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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonka Exceptionals Easter Eggs

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdidlyumptious EggsThe Wonka Exceptionals line is available in special Easter holiday packaging.

The Wonka public relations folks sent me this box of their Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Eggs to review. The box is springy, and I’ll say it veers off towards the feminine in a whimsy sort of way. (The Dove chocolate line’s packaging is more towards elegant feminine sophistication.) But I can also see kids taking a liking to it for the brilliant purple and icons on the packages of flowers, vines and butterflies. They also come in another variety, Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall which I also have a sample of.

The box holds five milk chocolate eggs with scrumptious toffee, crispy cookie and crunchy peanuts. Wonka also says that they’re made with natural ingredients, but doesn’t mention on the front that they’re also made with not-so-natural ingredients which include, in descending level of appearance, soy lecithin (I’m guessing GMO), modified cornstarch and high fructose corn sweetener (I never see that used in chocolate, but I do see it quite often in cookies and cereal products so I’m assuming it’s an ingredient in one of the inclusions).

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Eggs

My eggs were a little worse for their trek in the mail. I find that stuff that’s shipped to me actually ends up in worse condition than items I pick up in the stores, so I expect that this is a worst case scenario.

DSC_2265rbThe individual packages are just little plastic sleeve wrappers and are labeled for individual sale.

Since the portion is less than an ounce, the calorie count is much lower than some other “full serving” chocolate eggs. Both versions are 140 calories, and for a candy so high in fat, that’s a satisfying size. The Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate is already available in large bars or individually wrapped pieces. I reviewed them when they first came out last year. The combination of ingredients is interesting and definitely unique on the market at the moment.

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdidlyumptious Egg

The construction is simple, a 2.5” long and 1.5” wide egg is molded with mixed in items: crumbled cookies, toffee pieces and little bits of peanuts.

It smells green and nutty and a little milky. The crunch of the chocolate is good, it’s a little soft and immediately has a note of cinnamon and graham crackers. The toffee bits taste a little salty and the peanuts are few and far between but taste like they’re deeply roasted. The chocolate is mild and pleasant, it reminds me more of Cadbury than Nestle. It’s very sweet and at least the cookie bits provide a little relief from that.

It’s not that I loved this, but it’s so much better than Nestle’s other efforts like the Butterfinger Egg, it’s a wonder how they can continue making such waxy, poorly flavored chocolate when we now have proof that they know the difference.

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall EggThe Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Egg is a a delectable combination of swirled milk and white chocolate.

I’m happy to report that there are fewer not-so-natural ingredients in this variety, just the soy lecithin.

White chocolate maybe the unofficial chocolate style of Easter and I was pleased to see that the white chocolate used here is the real cocoa butter variety.

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Egg

The white and milk chocolate has a similar smooth texture, not quite Dove smooth, but smoother than other Nestle products. It’s quite sweet but has a milky taste and definite vanilla note to it.

The individually wrapped foil pieces are more consistently balanced between the milk and dark chocolate. I only had one sample of this so I can’t say it’s the same for all of them, but I felt there was too much milk chocolate and not enough white. Sometimes I find that white chocolate can taste a little off quickly, a little stale or rancid. In this case it just didn’t taste fresh to me, but I admit that it was stored with other flavored candies from Wonka, which might have contaminated it.

I like the shape, I like how thick it is and especially when there are chunks or layers in it, how it provides a nice cross section of flavors. The packaging isn’t as fun as the foil wrapped pieces, which I liked a little better, the colors on those are just as appropriate for Easter anyway.

It’s nice to see something a little different for Easter baskets or just snacking. These didn’t wow me with their ingenuity, but the quality difference from the earlier efforts from Wonka that were the Golden Creme Egg means that they’re winners just for showing up.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  2. Wonka Exceptionals: Chocolate Waterfall
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious
  4. Wonka Golden Egg
  5. Wonka Golden Creme Egg
  6. Dove Truffle and Snickers Eggs
  7. Hershey Eggs


Name: Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Egg
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Samples from Wonka
Price: $.79 retail
Size: .9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Easter, Nestle, Chocolate, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Egg
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Samples from Wonka
Price: $.79 retail
Size: .9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Easter, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Peanuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:24 pm     CandyReviewEasterNestleChocolateCookieKosherPeanutsToffeeWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (0)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)

Milka Naps MixOne of the most popular chocolate brands in Europe is Milka. It’s currently distributed by the international food conglomerate Kraft but began its existence as a family chocolate brand made by Suchard back in the early 20th century. I tried the version that’s available in the States about four years ago.

