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Walgreen's

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & Friends

Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & FriendsClassic Lemonheads are one of my favorite candies. Even though I have to eat a huge variety of new to me candy for the blog on a regular basis, I still find a bit of room to indulge in Lemonheads from time to time.

There’s nothing else like the line of candies - a hard and mildly flavored candy core covered with a grainy and intensely flavored coating then a shiny coat.

A couple of years ago Ferrara Pan expanded the line with their Chewy Lemonheads. They’re kind of an amped up jelly bean. A chewy jelly center with the same grainy and blisteringly sour layer covered in a light shell. They came in the same flavors we were accustomed to with the Lemonheads and Friends.

Now Ferrara Pan is mixing it up again with new flavors, this time only in the Chewy line with their Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & Friends.

Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & Friends

It’s an odd name, and kind of misleading. There are no Lemonheads (there are pink-lemonade-heads though) in here, now the name has become a brand and shorthand for a whole line of candies.

The unique proposition here is that there are two flavors in each piece. The shell is one flavor and the core is another. (Sounds kind of like Skittles Crazy Cores, doesn’t it?)

The flavors are Kiwi-Strawberry, Peach-Mango, Berry-Banana, Cherry-Watermelon and Pink Lemonade-Lemonade. The colors are muted and tropical, definitely different at a glance from the regular Lemonheads which are far brighter.

Berry BananaBerry-Banana

This blue shell is almost aqua and the inside is supposed to be yellow according to the key on the box, but it’s more green to me.

The shell is that blue raspberry flavor that was invented by confectioners and has little relation to any real fruit flavor. There’s no tangy layer between the shell and the jelly center. So it’s a sweet berry outside with a mild banana inside. It’s pleasant enough and did start off the tasting with a tropical bent.

Kiwi StrawberryKiwi-Strawberry

The shell is medium green and the center is a light red.

The outside doesn’t taste like much, but there is a pleasant tangy pop between the layers on most of them (some were just all sweet). The strawberry center is floral and tasted a little like cotton candy. It’s mostly an inoffensive piece of candy. Not intense but just a little more interesting than a standard fruity jelly bean.

Cherry WatermelonCherry-Watermelon

The red shell on this one has a lighter pink center. (A green shell with a red center would have been rather more like a watermelon though.)

The red is intense and bright and the cherry flavor is strong and medicinal without the robust sour cherry note that I was hoping for. (There was also that bitter aftertaste from the food coloring.)

Pink Lemonade LemonadePink Lemonade - Lemonade

Pink on the outside and yellow on the inside.

I don’t really know what pink lemonade is, most of the time it’s just lemonade with a dash of red food coloring, though I think classically it’s lemonade with strawberries. In this instance I think it’s the former. The outside is just a little bit lemony and the tangy layer is, well, only slightly tangy. The center does have a little lemon zest to it. All this really does is make me want a Lemonhead. As far as I’m concerned the Pink Lemonade-Lemonade Chewy Lemonhead is for wusses who can’t handle the real thing.

Peach MangoPeach-Mango

The outside is a great peachy orange color. The center is green.

Experience has taught me that I’m rarely pleased with peach or mango flavored candies. It’s not that I don’t love peaches or mangoes, but they’re very hard flavors to duplicate. Probably because so much of their flavor also depends on the texture. In this case the flavors are quite mild but passable. The peach outside is sweet and like canned peaches (lacking that balsam note that some candies try to include). The inside is a little more woodsy and green tasting, a little grassy and a little like pine. I can’t say I loved the, but I didn’t pick around them as much as the cherry.

Tropical Chewy Lemonhead & FriendsThe flavor variety isn’t quite what I’d call tropical. At the very least I expected some pineapple. Strawberries are definitely not a tropical fruit, nor are those blue raspberries. Watermelon? Nope.

I read a lot of other reviews on these when they first came out (I finally found them in stores here in California earlier this month) and I have to wonder if they punched them up recently. Or maybe they’re just plain inoffensive and I’m not angling for a fight. Because Mr. Lemonhead is my bestest lifelong friend.

Related Candies

  1. Short & Sweet: Tropical Flavors
  2. Chewy Lemonheads & Atomic Fireballs
  3. Starburst Baja California & Tropical
  4. The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads
  5. Narbles
Name: Tropical Chewy Lemonheads & Friends
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.25
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Jelly, United States, Ferrara Pan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:11 am     Comments (8)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown

Cookies 'n' CremeAt the Walgreen’s I noticed a new set of bars far down on the bottom shelf in the candy aisle. They’re simply called 3 for $1 Buck (which seems redundant, three for one dollar buck bar?). They’re Proudly manufactured in the USA by R.M. Palmer. I picked out one of each and today I thought I’d do a head to head comparison between one of them, called Cookies ‘n’ Creme.

