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Monday, April 2, 2007

Keep It Real Chicklets

So, if you saw my post about mobilizing folks to respond to the FDA about changes in the definition of Chocolate and you want to help, here are some little pretty images you can post on your site or blog or use in your sig line on forums. Link to the www.dontmesswithourchocolate.com site to spread the word.

Please download the images to your computer and place them on your own server. Hotlinking to my site will not work.

Tall Images
Cacao Pod: 250 pixels wide - 313 pixels high (right click above)

Cacao Pod: 150 pixels wide - 187 pixels high
Cacao Pod: 150 pixels wide - 49 pixels high
Cacao Pod: 125 pixels wide - 156 pixels high
Cacao Pod: 125 pixels wide - 44 pixels high

Keep it Real: 240 pixels wide - 209 pixels high (right click above)
Keep it Real: 500 pixels wide - 436 pixels high
Keep it Real: 150 pixels wide - 130 pixels high

Keep it Real (Wide) - 400 pixels wide - 128 pixels high (right click above)

Keep it Real (wide) - 500 pixels wide - 160 pixels wide
Keep it Real (Wide) - 150 pixels wide - 48 pixels high

You’re welcome to link to them from this Photobucket Gallery.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:31 pm     CandyFDANewsComments (3)

Don’t Mess with Our Chocolate!

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the FDA controls what fits under the definition of chocolate for sale in the United States. They want to make MOCKOLATE into CHOCOLATE.

As it is, chocolate is not an unhealthy treat. Cocoa Butter, which is composed of stearic acid, has been found to have no effect on blood lipid levels (cholesterol). Cocoa solids have been shown to have a positive effect on our bodies because of the high levels of antioxidants, insulin-like and anti-inflammatory compounds.

The new rules would completely obliterate the current definition, basically making any concoction containing cocoa solids and a fat into Chocolate. Like magic!

The rules currently state (basically) that chocolate must contain cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Other things can be in there, like milk fat and milk solids to make milk chocolate and a small amount of milk fat can be added to dark chocolate as well. The new proposal would allow products that contain NO COCOA BUTTER to be called chocolate.

We all know that these mockolate products are crappy. They don’t taste the same ... they feel oily or greasy on the tongue and don’t have the smooth buttery melt. What’s worse? They usually contain partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) or tropical oils (saturated fats) ... these fats raise our cholesterol levels.

Why is the Chocolate Manufacturers Association pushing for this? Because it’s more cost efficient.

There’s no reason that consumers want this dilution of the standards for chocolate!

It’s all for the chocolate companies to be able to make a cheaper product, an inferior product. Think about it, have you ever picked up a mockolate product and thought, “Goodness, that’s better than real chocolate!” Have you? I thought not. There will be a few holdouts that will continue with the tried and true traditional formulations of chocolate and they’re going to be the losers. Sure, the high end companies will do okay, because they’ve always had consumers with deeper pocketbooks. But the big chocolate companies that want to make this cheap mockolate will flood the market and confuse consumers ... ultimately just frustrating us with bad experiences and wasted money (and possibly a fatter belly and clogged arteries).

You know what? The FDA doesn’t have to give the CMA what they want. You have the power to reject this ... but you have to tell the FDA!


It’s never been easier ... just visit the FDA’s public comment portion of their website and tell them that you don’t want to lose real chocolate in a sea of wax and tropical oils. You can fill out the form, or send them a letter or a fax. Here’s what you’re commenting on:

2007P-0085 - Adopt Regulations of General Applicability to all Food Standards that would Permit, within Stated Boundaries, Deviations from the Requirements of the Individual Food Standards of Identity

Just visit this page for a tutorial and some talking points ... or read through the issues and draft your own letter. The important thing to do is to tell them that this change does NOT PROTECT CONSUMERS. The use of alternate fats not only makes for crappy chocolate, it’s not good for us.

The deadline for public comment on this is

April 25th, 2007

June 25, 2007.

The FDA’s current Standards of Identity for Chocolate (not easy to read as a layperson).
The Chocolate Manufacturers Association Glossary (pretty easy to understand definitions)
Don’t Mess with our Chocolate “How To Help”
Current FDA Food Labeling Guide (they don’t have to say “imitation chocolate” any longer!)
Here are some little graphics I made that you can display on your site!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:58 am     CandyFDAChocolateNews

Brach’s Fiesta Eggs

Brach's Fiesta Eggs PackageThe full name on these is Brach’s Pastel Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs which of course made me wonder if they have another product that is perhaps primary colors or just black and white. Malted milk eggs at Easter were a particular favorite of mine. They were one of those interactive candies, you can lick the shell and then color your lips with the coral pink or white chalky edible makeup. (That white lipstick was quite the look when I was very little.)

