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Toffee

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hershey’s Symphony with Almonds and Toffee Chips

DSC_7990rbIt’s odd to think that the 10 most popular chocolate candy bars have been around longer than most of us. Those bars are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, M&Ms, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and KitKat, all of which were introduced before 1950. Plenty of candy bars have come and gone over the past century, but it’s so crowded at the top with those tried and true favorites. I bring this up because it’s rare for me to remember the introduction of a new candy bar that’s actually still on the market 25 years later.

Hershey’s launched a new line of chocolate bars in 1989 with a simple idea, that they were a little creamier than their famous Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Almonds. They came up with the brand called Symphony and introduced them with actual fanfare ... commercials featuring classical music.

Their tagline was pretty good: They’ll never be another unfinished Symphony.

The packaging design is largely unchanged since their introduction in 1989. There are two different bars in the line, the same as at the launch. There’s a plain milk chocolate bar (with red accents) and the Symphony Creamy Milk Chocolate Almonds & Toffee Chips with blue accents. Though they’re both still on the market, the Almond and Toffee Chips is the easiest to find, since it’s distinctively different from those other top 10 bars.

DSC_7993rb

The bars themselves have changed quite a bit, partly because Hershey’s no longer wraps their bars in foil with a paper sleeve. The Symphony bar I picked up bore a striking resemblance in shape to the Hershey’s Almond bar ... once I opened it, it was pretty clear why. It’s now the same mold. The previous versions of the bar had segments with the Symphony logo at the center of each.

The current ingredients are not at all premium:

Milk Chocolate (Sugar; Milk; Cocoa Butter; Chocolate; Milk Fat; Soy Lecithin; PGPR; Vanillin) ; Sugar; Almonds (Roasted in Cocoa Butter and/or Sunflower Oil) ; Palm Oil; Dairy Butter; Salt; Artificial Flavor; Soy Lecithin

I found a wrapper online from 2001 that tells a simpler story (but the current bar is .1 ounces larger):

Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Milk, Chocolate, Soya Lecithin, Vanillin), Almonds, Sugar, Dairy Butter, Milk and Salt

DSC_7996rb

When I was photographing the bar, I noticed that it had a lot of voids and bubbles in it, so I weighed it to make sure that it was accounted for in the bar. Sure enough, the bar weighed 43 grams, the wrapper states 42 grams.

Though it looks like a Hershey’s chocolate bar, it doesn’t taste like it. That’s not to say that it’s spectacular or that different from many of the other inexpensive chocolate bars, but it definitely doesn’t have the Hershey’s sharpness. Instead of the bar is fudgy sweet, so sweet that there’s very little chocolate flavor. The dairy notes are good, and combine well with the toasty flavors of the toffee chips and almond bits. It’s exceptionally sweet overall, only the inclusions give a little relief.

For the most part the bar gave me a sore throat. The combination is refreshing for the price point, but for a little more I could just get a Ritter Sport bar or even a Toblerone (but really the same price per ounce), since their bars are two times or more the size). If Hershey’s wants to step up their game with this bar, I think it needs a brand refresh - I’m not saying they need to go dark chocolate, but actual better chocolate like the Bliss line or going with a certified cacao source would help it stand out.

Related Candies

  1. See’s Bridge Mix
  2. Hershey’s Heath Pieces
  3. Eclat Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65%
  4. Trader Joe’s Almondictive Bits
  5. Poco Dolce Popcorn Toffee
  6. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  7. Lindt Excellence Toffee Crunch


Name: Symphony with Almonds and Toffee Chips
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $.99
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, Toffee, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:57 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosherNutsToffee6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (5)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Villars Mini Tasting Chocolates

Villars AssortmentFor Christmas stockings, I prefer a bit of international flair for the contents. Since Santa Claus travels the world, I figure he must know all about candies from different areas.

I picked up this box of Villars Mini Tasting Chocolates made in Switzerland. It was a bit expensive at $12. The box says it’s “at least” 45 pieces, but I counted 50 in mine. There are four different kinds of chocolate: Milk Chocolate (20 pieces), Milk Chocolate with Caramel 10 pieces), Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts (9 pieces) and 72% Dark Chocolate (11 pieces).

