When I heard that Hershey’s would be closing down two of it’s subsidiary artisanal chocolatiers, I knew I had to make the effort to try them before it was too late. The two companies facing extinction are Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt Confections, both of whom were independent until Hershey’s bought them out in 2005. The whole thing is quite sad really.
I could go on a rant on my extreme distaste of this situation, but I’ll save my breath and your time. You can read the history of the company here at Wikipedia, who does it more succinctly than I could here.
I was lucky to find this collection of Joseph Schmidt’s truffles at Wegman’s during their big post Valentines Day sales. Since they were on sale, I figured it was a good of a time as any to give this dying breed of chocolate a taste test. I would have been tow lazy to put an order in on the website as it is, so it works out better this way.
The truffles (I’d prefer to call them bonbons, but the website refers to them as truffles, so I digress) are gorgeous to look at. The box protects each one beautifully, with each having it’s own well to sit in to keep the pieces of shuffling around. They are all unique, no two look alike. The only similarities they share are the shape: a large sound dome with a flat bottom. The tag lists the flavor, but no key saying which was which.
All Dark: Plain looking with dark cross-crossed lines on them. It’s just a dark creamy bittersweet chocolate with nice notes of cream, caramel, raspberries and coconut.
All Milk: Milk chocolate with white lines and dots on top. The milk chocolate is awesome: sweet, creamy, with nice notes of caramel, coffee. The ganache echoes the flavors to the shell, but is much milder and creamier. Loved this one, so delicious in its simplicity.
Champagne: Milk chocolate with a creamy colored spot on the very top. It immediately has an sweet, alcoholic flavor to it: tasting lightly of grapes and strawberries that mixes in with the smooth milk chocolate ganache. Something about the flavor reminds me of chocolate ice cream.
Sea Salt Caramel: Dark chocolate with a little hollow in the very top filled with salt crystals. The inside tastes more fruity than of caramel. It’s very rich and interestingly has plum notes to it.
Wild Strawberry: Milk chocolate with a pink dot on top. The flavor is immediately fruity and jam-like. It’s very sweet yet has a nice tart edge to it.
Dark Raspberry: Plain with multiple white lines crossing at the top. The ganache has a wonderfully tart, strawberry jam flavor to it. It’s really more tart than sweet and it really overpowers the chocolate. I’m surprised at the tartness of it. It’s very flavorful ad juicy and pairs well with the chocolate shell.
Hazelnut: The easiest of them all to distinguish: milk chocolate with a raw hazelnut plopped on top and drizzled with lines of chocolate. The milk chocolate is smooth, creamy and sweet. The ganache has a nutty, almost alcoholic flavor. I expected something more like Nutella, but it’s so far from it. It’s more roasted nut flavors and cream, like a hazelnut coffee.
Grand Marnier(r): The shell is dark chocolate with the design of a white chocolate X on top. The dark chocolate is deep, rich and sweet. The ganache center is smooth and creamy, and I get a nice, mellow orange flavor to it. No hint of alcohol of all.
Irish Cream: Mottled with white chocolate and darker chocolate flecks on top, so it reminded me of a bird’s egg. Quite pretty. The ganache inside is perfectly smooth and carried the Irish Cream flavor slightly. It doesn’t has a slight alcoholic burn to it, and that nice, lightly coffee boozy flavor I associate with Bailey’s. Lovely, really nicely balanced with the flavors of the smooth chocolate.
Tiramisu: Milk chocolate with white chocolate and dark chocolate lines and dots. This one I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be tiramisu or champagne, but this had a tinge more coffee flavor to it, so I decided it must be the former. You taste the alcohol with this fruity bitterness and a hint of coffee. It pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate ganache and the milk chocolate shell.
Double Latte: Beautiful white chocolate shell with a large milk chocolate spot on top. Smells extremely milky. The flavor is strong of coffee with the ganache tasting of a smooth, creamy, medium-bodied roast. So fresh and terribly flavorful.
Pomegranate: This one is creamy and milky looking on top, like cream just poured into coffee. The milk chocolate shell is hard with a nice creamy, sweet flavor. The ganache is smooth and chocolatey, and has a nice, lightly tart red fruity flavor to it. It’s hard to really identify pomegranate as an iconic flavor, but this does read a fruity and exotic, so I think the essence here is nicely captured.
Even though this is a Valentines Day box, you can find the same flavors in the Easter assortments. The 30th of June will be the last day of sales, with Easter being their last season. If my descriptions enticed you in the least, I recommend giving them a try before they disappear forever.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Joseph Schmidt Website
Happy Valentines Day!
I hope you’re having a good one whether you celebrate it or choose not to. Regardless, I hope you’re taking a moment to indulge in something sweet, you deserve it!
