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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dagoba Dark Bars

Name: Roseberry, Lavender and Xocolatl
Brand: Dagoba
Place Purchased: Wild Oats
Price: $2.79 each
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Type: Chocolate

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I know it seems strange that I got this on the same trip as the dismal SunDrops, but it’s true. I tried the Dagoba Chai bar last spring and really enjoyed it. That was a milk chocolate bar and I was very interested in the more botanical and spice flavored bars, but alas, Whole Foods does not seem to carry them. So, the trip to Wild Oats was most fortunate in the end. All the bars contain 59% cocoa mass chocolate. It’s extra smooth and very buttery. The chocolate itself isn’t too sweet and is a nice backdrop for the flavor additions.

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Roseberry - Dark Chocolate, Raspberries & Rosehips. 59% cocoa mass chocolate. This was not one of the bars I was most interested in, but the concept of rosehips was rather intriguing. I used to try to eat rose hips when I was a kid because I’d heard they were good for you. Though they didn’t really taste very good. This bar has a wonderful fruity and flowery aroma. The raspberries provide a dash of zesty flavor. However, I found the raspberry seeds incredibly annoying. They’re big and when chewing or dissolving such a smooth bar, a big seed was a rather unpleasant finding.

Lavender - Dark Chocolate, Lavender & Blueberries. 59% cocoa mass chocolate. I’ve heard of a few lavender infused chocolates and even tried the New Tree Tranquility bar (which was milk chocolate) and still believed that there would be a better lavender chocolate bar out there. Well, this might be it. I was a little leary of the blueberries in the mix as I thought maybe they’d give the chocolate too much of a fruit punch flavor. Of the three I tried, this was by far my favorite. Where the Roseberry has gritty things in it, this bar is smooth through and through, with little chewy bits of blueberries. The lavender gives the bar a soft essence, a lingering top note that doesn’t overpower the smokey and woodsy flavors of the chocolate itself. Not sticky sweet or cloying, it’s just an incredibly pleasant bar with a good, slightly dry finish.

Xocalatl - dark chocolate, chilies & nibs. 74% cocoa mass chocolate. The darkest of the three bars, this one was much more chocolatey. Not quite as buttery, it still melted quickly and had a very nice flowery note at first, like orange blossoms. That quickly gives way to a peppery heat that sizzles on the tongue as the buttery chocolate melts away and brings out some very woodsy, earthy tones. The finish is slightly dry with some lingering plum notes and of course the warm burn in the throat. The most interesting part of this bar is that it contains no cinnamon. Most of the other “spicy” chocolate bars I’ve tried have cinnamon (and sometimes cloves) in them. What’s cool about this one is that it’s all New World spices (okay, maybe that’s not true ... seems there’s some nutmeg in there).

I am completely in love with Dagoba now and I want to try everything of theirs. However, at $2.79 for a 2 ounce bar, it’s freaking pricey stuff and I don’t plan on buying much of it anytime soon. I’m curious about their single origin line and there are still about 20 bars that I haven’t tried yet. Maybe I’ll splurge via mailorder on one of their tasting kits except for the fact that it’s more expensive on their website than in stores. Sigh. I need a corporate sponsor.

Rating - 9 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Chocolate Hellfire Chip Cookies
  2. Chuao ChocoPods
  3. Xocoatl 73.5%
  4. Green & Black’s Maya Gold
  5. Pumpkin Pie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am     All NaturalCandyReviewDagobaChocolateOrganic9-YummyUnited StatesComments (11)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ghirardelli Squares

Name: Ghirardelli Squares - Milk Chocolate with Carmelized Almonds
Brand: Ghirardelli
Place Purchased: Savon
Price: $2.00 (on clearance - usually $3.98)
Size: 6.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 144
Type: Chocolate/Nuts

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I couldn’t resist picking up this bag of sweet treats. I was originally plowing through the clearance table at the drug store because they had Hershey’s cookies for 50 cents a package (and it was one of the few times I’d seen the York ones) and I was hoping for some Halloween finds but then I thought, $2 bucks for Ghirardelli? I’ll take it!

I suspect that this flavor is being discontinued because it has no page of its own on the site (well, there’s a link, but the page has a 404 error on it). Anyway, these are cute little 1.75” squares of milk chocolate with little crunchy almond bits in it.

