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Monday, December 22, 2014

Schulte Dominos

DominosDominos are a curious little German treat that I see in the United States just around Christmas and are also called Dominostein.

Think of them like a hearty petit fours. The base is a gingerbread cake, topped with a layer of fruit jelly then a layer or marzipan. For this particular brand of Schulte Dominos, the fruit jelly is apple and the marzipan is actually persipan, which is made from apricot kernels instead of almonds. Although they seem like an ancient sort of confection, according to this page they were invented by Herbert Wendler in Dresden in 1936.

Dominos

I’ve had dominos quite a few times, Aldi sells a few varieties in both milk and dark chocolate and of course I’ve had them in while traveling in Germany. This particular version has a nice coating of dark chocolate, which keeps the confection from becoming too sweet. They’re pretty shy on calories, only 50 each, probably because part of it is a little bit of cake.

This package has 10 pieces in it, which fared quite well - only one was cracked on the top. The package holds 4.4 ounces, so each piece is just shy of a half an ounce each. The package says that this is an Authentic Traditional European Recipe. I don’t know if there are a lot of modernized versions or departures from the traditional ... or if other non-Europeans have adopted the confection and have created a competing version.

Dominos

Each piece is not quite a cute. They’re 7/8 of an inch square and about 3/4 of an inch high.

I’ll start from the top down. The persipan is much like a marzipan. It’s soft and has a good texture that’s not too pasty or sweet. The flavor is much more amaretto infused that many marzipans I’ve had, which makes me wonder if it’s a natural flavor profile for persipan. There is a distinct bitter note to it.

The next layer is a jelly, which is pretty bland. I had to read the ingredients to find out that it must be apple at all. It’s a little tart and has a slight mealy quality that real apple pulp can bring to a jam.

Dominos

They smell rich, a little like cocoa and molasses and maybe a hint of ginger.

The base layer is called gingerbread. It’s made from a mix of wheat flour and rye flour along with brown sugar and molasses. It’s quite dry, which I think is okay because the jelly and persipan provide a bit of moisture and texture to the whole thing as long as you don’t eat the layers separately. However, there’s not real spice note to it, or ginger flavor at all.

They’re hearty and satisfying. It’s a great mix of textures with the cool tartness of the jelly mixing with the dry cake and slightly chewy persipan. I had no trouble finishing the tray of them over two days.

I have to wonder what a premium version of these would be like. Perhaps with some actually flavored jelly like a good grape, a spiced apple or something more in the citrus marmalade family. I did see that Niederegger makes a version, though I probably can’t find those in the United States. The cake part might be better if it was an actual Lebkuchen with ground nuts in it.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar
  2. Niederegger Marzipan Classics
  3. Limited Edition Ritter Sport Winter Kreation + Factory Store
  4. Krauterbonbons from Lubeck Christmas Market
  5. Eat with your Eyes: Aldi Dominos
  6. Soubeyran Array


Name: Dominos
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Schulte
Place Purchased: Gelson's (Silver Lake)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Chocolate, Cookie, Jelly Candy, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Germany

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:39 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasChocolateCookieJelly CandyNuts7-Worth ItGermanyComments (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Russell Stover Cake Assortment Chocolates

As a little stocking stuffer item, I’ve noticed these boxes of Russell Stover Cake Truffles at drug store chains and places like Target this year.

Russell Stover Cake Truffles

I picked up a pair of boxes since they were only $1.00 on sale, though often the regular price is about $1.79 for 2 ounces. There are four pieces of candy in the box, one of each of the cake flavors: Red Velvet, Chocolate, Carrot and Wedding Cake.

All of these flavors have been presented in the seasonal shapes, so they’re not new candies, just a different assorted presentation. The ratios do differ slightly from the Egg or Santa versions, though.

Red Velvet - (Dark Chocolate) this first debuted as a Santa piece in 2012, though is also available at Easter and Valentine’s. It’s a dark chocolate shell with a red “creamy” center that has some cake mix in it. Oddly, this could benefit from a white chocolate coating to simulate the cream cheese frosting often found on Red Velvet cake, though this box already has two white coated pieces. The center is less sweet, so that’s a plus, but the batter-like consistency simply tastes like paste to me. (Santa review.)

