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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Poll Results: 100 Calorie Preferences

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I found this fascinating. First of all, I voted for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge portion, but the caloric density of the peanut butter is really satisfying to me.

But I was really surprised at the huge numbers of Jelly Belly fans. I think my second choice would probably be Gummi Bears, just because they take so long to eat.

The big thing, I think, if you’re going to have an indulgence be aware of how many calories it is, if you’re watching them, and then pick something that will satisfy you. Nothing worse than having a “treat” you don’t like.

(I don’t know who these rice cake eaters are!)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:39 am     CandyFeatured NewsPollsComments (6)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

This Week in Candy - Back in my second home

candy buffetI’m in the Bay Area again. It’s like a second home to me lately. I come here for two reasons, the first is that it’s home to the National Novel Writing Month headquarters. We’re having a big fundraiser tonight called The Night of Writing Dangerously. 200 writers, most from the area but some from as far away as Toronto, will descend upon a ballroom to sit on uncomfortable chairs for six hours to write en masse. My contribution to the evening is a Candy Buffet. I’ve been doing a lot of product photography lately for Candy Warehouse, and one of the side effects of that is leftover candy (I get to keep whatever I shoot). Usually it’s not that much and I can simply hand it off to folks at the office. In this case it was bulk items like Brach’s cinnamon disks, butter toffee, orange slices, mini gummi bears and a huge array of Koppers chocolate goodies ... sooooo much candy.

So I loaded up my car and hit the road with, literally, my weight in candy in the back.

This is a huge load off my mind, of course, because now the candy will go to wonderful writers who really, really want it. (And while I really, really want it too, I can’t possibly eat my weight in candy before it spoils, well, I could but then it’d be half my weight in candy.)

The second reason I like coming to the Bay Area is that it is home to so many candy companies. Some are fine chocolatiers (many of whom I’ve reviewed now: Recchiuti, Charles Chocolates & Joseph Schmidt) as well as factories like Jelly Belly, Scharffen Berger, Sconza, Annabelle’s, Ghirardelli and Guittard.

Guittard QuetzalcoatlThe cornerstone of my trip was a visit to the Guittard chocolate factory for a personal tour by Gary Guittard. I have been to quite a few factories in my life, but this was the the most immersive I’ve ever had. (No, I don’t mean that I was immersed in chocolate.) Gary was wonderfully open and of course incredibly versed in the intricacies of beans, fermenting, roasting, combining and all the other variables that go into making such painstakingly wonderful chocolate. He was also fantastically patient with me and of course so generous (as are most chocolate people I’ve met). I’ll have more on that as I go through the products that I have for review. It was an incredible experience. If there’s one thing that I came away with was a huge appreciation for the fact that we live in a time with such incredible chocolate. (Something I’ll probably make mention of on Thanksgiving.)

Of course any city that makes so much candy has to have good candy stores. So yesterday, knowing that I’d soon be free of 135 pounds of candy, I went and bought some more.

I’ll have larger write ups about these in the future, but here was my itinerary (fellow writer YumSugar also came along on the last three stops!):

  • Miette Confissiere - I bought licorice, some Nougats de Montelimar by G. Savin and a couple of Bergamot caramels.
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  • Fog City News - they have a huge selection of chocolate bars, I got two Fair Trade Zotter bars, the Amano Cuyagua, a Coppeneur Ocumare with Chili & Cacao Nibs, a handful of teensy Fair Trade Divine 70% bars and a San Jose del Tambo 70% dark chocolate bar from Askinosie.
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  • The Candy Store - more licorice, some Caffarel bite size pieces, Ice Cubes, Marich Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Peel, Dark Chocolate Sponge Candy from Parkside Candy in Buffalo, NY and an intriguing assortment from Voisin of France called Papillotes Confiseur that I think includes some nougat, marzipan and ... um, I don’t know what else.
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  • CocoaBella - a very small assortment that included a Lillie Belle Jamaican Spiced Caramel, a Maglio Stuffed Fig (loved it when I had it last year and had it for lunch today), Michel Cluizel Champignon Bolet (hazenlut) and the traditional Champignon (almond), two traditional dark pieces from Mary, a Belgian company that seemed to make a big splash at the Chocolate Show in NYC and finally two pieces from Christopher Elbow: Bourbon Pecan and Bananas Foster.
  • I also popped by Charles Chocolate on Thursday to taste their new winter assortment and catch up with Chuck Siegel since I haven’t talked to him in a year and since that time they’ve opened their new shop & cafe with the factory adjacent. Chuck was gracious and gave me some wonderful items to sample (in addition to the ones eaten on site and on sight) such as their lemon and blood orange marmalade (perhaps something for Thanksgiving will include this?), the new Caramel Almonds Sticks and his new 65% Bittersweet Bar that includes Candied Hazelnut Pieces (which I hope is like this Mallorca bar I had earlier this year)

