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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 30 - Valentines and Strawberry


In this episode of the Candyology 101 podcast, Maria and wander the aisle for everything new in Valentines for 2016. And it’s all strawberry.

You can download the MP3 file directly and check out the full show notes.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:18 pm     CandyValentinesHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Russell Stover Strawberries & Cream Mix

DSC_0382rbRussell Stover, the classic American boxed chocolate maker was bought by Lindt & Sprungli about 18 months ago. I was looking forward to Russell Stover becoming, well, better.

This year Russell Stover jumped on the strawberry trend quite well. They already make a Strawberry Cream Heart for Valentine’s Day, but this year they’ve also added at least three new items with the strawberry theme. I picked up two. The first is the Russell Stover Strawberries & Cream Mix which the package says is strawberry and white pastelle hearts combine for a rich strawberry and cream taste.

The pink package sports lots and lots of hearts, including a few that show the size and shape of the candies. And it’s actually pretty accurate, they do look like little drawings of hearts colored in off white and palest pink. It’s a white confection version of the iddy biddy Santas and Bunnies they do in milk chocolate. (Though they mercifully sell those in little single-serve packages.)


The pieces do smell rather sweet, mild and with a decent strawberry note. They’re soft and matte and kind of strange because they’re very quiet. They’re light and have no candy shell, so pouring them from the package means more sound from the bag than the tumbling of the candy.

When Russell Stover says pastelle, they really mean a combination of sugar, fractionated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated palm oil, some milk solids & fats plus a few dabs of food coloring and flavor.

The effect is pretty much what you might think. Mostly waxy, rather sweet, a smidge milky and vaguely strawberry. The white pieces are supposed to be vanilla, but are really just less strawberry because of their proximity in the bag.

They’re not as sweet as I feared they would be. Mostly I’m disappointed that they’re so expensive when Mars was able to make actual white chocolate strawberry M&Ms for less for Easter this year. The one thing they have going for them is that they are pretty darn cute and would be great as a decorative element for a cake or cupcakes or just scattered on a dessert plate. Because they’re a mockolate product, not a coated candy, the colors won’t run and they’re not as likely to melt in most serving situations.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  2. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  3. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate
  4. Meiji Gummy Choco
  5. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  6. KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)
  7. KitKat Tsubu Ichigo and Hershey’s Strawberries ‘n’ Creme

Name: Strawberries & Cream Mix
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Valentines, Russell Stover, Mockolate, 4-Benign, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:14 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewValentinesRussell StoverMockolate4-BenignUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (3)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ghiradelli Valentine’s Dark and Strawberry Squares

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry SquaresThough strawberry is the hot flavor of the moment, Ghirardelli has been making these Limited Edition Valentine’s Dark & Strawberry Squares for a few years.

There’s not much of a description on the package, just that the squares are filled with strawberry filling. The filling appears to be made from sugar, high fructose corn syrup, palm oil and freeze dried strawberries and colored with fruit and vegetable juice (very vague). It also has some added TBHQ as a preservative. There’s no indication of the cacao content of the chocolate itself, but I’d guess it’s somewhere in the low 60% range. Each square is 70 calories.

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry Squares

The squares are elegant and simple. They’re 1.75 inches square and sport the Ghirardelli logo in a beveled field. In my experience the packaging protects the pieces well and they usually look stunningly gorgeous.

If there’s an issue with the filled squares from Ghirardelli is that they temper their chocolate to be very crisp and snappy ... so the filled pieces can be messy to eat when the chocolate breaks apart upon biting and the filling dribbles out. So, make an effort to bite on the diagonal, or pop the whole thing in your mouth at once.

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry Squares

The chocolate is sweet but with a nice dry woodsy note to it, which goes well with the strawberry flavors. The strawberry filling is quite like a finely pureed strawberry sauce. It’s not overly sweet, has a strong tangy note and just a touch of seed flavor to it (and some actual seeds).

Because the edges are so thick and the chocolate in the center is so thin, there’s a large variation in the proportion of filling to chocolate in any given bite.

I liked them quite a bit, it was the best imitation of a chocolate covered strawberry that doesn’t spoil that I think I’ve had. Ghirardelli Strawberry Squares contain soy and milk and may also contain traces of tree nuts. There’s no statement about gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises
  2. Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cranberry
  3. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree
  4. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips
  5. Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry
  6. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  7. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  8. Rice Milk Chocolate Bars
  9. KitKat Tsubu Ichigo and Hershey’s Strawberries ‘n’ Creme

Name: Valentine’s Dark and Strawberry Squares
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.50
Size: 6.38 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:42 pm     CandyReviewValentinesGhirardelliChocolateKosherLimited Edition8-TastyUnited StatesTargetComments (4)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises

Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp PromisesYou’ll see a theme in the coming weeks: strawberry is the flavor of the moment.