Now of course I’m much more interested in the “real milk chocolate” part of the wrapper. Brach’s has been owned by Barry Callebaut since 2003, so maybe they were teaching Brach’s a thing or two about chocolate. They don’t need to be taught how to make boiled sugar candy, they do that just fine.

imageThe Fiesta Eggs are big and bold. They make a satisfying clacking sound in the bag when you roll them around. They can be eaten whole (or applied liberally over the face) but I prefer to bite them in half and have a look. I don’t know what I expect to find, as it has always been the same ... malt center, chocolate layer and then hard colored shell. But you never know! (Actually, I’ve eaten very old malt balls before and every once in a while I’ve gotten ones with “melted” centers but shells that are intact or just a little dented.)

Fiesta Eggs smell like Easter. They’re sweet and have a slight vanilla hint to them. This bag was very fresh, the shells were super crisp and the centers were light and airy.

Unlike the normal chocolate covered malt balls, the Fiesta Egg is more about the combination of the texture of the hard sugar shell and the light crunch of the malted center. The chocolate layer provides a little bit of a creamy texture, but not much flavor. In the Brach’s chocolate, as far as I can tell, is too too sweet.

These still aren’t my ultimate malted egg. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. I wasn’t blown away by the Jelly Belly ones either and I picked up some more vibrant colored ones (but I don’t know the brand) a the Sweet Factory a few weeks ago in the bulk bins. They tasted too much like food coloring and not enough like malt. Perhaps such a candy doesn’t exist.
See the previous review on Mighty Malts from Necco (and a photo of the Whopper’s Robin’s Eggs, for reference).

But you can be sure that I’m going to finish these! How do I look with lilac lipstick?

UPDATE: 3/30/2011 - The pastel ones are hard to find, but I did run across a white version. They say they’re made with real milk chocolate, but they’re still not very chocolatey.

UPDATE 3/2/2012: Another newer version has appeared on store shelves. They are much, much larger, but have a more flavorful malt center and perhaps better chocolate. Check out the new review here.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs (2012)
  2. Whoppers Milkshake Strawberry
  3. Whoppers Sno-Balls
  4. Naked Chocolate Maltballs
  5. Villars Swiss Milk Chocolate
  6. Mighty Malts
  7. Malted Crisped Rice Squares
  8. Mars Maltesers
Name: Pastel Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Brach's
Place Purchased: Long's (Laguna Woods)
Price: $1.50 (on sale!)
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 132
Categories: Chocolate, Malt, United States, Brach's, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:28 am     Comments (111)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

March Search Strings

Last month’s search string are obviously focused on Easter. What I found rather funny was the number of people who found the site while looking for Cadbury Mini Eggs ... why aren’t people going to the Hershey site? What are they finding here that they’re not getting from the site set up by the manufacturer? Is it the opportunity to offer comments, the photos or just because they want more.

1. cadbury mini eggs
2. maya gold
3. mini eggs
4. japanese candy
5. oriental trading
6. easter candy
7. kinder bueno
8. choxie
9. trader joe’s
10. starburst candy

The other thing I found interesting about the search listing is how many people came to the site in search of info about Barnegat, Hometown Candy or Jordan Almonds dot com. About 150 people came to read the post I wrote last year, and plenty more are still adding their comments to the thread with their experiences.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:36 pm     CandySearch StringsNewsComments (6)

Friday, March 30, 2007

SweeTart Jelly Beans

SweeTart Jelly Beans PackageAfter the review of Lifesavers Jelly Beans, I kept hearing that the SweeTart Jelly Beans were also very good. (Actually, readers have been telling me this for a year, but I was hoping to catch them on sale after Easter last year, but wasn’t so lucky.)

So I went out last night looking for them. Luckily they were on sale ($1.50 a bag instead of $2.29) at RiteAid. I carefully chose a bag that looked like it had lots of yellow ones in it (the others looked very pink).


Unlike the Lifesavers Jelly Beans that made up flavors to include in the bag, the SweeTart Jelly Beans stick to the regular SweeTart flavors: Grape, Cherry,  Orange, Lemon, Green Apple and Blue Punch.

The colors are typical of an assortment of highlighter pens (well, the purple one just wasn’t photographing well, it’s much more lilac that the photo makes it appear). They’re matte and opaque. They’re also not terribly regular in size and shape, with the colors sometimes looking a little faded in spots and other little bloops of other colors in them.

These beans are different. They candy shell on them isn’t like any other jelly bean I’ve had. Instead of just being a flavored sugar shell, these feel different. They’re a little crumbly and a little cool on the tongue. The ingredients lists dextrose as one of the main ingredients. Dextrose is the same sugar used to make SweeTart and other compressed sugar candies.

