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Friday, August 4, 2006

More Satisfying Snickers Almond?

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This is breaking news. Or at least it was breaking news to me: the Snickers Almond bar now contains peanuts ... I’m not talking about “processed in a facility and equipment along with peanuts” kind of thing. I’m talking about a main ingredient. (Click on the photos for more readable versions.)

I don’t know if I would have noticed, except that the Sav-on had both the old version of the bar (sans peanuts) and the new one side by side and I was curious why the packaging was suddenly different and what made the new one “more satisfying.”

So I purchased both and went off to the Candy Blog labs to do some analyses. First, the bars say they weigh the same, but when placed on the trusty postal scale the More Satisfying with Peanuts version came in at exactly 2.0 ounces and the Less Satisfying with just Almonds clocked in at 1.9 ounces. What’s even more puzzling about this is that the label says that they weigh 1.76 ounces ... at least Mars is generous.

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The original version shown above was easier to slice and seemed more “solid”. There weren’t copious amounts of almonds, but a fair amount. The bar was rather bland, as I mentioned in my review before. But there is something missing here, a toastiness, some sort of flavor.

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So the big thing I noticed right away was how difficult it was to slice this bar easily. It was kind of mucky ... not melted or anything, just not as structural. I think there may be more caramel now. Instead of just going back to a better tasting nougat, the Mars folks created the hybrid Snickers/Mars Frankenbar. It’s a Mars bar that tastes like a Snickers. Really, why buy this? It doesn’t taste like almonds ... if anything, it’s just a Snickers bar that’s a little smaller.

As a touchstone I went out and bought/consumed a standard Snickers bar. It really tasted no different except the Snickers Almond was a little crunchier because almonds are bigger than peanuts.

This got me to thinking about the ingredients, so here’s a run down of the top contents of the Less Satisfying Snickers Almond, More Satisfying Snickers Almond and the Satisfying Snickers (Peanut):

LS Snickers Almond…...MS Snickers Almond…..Plain Old Snickers
Milk Chocolate….........Milk Chocolate…......Milk Chocolate
Almonds….................Corn Syrup…................Peanuts
Corn Syrup…...............Almonds…...............Corn Syrup
Sugar….....................Sugar….....................Sugar
Skim Milk…................Peanuts….................Milk Fat
Hydr’ted Palm Kernel Oil….Milkfat…................Skim Milk

But let’s go back to that statement on the new Snickers Almond bar ... what exactly makes satisfaction?

Less Satisfying Snickers Almond: 230 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 131 calories per ounce)
More Satisfying Snickers Almond: 240 Calories & 1.76 ounces (that’s 136 calories per ounce)
Snickers: 280 calories & 2.07 ounces (that’s 135 calories per ounce)

Could satisfaction be another word for caloric density?

While I find the More Satisfying Snickers Almond a little more tasty than before, its resemblance to the classic Snickers Peanut makes it superfluous. There are so few almond choices out there, why take this one away? I’m giving the Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond bar the same rating I gave the original.

(I’m also a little miffed that I consumed about 750 calories for this one review! I just hope none of them contained mouse droppings.)

Note: I looked at the Snickers website and they still list the old ingredients for the Snickers Almond bar.

UPDATE 9/2/2008: Well, the old new Snickers Almond is back. Here’s a brief revisit with the bar:

Snickers Almond

I like the bar (though I prefer the dark chocolate version) and I’m glad they brought it back.

Product: Mars Snickers Almond
Previous Review: 12/28/2005
Change: reverting to old recipe (eliminating peanut ingredients from previous version)
Result: A great bar with a long history and I’m glad that it’s back to a more classic formulation so it bumps up a notch. 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch
  4. Snickers Almond Dark
  5. Snickers Dark
  6. Snickers Xtreme
Name: Now More Satisfying Snickers Almond
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Savon (Hollywood)
Price: $.65
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 136
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Nougat, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:29 am     Comments (30)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Goodbye Reed’s

There once was a company that made boiled sweets (hard candies) in Chicago. Founded in 1893, The Reed Candy Company used copper kettles to boil sugar and corn syrup and other things together to create flavorful treats. In 1931 they started making their most famous product, the Reeds’ Butterscotch candy roll. Later they added more flavors including Cinnamon, Root Beer and Butter Toffee.

At some point in their history The Reed Candy Company was bought out by another Chicago area based sweets company, Amurol Confections (known for their novelty gums like Big League Chew and Bubble Tape) ... and they in turn were bought by Wrigley’s (also based in Chicago). The larger distribution chain should have helped, but I still rarely saw them at drug stores or groceries. I usually saw them at newsstands. Reeds continued to be made with startling consistency from the taste and packaging I remember from my childhood.

