Out of all the treats from England, the Starbar was the only one I specifically requested. I’d heard tales of how utterly delicious this bar is from other candy blogs on the web, so I’ve been secretly waiting for the day I might stumble across one in a random import New York City deli. Alas, I’ve had little luck with my passive search, so I decided to take the opportunity to ask my boyfriend to please, please search one down for me. Obviously he did not disappoint!
The description of the the Starbar is: “Shot through with peanuts and caramel”. I’m not sure quite what that means but it sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Out of the wrapper, the bar looks like a giant Twix finger. It’s rounded at the top with flats sides. It smells very malty, milky, sweet, and of mainstream UK chocolate (sweet with a tart, creamy notes).
My first bite is so very thick, soft and chewy. Oh wow. It’s marvelous.
Here’s the breakdown of the construction: the center is a giant log of thick, chewy caramel with bits of peanuts in it. Then the whole this is enrobed in chocolate. Simple and very tasty.
The flavor is similar to peanut brittle. It’s sweet, lots of burnt sugar flavors, peanutty, lightly salt, cocoa and strong dry milk flavors. The milky flavors are very tangy and they’re complimented with notes of malt and vanilla in the aftertaste.
The peanuts are lightly crispy and there aren’t too many in the bar. They’re a good size too, about 1/4 of a full nut. Thankfully they don’t stick to my teeth.
I was so sad once I finished my Starbar, as it was every bit as tasty as I was described. It really lived up to its reputation. I want more, and I hope a return trip to England isn’t the only way to get another.
Galaxy is a bar (or brand) that’s made by Mars over in the UK. I’ve only been seeing them in import markets in the past few years, and only because I’ve started paying attention to such things then. I’ve had the regular bar, which I believe is similar to a Caramello; a milk chocolate bar with a stripe of thick caramel down the center. I got my hands on this limited edition variety as my boyfriend was sweet enough to bring me some treats back from his trip to England.
Packet comes with three “kisses”, which, according to the Brits, look like peaked dominoes. The sides are smooth and one has the decals of mistletoe on them. The smell strongly of caramel, cream and burnt sugar.
Biting into a pieces you immediately hit the caramel, so it’s very well dispersed inside the chocolate. The chocolate is typical Mars variety: sweet, very creamy and a nice chocolatey flavor. The caramel is a good middle texture: not too thick, not too watery, and nice enough to have staying power. It also creates those tantalizing threads when you bite into it.
Together, the caramel and the chocolate create this wonderful symphony of sweetness in your mouth. It’s really a nice, representation in chocolate of what a kiss to your special someone under holiday mistletoe would taste like. Maybe if Galaxy and Milkyway got together…?
I first saw these on the shelf at Di Bruno Bros. in Philadelphia. After perusing the flavors for a good few minutes, as the prince warranted only one purchase, I decided to picky up the Chai Latte flavor. I love caramels and I haven’t had that flavor in this medium before. My other options included a classic caramel, a variation with honey, a variation with chocolate, etc. so the spicy chai just called to me. I’m all for trying new things!
I’ve been aware of the DAS Caramelini for some time now, as they appeared on the candy blogosphere scene a few months ago. Cybele over at CandyBlog and Rosa at ZOMG Candy! both gave them good reviews. I made a mental note to myself to get some if I ever saw them.
I was immediately pleased with these once I opened them as they smell warm and sweet of cinnamon and cloves. It does impart a chai essence. I was worried that the spice in these wouldn’t be strong enough, and I was glad to smell I was wrong.
The flavor is very well rounded, and I’m actually reminded more of gingerbread than chai. It has a wonderful hit of cinnamon, a subtle bite of cloves and a warmth of ginger. Add all that to the creamy sweetness of the caramel base. So to be frank, it’s really rich and complex. The chew is nice as the edges are soft and it’s more firm toward the center. It gave a good chew, but it wasn’t as chewy as I’d like, since I found it dissolved too quickly in my mouth. Still, extremely tasty. I like eating candy that tastes of gingerbread!