I used to pick up Villars milk chocolate with hazelnut bars at Trader Joe’s many years ago. I suspect that Villars is still making products for Trader Joe’s under the house label, but I can’t be certain. This is the first time I found them at the local grocery store, though it seems like the kind of package you might see at an airport duty free shop. 

Villars Chocolate Bars

Villars is a small chocolate company, according to Wikipedia they’re bean to bar, based in Fribourg, Switzerland and employ about 140 people. They’ve been around over a hundred years.

In my assortment, it was pretty well balanced, with slightly more of the Milk variety than the other three. The little bars are, well, tiny. They’re about 5 grams each, but that also means there’s only about 30 calories in each one.

Villars Lait

The pieces are 1.3 inches high and .8 inches wide. The wrappers are made of some sort of mylar type plastic. They’re shiny on the inside but devilishly hard to tear. Each piece is glued shut with a teensy little dot of well-stuck glue.

Just smelling this little Lait bar I was reminded why I liked Villars: they add barley malt to their chocolate. It’s just a little hint of malt that keeps it from being too sweet. It’s a little roasted and the quality of the milk gives it a light yogurt bite. I can’t eat a lot of it, which is why these little bites are just right for me.

Villars Caramel

The Lait Caramel smelled quite milky. It’s not actual caramel though, it’s more like toffee chips, which is great. I enjoy a little toffee mixed into my milk chocolate and this is a good version. Like the milk chocolate, it’s sweet but wonderfully creamy and rich. The little toffee bits break up the stickiness with a little crunch and hit of caramelized sugar. The thinness of the little bars means that the bits are also small, but Barbie dolls and Star Wars action figures may find them just right.

Villars Noisettes

The little Lait Noisettes bars come in a purple accented wrapper.

The sweetness of this bar is quite strong, but the chips of nicely roasted hazelnuts mellow that out. It’s a little chewy, almost like coconut. It could use a touch of salt, but otherwise, I liked the Noisettes best.

Villars Dark Chocolate

I was looking forward to the Noir 72% quite a bit. It’s hard to find little tasting squares in very dark chocolate. I also noticed that Gelson’s, where I bought these, also has Villars in bulk tubs, so I could buy little callets and disks of their dark chocolate for about $12 a pound. Well, that’s not going to happen, now that I’ve tried this. The chocolate smells good, a little toasty and like coffee. The melt is quite nice ... but the feeling on the tongue is dry and chalky. The finish is far too dry for me, far too acidic and yet it’s quite sweet for a 72%.

I think for baking or maybe as a base for chocolate mousse, this would be excellent. But it’s not my style for straight eating.

For the price, these aren’t phenomenal, I want a lot better dark chocolate for $24 a pound. But the miniature size and variations are just what I needed this week. Now that I’ve had my samples for the review, the rest will be distributed by Santa Claus into the Christmas stockings. I’m hoping for lots of the Noisettes in mine. I also wonder if Villars has also made repackaged items for Aldi, as these were rather similar (though the chocolate moulds were different, the tasting notes are very similar).

Villars is owned by a French company called Bongrain, which bills itself as one of the top transformers of milk in Europe and worldwide. Maybe it sounds better in French. They make cheese and yogurt in dozens of different countries in Europe, North America and Africa ... and chocolate in Switzerland.

Related Candies

  1. Ovomaltine Chocolate Bar
  2. Aldi Chocolate Swiss Assorted Chocolate Squares
  3. Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
  4. The Real Nestle Swiss


Name: Mini Tasting Chocolates
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Villars
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silver Lake)
Price: $11.99
Size: 8.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Villars, Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:48 pm     CandyReviewVillarsChocolateNutsToffee7-Worth ItSwitzerlandComments (0)

Monday, November 3, 2014

See’s Bridge Mix

See's Bridge MixI picked up the Bridge Mix from See’s Candies over the weekend, mostly because the comments from readers were so adamant that it was worth having a try.

At $18 a pound it’s about 2.5 times more expensive than the Brach’s Bridge Mix. It also has all natural chocolate and at least lists a sample of what is probably in the mix: Bite-sized pieces of raisins, coconut, caramel, brittles, almonds, pecans, nougats and more covered in milk and dark chocolate.

