31 January 2010

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Orange

as i'm sure i've mentioned before, i'm a big fan of the chocolate/orange combination. and i have always loved the chocolate oranges for whatever reason - they're fun to smash, they taste delicious, and really, there's a lot of chocolate in those giant oranges. i mean jeezer, it's a solid ball of chocolate and it weighs over 6 oz., that's almost half a pound! i used to love getting Terry's Oranges at big lots (only 99 cents, what?!), and they were definitely my first foray into the world of flavored chocolate that didn't taste like fruity butts. so really, what i'm saying is that chocolate oranges are what made me love orange-flavored chocolate. for some reason i haven't thought about chocolate oranges in awhile, but when i saw this at Trader Joe's, it brought back fond memories of whacking and unwrapping. while some other brands have many different flavors of oranges, i only saw these available in dark or milk chocolate, so i went for the dark (of course). the packaging is nearly identical to the Florida Tropics orange; even the individual slices have the same (or extremely similar) imprints on them.

there's no clever saying on these, just a seal keeping the orange foil closed that says something unimaginative that i can't even remember. the thing that can be annoying about chocolate oranges is that they don't always have a clean break. i haven't really paid enough attention to know if the cleanness varies according to brand, but this one definitely did not break very easily, or evenly. there is a nice, mild citrus scent when you open it. the chocolate itself is pretty good but it had a slight waxiness to it, which is a little disconcerting; the orange flavor is apparent but not overpowering. as i said before, it's been awhile since i've eaten one, but i remember them being much better, which leads me to believe that this is not as good as the others i've tried. in order to prove that, i will be getting some of the other brands and reviewing them shortly. until then...

rating: 5

30 January 2010

McKeever & Danlee Mango & Kiwi Drops

what to say, what to say. quite simply, i am in love with these drops. the flavor is incredible and i love the tins they come in. so, they come covered in some white powder, which i assume is just confectioners' sugar; i'm not really sure what the point of that is, whether it's purely for show and/or flavor or if there's some packaging or shelf-life concern. either way, it doesn't really affect the taste or texture, since the powder dissolves immediately in your mouth. these drops contain only natural flavors and taste remarkably like their respective fruits. while they are pretty sweet, they have a tartness to them that balances it out well. these are available in several different flavors; i chose this one because the combination of mango and kiwi was just too good to pass up but i'll be getting more as soon as this tin is gone (which might be awhile, there are quite a few pieces in there).

rating: 10

Droste Milk/Bittersweet Pastilles

finally, some decent chocolate. i don't mean to get down on all of the crappy chocolate companies out there, but come on. there really is nothing i don't like about these little morsels; the packaging is fresh (as in innovative, not overly forward), they're pretty inexpensive for the amount of candy you get, and they're delicious to boot. oddly enough i obtained these at the asian market, although they are clearly produced in europe. inside the octagonal package the pieces are stacked and sheathed in a foil tube. each candy is a little larger than a quarter and about an 1/8" thick, half milk chocolate and half bittersweet chocolate. the chocolate itself is smooth and creamy, and the two types blend together effortlessly to create a milky-but-not-too-sweet concoction. i also tried each half separately - because i had to - and they both stand alone equally well. while generally i prefer a bittersweet or dark chocolate over the milk variety, this is quality chocolate without the milky aftertaste, chalky texture or sour flavor we've all come to expect in milk chocolate. Droste does offer these pastilles in a variety of flavors, though i've only tried these and the orange ones (also delicious). this is some quality chocolate folks, check out their site to see how they produce their chocolate. mm...mm...informative!

rating: 9

28 January 2010

Dagoba Seeds

another organic bar from Dagoba. this time around it's seeds: hemp, pumpkin and sunflower in dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt. the first thing i noticed here was the earthiness of the bar - the combination of seeds with sea salt complements the bitterness of the dark chocolate very well. the salt taste is very mild, coming in near the end, almost as an afterthought. the seeds don't add as much of a crunch as i had hoped, but they do add something to the texture (i always prefer a textured chocolate to a smooth). the dark chocolate itself is quite good, Dagoba just makes a good chocolate - smooth and creamy. these bars always take me awhile to finish, they're pretty hefty and super-rich, plus the flavors and ingredients are usually not things that i'm always craving but when i do have a hankerin' for some gourmet chocolate, Dagoba is at the top of my list.

