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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

KitKat Bitter & White

Japan is known for cars, Japan is known for electronics. Japan is known for cute. Japan is also home to some of the best KitKats in the world (okay, and some of the worst, but this is the price of innovation and an example of the bell curve).

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What else can I say except that the KitKat Bitter is what a KitKat should be all day, every day.

Upon opening one of the two packets that have two-finger sticks, it’s obvious this candy is real. The chocolate is dark and glossy and smells like ... chocolate! The package says, in English, “High Grade Cacaomass”, which I’m guessing is their way of saying that’s it’s authentically dark chocolate.

The American dark chocolate KitKats were not nearly as good as these (not that it matters, as they’re long gone). The Canadian dark KitKats are close in flavor but lacking in the high-quality chocolate texture.

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The wafers are crisp and have that light touch of sweet filling. Yes, the chocolate here is rich and dark and actually slightly bitter as the label advertises. It’s a little dry as well. But it’s just so real tasting, it just spoils me for any other KitKats.

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The White KitKat says that it has Nasu Highland Milk. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s a selling point.

It smells very milky and has a light milky look to it. Though it’s sweet, it’s not throat-burningly so. The crispy wafers are good and offset the sweetness of the milky coating. As white chocolate KitKats go, I prefer this one to the Matcha from last year that seemed excessively sweet and a bit greasy feeling.

I can’t see myself eating this regularly, but I finished the bar, which is a good recommendation for anything containing white chocolate for me (I have a tendency to like them at first but lose interest after a serving). The wafers seemed to be more of a highlight than in the Bitter bar, perhaps a little crispier or maybe I’m better able to discern the flavor of them without the overwhelming chocolate.

See all KitKat reviews to date here. I also have several others prepping for review: Red Bean, Fruit Parfait, Chestnut & Inside Out (various flavors) thanks to Amy & Santos.

Name: KitKat Bitter & White
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: gift (thanks Amy!)
Price: unknown
Size: 50 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Cookie, Japan, Nestle, Limited Edition, KitKat

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:49 am     Comments (9)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Wawel Chocolates

imageKokosowe is a dark chocolate covered coconut center. The center is not at all like a Mounds bar, but more like a coconutty York Peppermint Pattie ... it’s a stiff and slightly crumbly fondant that melts in your mouth and then later the chewy toasted coconut becomes chewy.

I’m a fan of coconut and I enjoyed the more toasted flavors, a refreshing change from the usual sticky chew of a Mounds bar.

imageKasztanki is a large chestnut looking piece like the others. This one is a semisweet chocolate covering a center of cocoa cream and crushed wafers. It’s crunchy and has a light rum and perhaps coffee flavor to it. The crunch is really interesting because the bits are so small and the flavor is rather light. It reminded me a bit of some other Eastern European candies I’ve had before, except this is good quality.

imageMalaga was the one name that I kind of understood, though I’m not sure what the candy is. As far as I can tell it’s a flowing raisin caramel center in semi-sweet chocolate. Or perhaps the center is more like a cordial or marmalade. It’s a rather unusual combination but the flavor reminds me a little bit of the Rum Nougats that See’s makes (but not the texture, of course). There are little bits of raisins and the dark chocolate provides a good complement to the sweet but flavorful center.

imageTiki Taki was definitely the most interesting of the bunch with an uncommon combination of flavors. The top layer is a nice mild peanut butter praline, and the bottom layer is a smooth but crumbly fondant of coconut like the Kokosowe. It seems to work pretty well, the roasted nut flavors of the peanut butter go really well with the coconut, which plays it pretty mild here.

Wawel may be popping up more in ethnic and upscale grocers. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see it at places like Cost Plus World Market. Part of what I find interesting is that these chocolates taste different than others. The flavor combinations on both the Tiki Taki and Malaga are unlike others that I’ve had. As long as the price points are consistent with other upscale consumer chocolates, I can see them making inroads here in the states. View their online catalogue. I could only find one online retailer (Canadian) that had Wawel products, but it at least gives the sense that as an imported chocolate brand they’re quite reasonably priced.

Name: Wawel Chocolate Assortment
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Wawel
Place Purchased: samples from Fancy Food Show
Price: unknown
Size: unknown (about .75 ounces each)
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, Cookie, Coconut, Poland

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:02 am     Comments (11)

Junior Mints Pastels

Junior Mints went with a Valentine’s Limited Edition candy last month, but this month they seem like they’re having trouble committing to the Easter holiday. I picked up this Limited Edition Junior Mints Pastels at the Dollar Tree last week. They’re unlike any other the other Limited Edition Junior Mints so far (the others were Inside Out ... a white confectionary coating with a chocolate cream center).

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The Junior Mint Pastels are a “smooth colorful coating” with the traditional Junior Mint flowing minty fondant center. They come in two colors, which barely qualifies them for the plural of pastel: creamy yellow and turquoise blue. I’m not sure why they didn’t throw a little pink and green in there.

