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Friday, December 5, 2014

Queen Anne Chocolate Cordial Cherries

Queen Anne Dark Chocolate CherriesI have nothing against cherries. In fact, I love fresh cherries. I’m not fond of cherry flavored candies, so it stands to reason that I should actually like chocolate covered cherry cordials since they do have a real glace cherry at the center.

So a few years ago I tried the European version of Ferrero Mon Cheri ... which features a whole cherry in alcohol. That went well. But still, I’ve been hesitant to try some other varieties I see at drug store chains.

Queen Anne Cordial Cherries

Though it seems odd, I thought I’d start at the bottom. I picked up the cheapest, but most widely available line I could find: Queen Anne Cordial Cherries which are made by World’s Finest Chocolate.

The boxes varied in price between $1.50 and $2.49 for a box that holds 10 cordial cherries totaling 6.6 ounces. Queen Anne makes cherries in a few versions: Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate as well as newer versions in French Vanilla and Black Cherry Cola. They also make a cordial blueberry, but I’ll save that for another time.

DSC_7593rb

The packaging is far from elegant, but it is serviceable. There are ten candies in the box, each tray has five little plastic cups and the whole thing is sealed with a plastic film on top. The two trays are stacked in the box. The chocolates were in good shape, even though I’m guessing they get tossed around a bit en route.

Queen Anne Dark Chocolate Cherries

Queen Anne Dark Chocolate Cordial Cherries were a good place to start. The chocolate can’t be particularly dark, as sugar is the first ingredient and the chocolate itself also contains anhydrous milk fat and PGPR. The cherries are souped up in high fructose corn syrup, citric acid and some extra Red Dye #40. The ingredients also mention another “dark coating” made from partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils and cocoa along with sugar.

They do look quite good and smell like, well, cherries but the cocoa notes of the chocolate do actually come through.

They’re a messy affair if one who likes to bite and not pop. I like to grab the cherry in the first bite to make sure I get it with the least amount of sugar ... leaving the syrup behind in the remaining hemisphere. The cherry is crisp and chewy with only a lightly tart note. But it tastes realistic and not quite as strongly of maraschino as some others.

It’s all overly sweet though, especially if I was going to eat the other half that didn’t have a cherry. The chocolate is passable, not overly sweet but also lacking a good quality creamy smooth note.

DSC_7611rb
Queen Anne French Vanilla Cordial Cherries have a softer scent, definitely a hint of vanilla to them. Since it’s a milk chocolate shell, there’s less of a cocoa note to it but a little bit of sweet dairy.

Though the nutrition panel says there’s only one more gram of sugar in this version over the dark, it’s astronomically sweeter. It’s pretty much inedible for me, though I’m sure some folks will enjoy the sugary vanilla blast. The cherry flavor is completely lost on me, which is too bad because the texture was spot on.

Queen Anne Cherry Cola
Queen Anne Black Cherry Cola Cordial Cherries are

Oddly enough, this was the version I was looking forward to most. A bit of extra spicy flavor from the cola might help, and it actually did. The textures were the same, the cherries were firm and of good quality. The cola flavor was extremely mild, though. It was a little hint in the smell, and then maybe a whiff of it in the second bite. This one had the most maraschino flavor to it.

None are ever going to pass my lips again, not because they’re necessarily bad candy, but they’re certainly not the candy for me. There are better chocolate covered cordial cherries out there. A starting place will be finding better quality chocolate, as it should not just be treated like a container, but a gateway. So if I’m going to reset my brain to enjoy them, I think I should spend some time finding better ones.

Related Candies

  1. Sugarfina: The Chocolates
  2. Christopher’s Big Cherry - Dark
  3. Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats
  4. Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers
  5. Cherry Almondine M&Ms
  6. Wawel Chocolates
  7. Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses
  8. Pop Rocks Cherry Cola


Name: Cordial Cherries: Dark Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: World’s Finest Chocolate
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.50 (on sale)
Size: 6.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Queen Anne, World's Finest Chocolate, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Kmart


Name: Cordial Cherries: French Vanilla
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: World’s Finest Chocolate
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Hollywood)
Price: $2.49
Size: 6.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Queen Anne, World's Finest Chocolate, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Walgreen's


Name: Cordial Cherries: Black Cherry Cola
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: World’s Finest Chocolate
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Hollywood)
Price: $2.49
Size: 6.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Queen Anne, World's Finest Chocolate, Chocolate, Cola, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:12 pm     CandyReviewQueen AnneWorld's Finest ChocolateChocolateColaMockolate5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited StatesKmartWalgreen'sComments (1)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Spangler Marshmallow Peppermint Circus Peanuts

Spangler Marshmallow Circus Peanuts PeppermintSpangler has the strangest new holiday item I think I’ve seen in years: Peppermint Marshmallow Circus Peanuts.