The milk chocolate is smooth and creamy, not too milky tasting but a bit sticky. The almonds are nicely roasted and have a good carmelized bite to them. Mellow and a little bit zippy, there are really nice little sweets to have around.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:54 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliChocolateNutsToffee8-TastyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (5)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Best Intentions: Sun Drops

Name: Sun Drops - Plain Milk & Peanut
Brand: Sun Spire
Place Purchased: Wild Oats
Price: $.79 (on sale)
Size: 1.19 ounces
Calories per ounce: 151
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts

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Here’s a perfectly good idea gone awry. There’s no reason there can’t be good, tasty, “natural” chocolate candies (I think that’s been proven more recently with things like Equal Exchange, Green & Black, Newman’s Own, etc.). This is an example of a weak candy line. Here’s why: First, the colors are dull and unappealing. They’re not colors that I want to eat (except for the yellow, they look like old-lady lipstick colors). They’re not strong or clean, they’re muddy looking and uneven. A grainy looking outside does not bode well for the inside.

The ingredients are basically sugar (natural with unsulfured molasses, blah, blah) then milk powder, then the chocolate ... that’s a long way down the list. And it shows in the final product. The addition of molasses is a little odd. It gives the whole thing a rather toasty burnt flavor, which I enjoy with my oatmeal but not in my chocolate. In fact, I can taste everything in these drops except for the chocolate. The powdered milk, overly sweet sugar and slightly grainy chocolate just combine for a depressing treat. The crunchy shell is too tough and again adds sweet without flavor and further distances me from any chocolately goodness. If it’s possible, the peanut ones tasted more like burnt sugar and milk powder.

With the same number of calories and fat as M&Ms, why am I eating these? I gave them to Amy to try and after much cajoling (because the package, colors and list of ingredients scared her off - and she was the one that wanted to go to Wild Oats on Saturday!) she did put one in her mouth. She chewed a couple of times and then spit it out in my trash can.

If you are a parent trying to find a wholesome treat for the kids, this isn’t it. It sets them up for a lifetime of disappointments, now that’s spoiling them. Just let them have some M&Ms in moderation (the Almond ones are actually not bad for you since the bulk of the candy is actually a very healthy nut). Or just let them have plain old semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dark chocolate really isn’t that bad as a food. Raisinettes? Really, anything but this. Don’t tease the poor kids by telling them this is candy.

Rating: 2 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:39 am     CandyReviewSunspireChocolatePeanuts2-AppallingUnited StatesComments (41)

Friday, November 18, 2005

York Chocolate Mint Truffle Pattie

Name: York Chocolate Mint Truffle Pattie
Brand: York (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Type: Chocolate

I have no idea how long these limited editions last. But I’m still seeing the Whopper’s bars in the 7-11 (I picked up three on this trip and I’m considering checking out CostCo to buy a whole box of them). York did a limited edition Pink Pattie this year too, but that wasn’t really a taste change, as they only made the center of the patties pink instead of white.

This is a different product.

First, I have to say that the Pattie that I got at the 7-11 was exceptionally fresh. The chocolate on the outside was smooth and glossy, the smell was minty with a hint of chocolately promise to it. The center of a York is usually a bit more crumbly, like fudge than it is like a truffle cream. The chocolate truffle pattie is no different. More mint than chocolate, it was much more mild than the traditional mint pattie center. Not quite chocolately, but a nice mellow taste to it. Almost like a brown sugar instead of a sweet white confectioners feel to it.

If you can get past to the promise of a truffle inside, it’s actually a really nice bar. The calorie count per ounce is pretty low for a chocolate candy, so if you’re on a diet and looking for a little treat, this might be very satisfying.

As for the difference from the regular pattie, well, it’s not substantial. If they stick around for a while, I’ll continue buying them. They’re a little creamier, a little mellower than a regular York.

Rating: 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:30 am     ReviewHershey'sChocolateDiscontinuedLimited EditionMints8-TastyUnited StatesComments (13)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nutrageous

Name: Nutrageous
Brand: Reese’s (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: Long’s Drugs
Price: $.33 (on sale)
Size: 1.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts/Caramel

Again I’m trying another Reese’s candy bar. I’m not sure why. I think Reese’s cups are pretty darn close to candy perfection. The Nutrageous bar adds whole nuts and caramel to that.

The bar, as the photo shows, is a center of peanut butter (which is more crumbly than creamy), which has a caramel stripe under it, then the whole thing is rolled in nuts and covered in milk chocolate. It’s a really satisfying, meaty bar. Not too sweet, a good hint of salt to it and some good textures. I don’t know why I haven’t tried this bar sooner. I prefer it far and away over a Snickers bar, which is a little too sticky sweet for me.