    Monday: Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee (8 out of 10)

    Tuesday: Mentos - Pine Fresh (Pineapple) (8 out of 10)

    Wednesday: Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg (4 out of 10)

    Thursday: Peppermint Peep Stars (6 out of 10)

    Friday: Sour Jujyfruits (6 out of 10)

    Average for the week 6.4 with a 20% chocolate content.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:11 am     CandyFeatured NewsComments (1)

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Sour Jujyfruits

    Sour JujyfruitsEarlier this summer I reviewed one of the classic movie candies, Jujyfruits. While I’ve always been fond of the idea of them, and think that when they’re fresh they’re quite fun, they never had quite enough flavor for me.

    Enter Heide’s newest addition to the Jujyfruit family (which as far as I know is an only child), the Sour Jujyfruits. (I’m not sure how long these have been on the market.)

    The most significant difference between these and the regular Jujyfruit is the flavor set: Lime, Grape, Lemon, Raspberry and Orange. The licorice has been replaced with grape (and for obvious reasons, while some may enjoy a salty licorice, I don’t know of any sour licorice candies).

    The shapes are the same though, with each color coming in all the vegetable and fruits.

    And like Jujyfruits which sport a rather out-of-step package design (what’s with that font?) this package also has some cartoon kids sporting sour pusses. I’m not sure who they’re trying to appeal to.

    Sour JujyfruitsOut of the package, they’re not quite as pretty as their original mellow counterparts. They have a sanding of sour & sugar. It’s not unattractive, by any means, but not quite the same as the soft translucence of the originals.

    They’re also a lot moister. Granted, these come in a plastic pack instead of a box which I imagine allows for some drying. These are quite soft, though not as soft as Sour Patch Kids (and also just a denser shape).

    The flavors are good.

    The raspberry is strong and tart with a good floral counterpart.

    The lemon has a great zesty essence along with the sour burst.

    The grape is okay, it reminds me a lot of concord grape juice, which is a really nice change from the SweeTart grape that usually tastes like blue pen ink.

    Orange is sassy with similar zest components as the lemon.

    The lime is probably the weakest of the set of flavors, but still holds its own.

    Overall, I like them. I like the variety of the shapes, I like the colors and the flavors and would really enjoy these as a movie snack. The production on them wasn’t quite as top notch as Jujyfruits. There were a few that were not quite the right shape or conjoined. But of course Jujyfruits are pretty inexpensive, so I can forgive that for a bag that I’m paying about a buck fifty for.

    Has anyone seen them in stores?

    Related Candies

    1. Jujyfruits & Jujubes
    2. Sour Patch Kids
    3. Giant Pixy Stix
    4. Airheads Xtreme Sour Belts
    Name: Sour Jujyfruits
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Heide (Farley's & Sather)
    Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
    Price: retail $1.59
    Size: 9 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 87
    Categories: Jelly, Sour, United States, Farley's & Sathers

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:29 am     Comments (5)

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Peppermint Peep Stars

    Peppermint Peep Stars PackagePeeps have become a large brand unto themselves. A huge line of products that includes the familiar marshmallow and has even branched out into lollipops.

    Marshmallow purists probably don’t think much of flavored marshmallows, in fact I don’t usually care much for them beyond the kiss of honey or toasted sugar notes.

    But Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars have changed that. They’re light, peppermint flavored marshmallows, just in time for Christmas.

    Peppermint Peep Stars

    The stars are very puffy and fluffy. The outer sugar coating seems to be well adhered, I’m guessing the flat surfaces have a lot to do with this. The whole marshmallow is peppermint flavored, rather strongly and the pink peppermint sparkle-flakes are also strong peppermint.

