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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Panda Bars

Name: Panda Bars: Licorice, Raspberry & Strawberry
Brand: Panda
Place Purchased: Wild Oats
Price: $.89 (on sale)
Size: 1.125 ounces
Calories per ounce: 89
Type: Licorice/Chew

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I bought these at a natural food store. I think the reason people interested in they kinds of food they eat like these is that they have no refined sugar in them. The ingredients list is pretty short (with some variation based on the flavor): molasses, wheat

flower

flour, licorice extract, natural flavor (aniseed oil). Pretty simple. The interesting part is that these are Finnish. Just like the Lemon Lakritsi only without the racially insensitive packaging. Who could be offended by Panda bears? Actually, I’ve passed over these bars for years because I had them confused with Australian licorice I bought in bulk. I mean really, who expects a Panda on a product from Finland of all places? (Okay and I guess it wouldn’t belong on an Australian product either, that should have a Koala or Kangaroo on it.)

The bars are rather simple. A bit thick rope of not quite soft candy.

Licorice: Nice and glossy/dark on the outside. It has a good smokey, woodsy smell that gives off a lot of anise scent. The bit itself is pretty soft and the molasses flavors are pretty evident. Molasses has always been a good base for spicy flavors and licorice is a natural to combine with it as it offsets the very sweet aftertaste true licorice has.

Raspberry: Fragrant without being too perfumy this raspberry bar doesn’t really have much berry flavor to me. The chew isn’t as molassesy, not as woodsy tasting. It’s tart and of course has a nice robust chew but the flavor doesn’t really match the texture and I wanted more berry in there.

Strawberry: Sweet smelling with an immediate tart bite to it, it definitely feels more like a berry bar. No woodsy hints from the molasses here either.

The licorice bar has to be my new favorite. Easy to bite, mellow and with a strong pop of flavor. It’s a bit pricey for licorice and I’ll probably stick with licorice pastels now and in the future, but if I’m in the store and need a little sweet fix, this might do the trick.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:51 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewPandaLicorice Candy8-TastyFinlandComments (11)

Manischewitz Frolic Bears

Name: Frolic Bears
Brand: Manischewitz
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $.99
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Type: Chocolate/Lolly

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I picked these up at the 99 Cent Only Store a while back and was rather scared of them. I don’t know why I’d pick up candy I was afraid of, maybe it’s a way of facing demons. I’m not afraid of Manischewitz products in general (except for their sweet wines) and of course I love lollies. Maybe it was the name Frolic Bears. Maybe I don’t want my candy to be active and enjoying itself before I chow down on it.

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After opening the package I figured out why they were at the 99 Cent Only Store at a fraction of their grocery store price. The bears were missing their ears. You can see from the photo above that the lollies are made by pouring the molten chocolate directly into the trays and inserting the sticks. This tray was a little short on chocolate and some of my bears were deformed.

Once I got over their appearance I decided to eat a few. First, the sticks are a little short for adults. Maybe they’re not made for adults. Okay, they’re not made for adults. The chocolate itself was very sweet and the rather American style of being creamy without milky. It was kind of crunchy at first (it’s kinda cold today and my office isn’t heated at night so it may as well have been refrigerated) but melted easily after that. They don’t have a lot of flavor other than that, no chocolate nuances. The vanilla isn’t real, so that note is a little lost too. However, this is certainly something I’d be happy to give to a kid. They’re Kosher and of course are meant for Passover. The price is great, but I just can’t get over the bland chocolate. If I had kids coming over to the house I might be slightly more inclined to purchase them again.

Rating - 4 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:58 am     CandyReviewChocolateKosher4-BenignUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (4)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Candy Essay: Turkish Delight

There’s been a lot of talk on the internets about Turkish Delight, also known as Turkish Paste or Lokum. Most of this sudden interest is because of The Chronicles of Narnia movie that just came out.

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If you’re not familiar with the books, this sweet treat plays a pivotal role in the story as the second youngest child, Edmund, meets up with the White Witch who seduces him with the promise of as much Lokum as he can eat. Some people wonder how he could betray his siblings over a simple sweet (which was bewitched) but you have to remember that the story takes place during WWII when sugar was very hard to come by, even for children in middle class families. I’m enough of a sugar freak to have done some things that were probably not well thought out because I needed my fix that I can sympathize in a way for Edmund. (And he does redeem himself.)

Turkish Delight is rather unknown in the States and probably with good reason. Americans are not really familiar with floral flavors and delicate candies such as these. They don’t really keep well, so it’s easy to get stale Turkish Delight, which only leads to disappointment. I’ve had my share of crusty Turkish Delight over the years which has made me question why I like it, but there’s something so elusive and sublime about it, I’m tempted to travel to Turkey just to partake of the freshly made stuff. Here’s a fabulous first-person account on Lulu’s Lulu Loves Manhattan blog.

