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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Coffee Beat

As is often the case when I’m buying Japanese candy at Mitsuwa, I wasn’t quite sure what these were. Some good pictures on the package are always helpful and I figured that these were just coffee flavored chocolate shaped like coffee beans. They are, and so much more.

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The candies come in a sassy cardboard tube (wrapped in plastic to keep them fresh). The name, coffeebeat is in English, as I believe that the word ‘coffee’ is pretty recognizable in the Japanese market. The font is funky and reminds me of the ‘70s. Inside the tube are little coffee bean shaped (but slightly larger) chocolate candies with a hard candy shell like an M&M. They even have the little crease on the flat side like a real coffee bean.

The shell is sweet and crunchy and very thin. The center is chocolate with strong milky flavor to it and of course a hit of coffee. It tastes like a mocha. Sweet, smooth, milky and with an excellent coffee flavor that doesn’t feel like a “flavor.” In fact, it’s less chocolate than it is coffee - the chocolate is just a medium to deliver the milky coffee flavor. If you’re a black coffee person, I can see that this might not be the coffee candy for you.

The package is cute, makes it easy to share and the quality is very good. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Meiji brand. The products are well priced, use quality ingredients, have logical yet innovative packaging and of course they all taste great. The website seems to indicate they’re for kids, but maybe I’m just a kid at heart.

Name: Coffeebeat
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Meiji
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa (Little Tokyo)
Price: $1.29
Size: 1.23 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, Meiji, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:07 pm     Comments (20)

CBS News Links!

Whee! I’ve been discovered by the national media!

CBS News has a blog about blogs called, of all things, Blogophile.

Melissa McNamara did a roundup of food oriented blogs and there I am, at the end of the list:

Candy Blog: A stylish blog, featuring the latest in candy reviews and analysis of trends in all sorts of candy. It will make you hungry.

The latest food blogging tempest in a teapot was brought on by Food & Wine’s column about food blogs (which frustratingly has no links in the text, you have to click on a separate page for the black book listing), In the Belly of the Blog by Pete Wells. It makes some interesting points about food blogging, which should be more than just what you ate. Some blogs do a fantastic job (and plenty that I read regularly were left off his list). I think the biggest thing I can take away from his commentary is the importance of staying on message. CandyBlog.net is about candy ... it’s candy reviews with the occasional analysis of the candy marketplace, nostalgia and of course escaping through consumption. Half of candy, in my opinion, is the look of it, so I strive to give you good pictures.

The great thing is that it doesn’t matter what columnists think about food blogging. The world of blogs means that you can find an audience for whatever you’re writing. Someone out there might just be interested in that cheese sandwich you ate.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:02 am     News

Mauna Loa Macadamia Kona Coffee Bar

It’s coffee day here at CandyBlog.net. Yes, I’ve got jetlag and I need lots and lots of caffeine. So in between sips of the regular liquid kind and some Black Black gum, I thought I’d review some coffee flavored chocolate candies.

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I found this bar at the checkout counter at Target. There are a few varieties of the new Mauna Loa foray into consumer chocolate, but I thought that they knew their macadamias and of course Kona is known for their coffee. How could I go wrong?

This is a smooth and sweet dark chocolate bar with macadamia nuts and coffee. The bar has four domed segments each with some nice small bits of macadamias scattered evenly on the bottom of the bar. In this form I get the macadamia taste, but the texture is more like coconut. That’s not a bad thing. Then the coffee kick comes in. It’s mostly a chocolate flavor, but when you hit the coffee grounds, it’s definitely a good mellow coffee flavor.

But here’s the thing, and I mentioned it yesterday when reviewing the Dolfin cafe tasting squares ... I don’t want the coffee grounds. I don’t put up with coffee grounds in my actual coffee, why do I want them in my chocolate? Well, they do add fiber. This bar has 3 grams of fiber. (It also has 9 grams of saturated fat.)

Overall, it’s too sweet for me. I want a little darker, richer chocolate with my coffee essences. The macadamias add a great nutty flavor and texture to it, and though I’d never drink a macadamia/chocolate flavored coffee, I will eat a macadamia and coffee studded chocolate. I’m vaguely curious about their milk chocolate and might pick that bar up at some future visit to Target. I do actually appreciate Target’s wide selection of candies at the check out that include more than the standard fare of Hershey’s, Mars and Nestle and at 99 cents, it’s only slightly more expensive than the regular bars.