Carrot Cake - (White Chocolate) this first debuted as an Easter piece in 2014. Like the other cake flavors, this features actual cake mix in the center, which gives it an uncooked flour note ... it’s a little pasty, unlike the experience I had with the Egg version which wasn’t as dense. The flavor profile is actually nice, a good spice mix that fits well with Christmas with a hint of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. (Egg review.)

Wedding Cake - (White Chocolate) - this first debuted as an Easter piece in 2014. If you don’t like spice flavors found in Carrot Cake, then maybe Wedding Cake is more your speed ... all fake vanilla, sweetness and PlayDoh. I thought (Egg review.)

Chocolate Cake (Milk Chocolate - might actually be new. I can only find records for Brownie pieces before this. The center here was less sticky and pasty, so that was a plus but the raw flour notes were very distracting as it tasted more like wallpaper paste (yes, I’ve eaten that before, thankyouverymuch). There’s a grainy note, as well, since the sugar isn’t completely combined. So, think of it more like a chocolate cookie dough and you might be pleased.

If you’re frustrated that the seasonal shape items are too big, then these are probably a good idea for you. I’ll stick to the more traditional coconut and pecan delight versions though.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Apple Pie & Pumpkin
  2. Brach’s Carrot Cake Candy Corn
  3. Candy Made to Taste Like Cake
  4. R.M. Palmer Cake Batter Cup
  5. Russell Stover Santas: Gingerbread, Peppermint and Maple
  6. Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie
  7. Godiva Cake Truffles
  8. Cupcake Bites
  9. Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped Chocolates


Name: Cake Assortment
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00 (on sale)
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, White Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:06 pm     CandyReviewChristmasRussell StoverChocolateCookieWhite Chocolate5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seattle Chocolates Truffles

Seattle Chocolates TrufflesSeattle Chocolates makes a wide array of little “truffles” wrapped in mylar in a rainbow of colors.

The company sent me a sample of 14 flavors of their current flavors to try. They came in a simple clear bag with the truffles actually stacked in color order. (But I chose to show you a photo of their Christmas mint assortment, because I don’t actually like photographing clear plastic packaging.)

Earlier I called them “truffles” because they’re really meltaways. The chocolates are little rectangular blocks of chocolate coated meltaway centers. The centers are a combination of chocolate, flavoring and coconut oil mixed with palm oil. This means that they melt at a different temperature than the chocolate itself. The centers are solid, unlike Lindt Lindor Truffles, which have similar ingredients, but more tropical oils.

If this sounds like a Frango, that’s because Seattle Chocolates also makes Frangos for Macy’s, but also sells them under their own name but with more colorful packaging.

Seattle Chocolates

The box I got at the top of the review contained three mint flavors: Mint, San Juan Sea Salt and the seasonal Candy Cane. Pictured above I have Dark Chocolate, Mint, San Juan Sea Salt, Cool Mint.

Mint Seattle Chocolates

I think the first one I should address is the Mint. It comes in a medium green mylar wrapper and is a milk chocolate confection. It smells deliciously pepperminty and takes me back to my childhood and the seasonal boxes of Mint Frangos I consumed (often surreptitiously). The milk chocolate has a strong dairy note and the minty center has a satisfying cool melt along with the peppermint. There are also teensy little pops of salt every once in a while. Often candies like this can be ridiculously sweet, but I didn’t find it that way at all.

Dark Chocolate Seattle Chocolates

The next to profile is a standard, a basic truffle on which so many other flavors are based, the Dark Chocolate. This one is in a medium blue wrapper.

The bite has a satisfying snap, and though the center doesn’t look creamy, it melts well. The dark chocolate has a mild flavor, like the common chocolate chips you’d use for cookies. It’s a toasty flavor, a little the bitter side but with a smoother melt than baking chips.

San Juan Sea Salt is a newer piece, and features a seafoam green wrapper. It’s a milk chocolate piece with little toffee bits and a little extra sea salt mixed into the chocolate center. The salt is a wonderful combination with the very milky chocolate and the little toffee bits are a great textural crunch. I did get some of these in the mint set, and they were actually infused with the mint flavors from the other truffles. Either way, it’s good.

Cool Mint Seattle Chocolates

Cool Mint was the last one in this set, a bit of a change from the previous since it features a light blue wrappers and a white center in dark chocolate. It’s quite minty and could use a little bit of that salt that the others seem to have. I enjoyed it, but prefer the other mint varieties.