Milka is, of course, known as milky chocolate, very similar in profile and price to Cadbury. However, instead of putting vegetable oil in the chocolate, Milka uses just a touch of hazelnut paste.

Milka is now widely available in the United States but I wanted to pick up some while I was in Europe, just in case it was a little different. I did find this assortment called Milka NAPS Mix in Germany. It features four different varieties of tiny bars: Alpenmilch, Crunchy Caramel, Erdbeer & Creme au Cacao.

Milka Naps Mix

The little bars are about 4.25 grams, individually wrapped and easy to identify your favorite. The bars are about 1.5 inches long.

Milka

The traditional Milka is just as I remember it. Milky, sweet, smooth and not very chocolatey. They’re a good candy and at this size, and excellent little tough-covering pick me up. The hazelnut is just a light hint of roasted nuts, not like a thick gianduia. It’s much creamier than I recall the American packaged bar I tried, though as someone who likes a lot of either chocolate in my chocolate or hazelnuts in my gianduia, this didn’t quite fit my personal profile.

Milka Honeycomb

The Milka Crunchy Caramel is the same little bar with some toffee chips in it. (Not Daim chips, for some reason.) I liked the crunchy texture and light salty hint, though sometimes they tasted a bit like butterscotch and not quite like toffee. This was my favorite of the mix, now I’m sorry I didn’t pick up the Daim version of Milka.

Milka Strawberry

The Milka Erdbeer is the milk chocolate with dried strawberry bits in it. The strawberry bits taste real, but have a grainy quality to them that kind of ruins the texture of the chocolate at time. Still, the milk and strawberry flavor was great, it reminded me of neapolitan ice cream.

Milka Truffle

This was the only filled bar in the mix. The center was a thin little strip of chocolate creme. It really didn’t taste that much different than the standard Milka Bar, mostly because of the proportions. It had more of a chocolate frosting flavor to it though. It was my least favorite of the mix.

I like that Milka comes in so many different varieties and that the European versions also come in different sizes and seasonal variations. This box of chocolate though was a bit on the expensive side, compared to the large 100 gram (3.5 ounce) tablet bars at 3 Euros (about $4). Basically, I could have bought one of each of these varieties as a full sized bar for about the same amount of money, but had more than 3 times as much candy.

I have a dark chocolate version of a Milka bar at home, I’m hoping that’s a bit more to my personal liking, but mixes like this always have something to please most folks. (And I did finish most of the box without any help from anyone else.)

Related Candies

  1. Kraft Daim
  2. UK vs US Cadbury Dairy Milk
  3. Terry’s Chocolate Toffee Crunch Orange
  4. Toblerone Single Peaks
  5. Milka Alpenmilch
  6. Caffarel Gianduias


Name: Milka NAPS Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Kaufhof (Cologne, Germany)
Price: $4.00 (3.00 Euros)
Size: 4.87 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Chocolate, Nuts, Toffee, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:34 pm     CandyReviewKraftChocolateNutsToffee7-Worth ItGermanyComments (3)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kraft Daim

DaimThe Daim bar is a popular crunchy toffee bar covered in chocolate that originated in Sweden.

According to Wikipedia, the development tale is rather curious. Marabou, the preeminent Swedish chocolate company, approached Heath Bar back in the early 1950s for permission to license the Heath name and recipe to be produced for the Swedish/Norwegian marketplace. Heath said they couldn’t but did furnish the basic recipe so Marabou created the Daim Bar. The Daim went on to become quite a sensation, so much so that Hershey’s decided it needed its own crunchy toffee bar and copied the Daim in the US and called it Skor (along with the tag line of “The Taste of Sweden” in their launch advertising). The funniest part of the whole thing about Hershey’s marketing a copy of a Swedish candy that was a copy of an American candy was that Hershey’s ended up buying Heath Bar when they acquired Leaf Candy Company in 1996.