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For those who have never had them, Reed’s are kind of like Lifesavers, except there’s no hole in the middle, just a slight dent. They’re individually wrapped, which makes for extra-sanitary sharing as well as the ability to pop out the individual candies and put them in your pocket for later (try that with a Lifesaver!).  They come with eight little pieces in a roll. But what was really extraordinary about them was the incredible amount of flavor packed into such a small candy. Part of this was the exceptional texture - these were high-quality boiled sugar sweets that had very few voids or holes so they were extra smooth on the tongue and dissolved well.

The Butterscotch ones used real butter and had a nice hit of salt to them. Though I’m sure the recipes changed over the years (going with artificial flavors and whatnot) they were still much more flavorful than many other candies.

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Cinnamon was not for the faint of heart. The little dented red disk had a smooth and soft mouthfeel at first and then exploded with a very strong cinnamon flavor that could rival an Atomic Fireball. It was like the flavor popped and sparkled with itty-bitty reservoirs.

Other roll candies and mints came in cinnamon and butterscotch but no one else made a Root Beer candy. Soft and spicy with a complex flavor that just made you want to roll the little candy over and over in your mouth. Reed’s Root Beer were my go to roll candy - they had the satisfying freshness of a mint and the tingly “activate those salivary glands” stimulation of a fruit sour.

They were always a 10 in my book. But I guess I ignored them and now they’re gone. Back in April they told their distributors that they weren’t going to be making them anymore and the supply was cut off. There are still a few places you can find a reserves on the web (and happily these hard candies are pretty durable when stored correctly):

I got my last rolls at Powell’s in Windsor, CA but they said that they will not ship nor sell whole boxes at any discount.

Butterscotch Reed's (revived by Iconic Candy)UPDATE: Reed’s are coming back. Iconic Candy of New York is working on their final formulations and packaging design and hope to have Reed’s back on store shelves in a limited number of flavors by the end of the year.

You can see the preview of their new candy revivals here. They’re also working on Regal Crown Sours and Bar None.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Japanese Black Sugar & Tropical Chews
  3. Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons
  4. Pure Fun & Yummy Earth Organic Hard Candies
  5. Regennas Clear Toys
  6. Hard Candy: Juntsuyu
Name: Reed's Cinnamon, Butterscotch & Root Beer
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Reed's (Amurol/Wrigley)
Place Purchased: Powell's (Windsor, CA)
Price: $.89
Size: .90 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, United States, Wrigley's, Discontinued

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:36 am     Comments (177)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Miette Patisserie

Part of the reason for the stop in San Francisco on my recent vacation was to experience the Ferry Terminal Marketplace. It’s home to a bunch of artisan food companies, restaurants and other people associated with the food crafts. Plus, on Saturdays there’s a farmers market.

There are a couple of sweets locations in the Ferry Terminal including a Scharffen Berger store and Recchiuti Confections but for this trip (I’ll be going back again in September) I thought I’d look at Miette Patisserie.

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The store is drop dead cute and reminds me of a forties/fifties-era cookbook. They had a huge selection of cakes and hand-held pastries. But I was interested in candies, of course. There was a large display of handmade lollipops which looked gorgeous and came in sassy flavors like cotton candy, grape and pink lemonade. None of the flavors were marked and the colors weren’t enough for me to discern the code so I passed them by for now.

Instead I was attracted to their Parisian Macaroons (which are not the coconut ones we’re most accustomed to in the States). These macaroons are a hazelnut or almond and egg white based cookie with a filling of some sort. Like a super decadent sandwich cookie. They were $1.50 each ... a little on the pricey side so I didn’t taste one of each flavor (I think there were six varieties).

I picked out:

Hazelnut: a vanilla cookie with a rich nutella-style filling. Sweet and rich but still light and flaky.

Rose Geranium: a delicately floral flavored cookie with a buttery light cream filling in the sandwich. My favorite.

Vanilla: a little sweeter because there was no strong flavor to balance it, but quite nice after a long walk and pleasant lunch.

By the register they also had three large jars of handmade caramels wrapped in wax paper. They were two for $1 so I had two of each.

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Vanilla & Lemon - the wrappers were identical and I’m sorry to say that they all tasted the same. The caramels were nicely soft and sweet and of course had a wonderful slightly burnt sugar taste.

Fleur de Sel - a little darker tasting and with a nice warming sensation of instant salt. Instead of a regular caramel with a little series of grains of salt on the surface as I’ve had at other places, here the salt is completely integrated. The salt really brings out the caramelized notes, but it’s also a bit strong and made my throat sting.

UPDATE: A kind reader, Dan, has informed me that these are made by the Little Flower Candy Company, which makes sense based on the flavor array.