I was able to sample the other flavors of the DAS Caramelini line at the Fancy Food Show this past June. They were all impressive like the chai variety I try here, and I was just floored by the Candied Ginger & Pistachio flavor. I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of those.
Rating: Will Buy Again
DAS Foods Website
100 Grand, that’s such a rich name for a candy bar. Ha ha, get it? I remember always liking these bars, and I really remember coming to appreciate them fully in Fourth grade during a week at summer camp. It was the one food that I could stomach as I was wrought with anxiety from being away from home for such an extended period of time. 100 Grand was there for me when my parents weren’t.
The premise behind this bar is pretty simple: rice crispies and caramel covered in Nestle’s milk chocolate. Kinda like a different shaped and pumped up with caramel Crunch bar, really.
There’s many things that this bat has going for it. Firstly, I appreciate how the bar is two pieces, rather than one. It allows for a more slow and satisfying eating experience. Especially since I’m more apt to eat a single bar much faster in one fell swoop. The two pieces keep me front doing that.
The texture is extremely chewy. You really have to work this one. The first bite is immediately crispy from the rice and then you hit the very dense caramel. The flavor is mildly sweet. I get a little caramel flavor, a little chocolate and a little malt. Overall, I’m underwhelmed. It’s not as flavorful as I remembered.
A good example on how memory and circumstance can make a candy taste better. To be fair though, I still enjoyed it.
Rating: Might Eat Again
100 Grand Bar Website
I discovered Eclat chocolate through chocolatier Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolates. He knew they’d be something I’d enjoy and suggested I try them. He knows me too well, because as soon as I took a bite out of the box of caramels I bought for this review, I went weak in the knees.
The chocolatier behind Eclat chocolate, Christopher Curtin, has an impressive culinary background. He practiced his craft for many years in Germany and France, and is now located in Pennsylvania to provide us with stimulating and delicious chocolate confections of his own creation. I have been all to happy to taste my way though his offerings.
I decided on a box of the assorted caramels to try, as I’ve heard they’re the best representation of what Eclat is capable of. Looking at the back of the box the ingredients list is quite long. Lots of things are listed that could indicate anything in terms of flavors of the caramels (vanilla, nuts, spices, etc).
The caramels are gorgeous to look at and it’s an experience in itself to open the box to see them all sitting there before you. They’re little round spheres, obviously molded and then then fused together. There’s milk and dark versions, each coded by either a sprinkling of salt, a square flatted top or a small lines on top.
The sprinkled salt top were the “regular” caramel. It’s easy to get the full flavor effect of these, since the caramel is so very liquid and flowing, you can’t help but take a bite, realize the impending mess, and then immediately pop the whole thing in your mouth. The flavor of the caramel is extremely buttery, and in my mind, this is the epitome of what caramel should taste like. It’s sweet, but not enough to burn your throat, and extremely buttery and rich. The chocolate compliments it nicely, but doesn’t overstep itself and lets the caramel shine. The salt adds that wonderful needed kick that enhances the nuances of the caramel. Just stellar flavor-wise, but I tend to prefer to have caramel in a way that doesn’t threaten a mess and allows me to slowly savor it.
The second caramel has a light pear flavor to it. The fruitiness compliments the sweetness of the caramel, and masks the butter flavor so that it remains light and uncomplicated. It tastes very pure and it really shines because of the balanced flavors occurring here.
The third, and my favorite, was cardamom. It has the strong base of the regular caramel, but the added cardamom with its sweet, complex and spicy flavors really just blasts this one to space. It adds a wonderful dimension to it that I didn’t consider, and it really makes the experience that much more delicious and enticing. You first taste the buttery sweet caramel, then the cardamom comes through with a slow steady flavor that begins to surpass the caramel and evolves into the ultimate spicy and sweet treat.
These are fabulous and I am really thankful to have had the opportunity to try them. I hope they’ll start finding their way into more stores soon. Worth a try if you happen to find them.
Rating: Will Buy Again