Happy National Candy Corn Day! I know it’s ironic that I review a candy corn flavored Hershey’s Kisses to mark the occasion, but I feel it’s fitting. You’ll soon understand.
Candy corn is something I find people either love or hate with very little gray area in between. Those of us who are fans, and yes I am a fierce candy corn lover, also tend to have strict loyalties to specific brands. I find that Brach’s candy corn sings to my taste buds compared to the others. That’s the beauty of candy though, everyone has their own tastes.
These flavored Kisses were released for the first time last year as a limited edition exclusive to Target. I was excited by the idea to say the least. The first release of these Kisses were real white chocolate (from what I remember, I could be wrong) that were colored and layered to look like squat candy corn kernels. Today they’re a blend of funky tropical oils but keep to the original appearance.
The bag really smells odd when you open it, and it immediately is a spoiler for the flavor. It reeks of butter. Not the good, real, fresh butter either. Oh, no. We’re talking the fake stuff that Fabio made a mint selling on TV commercials.
Let me just cut to the chase and say that these Kisses smell and taste of microwave popcorn. Last I checked, candy corn didn’t taste like that to me.
Despite the fact that the flavor is completely off and therefore horribly unappealing, there Kisses do have some uses. They are simply stunning to look at, and I’m sure one could get creative with these in the kitchen. Unless you buy them for this specific purpose though, I can’t bring myself to recommend them. Along with beauty, I also crave substance.
Hershey’s Kisses Website
Yay, more pumpkin truffles! I’m happy to see that pumpkin is getting more attention from all the chocolatiers as of late. It makes my little candy and squash-loving heart so very happy.
These truffles are made by the famed Knipschildt chocolatier lover in Connecticut. I’ve had limited experience with their work, as I’ve only sampled a few bites at the Chocolate Show in New York last year. From what I recall I liked the flavor of the chocolate so I feel very optimistic, heck, extremely excited to give these a taste.
The packaging is extremely attractive. A nice, handmade paper orange box securely closed with a wooden peg. The label is removable and nicely designed. I’m already brainstorming as to what I can reuse this box for.
Opening it up, you’re greeted with a little army of the truffles. Forty of them to be exact, all lined up in rows waiting to be consumed. They’re cute to look at as they’re large and topped off with a pumpkin seed. They smell sweet and roasted with a hint of nutmeg.
The chocolate shell was thick, but didn’t crack and made it easy to bite into. It’s a nice milk chocolate with good strong cocoa flavors. The ganache is very rich and the texture reminds me of very smooth fresh frosting, minus the sugar grain and greasiness. The flavor is more like pumpkin than pumpkin pie, as it comes across as more bitter and roasted tasting than sweet. Strong notes of nutmeg and clove mask any cinnamon that may be lurking in there, and it makes the flavor much more dark and mysterious.
I reviewed the Godiva pumpkin truffles last week and I prefer those to these. Not only flavor wise are they sweeter and more like a dessert, but the price is a little easier to handle. I paid $40 for this box at Dean and Deluca’s (yes, I know, I was kinda asking for it shopping there).
Rating: Will Eat Again
Knipschildt Chocolatier Website
Every Halloween season ever confectioner has a field day with appropriate candies and chocolates. There’s no limit to the number of pumpkin, ghost, bat, witch, etc. shaped sweets lining the shelves at our favorite store. How’s a girl to choose? Among other things, this year I decided to give Godiva’s seasonal Pumpkin Truffles (since I’m a sucker for all things pumpkin)a try. I’ve eyed these for a few years and figured it was time to cave in.
They’re gorgeous to look at since the packaging job on these is top notch. Beautiful orange foil wrappers with a tiny coil and leaf on top. Almost too cute to eat!
The milk chocolate is unremarkable: sweet with a dairy taste. The truffles have a cinnamon dusting on the which adds a nice spiciness to the whole thing.
Now, as Mom always said “it’s what’s inside that counts” and that’s really what this truffle is all about. The inside is just heavenly. It really tastes of pumpkin pie which is a major plus since most pumpkin confections I taste don’t taste of anything…or if they do, it’s of cinnamon. The texture of the ganache is lovely; nice and rich without feeling greasy on the tongue.
