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Whole Foods

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Go Max Go Buccaneer Bar

BuccaneerBuccaneer is a vegan, all natural candy bar from Go Max Go foods.

the rich brown wrapper features a little black pirate flag and a trail to an X marking the spot. At exactly 2 ounces it’s a hefty bar, though pretty spare in calories because of the low fat content - it only clocks in at 230 calories (115 per ounce, very low for a candy bar). But it’s also expensive, $2.39 which figures out to a little more than $19 per pound.

How does a rich, fluffy, chocolately nougat covered in a creamy chocolately coating sound right about now? If you can’t answer because desire is consuming you… aye matey, ‘tis a Buccaneer(tm) bar for you!

I don’t know that much about Buccaneers except that they were the specific pirates of the Caribbean of the 17th century. They were nothing like Musketeers, which were soldiers under employ of the crown.

Buccaneer Bar

From the description I was expecting something similar to the 3 Musketeers Bar. Though it’s not quite as square in shape, it does resemble it from the outside. But that’s about as far as it goes. Instead of a rounded-right-angled shape it’s more of a slumped dome.

Buccaneer Bar

The filling is not nougaty, it’s more like a cross between a fudge and a caramel. The texture is fluffier than a fudge, but chewy as well. There’s no satisfying caramel pull or even any smoked sugar notes. The malt flavors are good, a little on the cereal side without the milk notes but also a good enough salt hit to make it interesting.

It’s not as sweet as the Twilight bar, but the texture and mouthplay isn’t as interesting. The chocolate component is wholly lacking and not worth the extra palm oil calories, spare as they might be.

Part of the problem may be that I’ve never found the 3 Musketeers bar to to my liking, so a vegan version probably start with marks against it.

Though it’s all natural and vegan, it’s made on shared equipment with dairy, eggs, wheat, tree nuts and peanuts. They do market themselves as dairy free and gluten free, but there can be traces because of their manufacturing practices.

(For anyone interested in the candy maker’s reaction to this post, check this out.)

Related Candies

  1. Go Max Go Twilight Candy Bar
  2. Go Max Go Mahalo Candy Bar
  3. Gourmet Gumdrops
  4. Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar
  5. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  6. Rice Milk Chocolate Bars
Name: Buccaneer Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Go Max Go Foods
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.39
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Mockolate, Nougat, United States, Go Max Go, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:27 pm     Comments (9)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Go Max Go Twilight Candy Bar

TwilightThe Twilight Candy Bar from Go Max Go Foods is a vegan version of Milky Way (Mars for those in the rest of the world).

The package is odd and incongruous. It’s lavender and has a simple and rather small name emblazoned on the middle of it, but most of the package is taken up with explaining what’s not inside: dairy free, vegan, no trans fat, no hydrogenated oils, no cholesterol, nothing artificial.

At over $2 per bar it is at least a beefy size (hah, I used a meat to describe a vegan bar) clocking in at 2.1 ounces.

Now imagine that rich, fluffy, chocolately nougat topped with a layer of thick, buttery-tasting caramel all wrapped up in our very own creamy, rice-milk chocolately coating. If this gives you sweet dreams of good taste, then the Twilight(tm) bar is for you!

Yes, that’s a whole lot of mock products there. Mock caramel (because real caramel contains butter and/or cream), faux nougat (because real nougat contains egg whites) and of course the rice milk mockolate (it’s possible to make real rice-milk chocolate without palm oils).

Twilight Bar

The bar looks, well, rather like a dud. The coating doesn’t have the bloom problem that my Mahalo did, but it’s also not shiny or crisp like real chocolate. Just kind of chalky looking with no sheen. It doesn’t smell like much either, just a little sweet and a little malty (which isn’t a bad thing in my book).

Twilight Bar

The construction of the bar is similar to Milky Way - a nougat layer on the bottom, caramel then covered in chocolate.