It’s still not a “go to” bar for me. I’ll still pick up a packet of Reese’s cups before this, unless I was really looking for a calorie charge with more protein in it. (Reese’s cups has 4 grams of protein, the Nutrageous has 6 grams.)

Rating - 7 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:12 am     ReviewHershey'sCaramelChocolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (16)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Snickers Cruncher

Name: Snickers Cruncher
Brand: Snickers (Mars)
Place Purchased: 7-11
Price: $.85
Size: 1.56 ounces
Calories per ounce: 141
Type: Chocolate/Peanuts/Crisp

I thought this was going to be a different bar. I was expecting it to be a regular Snickers bar but instead of just a chocolate enrobing, I thought that it would have crisped rice mixed in with the chocolate. (I didn’t really read the wrapper.) It’s not quite like that, as you can see from the photo.

Instead it’s a completely different bar. It’s crisped rice mixed with crunchy peanuts with a stripe of caramel on the top and then covered in sweet milk chocolate. Think a Hershey’s Whatchamacallit, only with whole peanuts in it.

It’s definitely crunchier and less sweet than a Snickers bar. It has an overall toffee taste to it because of the caramel and the nuts are very good (not gamey tasting like I’ve found in some cheap candy bars from time to time). It’s not as filling as a regular Snickers (you know they’re all about that “satisfying” thing). It felt lighter and left me wanting more (could be that it has 50 fewer calories). In fact, I’m probably more likely to buy this one than a regular Snickers in the future.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:07 am     ReviewSnickersMarsCaramelChocolateDiscontinuedNuts8-TastyUnited States

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tom’s Coconut Slice

Name: Coconut Slice
Brand: Tom’s
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99
Size: 6.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Type: Coconut

I’ve seen this a few times while in the 99 Cent Only store. My neighbor, Robin, won $99 worth of gift certificates to the store, so on our recent shopping trip I was a lot more adventurous with my choices (cuz it was really free).

The first think I have to say about these is that they’re really pretty. Some foods I just like because they’d make a nice sweater, scarf or piece of jewelry.

This candy is basically a coconut slab, kind of like a fruit rollup ... call it coconut leather. The different colored strips might actually be flavored. I detected a little bit of raspberry in the red stripe, but really couldn’t tell the difference between the yellow one and the white one.

The coconut is chewy and not too sweet. If you like coconut and don’t want to bother with all that other stuff like nuts and chocolate, this is the stuff for you. Two grams of fiber in each bar but it does contain about 5 grams of saturated fat (that’s the coconut oil).

Tom’s isn’t really known for their candies, more for their nuts and snacks. They seem like rather a niche company (based in Georgia) and I don’t often see their products here on the West Coast except for the nuts, and those are usually at convenience stores on the highway.

Rating: 6 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:22 am     CandyReviewCoconut6-TemptingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (15)

Monday, November 7, 2005

Reese’s Sticks

Name: Reese’s Sticks
Brand: Reese’s (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: Long’s Drugs
Price: $.33 (on sale)
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Type: Chocolate/Peanut Butter/Crisp

Years ago Hershey’s made an incredibly good candy bar that I miss very much called Bar None. That has very little to do with this candy bar, but I’d been meaning to mention it. It also had wafers. My grief over the loss of that bar kept me from trying this one for more than five years. (Okay, I really didn’t notice it until about a year ago.)

This package contains two wafer sticks with peanut butter cream filling then covered in milk chocolate. Another really pleasant surprise was that the candy looked EXACTLY like it was shown on the package. The wafers are crisp and substantial and the salty hit of peanut butter is immediate. These are not like a peanut butter KitKat at all, if that’s what you were thinking. The wafers are thicker and crunchier (instead of being crisp). The peanut butter filling is just peanut butter, no fancy creamy stuff and I’m not sure if there’s even any sugar at it (most of the sugar in the bar seems to be in the chocolate).

The crunch is nice and the twin bars are a nice, ample size. The paper tray keeps them intact (I really abuse my candy inside the package before I eat it). It’s very filling and the variation in textures (creamy sweet milk chocolate, crunchy wafers and salty smooth peanut butter) is really satisfying. There are four grams of protein in this candy.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:59 am     CandyReese'sReviewHershey'sReese'sChocolateCookiePeanuts8-TastyUnited States

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

 

 

 

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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