Beautiful and delicious, these are a great fall treat or a nice gift to a friend.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Cadbury Picnic is a bar hailing from the Land Down Under. I’ve heard about it, but it wasn’t until an Australian friend sent me a candy care package that I finally encountered one. The specific one I got is actually a limited edition Picnic bar of the “Honey Almond Nougat” variety. “New!” and “A unique combination of almonds & crunchy pieces of honey almond nougat caramel & wafer covered in delicious Cadbury milk chocolate” are the descriptions on the wrapper. I’d by lying if I said it didn’t sound appealing and terribly tasty.
The regular Cadbury picnic bars have a wafer center, creamy caramel, and rice crisps all covered in chocolate. So this new variety adds more textural and flavor elements by replacing the rice crisps with the almonds and nougat. I still think that this will give me a pretty good indication of what the original bar is. It’s kinda funny how the Picnic sounds like the offspring of a Kitkat, a Nestle’s Crunch and a Milky Way.
I’m relieved to say that according to the ingredients list, this Picnic bar is using real chocolate! Yay! It’s gotten to the point where that’s always the first things I look for in candy bars. Yes, I’m a stickler for quality.
The bar itself looks like a very large, lumpy 100 Grand or a smaller, chocolate covered PayDay. Take your pick. It smells very strongly of sweet honey and almonds. It’s hard for my to explain but something in it also smells really “carb-y” and it’s hard to lay my finger on it. I don’t know what else it could be other than the nougat.
My first bite was extremely crispy. The center is the wafer and very similar in structure to a Kitkat. Wrapped around the wafer is the caramel, so already we have a crispy/chewy texture working here. The nougat and almonds add a slight crunch and it’s very addicting to chew and munch.
As for the flavor? It took me a moment to concentrate on it to be honest, I was already too busy trying to dislodge the pieces of nougat and caramel on my teeth. It’s got a lot going on: I get nice milky caramel notes, some light blandness from the wafers, then there’s a big salty hit from the almonds and finally a honey sweetness of the nougat. I don’t hardly taste any of the chocolate, as it cowers behind the big three of the caramel, nougat and almonds. I do like how the honey stands out, it proves a nice sweetness, especially blended with the caramel, and the saltiness provides a wonderful contrast. I just wish I wasn’t going to be picking bits of this out of my teeth for the next couple of hours. Ah, sacrifices, right?
Rating: Will Eat Again
Cadbury Picnic Webpage
My first thoughts on this bar when I saw it on the shelf was: “Why 86%?” It seems a really random number to choose. I then looked at a contender for shelf space with Ghirardelli: Lindt; and saw that they have an 85% bar (which is really good by the way). Seems like Ghirardelli is trying to pull a one up on Lindt by making a bar with a higher cacao content to appeal to the dark chocolate devotees. It seems half-hearted that the “higher” percentage is only 1%.
The ingredients list reads: “Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, (do they mean cocoa solids?) cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla, natural flavor”. I’m happy to see the real vanilla, yet am annoyed with the “natural flavor” and am confused as to why the cocoa solids are called “unsweetened chocolate”. Not to mention that 86% is called “bittersweet”, cause that’s really “dark” in my book. Oh, semantics. Chocolate terminology needs to start having some guidelines here.
The chocolate is a nice and very dark color. It smells roasted with notes of raisins, cherries and cinnamon. The snap is strong with a clean break. I see no bubbles or anything in the chocolate, so obviously this bar was nicely tempered.
The flavor starts off dry and bland at first. The middle is where things start to get interesting where a dry, chalky, and musky flavor appears. It has a slight fruity notes of berries and a twang of citrus at the finish. The aftertaste is, surprise, dry and a little tannic with that musky flavor again. Overall this bar tastes very “green” to me since plants come to mind. The mouth feel is very slick and slippery feeling, and it’s very pleasurable because of it. That’s what lots of cocoa butter will do for you.
I was surprised by the lack of flavor and the intense dryness of this bar. Granted, higher percentages are hard to do well, but it seems this bar just decided to avoid acidity associated with dark chocolates by sacrificing flavor. A good try, but it’s lack of depth just stopped it dead to me. Why eat it if it doesn’t taste of chocolate? I plan to stick with the Lindt 85% bar if you really enjoy tasting chocolate.
Rating: Might Eat Again