Friday, December 10, 2010

Zingerman’s Zzang! Wowza Raspberry Bar

Zingerman's Zzang! Wowza BarZingerman’s makes a line of artisan candy bars called Zzang! Candy Bars. I’ve reviewed the Cashew Cow and What the Fudge? bars before. (I’ve also tried the original but never reviewed it) and found them pretty good but not earth shatteringly superior enough to warrant the high price.

I saw the newest addition to the line, the Zzang! Wowza Candy Bar. The description is Creamy raspberry-chocolate ganache, raspberry preserves and fresh raspberry nougat in a crisp dark chocolate shell. Well, that sounds completely original. It’s not an upscale Snickers, it’s something completely different, something fruity, which is sorely lacking in candy bars.

The box is small but protects the bar pretty well. Inside the box the long bar is tucked inside a silvery mylar wrapper. My bar had a little crack all along one side (the side I didn’t photograph) near the top that let the raspberry preserves leak out a little bit. I was worried that this would affect the texture or flavors.

Zingerman's Zzang! Wowza Bar

I really went into this with an open mind, because I couldn’t even figure out what the bar was supposed to be like. It blew me away.

The shell is pretty thick on the top and bottom, but thin on the sides, so it cracks a lot. The bar had a strong woody raspberry scent, a little hint of chocolate but mostly that seedy smell of raspberry jam. I had trouble biting the bar, because the nougat center was very soft, so I ended up eating it sideways.

I’ll take this in layers. The bottom layer doesn’t look that big and it really isn’t. It’s a silky smooth and rich raspberry ganache. The chocolate is decadent and fatty with good roasted coffee and toasted sugar flavors. The raspberry notes are purely floral. The next layer is the unique part here. It’s more like a flowing raspberry marshmallow. There is not hint of sugary grain and it’s quite fluffy, but also incredibly sticky. It’s not quite chewy or tacky either. The raspberry flavor is subtle, it’s just a hint of the raspberry essence. Then the top is a little bit of raspberry jam. This part wasn’t so great for me texture wise - it was a tangy raspberry jam (seedless) but had a strong sugary grain to it.

Eaten together, as a single bite, the creamy ganache gives a lot of deep flavors to offset the mostly sweet nougat. The tangy and grainy preserves give a sour pop to it all and the dark chocolate shell keeps it all together, bringing the cocoa flavors back again. But I also tried eating the layers separately. The ganache is on par with truffles I’ve had from some of the best chocolatiers. The nougat was just fascinating because it was so smooth and fluffy and like marshmallow but with flavor. It was a very sticky affair though. The only real issue with it as a whole was the graininess of the preserves and I really think that was because of the little crack in the bar that allowed it to do that. Even with that, the texture difference wasn’t distracting.

The ratios were pretty perfect. I might want more preserves, if they’re not grainy.

The bar has some drawbacks. One of the issues that I had with the previous bars that I tried was the inaccurate labeling. This bar is more of the same. The front of the box says that it’s 3 ounces. The nutrition label says that it’s 82 grams, which is 2.89 ounces. I know that’s less than a 4% difference, but if they know it’s only 2.89, then why does it say it’s bigger on the front. Why not round down to 2.75? Because 3 sounds better.

The second labeling problem is, in my opinion, more substantial. Here’s what the package says:

Ingredients: sugar, chocolate, raspberry preserves, corn syrup, egg whites, cream, pectin, lemon juice, sea salt, granulated salt

Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 bar 82g
Calories: 300
Total Fat: 9g
Sat. Fat: 6g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 50mg
Total Carb: 55g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 44g
Protein: 2g
Calcium: 0mg
Iron: 0mg

There is simply no way this bar has only 100 calories per ounce (300 for the whole bar). I wrote to Zingerman’s and corresponded with Charlie Frank, the candy maker. He agreed that something may be off with their calculations (because that’s really how big the bars are - between 2.89 and 3 ounces) and they’re going to re-check them. So I’m going to guess that this comes in at about 130 calories per ounce (there’s not a lot of ganache there and nougat is not very caloricly dense, but there’s also a chocolate coating). So that’d make the bar about 375 calories ... at least.