Marabou, in turn, was bought out by Kraft back in 1993 which distributes the Marabou chocolate products around the world. The easiest place to find Daim bars is at IKEA.

Daim

The bar does look a lot like the American Skor. It’s a smallish bar, flat and with a crisp buttery toffee center with a few bits of almonds in there. The milk chocolate coating is a little thicker on top with some attractive swirls and waves.

At only 28 grams (about .99 ounces) it’s a small bar but provides a lot of crunch.

I’ve bought this bar at least three different times for review on Candy Blog and each time I’ve managed to eat it before reviewing. (The photos here are from a 2008 episode where at least the bar made it into the studio for documentation.)

Daim nuggetsWhile I was in Europe I was pleased to see Daim widely available. Not only does it come in the familiar bar format, the toffee chips are also used in other co-branded confections, like a version of the Milka Bar (Jim’s Chocolate Mission has a review)

Since I knew I could find another bar in the States if I wanted it, I picked up this 100 gram (3.5 ounce) bag of Daim. The package says nothing else on the front - no description, no brand name ... just Daim. Not even the fact that this is not a bar but little chocolate covered nuggets. I guess the picture on the front says it all. My guess is since Daim is available in so many countries, it’s just confusing to say things, why not show them? The back of the package features micro-printing to accommodate at least 8 different language versions of the ingredients and still no actual name of the product. So I’m going to call these Daim Nuggets.

Daim nuggets

The little pieces are actually better, in my opinion, than the bar. I loved them. The chocolate is certainly not of excellent quality but good enough for this purpose. It’s milky and sweet and just creamy enough. It seals in the crunchy pieces of toffee to keep them from getting sticky and syrupy.

The toffee has a light burnt taste to it, plenty of milk and a touch of salt. It’s crunchy and every once in a while I think I got a little bit of an almond. The toffee is cooked to perfection - it’s crunchy but not too hard (having small pieces helps) and also doesn’t get tacky or stick to my teeth in large clumps.

I bet this is great on ice cream or added to cookies, of course it would need to come in larger bags, because this one is empty.

Other Daim reviews: Chocablog, Jim’s Chocolate Mission and Candy Addict.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee
  2. Godis Gula Snoren (Toffee Laces)
  3. Lindt Excellence Toffee Crunch
  4. Roca Buttercrunch Thins
  5. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
  6. See’s Peanut Brittle Bar


Name: Daim
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Rewe (Cologne, Germany)
Price: unknown
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Kraft, Chocolate, Toffee, 8-Tasty, Sweden

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:07 pm     CandyReviewKraftMarabouChocolateNutsToffee8-TastySwedenComments (8)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almond ToffeeThe final installment in the new Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate candies that come in two ounce pouches is Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee.

Red package describes it as crunchy toffee and roasted California almonds, covered in premium dark chocolate. Like the other packages, it includes a couple of properly scaled images of the candies. They’re about the same diameter as a nickel or a quarter (they varied) and were thick.

These remind me a lot of Marich Triple Chocolate Toffee, which were a mix of milk, white and dark chocolate covered toffee bits. They remind me so much of them that I’m going to guess that Marich is the maker of all three of these candies.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee

The pieces are lovely. They’re dark and glossy and have a light buttery scent.

The chocolate is a little softer than some other panned dark chocolate candies. The chocolate is only 50% cacao and contains some butter so it’s not a very dark chocolate. It’s in the semi sweet range with some nice fruity notes and goes well with the dairy and nutty notes of the toffee. The melt is silky and smooth.

The toffee centers are perfect, they’re crunchy and buttery without being sticky or tacky. Sometimes there were little bits of almond in them, but not all the time. The toffee was rather salty and the overall sodium for the package was 170 mg, which is a lot for a candy. But I do have to say that the salt provided a really nice pop to the flavors, it came first then the buttery notes and burnt sugar came forward.

The ratios of a panned piece of toffee mean that these had a lot of chocolate. The chocolate was easy to cleave off and eat or allow to melt off to get to the toffee center. Or of course there’s the “crunch it all together” method of consumption. All have merits.

