These King Leo Hand Dipped Peppermint Sticks were a free sample given to me by the nice folks over at QualityCandy. At first I was hesitant, because peppermint candy isn’t really my thing. I do know a bit about it though, as one of my good friend was really into peppermint candy so I always was on the lookout for her. I’ve bought King Leo for her before, and she always gushed that they were favorites of hers. Now I can give them a go myself.
I do love the design of the packaging. It’s very classic, and I love the image of the regal lion sitting atop the logo. The stand up carton protects the sticks well, as none of them were broken when I opened the box.
First off, let’s talk about the main part of this candy, the peppermint stick. I’ve always loved King Leo’s peppermint sticks, as they were more old fashioned feeling and they didn’t resemble the Brach’s Starlight Peppermint candies that I associated with cheap candy dishes as a kid. These peppermint sticks are shorter and thicker, with an intense flavor and a wonderful texture. They break easily in the mouth, and are soft and almost powdery as you chew them.
Now, take those peppermint sticks and cover them with real Belgium chocolate, and boy, do you get one really tasty treat here. It’s a classic example of how peppermint and chocolate go over so well together. And thankfully for me, I didn’t get any reminders that “Oh, this tastes like toothpaste” which is a typical reaction I have to minty candies. Just pure enjoyment here.
These would be an excellent holiday treat or gift to anyone who loves peppermint candy. I was really expecting now to enjoy them, but I was proven wrong. Now I an eat one of these instead of a candy cane and not feel like I’m not in the spirit of the season!
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Quality Candy Website
I’ve been a fan of Peanut Butter & Co longer than I’ve been a candy blogger, if you can believe it. I used to eat at their restaurant in Greenwich Village back when I was doing my animation internship in New York City. My love for peanut butter and PB&Co’s creativity with it kept bringing me back. Once I became a blogger I could talk about some of the non-sandwich things they make, like their Peanut Butter Cups that I reviewed back when I worked for CandyAddict.com.
So when I visited PB&Co’s booth at the New York Chocolate Show this year, I was at first sad to see they didn’t have their Peanut Butter Cup Collection for sale this year, but happy instead to see they had Chocolate Covered Peanuts and Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle instead. The owner of PB&Co, Lee Zalben, gave me a tin of each as a free sample. So aweet!
Each comes in it’s own tin, which is easily resealable to keep the candy fresh. Both smell heavenly when you open them, of fresh roasted nuts with a hint of sweetness. I like the idea of the packaging for these, as it’s meant for sharing.
Chocolate Covered Peanuts: The overall flavor really highlights the peanuts. They have a fresh, roasted peanutty flavor. My boyfriend ad I ate most of my tin and didn’t come across one bad nut. There’s a twinge of bitterness in there as the peanuts have theirs skins on still, which I like. It gives the peanuts a more earth quality. The chocolate coating is, sadly, really mockolate: a mix of hydrogenated oils and cocoa powder. As much as I hate the stuff I don’t mind it too much here, as this candy is more about peanuts than chocolate, and the mockolate is mild enough to deliver subtle flavor and sweetness and allowing the peanut to really shine.
Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle: The pieces are all random sized and shapes, but all flat and and knobby looking. The flavor is complex, as you get the nutty taste complimented with strong burnt sugar and buttery notes, then followed by a sweetness of the mockolate. The texture is light and crispy, and the brittle doesn’t stick to my teeth. It has a lightness to it that I appreciate, and it reminds me of honeycomb candy. The flavors are beautifully blended together, again, with the peanut brittle taking the spotlight.