The caramel has some stringy pull to it, but not in the same silky way that a good dairy caramel does. This one is a little grainy (not a dealbreaker) with a well rounded saltiness, but severely lacking in the toasted sugar notes. Instead it tastes like brown rice, toasty but in a “toasted wheat bread” way, not a “sugar shell on a creme brulee” way. (But to be honest, the Milky Way caramel isn’t all that either.) The nougat is fluffy and has a hint of malt to it. It’s fine, but I’ll admit that this fluffed sugar nougat that American candy bars have isn’t really my favorite thing. The chocolate-flavored shell melts to a point, but not into anything creamy. It doesn’t impart anything chocolatey to the party.

In a way this bar succeeds because it’s just as throat-searingly sweet as a Milky Way. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t want to finish it. I think the vegan versions of the caramel and nougat are good enough for those who can’t eat the real stuff, but a good quality dark chocolate could have saved this bar.

(For anyone interested in the candy maker’s reaction to this post, check this out.)

Go Max Go is not organic, not fair trade, not Kosher and is made in a facility with dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts and other tree nuts. They do market themselves as dairy free and gluten free, but there can be traces because of their manufacturing practices.

Related Candies

  1. Go Max Go Mahalo Candy Bar
  2. Mini Charleston Chews
  3. The Oh Henry!s
  4. Reese’s Whipps
  5. Head to Head: Milky Way & Mars (Canada & UK)
  6. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Name: Twilight Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Go Max Go Foods
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.39
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 119
Categories: Mockolate, Caramel, Nougat, United States, Go Max Go, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:51 am     Comments (8)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Go Max Go Mahalo Candy Bar

MahaloThe Mahalo Candy Bar is a vegan version of Almond Joy. The big difference, besides no milk, is that it’s one big log of a candy bar instead of two pieces and it’s more than double the price.

The packaging belies its special place: it’s not that crazy dreadlocked, barefoot and patchouli drenched candy bar. Nope, it looks like a little plastic wrapped, sugar sweetened tropical paradise. It bears all the signs of Hawaiian hospitality, including the name Mahalo, which means thanks and praise, while the hibiscus flowers which are abundant on the islands. The description on their website for the bar is:

If you crave a gently sweetened coconut candy bar topped with three whole dry roasted almonds and covered in a luscious chocolately coating… hang loose, the Mahalo(tm) bar is for you!

Mahalo Bar

Oh, chocolatey coating. Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite as paradise-like. I actually knew that going in with these bars. I’ve looked at them before at the store and online and just wondered what they were thinking. Dark chocolate is vegan, in fact, it’s pretty easy to find. So why go with this rice milk mixed with cocoa and palm oil. How on earth is palm oil better or more vegan than cocoa butter. (Well managed cacao plantations are more diverse than palm plantations because cacao needs shade, so there are other canopy trees - less monoculture.)

The bar looks pretty good. The mockolate coating has a few bloomed spots, but I don’t hold that against them, the texture seemed just fine. (I know that coconut can be very difficult because it’s also fatty.)

Mahalo Bar

The bar smells like coconut and hot chocolate. The bite is soft and chewy. The coconut center is moist and the coconut bits are big and sticky. The almonds are nice, but I could have used one or two more at this price. They added a nice crunch though. The mockolate coating was barely noticeable but had a strange “not quite milk” flavor to it that I can only say is like cereal.

Go Max Go Foods makes a series of candy bars, a vegan version of several classics. This one is by far the best, mostly because it’s all about the chewy and sweet coconut and the chocolate is not the focus. With real chocolate this would probably be a much healthier and tastier bar but since there are few vegan coconut bar options, this is an excellent choice except for the price.

If you want vegan, try the Sunspire Coconut Premium Dark Chocolate - it’s cheaper, real and actually tastes better. (Review here, scroll past the foul milk version.)

Go Max Go is not organic, not fair trade, not Kosher and is made in a facility with dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts and other tree nuts.

(For anyone interested in the candy maker’s reaction to this post, check this out.)

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  2. Sunspire Coconut Bars
  3. Almond Joy
  4. Regional Flavors: Key Lime, Pina Colada & Huckleberries
  5. Crispy Cat
Name: Mahalo Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Go Max Go Foods
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.39
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Mockolate, Coconut, Nuts, United States, Go Max Go, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:11 pm     Comments (8)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gourmet Gumdrops

Gourmet Gumdrops (Whole Foods)This tall tub of Gourmet Gumdrops at Whole Foods simply looked too good. (Here’s a photo of an in store display.)