See's Bridge Mix

The kind folks at See’s actually gave me a little cup of the mix to sample before I made my purchase ... because it just comes in this one pound box. The box has four little sections, which keep the mix from wandering too much. I don’t know if I would necessarily serve it from the box, but the nice thing about Bridge Mix it’s a panned candy, which means that it has a little glaze on each piece to keep it from sticking together and you can put it out in a bowl without worrying that it’ll all melt into a lump.

See's Bridge MixOne of the first things I should mention is that I’m allergic to walnuts. Not deathly allergic, as I’m still alive, but for the most part my reactions to walnut traces lately has been a swollen throat and flushed skin. The See’s Bridge Mix does contain walnuts. One of the items is chocolate covered nougat, which has walnuts in it. It’s hard to tell, in Bridge mix, which pieces are which, so it’s a little difficult for me review these in the normal manner. For any piece that is the right shape to be a nougat, I have to split open first to see what’s in it.

The good part is that most of the pieces are easy to just chomp. The little items that look like raisins or almonds are raisins and almonds. The pillow things that look like molasses chips are molasses chips. The lumpy things that look like pecans are pecans. It was the little cubes I had the trouble with ... which leads to the general complaint with Bridge Mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Dark Chocolate covered Caramel Rectangles had a more stringy, chewy caramel than the little cube ones I found a few times. These were quite nice, but maybe a little heavy on the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Lump is Rum Raisin Nougat This is the piece that has walnuts in it.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Cube is Caramel The picture makes this one look like it might be a chocolate caramel, but it tasted rather rich but caramelly overall.

Milk Chocolate Rounded Cube is Butterscotch The See’s Butterscotch is one of my favorite pieces. This version is a little drier and has a different set of ratios for the chocolate and center. I prefer the enrobed piece (not the bar), but the creamy melt of the chocolate and sort of buttery brown sugar fudge do work well, especially with the nuts. This and the caramel looked the same to me, and most of the milk cubes were Butterscotch.

Dark Chocolate Cube is Toasted Coconut These are wholly unexpected for this type of mix. You can see from the cross section, these are packed with coconut, so they’re not too sweet and it is nicely toasted to bring out the tropical flavor.

Flat Milk Chocolate Square is Toffee (not pictured) I like the See’s Toffee, it’s crisp and buttery and easy to bite. The toffee notes are good, but for some reason it’s never had that smooth burnt sugar dissolve that I often crave. It’s a personal preference issue.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pillow is Molasses Crisp. These might have more chocolate on the regular version available by themselves. They’re crisp and crunchy, with just enough aeration to the honey-molasses candy to make them easy to bite. The lingering honey notes of the center goes well with just about everything else in this mix.

See's Bridge Mix

Milk Chocolate Pecans & Almonds - the pecans are fantastic. They’re roasted perfectly, they have a great woodsy maple flavor, so you get a sweet crunch combined with the chocolate. The almonds are very small, if I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed that they were peanuts. They’re well toasted and decent, a good crunch and probably a different variety than the nonpareil almonds I’ve been eating, because they’re less fibery.

Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins are quite niece. The raisins are big, though the chocolate isn’t particularly dark, it is generous.

The mix is very strong, it doesn’t have any items that feel like they’re cheap filler. I did find that the almonds were left at the end, I was picking out the big bits. But I think once I figured out the code, it was easier to mix and match without worrying that I was going to get a “bad piece.” I do not recommend playing roulette if you have a food sensitives when it comes to this sort of thing.

I would prefer an actual guide on the package, or at least a real listing the items that are in i. I’d also like to just make my own mix… but that’s not the way mixes work. I would definitely buy this again. But I play Canasta, not Bridge.

Related Candies

  1. Snack Mix for Traveling
  2. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  3. See’s Double Caramel
  4. Cedrinca Gran Mix
  5. Eat with your Eyes: See’s Butterscotch
  6. Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix
  7. Leaf Schoolchalk, Allsorts & Pipes
  8. Marich Easter Select Mix
  9. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: See’s Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: See’s
Place Purchased: See's (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Morselization, See's, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Nougat, Nuts, Toffee, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:40 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewSee'sCaramelChocolateCoconutNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesComments (6)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Brach’s Bridge Mix

Brach's Bridge MixYou might wonder why my Halloween review is of Bridge Mix. It’s because it’s actually the scariest candy on the market today. Every maker has a different set of what they include in their mix, and because everything is coated in chocolate, it’s a game of Russian Roulette if you’re a picky eater. 

