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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Brach’s Valen-tiny’s

DSC_0331rbOne of the new items from Brach’s is a fun looking product. They’re called Brach’s Valen-tiny’s. They’re tiny double layer hearts in the style of SweeTarts.

I found the share size bag at Target, which is a great size for a new product like this. The bag has no further description aside from advising that they’re good for snacking or decorating. The little window in the bag shows that they are actually tiny hearts that are two layers, one white and the other a pastel.


As far as I can tell, there are five flavors:
Green is lime. It’s tangy and sort of ordinary.
Pink is cherry and again, rather ordinary and sweet with a little tart bite.
Orange is much denser than the other flavors and tastes more like chewable aspirin. There’s a vitamin B flavor to it that’s not really pleasant for a candy.
Yellow is like a fruit flavored Tums. It’s not even lemon, as far as I can tell, it might be pineapple or fruit punch.
Purple is grape and actually a lot more intensely flavored than the others. The grape is also not Pixy Stix grape, but more like concord grape.

The quality of the flavors is so widely varied that I can’t recommend them. It’s hard to tell them apart because they’re small and only colored on one side, so it’s easy to eat the wrong one if you’re avoiding a color.

I’d like to see Brach’s try again with these because the concept shows a lot of promise. But they’re fine for decorating and I only spent a buck on them. I was disappointed to see that they’re made in China, which means that Brach’s or Ferrara Candy Company didn’t actually make them at all.

Related Candies

  1. Mega Smarties ‘n Creme
  2. Brach’s Red Velvet Candy Corn & Candyology Episode 7
  3. Brach’s Conversation Heart Jelly Beans
  4. Oak Leaf Hearts Candy
  5. Brach’s Conversation Hearts
  6. Gobstopper Heart Breakers
  7. SweeTart Hearts

Name: Valen-tiny’s
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Compressed Dextrose, 4-Benign, China, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:55 pm     CandyReviewValentinesBrach'sFerrara PanCompressed Dextrose4-BenignChinaTarget

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tic Tac Be Mine Mix

Tic Tac Be Mine MixLast year Tic Tac had a Valentine’s flavor called Be Mine Mix. It featured Strawberry & Wild Cherry in one box. The new version for 2016 has a couple of twists. First, there are three colors in the package, though the flavors are still listed as Wild Cherry & Strawberry Flavors. The appealing new feature though is that they’re printed.

Tic Tac introduced printed little pieces last year with the Minions promotion (which was pretty genius in appearance, though in the States the flavor was not banana as expected, instead it was Passion Fruit). Since Tic Tac invested in this new printer technology, they’re trotting it out for other versions, including the Candy Cane version for Christmas, which were just peppermint Tic Tacs with little red candy canes printed on them.

There are only three conversation starters here: I (heart) You, Hug Me and Be Mine. The type is quite wee, very hard for me to read without my reading glasses on, but love is for the young and able-eyed.

Tic Tac Be Mine Mix

The lightest pink tastes a bit like Strawberry Cake. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be but the shell part is smooth and sweet with very little flavor at first, the next layer down has a tartness and a definite strawberry flavor note. The center is softer and has more strawberry flavor but a really pronounce “cream flavor” which is not to say that it’s actually creamy, it just has a vanilla and maybe even touch of butter note. I don’t like it much.

The medium pink is Strawberry, but this one, instead of the weird vanilla, the center has a menthol note on top of the berry.

The red is Wild Cherry. This is well done. The outside is slick on the tongue with a very mild cherry sweetness. The next level down introduces the more varied cherry notes, a deeper jammy flavor and of course the tart bite. The center has a bit more chalky tartness. As a whole, it’s pretty good. I’m not usually fond of cherry, but this was the best one in the mix ... but it could be because I really didn’t like the others.

All three go together pretty well, but as mints they’re not very refreshing as breath fresheners. The box is cute, but not distinctive as a Valentine’s item. I’d really only get this for someone as a gift or myself if I knew that I liked the flavors. The printing is certainly a novel addition to the brand, but it does decrease the enjoyment of the texture (the printing does not dissolve in the same way as the regular coating does).

Related Candies

  1. Tic Tac Mixers: Peach Lemonade
  2. Theo My Cherry Baby
  3. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  4. Eat with Your Eyes: Tic Tac Strawberry Fields
  5. Zitrone Honig Tic Tac
  6. Tic Tac Pink Grapefruit
  7. Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers
  8. 3 Musketeers Cherry & Raspberry

Name: Tic Tac Be Mine Mix
Brand: Ferrero
Place Purchased: Target (Glendale)
Price: $.99
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 114
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Ferrero, Compressed Dextrose, 6-Tempting, Ireland, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:46 pm     CandyReviewValentinesFerrero6-TemptingIrelandTarget

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 30 - Valentines and Strawberry


In this episode of the Candyology 101 podcast, Maria and wander the aisle for everything new in Valentines for 2016. And it’s all strawberry.