The term “smooth colorful coating” is rather appropriate here. I have no idea what else to call it. It’s firm and doesn’t quite have the same mouth-feel as chocolate. It’s all sugar, partially hydrogenated oils and milk. It’s sweet, and um, colorful. It tastes like it has a slight bit of salt to it, which is good because this whole candy is very sweet ... throat blisteringly, tooth-achingly sweet.

I found them compelling, as odd as they are. But I’m often a sucker for minty white mockolate. I’m never buying them again though, as I much prefer the dark chocolate Junior Mints - the bittersweet chocolate offsets the sugary center much better. But I’ll likely finish this box.

Name: Limited Edition Junior Mints Pastels
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Harbor City)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Mint, United States, Tootsie, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:34 am     Comments (19)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Wonka Golden Creme Egg

In the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca Salt is lured to her doom by her desire for the Golden Egg (after giving a grand performance with her musical number “I Want it Now!”). In her final flourish she stands on the educated Eggdicator and is judged to be a Bad Egg and sent to the incinerator. This particular scene was not in the book (which instead featured squirrels and their ability to detect bad nuts, which I find far scarier, having been attacked by a squirrel before. Well, I’ve also been attacked by geese, but that’s no really relevant here).

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The Wonka Golden Creme Egg is taking full advantage of that famous scene some thirty-six years later. But instead of the solid chocolate egg the size of the Elephant Man’s head, it’s a chocolate egg filled with a firm chocolate filling studded with graham cookie bits and then a slight reservoir of flowing caramel. I take issue with the caramel filling being called “creme” but this candy has bigger problems.

It’s only slightly smaller (1.1 ounces) than a Cadbury Creme Egg (1.2 ounces). The outside the egg has no Wonka branding on it, instead some squiggly lines and the Nestle logo on both sides. It makes me wonder if this is sold under different names in different places.

The chocolate creme inside isn’t very different than plain old milk chocolate, a little softer, kind of like a ganache only not as buttery smooth. The whole thing is very sweet - throat-burningly sweet. The chocolate itself isn’t particularly smooth or creamy. I have to admit that I’ve been very disappointed with Nestle chocolate lately and this Wonka sub-brand is no different. I’m not getting those CHOCOLATE flavors here. The crumbly crunches of the graham bits are nice (rather like the little Wonka bars) but the caramel is the only thing that saves these eggs - it’s smooth and salty, with just enough of it to cut through the rest of the sweet mess.

If you’re a Cadbury Creme Egg fan and used to very sweet egg-shaped chocolate products, you may do okay with this. But the chocolate is just substandard.

Rebecca at SugarHog.net also reviewed these and gave them a smidge higher rating that I did (but had them before the Cadbury Eggs).

Name: Golden 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: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: CVS (Silverlake)
Price: $.69
Size: 1.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Caramel, United States, Nestle, Easter, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:56 am     Comments (6)

Peruvian Candies

My next door neighbors went to Peru for three weeks and brought back a huge cache of Peruvian (and South American) consumer candies. (They also brought some cookies, but I’ll try to keep this focused.) I find it quite fun to sample the consumer candies of all countries and regions and Peru was no different. So here are nine candies from Peru:

LentejasName: Lentejas
Brand: Nestle
Size: 36 grams

These little guys probably look familiar. They’re chocolate lentils ala Nestle Smarties. Only they’re not quite Smartie-like ... they’re the same size as M&Ms (Smarties are just slightly flatter and larger than M&Ms). The shell on these is very thick and crunchy. The colors are unbelievably bright.

The chocolate itself is only so so - grainy, too sweet and completely lacking in chocolate taste.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Peruvian Milk ChocolateName: Prime Peruvian Milk Chocolate
Brand: Winter’s
Size: 100 grams

This bar had a lovely photo of the cloud-wrapped city of Machu Picchu on the box. Inside the box the large chocolate tablet was inside a plastic wrapper that looked exactly the same.

The bar was attractive: a dark looking milk chocolate.

Peruvian Milk ChocolateThe snap was not as sharp as some dark chocolates can be and it had a rather soft bite as many milk chocolates do. The flavor is rather milky, in a goat-cheese sort of way, with a little tangy note. The flavor of the chocolate was also strongly raisiny. It was very pleasant though completely different than most other milk chocolate bars I’ve had.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Cua CuaName: Cua Cua
Brand: Lacta (Kraft)
Size: 18 grams

This is one of those bars that looks huge. The package is about the size a set of Twix bars, yet it only weighs 18 grams. This featherweight bar is all wafers with some light mockolate coating. Between the wafers is a little cocoa cream.

The bar, called Cua Cua, I’m guessing is a play on the sound a duck makes.

The bar smells sweet and a bit of chocolate. It’s also a little smoky smelling, though I couldn’t quite figure that out from the ingredients.

Cua CuaThe smoky notes gave it a little bacon flavor that I wasn’t really happy with. The wafers were crunchy and foamy - providing more light texture than taste in this party in my mouth.