I’m sure their cakes are great and there’s the added bonus that they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Not that something like that makes a pastry more wholesome or anything! The macaroons can be ordered on their website, but not the caramels or lollies. The items are pricey, as is usually the case with labor intensive items. Overall I think I prefer the caramels and macaroons from Boule but since San Francisco doesn’t have a Boule, I can see myself stopping in here on my next trip for a little something to eat. I’m especially interested in trying their Lavender Shortbread (I know, I’ve totally diverged from candy all of a sudden ... I was on vacation!).

Name: Caramels & Macaroons
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Miette Patisserie
Place Purchased: Miette Patisserie (Ferry Terminal, San Francisco)
Price: $.50 for Caramels, $1.50 for Macaroons
Size: varies
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Nuts, Cookie, Caramel, United States, Bay Area

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:32 am     Comments (5)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe

One of the problems with getting “preview” candy from a trade show like All Candy Expo is that I never know what it’s actually going to look like in stores. One of the new products that I thought was pretty cool in concept was a new flavor assortment from Jelly Belly called Soda Pop Shoppe.

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The flavor assortment includes: 7 Up, Dr. Pepper, A&W Root Beer, Orange Crush, and Grape Crush. What I find a little odd about this soda pop assortment is that there’s no cola in it. But it seems that the variety is determined by some sort of flavor licensing from the Cadbury Schweppes people.

I got this little 3/4 of an ounce packet as a sample, but the fun part about these is that they’re going to be packaged in soda bottles (1.5 ounces in a bottle). Sounds like a good way to share and to reseal them.

7 Up: a nice lemon lime with a good zesty hit at the front that gives it a slight bitter bite. There’s no tangy component though.

Dr. Pepper: I’ve never been a fan of Dr. Pepper (or Mr. Pibb) but these seem to taste pretty faithful.

A&W Root Beer: these look almost like the Dr. Pepper, so be careful. Nice root beer flavor with a little creamy finish to it, like a foamy head.

Orange Crush: This one’s a real winner. Tangy with a slight effervescent quality and a nice fake orange flavor.

Grape Crush: a little too sweet and not tart enough for my tastes, but then again I outgrew my appreciation of grape soda when I was twelve.

I’m a little confused if the A&W Cream Soda flavor is supposed to be in this mix or not, but it would sure fit well, but I wouldn’t miss it if it doesn’t make it.

These should be available in stores next month and might make nice stocking stuffers for Christmas. I like all of the flavors in here except for the Dr. Pepper, which could easily be plucked out and set aside for someone else. I think the real surprise flavor here is the 7 UP which was far more complex than I’d figured it would be.

Name: Soda Pop Shoppe
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: All Candy Expo sample
Price: unknown
Size: .75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 141
Categories: Jelly, United States, Jelly Belly, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:13 am     Comments (15)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Jolly Rancher Screaming Sours

imageThere was nothing else like a Jolly Rancher when they first came out. Back then green apple and watermelon were radical flavors ... actually, when I was a kid, the slang term “radical” wasn’t even in use yet.

I really wanted these to be good ... like a gummi bear version of a Jolly Rancher, only in Jolly Rancher flavors.

They come in four flavors - Watermelon, Apple, Orange and Cherry. They’re a little tart jelly candy with a sugar sand coating on them. They’re not gummis at all, there’s not even any gelatin or pectin in the ingredients list, it’s sugar, corn syrup and corn starch plus a little flavor, tartness and color. They’re kind of small morsels too, about the same size around as a nickel.

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Cherry - not quite a black cherry flavor, this was like a sour cherry and definitely a chemical flavor. This one differed most from the hard candies I was used to.

Watermelon - oh, it’s like summer distilled into a strange pink chemical. Sweet, tart and floral all at once but not really much like the real stuff. But still good.

Apple - tart and appley with that distinct artificial taste, but completely faithful to the Jolly Rancher flavor.

Orange - as usual, my favorite. Tart and with a good citrus essence mixed with a completely middle-of-the-road Tang flavor. Satisfying.

The package warns that mouth irritation may result from the high “sour level” but I didn’t find them that sour at all. The flavors actually blended pretty well - you can pop an apple and watermelon in your mouth together or an orange and cherry and find a pleasant surprise. But they weren’t “Screamingly” sour in the slightest.

My biggest quarrel with these is that they go sticky very quickly. I don’t know if it was the insane heat of Los Angeles or that they just do that after the package has been opened. It doesn’t seem to have effected the flavor, except maybe they’ve bled together a smidge. But really, there’s nothing really compelling here. It’s not a true chew like a Starburst or a gummi or a jelly ... they’re just kind of soft and certainly not sour enough to warrant being called anything more than tangy jellies.