If you’ve ever hoped for a more decadent version of Heath Bars or Skor, these may be for you.

The package says no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It’s also gluten free. May contain traces of peanuts and of course has dairy, nuts and soy ingredients.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Things

Trader Joe’s has done a nice job with all three of these products. They’ve balanced the portion size (a new area for them) with a product line that uses better ingredients than the products more widely available.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Things

I see all three of these as great snacks for watching a movie. They’re large portions at two ounces, but still only $1.49 which is a more than respectable for indulging in the new Harry Potter. They’re not overly packaged, but each is bold and different enough to catch the eye, they’re easy to tear open and did a good job of protecting the product and kept it fresh.

If only they also made those Espresso Toffee Pillows in these bags, too.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  3. Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
  4. Walkers Nonsuch Roasted Hazelnut Toffee
  5. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  6. Terry’s Chocolate Toffee Crunch Orange
  7. Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows
  8. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
  9. Valerie Toffees & Nougats

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:05 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesComments (3)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coronado Paleta de Cajeta

Coronado Paleta de CajetaMy mother and I went downtown to a candy store called Jack’s Wholesale Candy & Toy before Halloween to pick up candy for the kids. They had an excellent selection of Mexican candies, including many tamarind and chili candies. But I was more interested in the cajeta and dulce de leche candies. They had lots to choose from, mostly in the form of little patties but also a few hard candies and lollipops. Since it was Halloween, we picked up this pound plus bag of Coronado Paletas de Cajeta to give out.

Cajeta is a Mexican specialty usually made with goat’s milk (leche de cabra). It’s slowly simmered with sugar until it forms a syrup so thick that a spoon stands straight up in it. It’s usually served as a spread or filling for other baked goods but sometimes boiled a little longer to create a more solid fudge-like candy. But there are are also other candies that use the caramel-like goo as a base. In the case of these lollipops, the caramel base was used to make a hard toffee type lollipop. Each was nicely mounted on a plastic stick and sealed to keep them fresh. I was attracted to the package mostly because the Coronado logo features a nanny goat picture.

Goat’s milk has both a different flavor profile and a slightly different nutritional one from cow’s milk. As someone who is quickly developing a lactose intolerance problem, I’ve been shifting over to goat’s milk products and finding them tasty, nutritious and more digestible.

Paleta de Cajeta

I really didn’t think these were going to be very good, somewhere in the realm of the mediocre Tootsie Caramel Pops. They were far superior.

First, there are few ingredients: goat’s milk, sugar, corn syrup, sodium bicarbonate & potassium sorbate. The fact that the milk came before the sugar was encouraging.

The look of the candies was great. The mylar wrappers were a pretty mix of brown and maroon and well sealed to protect the pops (and give confidence to parents for Halloween hauls). The candy on the stick looked pretty much pristine. None that I had were chipped or broken or poorly formed. They’re about the size of Chupa Chups, or smaller than a Tootsie Pop but larger than a Dum Dum.

The flavor is smooth and creamy. I didn’t have a single void in the half dozen I’ve eaten so far (there were 40 pops in the bag and my mother didn’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters). The flavor is subtle, it’s not gamey or too tangy like some goat’s milk can be, but it’s definitely not the cow’s milk profile either. The caramel notes are true but without any bitterness that some toffee can have. It’s a very subdued sweetness.

They were quite dense and lasted a long time. Of course I like to crunch and eventually I would chip away at them with my canines. They’re actually quite crunchy without sticking to my teeth.

If you’re a fan of Werther’s Originals, these are very similar though less sweet and a little less oily.

The package didn’t say anything about nuts or gluten. It did say that there’s 23% of your calcium in every lollipop, but I think that’s some sort of math error. I’m definitely going to explore the Coronado brand more fully in the future.

Sera from The Candy Enthusiast tried a slightly different version of these.