rating: 6

Milky Way Simply Caramel

when i saw this bar reviewed on Candy Blog i immediately began searching for it everywhere i went. luckily it didn't take long to find (maybe three days? i didn't say i was searching frantically, just searching). i was excited to see what kind of caramel we're talking about here, would it be like a Caramello, or closer to a caramel bite? i got my answer:

it's actually kind of a cross between the two. the caramel is richer and smoother than a plain old caramel bite, but it's not the gooey, oozing caramel that's inside the Caramello. it has a buttery flavor, not too intense but not muted or bland, and not too sugary-sweet. at first glance it seems a bit intense with so much caramel, but the ratio of chocolate to caramel is pretty good and i don't really miss the nougat at all. i usually prefer a denser nougat than Milky Way has anyways. in general i've preferred the special Milky Way varieties to the original, and the Simply Caramel bar is no exception (although i still like the Midnight better).

rating: 7

ingredients: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or palm oil, skim milk, less than 2% - milkfat, cocoa powder processed with alkali, malted barley, lactose, salt, egg whites, artificial flavor

Meiji Gummy Choco - Apple

let me apologize immediately for the sadness of this picture. the tube is just too long. in its defense, it is one of the best candy packaging inventions ever. i buy this candy specifically because of the package (although it is a little steep for me - almost $5 at the asian market). the little *pop* it makes each time you open it, the fact that its resealable, and the high reusability factor. it doesn't hurt that the candy inside is delicious as well. while not identical, the picture on the package is a fairly good depiction of the inside: a jelly-gummy center surrounded by a thin layer of yogurt and chocolate coating. the gummi here is less like gummi bears and more akin to gumdrops, texture-wise. the apple flavor is vivid; not completely authentic, nor is it cloyingly sweet or phony. the only issue i have here is the yogurt coating, and even that is a seasonal issue: i find that during the cooler months when i have these the yogurt coating seems to be more crumbly, while in the summertime (or whenever i can keep them warmer than my cold house) it is much more smooth and creamy. i definitely prefer it to be smooth, the taste blends better with the chocolate coating, when it is completely separate it tastes too milky or powdery. i've enjoyed these in all the flavors i've had, with the exception of muscat, which i am not too fond of in general.

rating: 8

27 January 2010

South Korea Candy Part 2

ok, it's been a little longer than i had planned for the second batch of the south korea candy, but here it is.

Mentos Fuji Apple

let's start things off right this time: this is the most amazing piece of candy i have ever eaten. well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but after all of the disappointing chocolate/wafer candies, this was like a breath of fresh fuji apple air. i've always been a fan of Mentos, but really just the fruity ones, not so much the mint. and of course i've always wished there were more flavors available, so thank you Mentos god, for hearing my prayers and choosing to answer them with these delightful little chews. they have a spectacularly realistic flavor, not too sugary-sweet or phony, and much more subtle than i had expected. i have to say that i hadn't really thought about Mentos in awhile, but now that i've been made aware of the many flavors available in other countries, i'll be on the lookout for the original licorice and all the other flavors i can get my hands on.

rating: 10

Hi-Chew Strawberry

hooray for Hi-Chew! i don't really think i have to say much more than that. these strawberry chews are unexpectedly great. not that i don't like strawberry, but more often than not it is too sweet, too fake, or too generic. not so with the always-authentic Hi-Chew, these taste like you're biting into a sweet, juicy strawberry. delicious!

rating: 9

Hi-Chew Grape

i knew that my obsession with Hi-Chew would have to end sometime, and i thought that this grape was going to be it. i hate grape candy. it never tastes like a real grape, it tastes like a sugary, purple piece of crap. i can't even place what the flavor is, it's just some concentrated grape juice with all the grape taken out of it. occasionally one will come across a grape candy that does actually taste like grape, but in these rare instances the grape is almost too real, to the point of being forced and, therefore, fake. but here, again, Hi-Chew has exceeded all expectations. these chewies taste like a nice refreshing sip of grape juice (not from concentrate, mind you). while i still don't think that grape juice necessarily tastes like real grapes, i much prefer the taste of it to that of grape-crap-flavored candy. hence my rating of this grape candy as so-so, and not revolting.

