30 November 2009

Russell Stover Private Reserve: Vanilla Bean Brulee

right off the bat let me say that this picture is stolen. but i just had a crappy looking candy bar and this picture was already on the internet, so i am using it. if you have a problem, shut up. so, this is part of the Russell Stover Private Reserve line, which includes such flavors as triple chocolate mousse and mocha ganache. there are also the Private Reserve Origin Select bars made of 60% cacao dark chocolate from different countries. when it comes to filled chocolates, vanilla is definitely my last choice, however i had no choices except this because i took it off of someone's desk. yes, i stole candy so that i could review it, and then i stole the picture of the stolen candy. this is a multiple misdemeanor review. so, upon first encounter with the chocolate itself, i am not very impressed, nor am i disgusted. this bar was probably not the freshest, the chocolate had started to bloom, but it also got smashed a little and maybe melted. i don't treat my stolen goods right, they aren't mine anyway. the 70% cacao dark chocolate tasted more like milk chocolate to me, but that could have been the vanilla mingling with it, it was definitely sweeter than i was expecting. the cream itself was pretty good, it wasn't too runny or too crumbly, very milky. i would probably like these in some of the other flavors, but vanilla just isn't my bag.

rating: 5

Panda Licorice Cremes

i have a beef with these candies, a big beef. as you can see from the package, this bag contains little licorice bits filled with three different flavors of cream: banana, caramel and strawberry. they have them all on there, with their little pictures that show which flavor corresponds to which color. the beef i have (and it is a big one) is that when you open up the bag, all of the pieces look way too similar to tell them apart (which you may or may not be able to tell from my crappy picture). now, there is one which is distinctly pinker than the others, which i assume to be the strawberry, but the rest of them look identical, at least to my inferior eyes. so i figured, "i'll just pop one in my mouth and i can tell the difference, banana and caramel are very different flavors, you know." and here is the beef, part two: there is no flavor, save that of sub-par licorice. i realize that licorice can be an overwhelming flavor, but this licorice is not even that strong. certainly not strong enough to drown out a well-made banana creme. the ingredients list molasses, beetroot concentrate, and licorice extract, but i think most of what i'm tasting is from the molasses. yes, this is an "all natural" snack, but i don't see why that means it has to taste like crap. i mean, "all natural" doesn't mean "all cardboard," does it? or does it? perhaps it does.

so i have never tried any other Panda licorice, they also make just plain black or red licorice bites. i've always been so excited for the brand, what with the panda and the black licorice (which i do admit to being a fan of), but this particular candy is not doing it for me. i prefer a more licorice-y taste, something in the Good & Plenty vein, and i definitely would have preferred to taste the other flavors. sorry Panda, you have not wooed me.

rating: 2

21 November 2009

Dagoba Organic Chocolates: lavender blueberry, chai, hazelnut

we carry these Dagoba Organic Chocolate bars at work. they come in a lot of interesting flavors that i just noticed the other day, so i thought, "why not start my magnificent candy reviewing career off right? $2.69 organic chocolate bars it is." then after i bought them i thought, "wow, i wish i still had $8." but when i got home and tried them i thought, "these are great! but i still could use $8." i picked the three that seemed most appealing to me:

lavender blueberry dark chocolate (purple) - this one is really good. i'm a big fan of lavender in chocolate and other sweets (cupcakes!) and this was the right amount - not too overwhelming. the blueberry is a great companion flavor, plus there are actual dried blueberries in the chocolate, which makes for a great texture.

rating: 7

chai milk chocolate (blue) - the front lists this bar as containing crystallized ginger and chai essence. i definitely taste the ginger, which i was worried about because normally i hate ginger, but i've come to realize that i can tolerate it when it's combined with chocolate. i might even go so far as to say that i enjoy it in chocolate. there's also a hint of clove in here, i assume that comes from the chai, and the chocolate has a little grittiness to it, which i think comes from the cloves. i like it.

rating: 8

hazelnut milk chocolate (yellow) - i was slightly disappointed with this one, mainly because i expected it to be my favorite. i love hazelnuts, and these hazelnuts are toasted, which is even better. plus there are rice crisps in here. it should be delicious, but there were definitely not enough rice crisps, as i didn't even really experience a crunch. i feel that if there are rice crisps involved the crunch factor should be at least a 6, not to mention nuts which should bump it up to 7. this bar weighed in at a lowly 2 on the crunch factor scale. i think the chai might have had more crunch. also, there really isn't much of a hazelnut taste at all, very subtle compared to the flavors in the other two. i don't know, maybe i'm too picky but i have yet to find a hazelnut chocolate that really excites me. and still i get my hopes up every time. sigh.

rating: 3

so, that's what i have to say about that. although i thought they were a little spendy, when i think about it, it's a pretty big bar and it's organic, and it's really good, so i think it's worth it as a treat. also it's named after that planet in star wars (i am aware that the planet is spelled with an "h" at the end, and i am also aware that it's not named after that planet, but i still like to think of it as such) i'm definitely going to get more of these, and when i do you'll be the first to know.