The labeling aside, I liked the bar and I would definitely buy it again, even at $5 each. I want to see more of these bars using this style of nougat too, something like a Malted Truffle S’More would be nice. How about this: Malted Milk Ganache on a thin Graham Cracker with Toasted Sugar Nougat covered in Milk Chocolate.

Related Candies

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  2. Eat with your Eyes: Orange Nougat BonBonBars
  3. Zingerman’s Zzang! Candy Bars
  4. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
  5. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry
  6. Mountain - Regular & Raspberry

Name: Zzang Wowza
Brand: Zingerman’s Candy
Place Purchased: Farm Fresh to You at Ferry Terminal (San Francisco)
Price: $4.95
Size: 2.89 ounces (but package says 3 ounces)
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Nougat, 9-Yummy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:13 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyChocolateNougat9-YummyUnited States

  1. Your malted bar ideas sound amazing. I was at Zingerman’s this August as part of a conference, where they bought us dinner. I should’ve grabbed some of their chocolate bars then!

    Comment by Rosa on 12/11/10 at 7:08 am #
  2. Thanks for the review. This sounds really good.  Raspberry and dark chocolate is one of my favorite taste combinations.  I’m going to have to find one of these and try it myself.

    Comment by Jeffrey Kirk on 12/11/10 at 4:48 pm #
  3. If the taste is half as awesome as the name, I’m in.

    Comment by Steve on 12/11/10 at 10:35 pm #
  4. I’m impressed and appreciate that you took the initiative to contact them about labeling. I’ve been curious about some of their offerings for some time, so I may give this one a shot when they get the labeling sorted out.

    Comment by Rodzilla on 12/12/10 at 6:32 am #
  5. Send me one, and I’ll throw it in a calorimeter here at the university for you.

    Comment by Grant Brown on 12/14/10 at 7:12 am #
  6. So… what did you rate it? There’s no number?! I’m so used to your number system - and your descriptions of this make it seem like it was really good, but I can’t know for sure without your number scale, LOL! So - what was it?!

    Comment by Selina on 1/05/11 at 10:34 am #
  7. Cybele's avatar

    Selina - oops, looks like the little stats box didn’t load. It’s a 9 out of 10. (You can also just peek at the “tags” at the end of the post with the date - this one says “9-yummy”)

    I fixed it, thanks for the note.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/05/11 at 10:41 am #
  8. Bought a zang bar this weekend. had one with caramel in my hand, but made the mistake of asking the clerk which one he liked best. he recommended the cashew cow… wow that was the most disgusting thing i’d ever had in my mouth. i felt like i was eating something I had scooped out of the kitty litter box. the texture and flavor were awful. I tasted like it was stale! it was like eating the desert. so dry, salty crumbly – just disgusting. and $5 – are you kidding me? it’s the greatest scam going!  But maybe some of the others are worth a try…

    Comment by chefamyj on 1/11/11 at 12:27 am #
  9. I’m eating one right now, and just so you know, they updated their calories to 300 per bar.  I do enjoy the marshmallowy nougat, but it is a bit grainy in there.  But thanks for the recommendation!  I don’t think I would’ve tried it without your stellar review.

    Comment by Jenny on 2/02/11 at 8:26 am #
  10. If you’re ever in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you should visit their restaurant called Zingerman’s Roadhouse.  But maybe you already have?

    Comment by Heather C on 2/18/11 at 8:56 am #
  11. I live down south.. anywhere they are besides Zingerman’s? Guess the best thing is to order them on the net?

    Comment by Michelle on 5/23/11 at 6:03 pm #
  12. Any update on their labeling issues? I picked up a bar recently and it looks unchanged—the original, according to the back, would have 100% of their calories from fat, which I’m pretty sure is impossible unless it’s made out of butter. I’d love to try these again once I have a good idea of what’s in them. Did Grant Brown above ever test one on a calorimeter?

    Comment by Rose on 2/18/12 at 10:01 pm #
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