Monday, July 30, 2012

Candy bar round up

Okay Yumsters, I have a backlog of candies that I need to review, so I'm just going to do them all in one big lump. Right here, right now. Settle in.

First up, we have Nutffles. I found these at the grocery store for .99 cents and they came in different varieties. (I tried the almond and hazelnut; there's a red velvet variety that looks a little more tempting.) I was so excited to find something new and totally different. Only they weren't that different. Turns out these are a clone of Ferrero Rocher. Same creamy center with a nut, same crunchy outside. I was hoping there would be something really snazzy about them, but they were just okay. I haven't seen them since I initially bought them about six months ago. Like I said, maybe the red velvet ones are more unique.

Next we have Jelly Belly Snapple jellybeans. Back in my taste-testing days, I used to sip all sorts of Snapple flavors. These jelly beans are pretty true to the taste of the drinks, in flavors of Fruit Punch, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango Madness, Cranberry Raspberry and Pink Lemonade. A box on the back of the package says, "We include real ingredients whenever possible to create our famous true-to-life flavors." Um, real ingredients as opposed to what? That's kind of scary. I still prefer the Sour Jelly Bellies to all the other flavors, but if you're a Snapple lover, you'd like these. 

Lindt has two new Excellence bars out: Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt and Coconut. I was initially surprised by the caramel. The picture on the box shows a square of chocolate with flowy caramel behind it, so I assumed this would be a liquid-center bar. However, the bar had crunchy bits of caramel and sea salt crystals in it. It was delicious, to be sure, but I think some people may be very surprised if they don't read the description first.

The coconut was delicious, as far as I can remember, because the Sugar Baby and Mr. Goodbar devoured most of it. You can't go wrong with dark chocolate and coconut ...
 ... except when it's in a 3 Musketeers. I saw the 3 Musketeers Coconut at a rest stop in Maine this past weekend, so I figured I'd try it, even though I've never had good luck with limited edition Musketeers in the past. This was no exception. To my taste buds, there are two types of coconut: fresh, tropical coconut and artificial, suntan lotion coconut. Unfortunately, this bar fell into the lotion category. It was overly sweet with that grainy, malty aftertaste of a regular 3 Musketeers, with "coconut flavor" thrown in. I'm not a fan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot chocolate

This heatwave we're experiencing is not exactly the best weather for chocolate (or me, for that matter). The kind folks at Alter Eco Foods contacted me a month or so ago and asked if I'd like to try their chocolate. I said yes, and they sent me a few bars. The full-on heatwave hadn't yet started when the bars arrived, so I was surprised when I opened them and found they had clearly reached a molten state at some point during their travels. I don't usually mind trying chocolate that's bloomed or melted, but these had suffered pretty badly. The foil wrapper had melted into the chocolate, so I didn't even try to sample them. When I told the company the sad news, they said they'd ship out another package, which they did. Guess what? It arrived on my doorstep on a 90 degree day. This time, though, I ran the package straight to the fridge with the hopes I could save it.
The good news is, I was able to salvage the chocolate bars. The better news is that it was fantastic. Usually a nibble or two of plain dark chocolate is satisfying enough, but this was so perfectly balanced that I kept wanting more. Even Mr. Goodbar said it was the best chocolate he'd had in a long, long time. I love the descriptions of the chocolate. The Dark Noir is "fruity and malty, smooth and rich with a firm snap, a strong bite and a hint of licorice." The Dark Velvet, with a "touch of milk," is "melty smooth, with a subtle flowery bouquet and honey finish." I love a good chocolate that has a nice snap to it, and I prefer my dark chocolate on the fruity, rather than bitter, side. These bars were so, so good. They have other flavors, including Dark Twist with crystallized orange peel and Dark Quinoa with nutty toasted quinoa. I've got to try those. The Dark Coconut Toffee was incredible. Little bits of crunchy toffee combined with real toasted coconut. Good stuff. They're available at different health food stores and Whole Foods.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Limited edition art from the Sugar Baby

Look what the Sugar Baby brought home from school one day. A candy masterpiece! Admittedly, I didn't know what it was until he told me, but now it seems so obvious. Up top, we have chocolate coins, a candy Lego piece, a stick of rock candy, a lollipop, a wax bottle filled with black syrup and those smiling people? Those are Air Heads. I'm so proud.

Girl Scout Cookies + Nestle Crunch

Remember the good old days when limited edition candy bars seemed to come out one after the other? That's certainly slowed down lately, so when Nestle announced it would be releasing candy bars with a Girl Scout cookie theme, people went crazy. I admit, I was one of them. I love Thin Mints. I love them so much that I don't buy them, because I can eat a whole sleeve in one sitting. I couldn't wait to try the Nestle candy bar version.
When I opened the package, the aroma was definitely similar to a box of Thin Mints. The bar is made up of wafers and chocolate and the top is sprinkled with crushed cookies. So how did it taste? It was good, but ... I found myself wishing that I just had the cookies, not the candy bar. The second one I tried is modeled after the Samoa, with coconut and caramel. This is my second favorite Girl Scout cookie. Again, I thought it was good but not great. The last one I tried was Peanut Butter Creme, an homage to the Tagalong. Strangely enough, I never really liked Tagalongs, but I liked this bar the best.
The bars are exciting in that they're something different for the summer, but overall, I'd rather have a plain Nestle Crunch and a box of cookies.