Part of it might have been because they’re huge. Over an inch in diameter and an inch high, these are mega gumdrops.

And the flavors listed were just as compelling: pomegranate, acai, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, key lime and tangerine.

The price, well, that had me vacillating. The 18 ounce tub was $5.99 ... a great price for an all natural chocolate product, but a bit much for an all sugar candy.

Oh, but the flavors ... grapefruit gumdrops! So I bought them.

The ingredients are pretty simple: Corn syrup, sugar, corn starch (modified - non GMO), natural flavors, malic acid, sodium citrate, citric acid, colored with vegetable extracts (red cabbage, paprika, turmeric), freeze dried acai powder.

Whole Foods Gourmet Gum Drops

I had trouble counting when I took the photo and didn’t notice the difference between the acai and pomegranate drops, so only one is represented here.

The texture of the drops is great. They’re very heavy for their size, quite dense. They have a soft give, but not quite the same bouncy texture of a gummi. The outside is a small grain sugar (not the larger grain that I think most of us are accustomed to with gum drops). Inside, the bite is smooth, the texture of the drop is even ... not super sweet but definitely more intense than most mass marketed brands.

They’re not as firm as something like Dots - more like Chuckles, so even though they do stick a bit in the teeth, it’s not a solid mass, they’re soft and a little drink of water washes away the bits. (Or you know, follow your dentists recommendation and brush after eating.)

Key Lime (colorless) - I have a word for this! It’s fresh. Biting into it is like rubbing the rind of a fresh lime. The flavor is both tart and sweet, not at all bitter. It’s not quite a key lime texture (which is a little dusty and dry) but the flavor is practically perfect.

Meyer Lemon (yellow) - very zesty, almost to the point of melting me with its caustic oils but still a really vibrant piece of flavor. I loved these, but they burned my tongue if I ate too many. And I kept eating too many.

Tangerine (orange) - though this one is the most stereotypical of the lot - it’s part Tang juice drink and part orange zest, it was still one that I pulled out to eat first.

Whole Foods Gourmet Gum Drops (and a regular one)Grapefruit (pink - shown with red regular gumdrop) - peppery and zesty, abrasive oils with a bitter component. Tangy and complex and maybe even a little salty.

Pomegranate (magenta/purple - not shown above) - raspberry and balsamic vinegar. Sweet, sticky with a low bitter afternote. A little high sour bite.

Acai (darkest purple) - cloying, dark and soapy. A little bit violet with a hint of concord grape. There’s no tang or tartness to it. My experience with acai is rather limited.

Each gumdrop weighs about 13 grams (.46 ounces) and has about 47 calories.

I found two different packages of these. The first, as shown above was a big tub. Then yesterday I realized that I didn’t have all flavors for review (I shared my big tub and friends picked out the citrus flavors) so I went back and bought some more. This time they were in the short tubs sold by weight with a generic deli label on them. At least I was able to just pick up a half a pound and compare the different packages to get ones that had fewer of the purples.

These are really great gumdrops. They have the smooth, soothing texture the gives flavor from start to finish. The texture is similar to Turkish Delight, but has a more full bodied flavor that includes more than the fragrance & zest. The colors and shape are appealing and of course the all natural thing is great - I like to taste my fruit flavors, not artificial colors. The price is steep, but then again the Pate de Fruit that I like to pick up every once in a while is more expensive, so these are a nice middle ground.

They appear to be vegan though not peanut/nut free and there’s no statement about gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Pectin Jelly Beans
  2. Jelly Belly Sunkist Citrus Mix
  3. Harry & David Fall Leaves Fruit Gels
  4. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  5. Jelly Belly - All Natural
  6. Black Ace Licorice
  7. Organic Surf Sweets
Name: Gourmet Gumdrops
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Whole Foods
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Glendale)
Price: $5.99
Size: 18 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: Jelly, United States, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:55 am    

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jelly Belly - All Natural

Jelly Belly TropicalI’ve been holding onto the news since January and the Fancy Food Show that Jelly Belly is coming out with a line of all natural jelly beans. This means no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors (the colors I know are a big concern with some parents and hyperactivity in their children). Jelly Belly is currently test-marketing the new beans on the west coast at Whole Foods. The new line includes ten flavors at the moment. I picked up a package of Tropical Fruit Blend Jelly Belly.

