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White Chocolate

Monday, December 20, 2010

Russell Stover Peppermint Bark Snowman

Russell Stover Peppermint Bark SnowmenI mentioned in the 2010 Christmas Candy Spotting rundown that I picked up this package of the new Russell Stover Peppermint Bark Snowman.

I love Peppermint Bark and I’m kind of disappointed that it’s not available year round. There are a lot of different variations on the idea of peppermint bark, but most involves layering different kinds of chocolate (dark or milk with white chocolate) along with a peppermint flavoring and probably crushed peppermint hard candies.

This package holds a cardboard try with six individually wrapped Peppermint Bark Snowmen. I got them for $1.99 but I expect they’re on sale some places.

Russell Stover Peppermint Bark SnowmenEach molded snowman is rather small. They’re only 7/8 of an ounce and about 135 calories each, so this is a nice way to control portions.

It’s a two tone mold, the base is dark chocolate and the top layer is white chocolate. The package notes in bold and all caps type on the back that its MADE WITH 100% REAL CHOCOLATE. This is what spurred me to buy it. There are so many minty holiday candies that aren’t made with all cocoa butter these days, like the Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and even Andes Mints.

I can say that after eating these, it’s so obvious that real cocoa butter is superior to fractionated or partially hydrogenated tropical oils (and though all are high in calories, at least cocoa butter isn’t bad for your heart).

The fact that these “bark” snowmen are molded does ruin the rustic illusion of bark, but I have to say, I’m not really that fond of bark. I’m a believer in integration. If you want to put something in your chocolate bar, put it in there, get it all covered up. Don’t just let it float on top and get knocked off. Commit!

Russell Stover Peppermint Bark Snowmen

The base layer looks very dark, almost black. The ingredients mention that it’s made with chocolate processed with alkali, which often gives it that almost-black color. The flavor of the chocolate base reminded me of Oreos, it’s a toasted and smoky flavor. The melt is rich and smooth and though the chocolate flavor stands up to the others, it’s not overwhelming or bitter. The white chocolate is smooth and creamy, it has an excellent fresh dairy taste to it, more like butter than dried milk. Then there’s a light touch of peppermint. Though I think there are supposed to be peppermint candies in here, I didn’t get much. I ate three of the snowmen for this review and at first I thought that it was just a variation in the production run. But there were all rather sparse on the candy. This didn’t bother me.

Russell Stover Peppermint Bark SnowmenIt was like a good quality ice cream. Not too sweet, a good balance of flavors, clean and neat. I liked the portion and the molding was nicely done. I preferred the crispness of the flavors and clean distinction between the layers to the slightly more expensive Dove Peppermint Bark.

I really can’t find much fault with these at all. They’re not the most sophisticated candies in the world, but they were very well done. There are some artificial ingredients in there (there’s some red dye in the hard candy chips) but overall it tastes like a quality product considering the price (about 33 cents each). It would be nice if they can do other variations of the snowman for other holidays - I wouldn’t even mind seeing other flavor variations like strawberry for Valentine’s Day or Orange for Halloween. (I think Mint could return for Easter.)

Russell Stover really seems to shine with their holiday treats. These are easy to afford and stash in stockings or pass around at the office.

Related Candies

  1. Florida Tropic Oranges
  2. Dove Peppermint Bark
  3. Ritter Sport Peppermint
  4. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  5. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar
  6. Jo’s Peppermint Crunch


Name: Peppermint Bar Snowmen
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Target (Harbor City)
Price: $1.99
Size: 5.25 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Mints, White Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:17 pm     CandyReviewChristmasRussell StoverChocolateHard Candy & LollipopsMintsWhite Chocolate8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (2)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Storck Merci

Merci Chocolate AssortmentStorck Merci were introduced 45 years ago by the German candy maker. It was always position as a hostess item, small individually wrapped pieces of chocolate in flavors to suit everyone.

The package calls it the Finest Assortment of European Chocolates. They’re priced pretty well for an upscale styled hostess gift, I paid $5.29 for my box that weighs 8.8 ounces (that’s less than $10 a pound). The ingredients are heavy on the sugar and milk and a bit lighter on the cacao content, but it’s all real chocolate in there.

I picked these up mostly because I’ve never reviewed them. But I was also curious if there was a difference between these and the newer Werther’s Chocolates.

Merci Chocolate Assortment

The assortment comes in a smart and spare little box. It’s made of thin card but styled to fit the sticks perfectly. There are 20 but only 7 varieties ... so the breakdown was a little odd for my tastes:
4 x Milk Chocolate
3 x Hazelnut-Creme, Dark Mousse, Hazelnut-Almond & Praline-Creme
2 x Coffee and Cream & Dark Cream

The little bars are three inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. There’s a little score in the center to snap them in half easily. All are imprinted with the word Merci on each segment.

