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
I can’t remember where or when it was that I first heard of the Kinda Surprise Egg. My best guess is that it was during college, and one of my friends introduced me to them. What I was immediately stuck by was how great the idea of it was and how silly it is that they’re not available in the United States (and now sadly, other countries are following suit.) due to a supposed choking hazard of the toy. I find that silly and disappointing, since the Kinder Surprise is such a fun and unique candy. It’d be a shame to have it disappear in this over-protective modern world we live in.
The Kinder Egg (kinder meaning “child” in German) is made by Ferrero and is about double the size of a real egg. I’ve seen them sold as is or in a box or three or more. It’s construction sonsists of the chocolate egg surrounding that iconic bright yellow capsule that holds the toy. The chocolate has two layers: the outside is milk chocolate and the inside white “lining”...aka mockolate. The egg is easily broken open since the chocolate is soft, and it tastes very sweet with that European dry milk powder flavor. I find that it gives me a small throat burn, but it doesn’t bother me too much.
The yellow capsule pops open under firm pressure revealing the instructions and pieces of the toy, which almost always require assembly. There’s also usually a paper that has the website and a coupon code printed on it for a chance to win prizes. I admit I never bothered with that, though.
Wow! Look, I got a spy kit! I now can use my belt-clipping mirror to spy on my roommate!
A few of the more memorable toys I’ve gotten from are a German gingerbread-styled house (to line up with other houses, oh yay!), a whale-shaped car meant for driving on the moon (say what?) and a figurine of a “handsome” prince which was actually rather terrifying. You can see many other toys in the Flickr Kinder Surprise Pool.
I find myself buying these whenever I see them because I love the cheesy toy so much. It never fails to make me laugh. Regardless if I keep it for myself or give it to a friend, it’s fun embodied in a chocolate candy egg.
Rating:Will Buy Again
Links Kinder Surprise Website
After yesterday’s explanation about the Terry Chocolate Orange, you’re probably wondering why t is I’m eating another one. It’s simple: I was given this one along with the Cracking Hazelnut. I had to try both! Especially since I’m a sucker for white chocolate. The idea of getting that orange flavor blended with the white chocolate made me swoon on the inside, so I was particularly excited about giving this one a go.
I can’t help but wonder if this one is a very limited, limited edition. The fact that they call it a “Snowball” sets off alarms in my head.
So we’re all familiar with the process: remove from box, WHACK, unwrap and eat.
This Terry’s Orange is beautiful to look at. Unlike the milk and dark chocolate varieties, the mold of the orange looks so much better in the white. The ivory slices just reach a new aesthetic level to me. They smell sweet and slightly of orange. I’m happy to report that neither are overpowering.
The flavor is creamy, sweet, and milky like a good standard white chocolate. The orange flavor is at the forefront with very juicy, citrus and zesty notes. The two flavors blend well with the sweet white chocolate allowing the orange flavor to really shine. In some of the other Terry Oranges the orange flavor comes across as a tad artificial, but it doesn’t do that here.
I wish I could get this one again easily. It’s the perfect version of a Terry’s Orange for me. Sadly, it’s all eaten up, and I’m sure it’s no longer sold. Best to not look back. *sob*
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Links US Terry’s Chocolate Orange Page
I first heard of Sucre back when I was still writing for CandyAddict. I was given a sampler of their bonbons to review for the site. Needless to say, I was impressed with their work. Now, fast forward to just a few days ago when I came home from work to find a box of Sucre’s newest offerings waiting for me on my doorstep. Valentine’s Day came early for me this year.
The exquisitely designed turquoise box holds a sampler of their new “For the Love of Chocolate” Valentines Day collection. A set of three different heart bonbons, each easily distinguishable from one another in milk, dark and white chocolate. They’re beautiful to look at; colorful and iridescent. They smell of chocolate, and I was able to find the flavors by looking online: Chic Raspberry, Grand Coeur and Rose.
Red Raspberry (dark chocolate heart filled with raspberry ganache) : A beautiful, deep, sparky maroon color. Gorgeous to look at! It smells deep of dark chocolate with notes of red fruits and coffee. There’s no raspberry scent at all. The first bite is so smooth and rich, with only the top shell, which is very thin, having a bit of a crunch to it. The flavor is luxurious with a subtle, authentic raspberry flavor that’s very jammy. The chocolate is beautifully mild and sweet, complimenting the raspberry favor so well. It’s a delicate, graceful bonbon. The texture is silky, smooth, and it’s lovely.
Heart of Rose (white chocolate heart filled with rose water and island vanilla scented white chocolate ganache) : Smells sweet and of plants; part of it reminds me of vanilla and other like leaves. It’s not perfumey like rose, but I do get “vegetation” in there. The first bite tastes very cheesy, like a sweet brie. I don’t get much in terms of vanilla or rose, but the smooth cheesy flavor is nice. It’s interesting how my taste buds read this combination of flavors. I want to eat this with a baguette.
Grand Coeur (milk chocolate ganache infused with orange and triple sec coated in a dark chocolate) : This one has a beautiful copper/bronze color to it. It smells earthy and rich, with a subtle citrus zest to it which immediately gives it awesome points in my book. The flavor is heavenly. This is the purest, most beautiful pairing of chocolate and orange I’ve had to date. The orange is fresh and zesty, and the triple sec adds that authentic citrus bite and bitterness on the tongue. The chocolate is sweet, creamy and compliments the more tart and bitter qualities of the flavorings. Again the texture is silky smooth and the overall effect is just out of this world. I can’t gush enough about how lovely this is.
These hearts are so wonderful I can’t decide how to eat them: savor their rich flavors slowly or shove hand fulls into my mouth. I feel the instinct to do both as they’re just that delicious. But, in the spirit of the season, I’ve saved 3/4 of the box to share with my sweetheart.
Links Sucre’s Website
Tirol Choco is a classic Japanese candy. It’s well known as the cheapest chocolate you can buy, in the best ways possible, with each little square available at the store for 5 yen apiece. This makes it an easily accessible candy for many children and therefore it has a big nostalgic value for many people.
Like many Japanese companies, Tirol Choco releases flavors specific to the seasons. These Dango chocolates are meant for spring and represent a traditional Japanese sweet that’s eaten while viewing the cherry blossoms. I realize I’m reviewing them quite out out season, when spring is only a sliver in hope in one’s mind. Still, the flavors and attractiveness of these little squares is not diminished at all by the snow drifts outside my window. I do imagine that they’d taste better watching the sakura, though.
True to the Dango sweets, these come in flavors of strawberry, green tea and milk, with the colors representing the cherry blossoms and leaves. There’s also a small, chewy mochi (a rice dough) in the center.
Ichigo: (strawberry)bright carton pink color and immediately smells strongly of strawberry with a tart yogurty tang. This tastes of melted strawberry ice cream. The strawberry flavor is so fresh and real I can’t believe it. I really just feel like i ate a spoonful of Breyer’s Grand. YUM!
Matcha: (green tea) Dark green and very grassy looking. Smells lightly of tea. Flavor is of matcha, so it’s grassy and bitter at first, then it sweetens and you get some milky flavors.
Sweet Milk: White chocolate with vanilla bean flecks. It smells so strongly of vanilla. The flavor tastes of vanilla ice cream. It’s amazing. The mochi center is nice and chewy.
These were delightful little morsels and they went great with a cup of green tea. I am interested now in trying the other flavors in Tirol’s Choco line.
Rating: Will Eat Again.
Tirol Choco Website