Seattle Chocolates

Ah, things are getting a little nuttier in the next batch which features Salted Almond, Milk, Peanut Butter, Espresso.

Espresso Seattle Chocolates

I’ll start with Espresso because, we’ll, I’m in charge. The wrapper is brown, the chocolate is dark. The interior is smooth and has good roasted flavor note. The meltaway itself has little crispy bits ... coffee grounds. The flavor profile is good, I liked the coffee and the grounds or whatever they are aren’t too gritty. Out of the mix, this was the first flavor that disappeared. Not too sweet.

Milk looks just like the mint, so must give that a glance again except imagine the wrapper is gold. Since there are no other flavor elements in this one, it’s a little easier to pick out the profile of the milk chocolate itself. It has a strong dairy flavor, almost like the flavor of cream cheese. It’s sweet gets a little oily towards the end. I skipped these after getting the profile.

Peanut Butter Seattle Chocolates

Peanut Butter sounded fantastic. The bronzy wrapper holds a milk chocolate piece with a peanut butter meltaway center. The interesting aspect is that there are also crushed peanuts in there too. Again, this one is oily like the milk chocolate, though it didn’t bother me as much.

Salted Almond is a bit more trendy and comes in a goldenrod wrapper with a dark chocolate coat. The center is dark chocolate and features a bit of salt and a few almond chips here and there. The toasty flavors of the almonds and dark chocolate were excellent. I’d buy this as a bar, as well.

Seattle Chocolates

The last set is a little fruity and contains some different concepts in the meltaway concept: Peanut Brittle, Strawberry Creme, Raspberry Creme, Blackberry Creme.

Peanut Brittle is similar to the Salted Almond, a little crunchy peanut, maybe with some crispy caramelized sugar in there. Since this is a dark piece, it’s far and away different from the Peanut Butter, though far less peanutty.

Seattle Chocolates Strawberry

The Strawberry is a white center with what I think is bits of freeze dried strawberries in there. It has some authentic strawberry flavors but suffers from the same oily feeling towards the end.

The Raspberry and Blackberry Creme were similar, with some nice berry flavors with a tangy pop here and there.

Not Pictured:

Coconut Macaroon is in a lighter blue mylar and features a dark chocolate coating and center. This is a pure tropical piece, the coconut oils in the meltaway work their magic here along with a few little bites of toasted coconut. There’s a definite coconut smell to it, so much it overpowers the chocolate flavors.

Extreme Chocolate comes in a magenta wrapper (I mistook it for one of the berries when I was photographing). This is excellent. It tastes darker than its reputed 65% cacao, with good bitter notes but still enough sweetness. The meltway qualities are still there, but none of the oily textures I didn’t like. Also as a bonus, there are crunchy cacao nibs in there. All of the nibs I came across were crisp, not fibery like some origins.

Seattle Chocolates also makes a wide variety of Truffle Bars, many in the same flavor profile as the Truffles ... though the ratios differ quite a bit, with more solid chocolate and less meltaway filling in most cases.

Seattle Chocolates Truffles are made with non GMO ingredients and are gluten free. They do contain soy and dairy ingredients and obviously the ones that don’t have peanuts or tree nuts in them were still processed on shared equipment. They sell most of the flavors singly as well as different flavor assortments, like the Mint, just dark and coffee flavors.

As a product line, I give it all a 7 out of 10. For the pieces I liked, such as Salted Almond, Extreme Chocolate and San Juan Sea Salt, I go to 8 out of 10.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-21/news/ct-met-schmich-1221-20121221_1_frangos-candy-kitchen-macy

Related Candies

  1. Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Minty Melts
  3. Seattle Chocolates Perfect Peanut Butter
  4. Fannie May Mint Meltaway
  5. Malley’s Chocolates
  6. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  7. Frangos Dark (62%)
  8. Espresso Truffle Bar


Name: Truffles Assortment
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: samples from Seattle Chocolates
Price: $21.95
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Seattle Chocolates, Brittle, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, Nibs, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:14 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSeattle ChocolatesChocolateCoconutCoffeeKosherMintsNibsNutsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tcho Mokaccino

Tcho MokaccinoTcho is a bean to bar chocolate maker based in San Francisco. Their early chocolate programs simplified the ideas of single origin distinctions and simply labeled their chocolate bars with the flavor characteristic based on a flavor wheel.

