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Monday, January 12, 2015

Alter Eco Organic Black Truffles

Alter Eco Black TrufflesAlter Eco Organic Black Truffles were on sale before Christmas, so I picked up a box to put in the mix for Christmas stockings.

The box is very simple and reminiscent of the Lindt Lindor range of truffles. They’re quite similar in many ways. The back of the box notes that this is a classic redefined. Then it goes on to mention the filling is made with nourishing coconut oil. It’s no wonder then that I think these are the fattiest fat bombs I’ve ever reviewed, at 180 calories per ounce (note: I think the Ferrero Raffaello ended up at the same calculation in review, but newer packaging has it down to 170).

Ingredients: Cane sugar, cocoa beans, coconut oil, cocoa butter, whole milk, natural flavors, vanilla beans.

The ingredients are 97% fair trade (probably the milk ingredient is keeping it from 100%) and all organic (except for the natural flavors). The cacao is only 58%, which seemed a little paltry for something called black. There’s also milk in there, which is disappointing as well, since I thought maybe these were vegan. (The top of the box says “made with pure coconut oil” which I guess is just to distinguish it from Lindt’s Lindor line which uses palm kernel oil in addition to coconut.)

Alter Eco Black Truffles

There are a lot of little symbols on the back: fair trade certified, non-gmo, organic, gluten free and carbon neutral. There’s no soy in there, either, though the chocolates are made on shared equipment with soy, hazelnuts and almonds. They’re not kosher (though Lindt Lindor truffle range is.)

They look like Lindor, little chocolate spheres, with a small seam around the center where you can press carefully to separate the sides if you wish. Alter Eco has a little fluting on it. They’re glossy dark and smell quite rich.

DSC_8051rb

The Ecuadorian chocolate shell is dreamy smooth. There are lots of berry notes like dark cherries, blackberries and a little hint of coffee and tobacco. There’s an acidic finish to the shell, but it’s moderated by the filling if you eat them together. (I seemed to end up with more shell than filling at some point, either at the beginning or the end of each piece.)

The center is smooth and varies in texture depending on the temperature. It was quite cold in Los Angeles when I prepared this review, so the centers were very firm and almost fudgy to the bite. (My little candy studio was about 62 degrees.) At a more normal room temperature like 70, the center is like a whipped cream, quite soft to the bite but not flowing. The flavor is a thinned out version of the shell. The milk doesn’t do much, it’s mostly coconut which doesn’t provide any additional flavors here, except to keep the berry flavors muted.

These are very expensive, I think about $7 or $8 a box. I got mine on sale, and think that $5 is about as high as I’d go for a package, even though they’re fair trade and all that. The good news is that a couple of stores near me sell these individually, I think for 75 cents each. So, I don’t have to commit to a whole box, just a little fix now and then.

Related Candies

  1. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  2. Zotter Scotch Whisky
  3. Lindt Fioretto
  4. Cholive
  5. Moser Roth Chocolate
  6. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  7. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  8. Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles


Name: Organic Black Truffles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Alter Eco
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 180
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, 9-Yummy, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:17 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedOrganic9-YummyUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate SwirlFriday is good coffee day for me. All days are coffee days, but on Fridays I treat myself to a simple cappuccino in the morning when I get to the office. So, it’s only fitting that this week my Friday review is of a coffee flavored product: Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises.

I spotted them at CVS earlier this week, though it’s hard to believe I was able to tell that they were new. There’s no “new” flag in the corner of the package and the muted amber and brown doesn’t look that different from the burnt orange and brown of the peanut butter version.

It’s a very long ingredients list.

Ingredients: Semisweet Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial and natural flavors), Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Skim Milk, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, PGPR, Coloring (Yellow 5, Red 50, Blue 1), Natural and Artificial Flavors

I was sorry to see the use of artificial colors and PGPR in there. I think of Dove as trying to be premium, sometimes, but this wasn’t as promising as I’d hoped. I had this problem with too much coloring with the Mint Swirl as well. What was also missing from the back was the Rainforest Alliance logo, Dove has been working towards certified sustainable cacao for a while, and some packages feature the logo (I picked up the dark chocolate RA ones for Christmas stockings).

