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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 8 -  Pick a Mix

pick-a-mix-ep8

Maria and I went to the store and picked up 15 items from the pick a mix ... you can listen to the results.

You can also download the MP3 directly. Check out the show notes on Candyology101.com.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:21 pm     CandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Jumbles

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate JumblesTrader Joe’s always has a quirky take on a standard candy. Their new Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Jumbles are sold in little nearly-half-pound tubs and are similar to Pecan Turtles.

The description is: crunchy pecans & toasted quinoa with soft & buttery caramel enrobed in chocolate and topped with Himalaya pink sea salt. They’re Kosher and made with mostly organic dairy ingredients as well. Though they use quinoa for the crunchy bits, they’re not a gluten-free candy as they may contain wheat. Also, they’re made in a facility with other tree nuts, eggs and peanuts. Too bad, because a gluten free and peanut free notation would really set these apart.

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The patties are about 1.5 inches across, so either one big bite or two small bites. The nutritional listing is a little odd, as it says that 3 pieces are 36 grams and come to 140 calories. That’s just ridiculous for something with so much chocolate and full dairy caramel ingredients. So, my calculations say that it’s 102 calories per ounce, I’m going to say that they’re at least 125.

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They smell like a sweet milk chocolate with a hint of earthy cereal notes. The patties are very flat and turning them over reveals that the inclusions are small. So the pecans are really not crunchy pecans but actually crunched pecans along with the quinoa.

The chew of the caramel is good, with some excellent buttery notes and toasted sugar flavors. The quinoa is crunchy, but not overly so. The pecans were barely evident, to the point that some pieces seemed to be lacking pecans entirely. But when I did get them, they had a wonderful woodsy, maple note. I would have preferred much more in the pecan front, even if they were just small pieces, or even just the quinoa and leave out the pecans entirely.

I don’t know if I would pick these up again, but I enjoyed the package I had. If I saw that they had a dark version or mucked around with the proportions, I’d give them another go. But there are other Trader Joe’s items that I much prefer over this, including the Butterscotch Sea Salt Caramels. The price point seemed a bit high, but is far better than DeMet’s Pecan Turtles which are usually about twice the price per pound and use inferior ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
  2. Short & Sweet: Figs
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles
  4. Trader Joe’s A Very Merry Mingle
  5. Trader Joe’s 70% Dark with Caramel and Black Sea Salt
  6. DeMet’s Turtles: Pecan & Cashew
  7. Texas Chewy Pralines
  8. GooGoo Supreme


Name: Milk Chocolate Jumbles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:53 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateCookieNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Droga Money on Honey Caramels

DSC_8601rbAt the Fancy Food Show last month I tried an array of the offerings from Droga Chocolates, based her in Southern California.

The most standout among their confections, for me, is their Money on Honey Wildflower Honey Caramels. They’re a square caramel patty covered in Guittard dark chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel. But the big thing to note is that the caramel part is made with California wildflower honey and no corn syrup. So the center is just sugar, honey, cream and butter.

They’re made in a gluten free facility with non-gmo ingredients and are Kosher.

I picked up this box of four half-ounce or so caramels at Lolli & Pops. It’s a bit pricey for 2.4 ounces at $8.25.

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There’s a lot of packaging. There’s a tray where the caramels sit in fluted cups, which is then inside a box, which is then covered with a sleeve.

Each little piece, though, is quite perfect looking.

They smell of chocolate, with perhaps a floral note of the heavy beeswax scent.

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The caramel itself has a good chew, a gentle pull but is stiff enough to hold itself together with the chocolate. The chocolate is bittersweet, not terribly dark or bitter, more on the fruity and woodsy side of things. The caramel has a long lasting chew with a sort of oily nature to it towards the end that honey can impart. The honey flavors are strong and deep, with notes of malt and beeswax.

The sea salt on the top is concentrated kind of at the center, it could be a little better distributed across the surface. It does provide a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. But generally the chocolate caramel is not that sweet at all. Honey is sweet, for sure, but not as sweet as plain old sugar, it just has a longer ring to it, a longer finish that has a sort of malt and jasmine tea aftertaste to it.

