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Friday, January 27, 2012

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly BeansValentine’s Day is all about red. Red is the color of love and passion; candies for Valentine’s Day play upon the flavors that follow with red: cherry, strawberry, raspberry and cinnamon. The fruity flavors are usually easy to find, but cinnamon is a little less common.

I was excited to see this small bag of Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans for sale at Walgreen’s in their Valentine’s candy display. What does White Hot Red Hots actually mean? The package doesn’t say, but the little window shows that the small jelly beans come in two colors: red and a red speckled pink. Any additional questions could be answered for a mere buck.

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans

The beans are pretty and well made. They’re glossy, consistently shaped and I appreciated that the bag was sized appropriately for the amount of candy actually in it. (Sometimes bags are absurdly large but have very little candy in them.)

The white hot part, I think, means that these are very spicy cinnamon. Red Hots is just a brand of cinnamon imperials made by Ferrara Pan.


They’re a little larger than a Jelly Belly but smaller than the classic pectin bean. (Shown above with a Tic Tac.)

They are actually very spicy. I just ate a bag of Hot Tamales last week and I can confirm that these are just slightly hotter than those. The shape is good, it’s small and packs a powerful cinnamon punch. There’s a slight clove note to them and every once in a while I also got a little whiff of artificial watermelon, which may just be a manufacturing thing.

I liked them. It was easy to just pop a few as both a pick-me-up and a little breath freshener. They go well with coffee or tea. I’d definitely pick these up again especially because I like the smaller sized bag. Ferrara Pan already makes Lemonheads & Friends Jelly Beans but I would be curious to try a standard spice flavor array or maybe a mint blend. (Ferrara Pan is known for their Lemonhead and Atomic Fireballs, but they also do a lot of contract manufacturing for house brands and other major candy companies, so chance are you’ve had their jelly beans before.)

They’re made with confectioners glaze, so they’re not considered vegetarian (though there’s no carmine in there). They’re made in equipment that also processes dairy, soy, tree nuts and peanuts. No mention of wheat/gluten but “modified food starch” is listed as an ingredient without any indication of the source.

Related Candies

  1. Valentine’s Day Candy Spotting 2011
  2. Mentos Cinnamon
  3. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  4. Heide Red Hot Dollars
  5. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  6. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  7. Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
  8. Chewy Lemonheads & Atomic Fireballs
  9. Atomic Fireballs

Name: White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Union Square, San Francisco)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Ferrara Pan, Cinnamon, Jelly Candy, 8-Tasty, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:50 am     CandyReviewValentinesFerrara PanCinnamonJelly Candy8-TastyUnited StatesWalgreen's

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tootsie Roll Raspberry Cremes

I found this box of Tootsie Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes in with the Valentine’s candy at Walgreen’s, but I don’t see why this is a seasonal item and it doesn’t say that it’s Limited Edition.

Tootsie Roll Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes

The box says that there’s Delight in each bite!. The design is, well, odd and out of place. There’s a little Tootsie logo in the corner, but I never really think of Tootsie when I think of Junior Mints, which is a similar product.

Tootsie Roll Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes

They look just like Junior Mints. They’re same size and shape and have the same deep dark chocolate shell with a glossy shine. They smell, well, like perfume made for fashion dolls. It’s a floral raspberry but has a soft fake vanilla note to it as well.

The chocolate is thin but has a crisp crunch to it and protects the gooey innards very well. The raspberry flavor is all sweetness and floral artificiality. It’s an interesting mix, the chocolate is not very strong, but has a decent cocoa punch. The fondant is sticky and sweet, and a little grainy like a frosting or glazed donut might be.

They were intriguing, but not compelling for me. The raspberry wasn’t overpowering but also didn’t wow me much. I like the idea of other flavored centers for Junior Mints, like orange or chocolate or maybe maple. I’m sure some folks are going to absolutely love these. If I were making them though, I probably would just keep them as a seasonal item.

Raspberry Cremes are made in a peanut free and gluten free facility. (The do contain soy, eggs and dairy.)