It takes a little getting used to, because at first it feels like the bean is past its prime or something. But then I really started to enjoy cleaving off parts of the shell in my mouth before chewing the rest up. They’re kind of like Lemonheads in that respect, except not as sour. The jelly center isn’t really flavored, but does have a slight tang to it (yes, I managed to just nibble off the shell on a few of them). The jelly center is the same for all of them as far as I can tell (Jelly Belly uses specific flavored centers for their beans, which is one of the reasons they’re so flavorful).

I really liked the orange and lemon, but found the grape to be a huge disappointment. It was completely missing that “malic acid” flavor of the grape SweeTart. The green apple also seemed a little weird, just not quite complete. The blue punch was much better than I expected and of course the cherry was just bitter to me. Though all of them are a bit tart, they’re not really sour like a SweeTart is. I can say from experience here that there’s no tongue damage from eating a third of a bag for breakfast (which there definitely would be with the regular chalky SweeTart).

I’m not as fond of these as I’d hoped, so they’re not going to knock the Lifesavers Jelly Beans off the current favored spot for the special Easter jelly beans. Part of it is the lack of visual appeal, they just look old. I also wanted them to be more tart. But I have to give them props for making me eat my jelly beans in a different way. I still have another bag of the SweeTart Ducks, Chicks & Bunnies (I finally found them at Walgreen’s) ... it’s gonna take a big candy innovation for something else from SweeTart to knock them off the top spot.

Related Candies

  1. Smarties Jelly Beans
  2. Wonka Nerds Jelly Beans
  3. SweeTart Hearts
  4. Wonka Sour Nerds
  5. SweeTarts: Chicks, Ducks & Bunnies (2006)
  6. Starburst and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Name: SweeTarts Jelly Beans
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Los Feliz)
Price: $1.50
Size: 14 ounces
Calories per ounce: 95
Categories: Jelly, Sour, Canada, Nestle, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:29 am     Comments (31)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Endangered Species: Eco-Rounds

I found myself frustrated last year trying to put together a “Green Halloween”, and part of that is that at Halloween we’re buying candy for strangers (trick-or-treaters). For Easter we’re buying candy for our close friends and family, so taking that extra step to pick the most wholesome and ethically produced is perhaps a little easier on the wallet. So if you’re looking to put something together this year, take a look over those product reviews for Green Halloween as most are also available for Easter (and all year round). I’ll put together an updated list of green candy choices this weekend.

Endangered Species makes their little Bug Bites in a “Hoppy Treats” version, which I think are nice Easter basket options. Since I’ve already reviewed those, I thought I’d give a new Endangered Species item a review today!


Introduced late last year, Eco-Rounds are a set of three little dark chocolates with caramelized cacao nibs. They come in a single serving “bar” (a plastic package, instead of the usual foil & paper wrapper). The little disks of chocolate are attractive, rather thick and very shiny.

While the Endangered Species Bat Bar also has cacao nibs in it, these little morsels aren’t quite as dark. The chocolate here is 60% dark instead of the 75% dark in the Bat Bar. The chocolate is smooth and a little sweet. The disks have an excellent crunch from the abundant nibs. Unlike many bars with nibs in the, these are caramelized, so they have a little sweet toffee crunch taste to them.

Excellent stuff, if these were easier to find, this might be one of my favorite new nibby items. I was very disappointed when I finished them (seriously, they could put four in there very easily)!

I think Endangered Species should really consider wrapping these individually in foil (or those little sealed sleeves they use for Bug Bites) and selling them seasonally in larger bags. I’d love a bowl of pastel ones for the spring and some fall colors later this year. Or if you want to go the non-seasonal route, maybe some different patterned foils in animal prints. Some zebra stripes, leopard Spots, tortoise shell ... it could be sassy!

Note: this is not organic, but is all natural and ethically traded. Also note that they call this dark chocolate, but the wrapper says that it contains milk products, so is not suitable for vegans. (Drat!)

Name: Eco-Rounds
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Endangered Species
Place Purchased: samples from Endangered Species
Price: retail $1.59
Size: 1.06 ounces
Calories per ounce: 151
Categories: Chocolate, Nibs, United States, Endangered Species, Fair Trade, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:30 am     Comments (6)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kisses Chocolate Truffles

I’ve seen all the new Kisses, and while I’d love to review them all, I just can’t bring myself to keep buying 10 ounce bags of them. I don’t want that many Kisses that I’m not sure about! Why not a variety bag? Or ... how about a single serving package?


Okay, part of me is cheap, so when I saw that this was $1.09 at the 7-11, I thought, “For another dollar I can have a huge bag of them!” Then I remembered I don’t want a huge bag ... so I ponied up the buck and took home my FIVE Hershey’s Chocolate Truffle Kisses.

Well, color me surprised when I got them home and opened up the package.

imageInside the mylar wrapper the Kisses were protected within a piece of folded waxed cardboard. The little triangular tube did a nice job of keeping them from getting smashed while traveling around in my bag. I pulled out the set and found that these guys are HUGE!