Merci Chocolate Stick Assortment

Praline-Creme

I didn’t take an individual shot of this one. It’s a milk chocolate bar, the wrapper has a purple band on it. The filling is a sweet cocoa paste that’s rather truffle like. It’s all quite buttery and melts well, there’s even a slight hint of salt to it. It didn’t do much for me, there’s something missing, probably a stronger chocolate note.

Merci Milk Chocolate Creme

Milk Chocolate

The focus on this piece is milk. Actually, it’s more like butter. The melt is silky smooth and quick with a slight grain to it. The dominant flavors are powdered milk, caramelized sugar and a light note of cocoa.

Merci Hazelnut Creme

Hazelnut Creme

It’s a milk chocolate bar with a filling of sweet, milky hazelnut paste. It’s very sweet but has a good grassy and roasted flavor of hazelnuts to it. I’d probably prefer it in dark chocolate ... but then again if I were really looking for a gianduia fix I’d go for some Caffarel. It’s definitely rib-sticking.

Merci Coffee Creme

Coffee and Cream

This was far and away my favorite. It smells like freshly ground coffee. There are two layers, a dark chocolate and a white chocolate base. The coffee is far and away the strongest flavor, so much so that I couldn’t really detect any chocolate notes in there. The texture is smooth and has an excellent melt that’s a bit firmer than the milk chocolate varieties. The coffee is bold with a light acidic note and a hint of charcoal and toffee.

Merci Dark Mousse

Dark Mousse

The Dark Mousse is dark chocolate filled with a chocolate cream. The bar was beautiful looking, glossy and nicely tempered. The chocolate has strong berry notes with a little hint of black pepper and raisins. The mousse filling was a little more of a paste than a cream but wasn’t very sweet, it was like a good chocolate frosting. The whole thing had a lightly dry finish to it.


Merci Dark Cream

Dark Cream

I was confused at this point about the difference between Dark Cream and Dark Mousse. Dark Cream was more like a dark bar, no filling as far as I could tell.

The flavor was like a dark milk chocolate, there were strong dairy notes, something I didn’t get at all from the Dark Mousse. It wasn’t as sticky or sweet as the milk chocolate and also had a hint of a dry finish to it without being chalky. It was firmer than the nut and milk versions of the little bars, but it was still pretty soft and melted quickly into a puddle in my mouth. (It was not swirled though like the Werther’s Dark Cream was.)

Merci Hazelnut Almond Milk Chocolate

Hazelnut Almond

This was my second favorite variety. As far as I can tell it’s just the milk chocolate with crushed almonds and hazelnuts. The scent is still sweet and milky but has a great roasted nut flavor. The little nibs of nuts are chewy and fresh - mostly hazelnut comes through.

I enjoyed these, though I hesitate to say that they’d satisfy any of my strong chocolate cravings. This had a wonderful texture and luxurious melt, but not a lot of cocoa punch. I see them more as accompaniments than stand alone treats.

Each stick is about 73 calories (it does depend on the variety) and features 14% of your recommended daily allowance of saturated fats. (But there’s also a bit of protein, calcium & iron in there.) There are also a lot of allergens in here. The only ones that aren’t listed are eggs and of course shellfish.

As for the Werther’s Chocolates that Storck also makes ... I don’t see any reason to pick those up instead of these unless you’re only going by price. The ingredients seem a bit better, I like the packaging and the fact that you get a variety in the box is a plus in my mind (though if you don’t like all the flavors that’s a negative). They really are a great hostess gift and a nice item to have on hand to serve with coffee or dessert. A little stack along with some cookies would make an excellent little treat without being too fussy. And the word Merci doesn’t hurt, everyone enjoys a little thank you.

Related Candies

  1. Storck Toffifay
  2. Choceur Coffee & Cream
  3. Ice Cubes
  4. Milka Alpenmilch
  5. Storck Chocolate Riesen


Name: Merci
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $5.29
Size: 8.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: Candy, Storck, Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:30 pm     CandyStorckChocolateCoffeeNutsWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItGermanyTargetComments (3)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Werther’s Original Dark Cream Caramel Chocolates

Werther's Original Caramel Chocolates - Dark CreamLast week I reviewed the Werther’s Original CaraMelts which were a buttery flavored white confection. I found them confusing and disappointing. But I had hopes that Storck who makes the Merci Chocolates and Chocolate Riesen caramels could do chocolate well.

