Thursday, September 27, 2007
I’m keen on the combination of dark chocolate and mint. I’d say that there’s nothing better, but then avid readers will probably find instances where I’ve said the same about the combination of chocolate and peanut butter and probably orange and chocolate and probably pretzels and chocolate.
There have been a few new versions of Junior Mints, including the Inside Out, Junior Mints Pastels and Heart Shaped Junior Mints over the past few years. They didn’t mess with the peppermint flavor or the proportions of the elements. Instead they messed with the chocolate element.
The new Junior Mints Deluxe are jumbo sized. They’re the same size as Cella’s Chocolate Covered Cherries, which are also made by Tootsie. At the top of the chocolate shell are the initials JM.
They’re two bites big (about a half an ounce each) and the soft fondant center flows quickly if you don’t tip it up quickly after biting it open. The chocolate shell is thick and dark but is pretty sweet. It doesn’t have that waxy shellac that Junior Mints usually have.
I really liked the flavor of the huge reservoir of the fondant center. It was intensely minty, so much that it cut through what would ordinarily be very sweet. The large two bite version can be messy and I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. I suspect popping the whole thing in the mouth at once is the way to go, but I can’t resist looking at the innards.
Again, there is the issue of proportions here, I think this is a little off for my tastes with the gooey center, but if you’re a fan of the gooey center, this may be your new favorite. They should be available in stores after Halloween. This box comes with 12 in it and weighs 6 ounces. There are no dairy or egg products in this (though may be processed on equipment that comes in contact with milk) so it may be suitable for liberal vegans.
I would normally wait until my Holiday Gift Guide to post about this, but I doubt they’ll be any left.
They have two different logo versions (black and white) but the best ones are the large version that feature either the Giraffe from the Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate bar or the Snow Leopard from the Milk Chocolate with Mocha.
You can pre-order now, but they won’t be shipped until October 15th. They’re a little pricey (that’s what happens when you give people a living wage) at $25 for the coin purse, $55 for the purse and $16 for the bracelet.
You can also order your Green Halloween kits at the same time!
If you’re more interested in eating your packaging instead of making it into things, take note that Charles Chocolates is running a web only promotion right now where you can save 25% on Edible Chocolate Boxes.
That means the Fleur de Sel or Marzipan Collections are only $33.75 and the Fall or Tea Collections are $45.00. If you can’t decide you can by the full collection of five boxes for $187.50 (five boxes you say, what’s the fifth? looks like another assorted collection). See them all here. Must ship by October 15, 2007.
See my reviews of the Charles Chocolates line here.
Last year I tried the Limited Edition Chocolate Covered Pop Rocks. They were interesting, not really anything to bring me back to eating Pop Rocks on a regular basis.
But this year Pop Rocks had something completely new and not packaged in a flat envelope. This is the new Milk Chocolate Pop Rocks Bar. The gentleman at their booth at All Candy Expo was careful to tell me that they used premium chocolate for this bar. (I’m not sure I’d call it premium, it does have PGPR in it.)
The bar is petite at only 1.16 ounces and three chunky segments.
The chocolate is soft and rather creamy but sweet. It melts quickly to reveal the chunks of Pop Rocks that, well, pop. It’s like a proactive Nestle’s Crunch Bar (with better chocolate).
The chocolate is light and lacking in the darker chocolate flavors, I got an overwhelming taste of raisins, but I don’t know if that had something to do with some actual flavor to the Pop Rocks.
The bar can be eaten two ways, as far as I’m concerned. The first is to simply let it melt and allow the Pop Rocks to pop. This creates a mild and interesting effect, but not terribly different. The second is to chew up much of the bar and then let it melt, giving it another chew or two as it dissolves completely. This is extremely noisy (at least inside my own head) and by far the most fun.
Popping candy chocolate bars have been around for a few years, most notably a brief appearance in the United States by the Wonka Xploder bar, which I never got to try.
I expect them to be found in the same places I see Pop Rocks (7-11, Target and candy shops), no word on the retail price. This bar was made in Spain.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Kim from ChicagoParent.com has a great write up from a mom’s point of view.
Here’s the official press release from the All Candy Expo where they talked about the different trends (you can see how many of the reporters parroted that in their listings).
Other Coverage by Me
Finally, the National Confectioners Association site also has a nice roundup of coverage including video links!
One of the exciting new products teased at the All Candy Expo is the new Chocolate Mix Skittles. This is a permanent flavor addition to the Skittles line which already includes: Original Fruit, Tropical, Smoothie Mix and Wild Berry.
The Chocolate Mix has five flavors: Vanilla, S’Mores, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Pudding and Brownie Batter.
I was pretty skeptical. First, Skittles are known for a lot of flavor being packed into that candy shell. Second, one of the best things about chocolate is the whole experience of both the meltiness (fat) and the cocoa solids (flavor), there’s no way they could get that in here. Third, two of the five flavors in this mix were introduced in the Ice Cream Skittles last year and they were (chocolate and vanilla). I detested the chocolate ones ... and here’s a whole bag designed around that?
S’More (pale caramel colored): slightly tangy candy coating, a good toasted flavor to it ... not a trace of chocolate, but a little graham/cereal taste to it. Pretty good. Very sweet.
Chocolate Caramel (caramel colored): the prettiest color in the bag. A nice sweet chew with a little burnt sugar note to it and maybe a trace of cotton candy, but I wasn’t catching any chocolate at all.
Chocolate Pudding (dark brown, almost purple colored): vaguely chocolatey, mostly sweet, kind of like cocoa towards the end of the chew.
Brownie Batter (darkest brown): fudgy and kind of like a cookie all at once, which I guess is why it’s called brownie batter. It doesn’t have the complete chocolate flavor, more on the cardboard side and not nearly as satisfying as a Tootsie Roll.
I know everyone’s really excited about these, but I don’t like them much. They’re watery, not vibrant or really engaging my tastebuds. I know that the Carnival Skittles were similar in that they diverged from the intense fruit-ness that Skittles are known for, but these just didn’t have that zing that even they were able to muster with their delicateness. Quite a few folks have stopped by my office to try the new stuff I brought back. They try them, but no one’s come back for more.
The good news is that they contain no dairy and no gelatin ... so as long as you’re okay with a dash of hydrogenated oils, these might be the Skittles for you! The package also states that they are “Gluten Free.”
These should be available in stores later this year, post here if you’ve spotted them in the wild!
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.