Of course the best known Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar is made by Hershey’s. It was introduced in 1994 and for a long time was made with real cocoa butter so it was a white chocolate product. Now it’s made with a white confection so a good item to do a match up with the Palmer version.

Each bar is a white confection (a mix of vegetable oils, milk & sugar) studded with chocolate cookie bits ... the whole effect is like Oreos in ice cream at room temperature.

Hershey's & R.M. Palmer Cookies 'n' Creme

Ingredients for Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme (1.55 ounce)

Ingredients: sugar, vegetable oil, (cocoa butter, palm shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), non fat milk, enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), corn syrup solids, milk fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soy bean and/or cottonseed oil), cocoa pressed with alkali, contains 2% or less of whey, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, sodium bicarbonate, salt, natural & artificial flavoring, caramel color

Ingredients for R.M. Palmer 3 for $1 Buck Bar Cookies ‘n’ Creme (1.45 ounce)

Sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel and/or palm), cookies (made with bleached wheat flour, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, palm oil, corn syrup, corn flour, soy lecithin, baking soda, salt, natural and artificial flavors), whole milk, skim milk, soy lecithin, vanillin.

Hershey's & R.M. Palmer Cookies 'n' Creme

The Hershey’s bar is formatted just like the regular Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. 12 rectangles make it easy to snap & share. The ingredients aren’t quite as good as the pure white chocolate they used to use, but this is still a distinctive bar of decent quality.

It smells quite a bit like ice cream. The melt is rather smooth and cloyingly sweet. The cookie bits are jam packed in there, you can see from the flipside view that they’re little cookie pellets so there aren’t a lot of little crumbs, just real crunch & toasty chocolate flavor. It has a good bit of salt to it (110mg) so it helps the vanilla and chocolate flavors pop.

The Palmer version is a nice long, domed format. It’s a little lighter in color compared to the Hershey’s version. Even though it weights a tenth of an ounce less it has the same number of calories (220) and one more gram of fat (12 g).

It’s immediately sweet, but has a good, cool melt on the tongue. I didn’t get as much in the way of milky flavors from it but a fun fake vanilla that reminded me of taffy. There really weren’t that many cookie bits, which was disappointing, especially since I figured those were the cheapest ingredient in the whole thing.

Overall it was far too sweet, even statistically I can tell: Hershey’s has 19 g of sugars & Palmer has 24 g ... and remember, Palmer’s is smaller.

There’s really no comparison, the Hershey’s is a well rounded white confection with a dark chocolate cookie crunch. The Palmer is just a cheap sweet and fatty imitation. If the Palmer price tag is too much of a temptation, wait until the Hershey’s come on sale.

They’re both Kosher and both made in the USA.

Related Candies

  1. Chuao Chocolate Blocks from LEGOLAND
  2. R.M. Palmer Quax - The Yummy Ducky
  3. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate
  4. Toblerone Single Peaks
  5. Lotte Crunky
  6. Palmer Milk Chocolate Balls
  7. Green and Black’s White Chocolate
Name: Cookies 'n' Creme
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's & R.M. Palmer
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.69 & $.33
Size: 1.55 ounces & 1.45 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142 & 152
Categories: White Chocolate, Cookie, United States, Hershey's, R. M. Palmer, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:15 am     Comments (6)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old Dominion Brittle

Old Dominion BrittleNut brittle is an incredibly simple candy but at the same time completely flexible to adaptations.

The most basic ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and baking soda. There’s no butter in it, like toffee and just about any kind of nuts or snack seeds can be added.

The crunch of brittle is provided by both the hardened sugar (which is made airy by the use of baking soda added just as the boiling mixture is removed from the heat) and the use of fresh nuts.

Most nut brittles are served in a rustic fashion. Big sheets of the candy are broken into little bits and planks.

I found Old Dominion brittle at the drug store and was intrigued. First of all, it’s all natural ... no coloring, no preservatives. Second, Old Dominion is a peanut company and they’ve been around for 95 years, so they must be doing something right. Third, the stuff was cheap.

I picked up two boxes. The Cashew Brittle was only 99 cents at Rite Aid and the Peanut Brittle was $1.69 ... but was twice the weight of the cashew.

