbles in it. The tight shrink wrapping ended up creating creases and lines across the corners and edges of the pop. The Necco dots are lined up in the sort of pattern that might make some think of Lego blocks or perhaps a six sided die.

The flavor of the candy is very simple. It’s orange, just sweet orange. There’s a lot of zest notes in it, but it’s mostly a soft and sugary orange. The Necco wafers are crunchable with the candy, if you’re the type who chews their hard candy. I found the flavors (lemon and lime) of the Necco actually went well (except for pink). But still, it was just a big piece of hard candy on a wooden stick. It’s fun to look at, but really not for eating. The Necco Wafers contain gelatin, so this is not a candy for vegetarians, also contains soy.

Necco Dot Lollipop - The Candy Store at Target

I like the idea of a curated set of candy that’s hard to find and well priced. This has some of those elements, but I’m not their actual intended audience. This is for people who don’t realize that there are neighborhood candy shops in so many places where you can find this sort of thing, along with an enthusiastic person behind the register like Diane or Brian. If you’re stuck in big-box store land, this at least has more personality and is a better gift than a peg bag of Scotty Dogs.

Related Candies

  1. Original Necco Wafers Return
  2. Target’s Market Pantry Malted Milk Balls
  3. Eat with your Eyes: Butterfly Lollipop
  4. Hammond’s All Natural Lollipops
  5. Choxie 3 Ounce Chocolate Bars
  6. Friday’s San Francisco Candy Adventure


Name: Orange Lollipop with Necco Wafers
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Target
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $2.49
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Compressed Dextrose, Hard Candy & Lollipops, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:27 am     CandyReviewCompressed DextroseHard Candy & Lollipops6-TemptingUnited StatesShoppingTargetComments (5)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rolo Minis

Rolo MinisRolos were introduced in the United Kingdom back in 1937 by Mackintosh’s, which was a well known toffee company. (Toffee in the UK is generally more like caramel is in the United States, soft and chewy or actually a flowing syrup.) Mackintosh later merged with Rowntree (creator of the KitKat) in 1969 and that company was then bought up by Nestle in 1987. Though Nestle and Hershey’s are huge rivals in the United States, Hershey’s maintains their license for Rolos and KitKats here.

Rolos are available in two formats currently, the rolls with an individual serving and foil wrapped versions which are usually sold in mixes in bags along with other Hershey’s favorites. (Here’s an early Candy Blog review of Rolos.)

Rolo Minis are new from Hershey’s, to go with the other items in the new Hershey’s minis line like Hershey’s Drops and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis. They’re a smaller version of the popular candy, though might not have the precise ratios of elements. The point, I guess, is to provide candies that don’t have all that messy packaging:

Unwrapped, bite-sized convenience meets the delicious combination of smooth chewy caramel rolled in creamy milk chocolate.

Rolo Milns

Why is it called a Rolo? One of the key features wasn’t what the candy was, but how it was packaged, it was a roll. That’s it. But here it is in a bag. They kind of roll, but just in small circles. They’re just little knobs of milk chocolate with a chewy caramel filling. That could be called anything.

Geometrically speaking, the form of a Rolo is called frustum-shaped. That is, a cone that has had its pointy end lopped off. So the base is wider than the top. In the case of Rolos, there’s also a little rim around the top, which has no purpose as far as I know. There is no logo or any other branding on the candy itself.

The pieces are rather scuffed up from rolling around in that bag. In fact, they’ve come all the way from England, where they were made. Seemed a little odd to me, but these are imported from England and made by, well, I’m guessing Nestle.

Rolo Milns

Though the chocolate is a bit dry looking, it’s actually pretty good. It’s smooth enough to melt well, the caramel center is stiff enough to provide a good chew but not so hard to pull out any teeth. They remind me of a softer version of Milk Duds back when they were made with real milk chocolate.

Overall, they’re much better, less sweet and smoother than the large version of Rolos. I found myself munching on these a lot more readily than the regular Rolos. They go well in a mix, too, with some nuts and pretzels.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Triple Dazzle Caramel Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  3. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  4. Storck Chocolate Riesen
  5. Fran’s Gray Salt Caramels
  6. Head to Head: Rolo vs Caramel Kisses
  7. Short & Sweet: Caramello /  Mega M&Ms / Orange Kisses


Name: Rolo Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.89
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Chocolate, 6-Tempting, United Kingdom, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:24 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewHershey'sCaramelChocolateKosher6-TemptingUnited KingdomTargetComments (4)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hershey’s Kisses filled with Creme de Menthe

Hershey's Kisses Creme de MentheThe drug stores and big box discounters are in full Easter mode right now. But I found a little display of St. Patrick’s Day items at Target on an endcap near the party supplies. It included the Hershey’s Kisses filled with Creme de Menthe in a very green bag accented with green shamrocks.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d had these before, I had to pull out my droid phone and look it up. Even then, I still suspected that these were another limited edition Hershey’s Kisses item, the Mint Truffle Kisses (reviewed in 2007).