If I were to rank candies according to age demographics, most results would land where I expected. Super sour candies are targeted to tweens, dark chocolate to adult women and sweet and savory candies to men who love sports. And the sales data pretty much bears that out. Then there’s Bridge Mix. First of all, Bridge Mix doesn’t seem to have any sort of marketing campaign associated with it. But if you were to find out how old the average buyer is, I’m going to guess somewhere around 73.

I picked up the Brach’s Bridge Mix because the package made it look appealing and compared to some of the other chocolate bag offerings lately, it seemed like a good value. The package is vague, but it mentions that it’s a mix of all natural milk and dark chocolate. However, there was no listing on the back of the package as to what the actual items inside would be. The front just showed the coated pieces ... the ingredients were so long, all I could say for sure is that I could expect raisins, peanuts, sugar and Brazil nuts inside the chocolate.

Brach's Bridge Mix

My first impression upon opening the bag was good. It’s a resealable bag that holds a 8.7 ounces which makes for a full cereal bowl of candy. The pieces look good, they’re shiny and for the most part distinctive. I thought I could tell which were peanuts and raisins, though the larger spheres were a mystery.

The ingredients listed Brazil nuts and the picture on the front shows a piece that really looks like a chocolate covered Brazil nut. No such item appears in the bag. Maybe my mix was missing the Brazil nuts ... it was certainly not sufficiently randomized for my tastes.

Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk, Chocolate Liquor, Lactose, Soy Lecithin, Butter Oil, Salt, Vanillin, Ethyl Vanillin), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Peanuts with TBHQ and Citric Acid (preservative), Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Raisins, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Sugar, Nonfat Milk, Buttermilk, Whey Solids), Corn Syrup Solids, Brazil Nuts, Malted Milk (Milk, Barley Malt, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sodium and Potassium Carbonate), Modified Food Starch (Corn), Malt Extract (Barley Malt, Wheat Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean, Cottonseed, Palm Kernel), Salt, Pectin, Baking Soda, Citric Acid, contains 2% or less of the following ingredients: Tapioca Flour, Soy Lecithin, Red 40, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Gelatin, Confectioner’s Glaze, Acacia (Gum Arabic), Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate. [Contains: Milk, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Wheat and Soy]

Though it’s all natural chocolate, there are a lot of not-so-natural items in there, too. There’s also gelatin, which was hard to find on the list if you’re vegetarian.

Brach's Bridge Mix

Cherry Jelly Ball covered in Dark Chocolate were one of two that I could reliably pick out of the mix. It’s a big, very strongly cherry flavored jelly ball covered in dark chocolate. I was hoping there would be other flavors, but this was it. The jelly center is nice, dense and very floral. However, there’s a grainy sugar layer in there that messed with the texture and sweetness level. I don’t like cherry candies, but I thought this was a refreshing item to have in a mix ... and it was easy for me to avoid.

White Sugar Cream covered in Dark Chocolate - if you’ve ever wanted a York Peppermint Pattie without the mint flavor, this might be your candy. But the fondant in the center is hard and grainy ... so it’s not really a good texture combination at all. The dark chocolate outside is in a much larger ratio than most other mint candies, which is fine because that’s the only flavor you’re going to get out of this thing. I felt like about 1/4 of my bag was filled with these. I would bite them in half to see if it was a large peanut or something else and then toss the other half when I found it was the fondant ball.

Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Ball - I’d like to have a long and wonderful commentary here, but that photo of the one bitten in half is the only one I got in this bag. I’ve been searching for Brach’s Milk Chocolate Milk Balls for a couple of years, and found that this Bridge Mix is the only place I can find them ... and I got one lousy one. I didn’t savor it enough to be able to review it.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut - excellent. The peanuts have skins on them, which I enjoy. It highlighted the bitterness of the chocolate. The peanut had a light touch of salt, and though not large, they were crunchy and deeply roasted.

Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut - not as good as the dark one, the milk chocolate hides the peanut notes somehow, but after stumbling across so many of those fondant balls, I was happy to have these.

