Today we continue on with the reviews of Q.bel’s new line of candy bars, and in particular the Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Wafer Bars and Wafer Rolls. I’ve decided to separate the reviews by flavor instead of format, since I thought it’d be interesting to see how the execution of the confection influenced the flavor, as opposed to the other way around.
One thing I’d like to mention first is that I’m impressed with the packaging on the Wafer Rolls. Considering they’re more delicate than their brick-like bar siblings, they come packaged in a plastic tray that’s actually recyclable. I was happy to find that triangle with a number 1 printed on it when I first tried them. It makes me feel responsible somehow to set it aside in my recycling bin every time I eat one. It must be some unidentified OCD issue that I have.
Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Wafer Bars
These are basically the same format as the Milk Chocolate versions I reviewed yesterday, however they look much darker and have a rather sophisticated feeling. The surface appears more heavily textured than the other as it has more bumps from the rice crisps on top.
I looked at the ingredients list and was surprised to find the cocoa powder isn’t alkalized or “dutched”. Usually that is the reason for the dark color in chocolate products, which is why Oreo cookies are so dark, in case you didn’t know.
These smell milder than the Milk Chocolate bars with a softer, smokier chocolate aroma. The darker chocolate is deeper, more acidic smelling of red berries and coffee.
The flavor is milder too with not as big of a chocolate punch as the Milk Chocolate bars (or the Wafer Rolls, getting to that..). Instead, you do taste more of the wafers here, which add a mild vanilla flavor to the whole bar and serves to mellow out the chocolate flavor. The bar starts off sweet with the vanilla wafer coming through a little later and then finally the chocolate which its mild, lightly sweet, coffee and coconutty taste. The overall effect is a sturdy chocolately hit, and I really like it. The crispy texture and strong chocolate flavor combined with the size of the bar keeps it substantial rather than a light snack.
Dark Chocolate Wafer Rolls
Following in the footsteps of the Crispy Rice Wafer bar, the Wafer Rolls sport the same dark, rich dark chocolate appearance. The color is very deep, and mysterious with nice purple undertones. It smells sweet with hints of caramel, coconut and chocolate.
On a side note the ingredients list milk fat in the dark chocolate, so it’s not “true” dark chocolate. Also unlike the bars, the cocoa liqueur is listed as alkalized, so the extreme darkness of the chocolate makes more sense here.
The flavor is rich, deep and very chocolatey. True to my expectations of a good dark chocolate. I get more of a chocolate hit here than I do with the milk chocolate version, which I really like. The taste reminds me more of a bittersweet than a true dark chocolate: it’s sweeter, and has nice flavors of coconut, caramel, coffee, and chocolate running through it. Again, the wafer adds only texture here since the chocolate is so powerful, and give it a great crispy crunch. I taste more of the creamy chocolate center in this version too, and it’s thick on the tongue which makes me really slow down and savor it.
Hmm, now I’m realizing it may be a bad thing I can get these at my Whole Foods. I want to buy them out of this flavor, pronto.
Links Q.bel Website
I was in Whole Foods the other day doing the sparse shopping I try to do in that store (since the prices are a little much for me on a regular basis) and before heading to the checkout I made my usual pass at the candy aisle to see if there was anything new. See how my attempts at not spending much is usually thwarted by this little detour? As I ran my eyes over the shelves, I noticed something new in pretty, brightly colored packaging: the Q.bel bars. “Eureka!” my head shouted as a snatched the flavors up in couples to take home for blog swag. I was then floored to find an email from the Q.bel PR folks in my inbox the next day, kindly offering to send me samples. How’s that for luck and good timing?
Let me start by saying that I am usually wary of the “candy bars” I find in health food stores. I think a lot of people get the terms “organic” and “natural” confused with “healthy” and “low calorie”. And just because they don’t see hydrogenated oils on the labels, that makes it “better” for you despite the fact that the first ingredient is brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, or whatever organic sweeteners are calling themselves these days.
The result of this, at least for me, is a candy that it usually….lacking something. There’s something in the flavor that just falls flat for me, like a bit of its candy bar soul has been removed in attempt to make something “bad” for you into something “better” for you. The result is something that I don’t really feel like eating at all, and falls into the category of all those power bars I see in the next aisle over. Something somewhat tasty that I can wolf down if I suddenly needed a surge of calories in my body.
Thankfully, Q.bel doesn’t take part in this candy confusion. With a tag line of : “Be True, Be Honest, Be Good”, you can expect quality. What they’re getting at is the fact that there’s no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils in these. I admit, even though I do love my candy, I do do my best to keep that sort of stuff out of my diet.
Milk Chocolate Crispy Rice Wafer Bars
The package with this specific color scheme is quite easily confused with the peanut butter bars as they both use bold reds and yellows. Despite how small the package looks, you’ll find two bars on the inside. Once removed form the wrapper, they appear much larger as they’re about an inch wide and 3/4 inch tall. They look like a rugged Kit Kat or a Manner biscuit on steroids. The bars smell sweet, chocolatey with notes of malt and caramel.
The construction is layers of wafers and chocolate cream, topped with rice crisps and then covered in chocolate.
The flavor is awesome and nicely balanced as I can really detect both parties. I can taste the wafer and rice crisps easily: starchy, light, crispy with a slight vanilla flavor. The chocolate is sweet, milky and most importantly, chocolatey! Very flavorful and very satisfying. The texture is light and crisp and feels like a nice light snack at first (it’s even very light to pick up!) but once you start eating, you are satisfied quickly.
Milk Chocolate Crisp Wafer Rolls
I like the colors of this package much more, as it was easily distinguishable from the others with its rich blues and navy borders. Somehow these feels more “milk chocolate” to me than colors the Crispy Wafer Bars utilize.
These remind me of the chocolate filled wafer Pirouettes, but more intense. If my memory serves me correctly, I can make a quick comparison that these have more filling and are also enrobed in chocolate. More of a good thing? Yes, please! They’re long, thin, and rounded except for the bottom where the chocolate flattens out to create a base. The rolls smell extremely chocolatey as soon as you open the package and it’s very enticing. I’m reminded of brownies.
The construction is a hollow wafer roll with a chocolate creme inside. The outside enrobing melts easily on my fingers, so I had to be careful not to hold it for too long. The flavor is perfectly rich: sweet, creamy with notes of milk, chocolate, and a kiss of hazelnut is present. The texture is delightfully light and crisp, and like the wafer bars, was deceivingly satisfying. I ate the two rolls and was happy with what I got. They’ve become a favorite to enjoy with my morning coffee.
I’m happy to know my Whole Foods are carrying these. I want more of them.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Q.bel Website