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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Theo 3400 Phinney Bars

3400 Phinney Dark Chocolate BarsI tried the Theo Chocolate BonBons earlier this year and have had the bars sitting around for a while. I’m feeling quite pressured to eat them all (though they need to be savored) before Los Angeles gets so hot it bursts into flames (oops, we’re already on fire).

Theo makes chocolate from bean to bar (actually roasting their own beans on site) using fair trade and organic ingredients. Don’t let all that squishy-hippy stuff fool you, this is quality stuff without compromise.

Theo Dark BarEven the wrappers are sassy and fun (designed by KittenChops) instead of making you feel like you did a good deed. Come on! Half the fun is feeling that your chocolate bar is an indulgence ... a wrapper that tells you how many lives you may have saved, how many species will continue to exist because of your support ... all the wonderful skin-clarifying, artery-blasting ingredients that are contained within might be nice (and might get you to buy it) but they aren’t going to get your salivary glands going.

The dark bars contain 65% cocoa solids, so these are dark, but not too intense.

  • Bread & Chocolate Dark Chocolate: An innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt. This is less of a candy bar and more of a savory treat. The dark chocolate is very dark with strong smoke notes and tobacco flavors ... then there is the little crisp, which is the bread part. It’s kind of like buttery Townhouse crackers and rich chocolate. Very creamy, but also kind of dry.
  •  

  • Coffee Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate and a robust locally-roasted organic, Fair-Trade-Certified(tm) coffee combine to create a full-bodied flavor. This is a deep dark bar with some serious coffee in it. Though I love coffee and chocolate, this just isn’t for me. The coffee is very strong and kind of acidic ... just overwhelming. If you’re looking for a serious choco-coffee jolt, this might be it.
  •  

  • Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate with organic roasted cocoa nibs in sweet and crunchy brittle.  This was by far my favorite. The dark chocolate supports the deep berry flavors of the nibs and caramelized sugar crunch that coat them. The nibs were smooth and crunchy without a hint of fibery chew or bitterness. Very different from the Scharffen Berger nibby bar, Theo doesn’t have that acidity ... just smooth and with the mellow crunch of the sugared nibs.
  • 3400 Phinney Milk Chocolate BarsThe Theo Chocolate bars are actually called 3400 Phinney Bars, named after the address of the Theo Chocolate Factory in Seattle. Not only are they not afraid of you knowing where they are, they actually welcome visitors and offer tours with tastings, of course, as well as a factory store. I’m hoping to get up there next fall to really dive into their complete chocolate experience.

    The Milk Chocolate bars boast 40% cacao content, so they’re pretty rich.

    Theo Milk Bar

  • Vanilla Milk Chocolate: A harmonious blend of finely ground Madagascar vanilla bean and milk chocolate. A perfectly simple milk chocolate bar with lovely and bold notes of vanilla and hints of tobacco, caramel and woodsy cedar.
  •  

  • Chai Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate with a warming blend of chai spices and black tea. This was a great mellow bar. The spices weren’t too strong, the chocolate creamy and smooth and not too sweet (some real chai is far too sweet for me). A great combination.
  •  

  • Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate with toasted coconut and savory curry spices. This is a seriously savory curry bar with light little crunchy chips of toasted coconut. It gave my lips quite a burn long after I was done with it.
  • All the bars a welcome change from the ordinary candy bar. The two I would find myself munching on regularly would be the Nib Brittle and Chai Milk Chocolate. They are expensive though, so only for special occasions. I could see tucking these into a special picnic at Pt. Dume or going to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert, but I just can’t buy them every day ... but knowing that the cocoa is grown responsibly (socially & environmentally) would help me pony up the dough.

    You can find the bars online at Theo, Chocosphere and at stores like Whole Foods. The bars are

    not Kosher certified

    now Kosher (as of March 2008).