So I picked up these Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates Dark Cream. They’re billed as Rich European Cream Chocolate Marbled with Smooth Creamy Caramel. That marbling of smooth creamy caramel had me worried, as I don’t think that you can mix caramel and chocolate together to make a chocolate-like product, it yields something more like a caramel product.

The ingredients sounded pretty good - there’s a lot of milk in there in various forms, but none of the weird tropical oils that I experienced in the CaraMelts.

Werther's Original Dark Cream

The pieces are just like the CaraMelts and pretty much the same as the traditional Werther’s Original hard caramel pieces. They’re ovals about 1.25 inches long and a little under an inch wide. They have an attractive swirl of two kinds of chocolate, a dark milk chocolate and a white chocolate along with a hefty extra dose of cocoa. They’re wrapped in little twisted plastic with maroon color coded ends.

I loved the look of the swirly pattern, each piece was different and the swirls go all the way through the chocolate piece (not like some Hershey’s Kisses that just have stripes on the surface).

Werther's Original Caramel Chocolates - Dark Cream

But let me back up a little bit here for a moment. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with candy. As I got older I found ways of getting money to buy it, but there was a certain lattitude in the house when I was growing up that sweets that you made were more permissible. So to ease a craving I would actually make candy or cookies. And sometimes I would make frosting. Just frosting and eat it. At first making frosting involved a recipe (and sometimes the smearing of the result on Ritz crackers, Saltines or bread). Later frosting was simply: butter, powdered sugar and cocoa. Cream until smooth and consume from the same dish. If there was no cocoa in the house, vanilla frosting would result. (Other variations of desperation would be brown sugar & butter, sometimes with peanut butter.)

The point of that story is that I’ve eaten a lot of butter mixed with cocoa. Pounds of it. I’m very familiar with the mouth feel, smell and the taste of it. The Dark Cream Caramel Chocolates are like chocolate butter. If that’s what you want, well, here it is. The melt is quick and smooth. There’s a buttery taste to it, but more of a clean dairy note than a powdered milk or yogurty tang. It’s certainly not at all fake tasting either. There’s a light salty note, like cocoa often has. They’re slick when melting, but not in a thin or greasy way.

In short, they’re very fatty. The cocoa flavors are well rounded, mostly woodsy, brownie-like with a little coffee note. But they’re cocoa flavors, I don’t quite get actual chocolate from it.

I liked them quite a bit, much more than I thought I would for a product that has, by my calculations, 170 calories per ounce. (Most chocolate is about 145 or so.) There’s also a lot of cholesterol in there for something called Dark Cream (I guess that’s the cream part) - 10 mg. But all that milk also gives the serving of 7 pieces (240 calories) 3 grams of protein, 10% of your RDA of Iron and 6% of your Calcium.

I like their packaging, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s spare and light but still protects the candy. It’s made in facility with all the major allergens: wheat, soy, milk, tree nuts, peanuts. (No eggs mentioned.)

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original CaraMelts
  2. Madelaine Duets
  3. Wonka Exceptionals: Chocolate Waterfall
  4. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  5. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  6. Werther’s Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  7. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles


Name: Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates Dark Cream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.50
Size: 5.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 170
Categories: Candy, Storck, Chocolate, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany, Kmart

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:09 pm     CandyStorckChocolateWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItGermanyKmartComments (4)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ritter Sport Sommer-Genuss 2010 Limited Editions

Ritter Sport StracciatellaAs if Ritter Sport doesn’t have a large enough repertoire of bars, they have been introducing seasonally-themed limited editions. I tried the Fruhlingsspezialitaten 2010 that I found at a local import shop earlier this year. They included Haselnuss Krokant, Cashew in Alpenmilch and Bourbon Vanille. The summer versions were not so easy to find in the States but some Ritter Sport folks were happy to help me out with some samples. The summer flavors were: Stracciatella, Pfirsich-Maracuja Joghurt and Waldbeer Joghurt.

The Stracciatella features 37% cacao milk chocolate and a bourbon vanilla cream filling with chocolate bits.

Ritter Sport Stracciatella

It’s been many years since I’ve had real Stracciatella, which is a gelato (Italian ice cream) with stripes of chocolate that form little crunchy flakes or chips. In my experience it was usually dark chocolate.

Ritter Sport Stracciatella

I recall being excited by the spring version of Bourbon Vanille, but then disappointed by the lack of rum-laden vanilla notes. Here too I thought that the kind of fudgy vanilla cream center was a little bland. It’s not fatty and doesn’t quite melt in my mouth. It also isn’t very flavorful ... but also not very sweet or sticky. The little chips in it are small and don’t really add much flavor to it. I think I would have been really happy if this was a dark chocolate bar, I think that’s the kick it needs - some really rich dark chocolate. However, plain vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips has never been a favorite flavor of mine, so this might be the perfect bar for folks who do like that.

