I first tasted the Hot Cocoa Kisses back at the 2006 All Candy Expo. I wasn’t impressed with from what I remember, but at the same time I was experiencing flavor fatigued from all the samples I had tasting prior to visiting the Hershey’s booth. They first appeared in stores as a holiday limited edition last year and I made sure to ignore them. This year I decided to go back and give them as shot.
These are similar to the Truffle Kisses, as there’s not an easily detectable filling. It’s more a smooth texture you feel in your mouth as opposed to anything you see. The center is cool on the tongue, a little greasy and very slippery.
I was expecting the flavor to be like the Truffle Kiss; basically an intensely smooth, sweet chocolate flavor. The Cocoa Kisses are not like that. Yes, they do have an intense chocolate taste, but there’s something sweeter and more buttery about this these. Thankfully, it’s not an intense fake buttery flavor like the Candy Corn Kisses. I’m instantly reminded of cupcake frosting: sweet, buttery, creamy, a little tangy with a dash of salt.
I don’t get “hot cocoa” from this at all, it’s really more like frosting. They’re tasty and I like them better than the fudge center ones.
Be forewarned as these are very, very sweet. By the time I was on my fourth Kiss I started to get a throat burn. That didn’t stop me from polishing off more than a serving or two in one sitting. Oops.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Hershey’s Kisses Website
There’s a really nice gourmet store in my area called Bon Appetit Fine Foods that I like to stop in and look around every so often. They carry all sorts of edible delights, but I’m obviously interested in the chocolate and candy that they carry. It seems that their stock changes slightly every time I go. On one of my more recent trips I discovered these bags of panned chocolate candies from France. I picked up two different kinds, and this is one of them.
“Pomme d’ Amor” or “Apple of Love” is what these are called. How lovely! They’re pieces of apple, from the looks of the package it’s either dried or a jelly of some kind. It’s then covered in milk chocolate and then again in a colored white chocolate or confectioner’s glaze. I don’t read French so I couldn’t really tell you. I’m guessing that each color is a different flavor or variety of apple. Or perhaps not. Only one way to find out!
Yellow Brown Speckled: Hard for me to place, but it has a big fruity flavor with a bright sour note and something very cinnamon about it. The interior jelly’s texture is nice, a little softer than I expected.
Green: The jelly in this is much softer and darker in color. This is very pear tasting. The fruity flavor is strong and combined with the chocolate here it has a cheesy essence to it. Strange to read I know, but trust me, it’s an odd thing to taste! This also has an odd spiciness to it.
Red: This one just tastes sweet and I finally taste a little of the chocolate. No extreme fruity or spicy notes here.
Orange/Yellow Speckled: The most chocolatey out of the bunch. It still has a big sweetness to it; you get some of the chocolate and the rest just burns away with the sugar. The jelly is a light “golden” flavor, but other then delivering a slight tartness toward the finish of the piece, there’s not much to mention
I really needed a glass of water after these.
These were fun to try, but not something I was impressed with. It’s also nothing I’d particularly crave either. I could see these working as a nice accompaniment to a cheese dessert platter maybe. But alone as a treat, I don’t like it much.
Rating:Might Eat Again
About a year ago was when I had my first taste of Charles Chocolates, a San Francisco based chocolatier founded by the endearing Chuck Siegel. This is another chocolatier that I was immediately smitten with and have, like Chuao, been trying to work my way through all of their chocolate offerings.
Charles Chocolates stresses the use of extremely fresh ingredients and making the chocolates in small batches to ensure quality. And believe me, you can really taste the difference as the flavors, for me, are much more intense than other chocolate bars I’ve had. Out of the regular Charles Chocolates offerings, I have a weak spot for the Milk Chocolate Caramelized Rice Krispie Bar and have been eyeing the Tea Collection for some time now.
The Emeryville Collection is a new line of bars that are made to sale exclusively in Whole Foods. They’re immediately eye-catching with their bright, art-deco styled boxes.