I would definitely buy these again, but probably only for a special occasion because of the price. If there were a smaller single serving size of just one or two caramel, I think I’d be more inclined to indulge.

Related Candies

  1. Seely Dark Chocolate Mint Patties
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints
  3. Bees & Beans Honey Bar
  4. Zitrone Honig Tic Tac
  5. Zeke’s Butterscotch
  6. Honees Honey Filled Drops
  7. Eat with your Eyes: Honey Caramel
  8. Gimbal’s Honey Lovers


Name: Money on Honey Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Droga Chocolates
Place Purchased: Lolli & Pops (Glendale)
Price: $8.25
Size: 2.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 117
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:09 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewCaramelChocolate8-TastyUnited StatesComments (0)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ritter Sport Fine Extra Dark Chocolate

Ritter Sport Fine Extra Dark Chocolate 73% CocoaRitter Sport has an amazingly diverse product line of bars that include solid bars, bars with nuts or cookies, and others with flavored fillings.

One of their new introductions is the Ritter Sport Fine Extra Dark Chocolate 73% Cocoa (also called Amargo Extrafino).

The bar is much darker than their regular bars at 73% and is made from West Africa and Ecuadorian-sourced cocoa beans. Though the format of this bar is new I’m not sure if the concept really is, I’ve had a very dark bar from Ritter Sport before, though my tasting notes reveal it’s a bit different.

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Generally, I love Ritter Sport’s milk chocolate. They make a very creamy product, and actually work with several different recipes for use in different bars. Their dark bars, for the most part, are one of the better at the price point, but I don’t eat the plain dark bars, I go for the bars that have nuts or marzipan. So, the idea of picking up a Ritter Sport over the many other very dark bars out there means that it’s going to need something special to turn my head.

The format for this bar is different from their usual 16 squares. Instead, it’s 36 pieces (a 6 x 6 instead of a 4 x 4 array).

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The deep scoring makes the pieces easy to snap off. They’re nearly pyramidic, so a little awkward in shape in the mouth. There’s a fair amount of cocoa butter, so it has an easy and quick melt. For the most part the particle size is small, so it’s smooth ... but there were the odd gritty bits from time to time.

The cocoa flavors are overwhelmingly earthy. There are not fruit notes, except for perhaps a little green banana. The rest was like coffee, brownies and toasted coconut. It’s woodsy and deep. It’s satisfying and not at all bitter, though there’s a dry bite to it, but the cocoa butter covers up at the very end.

When I ran the numbers for the calories per ounce, I was a little shocked that it came out so high, though cacao content also includes cocoa butter for that percentage. So this bar has a lot of cocoa butter, far more than most dark bars.

This feels very much like the texture that Dove lovers might gravitate towards. I might buy it again, but I really want some nuts in it, maybe even a little salt hint somewhere. But if Ritter Sport starts using this chocolate base for other bars, I’d be very interested in going down that road with them.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Coffee and Hazelnuts (Winter Edition)
  2. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  3. Ritter Sport 100th Anniversary Edel-Nuss Mix + Bonus Previews
  4. Limited Edition Ritter Sport Winter Kreation + Factory Store
  5. Lindt Excellence Dark with a touch of Sea Salt
  6. Ghirardelli Intense Dark
  7. Ritter Darks


Name: Fine Extra Dark Chocolate 73%
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ritter Sport
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 172
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Ritter Sport, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Germany, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:25 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewRitter SportChocolate7-Worth ItGermanyCost PlusComments (2)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Eat with Your Eyes: Pernigotti

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There’s more to hazelnuts and chocolate than Nutella. There are quite a few makers of gianduia, the paste made from combining chocolate and ground hazelnuts, in Italy. Pernigotti is one of the finest, creating lovely little foil wrapped treats since 1860.

You can read some previous reviews of their product line here.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     CandyItalyHighlightPhotographyComments (2)

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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.

Candy Season Ends

-91 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

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:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

• Candy Rant: Stimulants are not Energy

 

 

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