Related Candies

  1. Krowki: Polish Cream Fudge
  2. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores
  3. De la Rosa Mazapan
  4. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  5. Crown Nuggets Borrachitos
  6. Jolly Rancher Fruitas Enchiladas
  7. Cajeta Elegancita


Name: Paleta de Cajeta
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Coronado
Place Purchased: Jack's Wholesale Candy & Toy (Downtown Los Angeles)
Price: $2.49
Size: 16.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Toffee, 8-Tasty, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:57 pm     All NaturalCandyCaramelHard Candy & LollipopsToffee8-TastyMexicoComments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea SaltCooler temperatures mean more chocolate consumption in my world. I’ve really been enjoying the bars from Equal Exchange, so I decided to branch out from the plain dark chocolate bars to their flavored offerings.

The Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt is a modest bar, sporting only 55% cacao content, it’s not extraordinarily dark and has more of a candy bar flair to it with bits of salty toffee.

The bar is wrapped simply in a burnt orange and brown wrapper that goes with the color coding Equal Exchange has going on for their line.

Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

The bar is inside a thin white plastic sleeve which is easy to open and slip the bar back into. The bar looks great, it has a reddish hue to it and the inclusions of toffee bits are visible within the chocolate mass.

Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

The bar has a distinct and bright snap. Breaking the bar reveals a plethora of big crunchy toffee bits (made with just four ingredients: cream, sugar, vanilla and sea salt). The chocolate itself smells like coffee and has a light acidic bite to it. It’s sweet, but not sticky and has a well rounded woodsy chocolate flavor. The toffee bits are crunchy and buttery with a strong salty note. They go exceptionally well with the chocolate and complement the smooth melt of the chocolate with the hard burnt sugar notes and the dash of sea salt.

This bar straddles the world of easy to eat candy and decadent treat. The chocolate isn’t as nuanced as the darker single origin bars, but it’s also more accessible. It’s one of my favorite toffee chocolate bars now. (It still prefer the slightly more candy-ish Green & Black’s Peanut Bar, but that’s milk chocolate and I’ve had more of those bars than the Equal Exchange.)

It’s fair trade, organic and Kosher. It’s made in a facility that processes tree nuts and peanuts and of course isn’t vegan because of the milk in the toffee.

UPDATE 11/16/2010: I transcribed the ingredients incorrectly in an earlier version of this review. There is no corn syrup in this bar. The only sweetener is organic unrefined and/or raw cane sugar. I’ve revised the review to reflect the accurate ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate: 65%, 71% & 80%
  2. Green & Black’s Peanut Milk Chocolate
  3. Sweet Earth Chocolates
  4. Mini Mentos: Orange, Apple, Lemon & Strawberry
  5. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
  6. Equal Exchange: Espresso, Mint & Nibs
  7. Equal Exchange Miniatures


Name: Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55%)
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $4.00 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Single Origin, Toffee, 9-Yummy, Switzerland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:06 pm     All NaturalCandyEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically SourcedKosherOrganicToffee9-YummySwitzerlandComments (4)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Short & Sweet: Dollar Store

I buy candy a lot of places, but probably the ones that fit best with the original intentions of Candy Blog are the dollar stores. Dollar stores and discounters like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Store and 99 Cent Only Stores have a mix of closeout products, mainstream candies and then a bunch of weird stuff that you’ve never seen before and may never see again. One of the purposes of Candy Blog was to seek out those fringe candies and demystify them. Here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve picked up:

Old Dominion Butter Toffee PeanutsOld Dominion is a brand I never saw in stores until about a year ago when I found their cheap but tasty Peanut Brittle at the drug store. Now I see them everywhere.

There’s no reason a couple of handfuls of fresh peanuts and some sugar can’t be dirt cheap and delicious. The good news is that I think Old Dominion has done an excellent job filling that niche. Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts don’t come in the most attractive package ever, but the package has five ounces and boasts only four ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter and salt. They’re Kosher and American made.

Old Dominion Toffee Peanuts

They’re a simple panned nut. A buttery toffee coating on whole peanuts.

They’re buttery, a little salty, crunchy and fresh. Not much more to say except that I wish they sold these in the vending machines in the basement of my office building. (My old office had PNuttles from time to time, which is similar, but a little more “toasty” where these are “buttery”.)

Zachary Thick Mints

I bought the Zachary Thick Mints at the 99 Cent Only Store because they’re called Thick Mints. I mean, how could I resist. They’re mints and they’re thick.