Old Dominion Peanut Brittle

The box seemed a little big for the amount of candy in it. But it was well packaged inside with an oversized & thick mylar pouch.

Inside the planks, slivers & pieces clank pleasantly, kind of like poker chips.

It definitely smells like toasted peanuts. Glancing at the pieces though they don’t have as many peanuts as I would have hoped, there’s a lot more brittle than peanut.

The candy has a fresh and crunchy bite - there’s a slight foamy lightness to it. It’s just a little salty, a bit buttery tasting. The nuts are small, like those Virginia Red-skinned peanuts. I ate about half the bag and got only one bad nut, and that one was just overtoasted. Yes, I would have preferred more nuts, but considering the price,  it was a pretty good deal for a fresh & natural product.

Old Dominion Cashew Brittle

I thought this would be a straight swap of cashews for peanuts but it’s actually not. The ingredients list butter (though rather far down on the list) and the color is just a bit lighter. It smells buttery and a little grassy like cashews often do.

I love cashews and all of these were sweet & crunchy. It’s fun to see someone making an affordable cashew candy.

The pieces were a little light on the cashews, but the candy part was still crunchy & fun without them. It tastes just a little saltier, which seems to offset the sweetness of the cashews themselves. I really can’t complain about it at all ... it’s a quarter pound of good quality candy for only a buck.

I liked the design of the boxes, classic and accurate in their depiction of the product ... well, maybe the pictures make it look like there are more nuts. I might have preferred a zip locked bag inside, but I usually have extras around and just tuck them into those to keep them from getting sticky from ambient moisture. It’s a little hard to see because it’s just emboss/stamped into the end of the box, but they do list a “best by” date.

The calories listed for the peanut brittle are 180 per 30 grams (a little over 1 ounce). This makes no sense to me, even one ounce of peanuts is only 160 calories ... so I think there’s a typo. The cashew package says 130 calories, which seems about right for a product that’s mostly sugar.

Old Dominion, based in Norfolk, Virginia, also makes Butter Toffee Peanuts, Peanut Squares/Bars and a “covered” version of the peanut brittle (which I steered away from because it was mockolate).

Related Candies

  1. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  2. Morning Glory Confections: Chai Tea & Cashew Brittle
  3. Planters Peanut Bar Original
  4. See’s Peanut Brittle Bar
  5. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Name: Peanut Brittle & Cashew Brittle
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Old Dominion Peanut Company
Place Purchased: Rite Aid & Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.69 & $.99
Size: 8 ounces & 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 170 & 123 (something wrong with the Peanut Brittle calorie count)
Categories: Peanut, Hard Candy, Nuts, United States, All Natural, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am     Comments (10)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Limited Edition Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers

Reese's Peanut Butter LoversEvery once in a while a limited edition comes back. This one, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers Cups, came out in 2005 along with its companion, the Reese’s Chocolate Lovers Cups. I spotted them again in stores a few weeks ago and picked them up on sale at Walgreen’s over the weekend.

The package is more peanutty looking than the traditional bright orange wrappers. It was easy to spot on the shelves as a different variety. Unlike some limited edition varieties that other candy companies make, this is a full sized version of the original - the same 1.5 ounces (.75 ounces per cup).  Yes, it’s true that Reese’s Cups have gotten smaller over the years. Brad Kent has the 1.6 ounce wrapper from 1997 and the change made sometime circa 2003 based on Mike’s Candy Wrappers. 

Reese's Peanut Butter Lovers

I don’t think I tried these the first time they came around, as I think that the regular ratios of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are ideal. When I opened the package I was wondering if there was any chocolate at all ... even though it said Milk Chocolate right at the top.

Reese's Peanut Butter Lovers

Once I pulled the brown fluted paper off the cup I understood the construction. There is a milk chocolate container which is filled with the Reese’s peanut butter center and that’s capped with a peanut butter candy coating.

The cup has a soft bite, slightly crumbly. It’s definitely all about the peanut butter. The chocolate base provides a little cool & creamy sweetness but very little in the way of cocoa notes. The dry and salty peanut butter center has that inimitable texture and roasted peanut flavor. I found it to be much saltier, so I looked around for sodium content for the original and found that has 130 mg per package and this limited edition version has 170 mg. (Just a note, I think everything is salty these days ... my otherwise healthy diet is rather low in sodium.) However, it does have 6 grams of protein versus 4 grams in the classic. More peanut butter means more protein and actual less fat & fewer calories ... a whole 10 fewer calories.