I dug around for a regular Kiss just to demonstrate this. They’re obviously a molded chocolate (as all the non-standard Kisses are) and have a substantial base (the classic extruded Kisses have a little curved bit at the base). The standard Kiss has a base diameter of .8125 inches and the Truffle Kiss has a base diameter of 1 inch.

imageThe whole thing is rather milky looking. When I first cut open the Kiss for the photo, I couldn’t tell where the truffle filling was. You can kind of make out the little dome of it in this photo.

It smells rather sweet, a little milky, a little like vanilla. The center is soft and melts easily (courtesy, I’m sure, of all that modified palm oil). There’s a little salty hit to the center as well, just a smidge saltier than the milk chocolate shell. The whole thing is much creamier than the regular Kiss chocolate and lacks that tangy note that many Hershey’s chocolate products have. (I kind of like that flavor, but I know a few Europeans use this information against Americans.) Without that flavor, this doesn’t taste like much. It’s not terribly chocolatey, but reasonably smooth and creamy without being too sticky or sweet.

If you really want a Hershey’s Kiss that doesn’t taste like one, well, here’s your product.

I think I’ll pass on the bags of foil wrapped Truffle Kisses. The one that I am planning to buy in the full bag is the Coconut Creme. Maybe this weekend.

Name: Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Kisses
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: 7-11 (West LA)
Price: $1.09
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey's, Limited Edition, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:00 am     Comments (22)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Topps Baby Bottle

So I’m reading Technology Marketing magazine last month (okay, not really, I just found the article because it was about candy and it came up on a Google News Alert) and there was an article about Topps and their new products. But what shocked me, seriously shocked me, was the first part of the opening paragraph:

Baby Bottle Pop—Topps’ biggest brand and the No. 2 sweet in the kids non-chocolate candy segment ... (link)

Say what? The Baby Bottle Pop is that popular (I have no idea what holds the number 1 spot in the adults non-chocolate segment ... I’m guessing something from Jelly Belly)?

So why haven’t I had them? It appears that they were introduced in the late 90s, a bit after my candy experimentation stage. But I have a duty to Candy Blog to keep up with the kids, you know. First, I had to find them. This involved stooping down and looking at the bottom racks in the candy aisle at the drug stores and finally at 7-11 where I was able to find the “classic” version in a flavor combo that seemed good to me. I picked up Citrus Craze and Strawberry.


You may be wondering what a Baby Bottle is. It’s a little bottle, about the size of a small baby food jar, filled with a powdered candy topped with a hard candy nipple top. The top unscrews and has a “stem” that allows you to hold onto the top as you lick it to get it sticky and then dip it into the bottle to coat it with the sour, flavorful powder. The nipple pop has a plastic dome to keep it clean when you’re not eating.

I was expecting a grainy powder like Pixy Stix. Instead it’s much finer and more flavorful.

The Citrus Craze powder is quite tart and actually has a lot more flavor than I expected. Instead of just sour, it had some orangey flavors. It still tasted pretty much like Tang. It looks like Tang, too. The pop itself is rather bland and sweet, with a swirl of yellow and orange. The combo of the two is really good! The tangy powder seems more zesty because of the bland background of the sweet pop. Having the dipping pop made of hard candy makes far more sense than the Lik-a-Maid which had a compressed dextrose stick that got soggy pretty quickly.

As you eat the pop and there’s less powder, it gets harder and harder to coat the pop with it. I eventually just dumped the powder onto my tongue. Here’s a tip ... don’t inhale at the same time. Seriously, this is weapons-grade powder and the sour crust in your lungs is not a happy thing. Is there a disease called Pixe Stix Lung?

The Strawberry wasn’t quite as interesting to me, except that I have to say that the clear red nipple pop on top was pretty alluring. (Read into that whatever you like.)

In this version the pop is actually the flavorful sour part and the powder is just sweet and fruity. Not bad, but I preferred the tangy zap of the Citrus Craze. As a grown up I find eating this a little cumbersome but I’m pretty sure this would have been my favorite candy as a tween. As a treat for kids, yeah, it’s a mixed message, but it’s also rather labor intensive to eat and only 120 calories.

For the record, as a kid I didn’t buy Pixy Stix or Lik-a-Maid. I would buy cans of lemonade mix or boxes of Jell-O and just eat that by licking my finger and dipping it in there. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to use a lollipop.

Note: this product was made in Thailand.

Related Candies

  1. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  2. Bratz Candy Cosmetics
  3. Baby Bottle Pacifier Tarts
  4. Sandy Candy
  5. Airheads
  6. Giant Pixy Stix
  7. Airheads Xtreme Sour Belts
Name: Baby Bottle Pops: Citrus Craze & Strawberry
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Topps
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $1.29
Size: 1.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Chalk, Hard Candy, , SourTopps

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:33 am     Comments (23)

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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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• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

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