Hazelnut bar (65% bittersweet): The chocolate is dark, rich, and fruity. It has a beautiful color, shiny gloss and a strong snap. The hazelnuts are whole and roasted, so the flavors are much more complex. Extremely fresh, nutty, sweet, salty and crispy. It’s really lovey and the whole bar has a great buttery feel on the tongue.
Cashew (41% milk): The chocolate is a beautiful, creamy color. The flavor is milky and sweet and exceptionally smooth. It falls into the “epitome of what good milk chocolate is” category in my book. The cashews are buttery and fresh. They have a great crunch to them and they have a nice saltiness to them that balances out the chocolate well.
Pecan Cherry (65% bittersweet: It’s the same nice dark chocolate as the Hazelnut bar, so it has that delicate sweetness and light fruitiness. The cherries are big and juicy and they really deliver a nice chewy texture. The pecans are fresh with that similar salty roasted flavors and crispy texture that the hazelnuts ad cashews have. This bar is the sweetest of the three and I blame that on the cherries, but it’s satisfying and very tempting. This bar is a sophisticated twist on the usual “raisin and peanut bar” you see everywhere.
This trio of bars are an excellent example of how simple ingredients and combinations can really elevate an already great chocolate. I can’t wait for these to show in my local Whole Foods.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Charles Chocolates Website
Dolfin is a chocolate company from Belgium that I’ve gotten very familiar with in the past couple of years. I originally bought their chocolate because they offer these adorable pocket sized bars in interesting flavors. I figured it’s be a safe way to expand my flavor profile without much risk if I didn’t like how something tasted. I was excited to find that they released a bunch of summer limited edition flavors and found them during one of my trips to New York City to visit family. I am aware that it’s December now ad very far away from summer, but I feel the need to review these flavors before another season passes.
The first limited edition flavor I’ll review is the “Southern Passion”. It’s described as: “milk chocolate with apricot and rosemary”. Doesn’t that sound tasty? I’ve had apricot in chocolate, but not rosemary, so I was pretty excited to give it a taste.
The chocolate is a light brown color and it’s very attractive. The bar smells lightly of chocolate but mainly you get the woodsy, herbal notes of the rosemary. It still comes off as “sweet”, but the scent certainly overpowers everything else.
The flavor is immediately sweet and you get the light peachy/appley taste of apricot with a good creamy sweet cocoa hit. The rosemary hits very lightly, more of a hint and suggestion (also a slight texture from the pieces ground in there) than an actual strong presence like the smell suggests. The bar is also slightly salty too, so you get this really beautiful balance of creamy milk chocolate with caramel and cream notes, but no dairy tang, with a light authentic flavor of apricot. Those flavors are balanced with a light herbal kick and the dose of salt. Beautifully done and terribly tasty.
I’d buy it again, easily. Since it’s a limited edition I can see myself hoarding it if I could find more to buy….
Rating: Will Buy Again
I keep seeing these “Fully Loaded” bars and I’ve been wondering what they’re all about. The packages stick out like a sore thumb with a very eye-catching but overly crowded design. I kept putting off trying them simply because I was intimidated by the sized the regular bars. Then I noticed these small ones at my local Wawa, so I picked up a few taking it as a sign I should finally give them a go. The variety of the minis is the “milk chocolate with cookies & creme and chocolate chips”. Sounds tasty!
The chocolate is a little square, about 1/2 oz. The one side is “fully loaded” with the extras and the other is the chocolate with the company name and brand printed on it. Talk about pumping all the advertising space available!
First thing I notice is how hard this is to eat since the “loaded” pieces keep falling off. It smells sweet and I’m reminded of an Oreo cookie, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve had one. Some things you just don’t forget.
Flavor is terribly sweet, and along with the subtle notes of the milk chocolate that manages to peek though all the sugar, that’s really all I taste. The “fully loaded” part really end up being more about texture than flavor, it adds a really pleasant crunch to the sweet, smooth milk chocolate base.
I’d eat this again if it was given to me. I’m sort of curious to try the other varieties now. As soon as I see mini sizes of them….
Rating: Might Eat Again
Fully Loaded Website