Milk Chocolate Brown Sugar Ball - I have no idea what this is. The center was not grainy, not smooth, not flavorful, not appealing. It tasted sweet, but also dusty. I just have no idea what the point was, except to fool me into thinking that I was going to get a Malted Milk Ball.

Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins - pretty good. The raisins were soft and chewy, not tough or tacky. The raisins dominated, the chocolate was sweeter than the actual dried fruit but didn’t contribute more than texture to the experience.

Brach's Bridge

The one item that was easy to pick out were the little flattened bullets that came in both milk and dark chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the chocolate coating isn’t as thick as the other candies, but that didn’t matter. The center of this little morsel is a nicely made, crispy nut brittle. There may be Brazil nuts in there, but definitely peanuts. It’s salty, it’s barely sweet and I’d like to just buy a bag of these.

Dark Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the dark chocolate version was even better, as it enhanced the roasted nut flavors.

I’ve come away with an appreciation for people who simply throw caution to the wind and pop a handful of candy pieces in their mouth. I’m not a Bridge Mix person. In fact, this bag of candy made me angry. There were good things in it, but too many horrible things. There’s no listing anywhere that I can find that says what kind of candy is even in the bag ... it’s as if Brach’s is evasive and doesn’t want to commit to what they might put in there on any given day. I ended up with a pile of half bitten candies on my desk after I determined what I did and didn’t like ... I spit out the other halves in the trash. It was, in the end, a bad value for me, since I ate so little of it, though, technically, I finished the bag.

I really just wanted some Malted Milk Balls.

Related Candies

  1. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  2. Brach’s Dark Chocolate Blueberry Acai
  3. Christopher’s Big Cherry - Dark
  4. RJ’s Licorice Allsorts
  5. Trader Joe’s Allsorts -a- Licorice
  6. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips
  7. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 8.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Brittle, Chocolate, Fondant, Jelly Candy, Malt, Nuts, Peanuts, Toffee, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:55 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewBrach'sFerrara PanBrittleChocolateFondantJelly CandyMaltNutsPeanutsToffee5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (17)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lindt Bars: Wafer, Cresta and Dark Hazelnut

Lindt WaferLindt has a new line called Hello, but I also noticed this array of single serving bars at several drug stores and Target over the past few months. I picked up a full set (or at least I think it’s all of them - at the time I wrote this, I couldn’t find them on their website).

The packaging is very simple with a color coding that made it easy to check that I had all of them. (I had to go to two stores.) They’re small portions, at 190-230 calories per bar, they’re not too filling.

The Lindt Wafer Bar is described on the package as Milk chocolate with wafer and creamy hazelnut filling.. The little picture shows that the wafer part is like a flattened tube inside the hazelnutty center.

Lindt Wafer

The actual bar I got wasn’t as much like the picture as the others, which were exactly as depicted. In this case, the first section contained only hazelnut paste (so the photo is of the second section). The wafers do not take up nearly as much volume as I’d hoped, so the effect is milk chocolate bar with a lot of hazelnut (nothing wrong with that) and a little bit of wafer.

The wafers are malty and less sweet than the rest of the bar. The milk chocolate is very sweet as is the filling, so it’s kind of throat searing at first. The mix of textures and flavors is quite good though, I like the Lindt milk chocolate in small bites, it’s very creamy and though it has a dairy note to it, it tastes fresh, not like dried milk. Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong brand, but I wanted more hazelnut in there, it seemed more cream than hazelnut. (But maybe I’m just used to the Ferraro style.)

Lindt CrestaThe Lindt Cresta Bar is the only one of the assortment that has anything that resembles an invented name instead of just a description.

The bar is: Milk chocolate with hazelnut cream filling and pieces of almond brittle.

This bar is bigger than the first one, at 1.3 ounces. It feels hefty as well.

Lindt Cresta

The milk chocolate bar looks the same as the Wafer bar, glossy and light milk chocolate. There’s a whiff of cereal about it and a hint of hazelnut but mostly it smells sweet.

The chocolate is smooth and has a milky melt to it, kind of like pudding. The center is very crunchy, with little bits of almond in the hazelnut cream. It’s not terribly nutty, but very sweet with just a hint of salt to it. Overall, the filling was good, the textures nice and the proportions very well done ... but I wanted it to be less sweet.