Their website lays out their attributes succinctly: They are white in color, peanut in shape, peppermint in flavor.

Spangler is already one of the best known makers of Circus Peanuts, the ordinarily orange colored, peanut shaped but banana flavored confection. This new version puts Circus Peanuts in play as a new product line for Holiday theming, especially since they made a Halloween version themed for Candy Corn.

DSC_7659rb

They’re white, so they’re difficult to photograph. They’re about two inches long and don’t smell like much at first.

Upon my first bite, I did find that they’re quite minty. The texture of the marshmallow, when fresh, is light though a bit on the grainy side. They’re not the puffs you’d associate with Campfire or JetPuffed brands. Instead these are dense with a little bit of a sugar grain and get quite chewy and tacky when stale.

The mint is mild but definitely refreshing. It cuts the otherwise too-sweet notes of the marshmallow quite a bit. There’s only a smidge of salt in there (10mg) but what’s actually nice about these is that they’re, as far as I can tell, all natural. No artificial colors, because they’re not colored at all.

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Pectin, Natural Flavor

Out of curiosity, I added a peanut to my hot chocolate. I pulled it into “marbits” and tossed it on top. They do float, even though they’re a denser fluff than a Peep. The outside does become a little creamy and definitely imparts a minty note. But the center stays a bit grainy and starts to remind me of a wad of toothpaste. Still, it didn’t ruin a perfectly fine cup of hot chocolate. Now I’m wondering if I’d like a classic banana Circus Peanut in my hot chocolate.

Related Candies

  1. Spangler Candy Corn Circus Peanuts
  2. Kraft Jet-Puffed Peppermint Mini Mallows
  3. Peeps Gingerbread Men
  4. Peeps Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookie & Candy Cane
  5. Brach’s Chicks & Rabbits Marshmallow Candy
  6. Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows + Vanilla, Cinnamon Bun, Strawberry, Chocolate Royale, Gingerbread
  7. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows
  8. Circus Peanuts


Name: Peppermint Marshmallow Circus Peanuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Spangler Candy
Place Purchased: Samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: $4.00
Size:
Calories per ounce: 112
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Spangler Candy, Marshmallow, Mints, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:42 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasSpangler CandyMarshmallowMints6-TemptingUnited StatesComments (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Godiva Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World

Godiva Chef InspirationsGodiva was founded in Belgium as a premium chocolatier. The company is now owned by a Turkish holding coming (Yıldız Holding) but is headquartered in New York and named after an Old English noblewoman.

The chocolate is reliably of good quality, though the prices are on the high side compared to other brands now available. I love their packaging, but I’m usually disappointed by the products as they tend to be bland.

Still, I was tempted enough by a press release about a new collaboration collection that I stopped by the local Godiva shop and picked up a box of the Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection. It was $18 for a box of eight chocolates in six different flavors.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

So, six flavors and eight pieces means that I got two duplicates. The box is nice, a rounded rectangle with a plastic formed tray inside. The whole thing was shrink-wrapped and definitely fresh and flawless when I opened it. It included a little brochure that described both the chef and chocolates themselves. Here’s a little bit from the website:

Welcome our debut Flavors of the World collection—part of our new Chef Inspirations series! GODIVA Chef Chocolatiers crafted these extraordinary pieces based on inspiration from their culinary journeys in six countries - Japan, Belgium, Brazil, the United States, China, and South Africa. Let our chefs guide your through this flavor-filled adventure.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Banana & Caramelized Coconut: Milk and white chocolate enhanced with caramelized coconut flakes, coconut milk and banana essence topped with the crunch of West African cocoa nibs. The banana flavors are sweet and have a bit of a creamy note. The coconut has a little tropical flavor, the whole thing is soft and chewy. The milk chocolate is smooth, but extremely sweet.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Black Tea Mousse & Sichuan Pepper: Chinese Sichuan pepper flavored ganache blended with an aromatic black tea mousse and wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. The mousse has a very light chocolate note but strong tannins from the black tea. I didn’t catch much of the pepper, which is too bad. But I did enjoy the tea and this one was less sweet than the others.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Sirop de Liege with Speculoos: Classic Belgian Sirop de Liege, a pear and apple syrup, and a Speculoos cookie mousse wrapped in pure Belgian dark chocolate. This is a beautiful piece and an interesting combination. It is by far the most innovative and successful in the assortment. The speculoos is soft and creamy with a hint of gingerbread spices. The syrup is more like a fruit jelly, tart and smooth and bright, it’s really a great pairing with the dark chocolate and cookie butter. They should make this in a bar format.