Ritter Sport Pfirsich-Maracuja JoghurtThis was the only white chocolate bar in the mix. Ritter Sport does do great things with white chocolate, the key being that they use real cocoa butter to begin with.

Ritter Sport is also big on yogurt. I’ve tried their Yogurt, Strawberry Yogurt and Olympia bars before. The only other country that I’ve noticed with such a fanaticism for yogurt flavored candy is Japan.

The Pfirsich-Maracuja Joghurt is a white chocolate shell with a peach and passion fruit yogurt cream center. There are also little rice flakes thrown in there for texture and crunch.

Ritter Sport Pfirsich-Maracuja Joghurt

The bar is simple and plain, a soft and creamy yellow/white chocolate bar.

Ritter Sport Pfirsich-Maracuja Joghurt

When I saw the reviews of this bar, I really wasn’t interested. I like real peaches and I find passion fruit okay but not my favorite. So a white chocolate bar flavored with these ... along with yogurt (which is good stuff but not exactly a candy flavoring), well, I just didn’t think they could pull it off.

But they did! It’s utterly surprising. It smells like passion fruit - a tangy and sharp floral and tropical scent that goes well with the dairy yogurt note. The peach is a faint pine and pear whiff in the background. The white chocolate is sweet but rather smooth. The rice flakes give it a little crunch, like there are freeze dried fruit bits in there. It’s milky but mostly fruity.

I wouldn’t buy this often, but I do see its appeal and I’m glad that Ritter Sport is taking a few risks with outside the box flavors in their limited editions.

Ritter Sport Waldbeer JoghurtThe Ritter Sport Waldbeer Joghurt seemed positively the tamest and safest flavor of the bunch. Waldbeer is forest fruits, or basically mixed berries. The package shows blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

The format is similar to the Pfirsich-Maracuja Jogurt in that it’s a yogurt cream center flavored with fruit and studded with little crisped rice flakes. The chocolate on this bar is milk. At first glance it didn’t seem that different from the classic Strawberry Yogurt bar that Ritter Sport is already known for.

Ritter Sport Waldbeer Joghurt

It smells nice, exactly like berry yogurt - there’s the floral notes of the berries and the dairy twang of the yogurt.

The flavors are pleasant and the yogurt takes a back seat as the berry flavors come forward. The milk chocolate is smooth and give a slight dairy contribution, but also keeps the whole thing from getting too sweet. The rice flakes have a little crunch, but there are also little bits of freeze dried berry in here too, so sometimes they’re tangy and sometimes they’re more of a light malty cereal flavor.

Overall it’s decent. Munchable and satisfying, but not quite what I’d find myself craving. These may be available online at shops like GermanDeli.com and eBay.com.

Don’t take my opinion as gospel, see: Gigi Reviews Waldbeer Yogurt, Cinabar reviews Waldbeer Yogurt, Candyholic (German) reviews Waldbeer Yogurt  and Stracciatella, ZOMGCandy reviews Stracciatella, It’s All About Limited Edition reviews Stracciatella and Jim’s Chocolate Mission reviews Stracciatella and Summer Limited Editions in Mini form.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Olympia
  2. Ritter Sport Fruhlingsspezialitaten 2010
  3. Yogen Fruz Smoothies
  4. Topps Wild Berriez Wazoo
  5. Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos
  6. Ritter Sport White Chocolate with Hazelnuts
  7. Katjes Tropical Gummis & Yogurt Gums


Name: Stracciatella
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Samples from Ritter Sport
Price: $2.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: Candy, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, Limited Edition, 5-Pleasant, Germany


Name: Pfirsich-Maracuja Joghurt
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Samples from Ritter Sport
Price: $2.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: Candy, Ritter Sport, Limited Edition, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany


Name: Waldbeer Joghurt
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Samples from Ritter Sport
Price: $2.99 retail
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 165
Categories: Candy, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, Limited Edition, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:42 pm     CandyRitter SportChocolateCookieLimited EditionWhite Chocolate5-Pleasant7-Worth ItGermanyComments (4)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme

Hershey's Milk Chocolate DropsLast year Hershey’s announced their new expanded Hershey’s Pieces line at National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo. This year the new product line is Hershey’s Drops.

Hershey’s Drops are billed as Hershey’s Happiness in a little drop of milk chocolate without a candy shell and featuring a light, shiny, mess free finish. They’ll be on store shelves starting in December 2010, starting with King Size packages of 2.1 ounces.

The packages I got to try are just sales samples, in little .6 ounce packets with ingredients listing but no final nutrition panel (which isn’t that surprising since they won’t be available for another six months).