Related Candies

  1. Zingerman’s Zzang! Wowza Raspberry Bar
  2. Junior Fruit Cremes
  3. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry
  4. Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch
  5. Mountain - Regular & Raspberry
  6. Junior Mints - Heart Shaped

Name: Raspberry Cremes
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Tootsie, Chocolate, Fondant, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:23 pm     CandyReviewValentinesTootsieChocolateFondant6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen's

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Die Besten von Ferrero: Mon Cheri, Kusschen & Rondnoir

Die Besten von FerreroWhile in Germany a couple of weeks ago I scoured the store candy aisle for products that were either unique or perhaps just like ones we get in the United States. I was excited to find this boxed selection in an Aldi Süd market in Cologne called Die Besten von Ferrero. It’s a dark chocolate mix of the best of Ferrero, makers of the famous Ferrero Rocher. This mix contains a luxurious sampling of their dark chocolate items: Dunkel Kusschen (10x), Mon Cheri (10x) and Rondnoir (6x).

The exciting part for me was twofold. First, I’ve never had the European version of Mon Cheri (more on that later) and second, that I found the Küsschen in the new dark chocolate version.

Die Besten von Ferrero

The box was nicely organized and though it felt like a bit of over-packaging from the viewpoint of someone who had to lug everything back to the States on the train/plane, it did the job very well. Each little compartment held its pieces in place. The whole box was shrink-wrapped, each piece was individually wrapped and the Mon Cheri has an additional sealed, plastic sleeve. All emerged un-scuffed and shiny. The package says that it’s a limited edition item, but it’s just this assortment and format, each of the items are available independently.

A few years ago I reviewed the American version of the Mon Cheri. It was a little nugget of milk chocolate filled with crushed hazelnuts and a hazelnut paste. People loved it, but it was confusing because in Europe the Mon Cheri is actually a liquored up cherry in dark chocolate. Slowly the hazelnut Mon Cheri disappeared from American stores. However, I noticed overseas that there was a product that was like the American version, the Küsschen. The Küsschen was introduced in 1968 but this dark chocolate version is a little more recent.

Ferrero Kusschen

The Küsschen wrapper is a light paper foil with the name clearly marked (though hard to tell from the milk version) and a little image of the candy on the front with some hazelnuts.

The Küsschen is a little piece, about the same size as the Mon Cheri or Pocket Coffee. It’s a hard chocolate shell filled with a thick, nutty chocolate cream filled with crushed hazelnuts and a whole nut at the center. It’s exactly one inch wide at the base and about 2/3 of an inch high.

Ferrero Kusschen

The piece smells much sweeter than it actually is. The scent is a combination of hot cocoa and dark roasted hazelnuts. The bite is crisp; there are a lot of crunchy nut pieces in the filling. The filling, however, is not like I would have expected. I thought it would be a bit of a Perugina Baci clone. Instead the center isn’t sticky or sweet, just a bit of a firm ganache type filling. The nuts take front and center, and by center I mean the middle of the piece is one large, perfectly roasted hazelnut. It’s crunchy and has wonderful toffee and pecan notes with no fibery chew that I get sometimes with the Oregon variety. The filling is airy, which promotes the hazelnut flavors mixing with the dark chocolate shell. The chocolate is smooth with a light bitter trace to it.

Overall, a not-too-sweet and satisfying little nugget.

Ferrero Mon Cheri

The Mon Cheri was a bit of a mystery to me. As far as I knew, it was a cherry centered chocolate candy. There was no need for me to try it, because I knew what it was, something that by its very conception and design was not something I could like.

Each piece is a similar format to the Ferrero Pocket Coffee (in fact, I think they use the same mold). It’s a whole cherry and some liqueur encased in a dark chocolate shell. They’re wrapped in foil and an extra piece of clear cellophane. (I bought them once before last year and was disappointed to find them either oozing a grainy syrup or looking a bit hollow so I never even bothered to photograph them.)

Ferrero Mon Cheri

The pieces are messy if you’re the type who likes to bite things open, then place them on a table to shoot with a camera. In fact, I recommend not biting them unless the whole thing is in your mouth.

The cherry is firm and crunchy, with an authentic Bing or Rainier cherry flavor. It’s tart and sweet with some deep raisin or fig notes. But the part that sells it is the liquor. This isn’t just a dash of the stuff or something within a sticky fondant. This liquor syrup is, well, all liquored up. There’s a slight alcoholic burn with some light rum notes to it. (The package and Ferrero website don’t specify the alcohol type.)

I loved the combination, the cherry brings a fruity sweetness, the chocolate has a creamy and slightly dry finish while the liquor syrup give it a decadent appeal of a cocktail. I’m not a big fan of harsh spirits (though I love a really herby Gin and Tonic sometimes) but there’s something about what a liquor does when it infuses a piece of real fruit.

