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December 2014
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Chocolate

Sep
03



Dove Cookies and Creme

I came across these Dove Cookies and Creme chocolates by accident while searching out the Extra Root Beer gum. I was in Target and just checked the candy asile to see if the gum was there, and it was, but I also found these. I was excited to see these Dove Cookies and Creme candies because I love white chocolate. I haven’t seen any white chocolate offerings from Dove since the peppermint chocolates that they sell around Christmas. Excited with my find I grabbed a few bags, as they were on sale, and took my treasures home. 

I remember when Dove chocolate hit the market back in the 1990s (when they had wrappers that looked like this). Dove has done really well with moving from just the candy bars to a selection of bagged chocolates in different flavors. They have a large selection of different types of chocolate available now, and this Cookies and Creme flavor is one of their newest.

Opening the bag, the chocolate pieces all have a black and white design on the wrappers. They are undone easily and each interior has a inspiration message. The one I had for this review read “Rick big. Win big”. Inspiring indeed.

The chocolates are a nice creamy off white color, as good white chocolate should be. The chunks of cookie are easily seen in the chocolate. They are large and give it a real “cookies and cream” appearance. The chocolate has a faint aroma, but that of cocoa butter as white chocolate should smell.

The flavor starts off extremely creamy, with nice fatty notes of cocoa butter and a subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla. The cookie pieces are delightfully crunchy, but they have no real flavor from what I can tell. Together you get this wonderful creamy and crunchy contrast. You get the flavors of nice white chocolate accented with the cookie bits. They’re fun to eat, and the fact that they’re in single pieces makes it easy to ration them. Even though I admit I’ve eaten more than anticipated on more than one occasion.

I really enjoyed this candy, and I’ve been recommending them to my friends who enjoy the Hershey’s Cookie’n'Creme bar. “Why?” do you ask, well, it’s because they are made with better ingredients than the Hershey’s version (but they are also more expensive). In this case you pay for quality. I commend Dove for these, and I hope they will stick around for a long time.

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Links Dove Chocolate Webpage


Aug
29



Pocky Salty

I wasn’t terribly surprised to see this box of Pocky Salt sitting on the shelf at my local-ish Japanese Market. Salt has been an “it” gourmet food thing for a few years now. Most major candy companies who consider even a little sliver of their product to be gourmet have tried it. Off the top of my head Lindt, Godiva, Michel Cluizel, Kit Kat (Japan), come to mind, but to list them all we’d be here all day. So seeing that Pocky is finally giving it a go, I say good for them. It’s not a food fad that is over by any means, so I was happy to see them trying something new. I tossed the box into my shopping cart to take home.

The box is pretty and I like how they tried to make the box look “salty” by adding sparkles. It does give the effect of salt crystals catching the light and shining on the sticks of Pocky.  It’s fun, blingy and seems very Japanese all at the same time.

Inside the box there’s two packets of Pocky. It’s hard for me to understand how they decide on dividing the pocky sticks into packets. It seems every time I open a box of Pocky it’s a different number of packets inside. I know it doesn’t matter, but it does make me curious.

The sticks of Pocky look like normal Pocky. Slender with a coating of milk chocolate. I don’t see any granules of salt on the outside, no covered up in the chocolate. I take a bite, and the flavor is pretty consistent to regular Pocky. You taste the sweet, smooth milk chocolate and the slight buttery vanilla flavor of the biscuit stick. It took me a few bites before I tasted the salt. I think it was on bite three or four when I finally got a hit of salt. It was as if a singular large chunk of salt was just sitting there, waiting for me. I took some more bites, to see if perhaps the first few were dudes. Again, I tasted nothing until I hit another single chunk of salt. Very strange. I mean, it’s good, but in no way does it feel that the salt in this Pocky is evenly distributed.

I think, considering how infrequently I tasted the salt in this Pocky, that if you want to give a salted candy a try as your first time, this is a good candy for that. The salt is infrequent enough so that if you can still enjoy the candy, but you still get a taste of what the inclusion of salt is like. It’s like a baby toe into the hot tub. Even as an experience salted chocolate eater, I still liked these. It’s hard to go wrong with Pocky!