I enjoyed these, and certainly had no trouble finishing the package. But given the choice I’m either going to go for the regular cups or the minis (I don’t think I’m going to touch the once perfect eggs now that they’ve gone mockolate).

Related Candies

  1. Reese’s Enigma & Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs
  2. Reese’s Crunchy (Limited Edition)
  3. Whoppers Reese’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy
  4. Reese’s Pieces
  5. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line
Name: Reese's Peanut Butter Lovers Cups
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.66 (on sale)
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Hershey's, Reese's, Limited Edition, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am     Comments (14)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Walgreen’s Australian Licorice (Chocolate Covered)

Walgreen's Chocolate Covered LicoriceSometimes house brands can be a little mystifying, but this one really caught my eye. Walgreen’s Candy Classics Australian Traditional Black Licorice Smothered in Real Milk Chocolate.

The matte beige & powder blue wrapper does give it that classic look, though the mylar/plastic packaging made it feel modern (as did the presence of a web address on the back of the package).

It also comes in a raspberry licorice version, which I also bought but was disappointed to find it crumbled to bits (so I’m not reviewing it now).

Walgreen's Chocolate Covered Licorice

The bar is attractive and looks like it could easily be an unsalted pretzel rod covered in milk chocolate.

It smells nice, a bit like anise and chocolate cake.

The bite is soft, the chocolate barely flakes, which is a great relief after the red licorice catastrophe.

The licorice at the center is quite soft and has a strong molasses flavor - the chew is almost jelly like, but has the satisfying rib-sticking of a wheat-based confection. The anise and licorice notes are rather mild and more of a generic spice cookie feel. The chocolate is sweet, not terribly chocolatey but seems to seal in all the flavors well.

It’s nice to see an Aussie licorice being sold at American candy prices. It was a nice change up from Twizzlers, Good & Plenty or Crows, which are really the only plain licorice products sold in single serve packages any longer.

My big hesitations are why they put artificial colors in a chocolate covered item. But my guess is that this licorice is available bald.

Aussie readers, do you recognize this bar? (I was thinking it was RJs but those aren’t real chocolate.)

I’m eager to try the raspberry again and see what else Walgreen’s is going to put in their Candy Classics brand.

Note: The calories made no sense on this package. 220 calories for 1.4 ounces is insane for a chocolate covered licorice. It says 2.5 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein (that makes 120 calories or so) ... I can’t figure where the rest of the calories are coming from. The ingredients are Sugar, Treacle, Wheat Flour, Molasses, Chocolate, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Licorice Extract and then a bunch of less than 2% things.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps
  2. Kookaburra Choc Coated Liquorice
  3. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  4. Kookaburra Licorice
  5. Panda Bars
Name: Traditional Black Liquorice Smothered in Real Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Walgreen's
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.69
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: bizarre
Categories: Chocolate, Licorice, Australia, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:28 pm     Comments (24)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato (Discontinued)

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato TrufflesStarbucks Chocolate is a study in short attention spans.

It was launched barely more than a year ago with little promotion to support it, no website (just a page on the Starbucks site) and a baffling retail plan where it was sold everywhere except Starbucks.

The line included coffee & tea infused chocolate bars, tasting squares and truffles. The packaging echoed Starbucks strong image, was all natural and made no direct mention of Hershey’s as the manufacturer. For Christmas special flavors were created that echoed the seasonal coffee drinks. However, the new brand was a tad on the expensive side and entered the mass-manufactured upscale chocolate market just terms like staycation entered the vernacular.

So last week as Hershey’s announced huge second quarter profits, it also formally announced that they were discontinuing the Starbucks Chocolate line.

CNN Money summed it up pretty well:

But that new line was badly timed because the economy started slowing soon after. Consumers slashed spending last year and early this year, turning away from most extravagances, including pricey chocolate. “The timing of the launch of the Starbucks proposition, frankly, we just missed the window,” said Hershey Chief Executive David West during a Thursday conference call. “Our partner obviously had some other business challenges and the consumer at that price point wasn’t sustainable.”

Added to that happy news about their profits (which were the result of cutting manufacturing costs by closing factories in the US, moving to a Mexican facility, raising prices and using cheaper ingredients), Hershey’s also formalized the discontinuation of Cacao Reserve, Hershey’s own branded high end chocolate line. (Hershey’s also closed Joseph Schmidt, a chocolatier line based out of San Francisco earlier this year and moved all production for Scharffen Berger to Illinois.)

Starbuck's MacchiatoWith this news, I grabbed the last Starbucks product in their line that I hadn’t reviewed yet (and as illustrations for this little death knell post).