Godiva Chef Inspirations

Japanese Dark Sugar Ganache: Dark chocolate layered with Kuromitsu molasses and Valencia almond praliné mixed with diced hazelnuts and Guerande sea salt. Since I started Candy Blog, I’ve been obsessed with Japanese black sugar, so this was the piece was thinking would be a home run. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but lacks any sort of black sugar note at all. The almond and hazelnut notes are great and the touch of sea salt does really balance the piece which gets a bit sweet, but the molasses is just so slight, I missed it. And I had three of these ... the two that came in the box and I bought one on the spot and ate it at the mall.

Brazilian Coffee Nut Praliné: Brazilian coffee and Costa Rican chocolate blended with hazelnut praliné enrobed in white chocolate and decorated with crispy chocolate confetti. As you would expect, this one was sweet with the white chocolate coating. The coffee notes a fresh and bright and the hazelnut flavors really mixed well. The little crisps on top gave it the texture it needed as a finish. Dark chocolate enrobing would have made me a bit more satisfied.

Honey Roasted Caramel: Caramel infused with hints of honey, almonds, brown sugar and condensed milk covered in milk chocolate and crunchy almonds. This sounds rather pedestrian and it really is, but that’s no reason not to appreciate it. It was chewy, but not too sticky. The honey and darker toffee notes were good and the milk chocolate brought it together well with some other dairy notes. The almonds were kind of lost, but at least fresh and crunchy.

Overall ... well, it was too sweet and not intense enough. I liked the attempts and part of the fun was just imagining what the combinations would be like. But I think I’ll stick with my local chocolatiers like Compartes or Valerie if I want to get into that price range, or just stop at See’s and be happy with their caramels.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
  2. Godiva Cake Truffles
  3. Meiji Chelsea Kokutou Black Sugar
  4. Amsterdam on Foot: Three Chocolate Shops
  5. Godiva Spring Pearls
  6. Teuscher
  7. Lillie Belle Farms Assortment
  8. Godiva Easter Eggs


Name: Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World Collection
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Godiva
Place Purchased: Godiva (Glendale)
Price: $18.00
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Godiva, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Coffee, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:01 pm     CandyReviewGodivaCaramelChocolateCoconutCoffeeNibsNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (2)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baci Perugina Double Layer Candy Bar

DSC_7298rbPerugina is one of Italy’s best known chocolate brands sold in the United States. Perugina was formed in 1907 and developed their best-known product, the hazelnut Baci (review) in 1922. Perugina was bought out by Nestle in 1988 but production remains in Italy.

The Baci is a whole hazelnut on top of a layer of gianduia (chocolate mixed with hazelnut paste) and chopped hazelnuts all covered in dark chocolate. They’re wrapped in silver foil with blue lettering, inside the wrapper is a little slip of glassine with a love quote in English and Italian.

Perugina is making a bit of a comeback in the United States, after being a bit hard to find for a dozen years or so. Not only are Baci now found at grocery stores and drug chains, they’re also releasing new versions.

Earlier this year Perugina announced the Perugina Baci Double Layer Candy Bar.

Perugina

The bars are available in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate, I got samples of both from Perugina representatives to try. They’re big bars, at 5.2 ounces (150 grams), while most tablets these days are about 3.5 ounces (100 grams). They’re priced at about $5 or $6 retail.

Inspired by Perugina’s signature Baci confection, this new bar combines Perugina’s legendary Luisa Dark chocolate, made of 51% cacao, with a layer of gianduia that is chock full of hazelnuts. Sample this premium creation that engages the senses, with a combination of flavors and textures.

Perugina

The top layer is a solid, chocolate-like gianduia. It’s a milk chocolate with a finely ground hazelnut paste and some added crushed hazelnuts. The base is the 51% dark chocolate and the whole thing has whole hazelnuts mixed in as well.

The gianduia layer has a quick and smooth melt with a rather cool effect on the tongue. The hazelnut bits are crunchy and the flavors are generally roasted and nutty. The Luisa Dark is not terribly complex, but has a fruity note at first, like cherries with a touch of honey and toffee but it’s very slight compared to all the hazelnuttiness. It’s not that sweet, but quite silky overall.

It’s a wonderful mix of textures, the nuts are fresh and crunchy, the layers melt wonderfully and balance each other.

DSC_7299rbThe alternate version of the Double Layer Bar is available in Milk Chocolate. The wrapper doesn’t say anything about the percentages of cacao, but there are 10 more calories per serving in the milk chocolate version (more sugar, less fiber than the dark chocolate).