Hershey's Creme De Menthe Kisses

The Kiss packaging is to the point. They’re green folk. Whoop de doo. The little flags say Creme de Menthe, which is a bit generic in a way, I was hoping they’d have little shamrocks on them instead of dots to separate the text.

The molded Kisses are sharp, consistent and shiny. They smell quite minty and a little chocolatey. The semi sweet shell is mild and imbued with quite a bit of mint, whether it started that way or not. The melt is good, for a Hershey’s chocolate item, not terribly smooth, but not chalky or fudgy either. The center is a little more like a smooth fudge, not grainy but not like a flowing fondant like a cordial. It’s a bit salty, which balances the sweet well and gives the peppermint a little bit more dimension.

I liked them well enough. It’s easy to eat just a few of them as a little refreshment. I didn’t find myself reaching for them over and over again after three or so. The mint flavor is clean and not too sickly sticky.

The ingredients list is long and features a lot of vegetable oil for the center (the second ingredient for the filling) which includes palm oil. The allergen statement only lists peanuts (and of course it’s made with dairy products and soy) but says nothing about tree nuts or gluten. Hershey’s is far behind the rest of the chocolate world with its ethical sourcing of cocoa, so if you’re looking for a nice minty treat without enslaving children, try Seth Ellis Mint Sun Cups or the Divine After Dinner Mints.

Related Candies

  1. Sun Cups Dark Chocolate Mint Cups
  2. Tea Forte Minteas Lemongrass Yuzu
  3. An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short
  4. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  5. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  6. Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses
  7. Kisses Coconut Creme
  8. The Mint Kisses: Chocolate Mint & Candy Cane
  9. Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses


Name: Kisses filled with Creme de Menthe
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.19
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:32 am     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosherMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (2)

Monday, March 5, 2012

M&Ms White Chocolate (Easter)

M&Ms White ChocolateMars has introduced White Chocolate M&Ms a couple of times in the past, most notably the M&Ms Pirate Pearls tie in with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

This new Easter version of M&Ms White Chocolate is a little different in all the right ways.

The first thing is the appropriateness. White Chocolate is inextricably tied to my memories of Easter. The white confection works so well with pastel colors, it’s milky sweetness just embodies the sugary overload of the season.

M&Ms White Chocolate

I picked up this bag at Target, it’s over a half a pound but still a little pricey at $3.19 for the bag at regular price. Though they’re Easter themed, with the Red M&M wearing a furry white rabbit suit on the package, it’s just the colors. There are no little icons on them like M&Ms has done in the past with the holiday versions.

M&Ms White Chocolate

The morsels are larger than regular M&Ms. I’ve come to expect this with the limited edition M&Ms. The Dark Chocolate Mint M&Ms are also oversized and part of me wonders if they’re just using the former Mega M&Ms production line or the M&Ms Premium.

M&Ms White Chocolate

The large size and thick shell means that there are a lot of textures going on, and each gets to shine. The shell is crunchy and crisp. The light coloring means that there’s no perceptible off flavoring from the colors for me. The centers are smooth and creamy. When I say cream, it’s like it’s real dairy cream. Instead of tasting like frosting, these taste more like vanilla pudding. The white chocolate has both a lot of cocoa butter and milk solids in it. Cocoa butter is the second ingredient, so it’s quite light without being overly sweet or greasy.

While I wasn’t blown away by the earlier Pirate Pearls, this larger size and less sweet flavor is really quite good. Granted, you have to like white chocolate in the first place, but for a mass-marketed white chocolate product, Mars has addressed a lot of the confections shortcomings quite well.

The package lists possible allergens as peanuts, almonds and wheat and it’s definitely made with dairy and soy. Mars has not released any information about going fair trade or ethically sourcing their current American cocoa products, though they’re planning release of ethically trade chocolate products in Europe. (More on that here at Change.org.)

Related Candies

  1. Dove Promises White Chocolate
  2. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  3. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  4. M&Ms Premiums
  5. See’s Hollow Eggs with Novelty
  6. M&Ms Line
  7. Green and Black’s White Chocolate


Name: White Chocolate M&Ms (Easter)
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $3.19
Size: 9.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Easter, Mars, Kosher, M&Ms, White Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:29 pm     CandyReviewEasterMarsKosherM&MsWhite Chocolate8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (14)

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