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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Trader Joe’s Scandanavian Swimmers

DSC_0580rbTrader Joe’s Scandanavian Swimmers are billed as soft and chewy gummy candy in sea life shapes.

They’re basically Swedish Fish.

The ingredients feature naturally derived flavorings and colorings. They come in four flavors and shapes.

The red flavor of the classic Swedish Fish is rather unique, though now duplicated by other candies and confections. It’s most like lingonberry, which is similar to a raspberry and pomegranate mix with a sprinkling of fruit punch. 

DSC_0595rb

In the case of the Red Lobster here, the berry flavors are very similar to the Swedish Fish, but has none of the bitter aftertaste of the artificial colors that the North American version have. (The actual Malaco Swedish Fish, if you can find them, use natural colorings.) The flavor here is good, well rounded, floral and lingering with a sort of fresh green note.

The Blue Dolphin is described as huckleberry flavored. I have to say that I’m at a loss to place huckleberry in my memory. In this case, the dolphin is rasbperry, with a light tangy note but much lighter than the lobster, more citrusy.

DSC_0590rb

The Orange Rockfish is orange. It’s very plain. The zest notes are pretty pronounced after the chew is over, but it was not terribly interesting. There were very few of them in my bag.

The Yellow Seahorse is mango-peach. This was a really weak flavor. The peach and mango were less than nuanced and were more like a candle scent than a flavoring. The tart bite was the only thing that kept it from being something I’d stick in a drawer to make my towel smell sweet.

The texture of the pieces varied a bit as well. The lobster and rockfish were very soft and smooth. The dolphin and seahorse had a little bit drier and stiffer chew on the outside, which was more like the classic Swedish Fish.

These are not gummi candies, which usually contain gelatin, these are just jelly candies. (Nothin’ wrong with that, it just seems like so many jelly candies can’t be happy with who they are.)

I’m not sure if anyone needed a Swedish Fish knock-off of a full flavor variety. In this case, I’d say that Trader Joe’s could just stick with the Lobsters, or even make a bunch of different red shapes and throw them in a bag.

May contain traces of peanut, almond, cashew & pecan. Also made with sunflower and corn but are gluten free. Though they don’t have the vegan symbol on them, there are no animal derived ingredients and they are Kosher. It was interesting to see that these were made in the United States, as so many Trader Joe’s candies, especially the naturally flavored sugar candies, are not.

What’s Good at Trader Joe’s also has a review.

Related Candies

  1. Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 23 - Trader Joe’s
  2. Ts & Js Sour Gummies
  3. Swedish Fish Jelly Beans
  4. Sockerbit Swedish Candy Selections
  5. Trader Joe’s Jelly Beans & Citrus Gum Drops
  6. All Gummies Gourmet Fruity Fish (Swedish Fish knock-off)
  7. Swedish Aqua Life


Name: Scandanavian Swimmers
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $2.99
Size: 14 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:00 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

M&Ms “Vote For Your Favorite Peanut”

Late last year I got these preview versions of the new Vote For Your Favorite Peanut varieties. The idea is that during the US Presidential Primary season, Mars would introduce a trio of flavors to choose from, and the public would vote. The three versions are Chili Nut, Honey Nut, Coffee Nut.

DSC_9923rb

The Honey Nut M&Ms are a milk chocolate coating with a whole peanut in the center and a crisp shell. Somewhere in there is also a honey flavor ... in the shell, is it a honey roasted nut? I have no idea.

I pulled a few apart and didn’t find any evidence of honey roasting, but they do smell a little bit like maple syrup and vanilla. The shell on this variety also seems crisper. The whole effect is a rather clean, sweet flavor but basically a regular old Peanut M&M.

(Note that the packages I got were not final and the M&Ms were all the same color in each bag, in the final versions released to the public there are actually three colors for each variety.)

DSC_9925rb

The Chili Nut M&Ms are probably the most daring of the bunch. Sure, spicy things are trendy, but the major candy companies have stayed far away from the chili heat, sticking to the pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon spices.

The combination of the peanuts, milky chocolate and mild cayenne pepper is very nice. The heat varies from time to time, but generally has a throat warming appeal that builds the more you eat. But it never gets too hot, which makes for a different experience without alienating folks who can’t tolerate a lot of pepper. (I’m afraid I’m one of those, I’m not great with capsaicin, the heat in red peppers, but I love all other spices like mustards, curries, black pepper and ginger).

DSC_9916rb

Coffee Nut M&Ms is such a promising flavor. The roasted flavors of peanuts, coffee and chocolate should be an ideal combination. Added to that, I absolutely loved the winter 2015 Cafe Mocha M&Ms.

The shell is great, the peanuts are large and crunchy ... but the overwhelming flavor isn’t necessarily coffee, but it’s more of a buttery, woodsy flavor. I wanted to give the candy the benefit of doubt, so I bought a full 10.2 ounce bag at CVS just to be sure. Still, I’m getting this weird buttery coconut note.

I think it’s fantastic that Mars is paying a little more attention to the Peanut M&Ms, since most of the flavors we see are for the Milk Chocolate or white varieties. None of these varieties is something I plan to buy again before they disappear.

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms Cafe Mocha
  2. Il Morso Coffee Bars
  3. Theo Red Hot Cinnamon Love Crunch
  4. Tcho Mokaccino
  5. Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao
  6. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  7. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms
  8. Xocoatl 73.5%


Name: Peanut M&Ms: Chili Nut, Honey Nut, Coffee Nut
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: samples from Mars
Price: 1.19 retail
Size: 1.74 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, M&Ms, Peanuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:48 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateCoffeeKosherLimited EditionM&MsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (5)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Delight Peeps (Raspberry and Lemon)

Raspberry Delight PeepsJust Born continues with their Peeps limited edition flavors. This season they’ve released three new Delight versions which are fruity flavors dipped in a white confection tinted and flavored to match.