    Related Candies

    1. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
    2. Zotter Candy Bars
    3. Theo Confections
    4. Vosges Haut-Chocolate
    Name: 3400 Phinney Bars
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Theo Chocolate
    Place Purchased: samples from Theo
    Price: retail $3.25 each
    Size: 2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: varies
    Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Coffee, Nibs, Coconut, United States, Theo, Fair Trade, Organic

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:13 am     Comments (15)

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    Black Ace Licorice

    Black Ace LicoriceI’m a licorice fan, so it’s hard to do it wrong. I’ll eat it as a hard candy, a chewy rope or classic pastille. What I thought was great about this Black Ace Licorice is that it fits into that niche of licorice products that just about everyone can enjoy. Until I saw this package it didn’t occur to me that so many gluten/wheat sensitive folks were missing out on some great chewy licorice goodness.

    This licorice has no wheat flour in it, as most laces, twists and ropes do. Most mass-produced licorice products in the United States don’t even contain real licorice any longer, they use anise flavoring instead. Black Ace is all natural and contains real licorice (which is a good thing and a bad thing, I’ll get to that in a moment.) Licorice has been used for centuries in teas and medicinals. The extract is extremely sweet and has been used an alternative sweetener. It’s a natural expectorant as well, so it’s often found in cough remedies. Some of the effects of too much licorice can be welcome (laxative effect), unpleasant (green stool), or downright dangerous (high blood pressure & edema). Again ... that’d be too much licorice. What’s too much? More than six servings a day.

    Black Ace LicoriceBlack Ace are little dots of licorice. They’re soft and chewy, pretty much melting away in the mouth smoothly as you chew or dissolve them. They have corn starch in them, which I guess might make them a jelly product. They’re very sweet, but have a mellow peppery, woodsy taste to them. They’re sweetened with corn syrup and sugar, not molasses, so I miss some of the more earthy flavors. There’s also a little hit of salt in here that tones down the high sweet flavors of the licorice itself.

    Black Ace also does a Red version, which also has a similarly pleasant, smooth and soft chew. The flavor is a good fruity/floral mix, something like raspberry. I’m not a big fan of Red in general, mostly because it reminds me I could be having black licorice. But these were definitely nice.

    I enjoyed them quite a bit but would probably prefer a molasses & wheat based candy. But if you’re a fan of licorice and can’t have wheat and don’t want boring old hard candies, this might be a solution. Since they’re all natural, you can expect to find them places like Whole Foods as well as Beverages & More, Oakville Grocery or Bristol Farms and possibly TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

    Note: though this is all natural, fat free, wheat and gluten free, the package states that they were made in a facility that processes peanuts & other nuts.

    Name: Black Ace Licorice
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Food Savvy
    Place Purchased: samples from Food Savvy
    Price: unknown
    Size: 6 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 100
    Categories: Licorice, Jelly, United States

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

    Monday, May 7, 2007

    Skittles Carnival Flavors

    imageThis bag of Limited Edition Carnival Flavor Skittles absolutely smells like a carnival midway: a combination of waffle cones, cotton candy and freshly shaken lemonade.

    I was a little peeved that I couldn’t find these in a single-serve bag, but at least they were on sale. While many chocolate based products in large bags are only 11-14 ounces, Skittles still come in a full pound bag.

    Skittles Carnival Flavors

  • Cotton Candy (light blue): cotton candy barely qualifies as a flavor. It’s just spun sugar. Some places give it a light strawberry or raspberry flavor, but often I think it just tastes like the color pink. This is sweet and has that light touch of burnt sugar and floral, strawberry sweetness ... all kissed with blue food coloring.
  • Bubble Gum (pink)  - stunningly faithful to the flavor of real bubble gum, sweet and disconcerting, as I thought I could just keep on chewing but eventually it disappeared
  • Candy Apple (light yellow) - candy apples are another one of those things that isn’t quite a flavor. The candy shell on an apple is usually just boiled and colored sugar. I guess the flavor here is cotton candy touched with a little bit of tangy apple.
  • Red Licorice (red) - I’ve never been quite sure what the flavor of red licorice is. I suppose it’s a very mild berry (strawberry and/or raspberry). It’s all sweet with none of the tangy bite of berries.
  • Green Slushy (light green) - this is more than lime. It does taste kind of like Mountain Dew (or what I remember MD tastes like, I haven’t had one in at least 15 years. It’s lime with a bite of bitterness or key lime perhaps. It’s actually really good. I like it better than a regular lime Skittle.
  • The only strange thing about all of the flavors is that the candy shell was every so slightly tangy when first placed on the tongue. While that’s fine for Red Vines and Slushie, it didn’t really belong on the Bubble Gum and Cotton Candy. I’m wondering if that sour bite is the ascorbic acid that gives each serving of Skittles its 45% RDA level of Vitamin C.