The mockolate was of course waxy and unappealing. It often flaked off the bar when I bit into it. I’m a big fan of wafer with cream (I can’t imagine how many pounds of Nabisco Wafers I’ve eaten over the years) but this one just wasn’t quite as ducky as I’d hoped.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

CanonazoName: Ca?onazo
Brand: Costa
Size: 26 grams

This bar calls itself “barrita ba?ada rellena con crema de chocolate” which I’m guessing means chocolate filling with crisp wafers bathed in chocolate.

The crisp log of wafer was interesting, kind of like a sweet Cheeto. The chocolate filling was like a frosting, with a good chocolate taste and slightly grain. Like the Cua Cua, this was a light bar. Though it’s big it only weighs 26 grams (and is the size of a Snickers ... which are 58 grams). Unfortunately the coating on the outside isn’t chocolate and it’s rather waxy and uninteresting.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Gomas EucaliptoName: Gomas Eucalypto
Brand:  F y D Inversiones, SAC
Size: 125 grams

These are crazy! Crazy, I tell you.

They’re little gummis covered with granulated sugar. About the size and shape of an incense cone. Nice and soft but with a good gelatin bounce. They look like they could be green apple or lime or maybe even spearmint. But they’re not. They’re mentholated eucaplytus flavored. Just like Hall’s Cough Drops.

Gomas EucaliptoThey’re sweet and aromatic and tingly.

It’s rather refreshing to get a cough drop that’s not all crunchy and hard, instead it’s soothing and invigorating all at once.

Definitely a winner in my book.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

NikoloName: Nikolo
Brand: Arcor
Size: 30 grams

The packaging here is pretty, it’s a white thick plastic wrap with a bold brown logo for the name of the bar and pretty little pictures of the nuts in the bar.

The label says, “tableta con sabor a chocolate rellena con mani almendra y cereal crocante” which means “peanut, almond and crispy cereal filled chocolatey bar.”

NikoloThe chunky look of the bar reminded me of Legos and was just about as tasty.

The nuts were fresh and crunchy and gave the bar a promising aroma, but the mockolate in this bar was waxy, chalky and just so bad. Look at it in the photo ... does that look like something you’re supposed to eat or something I molded out of dung?

Rating: 2 out of 10.

GolpeName: Golpe
Brand: Arcor
Size: 27 grams

If it weren’t for the Arcor brand on this, I’d be looking forward to this bar. The label says “Oblea rellena cubierta con caramelo y cereal crocante, con cobertura sabor chocolate” ... which translates to (courtesy of the wrapper, thankyouverymuch) “Filled wafer, toffee, crispies, all covered with chocolate flavor.”

Oh Arcor, again with the chocolate flavor? Is that why your company motto is “Le damos sabor al mundo” (translation: We flavor the world)?

GolpeIt’s a nice looking wrapper and it made me think of soccer.

The bar looks promising as well, with it’s crunchy studded mockolate. Inside are wafers with creme filling and then a scant covering of glistening caramel (I’m guessing that’s the toffee). The wafers are nice, and the toffee adds some nice flavor to the whole thing, but the bar had a rather chemical taste, like licking fresh dry cleaning. I don’t know if that’s the taste of Carbox/Methylcellulose (the last ingredient on the list), but it made my tongue buzz.

After this series of Arcor products they are now on my list as the Worst Candymakers in the World. (Granted, I haven’t tried everything made by everyone yet.)

This candy bar was made in Chile.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

SublimeName: Sublime
Brand: Nestle
Size: 22 grams

This is a cute little bar. The wrapper says, “Chocolate Blanco de leche con Mani” which is “white milk chocolate with peanuts.” Doesn’t sound too bad.

And it is pretty cute to look at.

SublimeThe chocolate is rather sweet, but also has a salty bite to it, which helped the peanut flavors stand out. I’m wondering if this was not de-odorized cocoa butter (most white chocolate is deodorized, so it has no chocolate flavor to it). It just may have been that the milk flavors with the peanuts were strong.

It was actually pretty good white chocolate bar. A little grainy but not the least bit waxy.

This bar was made in Bolivia.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

PrincesaName: Princesa
Brand: Nestle
Size: 38 grams

This is a cute little bar and of course has a upscale appeal of a regal name like Princesa. The ingredients are promising too, real chocolate in there.

The bar says that it’s “chocolate relleno con crema de mani” which means “chocolate stuffed with peanut butter.” Yum!

PrincesaThe chocolate here is dark (though there’s some milk listed in the ingredients, it’s way down the list). It’s a creamy though sweet bar. The peanut butter is very smooth and creamy as well and is completely overshadowed by the chocolate.

There’s a little spicy taste in the background, kind of like cinnamon.

This is a nice bar, not as peanutty as I expected, but as sedate and reserved as you’d expect from royalty.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:14 am     CandyReviewArcorKraftNestleCaramelChocolateCookieGummi CandyMockolateNutsPeanutsWhite Chocolate2-Appalling3-Unappealing4-Benign5-Pleasant6-Tempting7-Worth ItBrazilPeruComments (78)

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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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