I found two varieties and picked them up: Raspberry Delight and Lemon Delight Peeps.

The Raspberry Delight Peeps package shows both red and blackberries, though the description isn’t any more specific than simply raspberry.

DSC_0525rb

The face that the inside and the outside of the Peeps are color-coordinated is oddly unsettling. The sugar crust is sparkly and a rather vibrant purple, but the innards are oddly dead looking.

The texture is exactly what you expect with a Peep, a crusty sugar shell, a light flavor and bouncy marshmallow texture. I actually enjoy slightly stale Peeps, so I let these packages sit open for a week after taking the photos of them. (So I ate one in its fresh state and the others in their stale state.) The raspberry is very mild, floral and a little jammy. There are little sour crystals in the crust and maybe in the fudge. The fudge is sweet, but also lots more flavorful than the marshmallow. I can’t say that I liked it, but it did add a textural difference and a little creamy note to the whole thing.

In this instance I liked this better than the Candy Corn and Pumpkin Spice Peeps, but not by much.

DSC_0512rbLemon Delight Peeps are lemon flavored lightly yellow Peeps dipped in lemon fudge.

The lemon flavor is mostly sweet and has a “cleaning product” sort of vibe, with the light citrus scent but very little nuance. The flavor also has a few hints of salt and sour, which does give a little respite from the sugary notes. Overall, they’re perfectly edible, but the fudge element is grainy and sweet and waxy.

The Lemon didn’t work as well as the Raspberry, but still came off as a decent piece of candy. I find these little dipped Peeps to be ridiculously expensive for the type of candy they are. I buy them because they’re novelties and there weren’t many other new Easter candies this year. In the future, I’d prefer to just find a good small confectioner that makes their marshmallow in house and uses high quality, high cacao chocolate.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps for Halloween: Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn
  2. Russell Stover Lemon Cake Egg
  3. Peeps Minis Vanilla Creme
  4. Peeps Sweet Lemonade Chicks
  5. Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps
  6. Tootsie Roll Raspberry Cremes
  7. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
  8. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry


Name: Raspberry and Lemon Delight Peeps
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Categories: Candy, Easter, Just Born, Marshmallow, Mockolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:26 pm     CandyReviewEasterJust BornMarshmallowMockolate5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (3)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 33 - Great Debate: Snickers vs Milky Way

Candyology101-33

Since it’s an election year, Maria and I thought we’d adopt the debate format to take on the greatest decision of 2016: Snickers or Milky Way. At least in this election, you probably can’t make a bad choice.

You can see the full show notes here.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:22 pm     CandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (1)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nestle KitKat Premium Hazelnut (Japan)

KitKat Premium HazelnutNestle is still churning out plenty of limited edition and seasonal flavors of KitKats in Japan, though I don’t acquire them as much as I used to.

This new version, sold in bags of minis, is called KitKat Premium Hazelnut. Japanese confectionery has a successful track record of adapting French techniques and flavors for the Japanese market, so I was very interested to see how the global Nestle corporation did in this version.

The little minis are quite small. It’s not just a shorter, half sized version of the standard four fingered bar. These are two inches long and 1.2 inches wide.

KitKat Premium Hazelnut

The flavor is called hazelnut, but what’s most interesting about the picture on the package, is that it features feuilletine along with some hazelnuts. Even if you don’t recognize the word feuilletine, you’ve probably had a version of it before. Think of a very crispy crepe, or the flaky layers of a sugar cone. It’s a caramelized sort of cookie that’s usually crumbled and added to other things, like chocolate ganache or cream centers.

The ingredients for this version of KitKat unfortunately show that this isn’t a true chocolate product, as many Nestle chocolate items tend to be these days. The chocolate coating includes vegetable oil, though a lot less sugar than the usual chocolate coating, so part of what gives this a premium feel is that it’s not as sickly sweet as the standard milk chocolate KitKat.

KitKat Premium Hazelnut

These little bars smell like sugar cones and roasted hazelnuts. It’s quite appealing. The chocolate coating is rather slick and has a little bit of an oily melt, but also a good roasted coffee and woodsy chocolate flavor. The center looks light and crispy, just like the usual wafer layers, but it has the precise flavor and texture of feuilletine. It’s a little grainy and as a more caramelized crunch to it. Magic. Still, the oily and slick mockolate coating lacks the complexity and texture of real chocolate. In this context, it seems to work on a candy level, but I wouldn’t dare call it premium.

They’re extremely satisfying, or not, because I actually wanted to eat the whole package. Sadly, the package only has 12 little bars (a single serving is listed as 3 bars). It’s an expensive treat and the ingredients don’t live up to the price. But the end result was too tasty to keep from giving it a solid review.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  2. Nestle KitKat Sakura Green Tea & Wasabi
  3. KitKat Hazelnut Cream
  4. KitKat Otonano Amasa (Adult Taste)
  5. KitKats: Royal Milk Tea, Ginger Ale, Bubbly Strawberry, Kinako Ohagi & Milk Coffee
  6. Eat with your Eyes: The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar Ever
  7. KitKat Temptations: Hazelnut & Coconut


Name: KitKat Premium Hazelnut
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Marukai Market (Little Tokyo)
Price: $5.99
Size: 4.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, KitKat, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:37 pm     CandyReviewNestleChocolateCookieKitKatNuts8-TastyJapanComments (2)

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