It’s been a long time coming: a coffee Dove chocolate. There were Tiramisu Dessert Promises seven or eight years ago, but they were caramel filled just had too much going on. Dove has a pretty good track record of putting an appealing coffee flavoring into chocolate, as I did like their Mocha Premium M&Ms and Cappuccino 3 Musketeers (why don’t they make a coffee Milky Way?).

Dove Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl

I don’t know what manufacturing magic creates the swirl of dark chocolate and the mocha latte in the Dove Promises, but it’s genius. Each piece is like work of art, like looking at beautifully polished redwood burls.

When it comes to how I like my coffee, I’m very close to black. For brewed coffee, a little dribble of half and half (enough to cover the bottom of the cup) is all I need to give the bitterness a creamy edge. For an espresso drink, I lean towards the flat white or a less milky cappuccino (basically, only crema and a touch of steamed milk). So, I’ve been looking for a chocolate coffee candy that simulates that - not a milk chocolate candy or a chocolate with whole bits of coffee beans in it.

The pieces smell sweet, but authentically like brewed coffee. The bite is pretty stiff, but the melt is smooth. The flavors are balanced, I catch plenty of robust chocolate notes to go with the woodsy coffee. There’s a hint of bitterness along with the sweet aftertaste of the milk.

Basically, these hit all the right elements for an ideal chocolate & coffee candy for me: not too sweet, lots of coffee flavor, touch of bitterness and a creamy mouthfeel. With those met, I consider this great. They’re expensive, at least at my CVS they were marked at $5.29 though I did get them on sale for $3.50 and they’re not Rainforest Alliance yet. Other than that, I find them spectacular. Your mileage may vary, depending on how you like your coffee and your coffee flavored candies.

Related Candies

  1. Tcho Mokaccino
  2. Ritter Sport Coffee and Hazelnuts (Winter Edition)
  3. Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites
  4. Dove Hazelnut Crisp Dark Chocolate Promises
  5. Dove 71% Cacao Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (Rainforest Alliance)
  6. Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Promises
  7. Meiji Corot & CoffeeBeat
  8. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
  9. Pocket Coffee


Name: Mocha Latte & Dark Chocolate Swirl Promises
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: CVS (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.50 (on sale - regular price was 5.29)
Size: 8.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, 9-Yummy, United States, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:43 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateCoffeeKosher9-YummyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (2)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar

DSC_7977rbCombining spirits with chocolate is pretty common. There’s a new genre, though, the combination of brewed drinks added to chocolate. I picked up the Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar at an after Christmas sale, when it was only $1.49 for the Ireland-made bar.

I’m not a beer drinker, as I don’t care for very bitter things, so Guinness has long been on my list of things that I don’t drink. Guinness is a dry stout introduced in Ireland in 1759. It’s quite dark and has a very distinctive look and long history.

Flowing caramel skilfully handcrafted in small batches, flavoured with GUINNESS and set in a creamy milk chocolate shell to create a unique bitter sweet chocolate experience.

So, as is the case with most alcohol-infused chocolates, the stout is mixed with the caramel, not the chocolate itself.

DSC_7984rb

The bar is nicely crafted. It’s a long bar, with domed segments. The indentations between the segments are pretty thin, so my bar was broken in several places, but along those margins. The good news is that the caramel does not enter those segment breaks, so it didn’t become an oozy mess.

It smells distinctly of beer and milk, which really isn’t a pleasant smell in itself, only by association with pleasant experience with actual beer products. The yeasty notes reminded me more of bread, which is a nice combination with chocolate. The milk chocolate is quite sweet, though smooth and a bit on the fudgy side. The caramel filling dominated the flavors, though.

There’s not a lot of caramel in there, but certainly flavorful stuff. It’s the flowing kind, with bready, malty flavors and a definite bitter hop note that wasn’t too distracting. There’s a smidge of salt, but not a lot of toffee or toasted sugar.