    I didn’t care much for the extended flavors I reviewed last week, but I found myself happily munching away on this bag of Skittles without picking out particular flavors. Also, the flavor combinations pretty much all work with each other. Perhaps Slushy and Candy Apple are my least favorite combo but Cotton Candy and Bubble Gum are quite a nice mix. The other fun thing is that there’s not strange Skittles Breath after eating them. Often with the fruity Skittles I find coffee unpalatable. Though they’re not really coffee compatible, they don’t spoil the experience for me.

    Related Candies

    1. Skittles Blenders
    2. Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits
    3. Skittles Crazy Cores
    4. Skittles Carnival Flavors
    5. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
    6. Skittles Fresh Mint
    7. Skittles Ice Cream
    Name: Skittles Carnival Flavors
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Mars
    Place Purchased: Von's (Los Feliz)
    Price: $2.59 (on sale)
    Size: 16 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 113
    Categories: Chew, United States, Mars, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:09 am     Comments (90)

    Saturday, May 5, 2007

    FDA & Mockolate - It’s not over

    The newspapers are still latching onto the story. Browse through a few stories:

  • Contra Costa Times: Fudging Chocolate by Janis Mara
  •  

  • The Missoulian: Don’t deceive us with ersatz ‘chocolate’
  •  

  • News with Views: Heart Attack Chocolate by Jon Christian Ryter
  •  

  • About: Chocolate Lovers Unite, then Write the FDA by Kathy Gill
  •  

  • San Jose Mecury News: Chocolate change would leave bad taste
  • It’s important to keep the coverage going through blog posts and message boards and letters to the editor. The story should saturate the news so that the comments at the FDA will ultimately reflect the citizens and not just manufacturers.

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:43 am     CandyFDANewsComments (3)

    Friday, May 4, 2007

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape

    Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi TapeThis is a new level of portability for tape shaped gummi products. Capitalizing on the bubble gum tape dispenser (with the ultimate application being the Bubble Roll Message Maker) this little plastic disk holds six feet of candy.

    Hubba Bubba introduced these in two flavors: Sour Blue Raspberry and Shocking Strawberry. Though the product calls itself gummi, it’s looks more like Red Vines from the ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Malic Acid, Apple Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Mono & Di-Glycerides, Red 40.

    There isn’t any gelatin in there, which is what I consider a defining ingredient of gummis. To continue that thought, jellies use pectin or corn starch, licorice or vines use wheat flour.

    image

    Naming aside, the dense roll unravels to reveal a long and flat tape with a coating of sugar and flavor on it (a little sour bite) which keeps it from sticking to itself. The chew is pretty dense and leathery, like a rather dry Red Vine.

    I found the package frustrating, as the cutter didn’t really cut, it just held the tape in place while I stretched it until it split and broke. Of course it would also scatter bits of the sugary coating around as well. I guess they’re worried about giving sharp objects to kids. I guess they’re not worried about stuff getting in my keyboard. Or maybe they have a co-marketing deal with those compressed air can companies.

    The candy is tasty but the novelty of the roll in a pack you can put in your back pocket isn’t well executed. These remind me of a bunch of different products, including the Sour Punch Straws and the unbranded stuff you can get in the bulk bins at the grocery store. Basically there are better values out there, however, if you’re looking for a light candy snack, especially for kids that involves some portion control, this might be fun.

    Name: Sour Gummi Tape - Shocking Strawberry
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hubba Bubba (Wrigley's)
    Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
    Price: $1.19
    Size: 2.1 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 115
    Categories: Gummi, Sour, Turkey, Wrigley

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:31 am     Comments (15)

    Page 381 of 555 pages ‹ First  < 379 380 381 382 383 >  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.

    Halloween Candy Season Ends

    -56 days

    Read previous coverage

     

     

    Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

    Choose one or more:

    •   Halloween
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    ON DECK

    These candies will be reviewed shortly:

    • Lindt Chocolate Cookie

    • Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

    • Dandelion Chocolate

    • Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

     

     

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