Now your family can have all the goodness of bite-sized chocolate without the candy shell.

HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate DROPS have a light shiny finish, so there’s no mess. They’re perfect for snacking and sharing anytime, anywhere!

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The drops are larger than the Pieces about as big around as a nickel. Brits may be familiar with the size and shape, they’re rather similar to Mars’ Galaxy Minstrels, except without the shell - in fact, they’re exactly like the re-released Galaxy Counters (which I haven’t tried, but Chocablog did a nice review of a couple of months ago).

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

Some may wonder if the light coating is like that on M&Ms Premiums. There is a light waxy coating on there, but it’s thinner than the latexy and colorful stuff on the M&Ms Premiums. It’s more like what you’d find on Junior Mints or Whoppers. Just a simple glaze that melts away quickly.

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The flavor is pure Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, not much else. A little tangy and fudgy, sweet and milky. The coating keeps them fresh and smooth, I’ve found that Kisses can taste a little rancid when left out of the bag, even though they have a foil wrapping. Of course I didn’t have these candies for very long, so I can’t say for sure that they’d be like that if left out in a dish.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsThe second item in the Drops line is a bit more inventive, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Drops.

The confection is made of a white chocolate with cookie bits like Oreos mixed in. The white chocolate ingredients are a little muddy, the label says “cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil” so I don’t know how much of this white chocolate is actually cocoa butter. That and/or confuses me.

Hershey’s currently offers the Cookies ‘n’ Creme in a few formats. The original is their bar but there are also Kisses from time to time, Nuggets, as well as holiday foil wrapped versions. This little morsel version with no wrapper is actually a great new take on the candy.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

I have to admit they don’t look so great. They look muddy and dirty. The cookie bits show through. They’re consistently shaped, but the white isn’t quite white and not even that light yellow that French vanilla ice cream sports.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

They smell especially sweet and milky. The texture is thick and a little fudgy and heavy on the dairy flavors. The crispy bits of cookie are crunchy and crumbly, with a sandy grain to them that sets off the sticky melt of the white confection very well. It’s a little salty, so though it’s sugary at times and kind of throat searing, it doesn’t stay that way to the end. It’s more like cookies and cream ice cream than a candy version of a chocolate sandwich cookie.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsI haven’t been much of a fan of the Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar up to this point, but I have to say that the smaller discrete bites do help. They’re best, as far as I’m concerned, mixed with the Milk Chocolate ones to keep it all from getting too sweet.

Overall, I think this is a fun new take. I’m glad that Hershey’s is making them with the bar version ingredients, instead of going the route they did with Kissables as a “chocolate candy”. I see the benefits to getting rid of the foil wrappings and the candy shells plus making the morsels larger than a chocolate baking chip. I’m sure some folks will be happy to see that there are no artificial colors in here either, since there’s no colored shell.

The ability to combine these with other items to create a custom trail mix snack is also intriguing. I’d like to mix them with nuts, pretzels or sesame sticks. I can also see a lot of possibilities with expanding this with other candies in the Hershey’s line.

Related Candies

  1. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  2. Galaxy Minstrels
  3. Hershey’s Nuggets Double Chocolate
  4. Kissables (Reformulated)
  5. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  6. Hershey Eggs
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint


Name: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: $1.39 retail
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Hershey’s Cookies’ n’ Creme Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: 1.39
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am     CandyMorselizationHershey'sChocolateCookieWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (12)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

KitKats: Royal Milk Tea, Ginger Ale, Bubbly Strawberry, Kinako Ohagi & Milk Coffee

While the news that KitKat is now available in both Dark and Milk Chocolate is hot news here in the United States, Nestle continues to churn out fantastically inventive versions for Japan.

KitKat Assortment 2010

Japanese KitKat are getting easier to find in the United States, I picked up mine in Little Tokyo at various grocery stores. The price is a bit steeper than an ordinary KitKat, usually between $2.00 and $3.00 depending on the variety and the store. (Here’s one store in Little Tokyo.)

Royal Milk Tea KitKat (Japan)Royal Milk Tea has oodles of imperial ingredients, like palm oil and tea extract.

I get the impression that Royal Milk Tea is the Japanese version of what we know here in the US as Thai Iced Tea, a strong black tea mixed with lot of sugar and milk (in the case of Thai Iced Tea the shortcut is sweetened condensed milk).

