Monday, June 26, 2006
“It’s the candy bar that makes Idaho famous,” whispers the barely visible black print on brown at the bottom of the wrapper. If you love those memory foam mattresses, you’ll love the Idaho Spud.
Well, maybe it’s not quite like that, the Idaho Spud has been around since 1918 ... so maybe tempurpedic was inspired by the candy bar!
So really, what is it? It’s a dense, chocolate-flavored marshmallow covered in fake chocolate and then dusted with coconut. Of course it all looks like a potato.
First, I have to say that I didn’t eat the whole bar ... because there are hydrogenated oils in there. Not just a trace like most candies, I’m talking 1.5 grams.
The center of the bar is rather odd, like a cross between a custardy jelly and marshmallow. The chocolately coating doesn’t seem to stick well to this firm foam, so when you bite into it, it kind of flakes off. The dominant flavor is coconut, which I always like.
The fake chocolate isn’t very pleasant - kind of greasy and crumbly. The whole bar has a rather maple flavor to it, which might be the coconut. The firm marshmallow center is actually really interesting and I enjoyed the firm texture and density of it with the light tough of chocolate. But the combo of high trans fats and the mockolate just turned me off. For the last third of the bar I peeled off the chocolate coating and just ate the center. I’m a big potato fan, so I’m not going to let this dissuade me from my actual favorite Idaho export, but I don’t think I’d ever give one of these to someone as a treat when I returned from a vacation in Idaho.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
If you live in Los Angeles (or you’ll be here this Friday), there’s a big party for readers (and contributors) to Blogging.la - part of the Metroblogging network that I’ve been writing with for a few years.
The Farmers Market
I’m extending an invitation to all Candy Blog’s local readers, too!
Look for the group near La Loteria (here’s a map). There’ll be free drinks (beer & lemonade) courtesy of blogging.la and of course I’ll bring some candy with me!
I’ve been following the news that Cadbury UK has recalled one million candy bars following the discovery that they were contaminated with salmonella.
While salmonella is present in many of the foods we eat, they’re usually things like chicken or eggs that, when properly cooked, will often present little risk to healthy people. Chocolate, as a foodstuff that is consumed as is, may be a good vector for spreading the intestinal ailment. While Cadbury maintains that the contamination levels of the chocolate are too low on average, that’s an average and there are some chocolate pieces that are more contaminated than others and it’s impossible to know.
The UK press has been looking into the matter and what’s more startling is the story behind the contamination ... that it went on for four months ... including the Easter candy seasons, so you can be sure that thousands and thousands of chocolate sweets were consumed by little children who are higher risk for salmonella than healthy adults.
The part that has irritated me the most is how the chocolate was contaminated and the amount of time it went on. Apparently the salmonella found its way into the “milk crumb” through a leaking pipe above the production line at the Marlbrook plant, near Leominster. (The factory produces 97,000 tons of milk chocolate crumb every year from milk, sugar and cocoa liquor.) The pipe contained waste water from the system that was used to wash down the equipment. The leak was discovered in January, but Cadbury didn’t fix it right away, or even send anything to a lab until February. (link to article) It’s unclear how long the leak went on, but it’s clear that Cadbury didn’t report the contamination quickly and took their sweet time in issuing the recall for candy that is most likely already consumed (after all, some of it was Easter candy).
For reference, the products recalled are 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint bars, eight chunk Dairy Milk bars, 1kg Dairy Milk bars, 10p Freddo bars, and 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Eggs. If you’ve bought any of these imported bars, either return them or simply throw them away. Rest assured that the American-produced Cadbury bars are not contaminated as they are produced by Hershey.
Friday, June 23, 2006
It was announced yesterday that Masterfoods plans to cut two lines at its Oak Park, IL factory. The affected lines mean the loss of 16% of the workforce (70 jobs) and they will no longer make the following:
Easter Egg Snickers
It’s possible that the novelty shapes of Snickers will be made elsewhere, the articles were vague on that, but Mars has mentioned discontinuing the Pop’ables line before (as Hershey’s has also mentioned discontinuing their similar Bites line).
I’ve never had Warheads before. I’ve just carried on with my life without the blisteringly sour candies that they offer. You can capture customers for that sort of thing when they’re young, but you don’t just find women in their thirties picking up the super-sour habit, do you? Well, maybe if they have a blog and are looking for new experiences.
I’m skipping over all the other Warheads products because this one was free and I liked the package. It’s a friendly little flattened plastic tube with a flip top. You can hear the little candy spheres rattling around in there. The flavor set is wide - black cherry, apple, lemon, watermelon and blue raspberry. The little gauge on the back of the package says that the sour power contained within is EXTREME and there’s an additional warning:
I’d say that’s probably good advice. It took me two separate tastings to write up this review and after the second one my tongue was a little numbed.
The candies themselves are very pretty. Bright colors with a slight powdered look to the surface, I was guessing that they were coated with some sort of super sourness. They don’t smell like much, just a kind of vague fruit punch when they’re all together, but after reading the warnings, my mouth was watering.
Blue Raspberry - the first impulse on the tongue is a floral raspberry that quickly becomes as blisteringly sour bite that last only as long as that scant coating on the outside. Then it’s just a nice, small sourball. The blue raspberry is actually a nice hard candy after that with a lot of flavor. They’re easy to chew up so you can get on to the next one.
Apple - no flavor to start with here, just that so-tart that it’s almost salty. The apple flavor starts in shortly after that with a good rounded flavor that leans to the chemical side.
Watermelon - there’s a nice woodsy watermelon flavor on the top of this one and it goes really well with the tart coating, just like some people like salt on their watermelon. The watermelon candy underneath is really refreshing and more authentic tasting than I expected.
Black Cherry - the intense sourness on this one completely overshadowed the underlying flavor for quite a while. The black cherry wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be - not even as strong as a cherry Lifesaver. Not that I’m complaining as I don’t care much for cherry, but the others seemed to have more flavor to them.
Lemon - gotta be my favorite (I think I like all yellow candies). The sour goes so well with the lemon, which is a full-bodied version with a little bit of oily zest flavor combined with the sourness.
I don’t know if I’d buy these again, but I like the size and proportion of these little pieces. They’re about the size of a Lemonhead, and what’s nice is the flavor variety in one package (even though I’m not fond of all the flavors, they’re all passably good, even the cherry). The recloseable top makes it easy to share and easy to save them for later after your tongue has healed. They’re not as blisteringly sour as the Super Lemon from Japan, which in my estimation makes them more edible.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.