Lindt Dark Chocolate HazelnutThe final bar simply called Lindt Dark Chocolate Hazelnut. Unlike the other bars, which were made in Austria, this one was made in Italy. Perhaps to be closer to hazelnuts.

The package says that the bar is Dark chocolate with hazelnut filling and whole hazelnuts. And so it is.

It’s the biggest bar of the assortment I picked up, as well, at 1.4 ounces. It’s also the fattiest, at 164 calories per ounce. If I’m going to spend twice as much on the bar, I’d better be getting something high quality in there.

Lindt Dark Hazelnut

The bar is stunning. Three molded hazelnut sections in glossy dark chocolate. The dark chocolate looks great and smell a lot like roasted hazelnuts and coffee.

The chocolate is buttery and has a good melt, although like many Lindt chocolate, it might be a little too slick on the tongue and not enough chocolate flavor in there.

Lindt Dark Hazelnut

The hazelnut center is fantastic. The hazelnut paste is soft and has a great fresh flavor and though it’s sweet, it’s not too sticky. The whole hazelnut is crisp and crunchy and I believe blanched to remove the skin, which keeps away some of those bitter notes.

Of the three bars, this was my favorite, though it could benefit from darker chocolate.

I don’t see myself picking them up again, as interesting as I thought they were. They’re overpriced, though my guess is that perhaps in Europe they’re more economical. It’s odd, because the Hello Crunchy Nougat was a very similar bar to the Wafer, but twice the size for the same price. They also don’t use natural vanilla, it’s artificially flavored, which makes me wonder if there may be cut corners elsewhere. I think I’ll stick with Ritter-Sport’s Knusperflakes and Dark Chocolate Whole Hazelnut but if I feel like spending a little more, I’d step up to the Gardini Bitter Chocolate and Gianduia with Sea Salt.

Related Candies

  1. Lindt Hello Crunchy Nougat
  2. Gardini Bitter Chocolate and Gianduia with Sea Salt
  3. Nestle Crunch Noisettes
  4. Poco Dolce Hazelnut Bar
  5. Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp
  6. Ferrero Eggs: Hazelnut & Cocoa
  7. M&Ms White Chocolate (Easter)


Name: Wafer Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: Candy, Lindt, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, Austria, Walgreen's


Name: Cresta Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Candy, Lindt, Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Austria, Target


Name: Dark Hazelnut Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: Candy, Lindt, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Italy, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:49 pm     CandyReviewLindtChocolateCookieNutsToffee7-Worth It8-TastyAustriaItalyTargetWalgreen'sComments (1)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hershey’s Heath Pieces

Hershey's Heath PiecesOne of my favorite candy bars as a teen was the Heath Bar. At that time it came as a pair of bars, not yet made by Hershey’s. Each little plank of crisp toffee was coated in milk chocolate. With careful work I could cleave off the chocolate with my teeth leaving a pristine and nearly translucent piece of toffee for slow consumption.

Now that the bars all one piece, I’m not as fascinated by them. Ratios matter as do dimensions.

Flash forward the new century as Hershey’s is making a candy coated piece version of all their favorite candy bars. It’s all part of the Morselization trend. The Hershey’s Heath Pieces feature a milk chocolate morsel studded with toffee and almond bits in a candy shell in muted earthy colors.

The back of the package exhorts buyers to Enjoy Delicious Milk Chocolate Toffee in Pieces ... in the car! ... on the go! ... at home! ...with family & friends!

The package also lists a website, www.piecescandies.com which is nice enough but makes no mention of this product.

Hershey's Heath Pieces

They’re lovely and well made little lentils. They’re nearly identical in dimensions to M&Ms, except they’re a little puffier in the center and don’t have the sharp angle around the edges. Quite a few of mine had chipped edges, but that seemed to be the harsh way I treated them on the way home. They come in three colors: cream, medium brown and dark brown.

Hershey's Heath Pieces

Inside is an inconsistent mixture of very sweet milk chocolate, toffee and almond. They’re exceptionally sweet and have a less chocolatey experience than the regular Almond Pieces. The crunchy shell and the toffee work well together. They’re both crunchy, but the toffee has a little pop of salt and buttery texture to it. Every once in a while I would catch a chip of almond as well.