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again


LinksPocky Website (Japanese)


Aug
27



Pocky Winter Coffee

I was pleasantly surprised when I found this box of Winter Coffee Pocky during my last rip to Little Tokyo. The “winter” varieties of Pocky are my favorites, with the extra layering of chocolate and the dusting of cocoa powder on top. For the past few years Pocky has been releasing just a normal, everyday chocolate flavor during the winter. It is awesome, let me tell you. So I was quite surprised when I saw that this past winter they decided to change things up a bit and come out wit ha new flavor: Winter Coffee.

The package has less of a “wintry” feel to it than the other Winter Pocky, which used cool blue tones and white on the package. This one is green, a nice forest green. Perhaps they are trying to evoke the jungle where the coffee beans come from.

Opening the packet I get a rich aroma that I can only say is the wonderful mix of chocolate and coffee. I taste my first Pocky stuck, and immediately I get the slight bitter cocoa powder dusting. The the rich chocolate comes forward, sweet and rich, but full of wonderful earthy coffee notes. The biscuit serves as a palette cleanser, not really carrying a flavor of it’s own, but allows the chocolate to shine and to provide a nice crunch. All I can say is, this is beyond delicious and terribly addicting. 

Both my fiance and I really loved this Pocky. It’s so familiar, yet just that hint of a different makes it even yummier. I found I really craved this Pocky with my morning coffee. Considering how importing these candies from Japan takes time and a means a more limited supply, I would really recommend trying this Winter Coffee flavor if you happen to see it.

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard


Links Pocky Website (Japanese)

 


Aug
01



Scorpion Caramels

~~Today I’m trying something new. My fiance, who is a big chili head, ordered some chili candies that are made with extremely hot peppers. Now, I can take a pretty good dose of hotness in my foods, but even these were a little out of my league. I asked he he wouldn’t mind doing a guest review of these candies for me, as I didn’t think I could do a full review myself with the small nibbles I took (it was a hotness that I could handle). So please, enjoy!~~~

I first heard about these Scorpion Sting Caramels from aTed Barrus review. I’m a fan of spicy things, specifically the natural heat of peppers, so I decided to try these as they use powder from the Moruga Scorpion which currently one of the hottest peppers in the world. They’re made as a collaboration between Volcanic Peppers and The Madison Chocolatiers and can be purchased from either site. They came in a clear package with six caramels: two white chocolate, two milk chocolate, and two dark chocolate. They were wrapped in orange, maroon, and gold foil (with no indication of which was which) and were about an inch square and 1/3 of an inch thick. The important thing to note about these chocolates is that they are getting their heat from a very hot chilli pepper. This makes it different than most hot candies in that the heat here is coming from the capcasin in the peppers, not from anything artificially added.

I’ll start with the orange wrapper:

Turns out this one is the dark chocolate. It definitely smells rich, like chips used for cookies. You can smell the butteryness of the caramel immediately and as it was fairly solid, it allowed me to break it in half cleanly exposing a rich molasses color. The initial bite is sweet and creamy, though with a fudge like consistency. The chocolate melts nicely and in about 15 seconds you begin to feel the heat from the peppers. Honestly, to me it isnt very hot, however I enjoy fiery foods. In terms of the burn, I can feel it mostly on my tongue and down the back of my throat, almost like drinking some good brandy. Actually it feels really good in my humble opinion. It is a nice, warm, tingly burn that never peaks to a huge degree. It just settles into a nice warm burn and lasts for a few minutes.

Moving to the gold wrapper:

This one was the milk chocolate. It had the same sweet smell as the first, however not as powerful. It melted fairly quickly on my fingers. The chocolate and caramel seem sweeter than the first and actually seem to hold off the burn of the peppers a bit longer than the dark variety. Again, the chocolate melts very well and the caramel is rich and has that fudge-like quality. One of my biggest gripes about caramel is that it often sticks to my teeth and this fortunately avoids that entirely. Again I get the same burn sensation as the dark due to the dusting of Scorpion powder with similar localization of the burn.