Ferrero RondnoirI reviewed the Ferrero Rondnoir when it was first introduced in the United States in 2007.

At its heart is a small dark chocolate pearl floating in a mass of chocolate paste inside a crunchy wafer shell. That is covered in a crispy chocolate sprinkling. They’re wrapped in an elegant, textured brown foil and packaged in a little fluted cup.

I see them sold in the US, unlike the other two components to this box, at drug stores and discount chains like Target or KMart. They come in a little single serve package of three or in full boxes and sometimes in mixes, especially around the holidays.

Ferrero Rondnoir

As I’ve already reviewed them, this is just a little review for myself to confirm that they’re not only a unique product, they’re also quite tasty. In fact, I think my original review pegged them as tasty (8 out of 10) but I’m upgrading them to yummy (9 out of 10). That could just be the liquor talking though.

I feel like Ferrero is preparing to release the Küsschen in the United States, though I have nothing more to go on than the fact that they discontinued the hazelnut Mon Cheri. The big issue would be to find a name for it that doesn’t require an umlaut or resonates more with Americans. The fact that it means little kiss might be a trademark issue because of both the Hershey’s Kiss and possibly the Italian Perugina Baci (also means kiss).

This was the perfect sort of box of chocolates for me. It contained adventure (I tried something new), tried and true comfort and a conclusion to the search for a replacement for a discontinued product. The fact that they’re also all dark chocolate and less sweet than some other Ferrero products was a bonus for me. Some of these assortments can be purchased online as well as in Duty Free shops at airports around the world - the family of Ferrero Rocher products are quite popular in Asia.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights
  2. Hachez Edel Vollmilch Nuss (Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts)
  3. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites
  4. Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn
  5. Ferrero Rocher
  6. Ferrero Mon Cheri
  7. Baci Bar

Name: Die Besten von Ferrero
Brand: Ferrero
Place Purchased: Aldi Sud (Cologne, Germany)
Price: $8.00 (5.99 Euro)
Size: 8.96 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: Candy, Ferrero, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 9-Yummy, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:34 pm     CandyReviewValentinesFerreroAlcoholChocolateCookieLimited EditionNuts9-YummyGermany

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats

Brach's Cherry Cordial NougatsBrach’s makes a wide assortment of classic nougats. They’re probably best known for the little block of white nougat that has the jelly bits in it, but what I appreciate are the hand-crafted icon nougats. They make them for Christmas where the center of the nougat is a tree or snowman. For Valentines Day the Peppermint Nougats have a heart inside.

Also for Valentine’s Day Brach’s (now part of Farley’s and Sathers) makes a Cherry Cordial Nougat. The bag was quite a good deal, at only $1.00 for 12 ounces of candy. The package says that the candy combines two favorite tastes to create the perfect treat, chocolate and cherry.

Brach's Cherry Cordial Nougats

Since I’m not a cherry lover, it’s hard for me to say anything more than this: If Hasbro made Cherry Play Doh, this is what would come out of the Fuzzy Pumpers Candy Shop. They smell like maraschino cherries that have been marinating in the ink that goes in Dry Erase Markers. The texture is soft and less grain than I imagine Play Doh actually is, but just as maleable.

They’re lovely to look at, but they smell disgusting and for me, they taste even worse. The cherry flavor combined with the faint hint of cocoa and the red food coloring aftertaste is just too much for me. I think the other nougats Brach’s make are great, but these are a huge miss for me.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  2. CVS Marshmallow Pop
  3. Brach’s Peanut Butter and Caramel Pumpkins
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs

Name: cherry cordial nougats
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 103
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Chews, 2-Appalling, Mexico, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:52 pm     CandyValentinesBrach'sFarley's & SathersChews2-AppallingMexico99 Cent Only Store

Brach’s Conversation Hearts

Brach's Conversation HeartsWith the news that Necco changed its classic Necco Sweethearts (more coverage here) in 2010, I found that Brach’s version more ubiquitous in 2011 on store shelves.

The package is bright red and easy to distinguish from the pastel-princess mess of the Necco reboot. I picked up the Brach’s Small Conversation Hearts at the Dollar Tree for a dollar for an eight ounce bag. The ingredients are similar, a sugar and dextrose (glucose) paste held together with a bit of gelatin and oodles of artificial colors.