Turkish Delight is a rather simple jelly candy made from sugar, cream of tartar, corn starch and a little flavor. It’s quite different from other jelly candies in that it doesn’t have any gelatin or pectin to firm it up, just the corn starch. (This makes it a good candy to get/make for Vegan friends.) This is a kind of unstable mixture which can go bad rather quickly, so Turkish Delight is always best fresh. Covering it in chocolate is actually a pretty good way to keep it fresh, as Fry’s has found with their Turkish Delight bar

Classic Turkish Delight is usually Rose flavored but can be mint or lemon. There are other varieties that include nuts (hazelnuts or pistachios are popular), coconut and of course other fruit flavors like strawberry, raspberry, apricot and I even saw this recipe on Becks & Posh for Cardamom Rose which sounded really good to me. I tried making Turkish Delight several times as a teen (having been told that the fresh stuff was the best) but never quite succeeded. A recipe probably would have helped. Heaven help the teen who has only the ingredients label to go off of; my mother was very patient with the strange pans of fragrant goo my sister and I created. 

I’ve always been fond of aromatic flavors, I don’t know if it’s because I used to eat flowers as a kid (not just violets and rosepetals but also honeysuckle and nasturtiums) but I find them very intriguing. I later worked in an herb shop as a teen where I was exposed to many amazing teas, flowers and herbs. They’re beguiling because they taste like they smell. And they have a wonderful aftertaste. There’s been a huge resurgance of floral flavors lately in upscale cooking/food - I’m seeing a lot of rose flavored, lavender, violet as well as some of the more woodsy flavors like anise/licorice/fennel, rosemary and the essences of bergamot, orange and lemon (and I’d love to try some calamansi).

Still, there will be detractors for any candy and I have no problem with that either. There are lots of candies out there I detest, such as Marzipan (though I keep giving it a try hoping that I’ll change my mind because the concept is sound) and if everyone liked the same thing, there wouldn’t be much of a need for this blog. Snarkmarket had an interesting post with fascinating comments, and Slate had an article which prompted me to write this post.

I think part of it is about engaging the imagination. I like tasting new things, especially ones specific to a region or culture. It helps me to connect. Open your mouth ... and your mind!

Photo by DBarefoot taken 4/15/200 in Dublin

Related Candies

  1. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles
  2. Halvah and Turkish Delight
  3. Fry’s Turkish Delight
  4. Turkish Delight
  5. Ginger Delight

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:26 pm     Fun StuffNewsComments (68)

Xocoatl 73.5%

Name: Xocoatl Venezuelan 73.5% Dark Chocolate Bar
Brand: Xocoatl - A Master Chocolatier
Place Purchased: gift (they sell online and at their shop in Taos, NM)
Price: $3.25
Size: 2.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Chocolate

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My sister-in-law brought this for Thanksgiving (she brought a lot of stuff and we didn’t get to this that evening). It’s part of the whole trend in authentically flavored chocolates in the Aztec tradition. This bar is from a company called Xocoatl - A Master Chocolatier (which I still haven’t quite figured out how to pronounce, though I excel at saying Huitzilopochtli ). Here’s a list of Aztec Gods in case you were wondering about their names. Xocoatl was the fire god, which only makes sense that so many folks are naming their spicy chocolate after him. As Chocolate is a New World discovery, it’s natural thatchocolatiers investigate the roots of the food and its original preparation. Though few people drink it as it was originally made as a peppered, salted and spiced drink mixed with milk or water, we can learn a lot from the original preparations about the complex flavors inherent in the beans.

Like the Dagoba Xocoatl bar, the Choxie Hot Chocolate bar and the Vosges Red Fire Bar this dark chocolate bar combines dark chocolate with intense spices, namely chili and cinnamon in this case.

The gold wrapper not only makes this bar look precious, it’s actually really good protection from odors and probably reflects a little hit that might come its way in an ordinary day. It’s a pretty big bar too, rather flat and about the size of a 3x5 card. The bar I got was exceptionally fresh, with a good snap and wonderful aroma. The major smells from the bar are woodsy and with a big pop or rum/vanilla. The bar is smooth, but not terribly buttery. Not at all grainy, the spicy part doesn’t hit until the morsel has melted completely on the tongue. There’s a dry finish that helps to deliver the slight heat from the spice andcinnamon. 

I wish it were just a little smoother, a little more buttery, but at 73.5% cocoa solids, they packed a lot in there. It’s not overly sweet and very flavorful. If you are in the area and check out the shop, I actually recommend their Mayan Hot Chocolate, which has a wonderful Mexican style like Ibarra hot chocolate mixed with some spice but most notably almond bits which give it a bit of nuttiness and smooth everything out. I’m also curious to try their fruit and nut bars sometime. They do a violet and rose petal that sounds right up my alley.

Rating - 8 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Chocolate Hellfire Chip Cookies
  2. Chuao ChocoPods
  3. Cha-Cha-Cha Choxie
  4. Pumpkin Pie

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:09 am     CandyReviewChocolate8-TastyUnited StatesComments (3)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nuts to You! They’re Good for You!