The new Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises are for Valentine’s Day. I picked mine up at Target (and they may be a Target-Exclusive item).

The shortcake part is a little odd, conceptually. For a real strawberry shortcake, berries (often in a sweetened syrup) are ladled over a biscuit type baked good. Some folks prefer a spongecake or poundcake but the key here is that they’re all soft and cakey. The cookie pieces in this case are made from tapioca starch, rice flour, sugar, palm oil, baking soda and some salt.

The other odd part of this is that there’s milk chocolate ... so if anything, this is an imitation of a chocolate covered strawberry with a few gluten free cookie bits (this is not, however, a gluten free product as it’s made in a facility that also uses wheat and peanuts and tree nuts).

Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises

The pieces are not a swirl of milk & white chocolate, like some other recent versions. Instead this is a solid milk chocolate piece, flavored with some strawberry and dotted with little cookie inclusions.

The strawberry flavor is very strong, but the milk chocolate holds its own with a creamy dairy note and a little toasty cocoa flavor. The strawberry is floral sweetness, no dried berry bits in this version. The cookie bits are odd, since they’re made with starch and not actual wheat flour, they are actually rather starchy, though they don’t get sticky-pasty like some gluten free cookies I’ve had. The overall effect of the crunchy cookie bit is really nice, it aerates the experience because you kind of have to chew it instead of just letting the chocolate melt away, which I think boosts the strawberry notes.

They’re pleasant. The strawberry isn’t too artificial or plastic (it does say natural flavor on the package, though it’s kind of vague). I don’t know if I would buy these again, but I appreciated the effort and novelty.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Holiday Mint Cookie Promises
  2. Dove Milk Chocolate & Red Velvet Swirl Promises
  3. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  4. Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion
  5. Meiji Corot - Strawberry Chocolate Drops
  6. Peeps Strawberry Creme dipped in Dark Chocolate
  7. Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Creme

Name: Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.34
Size: 7.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Limited Edition, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:51 pm     CandyReviewValentinesMarsChocolateCookieKosherLimited Edition7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (3)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Moon Pie Bites

Moon Pie BitesMoon Pies are a Tennessee treat, a little marshmallow sandwich featuring round graham crackers and then a thin mockolate coating. They’ve been around since 1917, though they’re a bit of a regional treat and sometimes hard to find. They’re something between a candy and a snack, because of the graham cracker element. They’re also pretty big, so I can see why it’s an appealing idea to morselize them.

Taste of Nature makes Cookie Dough Bites and a variety of other little morsel items sold in theater boxes. The Moon Pie Bites sound pretty good, “Delicious marshmallow & graham in a chocolatey coating.” Well, until you get to the coating part.


The pieces actually smell pretty good. They vary in size, but most are between the size of a pea and a garbanzo.

The the description says it’s marshmallow, it’s actually just marshmallow flavored and there’s no gelatin in the list of ingredients. So these are fine for vegetarians and they’re Kosher. However, it is a mockolate coating, which is made from sugar and palm oil and whey and some cocoa, among other ingredients. It looks decent, but doesn’t really add a chocolate component to this combination candy.

The overwhelming scent of the pieces is graham. It’s a pleasant cereal sort of smell, kind of like vanilla and digestive biscuits and maple syrup.


The pieces are a bit crumbly and dry inside. They’re grainy and have little crumbly graham cracker bits in them. The mockolate coating is neither waxy or greasy, so that’s kind of a blessing. It’s a little cool on the tongue but doesn’t really ruin the otherwise disappointing candy. All elements are equally bad. The center has little sugary bits, the vanilla flavor is overly fake, the graham bits have little of the crunch of real crackers and the chocolatey coating isn’t chocolatey.

Moon Pie Bites contain wheat, milk and soy. They area also made in a facility with peanuts, tree nuts and eggs.

Related Candies

  1. Annabelle’s Rocky Road S’Mores
  2. Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn
  3. Sugarfina: The Chocolates
  4. Russell Stover Big Bite Dark Chocolate S’Mores
  5. Cookies ‘n’ Cream Bites
  6. Cupcake Bites
  7. Cookie Dough Bites

Name: Moon Pie Bites
Brand: Taste of Nature
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Taste of Nature, Cookie, Kosher, Mockolate, 3-Unappealing, United States, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:47 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewTaste of NatureCookieKosherMockolate3-UnappealingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (4)

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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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