The Caramel Macchiato Truffles come in a nicely packaged pair at the ghastly price of $1.39 at the drug store. Honestly, if this sort of truffle pair was available at an actual Starbucks to accompany my plain coffee, I might have gone for it more regularly. With the “startling news” that coffee drinks contain huge amounts of calories which cause cancer, a simple cup of coffee with cream and two truffles would actually be a smaller indulgence than an actual Caramel Macchiato.

I’ve never had a Macchiato (I’ve never actually had anything fancier than a latte or mocha in all my years), so I can’t comment on how well it mimics the frothy creation described thusly by Starbucks:

A signature Starbucks(r) beverage. A creamy mix of vanilla and freshly steamed milk marked with intense Starbucks(r) espresso, topped with velvety foam and our own proprietary buttery caramel sauce.

The milk chocolate shell is nicely molded. It holds a fudgy, smooth cream that tastes a bit like a mocha cheesecake. Sweet, a little tangy with a light coffee taste and maybe, just maybe a hint of toffee (caramel).

It was pretty sweet but with coffee it works ... though the actual coffee overpowers the not-much-coffee-taste.

In the end, I don’t think it was bad timing that sunk this line. I think it was bad merchandising - it should have been available at actual Starbucks. And a year is far too little to decide the success of a new line of chocolate. My view is that Hershey’s is uninterested in building brand loyalty through quality.

The only thing that makes sense about this is the statement on the side of the box:

Starbucks is committed to purchasing cocoa and coffee that are grown and traded in an ethical, transparent and sustainable manner.

To learn more about our cocoa-purchasing practices, please visit us at http://www.starbucks.com/cocoa

Watching Cadbury & Mars move more and more towards ethically traded and sustainably grown & harvested cacao, I’m not seeing much for Hershey’s except from their Daboga arm. I can see where this Starbucks line is just a liability for profits. Hershey’s has shown itself to be more concerned with profits (and high profits, not just tidy ones) than the quality of its products and place within the economies it locates itself.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s announces closing of Joseph Schmidt & Scharffen Berger Bay Area Facilities
  2. Starbucks Chocolate: Eggnog Latte Truffles
  3. Rising Cost of Candy - A Brief Study of Hershey Prices
  4. Starbucks Truffles
  5. Starbucks Chocolate
Name: Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Truffles
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Starbucks (and Hershey's)
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.29
Size: .84 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, United States, Hershey's, All Natural, Kosher, Discontinued

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:43 am     Comments (5)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hershey’s Special Dark with Almonds

Hershey's Special Dark with AlmondsHershey’s has been pushing its Special Dark line, promoting the products as a Natural Source of Antioxidants | Flavanol Antioxidants.

The new Hershey’s Special Dark with Almonds joins Hershey’s standard Special Dark bar as the companion with nuts.

Hershey’s dark chocolate isn’t daringly dark, it’s just 45% cacao content, which these days isn’t even as chocolatey as some milk chocolates. It’s nice to finally have the option of a dark bar with almonds at the convenience mart or drug store ... though it’s a little late to enter the game as Dove beat them there and even Lindt, Ritter and Ghirardelli are available pretty widely now.

Hershey's Special Dark with Almonds

The bar is lovely, it’s molded just like the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar. 

It’s not a huge bar, but still a nice portion, clocking in at 1.45 ounces and 190 calories if you’re counting.

Ingredients: Sugar, chocolate, almonds (roasted in cocoa butter and/or sunflower oil), cocoa butter, cocoa processed with alkali, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin and milk.

Hershey's Special Dark with AlmondsAs almonds were a little lower on the list or ingredients than I expected, I counted them. 10 whole almonds. Not bad. (Though they’re about the size of peanuts.)

My first reaction is that it’s sweet. My second reaction is that it tastes like cocoa. The almonds have a good crunch and were fresh. Because of the almonds, for the most part I chewed the bar instead of letting it just melt on my tongue. But for the purposes of this review I found some pieces without almonds just for tasting the chocolate.

It’s sugary and a bit grainy, there’s a distinct chalkiness that isn’t that “this is really dark chocolate dryness” instead it’s more like the chocolate’s not fully combined with the sugar. The cocoa butter isn’t really supporting the chocolate, it’s standing next to it so everything just kind of falls apart.

It’s not terrible, but it’s like eating a bunch of chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are meant to stand up to baking and are almost always used in combination with other elements. Here the almonds just can’t cover up the lackluster flavors & texture.