You can download the MP3 file directly and check out the full show notes.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:18 pm     CandyValentinesHighlightRadio Interviews

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Russell Stover Strawberries & Cream Mix

DSC_0382rbRussell Stover, the classic American boxed chocolate maker was bought by Lindt & Sprungli about 18 months ago. I was looking forward to Russell Stover becoming, well, better.

This year Russell Stover jumped on the strawberry trend quite well. They already make a Strawberry Cream Heart for Valentine’s Day, but this year they’ve also added at least three new items with the strawberry theme. I picked up two. The first is the Russell Stover Strawberries & Cream Mix which the package says is strawberry and white pastelle hearts combine for a rich strawberry and cream taste.

The pink package sports lots and lots of hearts, including a few that show the size and shape of the candies. And it’s actually pretty accurate, they do look like little drawings of hearts colored in off white and palest pink. It’s a white confection version of the iddy biddy Santas and Bunnies they do in milk chocolate. (Though they mercifully sell those in little single-serve packages.)


The pieces do smell rather sweet, mild and with a decent strawberry note. They’re soft and matte and kind of strange because they’re very quiet. They’re light and have no candy shell, so pouring them from the package means more sound from the bag than the tumbling of the candy.

When Russell Stover says pastelle, they really mean a combination of sugar, fractionated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated palm oil, some milk solids & fats plus a few dabs of food coloring and flavor.

The effect is pretty much what you might think. Mostly waxy, rather sweet, a smidge milky and vaguely strawberry. The white pieces are supposed to be vanilla, but are really just less strawberry because of their proximity in the bag.

They’re not as sweet as I feared they would be. Mostly I’m disappointed that they’re so expensive when Mars was able to make actual white chocolate strawberry M&Ms for less for Easter this year. The one thing they have going for them is that they are pretty darn cute and would be great as a decorative element for a cake or cupcakes or just scattered on a dessert plate. Because they’re a mockolate product, not a coated candy, the colors won’t run and they’re not as likely to melt in most serving situations.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  2. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  3. Divine Fair Trade Chocolate
  4. Meiji Gummy Choco
  5. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  6. KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)
  7. KitKat Tsubu Ichigo and Hershey’s Strawberries ‘n’ Creme

Name: Strawberries & Cream Mix
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Valentines, Russell Stover, Mockolate, 4-Benign, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:14 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewValentinesRussell StoverMockolate4-BenignUnited StatesWalgreen's

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ghiradelli Valentine’s Dark and Strawberry Squares

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry SquaresThough strawberry is the hot flavor of the moment, Ghirardelli has been making these Limited Edition Valentine’s Dark & Strawberry Squares for a few years.

There’s not much of a description on the package, just that the squares are filled with strawberry filling. The filling appears to be made from sugar, high fructose corn syrup, palm oil and freeze dried strawberries and colored with fruit and vegetable juice (very vague). It also has some added TBHQ as a preservative. There’s no indication of the cacao content of the chocolate itself, but I’d guess it’s somewhere in the low 60% range. Each square is 70 calories.

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry Squares

The squares are elegant and simple. They’re 1.75 inches square and sport the Ghirardelli logo in a beveled field. In my experience the packaging protects the pieces well and they usually look stunningly gorgeous.

If there’s an issue with the filled squares from Ghirardelli is that they temper their chocolate to be very crisp and snappy ... so the filled pieces can be messy to eat when the chocolate breaks apart upon biting and the filling dribbles out. So, make an effort to bite on the diagonal, or pop the whole thing in your mouth at once.

Ghiradelli Valentine's Dark & Strawberry Squares

The chocolate is sweet but with a nice dry woodsy note to it, which goes well with the strawberry flavors. The strawberry filling is quite like a finely pureed strawberry sauce. It’s not overly sweet, has a strong tangy note and just a touch of seed flavor to it (and some actual seeds).

Because the edges are so thick and the chocolate in the center is so thin, there’s a large variation in the proportion of filling to chocolate in any given bite.

I liked them quite a bit, it was the best imitation of a chocolate covered strawberry that doesn’t spoil that I think I’ve had. Ghirardelli Strawberry Squares contain soy and milk and may also contain traces of tree nuts. There’s no statement about gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Milk Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Crisp Promises
  2. Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cranberry
  3. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree
  4. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips
  5. Ferrara Chocolate Strawberry
  6. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  7. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  8. Rice Milk Chocolate Bars
  9. KitKat Tsubu Ichigo and Hershey’s Strawberries ‘n’ Creme

Name: Valentine’s Dark and Strawberry Squares
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.50
Size: 6.38 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:42 pm     CandyReviewValentinesGhirardelliChocolateKosherLimited Edition8-TastyUnited StatesTarget

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