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Friday, September 4, 2015

Candyology 101 - Episode 22 - Reese’s

Candyology101-22

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the most successful cup-based candy in North America (I just made up that statistic, but I’m pretty sure it’s right). In this episode Maria and I talk about the essential elements of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and their other product extensions.

 


Download the MP3 or subscribe on iTunes. You can also listen online while reading the copious show notes here.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:26 pm     CandyHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Milk Chocolate M&Ms Pumpkin Spice Latte

DSC_9743rbThere are two new flavors of M&Ms out for fall this year. M&Ms Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte is a Target exclusive and M&Ms Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie is a Walmart exclusive.

I picked up the Pumpkin Spice Latte, though I admit I was a little confused about how different this was from the Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate M&Ms from 2013.

It’s always a little odd to pick up “seasonal” items when I live in Los Angeles. The package here shows the brown M&M all bundled up with steamy drink. It was 96 degrees in the shade when I got back to my car with the purchase (it’s also hot in a lot of other places around the country, it was still August when these hit the shelves).

DSC_9747rb

The pieces are large, as all of the specialty flavors lately have turned out to be. They come in orange, cream and dark brown. (The earlier 2013 Pumpkin Spice were orange, green and dark brown.)

The ingredients list no specifics about the flavors, there are no lists of spices and definitely no actual pumpkin or coffee. What I expected to be different about this variety is more of the latte beverage experience. So, I’m hoping for creamy milk notes, maybe some espresso and of course the spice mix known as pumpkin.

DSC_9749rb

The flavor combination here is immediately cinnamon with a touch of coffee and chocolate. The spices are warm, but not very evenly balanced, it’s almost all cinnamon and not much in the way of nutmeg or ginger. The coffee notes keep it from being as sweet as some others, though it’s a little inconsistent. The chocolate itself is grainy and not terribly creamy. In general the chocolate quality on M&Ms is disappointing as a chocolate item, but fine as a candy.

I’m a little confused how this whole coffee craze can come about and there are no coffee M&Ms, but some how a beverage that includes coffee can actually get the M&M treatment.

Related Candies

  1. Birthday Cake M&Ms
  2. M&Ms Milk Chocolate Gingerbread
  3. Limited Edition M&Ms Cinnamon Milk Chocolate
  4. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  5. Bosco Milk Chocolate
  6. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  7. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  8. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition


Name: M&Ms Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 9.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Mars, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coffee, Kosher, M&Ms, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:35 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenMarsChocolateCinnamonCoffeeKosherM&Ms7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lindt Hello Minty Bites

DSC_9638rbLindt has expanded their friendly HELLO line of chocolates with a handful of panned products. The Lindt Hello Minty Bites come in a stand up bag that holds 5.3 ounces. They’re pretty much the most expensive chocolates you can buy at Target, but also a very reliably good brand of chocolate.

I picked up mine on sale for $4 a bag, though they’re usually about $4.50. The package does a good job of vaguely describing the product: Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Cubes (natural flavor). But the description on the front, the propaganda on the back, and the images do noting to show what the product actually is. I assumed they were a fondant center, like Junior Mints or York Peppermint Patties. Instead, they are unique, which is a good thing to set them apart from other offerings, but also took a bit to get used to.

DSC_9641rb

The dark chocolate coating is glossy and creamy and pretty thick. The chocolate is not very dark, there’s no percentage on the package and does have added milk fat and milk. The pieces are not completely spherical; they’re more oblate like M&Ms. The centers are like a jelly. They’re made from sugar, apple, pineapple fibers, sodium alginate, green tea extract, dicalcium phosphate, citric acid and natural mint. Can you imagine that? Yeah, it’s a little weird.

The center reminds me a little bit of the Brookside fruit pieces, but they’re a little grainy. The flavor is only lightly minty and rather authentically like mint leaves. But there’s a tangy component ... so the effect is like a mojito, a little citrusy and a little minty.

I don’t know what to think of them. I didn’t love the, but I had no trouble eating the package eventually. The chocolate is ridiculously smooth and creamy, but after eating Brach’s & M&Ms chocolates for so long, sometimes I forget that chocolate in these types of candies can actually be really good. Of the three varieties of Hello Bites, these are the only ones with a dark chocolate coating (the others are Toffee Bites and Pretzel Bites), which is what I usually prefer. If you’re the type of person who likes the Brookside Fruits or Trader Joe’s Powerberries, these might be something you’d like.

Lindt’s new Hello Bites line is made in the USA. Most other Lindt products (at least the ones that I’ve reviewed) are made in Germany. Though the front of the package says natural flavor, there are artificial flavors (vanillin) and other ingredients like sodium alginate and dicalcium phosphate - they’re not necessarily “artificial” but not necessarily ordinary.

