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Monday, December 10, 2007

Candy Blog nominated for Food Blog Award!

ChocotelegramHere’s some good news! Candy Blog is one of the finalists for the Food Blog Awards in the Theme category.

I’m up against some pretty serious food blogs: Eat Local Challenge, Fat Free Vegan, Lunch in a Box & Meathenge.

Go vote! (Deadline is Friday, December 14th.)

Check out all the categories, you might find some fun new reads. (Rosa at ZOMG Candy was also nominated for best new blog!)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:59 am     CandyFeatured News

Menu for Hope - Win a $100 Chuao Gift Certificate

Menu for Hope is a fundraiser for the UN World Food Programme. The Menu for Hope III raised almost $63,000 for the WFP. I’d love to see MFH4 top $100K - it shouldn’t be hard, there are dozens of wonderful prizes.

I’m donating a gift certificate for Chuao Chocolatier worth $100. This prize can be yours if you win the prize drawing for item UW26. The raffle tickets are $10 each, you can buy as many as you like and select how many go for which prize. There are many other fine prizes as well, please see the master list on Chez Pim, the host of this program and the West Coast prize list on Rasa Malaysia. (Here’s a roundup of the candy-related ones.)

imageThe traditional techniques of European chocolatiers combine with pure Venezuelan chocolate and infusions of fresh ingredients and flavors in Chuao Chocolatier’s collection. Choose from a huge array of items in their webstore including their hot chocolate mixes, fine bonbons, chocolate bars and highly portable ChocoPods. There’s something there for every kind of chocolate lover: those who love the comfort of creamy milk chocolate caramels, those who crave the heat of spicy caramelized cacao nibs and even those adventurers who might want to go for a chevre, pear and black peppercorn bonbon.

The winner can chose a certificate good in the retail stores or on the website (it will not be good in both places).

Chuao Chocolatier is based in Encinitas, California.

If you would like to bid on this item use code UW26.

If you’re not interested in bidding, well, here’s a review of some items I picked up over the weekend:

Chuao Coco Nibs SnackEveryone seems to have a cacao nib product these days. Chuao’s is quite different. Their Coco Nib Snack may not even be considered candy, it might be a nut product. They start with small nib pieces, caramelize them with a little bit of sugar and toss them with a smidge of salt and chipotle & pasilla chilis. They look kind of like burnt Grape Nuts cereal.

It has a nice toasty flavor, not really spicy and not even that sweet. It does have some coffee and malt tones along with other dark chocolate and charcoal notes. This is nice to put in a little shot glass and tip into your mouth for a snack and would probably go well on ice cream, tossed in salads or maybe in a stuffing.

Chuao Orange SticksI love the combination of orange and chocolate. I especially enjoy it when the combination includes real orange peel. There’s something wonderfully essential yet complex when using whole ingredients.

These Dark Chocolate Orangettes are made with candied orange sticks dipped in chocolate. The orange is a bit sweet, but nice and soft. It’s not at all grainy either, so it’s smooth with a strong orange essence.

Chuao GingerettesGinger is one of those great crossover roots. It works great with savory food because it has such a great earthy spiciness. But it also works as a sweet base for all sorts of candies.

Candied ginger is a wonderful way to experience ginger. It’s so simple and uncomplicated. Candied ginger can come in a few different formats. Medallions (slices), cubes, julienne slices and even planks.

In the case of Chuao’s Gingerettes, they use little medallions, about the size of a quarter. They’re candied until just a the “jellied” stage and don’t have any of that crystallized sugar coating on them. So it’s all smooth. Then they’re dipped in dark chocolate.

Chuao Chocolate Ginger MedallionsThe unique selling proposition here is that in addition to the spicy ginger, these have a light dusting of chili powder. It’s not a really strong cayenne, just a light spicy burn that goes well with the other light spicy burn that is ginger.

These are nice to simply eat or serve on the side of a piece of apple pie or perhaps some ice cream.

Previous Chuao Reviews: Chuao Chocolatier’s BonBon Selection, Chuao ChocoPods, Chuao Filled ChocoPod Collection.