rating: 5

Crown MyChew Strawberry

what is up with this Crown company? it's like they've taken all the good candies that exist, made sub-par replicas, and then given them names that are similar enough that people might mistake them for the name brand and buy it on accident. KicKer, KitKat? Hi-Chews, MyChews? they're either complete morons or absolute geniuses, i really can't decide. either way, they've definitely stepped it up from the KicKer here. honestly, i almost couldn't tell the difference between these and the actual strawberry Hi-Chews in a blind taste test. i say almost because there was a slightly waxy aftertaste here that i never notice with Hi-Chews. still, that isn't enough to deter me from trying more of these if i ever find them. i don't know what the average candy price is in south korea, but if these were any cheaper than Hi-Chews, i would definitely grab them more often.

rating: 8

Crown Minishell

i'm not really sure exactly what this is supposed to be. we're taking a step back here into choco-land, and yes, it is the greasy, tasteless concoction we have come to recognize. these are really cute, but they just don't do it for me. the inside is where this candy has me confounded.

it is, i believe, some kind of strawberry creme, but it's hard and crumbly, so it doesn't really seem to be logical to call it a creme. you can see how firm and almost brittle it is. it reminds me a bit of an Aero bar. i call it strawberry because it is pink, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it has a strawberry flavor. or any flavor at all for that matter. i tried this one twice, thinking that maybe i was missing out on the subtleties of it, but it tasted just as dull the second time.

rating: 3

Chocotec Strawberry

another strange confection from the mysterious Chocotec. i didn't take a picture of the actual candy here, because, sadly, this one does not look like boobs. it does have a nice saying on it, though it's not as friendly as the hazelnut version: "A strawberry is a small red fruit which is soft and juicy and has tiny yellow seeds on its skin." still a nice description. at least this one actually tastes like strawberry. what we have here is basically a glob of strawberry yogurt-y stuff with actual bits of strawberry inside. it's not very good. the yogurt part is waxy and has a very milky taste; the strawberries just seem more like seeds, kind of a nuisance. i don't think i like Chocotec and its no-name candies, even if they do have nice greeting card messages and informative fruit descriptions on the packages.

rating: 3

19 January 2010

Wildly Cherry M&M's

b.paul says "these taste like cough syrup, don't like em, blah." i say, "these taste like red flavor, and m&m's, blah."

actually, i don't really remember what these tasted like, but what i imagine they taste like is cherry skittles with chocolate inside instead of fruity chew. although i don't dislike that idea, i probably won't be running out to buy more. they can't compete with the dark chocolate peanut M&M's or the peanut butter, but i'd give these a better rating than coconut M&M's any day (even though i haven't tried coconut M&M's, i just know i won't like them). they're a little bigger than regular M&M's, not quite as big as the peanut, and way smaller than the almond (what was up with those? they were enormous. like those shrek ogre M&M's, they were big too). overall, not the worst. i do think that i like the strawberried peanut butter version a bit more.

rating: 5

17 January 2010

South Korea Candy Part 1

thanks to my good friend ptwnbrwn i've had the pleasure of sampling a slew of candies from south korea. i've been slacking lately on photographing but i finally got caught up, so i'm going to cover it all in two or three posts.

Delfi Top

at the risk of starting this post off on the wrong foot, this was my least favorite by far. the package says it has milk chocolate, caramel, rice crispies, wafer, and cream. based on that list and the way it looks i was expecting something like a Star Crunch cookie mixed with a wafer. really it's more like a flavorless Rice Krispie treat covered in greasy, bland chocolate. it's so bland. i can't stop thinking about it. the texture is rather disappointing as well, not crunchy enough, kind of mushy. like when you let wafers sit out for too long and they get kind of sponge-y. the crispies add a tiny bit of crunch, but not enough to appease me. there's some sticky goo on top, which i assume to be the caramel, but i really can't taste it. as for the "milk chocolate," i'm a bit skeptical that it's really chocolate. again, no flavor. the more i try it, the less gross it is, but it's just so bland that i have a hard time recommending it to anyone. Delfi also has a strawberry version, but i'm not sure it would be any better.