If you’re desperate for a non-milk chocolate bar (that actually has milk products in it) and nothing else is around, this is certainly more palatable than the straight Special Dark. I found it filling, but not satisfying.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  2. Hershey’s Special Dark Miniatures
  3. Hershey’s Miniatures
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Endangered Species Halloween Treats
  6. Equal Exchange Miniatures
  7. See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar
Name: Hershey's Special Dark with Almonds
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.69
Size: 1.45 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:36 am     Comments (2)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Snickers Nougabot Bar & Transformer M&Ms

If there’s one thing I think that’s might pull our government out of the red, it might Mars excessive registration of trademarks for their limited edition & marketing tie in candies.

image

For the new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie this summer, Mars has created a line of collectible M&Ms packages that feature different characters from the Transformers pantheon plus M&Ms in Transformers-styled outfits.

The seven packages:

  • Milk Chocolate - Pack 1 of 7 - Chocl-O-Bots (tm) - Optimus Prime

  • Milk Chocolate - Pack 2 of 7 - Chocl-O-Bots (tm) - Bumblebee

  • Milk Chocolate - Pack 3 of 7 - Chocl-O-Bots (tm) - Ironhide

  • Peanut - Pack 4 of 7 - Delect-O-Cons (tm) - Megatron

  • Peanut - Pack 5 of 7 - Delect-O-Cons (tm) - Star Scream

  • Peanut - Pack 6 of 7 - Delect-O-Cons (tm) - Barricade

  • Strawberried Peanut Butter - Pack 7 of 7 - The Twins

  • (Yeah, I’m missing some package images, but that’s all that came with the press kit Mars gave me ... how odd.)

    Snickers & M&Ms for TransformersWhat I think is most interesting about this is that the package is the only thing that’s different (besides, of course the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms). Open up the packet of the M&Ms (mine was Bumblebee 2 of 7) and there’s no fun new design of the M imprint with a twist on the Transformers like they did with Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate Pearls, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and Shrek II (basically Mega M&Ms).  The Star Wars ones, though introducing Dark Chocolate M&Ms, did not have fancy imprints.

    What is good news is that the packages are no smaller. With many of the limited editions what you get in addition to “specialness” is less. The Milk Chocolate Chocl-O-Bots packages have the same 1.69 ounces as the standard Milk Chocolate M&Ms.

    The only truly transformed product for the movie tie-in is the Snickers Nougabot (tm). Due to physical laws of the conservation of matter, the energy required for the transformations, the bar is smaller than an unTransformerized one. *

    SnickersFrom the outside the packages look rather similar. (Click to enlarge to read the ingredients if you wish.)

    This isn’t the first time Mars has mucked with the nougat for a movie. Back in 2007 they turned it green for Shrek but left it the same size, because really, how could a Shrek-ified candy be smaller? The traditional bar is 2.07 ounces and the Nougabot is 1.83 ounces.

    Snickers Transformer & Regular

    The difference, otherwise, is really just the addition of Yellow #5. Considering how much some parents hate Yellow #5 (hint: enough to get it banned in Europe), it’s hard to understand why a candy which was formerly artificial coloring free would add it. Further, the Snickers website doesn’t list the Yellow 5 on the page for the Nougabot bar (sorry, can’t link directly to the page because of stupid flash & beware of annoying sounds).

    So how does it taste? About the same. The flavor seemed a little “darker” but I don’t know if that was the caramel batch ... sometimes even big factory candies like Snickers can vary from day to day.

    The only thing I liked about it is the same thing that I prefer about the Snickers Dark, that there’s one less bite in it. Because honestly I think that 1.83 ounces is the perfect size for a Snickers bar.

    * My theory of this kind of violates the whole world of Transformers and many other fantasy, action & sci-fi movies where small things turn into big things without the perceivable addition of extreme amounts of energy. Anyway, in order to turn back and forth without loss of mass, you’d need lots of energy to turn into matter ... conversely to shrink you’d need to have a way to store a huge reservoir of energy (if you wanted to grow again) or release it. I’ve always wondered if Alice became super-dense when she shrank and puffy, aerated & light when she grew.

    Related Candies

    1. Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)
    2. Snickers Adventure Bar (Indiana Jones)
    3. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
    4. Snickers Nut ‘n Butter Crunch
    5. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
    6. M&Ms Line
    7. Snickers Xtreme

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:49 am     CandyReviewSnickersMarsCaramelChocolateKosherLimited EditionM&MsNougatPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (8)

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