Finally, the dark maroon wrapper:

This one was the white chocolate and as soon as its wrapper is removed you get this great white chocolate aroma which reminds me of a Zero bar. You don’t smell as much of the caramel because the lovely aroma of white chocolate is so strong. The flavor of white chocolate seems an even better coating for these caramels in my opinion. The white doesn’t seem to melt as fast and provides a bit of a chew to it, not much, but enough to give you a choice: either let it melt slowly and definitely get more heat, or chew and swallow and not feel it as much. Thats a recurring theme here, the longer you hold them in your mouth the more heat you’ll get. The pepper flavor and heat are quite strong here and build to a nice burn like the previous. At this point I’ve eaten three of them and their heat definitely starts to stack. I can feel the burn on my tongue, down the back of my throat and now I’m feeling a nice warm sensation in my belly. I’m the kind of guy that enjoys a nice after dinner cordial and honestly, it feels a bit like that right now. My stomach feels a nice warm tingle. The difference is that my mouth and throat get a bit of that capsacin burn.

These are lovely caramels and I applaud the use of such a rare and distinct chilli in their creation. It tames the scorpion heat VERY well. I’ve had some other things that were made with the pepper and let me tell you, they’re mind BENDINGLY hot. Just check out some internet videos of people eating the pepper whole and you’ll see what I mean. But these caramels used just right amount of the powder and blended it with the right ingredients to make it a quite enjoyable flavor. I wont say its for the chili novice and you’d certainly have to have a palate for, and enjoy spicy foods, but if you like your curries or chicken wings pretty spicy, these would be a great candy to try out.

As for the long term, Its been about 15-20 minutes since I’ve started the review and the ‘pain’ or ‘burning’ of the peppers has gone away, but I’m left with a really nice warm feeling in my throat and belly. Great job!

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Links The Madison Chocloatiers


Jul
09



Sir Francis Bacon Toffee Bar

This candy bar caught my eye immediately. I found it while on a trip to New Your City. I was in town for a wedding, and earlier in the day I was exploring around Soho. I went into Dean & Deluca’s to poke around for some candy, since they tend to carry more obscure and high end types. That is where I saw on their chocolate shelf, this Sir Francis Bacon Toffee Bar.

This bar really stands out. It’s not shaped like most chocolate bars, but thicker and heftier. It’s like a mini brick. I really like the style of the packaging. It has the engraving of Sir Francis Bacon on the front, wit ha pig snout pasted on his face like a sticker. If you look closely you can see they drew in the strings that holds the snout to his face. Very clever.

The back of the package reads: “We start with rich, buttery toffee, add the surprise of artisan smoked bacon, then enrobe it in premium dark chocolate. The result? A bar as original as it is unforgettable.” Excited after reading this, I open the box and pull out a large block wrapped in maroon foil. I unwrap the foil packet and you can see the big block of chocolate toffee there. It’s very pretty, the chocolate is dark and smooth with a nice subtle sheen. It smells dark, rich and slightly smokey.

I try to take a bite of the bar, but I find that it’s just too thick for me to break a corner off with my front teeth. I angle the bar so I can chew it from the side and lightly clamp down in hopes of lightly breaking off a piece. I broke a corner off successfully and saw that under the chocolate this is a giant slab of toffee. The toffee is very flavorful, full with notes of butter and something toasty. The chocolate is good, and adds some sweetness, but it’s really the toffee that shines here. As for the bacon? Every so often you can take its smokiness, and some bacon flavor. It isn’t with every bite, and the toffee flavor really overpowers everything else.

This bar isn’t as bacon flavored as I imagined. Which, is probably a good thing because you want a good balance of flavors, even more adventurous ones. It is really excellent as just a toffee with chocolate bar, so if you wanted to try something with a “light” bacon experience, this bar is a good start. Both me and my fiance greatly enjoyed it.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again


Links Sir Francis Bacon Webpage


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