Royal Milk Tea KitKat (Japan)

It smells lovely though, like a cross between Jasmine and Earl Grey Tea. There are sweet vanilla notes and a little roasted barley or lapsang suchong in there. The actual texture of the white confection (a mixture of milk, palm oil and sugar) is a little greasy but otherwise smooth. The flavoring of the coating is mellow and a little spicy, like a hint of chai. Inside there’s more of a darker tea. It’s quite milky, as the whole Royal Milk Tea name might imply. I’m not much for milk in my tea, so that part of the confectionery simulation is lost on me.
Ginger Ale KitKat (Japan)Ginger Ale sounded fantastic and horrible all at once. Ginger Ale is a great beverage, best served ultra cold so that it bites on the tongue with the chill, the peppery ginger flavors and the tangy/sour bite of carbonation.

I didn’t know that Ginger Ale was that popular in Japan, but I guess it must be if there’s a KitKat for it. Or Nestle has run out of ideas to make into KitKats. (Where are my Pixy Stix KitKats?)

Ginger Ale KitKat (Japan)It smells like ginger ale, right out of the wrapper. It’s amazing how they did it, it’s at once like cola, lemon and ginger.

The flavor of the white confection outside is sweet and a little lemony. Inside the cream has a warm and woodsy burn of ginger. There are little specks and pops of sour, like carbonation.

It’s a weird bar. It’s not comforting like I find actual ginger ale. But then again it’s more exciting, probably because I’ve never had a candy bar like this before. I can’t say that I’d buy it again, but I can see where it has its place.

Bubbly Strawberry KitKat (Japan)Sparkling Strawberry KitKat had a pretty package. Pink and red with a couple of strawberries set off by oodles of little soda bubbles.

I wasn’t quite sure what the actual flavor was, is there a strawberry soda that it was referencing, like those Ramune ones? Was it supposed to be like strawberries in champagne?

After opening I at least found out that it was a pink, strawberry flavored confectionery coating with the standard wafers and a tangy strawberry creme between.

Bubbly Strawberry KitKat (Japan)

The berry confection is milky and has less of a strawberry flavor than I would like. It’s kind of like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Frankenberry. The startling and inventive part of this bar is the cream filling. There are little “pops” of flavor which emulate carbonation well. They’re not pop rocks or fizzing powder. Instead they’re granules of what I’m guessing is citric acid and/or salt. So the tongue gets lots of little explosions of intense sour or salt. It’s a good mix and fun to eat. I would have preferred more strawberry flavor or even dark chocolate (so it’d be like a dark chocolate covered strawberry with a glass of champagne).

Kinako Ohagi KitKatKinako Ohagi KitKat shows a mochi with kinako (and probably bean paste inside). The idea of converting that into a KitKat, honestly, isn’t that appealing to me. I thought the red bean KitKat I tried a few years ago was interesting, but putting all the flavors of mochi into a KitKat just seems like too much. A KitKat is a KitKat and needs to maintain certain aspects. Throwing too many things into the mix just means that something is going to be done poorly and that leads to disappointment.

Kinako Ohagi KitKat

I was relieved to see that this was at least a milk chocolate bar.

It smells deep and roasted, milky and a little like corn chips. The milk chocolate is soft and fudgy but passably good. The wafers are crisp and crunchy and the kinako is, well, like soy powder. It’s a cross between the flavor of corn meal and peanut butter - it reminds me of protein supplements. The toasty flavors go very well with the wafers and milk chocolate. But the traditional KitKat was good before. This doesn’t make it better.

Sakura KitKatThe last one confused me (and I didn’t take a picture of it, but you can safely substitute the Royal Milk Tea. It’s Milk Coffee KitKat but based on the box I thought it was Sakura Tea or something. What I also didn’t properly note was that this was on of the KitKat mailers, a box that has a little “dear” and “from” form on the back so that you can give it to a student to wish them luck on exams.

It smells sweet and milky and just slightly off. Biting into it the first time, I thought I was being poisoned and had a bad package. The center cream was just intensely bitter. Then when I caught on that it wasn’t cherry and it was coffee the bitterness didn’t seem so caustic. But still intense. Too intense to allow actual coffee flavors.

At least it was called Milk Coffee, with the milk first I was getting much more of the sweet white confection than coffee notes. Chewing helped, instead of my usual eating of the cream as a layer. It just didn’t have the rounded and complex coffee notes, it reminded me instead of what I thought coffee was when I was seven or eight years old - expensive bitterness.

Overall I was less than impressed with the heavy use of white confection instead of actual chocolate. (Nestle has been in trouble lately with animal activists over its use of poorly/unethically/unsustainably farmed palm oil - their response here.) I guess I’ve found after all this exploration (trying about three dozen different kinds over the years) that the plain old ones are great and the ones made with even better chocolate are phenomenal. They don’t need fancy flavors. But I’m not going to begrudge anyone who wants to have a little fun now and then.