Zachary Thick Mints

They’re real chocolate, so they have that going for them. I don’t know much about Zachary as a brand for chocolate, I’ve had their sugar candies around Halloween and found them passable, but I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to sugar ... not so much when it comes to chocolate. The tray is flimsy and insubstantial as a serving piece (it bends and spills out the contents) but it did its job along with the box of protecting the product.

Zachary Thick Mints

They are as advertised, they’re big and thick. They’re about the same diameter as the mini foil-wrapped York Peppermint Patties (about 1.33 inches across) but they’re at least a half an inch high. The inside is more like a Junior Mint (a flowing mint fondant) than a York Peppermint Pattie (a crumbly and dry fondant). The mint fondant is smooth, with a tiny grain to it but a smooth pull and strong almost alcoholic peppermint flavor. The chocolate is a letdown, not terribly cream and lacking a solid cocoa punch. It still does a good job of containing the minty center.

Chocolate & Mockolate CaramelsI come up with a lot of ideas for the blog and very few are actually implemented.

A couple of months ago I got the notion that I should review the chocolate covered caramel bites that come in Movie Theater boxes. (Yeah, a very specific genre of candy, but there are at least three of them.) This one got as far as the acquisition of the candy, photography and consumption. I just couldn’t think of much of a hook for it. But hey, I can’t let it go to waste.

I found Hershey’s Milk Duds, Tootsie Junior Caramels and Zachary Chocolate Caramels at the Dollar Tree. So they’re all the same price and basically the same thing. But very different.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Zachary Chocolate Caramels are the newest one on the market. The box is rather generic but at least well made. The photo of the baubles of milk chocolate are appetizing and the product within does actually look like that. The box holds 4.8 ounces, not the biggest value of the bunch, but still a lot of candy, especially if it’s real chocolate.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Of the three this was the only one that had a protective bag inside. They’re really big and have a decent milky smell. The milk chocolate is thick but not very flavorful. There are some dairy notes but the melt isn’t smooth. The caramel center is soft and easy to chew. It doesn’t have a strong butter or caramelized sugar flavor, it’s more like a cereal note. Just slightly toasty and sweet, it reminds me of Kraft Caramels.

Junior Caramels

The Junior Caramels box says that it has 10% more free, which is good because it doesn’t even manage to cram 4 ounces in there. The package says that they’re soft milk caramels in pure chocolate. (Here’s my original review when they were first introduced in 2005.)

Junior Caramels

The chocolate isn’t as thick as the Zachary ones and they’re not as glossy. They don’t smell like much and don’t taste like caramel or milk chocolate either.

The chew of the center is soft but not grainy. Again it’s lacking in butter, toasted sugar and that stringy pull that I love about caramel.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds have been around since the 20s. They’ve gone through many changes in corporate ownership, packaging and formulation. Recently Hershey’s stopped using real milk chocolate to coat these choice little caramel bits which is too bad.

Milk Duds

They really live up to their name when it comes to appearance, the caramel centers are rarely spherical, they’re flattened lumps. The caramel centers of Milk Duds are quite firm. The chew though is completely smooth and slick. The flavor is authentically toffee-like with a luxurious milky note. It’s so sad that the cardboard mockolate on the outside trashes the flavor with off notes and waxy cocoa.  (I can’t say that the chocolate was great when it was real chocolate, but at least the flavor wasn’t off even if the texture was.)

Chocolate & Mockolate Caramels

It’s hard to declare a winner with this motley bunch. I love the center of Milk Duds, but the Zachary really do look the most appealing. I can’t say I want to eat any of them again and will probably dump out the rest of them before I flatten the boxes to be saved in my collection.

Related Candies

  1. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  2. Old Dominion Brittle
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. P-Nuttles
  7. Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies


Name: Butter Toffee Peanuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Old Dominion
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Peanuts, Toffee, 6-Tempting, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Mini Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zachary Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.85 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Chocolate, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Zachary Chocolate Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zachary Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Caramel, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Milk Duds
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Kosher, Mockolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Junior Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.96 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:03 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sTootsieZacharyCaramelChocolateMockolatePeanutsToffee5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreDollar TreeComments (5)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate PiecesNestle has wisely decided to up their support for the Wonka brand.