Though their early products were simple dark and milk chocolate bars, they’ve not created some interesting new flavored bars. I picked up two little tasting squares of their Tcho Mokaccino. They’re only .28 ounces, so it really is just a bite or two of chocolate. It’s described as: Serious Milk Chocolate + Blue Bottle Coffee.

Tcho is made with fair trade cocoa beans, organic ingredients and is certified kosher. (They do use soy lecithin in their chocolate and also handle nuts in their facility.)

Tcho Mocha

I happen to enjoy the coffee renaissance that’s been going on for ...oh, the past 30 years. The pre-ground cans of coffee of my childhood are long gone: a time when single origin meant you looked for the Colombian mountain on the can as an indication of flavor.

The little piece has a wonderful Spirograph-style pattern on it. It tastes a little smoky, very milky, with an almost cheesy note. The coffee is intense, but on the sweet side (I don’t take sugar in my coffee, so having it combined with chocolate tends to sweeten it too much for me). The coffee notes blend very well with the chocolate but the most important thing here is the texture. It’s smooth ... there’s now coffee bean grit like so many coffee chocolates end up with (or whole beans) that I don’t care for.

Tcho - Out of Beta

I’ve been watching Tcho since they started up and were in beta. Though I appreciate many of their attributes, I’ve not been impressed with the products themselves, the dark chocolate is gritty and has an odd fat balance to it for me, and often the beans taste burnt. They do some interesting chocolate covered items, like nuts, which are good but not remarkable enough for me to fork over the premium price.

That said, I’m glad I had an open mind and picked up the Mokaccino. The little squares are a bit expensive, but if I bought two of them instead of an actual cappuccino, it’s about the same price.

Related Candies

  1. Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 Venezuela Chuao
  2. Original Beans Piura Porcelana and Esmeraldas Milk
  3. Mast Brothers Stumptown Coffee
  4. Starbucks Dark Chocolate with Via Ready Brew Bar
  5. Askinosie Intelligentsia Coffee Bar
  6. Six Kilos of Felchlin Arriba 72% Chocolate
  7. Amano Milk Chocolate Ocumare
  8. TCHO Fruity


Name: Mokaccino
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tcho
Place Purchased: Monsieur Marcel (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.09
Size: .28 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: All Natural, Bay Area, Candy, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:49 pm     All NaturalBay AreaCandyReviewChocolateCoffeeEthically SourcedKosher8-TastyUnited StatesComments (1)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Perugina Dark Chocolate Covered Whole Cherries

Just when I think I’ve finished with my chocolate covered cherry experience, I find another.

Perugina Cherries

Perugina is probably best known for their little foil wrapped Baci hazelnut kisses. But they have a similarly packaged cherry treat ... simply called Cherry on the front but then descriptively named Perugina Dark Chocolate Covered Whole Cherries on the side of the box.

The box is only 1.2 ounces, but I found it on sale at Cost Plus World Market for $1.49, which isn’t a bad price for a single serve imported item like this. There are three pieces, wrapped in red foil, with gold cherries on top; so they’re prettier out of the box. Unwrapped, the chocolate shell was shiny and unmarred.

Perugina Cherries

This chocolate covered cherry is in syrup. The cherry is big, as big as the See’s, but in a smaller cup, so there’s not much room for syrup in there. The flavor of the cherry is mild, as is the sauce that comes with it. I found this refreshing, as it meant that it wasn’t as artificial as some, but also a little bland. The texture of the cherry was as firm or crunchy as others I’ve had in the past week either. The chocolate has a more distinct cocoa flavor, but also isn’t as creamy or integrated. So the cocoa notes are a bit chalky.

I liked these, but not because they were great quality, mostly because they didn’t taste too much like maraschino cherries and weren’t really large and sweet ... which in most cases would be attributes folks would seek out. So, they were cute, but not something I would buy again.



Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Whole Cherries
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.49 (on sale)
Size: 1.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 125
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Italy, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:27 pm     CandyNestleChocolate7-Worth ItItalyCost PlusComments (1)

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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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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-51 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Villar’s Mini Tasting Chocolates

• Lindt Chocolate Cookie

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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