Related Candies

  1. Ginger Chews: Hot Coffee
  2. Japanese KitKats: Yuzu & Red Bean Soup
  3. Vanilla Beans KitKat & Bitter Orange Aero
  4. KitKat Temptations: Hazelnut & Coconut
  5. KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)
  6. KitKat Milkshake
  7. Pocky Kurogoma (Black Sesame)
  8. Head-to-Head KitKat vs KitKat!


Name: KitKat Royal Milk Tea
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.08
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Cookie, KitKat, Mockolate, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, Japan


Name: KitKat Ginger Ale
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.08
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Cookie, Ginger, KitKat, Mockolate, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, Japan


Name: KitKat Bubbly Strawberry
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.08
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Cookie, KitKat, Mockolate, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, Japan


Name: KitKat Kinako Ohagi
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.08
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Cookie, KitKat, Mockolate, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, Japan


Name: KitKat Milk Coffee
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai (Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.08
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Cookie, KitKat, Mockolate, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:32 pm     CandyReviewNestleChocolateCoffeeCookieGingerKitKatMockolateWhite Chocolate5-PleasantJapanComments (12)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Madelaine Duets

Madelaine DuetsMadelaine Chocolate makes chocolate morsels. They make a wide array of chocolate pieces wrapped in novelty foils, but what they do that’s different from RM Palmer or even Russell Stover is they use really good chocolate.

Their array of foil wrapped treats is dazzling. Butterflies, poker chips, stars, hearts, balls, flowers and coins. They also make panned chocolates like a rainbow of Malted Milk Balls in both classic and specialty flavors. They’re a bit expensive but my real complain has been how hard they are to find.

It looks like they’re making a new push into retail outlets instead of bulk bins and wholesale quantities for party planners they packaging for the shelf. In addition to their new treats (some reviewed by Sugar Pressure) they have a new line of bonbons called Duets which are double filled chocolate spheres in four varieties.

Madelaine sent me a press kit with a sample of three of each of the new chocolates for review.

Madelaine Duets - Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate

The chocolates come in stand up bags made of paperboard, ten chocolates to a package and retail for about $6.25 according to their own direct-sell website (but probably less on store shelves). That makes each chocolate about 63 cents, not bad when compared to a Lindt Lindor Truffle which is about where I think they’re aiming in the marketplace.

Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate Duets

The pieces are nicely formed and again, I’m using Lindor truffles for comparison. They’re individually twist wrapped and not only clearly marked, they’re color coded if you should dump them into a bowl with other flavors. They’re about the same size as Lindor, though lacking the little divot that allows it to sit up on its own. Instead of a coconut and palm kernel oil in the center, Madelaine uses a combination of real chocolate, milk products and canola oil for the ganache core.

This is a classic confectionery pairing: milk chocolate and white chocolate. The ganache centers are satisfyingly soft, so much so that they melt readily. The blend of the flavors is quite milky with a bit of a cream cheese tang to them. For the most part it was like eating a version of a chocolate cheesecake.

It’s rich and sticky, a bit cloying but not as sickly sweet as I would have expected for a white and milk pairing like this. The chocolate shell is also good quality though it was the sweetest part of the confection. The flavors are well rounded and wholly authentic, not watered down or thinned out by excess oils.

Madelaine Duets - Caramel & Peanut Butter

Caramel & Peanut Butter Duets

I thought, How good could a caramel and peanut butter bonbon be from a commercial company? After all, I was consistently disappointed by gooey caramel from mass manufacturers. It usually had a great texture but little more flavor than Karo.

Madelaine Duets - Caramel & Peanut ButterThe sphere smelled like peanut butter and chocolate. So far so good. Biting into it, the peanut butter side wasn’t quite a meltaway, but not quite the crumbly peanut butter of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. A good roasted taste, a little salty and pretty smooth. The caramel side was a revelation. The texture was ultrasmooth and thick though not chewy. The flavor profile was actually like burnt sugar, like a true caramel. The combination of the two along with the milky chocolate shell was decadent and homey.

Madelaine Duets - Raspberry & White Chocolate Truffle

Raspberry & White Truffle Duets

This one smells quite milky without a hint of the berry jam inside. After biting into it I recognized the yogurty white ganache side. The great part of this one was the raspberry filling. No seeds but lots and lots of jammy raspberry flavors - boiled sugar, floral berry notes and a gooey sticky jam texture.

Madelaine Duets - Raspberry & Peanut Butter

Raspberry & Peanut Butter Duets

I saved the best for last. A few weeks ago I posted my favorite piece from an assortment of chocolates from William Dean Chocolatier that my sister gave me for Christmas. It was a peanut butter & jelly bon bon. Yeah, it sounds simple and homey. But what’s wrong with that?