I’ve been telling people for years that the things that we think are bad for us like coffee & tea (ulcers & stained teeth), chocolate (fattening & empty calories) and nuts (fattening) are just not true.

New evidence has come forth that chocolate has wonderful antioxidant compounds and when eaten in moderation and hopefully dark it also adds iron, minerals and fiber to the diet. Similar things are being said about coffee and tea now with green tea now found practically everywhere.

Now those fatty nuts are being debunked. Not only are they a good source of protien (especially for those who eschew meat), but also fiber and essential amino acids. Now it seems they’ve been shown to have cholesterol lowering properties. The American Chemical Society (whose website I sometimes end up at looking for the American Cetacean Society) released a report a few weeks ago revealing the test results of the concentrations of phytosterols, a class of plant chemicals that have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health. They ranked 27 nuts and grains.

The highest concentrations were found in Sesame Seeds and Wheat Germ but Pistachios and Sunflower Kernels weren’t far behind. So gobble up that Halvah! Have some Pistachios (perhaps in a French Nougat) and why not pick up some of those fantabulous Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds I reviewed. At the bottom of the list were Brazil Nuts and Walnuts.

Press release here.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:23 pm     NewsComments (0)

Five Things about Candy Canes

The Detroit Free Press has a fun article about the candy most commonly associated with Christmas: Candy Canes.

It includes sources for sugar-free candy canes and other candy cane merchandise.

But here are the fun facts from Candy USA about the twisted sticks:

54% of kids ages 6 to 11 say they eat a candy cane by sucking on it.
24% bite or crunch.
19% lick.
2% don’t know how they eat candy canes.
1% said they eat them an “other” way.
31% of boys crunch their candy canes, but only 17% of girls do so.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:34 am     ReviewFun StuffNewsComments (0)

Jelly Belly Chocolate Malt Balls

Name: Chocolate Malt Balls Assortment
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased:  Jelly Belly Factory Store (sample)
Price: $4.99
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 143
Type: Chocolate/Malt

imageI ate all of these. The last three for breakfast this morning. I picked them up courtesy of my trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA back on December 2nd. Nothin’ like fresh from the factory candy. The balls had a beautiful glossy sheen and smelled sweet and toasty upon opening the bag.

I didn’t see these specific candies available on the Jelly Belly site, but they have some fun Christmas color mixed ones (kinda like those Easter ones that we’re all probably familiar with).

If there’s one thing I learned on my trip through the factory, it’s that Jelly Belly knows how to pan candies. You’re wondering what panned candies are? Picture a small cement mixer (one of those little ones, not the truck). They take a nugget of a candy, be it a nut, a jelly center or a sphere or malt crisp and toss it into this tumbling pan. Then they add stuff to it, liquids that coat every surface of the center. Sometimes the coatings are just sanding sugar, sometimes they’re chocolate like these malt balls and sometimes they’re sugars that make a crisp shell like on a Jordan Almond. And they keep doing it, until they’re coated to the proper depth. Then they get a spiffy shine and are packaged up.

The chocolate was nice, sweet without being sticky and milky with a good snap. The centers were crispy and crumbly and melt in your mouth. The malt was nice and strong, providing a toasted taste to the centers which goes nicely with the mild milk chocolate. They’re less “dairy” tasting than the Wilbur Milk Chocolate Malt Balls which I’m also mad for.

I don’t know of many places that carry the full line of Jelly Belly’s “Confections” line, but they’re worth picking up when you do find them. I’ll have lots more reviews when I get my factory tour review up this weekend. They’re about twice the price of the Wilbur balls. But, if you’re ordering from Jelly Belly already, I also recommend their Chocolate Dutch Mints (and their mint lentils, which don’t seem to be on their site).

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:31 am     CandyReviewJelly BellyChocolateMalt8-TastyUnited StatesComments (2)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Spirts Go Down

Here’s another item to add to the list if you’re looking for something to bring the hostess this holiday or maybe just a stocking stuffer.

imagePeppermint Shot Glasses.

No, not shotglasses for Peppermint Schnapps, these are shot glasses that are made from peppermint sticks.

Sooo cute.

I saw them today at both Urban Outfitters (you can order online) and Cost Plus World Market (a dollar cheaper). As a side note, I’ve also seen plenty of chocolate liqueur cups which are great for serving dessert cognac. If you’re looking for a way to add candy to a mixed drink (besides a lemon drop to a lemon martini or cinnamon imperials to a sweet martini) you might want to check out the new Twizzler Strawz.

They’re made for Slurpees and are just regular Twizzlers that are bigger so you can use them like a straw and get added flavor (and eat them). For cocktails, just snip them in half for a martini glass or lowball.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:08 pm     ReviewFun StuffNewsShoppingComments (2)

Page 307 of 334 pages ‹ First  < 305 306 307 308 309 >  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 (Easter)

1 days

 

 

 

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:

• Patric Chocolate

• Amano Chocolates

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

• Candy Encyclopedia: The Difference Between Gummi and Jelly

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

 

 

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