Edible Easter grass was something that first appeared a few years ago. When I first heard of it, I thought that it was a cool idea. I mean really, why would an extra edible something in your Easter basket be a bad idea? I obviously didn’t think about this rationally, but more like the sugar junkie that I am. Oops.
I first saw the Easter grass in Target last year. It was in a very plain, non descriptive package and came in only two flavors: cherry and green apple. Not being a fan of either, I figured that cherry was a safer bet and used my courage to take the odd looking stuff home. I don’t remember too much after that, other than I tasted it and promptly spit it out.
This year I saw the edible Easter grass again, but this time in Wal-Mart (bad sign?) by a different company and in more flavors. The package is actually very attractive, with an eggs shaped window showing the grass inside and surrounded by butterflies and bunnies. “Imported from Germany” is printed in large yellow lettering on the front, and I’m curious as to why this should have any bearing on the actual product. If it’s foreign, maybe that makes it taste better? I don’t know.
I picked up the Orange flavor since out of all the options, I thought that this would taste the best. The grass is pretty to look at, it really does look and feel like Easter grass, even though it’s a little stiff. The ingredeitns read as such:
“Potato starch, corn starch, modified corn starch, artificial flavors, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, artificial color (yellow 5, red 40, blue 2)”
The strands are square shaped and are about ten inches in length. They smell lightly sweet. The texture is light and airy at first, then they get sticky and gummy as you start to chew. The flavor is so very faint, with only a slight orange flavor. The main flavor is of cardboard and starch, and I’m reminded of communion wafers. So they’re pretty bland, but not putrid like the cherry kind from the year before.
As stand-along Easter grass, it works fine, but the real thing is much cheaper.
Rating: Not Worth It
These are last of the Q.bel reviews I have to share. Take my word for it though, as these may be last, but not the least of the bunch!
Q.bel PB Wafer Bars
I can’t comment much more on the packaging without it feeling like I’m beating a dead horse. Unwrapping these bars, I am pleased to say these smell exactly like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (RPBC) to me. The aroma is so strong of fresh peanut butter with a kiss of chocolate. It’s something I could sit and inhale all day.
The Peanut Butter Wafer Bars are a little different in terms of construction than the Milk and Dark Chocolate ones. There’s no rice crisps in this bar and I was sort of expecting to find bits of peanut in there as a replacement. Alas, I was wrong. The peanut butter is beautifully sandwiched in between the wafers, as you can see in the photo.
There’s a really nice crispness to the bite in these despite the lack of the crisped rice. The flavor isn’t as punchy as the Wafer Rolls, there’s more wafer here to soften the bold flavors of the peanut butter and chocolate. It’s very creamy, nutty with a touch of salt. There’s nice sweetness under the whole flavor from the chocolate that’s smooth and cool on the tongue. I got a bit of a throat tickle from eating this, as the peanut butter is intense. I like it that way though.
Out of all the Wafer Bars I had, these were the ones that disappeared first out of the bunch that I shared with friends.
Q.bel Peanut Butter Wafer Rolls
The Peanut Butter Wafer Rolls, like their Milk and Dark Chocolate counterparts, didn’t disappoint. They too smelled strongly and are reminiscent of RPBC. The coating didn’t melt as easily in my hands as the others did, which I found perplexing. I’m not complaining though!
The Rolls are wonderfully peanutty, roasted and salty. The flavor is great and I’d consider this an awesome snack for peanut butter lovers. You get an intense flavor hit of the smooth, extremely fresh creamy peanut butter. It’s sweet, roasted, salty, and plain tasty! The Roll even lets you get the thick peanut butter texture on your tongue if you eat it in just the right way. The chocolate coating gives it that needed edge of sweetness and the wafer provides a wonderful crunchy/crispy texture.
Addicting. Simply addicting.
Even though I’m more of a chocolate than a peanut butter person, I’d say these were beautifully done and tie with the dark chocolate wafer rolls as my favorite in the Q.bel line.
You don’t have to take my opinions on these as the final word though, be sure to check out what Cybele at CandyBlog.net, Rosa at ZOMG! Candy, CandyAddict.com and Chocolate Blog has to say about them.
Links Q.bel Website
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
Leonidas was one of the treats from the UK that I haven’t heard of before. They’re not based in the UK either, as they’re a traditional Belgian chocolatier and are pretty widely distributed around the world. I feel this sampling of a few of their chocolate bars seems like a good indication of what kind of products I can expect from Leonidas. I was especially eager to try them, considering the experiences I’ve had from Belgium chocolatiers in the past have been less than noteworthy. I’m hoping these will change my mind!
White: I chose to sample this bar first since white chocolate is a pretty good indication of the quality and style of the chocolatier. I had high hopes right away, as the bar smells sweet, buttery and fatty from the real cocoa butter in here.
The bar itself is pristine and ivory colored. Gorgeous.
The flavor is extremely rich. The texture is very thick, buttery and smooth on the tongue. There’s a nice sweetness to it and it’s not too much. The chocolate is very creamy, milky and buttery as the aroma indicated. It has a good cocoa butter taste and it’s not polluted with lots of vanilla, which is how I like my white chocolate.
54% Nibs Bar: Leonidas calls this bar “dark”, even though I don’t consider a 54% cocoa solids to be a dark. I digress, as I don’t want to get into semantics here.
The bar is very deep in color, showing a rich brown with nice cool undertones. The back shows the nibbly texture which is lightly bumpy.
The chocolate smells of cocoa, vanilla, cream, cocoa, coffee and berries.
Breaking off a piece, the snap is very crisp because of the thinness of the bar. It also breaks easily and it’s mostly clean with only a few small air bubbles.
The flavor is extremely rich. The chocolate tastes, well, chocolatey, as opposed to being clouded by milk and sugar. There’s nice flavors of coffee, cream and vanilla which are very complimentary. The mouth feel is extremely slippery and rich. The nibs have a roasted flavor and provide a nice subtle crunchy texture. It’s not crispy, as the nibs are a little soft. The contrast is just lovely.
Feuilletine: It took me a moment to figure out how to describe how the wafers in this bar are different than the ones you find in, oh, say a Kitkat. These are denser and crunchier like waffle cones.
The back of the bar is quite bumpy and there’s lots of visible air bubbles. It doesn’t look like it was tempered well, as if it was a rush job. The break is also just ridden with bubbles, which makes me suspicious. But, there’s no sign of wafers in my break either, which I’m confused by. Where are they?
The flavor is lacking. I get sweetness, a little dairy tang, but there’s not a lot of chocolate flavor. The wafers are actually crumbles in the chocolate that are small and crunchy. You can really feel them when you chew. The deliver a very salty flavor that appears halfway through the taste as you eat a piece. It’s very odd.
Dark Orange: Beautiful dark and has a very bright, zesty, citrusy smell. It smells more like tangerine to me than orange. The break is nice and clean.
The flavor is first of the dark chocolate which is mildly sweet, very rich with nice deep cocoa flavors. Then the orange comes in, not too strong or overly artificial, it’s fresh and zesty and light and just kisses the chocolate. It’s really nice and smooth as the two flavors combine and melt together. A beautiful pairing and I wish I had more of this bar.
Aside from the Feuilletine bar, I was impressed with these. The chocolate had dignity and wasn’t too sugary like I find most Belgium chocolates are. I’ll have to make a special trip to go visit their new store in New York City to take a peek at their other offerings.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Leonidas Website