Name: Macadamia Kona Coffee Dark Chocolate Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mauna Loa
Place Purchased: Target
Price: $.99
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:12 am     Comments (5)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pocky Decorer Torokeru Montblanc

I haven’t the foggiest on the name on this one, so I’m gonna call these Chestnut Pocky and if anyone else knows what those alternating Japanese and French words add up to, please let me know. (I know that Mont Blanc means white mountain, but that’s not a flavor!)

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This is Super Thick Pocky. There are two coatings, the bottom coat is a milky sweet, kinda caramelly coating. The zig-zaggy top coat is similar, but has more of a nutty taste to it, which I’m guessing is where the chestnut comes in. But after tasting it (well, by that I mean eating half the box) I checked with JBox which always has nice descriptions:

Here is the latest treat from the Glico people, a fresh new style of Pocky that is out of this world. The delicious crispy pretzel snack wrapped in milk chocolate and then decorated in gummy style chestnut-flavored chocolate, for a taste based on the French treat popular in Japan called Mont Blanc!

It’s been years since I’ve had chestnuts but I remember them being rather sweet and chewy, unlike other nuts.

These are rich and sweet and not as addictively snackable as many of the other Pocky that I’ve had. They’re nice and all, and maybe in a Pocky mix I’d find them a nice change, but I can’t give them the highest marks as a snack. But I can confirm that there are no hydrogenated fish oils in this ingredients list, so that’s a bonus.

(Sorry for any feed duplication today, I’ve been traveling and I scheduled these reviews to launch but something went screwy.)

Name: Pocky Decorer Torokeru Montblanc
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Glico
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa (Little Tokyo)
Price: $1.69
Size: 2.18 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: White Chocolate, Cookie, Glico, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:19 pm     Comments (9)

Dolfin Variety Tasting Squares

I was on a kick to find the Dolfin Peppercorn bar and stopped at the same liquor store that my husband bought the previous assortment. No luck. But they did have this assortment of tasting squares that I picked up.

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There are 24 squares in the package, 12 flavors.

Cafe Noir - dark chocolate with coffee bean bits. I’m kind of tired of the whole idea of throwing something that I generally regard as garbage in my chocolate. There are ways of getting coffee flavor into my chocolate without putting the actual beans in there.
Cafe Lait - sweet and milky but not a lot of coffee flavor to it, more cinnamon than I would have liked.
Au Lait - Nice, milky and sweet but lacking a real chocolate punch.
Lait Cannelle - milk chocolate with real cinnamon in it. Lots and lots of real cinnamon chips. The whole chips give a good sweet and spicy feel to the chocolate, but it all seems just a tad sweet. The scent, however, is absolutely mouthwateringly good and I’d like a perfume made of it.
Noir 88% - beautiful snap and creamy mouth feel without being chalky. Light and smoky with a good bitter and dry finish.
Noir 70% - sweeter and more buttery than the 88%, good chocolate kick, less dry but still nicely astringent.
Noir 52% - mellow and smoky with a really creamy base to it. Not bitter but not as smooth as it could be. When tasting their pure chocolate, I’ve come to believe that it’s just not as smooth as some of the other Belgian and European varieties I’ve tried.
Noir Nougatine (shown above unwrapped) - dark chocolate with hard nougat pieces (like a Toblerone). The dark chocolate is sweet and smooth and the nougat bits provide a nice little honey sweet break in the chocolate.
Lait Nougatine - very sweet, which keeps the nougat bits from popping out as well as they do on the Noir.
Orange - wonderful, great buttery chocolate with a good aromatic hit of orange, probably my favorite in this batch.
Citron - dark chocolate with the slightest hint of sweet lemon. It’s not zesty, just a pleasant aromatic feel to the chocolate.
Earl Grey - dark chocolate with black tea and bergamot. I didn’t really get a strong sense of the flavor here, just a black tea earthy flavor. There was a little grit because of the real tea leaves.

I think I prefer chocolate that comes in a slightly thicker piece. These very thin tasting wafers seem just slightly chalky to me and I’d prefer something with a bit more tooth to it.

I’m still looking forward to the Pink Peppercorn and Anise bars (which I ordered from Chocosphere) but I think I may prefer Dagoba and Lake Champlain as an overall brand to Dolfin.

Name: 24 Chocolats de Degustation
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dolfin
Place Purchased: Silverlake Liquor (on Silverlake Blvd. - LA)
Price: $5.99
Size: 3.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, Belgium, Dolfin

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:22 am     Comments (3)

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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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