Name: Screaming Sours
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jolly Rancher (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: gift from Joz (thanks!)
Price: unknown
Size: 6.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Jelly, Sour, United States, Hershey

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:22 am     Comments (25)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mega Smarties

Everything’s better when it’s big!

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These are big Smarties. Yeah, there are two rolls of Smarties there in the picture. One is a regular sized roll and the other are the new gigantor Smarties.

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Each Mega Smartie is the same diameter as a quarter and tastes suspiciously like a regular Smartie. (Yes, those are Mega Smarties with regular Smarties on top to show scale ... Mega Smarties do not come with hats.)

Really, there’s very little difference except that for the first time I was able to taste the actual vague flavor of each of the Smarties colors. Not that there’s a lot of it. Not that I want a lot of flavor in my Smarties. They’re plesantly sweet and tart and dissolve quickly on the tongue. If I have any complaint with the Mega Smarties, it’s that they’re not quite as crumbly. There’s something so light and chalky about the demi-Smarties that allows them to enter the bloodstream instantly.

If there’s one thing to recommend Mega Smarties, it’s because they’re now in a single-serving package, you should be able to find them with other candy bars instead of in with the bulk and fun sized bags. I usually only pick up Smarties at Halloween, because that’s the easiest time to find them in the large bags ... see how clever they are!

(The weird thing is that I didn’t know what to call these. The label just refers to them as Smarties with no reference to the size. The Smarties.com website doesn’t say anything about Mega Smarties even existing.)

Name: Mega Smarties
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Smarties (Ce De Candies)
Place Purchased: Savon (Hollywood)
Price: $.50
Size: $2.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Sour, Ce De Candies, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:53 am     Comments (41)

Monday, July 17, 2006

M&M Shipwreck Treasure

I’ve never tried M&M minis before, and I figured the gimmicky Shipwreck Treasure mix was as good a reason as any to pick some up. The little plastic tube with a large flip top was brown with a slight woodgrain to it. The trick here is that the colors of the M&Ms are kind of oceany - blue, aqua and green.

imageThe green ones actually change color ... if you put them in your mouth and take them back out, it’ll be gold. Or so they say. I tried tossing them in a little glass of water and it seems to work.

They’re certainly cute and the little tube is a great way to carry them in a resealable container.

But I’m not that keen on them. The shell is thinner and not quite as crunchy, but still very sweet. Because of the small burst of chocolate, they didn’t seem as chocolatey.

Part of what you’re paying for here is the tube, which is cute and the EXACT size for storing quarters. If I still went to the laundromat or rode the bus, this would be very helpful.

The size is cute, but unnecessary unless you’re using them for cooking (I can see them going over much better in cookies than the traditional size) or some sort of decorative purpose.

These M&Ms are part of a marketing tie-in for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. I also reviewed the Pirate Pearls White Chocolate M&Ms.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  3. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  4. Cherry Almondine M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. M&M Pirate Pearls
  7. Darth M&Ms
Name: M&Ms Minis Shipwreck Treasure Mix
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: M&Ms (Mars)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.08 ounces
Calories per ounce: 139
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Mars, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:24 am     Comments (14)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tootsie Roll Mini Chews

I picked these up several months ago, the same time I got the Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies. I ate a few, and while they were fresh, they weren’t really stunning and I gave the rest of the package away.

When I was at the All Candy Expo, Tootsie really seemed to be pushing them, so I thought I’d give them another try.

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My first mistake was eating a Storck Chocolate Riesen before eating a Mini Chew ... how could a Tootsie Roll, chocolate coated or otherwise, ever measure up to the chocolatey perfection of a Riesen? Let me just say that it can’t.

The glossy little Mini Chews are certainly cute, though they look like some sort of pelletized animal feed.

The chocolate is sweet and smooth once you get past the food-grade shellac that makes them so shiny. They’re not very chocolatey, but certainly more complex than the Tootsie center.

The Tootsie centers were nice and soft, easy to chew and had a slightly chocolatey hit that never really reached that creamy state that you expect.

If anything, the chocolate coating makes it quite evident that a Tootsie roll is no substitute for chocolate. It tastes too much like cardboard. Watery cardboard.

However, if you set aside your expectations for a chocolate experience and come at Tootsie Rolls like they’re taffy or a chew, they’re pretty good. The best thing about Tootsie Rolls is their durability. With the summer months, I often look for a chocolate alternative because of the heat and Tootsies were often a solution. The Mini Chews probably won’t fit the bill because of the real chocolate though. If you’re dieting, they might be a good option - a little blast of chocolate, but not much in the way of fat. For me, I’m sticking to Orange Tootsie Pops as a Tootsie delivery device.

Name: Tootsie Roll Mini Chews
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Chew, United States, Tootsie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:03 am     Comments (6)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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