I’m curious to try their Guinness Fudge, if it’s done with a lot of butter, because I think the yeasty flavors might go well. I’ll pass on the beer, caramel and chocolate here, though. It’s just too sweet, which is exactly what I wouldn’t want with beer.

Related Candies

  1. Jelly Belly Draft Beer Beans
  2. Meiji Dark Rum Chocolate Sticks
  3. Michael Mischer Kentucky Bourbon Whisky Truffles
  4. La Higuera Rabitos Royale (Chocolate Truffle Filled Figs)
  5. Doulton Liqueur Chocolates (Cointreau & Teacher’s)
  6. Bouquet of Fruits Vinyeard - Wine Filled Chocolates


Name: Guinness Luxury Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Lir Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Park La Brea)
Price: $1.49 (on clearance)
Size: 3.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, Ireland, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:48 pm     CandyReviewAlcoholCaramelChocolate7-Worth ItIrelandCost PlusComments (2)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 5 -  2014 in Review

Episode_5_Header

In Episode 5 of Candyology 101, Maria and I look back at the good and bad from 2014 (it’s mostly good).


You can also download the MP3 file, subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Check out all the links & show notes on the Candyology 101 website.

 

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:00 am     CandyHighlightFun StuffRadio InterviewsComments (2)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nestle Damak Pistachio

DSC_7955rbI found this curious little Nestle bar at Ralph’s grocery store tucked in with the Christmas merchandise last month. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I wanted to know more.

So, I bought the Nestle Damak bar, without even knowing how much it was ($3.99, I find out).

It’s square, its made in Turkey. It’s just milk chocolate with pistachios. I figured I’ve probably spent most of my life eating California pistachios, it’s nice to find a bar that actually lists the sourcing of their pistachios ... would they taste different?

Taking its name from the Turkish word for taste, NESTLÉ® Damak™ /dih-mok/ features a unique combination of creamy chocolate and world-renowned Turkish pistachios. Backed by an over-80-year heritage, this beloved indulgence derives its deliciously distinct taste from Turkey’s time-honored craft of cultivating the world’s most savory and intensely flavored pistachios. Each piece is packed with whole pistachios from the revered Gaziantep region, surrounded by silky smooth chocolate.

Nestle Damak

The bar is similar to a Ritter Sport in shape and format. It’s just shy of 3 ounces. The bar is wrapped in foil and that is wrapped in the paper label. Inside, it was glossy and quite fresh, divided into 15 pieces sporting the Nestle logo.

DSC_7962rb

The bar smells nice, sweet and milky but with a little grassy note which I’m guessing is the pistachios. There’s no fake pistachio flavor to it. The ingredients are good, plenty of sugar, pistachios and cocoa butter (actually listed in that order). They use sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.

The milk chocolate is so different from normal Nestle milk chocolate, it’s hard to believe it’s the same company. The flavor is authentically dairy, rich and with a toasted note to it. The melt is exceptionally smooth. The pistachios are crisp and buttery, with a crunch that’s almost like a macadamia nut but with a sort of green tea freshness to it. There’s a hint of salt. Though sugar was listed first, it’s not that sweet.

I ate the whole bar, and I’d try the Turkish Nestle items again if the opportunity presented itself. I’d also seek out some Turkish pistachios too, they were exceptional.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Kisses with Macadamia Nuts
  2. Nestle Crunch Noisettes
  3. Ritter Sport 100th Anniversary Edel-Nuss Mix + Bonus Previews
  4. Nestle Milo Bar
  5. An Easter Dash - Reviews in Short
  6. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  7. Askinosie White Chocolate (Plain, Nibble & Pistachio)
  8. Nougat de Montelimar


Name: Damak
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Miracle Mile)
Price: $3.99
Size: 2.82 ounces
Calories per ounce: 156
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Nuts, 8-Tasty, Turkey, Ralph's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:05 pm     CandyReviewNestleChocolateNuts8-TastyTurkeyRalph'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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