Brach's Conversation Hearts

The mottoes I noticed: Luv Me, You Rock, U Go Girl, Ask Me, Hello, Got Love? So Fine, Good Bye, I [heart] You, Be True, So Fine, E-Mail Me, Dare Ya and the ultra romantic, Hey You.

The pieces are well made, I found very few duds in the package - all thick and consistent. The printing was a little blurry on some but mostly readable, except for the low contrast pink on pink.

The flavors are pleasantly indistinct. I could tell the orange ones were a creamsicle orange flavor. The yellow ones might have been banana, but maybe a really bland lemon. The pink were slightly like the seashore (a mixture of cheap flip-flops and Old Bay crab boil and the burning taste you get when sunscreen gets in your eyes). The purple and green were too bland for me to tell apart in a dark room. The white was the comforting flavor of mint toothpaste you find in the corner of your mouth before lunchtime. The texture is smooth and not quite crunchy, though still very firm.

If you were a fan of the original Sweethearts and can’t find them, these are as close as you’re likely to find. But if you never liked either, there’s no reason to try these, they do nothing for the category except look cute. So basically, a nice decorative candy, but perhaps not for eating unless you’re trying to bring your blood sugar up.

They’re made in Argentina and produced on shared equipment with milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Necco Sweethearts Twilight Fire & Ice
  2. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  3. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  4. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  6. SweeTart Hearts

Name: Small Conversation Hearts
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Compressed Dextrose, 4-Benign, Argentina, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:13 pm     CandyValentinesBrach'sFarley's & SathersCompressed Dextrose4-BenignArgentinaDollar Tree

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine’s Day Candy Spotting 2011

There appeared to be fewer new Valentine’s candy introductions in 2011, but many of the tried and true favorites are back on store shelves. Here’s a look at what I’ve been able to find:

Necco Sweethearts - Real Heart
The biggest news in Valentine’s Candy this year continues to be about Necco Sweethearts and Conversation Hearts.

In 2010 Necco introduced their new packaging, flavors and colors for the classic Sweethearts. (See the comparison of the two here.) This year the classic version was to return, though sold only at discount stores. The only confirmed sighting of the candy is at Family Dollar. Frustrated lovers of the classic version are turning to eBay and message boards to purchase the limited supplies.

3 Musketeers Cherry


Dove Promises are available in several different variety packages in both Valentine’s themes and the standard colors.
Dove Dark Chocolate Cherry Swirl Promises (also available in bar form) are brand new for 2011. They feature, as the name sames, a swirl of dark chocolate with a cherry flavored white chocolate.
3 Musketeers Cherry (original review) returns again as a seasonal edition. Available only in minis, the bright mylar packaging features little love sayings on them.
Life Savers Valentine’s Mix - individually wrapped pieces in the oh, so romantic flavors: Fruit Punch, Cherry & Pineapple

Heart Shaped Junior Mints


Heart Shaped Junior Mints (original review)
Valentines Tootsie Rolls
Cherry Tootsie Pops - just one flavor in a bag
Dark Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cremes (like Junior Mints but with a pink raspberry fondant center)
Valentine Dots (cherry and vanilla and passion fruit and vanilla Dots)

SweeTart Hearts

Nestle & Wonka

SweeTart Hearts (original review)
Gobstoppers Heart Breakers (very hard to find, usually in bulk online)
Nestle Butterfinger Heart (milk chocolate with chips of Butterfinger center mixed in)
Nestle Crunch Hearts

Hershey's Heart's Desire


Reese’s Hearts (foil wrapped molded hearts filled with Reese’s peanut butter - original review)
Reese’s Valentine’s Hearts - like the Reese’s Egg only vaguely heart shaped
Cherry Cordial Kisses
Hugs & Kisses - a mix of regular chocolate Kisses, Almond Kisses and Hugs (swirl of white confection & milk chocolate)
3 Lb Solid Milk Chocolate Heart (it doesn’t say “I Love You” on it, just Hershey’s)
Marshmallow Hearts (review of Halloween version)

Trader Joe's Truffle Hearts

Trader Joe’s

Dark Chocolate Truffle Hearts (original review)
Gummy Tummy Hearts (like the Gummy Tummy Penguins but only in the Cherry flavor - review of those)
Rabitos Royale (original review) - chocolate covered brandied figs
Belgian Chocolate Mix Box (I haven’t purchased this particular assortment of Belgian chocolates, but nearly all of Trader Joe’s picks have been good ones)