The whole effect was sweetness, though not always in a bad way. I think I’d prefer them mixed in with some straight chocolate baubles (though it appears they’re not making the Special Dark Pieces any longer). But what I really found I liked better than these are from Marich and also sold at Trader Joe’s. These would be great for baking and on ice cream.

Like many Hershey’s products, they’re not ethically sourced or certified at this time, though Hershey’s has a published plan. There are a lot of ingredients in there though nothing terribly surprising or disturbing. There was no note on the package about the peanut or gluten status though it does contain soy, milk and almonds. My guess is that it’s made in the same facility as Reese’s Pieces so may contain traces of peanuts.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Almondictive Bits
  2. Poco Dolce Popcorn Toffee
  3. Hershey’s Pieces - Milk Chocolate with Almonds
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee
  5. Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme
  6. Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces
  7. Hershey’s York Pieces
  8. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces


Name: Heath Pieces
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, United States, Kmart

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:40 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateKosherNutsToffee7-Worth ItUnited StatesKmartComments (6)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Crisp and Mint Crisp

Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Crisp - IrelandWhen some folks love a particular product, they can be pretty specific about it. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate is known worldwide, and because it’s so popular it’s made in several different locations around the globe. I’ve had Cadbury from Australia, South Africa, the UK, the United States and now Ireland.

I picked up these Cadbury Dairy Milk bars that have little crisps in them. The Dairy Milk Golden Crisp is milk chocolate with golden honeycomb granules. It’s a bit bigger than an ordinary single serving bar, at 54 grams, that’s 1.9 ounces.

The Cadbury Dairy Milk in Ireland is much like the UK version I’ve had, it’s made with a dash of vegetable oil. I can’t quite decide if this means that it’s mockolate or still chocolate, as it’s a small amount, but still replaces some of the much better cocoa butter that could have been in there. This chocolate also uses two emulsifiers, PGPR and ammonium phosphatides, which is similar to lecithin but made with rapeseed and glycerol instead of soy.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Crisp - Ireland

The bar has a wholesome milky scent to it, not too sweet. There are a lot of little honeycomb bits in there. The honeycomb is also known as sponge candy or cinder toffee. It’s aerated boiled sugar, it’s usually a little salty tasting since it uses sodium bicarbonate to make the foamy texture.

I love sponge candy, so this was definitely a plus. It’s less sweet than other crunchies can be, so it moderated the heavily sugared milk chocolate. Still, the chocolate was more on the fudgy and grainy side of things. It’s candy, not fine chocolate, so I considered it satisfying in that respect.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Crisp - IrelandThe Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Crisp was a nearly identical bar, the wrapper was accented with green in the theme of the mint flavoring.

The ingredients were the same except for the notation for the honeycombed granules, which contain vegetable extracts of spinach, stinging nettle, and Tumeric.

The Cadbury milk chocolate is 23% milk solids and 20% cocoa solids. I guess the rest is sugar and vegetable oil.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Crisp - Ireland

The minty bar didn’t seem to have quite as many honeycomb bits in it. What it did have was a lot of mint. The peppermint was strong, though it was flavoring the chocolate, not the honeycomb ...so it’s not quite a Peppermint Bark experience. The milk is sticky sweet and the mint seems to highlight that, instead of diluting it. The chips were crunchy and had that lightly salty note to them. It didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the Golden Crisp, but still found it engaging.

Overall, I didn’t sense too much that was better with the Irish version of Cadbury except that I liked this size of bar better than the large 100 gram tablets. I’m not a huge Cadbury fan, if anything, I’d opt for Kraft’s upscale and ethically sourced Green & Black’s dark milk chocolate. (And comparing the import price I paid for these bars, it’s actually a better deal.)