    If I had any complaints at all about these it’s that they didn’t get stale very easily. I opened a package last week and left it open, but the marshmallow is still rather soft and only slightly tacky. It gives it a nice chew, but I was hoping for something a little drier.

    I actually ate a whole tray of these.

    And then read the ingredients to see that they contain Sucralose and AceK. Sigh ... artificial sweeteners. (It said less than .5% of the candy was composed of these, but when sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, they don’t need to put much in and it did shave 20 calories off the total for a serving compared to a regular Peep.) I felt really betrayed, though I can only blame myself for not reading the ingredients completely before eating them. (I did have a stomach ache for the rest of the morning, but that could have been caused by, well, eating a tray of marshmallows for breakfast or the ibuprofen I’ve been popping lately.) I thought they were really tasty and I would actually buy these and eat these again if they didn’t have those artificial sweeteners. I just have to ask ... why?

    I can’t figure out how to rate them now. I was all set to give them an 8 out of 10. For now I’m going to give them a 6 out of 10.

    Here’s X-Entertainment’s review and Candy Addict’s.

    Related Candies

    1. Peeps Monster Mash Ups
    2. Peeps Spooky Friends
    3. Peeps Mash Ups
    4. Peeps Lollipop Rings
    5. Frankford Marshmallow Hearts
    6. Peeps
    Name: Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: samples from Just Born
    Price: 99 cents
    Size: 3.375 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 97
    Categories: Marshmallow, Mint, United States, Just Born, Peeps, Christmas

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:46 am     Comments (12)

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg

    I’ve talked a lot over the years about Candy Season and the accompanying seasonal candies that go with each. Slowly the candy companies are seeing that those seasonal favorites can be re-purposed into other seasons. Just like M&Ms are found in color combos for every time of the year and Russell Stover is making a marshmallow-filled pumpkin, Santa and egg, it seems that Cadbury doesn’t want anyone to miss out on incorporating their egg-shaped candies into the major holidays.

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    This is where the Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg comes in. It’s just a Cadbury Creme Egg with a red foil wrapper.

    It seems silly, but I’m going to re-review these, even though they’re no different than the Easter version. However, the last time I ate one was back in ‘06 when they were 1.38 ounces. This made for a very large reservoir of fondant ... which is not my favorite part of the Cadbury Creme Egg. (My favorite part of the Cadbury Creme Egg, for the record, was the clucking bunny commercial.) The more recent version is 1.2 ounces.

    The egg has a wonderful sweet dairy chocolate smell to it that reminded me of powdered milk. Both of mine had a small sticky problem around the seam (and I tried to hard to pick good ones).

    The nose cone of both seemed extremely thick, which gave a good dose of chocolate to the otherwise too-sweet fondant density.

    The fondant creme center is sweet, it’s nice and smooth indicating its freshness (an old Creme Egg will have a slight grain to the fondant). But really, it’s just a big hunk of sugar, and while I often enjoy big hunks of sugar (rock candy anyone?), I still felt a little too much of a sugar rush aftewards.

    I think I prefer the smaller one. I’d love it if they made a mint one (and I did find the orange one a bit better). That said, it’s still not a favorite of mine. But I’m sure fans of the Creme Egg will be happy to see it now as their stockpiles from Easter are probably long gone.

    While I can fault them for doing nothing more than slapping a different color wrapper on it and the word “ornament” to make it a Christmas product, I did find that making the Mini Eggs into little spheres for their new Christmas thingies  did actually muck with perfection.

    Related Candies

    1. Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg
    2. Cadbury Canadian Creme Eggs
    3. Cadbury Christmas Candy Thingies
    4. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
    Name: Ornament Creme Egg
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Cadbury (dist. by Hershey)
    Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Hollywood)
    Price: $.50 (on sale)
    Size: 1.2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, United Kingdom, Cadbury, Christmas

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am     Comments (11)

    Page 370 of 584 pages ‹ First  < 368 369 370 371 372 >  Last ›

    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

    191 days

    Read previous coverage

     

     

    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

    •   Halloween
    •   Christmas
    •   Valentine's Day
    •   Easter

     

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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities

     

     

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