Cinnamon Hearts


Cherry JuJu Hearts
Cinnamon Jelly Hearts  (original review)
Cherry Cordial Nougats
Peppermint Valentine’s Nougats (review of Christmas version)
Conversation Hearts (large & small)

Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Bears

Just Born

PEEPS Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts - I have not actually seen these in any store.
PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Bears (original review)
PEEPS Pink Marshmallow Hearts and PEEPS I (heart) U
PEEPS Vanilla Creme Hearts
PEEPS Strawberry Creme Hearts

Jelly Belly Love Potion

Jelly Belly

Conversation Beans (original review)
Deluxe Valentine’s Mix - a combination of pink, red & white jelly beans and mellocreams and gummy hearts
Jelly Belly Valentine’s Jelly Bean Mix (original review) featuring Bubble Gum, Coconut, Cotton Candy, Strawberry Cheesecake and Very Cherry

Russell Stover Heart

Russell Stover

Heart Shaped Boxes (original review)
Truffle Heart (some egg reviews)
Marshmallow Heart (review of the rabbit versions)
Strawberry Cream Heart
Caramel Heart
Peanut Butter filled Heart
Coconut Cream Heart

Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry

Other Items of Interest

See’s has Cinnamon Hearts and Cinnamon Pops again. (original review)

Elmer’s Chocolate  boxes (original review) are back on store shelves

Lindt Lindor Truffles Limited Edition - Milk Chocolate with a Smooth White Filling

Ghiradelli Luxe Milk squares selection in Valentine’s packaging (original review)

Ferrara Milk Chocolate Strawberry Ball (original review) the twist here is that the segments have little love messages on them.

Gimbal’s Honey Lovers and Cherry Lovers jelly bean heart mixes - not strictly Valentine’s day, but certainly appropriate (Cherry & Honey reviews)

Heather from Candy Addict also has a candy shopping roundup for 2011.

So what are you seeing on store shelves, or maybe not seeing this year? What are your tried & true favorites?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     CandyValentinesHighlightShopping

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers

Gimbal's Cherry LoversI’m the wrong person to review the new Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers but I’ll do my best.

I’m not generally keen on cherry flavors, but I do love real cherries and I’m generally a fan of Gimbal’s products. This bag of little heart shaped jelly bean type objects boast nine different cherry flavors plus vitamin C and real cherry juice. Gimbal’s makes their candies in the USA in a factory that’s Kosher, peanut free, tree nut free, dairy free, gluten free, gelatin free and soy free. So for allergic folks these are pretty special. (Sorry vegans, though the colors are artificial they do use beeswax and confectioners glaze.)

Gimbal's Cherry Lovers

They’re drop dead gorgeous. A riot of reds, pinks and purples they seem to go beyond the frilly satin hearts of the season. They’re a little rustic because each heart is unique and not quite perfect.

Wild Cherry - plain red - you know, cherry. Tart, sweet, floral and deep woodsy notes. But not quite that good. The medicine flavors are kept pretty faint here.

Cherry Vanilla - white with red speckles - like a cherry marshmallow, mostly a soft flavor with a strong fake vanilla flavor to it. Pretty much pleasant.

Black Cherry - deep red - tastes mostly like red. The cherry flavor is pretty intense as far as these hearts go, more on the woodsy side compared to the Bing Cherry.

Chocolate Cherry - brown - oh, this is quite a tragic flavor, not quite cherry and mostly empty cocoa flavors. It’s like a very bad Cherry Tootsie Pop.

Cherry Cheesecake - pink with red speckles - a tangier version of the Cherry Vanilla, this one had a yogurty twang to it and but still a marshmallowy flavor.

Cherry Daiquiri - deep pink with red speckles - this one was rather fun, kind of a lime and vanilla with a hint of cherry cough syrup. A little bit like aftershave though.

Bing Cherry - lighter red -  Tangy and sweet, a well rounded cherry flavor. A little chemical aftertaste from the food colorings, but about as good as the Jelly Belly I usually avoid.

Cherry Cola - dark red - at first I liked the cherry cola, because it tasted like cola, even had a weird effervescent quality to it (maybe that was just the tangy part playing with my mind) but then the cherry kicked in and ruined it for me. But that’s just me.

