Russell Stover is a big name in my household. If there’s any need for a cheaper chocolate bonbon candy treat, Russell Stover is the “to go to”. I remember getting the small assorted boxes every year at Valentines Day from my parents and my sister now always had a box of the assorted creams on hand. I can’t say exactly why we always keep turning to them, if it’s because they’re delicious or affordable or both. I always have a special place in my heart for them though.
I was surprised to see one day a new Russell Stover offering on the shelf at the store that I hadn’t seen before. A rarity, for sure. The Russell Stover Pecan Roll just called to me since it looked so incredibly kitchy. It stuck out right away in it’s bright yellow wrapper, bold red lettering and very detailed photo of the candy itself on on the front. Inspecting it quickly I noted a promise of a “Vermont Fudge Center” written on the front as well, which was certainly enticing even thought I have no idea what that is.
The roll looks very small in package but weights in at a hefty 50g, so it’s a compact little thing. Unwrapped, it’s a very home-made looking: a small log that’s roughly been rolled in large, uneven pecan chunks. The sort of thing you’d expect to see if your mom just took some pecans to town with a ziploc bag and a rolling pin. It smells wonderful fresh of pecans: nutty, buttery, and sweet.
The first bite was lovely as the pecans are fresh with their smooth texture and rich flavor. The “Vermont fudge center” is a maple penuche fudge with a thick, grainy texture and a quick melt in the mouth with an intense brown sugar maple flavor followed with an intense sweetness. This roll is like a slice of pecan pie that’s been condensed into a little log. It’s really lovely in it’s simplicity of concept and execution and “wholesomeness” of flavor.
I hope to run into this one again so that I can introduce it to my family. I don’t know if that’ll be a good or bad thing!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Russell Stover Website
This is latest and greatest in the Snickers bar limited edition line. The wrapper describes it as: “Almonds, caramel and marshmallow-flavored nougat wrapped in dark chocolate”. Oh, wow! Is it just me, or does that sound simply amazing? Pinch me please, I surely must have gone to heaven.
Once unwrapped, the bar looks like a normal Snickers except for the darker brown color. It smells of the deep dark chocolate and a bit of a roasted flavor, I think from the almonds. It’s also smells very sweet with a milky vanilla essence. I cut the bar it in half to see the cross section. The marshmallow nougat is a pale white like snow, with the layer of almonds and caramel
The first bite is awesome. It’s thick, chewy and substantial and oh so tasty! You get a nice nuttiness from the almonds, a good sweetness from the caramel and a nice chocolate hit from the coating. The marshmallow nougat doesn’t deliver much in flavor but the texture is so nice. It’s a little thicker and stickier than the standard Snickers nougat, but it makes the chew so much more fulfilling. It’s really, really good. It’s a really stellar bar, and I like it way more than the original.
I’m hoarding these. Mars better make these a regular addition to the Snickers family.
I was originally introduced to the work of Lake Champlain Chocolates by my Mom, and I wish I could remember where and when she originally discovered them. All I can recall is her gushing to me about how good their chocolate was and how I needed to try it. I finally caved and bought some when I saw it in Whole Foods some time later, and when I tasted it, I was hooked.
I saw these earlier this year as one of their seasonal spring releases, and it was too pretty and tasty looking to pass up. The chocolates are so beautiful. They’re shaped like dogwood flowers and are wrapped by flavor in colorful foil. The actual chocolates is very dark in color and has a nice “clean” chocolatey aroma. I can’t imagine how they could be any more enticing.
Dark Mint (green): The bite is surprisingly firm and breaks off with a good “klok” sound. The mint flavor shows immediately yet it’s light and not overpowering at all. The chocolate provides sweetness and a good richness to the palette. What I thought was really cool was that there’s slivers/chunks of peppermint in here, like crushed pieces of candy cane. It delivers an unexpected burst of mintiness in some bites and the slightly chewy texture is a lot of fun.
Milk Chocolate Caramel (pink): The milk chocolate is wonderful and is the “standard” chocolate base for Lake Champlain: very creamy with dairy flavors and strong sweetness. The overall effect is extremely chocolatey and very satisfying satisfying. I’m reminded of good Swiss chocolate. The center holds the caramel which is very free flowing and drippy. The flavor is quite sweet with really strong notes of cooked sugar resulting in a toasty flavor. I also taste a strong hit of cream that gives it a little tang. The caramel center and chocolate exterior make a very sweet and dedicant combination here.