This blend has six flavors: banana, coconut, lemon, orange, pineapple and strawberry. The flavors are actually from real fruits (the ingredients list things like coconut flakes, banana puree, pineapple concentrate, etc.). The colors are created using natural colorings like annatto extract, cabbage juice and curcumin.

Jelly Belly - All NaturalThe beans are pretty, though a little muted in color (but they’re still plenty shiny).

The standout flavors for me were banana, which tastes like a really ripe banana and pineapple, which has a nice tangy bite to it and then a smooth sweetness.

If I have a complaint it’s that the color combination made it nearly impossible for me to tell the beans apart. The pineapple was kind of a colorless bean as was the coconut and the lemon on the yellow side and then the orange was more of a light peach but I still got them confused in dim lighting situations. The unmistakable beans were strawberry (though I didn’t care much for the flavor on this one, it tasted a little canned and metallic) and banana (the mottled one).

If I were looking for this blend of flavors and I had a choice between the all natural and the regular ones, I’d absolutely go for the all natural. They taste great and I already get confused about the color keys for Jelly Belly anyway.

The package also says that Jelly Belly - All Natural are gluten free and Kosher. They do contain beeswax so may not be suitable for vegans.

For those of you who don’t get the JellyBelly.com newsletter, they’re running some pretty awesome sales in their outlet. For some bizarre reason they’re clearing out their Christopher’s Fruit Gems at insanely low prices ($2.99 for a box of 2 lbs unwrapped or $14.99 for 9 lbs in a basket of the individually wrapped ones). They also have something for licoricians (licorice-lovers) with their 15 ounce licorice assortment at only $9.99. And finally, for fans of games of chance, from now until Monday, July 23, 2007 or while supplies last, if you order 2-4 bags of Belly Flops you pay only 6.00 each. But if you order five or more bags, the price is slashed to only 5.00 per bag! (That’s $2.50 a pound for Jelly Belly, not gonna do better anywhere else.)

Name: Jelly Belly All Natural (Tropical Blend)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Glendale)
Price: $3.29
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Jelly, United States, Jelly Belly, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:23 am     Comments (9)

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Newman’s Own Sweet Dark Espresso & Orange

Name: Sweet Dark Orange and Sweet Dark Espresso
Brand: Newman’s Own
Place Purchased: Whole Foods
Price: $1.89 each
Size: 2.8 oz
Calories per ounce: 145
Type: Chocolate

I probably shouldn’t buy chocolate bars called “sweet” and expect something other than sweet. And this being a candy blog, I should probably stop mentioning that I find candy sweet. I’m just calling them like I taste them.

These bars are of excellent quality. Smooth and without grain. The chocolate has good flavor, not much vanilla essence, mostly a roasty, robust chocolate flavor. Each has a flavor added to it. The Espresso has an excellent rich coffee flavor and of the two, I liked the mix of flavors best. It’s not as sweet, and stays true to espresso’s smoky vibe.

The orange one has a wonderful orange peel aroma to it, but the chocolate flavor gets lost in it and of course, I found it a little too sweet.

The chocolate yielded well, melting smoothly on the tongue. Of course it helped that it was very hot over that weekend that I picked them up. I took the bars next door and Amy and Robin agreed that the espresso was the best.

It should probably be mentioned that Newman donates all proceeds from sales to charity and the products are, to the best of their ability, fair trade and organic. But for a high priced “gourmet” bar, I expect just slightly better flavor balance and meltiness.

Rating: Espresso - 7 out of 10
Orange - 6 out of 10.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:09 pm     CandyReviewNewmans OwnChocolateCoffee6-Tempting7-Worth ItUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (1)

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