Kiwi Cherry - pink with green speckles - this was just terrible. Maybe it’s because I had a recent run in with fresh Durian, but I just couldn’t get that out of my head when it came to this one. The kiwi flavors were more like melon and onions than kiwi, though the cherry seemed about average.

The didn’t do a thing for me. The colors were pretty, the shapes and distinctiveness of the flavors was actually pretty good. But I wouldn’t consider these a breakthrough candy so I found it odd that the National Confectionery Sales Association awarded Cherry Lovers best new Premium/Gourmet product:

In six categories, the winners were: Chocolate, The Hershey Co.‘s Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups; Licensed/Limited, New England Confectionery Co.‘s Twilight Series; Non-Chocolate, Ferrara Pan Candy Co.‘s Chewy Lemonhead & Friends; Premium/Gourmet, Gimbal’s Fine Candies’ Cherry Lovers; Snacks, Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc.‘s Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches; and Seasonal, Maxim Manufacturing & Marketing’s Easter Gummies.

Robby at Candy Addict had a better opinion of these. I’ll just consider them very pretty Valentine’s decorations in a bowl.

Related Candies

  1. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  2. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  3. Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans
  4. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry
  5. Gimbal’s Lavaballs
  6. Pop Rocks Cherry Cola
Name: Cherry Lovers
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Gimbal's Candy
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: unknown
Size: 11.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Gimbal's Candy, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:15 pm    

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Hearts

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle fillingIf the statistics braniacs are correct, you’re less likely to receive chocolate this year than a year when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. This is because the major heart-shaped confectionery purchasers are men and when the holiday falls on a weekend the celebrations are more likely to be date-related than object-related.

I picked up this box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Hearts with Rich Truffle Filling on a weekend (long before Valentine’s Day though). The box holds 7.05 ounces and 16 Belgian truffles. Well, the package calls them truffles, I’m not convinced as you’ll see in a moment.

The flat and simple box has a stylized cartoonish design on the front though the overall format is similar to the Belgian Fancies I bought before Christmas.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle filling

I like the overall design, it’s simple and spare and not so precious or frilly that it couldn’t work for either gender or as a gift between friends or family.  The box does and excellent job of protecting the candies, which were all shiny and flawless.

Trader Joe's Truffle Hearts

The hearts are nicely sized for a single bite. They’re about one and a half inches at the widest, about three quarters of an inch high.

The ingredients list for these non-flavored bonbons is extremely long. In my perfect world the definitions of things like ganache and truffle are pretty strict. A truffle is chocolate mixed with extra dairy fats like butter or cream. That’s it. There can be flavorings, inclusions and maybe even nut butters but then it becomes a bonbon with a truffle ganache base filling. The Belgian maker of these has things in here like corn syrup (third ingredient) vegetable oils (fourth ingredient) and some other things like glycerin, crystalline fructose, mono & diglycerides and citric acid.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with truffle fillingThe result of those ingredients is not so much of a mock ganache but something that I think of as really good chocolate frosting. The thing is, the reason to put all that extra fat into ganache is to make the melting point lower, so that it actually melts in your mouth quicker than chocolate. (Cocoa butter has a higher melting point than dairy butter.) Putting all those different oils in there just isn’t the same and things like corn syrup add moisture, which makes it chewy and gives it an almost-caramel like pull when it’s bitten.

Now, all that aside, they’re not bad to eat. The chocolate shell is rather sweet but very smooth. The flavors are berry and a little bit on the woodsy spice side. The semi-sweet shell plays well with the very sweet center. There’s a slight fudginess to it, I hesitate calling it a graininess but it simply tastes sugary instead of chocolatey. For a store bought box of chocolates, they’re not bad, but at $5 for a box I expect a little better. In fact, I wouldn’t mind paying an extra dollar for fewer ingredients and a more intense chocolate punch.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Belgian Chocolate Fancies
  2. Valerie Confections: Pour Homme and Pour Elle
  3. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  4. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  5. Choxie 3 Ounce Chocolate Bars
  6. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
Name: Dark Chocolate Hearts
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Chocolate, Belgium, Trader Joe's, Valentine's Day

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:36 am    

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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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Candy Season Ends

-379 days

Read previous coverage



Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter




These candies will be reviewed shortly: