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Monday, January 4, 2016

Wild Ophelia Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter Cups

Wild Ophelia Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter CupsEarly last year at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, I tried a new line of chocolate cups from the confectioners at Vosges. These sets of mini peanut butter cups are from the Wild Ophelia line of chocolates and come in a few varieties. The first one I picked up at the store, when I finally found them last month at Whole Foods are the Wild Ophelia Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter Cups.

The packages look like a regular twin set of chocolate cups (though they’re actually 2.1 ounces) but inside is actually a try that holds a set of six little cups.

Wild Ophelia Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter Cups

I call them cups, but there’s actually no paper fluting on them, just the cups on a tray inside a wrapper.

The cups are made from 41% cacao milk chocolate, which is from fair trade certified beans (the sugar is also fair trade). The bananas are not the typical Cavendish most of us eat, but a varietal grown on Kauai known as Williams. The bananas are actually caramelized with some cream and sugar and sprinkled on top of the cups. The filling is peanut butter, and as far as I can tell, more chocolate.

Wild Ophelia Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter Cups

They’re almost savory. The milk chocolate has a good dairy flavor without tasting like powdered milk. The melt is smooth and buttery with a little toffee note. Once I bit into the cups the peanut butter is pretty evident as a scent, but the texture of the peanut butter is barely there, it’s quite smooth and mixed in. The banana notes were hard to tease out sometimes, it wasn’t a lot of banana and often just a little fresh caramelized and honey note.

Some cups had more banana bits, and some of the banana bits were a little toothsticky.

I liked the cups better than the bar version that I tired a few years ago. Part of is that I like the format of cups, and the ability to have a teensy but full-featured portion. They’re expensive, but the package holds more than a Justin’s or Theo PB cup, though it’s still more per ounce. I liked the inventive combinations and I welcome more products that play with these formats.

Related Candies

  1. Chocolate Covered Banana Gummi Bears
  2. Bonomo Taffy Nibbles: Vanilla and Banana
  3. Wild Ophelia Milk Chocolate Bar Peanut Butter & Banana
  4. Ice Cream Flavored Dippin’ Candy - Banana Split
  5. Dove Desserts Bananas Foster
  6. Circus Peanuts
  7. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup

Name: Caramelized Bananas Peanut Butter Cups
Brand: Vosges Haut-Chocolat
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.99
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 149
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Vosges, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:29 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewVosgesChocolateEthically SourcedPeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (2)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Milk Chocolate PiecesTrader Joe’s had a fair number of new products this year, but this holiday treat caught my eye: Trader Joe’s Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces.

I’m a sucker for a nice bottle with a cork top, and even though this was $5.99, I figured it would be good for holding some freshly squeezed orange juice at home. Even with the large price tag, it is important to note that it’s a full pound of candy, not the skimpy 12 ounces like many candy bags have now.

The pieces are made in Spain, which is definitely not a country I think of when it comes to chocolate. (They do lovely gummis and nougats.)

The bottle itself looks like it holds more than a pint, less than a quart (but I’ll have to measure when it’s empty). It’s pretty thick glass and has the Trader Joe’s logo molded into it ... which makes me wonder if it will show up in the future for other packaged items. (Maybe we’ll see this again for Valentines with just white and red lentils with hearts and lips printed on them.)

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces

The pieces, especially for a naturally colored product, are well made and lovely to look at. There are three colors: white, light red and muted green. Each piece also has a little printed icon. The white ones have Ts and Js and the green and red ones have a mixture of snowflakes, bells and stocking caps.

The lentils are a little larger and flatter than an M&M. They’re more like Nestle Smarties, though not quite that big.

Trader Joe's Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces

The shells are very thick. Since they’re rather flat, there’s a sharper edge to the, which in this case with the bottle, means that they’re more easily broken and chipped. (Of course I also carried the bottle around for a full week back and forth to work while I was sampling them for review.)

The crunchy shell is very pleasant and has no flavor of its own, just a mildly sweet crunch. The chocolate centers have a very strong dairy milk flavor, a light hint of malt and honey and then some cocoa notes.

They’re inoffensive and pretty, certainly different from M&Ms with the packaging and natural colors. They don’t quite warrant the price tag on their own, but I wasn’t sorry I picked them up. Flavors might also be fun, especially if they could figure out a way to mix the flavors in the same package.

Related Candies

  1. Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles
  2. Choeur Choco Dragees
  3. Eat with your Eyes: Meiji Strawberry Lentils
  4. Russell Stover Color Me Candies
  5. Hershey-ets
  6. Kissables (Reformulated)
  7. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  8. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)

Name: Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Pieces
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $5.99
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 136
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Spain

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:16 pm     CandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sChocolate7-Worth ItSpainComments (2)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 28 - 2015 In Reviews


In our latest episode of Candyology 101, Maria and I reviewed the sweetest products of the year. And a few that weren’t so great. Listen now right here.

You can also download the MP3 and check out the show notes.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:12 pm     CandyChristmasHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dum-Dums Holiday Pops (Limited Edition)

DSC_0107Dum-Dums are pretty basic, kind of small lollipops. They’ve always come in a wide variety of flavors that have changed based on popularity. Only recently has Spangler, who makes Dum-Dums, come out with holiday themed product packages of the pops.

The Dum-Dums Limited Edition Holiday Pops is a bag of eight different flavors of individually wrapped lollipops. I believe they were available in 2014, but I just picked them up this year.


Green Apple Grinch - there’s nothing grinchy about this flavor, it’s straight up fake green apple. The pop is bright green, the flavor is rather thin but definitely sour apple flavor and not actual apple.

Apple Cider is one of the amber colored pops. The flavor is similar to the Green Apple, but less bright, more muted and it has a more apple sauce or honey note to it.

Sugar Cookie is an opaque cream color. It’s pleasant but bland, as are sugar cookies. The flavor is creamy without a heavy dose of butter flavor. It’s a little vanilla, a little marshmallow. Pretty much a good lollipop. If they added a little nutmeg, I’d call it Egg Nog (and I’d be pretty happy).

Sugar Plum is purple and very pretty, like a little gem. I don’t actually know what a real sugar plum is but I can tell you that this one is vaguely grape.

Hot Cocoa looks like the Gingerbread or Apple Cider pop, but it’s a little more milky or opaque. I was expecting this to be horrible, but it’s actually a passable chocolate marshmallow flavor. The cocoa smells a little musty and thin, but the flavor has a creamy vanilla note, like a marshmallow that holds it together.

Gingerbread is one of the beige ones. It’s sweet and has a light note of spice that features a little ginger, a little cinnamon. One of the things about gingerbread-the-baked-good that I like is the molasses, and there’s no note of that here.

Polar Punch is very blue. It’s a tropical punch flavor with a distinct raspberry note to it. There’s a long-lingering aftertaste of the berry flavor that isn’t necessarily unpleasant, but I also had a blue tongue for a while.

Merry Cherry is red. I haven’t had a cherry Dum-Dums for a while, so I can’t say if this is any different. It’s sweet and don’t really have a tangy fruit note to it. It wasn’t like a wild cherry Life Saver, it was more like a cough drop. I find cherry to be rather medicinal, and this was especially so. But I know some folks like the flavor.

I love this idea, and I’d like to see it with a few more specialty flavors, like an Egg Nog, maybe something Cranberry, Peppermint Stick, Rum Raisin. If they’re making things that are bacon flavor, they can absolutely go way out there with Speculoos and Bailey’s Irish Creme.

Each pop is about 25 calories, so they’re a petite treat that should fit into most regular diets. They last a little longer than a traditional hard candy because it’s on a stick and is a bit more interactive. Dum-Dums are made in the USA in a facility free from major allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Christmas Nougats Mix
  2. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  3. Christmas Bars: Hershey’s, Niederegger, Ghirardelli & Hachez
  4. Krauterbonbons from Lubeck Christmas Market
  5. Trader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix
  6. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  7. Spangler Candy Canes

Name: Dum-Dums Holiday Pops
Brand: Spangler Candy
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.69
Size: 10.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Spangler Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Limited Edition, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:55 pm     CandyReviewChristmasSpangler CandyHard Candy & LollipopsLimited Edition6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (0)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dove Holiday Mint Cookie Promises

DSC_0093I have a soft spot for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. Mostly the soft spot is in my memory, because I don’t find the current day item meets my pickier standards. It shouldn’t be that hard to make a chocolate cookie with a minted chocolate coating.

So, if I can’t get my itch scratched with Thin Mints, perhaps I should turn it on its end and have something chocolate with cookies, instead of cookies with chocolate. Mars’ new Target-exclusive Promises for Christmas are just that: Dove Milk Chocolate Holiday Mint Cookie Promises.


The idea is simple, and certainly not original. They’re milk chocolate, lightly flavored with peppermint along with some crunched up chocolate cookie pieces.

The milk chocolate is fudgy and sweet, but definitely smoother than many other brands like Hershey’s and Nestle that are on the shelves at the moment. The little cookie bits are sandy and crunchy with a bitter note of charcoal and cocoa. Mostly they just sit in the crevices of my molars. The effect is a nice textural change from the smooth melt of the chocolate and a slight note of salt.

The ratio of chocolate to cookie is very good, definitely more chocolate, but they weren’t stingy with the cookie bits, they were in every bite. They were a little on the sweet side, which is really the profile of the Dove Milk Chocolate. Still, I’d love it if someone would do these in dark chocolate.

I hope Target brings these back next year and hopefully they’ll get wider distribution so everyone can enjoy them. But now I’d like someone to explain why I can’t have them all year, like the long gone Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint bar.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Girl Scout Cookie Bars - Thin Mints
  2. Christmas Bars: Hershey’s, Niederegger, Ghirardelli & Hachez
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
  5. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  6. Head to Head: Cookie Joys vs Cookies n Mint
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint

Name: Dove Milk Chocolate Holiday Mint Cookie Promises
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Candy, Review, Christmas, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Mints, 9-Yummy, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:38 pm     CandyReviewChristmasMarsChocolateCookieKosherMints9-YummyUnited StatesTargetComments (1)

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