Despite the fact that these use mockolate, I really enjoyed these, as did my boyfriend. It just goes to show that mockolate can still be present in a fantastic candy. These disappeared in record time, and even though I had a hard time sharing them, the people with whom I did all loved them. If you see them around, I’d recommend trying them if this is the sort of thing you enjoy.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Peanut Butter & Co’s Website
When I first heard of Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, it was through Rosa over at ZOMG! Candy. She reviewed a sampling of their truffles, and I recognized the name of where Hedonist is located, as my Aunt lived in Rochester, NY. A few weeks ago I was contacted by Hedonist asking if I’d like some free samples of their work to review on the blog. I recalled Rosa’s glowing review and gladly accepted their offer.
I was sent a box of their Holiday Truffle collection and two packages of bark. Everything arrived safely in colorful tissue paper, with the chocolate works of art as pristine as if I had just carried them out of their store.
Let’s get to the tasting, shall we?
Holiday Truffle Collection
Champagne Pomegranate: Dark with a dusting of sugar crystals on top. The shell is of medium thickness, it took me a moment to sink my teeth into it. Flavor is chocolatey and smooth, with a nice tart fruitiness to it. Pomegranate is a bit of a ethereal flavor to capture, as is champagne, but the overall fruitiness of both elements show and balance with the dark chocolate.
Egg Nog: Topped with a sprinkling of nutmeg. The center of this one is a speckled white chocolate. The texture is very buttery and smooth, and you taste the creaminess of the white chocolate, mixed with gentle notes of the spices. It’s a very authentic eggnog, minus the intense burn of rum. It’s extremely tasty and I really enjoyed it.
Fig: Accented with a dried slice of fig, this one seemed much darker and denser than the others. The texture is very moist, smooth and creamy, You do taste the fig, with this sweet rich flavors and it really complements the chocolate. There’s even bits of the seeds in there which adds to the wonderful texture contrast. While you might seeds in a ganache would detract from the ganache’s smooth center, this actually works well and make it feel more fresh and authentic.
Ginger Molasses: I found the description of this one every enticing. Topped with a slice of candied ginger, the shell is a nice thickness again and the interior ganache is milker colored than the others. The flavor is beautiful, you get the spice of the ginger, which isn’t too strong. the molasses is very prominent, giving this wonderful earthy rich flavor to the chocolate. It’s like a ginger snap in a chocolate truffle. It’s delicious and I really loved it.
Orange Clove: Decorated with a slice of candied orange peel. The orange flavor is present immediately, and it’s a delicate flavor that’s still second place to the chocolate. the clove takes a moment to show, but when it does appear, it’s very pronounced and earthy. it really reminds me of Wassil, very fruity and full of spice. It tastes of the holidays.
Milk Chocolate Sesame Bark: Creamy looking milk chocolate studded with white and black sesame seeds. It smells very nutty and sweet. The milk chocolate is smooth and buttery, with nice notes of caramel, cream and cocoa. The sesame adds a slightly crunchy texture and a wonderful toasted nutty flavor. The seeds are also salty, and that really enhances the flavors of the milk chocolate. It’s lovely.
Pistachio Ginger Bark: Beautiful dark colored semi-sweet chocolate with whole pistachios and chunks of crystallized gingers with a touch of salt. Yum! The chocolate is about 1/4 inch thick, so it’s a perfect size for biting into; it’s not too thick and not too thin. The melt of the chocolate is smooth and buttery and rich with flavors that aren’t too acidic, but carry nice notes of coffee and cocoa. The pistachios are wonderfully fresh and salty and really add depth and substance to the chocolate base. The ginger gives it a nice chew, with it’s thick and slightly sticky texture. It adds a nice warmth to the chocolate and all three ingredients go together beautifully.
The well designed and beautifully executed flavors of these chocolates really wow-ed me. Usually most artisan chocolates make something “ho-hum”, something ordinary but extremely tasty, something overly unique to shock you, and I find myself unimpressed afterward. These fall into all the right niches of creating a tasty and indulgent experience. Despite all the additions to the bark and the flavors of the chocolate, Hedonist still lets the chocolate shine over all the other ingredients. Which, is what a good chocolatier does in my opinion.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Hedonist Artisan Chocolates Website