rating: 2

Chocotec Hazelnuts

first of all, let me say that i already like these without even tasting them, because they look like boobs. yes, boobs. breasts. that is hilarious. i'm not actually sure about the brand on this chocolate; the package only says Hazelnuts. there is a website on the back for Chocotec, but the site is in korean, so i can only assume that they are the distributors of this candy. although this one was a step up from the Top, it seems like several of the candies i received might have been a little old, or maybe that's just the way the chocolate is in korea. at any rate it was kind of greasy, a little chalky, and pretty crumbly. the flavor wasn't bad but when i bit into the first half i was disappointed that there were no actual hazelnuts. my piece doesn't look much like theirs on the package:

luckily when i ate the other half i crunched into a hazelnut. and it was good. i do think there should have been more hazelnut in it, but as a whole the candy wasn't bad. also i feel i should point out the packaging, it says "I send you this as my appreciation to your kindness. From the bottom of my heart." sweet. keep an eye out for a review of the Chocotec Strawberry, coming soon.

rating: 4

Arcor Bon O Bon Chocolate

this was interesting. i was excited about it, since it is wafers and chocolate cream, but what was interesting is that from the second that i opened it, it smelled like peanut butter. Arcor does makes a peanut butter Bon O Bon, but this is supposed to be the chocolate version. there's no mention of peanut butter anywhere on the packaging. the outer chocolate coating here is sort of waxy, but the wafer is pretty good - thin, light and flaky. the chocolate cream filling is where it really gets crazy. that's definitely where the peanut butter is coming into play. i can't say for sure because, again, the package is all in korean, but i'd bet my legos that there are some peanuts in here. the cream itself is very thick and pasty; it almost has a peanut buttery consistency. so far this is my favorite of the wafer-esque candies in this batch. while scouring the internets for info on Bon O Bons i came across a cute commercial from argentina:

rating: 6

Lotte ChocoWafer

more greasy chocolate, the same coating that Lotte puts on the ChocoPies, which i will snack on once in awhile. yet again i'm wondering whether we're dealing with mockolate here. i do love the packages from asia, but sometimes it gets frustrating when you can't read the ingredients. this wafer is rather bland and lifeless. i wish i could say something nice about it, because generally i enjoy all wafers, no matter what. so, in that respect i do enjoy this, but really it's just kind of boring. the wafers are crunchy, not chewy as in the Top, but that's probably the ChocoWafer's only saving grace. i'm glad i got to try it, but i probably won't go looking for more.

rating: 3

Crown KicKer

obviously my initial thought is that this is just like a KitKat. in fact, i thought that it was a KitKat, but that maybe in korea they call it KicKer. then i saw the Crown logo (not to be confused with the american Crown Candy), so i knew it wasn't the real thing. as far as taste it's pretty spot on. the chocolate coating is smooth, not the greasy stuff mentioned previously, the wafers are crunchy and flaky. overall it's an excellent wafer. i don't think it has as many layers as a KitKat, there are only two wafers whereas KitKat generally has four. i've got a review of the Crown MyChew coming up as well.

rating: 6

whew, that was a mouthful. it might seem like i was a bit harsh with some of these, but i just wanted them to be better i suppose. the next batch was much more satisfying so i'll be a lot kinder.

Lindt Fioretto

i figured that since these said new on the bag, and i had never seen them, that they must be a new product from Lindt, but apparently they've been around for awhile and just the package is new. anyways, they're new to me. and they're pretty good. i'm a fan of Lindt Lindor Truffles, so i was pretty excited to try these. there are three flavors available: cappuccino, caramel and hazelnut nougat. i went for the assorted bag because i want it all, and why shouldn't i get it? the distribution of flavors was pretty even - three each of cappuccino and hazelnut, four caramel.


i can taste the cappuccino flavor immediately, kind of coffeeish, kind of milky. the center is firmer than i expected, i guess i was thinking it would be creamy like a Lindor Truffle. the crispies on the outside are the best, i'm glad they included them in all three kinds. this is actually my least favorite, but i would still eat it again.