So now that you’re drooling you want to buy a raffle ticket or two, right?

Donation Instructions:

  • Choose a prize or prizes from the complete prize list on Chez Pim before December 21st.

  • Go to the donation site at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope4 and make a donation.

  • Specify the prize they would like to bid for in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form. Each $10 donate will get one raffle ticket toward a prize.  For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UW01 and 3 tickets for UW33. Please write 2xUW01, 3xUW33. Be sure to check the box that allows them to see your email address so they can contact you if you’ve won.
  • The results will be published on Chez Pim on Wednesday Jaunary 9th.

    For more see Chez Pim for the complete instructions.

    Don’t have any money to spare but want to help people?

    1. Try FreeRice.com, a little vocabulary game where the ad dollars earned when you play go to feed some of the hungriest people in the world.

    2. Use GoodSearch.com and/or GoodShop to benefit your favorite charity.

    1/11/2008 UPDATE: The winner of the raffle drawing was Melissa Wong! Congratulations!

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:07 am     CandyChocolatierReviewChuao ChocolatierChocolateGingerNibs8-TastyUnited States

    Friday, December 7, 2007

    Jo’s Peppermint Crunch

    Jo's Peppermint CrunchYou know what’s great about the Holiday season? Hostess gifts. People come to my house and for no reason I can tell other than crossing the threshold they feel like they have to give me something. And the gift most often in their hands is some sort of sweet goody.

    I should just leave the door unlocked from November on!

    My brother-and-sister-in-law brought some wonderful New Mexico goodies for my husband (posole & green chiles) but I got some Jo’s Candies Peppermint Crunch. The box makes it look like a pretty simple confection: dark chocolate over crunched up peppermint candies.

    Jo's Peppermint Crunch

    Oh, they’re so much more than just chocolate and crushed candy canes. I was worried that the center would just be a mint honeycomb (not that it would be bad that way). Instead The center is a mix of white chocolate/confection with crushed hard candy mints then covered in a dark chocolate.

    This makes the center easy to bite but still satisfyingly crunchy, not overwhelmingly minty or tacky/sticky to chew.

    They’re also all natural and Kosher. That means that even the little crunchy candies don’t have that dreadful Red #40, instead they use Red Beet Juice. Jo’s Candies are kind of pricey but quality ingredients, good packaging and freshness costs money. I’m deeply curious about their Dark Chocolate Turtles and the Mint Coco Jo’s that sound like a much better Girl Scout Cookie.

    The little squares a dang pretty, glossy and dashed with little dark chocolate squiggles. The dark chocolate coating is pretty thick on the top, thicker usually than the photo above shows. So the proportions are pretty equal.

    I think they were intended as a gift for me and my husband, but I don’t see myself eating his green chiles, so I’m pretty comfortable eating the whole box on my own to keep things equal in the relationship.

    Related Candies

    1. Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch
    2. Recipe: Peppermint Stick Layer Cake
    3. Chocolate Filled Candy Canes
    4. Green and Black’s White Chocolate
    Name: Peppermint Crunch (Dark Chocolate)
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Jo's Candies
    Place Purchased: gift (but available from Whole Foods & online)
    Price: $11.00 retail
    Size: 6 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 140
    Categories: Chocolate, Mint, White Chocolate, United States, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:12 am    

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    Hershey’s with Crisp Corn Bits

    Hershey's with Crisp Corn BitsI keep seeing this bar, but only in its jumbo form shown here. It clocks in at 4.5 ounces, no mere chocolate bar, this is a plank. Like the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Filled with Creamy Peanut Butter that’s also found in this size, I was hoping I’d run across a King Size or perhaps single serve size at some point. It’s like it barely exists. It’s never shown up on the Hershey’s official Hershey’s Milk Chocolate page.

    But it’s clear it exists, not only because I have photos, but also independent corroboration from Nicole at Baking Bites with her review. For a while I saw the bar at the Dollar Tree so I though there must be something wrong with it, maybe it was old, maybe it was an import. But when I saw it at Ralph’s and flipped over the package to see that it expired in September 2008, it was made in the United States and it was on sale for a dollar, I figured it was time to give it a try.

