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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Norfolk Manor Jelly Babies

Name: Jelly Babies
Brand: Norfolk Manor
Place Purchased: Grocer in San Francisco near Golden Gate Park
Price: $3.79
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 81
Type: Jelly

If you have ever watched Dr. Who with Tom Baker, you’ve seen him carry around that little white paper bag and offer folks Jelly Babies. I never knew what they were, just that they were different from jelly beans and not quite Swedish fish. I finally stumbled across them at a little grocer I stopped in after a meeting in San Francisco over the weekend that carried a lot of UK candies (I picked up a very fresh Curly Wurly while I was there too!).

Unfortunately, not having grown up in the UK, that is the sum total of my exposure to them. I had no idea until I started to make this post that the different colors had some sort of personality. This site has a pretty good history of the candies (apologies as they seem to have put black text on a dark blue background). The important thing to note about this review is the brand - these are Norfolk Manor Jelly Babies. The Bassett’s Jelly Babies (the original) are not imported into the US (so I’ll have to have someone grab some in the UK).

A jelly baby is simply a jelly candy with a grainy, crystallized sugar coating on it. Not quite a smooth as a jelly bean, the coating is like a very fine granulated sugar, only with flavor.

The colors are quite nice, in soothing herbal colors of red, green, another green, orange, yellow, another yellow, and black. The smell fruity and sweet, just like jelly beans. If you remember the Swedish Jelly Rats I reviewed a while back, they’re kind of like that, but larger and with a bit more of a sugary coating. The shapes are wonderful, little pudgy-bellied, round-headed babies. The babies are flavored according to their colors, but I wasn’t really able to figure it out. Orange is orange, yellow is lemon and one of the greens is lime. Beyond that, I can only say that they were fruity. Black might be currant, red might be strawberry.

They’re exceptionally sweet and the flavor has no hint of tart to it, just a slight blessing of fruit aroma for the most part. They cute and easy to share and of course they’re a nostalgia favorite for generations of Brits. I am, sadly, not terribly impressed with them. Should I find the Bassett’s, I will probably give them a try, just to be sure that I’m not missing something. Just for the record, I do like jelly candies in general: gummi bears and Swedish fish and even some jelly beans, these were just too sweet without enough flavor.

More about Jelly Babies here.

Rating - 4 out of 10 (alas, I don’t think I’m going to eat the rest of them)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:22 pm     CandyReviewJelly Candy4-BenignUnited KingdomComments (9)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Soft Core Candy

Chelsea, the producer for Radio Open Source emailed me today with this link. Someone has remixed the Passion Thursday: Candy episode as some sort of soft core highlights of the interview.

Don’t worry, it’s worksafe:

A Universal Passion - Candy Remix from Love and Radio

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:03 am     Fun StuffNewsRadio InterviewsComments (1)

Rocky Road

Name: Rocky Road
Brand: Annabelle Candy
Place Purchased: Convenience Store
Price: $.75
Size: 1.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 132
Type: Chocolate/Marshmallow/Nuts


I know it seems odd that I’ve never had a Rocky Road bar before, but I’ve never been much of a marshmallow fan. To me the best thing about marshmallows is that they’re a dessert you can make on the grill. If marshmallows disappeared from the earth, I’d probably only lament the loss of Rice Krispies treats.

But, I thought it was high time I gave it a try - after all, how did I know I wouldn’t like it? First, the package is just fantabulous. It’s flashy red mylar and the lettering is bold and you can spot it easily from 20 feet. No wonder, it’s a big bar. At 1.8 ounces and the size of a tree limb, it’s a sizeable purchase for 75 cents.

The bar is rather unappealing when pulled out of the package, but really, when you look at most candy analytically it’s unattractive. I first pulled the bar apart for the photo and the sugary smell is just fantastic. It’s like putting your head into a box of Count Chocula.

The marshmallow isn’t overly sweet, but it’s foamy and has a good rubbery pull to it. The chocolate coating though is very sweet and the cashews are rather hard to discern. The mixture of textures is the real treat in this bar, with a real focus on the marshmallow, the light airyness of the bar sets it apart from just about everything out there. I hardly feel like I’ve eaten almost two ounces. It still hasn’t changed my mind about marshmallow in general, but I can see why it’s such an enduring favorite.

Rating - 6 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:00 am     CandyReviewAnnabelle'sChocolateMarshmallow6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (12)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Espresso Truffle Bar

Name: Pike Place Espresso Truffle Bar
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: Target
Price: $1.79
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Type: Chocolate

On my quest to find a good consumer coffee-infused chocolate bar, I found this at Target recently. It’s not quite mass-marketed but at least it wasn’t prohibitively expensive.

The package heralds the candy as a “Truffle Bar” but it really doesn’t rise to that level at all. As far as I know, a chocolate truffle is a mixture of chocolate and butter and/or heavy cream. It’s usually dipped in chocolate because it’s gooey but may be rolled in cocoa to keep it from sticking to things. The fascinating thing about a chocolate truffle is that it’s more fat (often) than chocolate, but this fat helps to highlight the intense and subtle flavors of chocolate in ways that a higher cocoa solids bar is not able to. This bar had no such center. The center was slightly softer than the plain chocolate outer shell, but more like a Frango than a melty chocolate cream.

The coffee flavor in the firm center comes from “Turkish grind decaffeinated [coffee]”, which probably explains the graininess of the center. The bits aren’t big enough to be considered crunchies but large enough to interfere with a smooth texture. Of course being decaffeinated means that there won’t be much of a problem with eating this bar before bedtime.

Overall the bar is a little sweet but has a nice chocolately flavor and a really good punch of coffee once it melts on the tongue. The chocolate and coffee blend well, with good woodsy notes and a slight acidic bite.

It’s not my dream coffee bar though, so I’ll keep looking. (I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but it’s been a fun quest.)

Rating - 6 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:08 am     CandyReviewChocolateCoffee6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Chocolate Traveler Bittersweet Chocolate Wedges

Name: Bittersweet Chocolate Wedges
Brand: The Chocolate Traveler
Place Purchased: Trader Joe’s
Price: $2.29
Size: 3.5 oz
Calories per ounce: 149
Type: Chocolate

I’ve seen these tins at Trader Joe’s for about a year. While I was fond of the idea of a tin of chocolate instead of a foil wrapped bar, I just didn’t get a good feeling from the package. I was worried that the chocolate would taste tinny or perhaps be chalky.

Happily, as you can see from photo the wedges are shiny dark chocolate with a good snap to them. They’re simply bittersweet Belgian chocolate that’s been repackaged here in the states in Chinese made tins.

The chocolate is 70% cocoa solids but it’s still rather sweet for bittersweet. The sugar is most apparent upon first resting a bit on the tongue. Then it melts pretty easily with only a slightly uneven grain to it. It’s got good chocolate notes, mostly in the lower, earthy range without the higher acidic and fruit notes. The smoky quality is there as are the woodsy tones. The cocoa butter is really nice and light and allows the flavor to spread easily, there is only a slightly dry finish to it.

The grain is a little distracting and the sugar a little too apparent. However, I did just what the package shows, I traveled with this chocolate, putting it in my bag and taking it on a humongous two-day road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back and it not only weathered it well, it was a welcome treat.

Rating - 7 out of 10 (I’m keen on trying the flavored chocolate wedges, too)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:17 am     CandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolate7-Worth ItBelgiumUnited StatesComments (4)

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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

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-65 days

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  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Krackel

• Wonka Randoms (and some Rowntree)

• Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

 

 

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