This Duet has a layer of creamy peanut butter and that wonderfully flavorful raspberry filling. I could eat a whole bag of these without any problem.

They are expensive, but if I could buy them individually like Lindor Truffles I’d guarantee I’d pick up one or two of the PB&J on a regular basis. As a box, I’d hesitate a bit but probably go for it anyway - especially if I could snag a bag for about $5. They’re rich but not too decadent, a little more homey and have fresh flavors that fill a hole where I don’t think there are other commercially made products.

They will be released the week of April 19, 2010 and will be available at retailers such as WalMart and Kohl’s. (Check their website for current locations.)

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  2. Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar
  3. Dove Peanut Butter Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate
  4. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  5. Cadbury Raspberry Bunny
  6. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles


Name: Duets Milk Truffle & White Truffle
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madelaine Chocolate
Place Purchased: samples from Madelaine Chocolate
Price: $6.25
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162
Categories: Candy, Madelaine, Chocolate, Kosher, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Duets Peanut Butter & Caramel
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madelaine Chocolate
Place Purchased: samples from Madelaine Chocolate
Price: $6.25
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Madelaine, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States


Name: Duets Raspberry & White Truffle
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madelaine Chocolate
Place Purchased: samples from Madelaine Chocolate
Price: $6.25
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Madelaine, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Duets Raspberry & Peanut Butter
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madelaine Chocolate
Place Purchased: samples from Madelaine Chocolate
Price: $6.25
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Madelaine, Chocolate, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:55 am     CandyReviewMadelaineCaramelChocolateJelly CandyKosherPeanutsWhite Chocolate7-Worth It8-Tasty9-YummyUnited StatesComments (10)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wonka Exceptionals: Chocolate Waterfall

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall PiecesThe new line of Wonka Exceptionals are better quality chocolate candies. Nestle calls them The world’s most incomparably imaginative chocolate. The initial launch includes three chocolate products and to increase consumer interest a Golden Ticket giveaway for 5 trips around the world valued at $40,000 (that’s 5 different prizes, not 5 circumnavigations for one person).

Since the products are just being rolled out, they may not be on shelves everywhere yet. I found the Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Pieces at Ralph’s at a rather shocking price point of $4.99. The bars, which are 3.5 ounces are supposed to retail for $2.49. The package is gaudy and rather befitting the proud Willy Wonky tradition. The back of the package has the fun quote from the original Golden Ticket text from the book and exhorts folks to read the original book by Roald Dahl. (How many candies encourage that?)

The Waterfall chocolate is logged on the package as Bar No 99: Delectable combination of swirled milk & white chocolate.

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Pieces

The pieces are wrapped in blue and purple striped foil. They’re a nicely sized block of one or two bites (9.25 grams or 1/3 of an ounce). They’re 1.25” long, 1” wide and about .33” high.

The package (which is sometimes hard to read because of how busy it is) says that it’s truly amazing chocolate made with natural ingredients and then says refer to the ingredients list. The list is then asterisked with only one ingredient not flagged as all natural - the soy lecithin. I’m guessing it’s because it’s from genetically modified (GMO) soy. Still, it’s all real chocolate - basically sugar, milk and cacao with a little vanilla & emulsifiers (lecithin - no PGPR).

The milk and white swirl is nicely done, usually in three expertly centered spokes.

Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Waterfall Pieces

The pieces smell milky and sweet. The bite is quite soft, but still has a good snap to it for a high-milkfat chocolate. The texture does not disappoint. It’s very smooth and silky with a good fatty melt. The chocolate flavors are eclipsed by the dairy, but it’s still a comforting cocoa note that sticks to the woodsy and malty side of things. It’s very, very sweet though. They’re quite different from the Hershey’s Bliss White Chocolate Meltaway, which is not as sweet but of course doesn’t have the milk chocolate component.

There aren’t that many milk and white combination chocolates here in the United States, so this is a fun and original option. It’s probably not one I’d choose for myself but I don’t see the folks at the office complaining about them. (I’ve had the selection of all three versions in a jar for about a week on my desk.)

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Exceptionals Domed Dark Chocolate
  2. Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious
  3. Hershey’s White Chocolate Meltaway Bliss
  4. Guylian Twists
  5. Choceur Coffee & Cream
  6. M&Ms Premiums
  7. Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
  8. Hershey’s Bliss
Name: Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Pieces
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
Price: $4.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, United States, Nestle, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:44 pm     Comments (8)

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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.

Candy Season Ends

-90 days

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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:

• Brach’s Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Dandelion Chocolate

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

 

 

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