Related Candies

  1. Glee Lemon-Lime and Spearmint
  2. Ovation Mint Filled & Pumpkin Spice Oranges
  3. Lindt Bars: Wafer, Cresta and Dark Hazelnut
  4. Lindt Hello Coffee Blast (Limited Edition)
  5. Cadbury Dairy Milk Golden Crisp and Mint Crisp
  6. Meiji Poifull Mint
  7. Skittles Fresh Mint


Name: HELLO Minty Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lindt
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $4.00 (on sale)
Size: 5.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Lindt, Chocolate, Jelly Candy, Mints, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:34 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewLindtChocolateJelly CandyMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (2)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Brach’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy Corn

DSC_9672rbBrach’s has introduced over a dozen flavors of Candy Corn in the past five years. There are the more traditional flavors like Harvest Corn and Pastel Corn, but also some more trendy flavors like Carrot Cake, Caramel Macchiato and Red Velvet.

Though I find myself a purist when it comes to certain candies, I think that the fondant candies are ripe for this sort of flavor exploration. I also think a lot more could be done with shape. I’m not sure why we’re hung up on the layered corn. Perhaps it’s just economical to use the same mold for all new variations and use color to distinguish them. So, I welcome these new Candy Corn shaped flavor experiences.

Last spring Ferrara Candy announced the new Brach’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy Corn and I was immediately intrigued. It’s a great idea, peanut butter cups are already layered and the flavors might translate well. Might.

DSC_9683rb

The pieces look like a lot of other Brach’s candy corn pieces. They’re large and narrow and have a little notch that goes across the bottom layer and the middle of the center layer. The layers appear to be distinctive flavors, the base is cocoa, the center beige is peanut and the top is “white.”

The candy corn has an odd but convincing peanut aroma. It smells more like boiled peanuts than roasted peanuts, there’s a thinness about the scent that becomes more obvious when I ate them.

The ingredients list no peanuts or peanut butter. The only thing close is some sesame oil. There is cocoa in the ingredients list, in fact it’s the third item after sugar and corn syrup. I guess the peanuts are all in the natural and artificial flavors. I actually assumed they used defatted peanut powder in this, but sadly no.

The peanut layer is bland and has an artificial butter note to it and a sort of diluted peanut flavor, kind of like a cheap frosting. The cocoa base is decent and at least isn’t as sweet as the other layers.

I didn’t despise the Peanut Butter Cup Candy Corn, but I didn’t find it as good as I thought it could be. It’s still munchable, just not terribly distinctive. Throw it in with some popcorn or nuts for a snack, and it becomes more than passable.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Candy Cane Candy Corn
  2. Candyology 101 - Episode 2 - Peanut Butter
  3. Sweet’s Naturally Flavored Candy Corn
  4. Brach’s Apple Pie Candy Corn
  5. Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn
  6. Starburst Original Fruit Flavored Candy Corn
  7. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix


Name: Peanut Butter Cup Candy Corn
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.79
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Fondant, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:19 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenBrach'sFerrara PanFondant5-PleasantMexicoRite AidComments (2)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Caramels

DSC_9517rbThe new Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Caramels were introduced this summer with a large advertising push. I’ve seen commercials and large displays at convenience stores.

The Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Caramels (and their Milk Chocolate siblings) are a rather pedestrian extension of the Hershey’s brand. They’re sold in either a pair of caramels in a single package or a stand up bag of something less than a half a pound. The price point makes you think that this is a premium product, I paid $4.29 for 7.2 ounces.

The packaging looks nice and does a good job of protecting the freshness and attractiveness of the product, but it’s maddeningly hard to open. Each caramel is individually wrapped and of the 13 or so pieces in the bag, I was able to open two without the aid of scissors. I can only assume that this is to either help with portion control or help the consumer work off some extra calories wandering around the house trying to figure out where the good scissors went.

DSC_9536rb

My frustrations with the wrappers were ameliorated by the fact that every single caramel was gorgeous. They’re lovely rounded squares with a lightly domed top of thick dark chocolate. (Well, I don’t know how dark it actually is, the ingredients only call it semi-sweet and it contains milk fat.)

They smell nice, a mixture of brownies and hot chocolate. The bite is easy and soft, but not a runny caramel like the Cadbury Caramello bar. The caramel has an excellent smooth texture and good stringy pull, but it’s not quite stiff enough to satisfy me. The chocolate is passable, smooth and not chalky, and not too sweet.

The whole experience is lacking something, perhaps I’m spoiled by my comparably priced Trader Joe’s Butterscotch which strike me as a far better deal both because the price is better, the ingredients are a bit clearer and of course they taste fantastic or the far easier to find Storck Chocolate Riesen. I don’t see Hershey’s new product line surviving in the long run, they’re just not distinctive enough.

These caramels are made in Mexico and are made on equipment that also processes macadamia nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts. Contains soy and milk. There’s no mention of gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Droga Money on Honey Caramels
  2. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  3. Hershey’s Air Delight Aerated Milk Chocolate
  4. See’s Double Caramel
  5. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  6. Reese’s Select Cremes
  7. Hershey’s Cacao Reserve


Name: Dark Chocolate Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Glendale)
Price: $4.29
Size: 7.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, 7-Worth It, Mexico, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:41 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sCaramelChocolateKosher7-Worth ItMexicoWalgreen'sComments (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.

Candy Season Ends

-151 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Il Morso Coffee Bars

• Lindt Hello Pretzel Bites

• Lindt Hello Toffee Bites

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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