    Hershey's with Crisp Corn Bits

    It’s a lovely looking bar. It looks like a Hershey bar, a light caramely brown with 16 segments each with the Hershey’s name on them. It smells like, well, a Hershey bar. A little sweet, a little tangy. That Hershey’s tang isn’t quite as noticeable when you eat it though. What’s noticeable is a mellow malty note from the actual corn flake bits in there. They’re pretty dense and solidly crunchy. The malty corn flake flavors develop more as the chocolate dissolves away. I could use more corn flakes.

    It’s in no way as good as the Ritter Sport Knusperflakes bar, but I ate the whole thing ... all 4.5 ounces of it (I got it on Sunday) so it has to be pretty good.

    It’s a nice combo. It’s a terrible name for a candy bar though. I think they should have just called it an extension of the Krackel line and called it Corn Krackel. Or maybe Mr. Cornbar.

    Thanks to Patti for being the first to alert me to this possible domestic contender for Ritter Sport Knusperflake’s place in my heart.

    Related Candies

    1. Peeps Monster Mash Ups
    2. Milk Maid Caramel Candy Corn
    3. Paskesz Klik
    4. Ritter Sport Assortment
    Name: Hershey's with Crisp Corn Bits
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hershey's
    Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
    Price: $1.00
    Size: 4.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 141
    Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:24 am    

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Whoppers Sno-Balls

    Whoppers Sno-BallsSometimes I really want some malted milk balls. I’ve never liked Whoppers much though, the mockolate coating simply ruins it for me. On the other hand, their Robin’s Eggs at Easter are pretty good. The mockolate layer is minimized by being far thinner, covered in a hard candy shell and of course a larger center for more malt.

    Those sorts of candy coated malted milk balls used to be limited to Easter availability, but like many other items that are becoming more common for the Christmas holiday season (Cadbury Mini Eggs & Creme Eggs), Whoppers has their Sno-Balls.

    Whoppers Sno-BallsThese were freakishly cheap, on sale for $2.00 for a 17 ounce bag, so I really am in no position to complain about anything about them.

    But I will.

    First, on the package there’s a penguin in front of an igloo. There’s also a polar bear and walrus ... which is fine, they’re arctic animals. The penguin, however, is a southern hemisphere animal. Why not just put a lion on there or a kangaroo?

    Second, mockolate. Why, oh why, can’t Hershey’s put some real chocolate on here? It’s not even that much of a chocolatey coating here. The good thing, though, is that the Sno-Balls have less fat in them than regular Whoppers. A 41 gram serving of Whoppers has 7 grams of fat ... all of them saturated. The Sno-Balls have 5 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of them are saturated. Okay, still not great, especially when it’s coming from Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil. (Honestly, I can’t figure out how they both have the same 180 calories per serving though with 30% less fat in the Sno-Balls. Fat is twice as caloric as carbs or protein ... maybe there’s more fiber in regular Whoppers?)

    But all that ranting aside, these are quite cute. The white spheres are speckled to various degrees with red and green. The crackly candy shell has a thin layer of mockolate below it. Both have a soft, cool effect on the tongue. The malt center is dense and crispy. It doesn’t have a huge malt or salt punch like some others, but a nice texture that melts in the mouth well.

    I’d love it if they were a little bigger so I’d get more of the malt proportion I crave. What’s particularly nice about these over the Robin’s Eggs is that there’s less artificial coloring. I never cared for the pink Robin’s Eggs because they taste bitter to me. In this assortment there is no bad egg.

    I’ve been eating them for a couple of days, and as long as I don’t think about how much I’d like them to be Chocolate Covered Malted Milk Balls, well, we’re getting along fine.

    Related Candies

    1. Brach’s Fiesta Eggs
    2. Naked Chocolate Maltballs
    3. Mighty Malts
    4. Jelly Belly Chocolate Malt Balls
    5. Mars Maltesers
    6. Whoppers Twosomes
    Name: Whoppers Sno-Balls
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Hershey's
    Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
    Price: $2.00 on sale
    Size: 17 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 124
    Categories: Mockolate, Malt, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:40 am    

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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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