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to the candy they choose, and I am always interested in talking to people to see what their preferences are. One of the things I enjoy about having a candy blog is that it sometimes makes me eat “outside the candy box” and try something that I wouldn’t normally buy. Wonka’s Gobstoppers are one of these candies. I enjoy hard candies, yes, and I am impartial on tart/sour candies, so I have tended to just gloss over these in stores in favor of something I know I really enjoy. Then last year Cybele reviewed these at Candyblog.net reviewed these. Her photographs of them were so tempting, I knew I had to pick some up if I ever saw them. As far as I was concerned, even if they didn’t taste good, I’d get some pretty photos out of them at least.
So on the same trip to Wal-Mart where I found the Strawberry Creme Hershey’s Kisses I saw these on the shelf. What a productive shopping trip, huh?
I have to admit the name makes me think of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. One of my favorite bands.
The hearts are so pretty. They sit beautifully on my photography table; glossy, colorful and smooth. The colors, even though I would not call them traditional Valentine’s Day colors, still feel very festive.
Speaking of the the colors, there’s five total: purple, pink, red, orange, and yellow. They all taste the same aside with subtle variations. The yellow tasted a tad lemony, pink a little strawberry, purple like grape and orange, well, orange. Overall, they had a lightly sweet fruity flavor to them, and the tartness appears only when you crunch down through the shell to release the grainy, powdery center. Speaking of the center, it’s a chalky dextrose which has a nice tartness to it ad dissolves quickly on the tongue. The texture of the shell combined with the softer center is a wonderful contrast of hard and soft, smooth and grainy.
After tasting the few I had to do for the review, I admit I haven’t touched them. I’ve been eating the Hershey’s Kisses instead. Preferences die hard I guess.
You have to admit though. They are terribly festive and just adorable to look at.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Links Wonka Website
Hershey’s has been pretty reliable with its flavored Kisses in time for Valentines Day. In the past couple of years, they’ve released Dark Chocolate Strawberry and a White Chocolate Strawberry Creme varieties, both of which I reviewed at my time over a CandyAddict.com. So I was a bit disappointed when I roamed my local grocery store’s and Target’s holiday candy aisles. No new Hershey’s Kisses. Nada. Zilch.
Then last weekend I found myself in Wal-Mart (shudder) and lo and behold, I see these Hershey’s Strawberry Creme Kisses staring at me from the large cardboard box holding them on the shelf. I snatched up a few bags and took the home for immediate tasting. What I was pleased to find about these, and it is illustrated on the package, that these Kisses have a strawberry filled center. Very unlike past years where the strawberry flavoring was infused into a solid Kiss. I was curious to see how this difference would affect texture and flavor.
The flavor is immediately sweet and you can taste the strawberry through the flat milk chocolate. It’s very floral, perfumey, and a bit jammy too. It reminded me a tad of the strawberry flavor you get in Japanese chocolates, yet this tastes more artificial and medicinal. It’s still pleasant to eat and I like it much better than the other strawberry Kisses released to date. Texture wise, the center feels greasy and smooth like the inside of the truffle and coconut Kisses. The aftertaste is similar to berry jam and it compels you to pop another in your mouth despite your best efforts.
A successful limited edition released in time for Valentines Day I think. The only reason I don’t give these a hoard rating is I still have a stash of Pumpkin Spice Kisses I’m enjoying. I’d much rather eat those over these.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Hershey’s Kisses Website
Aren’t these so cute? Just perfect for Valentines Day! Not only are the shapes cute and simple, but they’re nicely colored with an appealing flavor for the season. I am pretty sure these are a new release this year, as I don’t remember seeing them last Valentines Day. Does anyone else recall?
The hearts come in a nicely protected pack of 9, each set of 3 in a tray. The package is very fitting for the holiday too. Pink with little “XOXO” patterns all over it. You can smell the Peep hearts immediately once you open them. The aroma is strawberry with it’s bright berry flavor and “red” essence. There’s a tart edge to these too and I can’t help but compare it to how the red SweetTarts smell.
The inside of these Peeps are pink too! How precious is that! I tried my first row fresh, so the texture was beautifully pillowy soft. The flavor is awesome, as it’s in the sugar coating as well as in the marshmallow. It’s a great strawberry taste for sure. It’s a light flavor, nothing overpowering here, but then again, when were Peeps ever overpowering? There’s a light sweetness and a good berry/perfume flavor that really give it that nice strawberry essence. In a way I’m reminded of that pink goopy medicine I was given as a kid when I had strep throat, but that’s a good thing here. I loved eating that stuff.
I bet these, along with all other flavored marshmallows, will be fun to experiment with. In hot cocoa? In Valentines Day s’mores? Fondue? Such possibilities!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Marshmallow Peeps Website