The interesting thing to note about both bars is that they use sunflower lecithin, instead of soy lecithin. This is something that I learned about while touring confectionery factories in Germany a couple of years ago. European companies are making a switch from soy to sunflower for two reasons: the first is to make their products as low-allergen as possible and the second is to steer clear of any possible genetically modified ingredients. With the price being virtually identical, it seems like a great idea. The allergen statement does list the presence of hazelnuts and milk (of course) as well as the fact that they’re made in a shared facility with wheat and other tree nuts. There’s no statement about the chocolate sourcing. Unlike some other chocolate products that use hazelnut paste, there are no additional vegetable fats in here like palm oil.

Perugina

This bar has a little more sodium than the dark bar, and it helps. It’s much sweeter, as it doesn’t have the bitterness of the base layer to counterbalance the sweet gianduia. However, if you’re a fiend for sweet, smooth milk chocolate and hazelnuts, then this is definitely a bar to consider.

I haven’t actually seen these in stores, though they’ve been out since June. I’d buy this again, though the fun part of unwrapping the foil is gone, I did like the larger proportion of dark chocolate in the bar versus the kisses.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Coffee and Hazelnuts (Winter Edition)
  2. Gardini Bitter Chocolate and Gianduia with Sea Salt
  3. Poco Dolce Hazelnut Bar
  4. Perugina Baci
  5. Pernigotti Gianduia: Piedmont Hazelnut Paste
  6. Milka NAPS Mix (Assortment)
  7. Die Besten von Ferrero: Mon Cheri, Kusschen & Rondnoir
  8. Choceur Nougat Bites & Marzipan Bites
  9. Caffarel Gianduias


Name: Baci Double Layer Candy Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: samples from Perugina
Price: $6.00 retail
Size: 5.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:12 pm     CandyComments (1)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Soda Pop Candy Canes

Soda Pop Candy CanesEarly in the Christmas season, it seems that the first candy to hit the shelves are candy canes. Partly, I think, because they were made months ago because hard candy keeps very well.

There are so many kinds of candy canes these days, usually branded with other candies names and flavor varieties. There are: Starburst, Red Hots, Lemonheads, SweeTarts, Warheads, DumDums ... Bacon. They all pretty much look the same, They’re five or six inches long and have a little hook at the end.

In the case of Frankford’s Soda Pop Candy Canes, each candy cane is 1/2 ounce, which is a very generous size for a piece of sugar candy. There are 12 canes in the box, which is a bit of overpackaging ... but did protect my canes and is at least recyclable cardboard. There are three flavors: Orange Crush, Dr Pepper and A&W Root Beer. Yes, they’re soda pop flavors, but there’s no cola in there. This is where I went down the Wikipedia rabbit-hole…. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group also owns Squirt and Wink (both grapefruit sodas), IBC Root Beer and Hires Root Beer in addition to A&W Root Beer. Finally, they have RC Cola, which seems like the flavor they definitely left out here.

DSC_7637rb

I’ve been warming up to the flavor of cherry in candies, so I’m wondering if I can also learn to love the flavor of Dr Pepper as well. The red candy candy certainly looks attractive, and just slightly different from a peppermint candy cane ... so that I didn’t expect mint. I didn’t photograph it, but the center of this candy cane is also red. The flavor is rather like Dr Pepper. It’s sort of black cherry and amaretto, though I’ve heard that it’s also supposed to be plum flavored. There’s no acidic bite, which you get a little with the soda version. Overall, it’s pleasant, it’s not very intense or vibrant, more of a soft flavor like vanilla. I didn’t care for how red it made my tongue, but that’s a personal preference.

Orange Crush is tangy and much more intense that I would have suspected, with a sort of sherbet creamy note. It’s a solid orange flavor, artificial but still well rounded.

A&W Root Beer smells nice right away. The flavor is sweet and soft, not too intense. It doesn’t have the peppery kick that some root beers sometimes show, instead it’s more on the mild and creamy spice side of things. Though there are lots of artificial colors in there, I didn’t notice them giving a bitter taste.

I think the flavor array is interesting, a little off the beaten path without alienating older folks with things that are too sour. There are a lot of other great soda flavors that Dr Pepper owns that would go great ... especially 7 Up and Vernors Ginger Ale. The colors are also a bit atypical, but I enjoy a little change from the standard green and red.

Related Candies

  1. Maynard’s Sour Patch Kids Soda Popz
  2. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles
  3. Frankford Green Apple Mallo-Licious
  4. Trolli Soda Poppers
  5. Fresh Cola Mentos
  6. Kissables (Reformulated)
  7. Soda Can Fizzy Candy


Name: Soda Pop Candy Canes
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Frankford Candy
Place Purchased: Target (Glendale)
Price: $2.49
Size: 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Frankford Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:10 pm     CandyReviewChristmasFrankford CandyHard Candy & Lollipops6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

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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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These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

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