Related Candies

  1. Cadbury Wispa
  2. Cadbury Heroes
  3. Cadbury Dairy Milk Rum & Raisin
  4. Dove Peppermint Bark
  5. UK vs US Cadbury Dairy Milk
  6. Cadbury Dairy Milk Snack
  7. Cadbury Crunchie
  8. Parkside Candy Sponge Candy


Name: Dairy Milk Golden Crisp
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquor (Melrose)
Price: $2.50
Size: 1.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Cadbury, Chocolate, Mockolate, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Ireland, Mel and Rose


Name: Dairy Milk Mint Crisp
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose Wine & Liquor (Melrose)
Price: $2.50
Size: 1.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Cadbury, Chocolate, Mints, Mockolate, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Ireland, Mel and Rose

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:11 pm     CandyReviewCadburyChocolateMintsMockolateToffee7-Worth ItIrelandMel and RoseComments (2)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Eclat Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65%

Eclat Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65%I’ve visited the Eclat Chocolate shop in West Chester, PA a couple of times when I’ve been in the area. I’ve tried a wide variety of their truffles and a few of their hot chocolate sticks and other items. However, I’d never picked up their chocolate bars before.

When I placed an order with the PA Country Store back before Easter, I decided to rectify that omission by selecting the Eclat Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65% bar. The packaging is simple, a slim black paperboard box holding a mylar wrapped bar. Sadly it didn’t protect the bar from getting broken (but I was going to break it anyway).

Eclat Chocolate may be best known as the creator of one of the most expensive bars on the market filled with celebrity names, the Good & Evil Bar made from Peruvian Pure Nacional cocoa beans and retails for about $18 for 2.8 ounces. I’m not terribly interested in things that are notable for being expensive though I enjoy a good origin story. So I’ll stick with the Caramelized Hazelnuts for now. Here’s what the online description said:

Although most hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are harvested out of Turkey, the Spanish hazelnut out of Tarragona has an extremely unique and rare flavor. By caramelizing the hazelnuts and blending them with a 65% dark chocolate, the flavor profile of this Obsession Bar is boldly nutty and deliciously sweet.

DSC_2479rb

The bar is attractive, a nice mold with well portioned segments. I prefer a thicker bar, especially when there are inclusions, but there’s something particularly stunning about such a large field of molded dark chocolate.

The scent is sweet, woodsy and a little buttery. The chocolate has a smooth and rather quick melt and an immediate sweetness. I don’t eat a lot of 65% chocolate, so I forgot how sweet it is. The inclusions are crispy and have a great deep toasted toffee and hazelnut flavor. I don’t know if I got the subtle difference of the Spanish hazelnut, but I liked what I was tasting.

I would have preferred slightly larger pieces, I found the ratios a little off, but then again, I think I would have preferred a bit darker chocolate, too. However, if you’re a milk person, this is a great munchable dark bar that doesn’t feel too dense or difficult. I had no trouble at all eating my way through it, especially because of the excellent melt of the chocolate and lack of overall bitterness.

Eclat Bonbons

I mentioned I’d been to the shop before. I’ve picked up bonbons there on two occasions, though they weren’t for review, just for eating. They’re well priced for an artisan confection. The boxes are well put together to highlight the chocolates and it traveled very well (first by car around Central Pennsylvania for several days and then flying back to Los Angeles).

Eclat BonbonsThe tempering was excellent, all of the shells were thin but never cracked. The ganaches were smooth and never grainy.

I picked out varieties such as Beer, Star Anise and Single Malt as well as the classic 73% Dark Ganache and Dark Caramel. The flavor infusions were not overwhelming to the chocolate and the piece size, though on the small size, meant that I could eat quite a few pieces for maximum variety.

I believe my box was $25.00 in the store. I’ve also bought their hot chocolate sticks, which I find exceptional though expensive. I like making my own hot chocolate, because then I get to control the milk (lactose free, please) and these sorts of “melt it at home” products make for a far richer experience than the powders. At $4.50 each, it’s more than you’d spend at a Starbucks. But sometimes it’s nice for a splurge.

If I’m in the area, it’s a stop I’ll continue to make. It’s a great little pick me up before I get on the Turnpike and is a great place to pick up a few hostess gifts. I posted a few photos of the shop as well.

Related Candies

  1. Poco Dolce Hazelnut Bar
  2. Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix
  3. Kohler Chocolates Garden Ganache & Toffee Mountains
  4. Valerie Confections: Pour Homme and Pour Elle
  5. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites
  6. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch


Name: Chocolate Caramelized Hazelnuts 65%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Eclat Chocolate
Place Purchased: PA General Store (Online)
Price: $8.50
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 167
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:21 pm     All NaturalCandyChocolatierReviewChocolateNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesComments (1)

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