The Wonka brand of candies was launched shortly after the release of the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They were originally made by Sunline but Nestle bought up Sunline (also the maker of SweeTarts and Pixy Stix) in 1988.  At that time the Wonka brand consisted of a combination of candies mentioned in the book, such as Everlasting Gobstoppers but mostly fanciful original creations such as Peanut Butter Oompas (picture here), Super Scrunch (picture here). They later focusing more on profitable and successful sugar candies such as Wacky Wafers (picture here), Dweebs, Runts, DinaSour Eggs (picture here) and of course Nerds.

The early Wonka Scrumdidilyumptious bar was a “chocolately caramel crisp” - the format was rather long, thick and narrow. (See this counter display.)

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Pieces

Nestle is reinvigorating the brand, both the sugar candy side (new gummis like Sluggles & Puckerooms, sour filled licorice like Kazoozles and chocolate popping candy like Tinglerz). Their chocolate line called Wonka Exceptionals capitalizes both on the imaginative side of the Wonka character from the Roald Dahl books as well as the quality aspect which has been largely lacking in previous chocolate products. The launch is with three different bars and foil wrapped pieces: Scrumdiddlyumptious, Domed Dark Chocolate & Chocolate Waterfall.

This new version of the Wonka Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar is spelled slightly differently: diddly instead of didily. It’s listed on the back of the package as Bar No. 17 and described as Milk chocolate with scrumptious toffee, crispy cookie & crunchy peanuts. Sounds good! No one else is making a bar quite like this, so it’s exciting to see them creating something original instead of a different packaging format of an existing product.

Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Pieces

The little foil wrapped pieces are cute. They’re 1.25” long, 1” wide and about .33” high. They smell lightly chocolatey, but not as peanutty as I expected. The texture of the milk chocolate is super smooth and silky - a far cry from the waxy stuff in other Nestle products. It’s exceptionally sweet though, so too much of it and it burned my throat. The inclusions were little bits of graham cracker like cookies (digestive biscuits is perhaps more appropriate for comparison), little buttery toffee nuggets and peanut bits.

The variations in the nuggets meant that some pieces and bites were more interesting than others. The toffee had a good crunch to it and a salty note. The peanuts were not deeply roasted and were more grassy but still gave a different chew. The cookie pieces were mild and gave a malty cereal note to it.

The chocolate quality is a huge upgrade from the Wonka Bar (which is now discontinued - these will replace it). I don’t think I’d spend the premium for this in a bar format mostly because the Green & Black’s Peanut bar is truly scrumptious, similarly price but also organic & soon to be Fair Trade). However, foil wrapped pieces are different enough to warrant consideration.

Each piece is less than 50 calories, so if you have trouble controlling portions with a large bar, these are a nice option.

Bar Code for Wonka ProductsThe packaging is fanciful, though definitely cluttered and not that easy to read as most of the colors are the same value. The holographic plastic is a bit of overkill as far as I’m concerned (and probably resource intensive) but I’m guessing the bags without the “Golden Ticket” giveaway will be a bit clearer. I was most impressed with the fact that they were even creative with the bar code on the package.

The product line is expensive, we’re talking Dove or Hershey’s Bliss level, not the ordinary Nestle Crunch prices. The bags I picked up hold 9.5 ounces and were $4.99 each. (The press release from the company said retail is $4.49 and I’m guessing there will be sales where you can find them for about $3 a bag.) The bars are 3.5 ounces and retail for $2.49 each.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Exceptionals Domed Dark Chocolate
  2. Wonka Exceptionals: Chocolate Waterfall
  3. Wolfgang Skipjacks & Jungle Jacks
  4. Hershey’s Bliss
  5. Wonka Nerds Jelly Beans
  6. Wonka Golden Egg
  7. Dove Chocolate
  8. Wonka Bar
Name: Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Pieces
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
Price: $4.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Peanuts, Toffee, United States, Nestle, Kosher


Name: Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Pieces
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand:
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
Price: $4.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories:

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:39 pm     Comments (7)

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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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