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Praline (blue): This uses the same delicious milk chocolate as above but the the taste of the hazelnuts is immediately apparent. It’s as if Nutella has come and crashed milk chocolate’s party. It’s a wonderful combination, and dare I say, the whole thing feels smoother and richer because of it. This is hard for me to believe since Lake Champlain’s chocolate is so smooth to begin with. A lovely chocolate morsel to say the least.
These are awesome, no question about it. Even if the flavor selection doesn’t appeal to you, I can safely say that these also make excellent gifts. My Mom relies on me to give them to her.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Lake Champlain’s Milk Chocolate Flowers Webpage
The Hershey’s Symphony line of chocolate bars was released back in 1989, just in time for me to catch the commercials during my after school cartoons. These bars are meant to be more “premium” than the regular Hershey bar with creamier, richer chocolate that, well, feels like a symphony in your mouth.
There are only two bars in the line; a Milk Chocolate and a Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Toffee. There’s been rumors that with he release of Hershey’s Bliss, the Symphony bars are going to gradually be phased out. I saw this as an opportunity to try these bars in case they do disappear, so I did some hunting to track these babies down.
Symphony Almonds and Toffee: The wrapper has a blue color scheme and the expiration date reads 2009, so I know it’s at least fresh. Looking at the ingredients I’m immediately annoyed to see PGPR listed. Hershey’s has a nasty habit of using this stuff in their chocolate in recent years. It allows them to use less cocoa butter, but still keep that slippery mouth feel. I digress….
The bar smells lovely once unwrapped: milky, a little nutty and very sweet. The back of the bar is bumpy showing the almond and toffee bits while the front is very traditional looking with the standard rectangles with the Hershey’s name printed in them. The break is very,very soft; almost fudgy. The chunks of almonds and toffee are a reasonable size from looking at the pieces.
The flavor is is very punchy: the sweetness of the chocolate is cloying and has a creamy milkiness. This is cut by the nuttiness of the almonds and then the final kick of the toffee: extra sweet, with a good caramelized flavor and a super crispy crunch. Aside from the chocolate lacking “chocolate” flavor, I have little to complain about. It’s very tasty, also a little “moreish”.
Symphony Milk Chocolate: This is the single serving bar and once opened you immediately notice a difference in presentation. Where the other was more the form of a normal Hershey’s bar, this is thicker with the bar split into two rows of slightly raised squares with “Symphony” written on them. The color also seems much lighter to me. The aroma is also very sweet with a solid creamy scent with notes of vanilla and caramel.
The flavor is bland at first. The chocolate doesn’t really feel creamy, but instead it’s smooth with a subtle grain. The flavor appears more as it melts giving notes of milk and sweetness, but not much else. There are moments where I’d get an strange note of fruit or bubblegum but it soon vanishes as another wave of sweet rushed over me. I’m not impressed buy the super sweetness (what are they hiding?) and lack of complexity. Not too impressed with this, give me the almond toffee one any day.
I wish Hershey’s would drop the Bliss chocolate and just stick with the Symphony Almond Toffee. It’s the best of the Hershey’s chocolate bars I’ve had to date.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Hershey’s Symphony Webpage
Ferrero is an Italian confectioner know for their excellent line of candies that feature chocolate and hazelnuts. One of the most popular is Ferrero Rocher line that you can pretty much find everywhere. Ferrero is also the masterminds behind Nutella, which is something I cannot keep safely in my apartment. Tronky is one of their rarer bars, at least here in the United States. I first encountered it in the DiBruno Bros. store in Philadelphia, and I haven’t seen it since.
Tronky is a long, log shaped wafer with hazelnut chocolate creme and chopped hazelnut bits on the inside. It’s very light since the wafer makes up such a large majority of the bar . The wafer’s design its so cute too: it has a wood grain pattern molded in it so it’s stick-like and it’s really lovely (even though sticks aren’t that tasty…).
The wafter is light and bland, like most wafers are. It’s crunchy and soft and is a great texture. The chocolate creme on the inside is very smooth, dense, and is very similar to Nutella. The exception is you get these tiny hazelnut pieces in there, but more noticeably I don’t find the chocolate and hazelnut flavors to be very bold here.
These delicate flavors all work together very nicely and make Tronky quite delicious. The texture contrast between the light and crunchy and the dense creamy center is my favorite part. In fact, it reminds me very much of Manner biscuits, which are a longtime favorite of mine.
Rating:Will Eat Again