rating: 5


i assume this is the most popular, which is why they give you an extra one (unless it's arbitrary and i just got lucky). it's tying for my favorite right now with the hazelnut. the caramel is perfect, literally. it's gooey but not messy, rich and very buttery and so smooth. it's like a 100 grand if 100 grand was good. the crispies are the perfect juxtaposition to the creamy caramel and the chocolate is smooth and quite tasty.

rating: 9

Hazelnut Praline Nougat

this one threw me off at first. on the package it's just called "Nougat," but the actual candy specifies that it's Hazelnut Praline. naturally i thought this would be like Ferrero Rocher, and while it is reminiscent, it has its distinctions. the main difference would be the lack of actual hazelnuts in the filling. there's a strong hazelnut flavor, but no crunchiness. the filling is much creamier than the Cappuccino version and i definitely prefer it. i also don't notice the praline here, possibly because of the crispies, maybe they're distracting me or maybe it's just not a prevalent flavor. i'm also not sure about the nougat label, i don't see where that comes into play, unless there is some other thing called nougat that i don't know of. i'd say these remind me more of the Trader Joe's Hazelnut Delights, which is a good thing.

rating: 9

13 January 2010

Hi-Chew Blood Orange

i really don't think i will ever give a Hi-Chew a negative review. that being said, i was a bit skeptical the first time i tried the blood orange variety, since it seems that often when a candy is sold as "blood orange" it really just tastes like any other orange. a true blood orange flavor is sweet with a hint of raspberry. thankfully, Hi-Chew is aware of this and these chews have a distinctive flavor with a tinge of raspberry, but also i taste a bit of a floral accent. unfortunately i got these at the asian market and the package is completely in japanese, so i wasn't able to look at the ingredients to see what that might be. one of the things i love so much about Hi-Chews is that they're consistent in their texture: always chewy with a slight pull, but not enough to turn into a sticky mess. so far, not my favorite, but i will probably buy them again because i will always buy Hi-Chews again. at any time. and of any flavor.

rating: 7

Harlekijntjes Salt Licorice Drops

here in the states we have grown accustomed to the sweet licorice flavor that abounds in such candies as licorice pastilles and twists, but over in europe (especially scandinavia/germany) they enjoy a much more intense salty licorice. i found these at sunrise asian market, where they have a surprisingly large amount of european candy (mostly from holland). i love sweet licorice, and i have to admit that i did not know what i was in for when i purchased these; they are very strong, salty and a tad sour. kind of like sour milk, not sour lemons. it's definitely something that i would have to get used to, but i do enjoy them. they are chewy, but more like Jujubes than taffy. this is not for the faint-of-heart licorice fan.

rating: 6

11 January 2010

Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate

hello there, it's been a while. back from holidays with a bit of a pile-up of candy not yet reviewed so there should be some more frequent posts again. here's a little something to tide you over.
i enjoy the dark chocolate and orange combination pretty much anytime. here it's done so wonderfully with the actual orange peel in the bar, and plenty of it.

i love it, it gives the whole bar a little grittiness, kind of like coffee grounds. which i would probably also enjoy in a chocolate bar. maybe with some cinnamon. but really, this bar is great. when you suck away the chocolate all the little crunchy orange peel bits are there. quite nice. and the dark chocolate is very good too. it's like a crunchy dark chocolate orange (review coming shortly) with better chocolate. that is how i would describe this candy bar. oh, and it's delicious.

rating: 9

Very Berry Nerds Rope

b.paul loves Nerds and therefore Nerds Ropes are a common sight in our home. i've never seen this Very Berry version before but i'm sure it's more common than i think, i'm just not very aware. i immediately liked this one better than the original because of the blueness of it: blue packaging, different shades of blue Nerds, and what's that, is there a blue licorice rope in there? no. no there is not. they lured me over, the reeled me in and then they unhooked me and threw me back. why not a blue rope? yeah, it doesn't really matter because the licorice here is (to my taste) a berry flavor so it's better than the regular cherry or whatever that other one is. the Nerds are all quite berry-tasting too. although i can't taste any specific berries in here, they have that "berry" flavor - kind of strawberry, kind of raspberry. i do like the rope here, it's not brittle, chewy enough to pull at but not stringy. i would definitely pick this over the original, but it's still pretty sugary (sometimes Nerds hurt my teeth. like pixie sticks).

rating: 5