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December 2014
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dark chocolate

Dec
17



Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca

Since moving out to the west coast, there’s a lot of candy changes I’ve noticed when I go to the local stores. It’s amazing to me how regional candy can be, and some treats that I was so used to seeing are no longer around. Then there’s the candies that I never saw and now see routinely on my grocery store trips. Brown Haley’s Roca candies are one of these. I used to never be able to find them, and now that I’m on the west coast I see them everywhere. I’ve tried them unofficially, but I haven’t sat down to do a real officially review of them just yet. I hope to fix that some today with this seasonal variety of Roca that is peppermint flavored.

I really like the Roca’s package design. The red and white stripes and the easily recognizable Roca logo make it so beautiful and festive. The top opens up to reveal a sealed foil packet that holds the Roca pieces safely and keeps them fresh. Simple and easy design.

The candies come individuality wrapped in heavy foil wrappers that are decorated with white and red stripes. You can smell the chocolate through the wrappers. There’s only the the slightest hint of peppermint, which I was surprised by as I was expecting more of a scent. Once unwrapped, the Roca has a nice, deep dark chocolate coating. There’s a drizzle of white chocolate on top which gives it a nice seasonal feeling. 

The first bite is incredibly crispy and just easily falls apart into nice soft pieces. The peppermint flavor is mixed into the dark chocolate, and it gives it a very rich flavor from the peppermint oil. The toffee’s buttery flavor shines through once the dark chocolate coating melts away. It’s beautifully sweet and very buttery with light toasted notes. The blending of the dark chocolate, the toffee and the peppermint flavoring is a very flavorful one. It works well with keeping what we all recognize to be a Roca candy, but at the same time it’s something seasonal.

I was super pleased with the texture of the toffee in these candies. They were hard, but shattered beautifully into pieces when bitten into the right way. The toffee pieces weren’t sharp and instead felt a little soft as you began to chew them. It’s completely delightful to much on these. The flavor is great too, with the peppermint being a great addition to the Roca’s normal flavors. These are a nice introduction into the Roca line if you’ve never had them. Also if you’re just crazy about Peppermint but don’t want something too strong, these are a good way to go.
Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again


Links Brown & Haley Roca Website


Dec
10



Peeps Candy Cane Chocolate Dipped

I really love how creative Marshmallow Peeps have been getting in the past couple of years. You can tell they’ve really been trying hard to replicate how people have been enjoying their chocolate dipped and chocolate covered peeps. So I was especially excited to see that they decided to go and make peppermint flavored Peeps and dip their cute behinds in chocolate for the holidays this year. I’ve really loved this style of Peep back during Easter time when they’ve had the coco Peeps with the chocolate coating, so I’m especially interested to see how the peppermint flavor goes over. It’s an incredibly festive idea and I bought these immediately once I saw them in the store. 

Well, first things first! I looked at the ingredients list and the chocolate used here is indeed real chocolate. Phew! The Peeps are just adorable. They come three to a package and each one nestled in their own little plastic sections. The Peeps are a beautiful white with red peppermint flakes on them. The are super cute and super festive. The plastic tray they fit in protects them really well too, so none of my Peeps got squished. 

The Peeps smell really intensely of peppermint. You can detect a little bit of the chocolate in the scent, but it’s mainly the peppermint.

The texture of the Peep is really soft and pillowy, like a Peep should be. The chocolate on the bottom is tasty and melts easily on the tongue. The peppermint flavor is the star here, but it’s still not a strong as I was expecting. The Peeps have a nice subtle vanilla flavor accented by the peppermint. The dark chocolate on the bottom has a really nice flavor that compliments the peppermint marshmallow perfectly. Considering I’ve had other Peeps of this variety, I think the peppermint marshmallow works a lot better than the standard marshmallow. It gives the candy a new depth to it. It’s not longer “just” a marshmallow peep.

I highly recommend these to anyone who loves Peeps and also adore the whole peppermint trend that shows up this time of year. I can also see these used for a lot of really neat food decorations; on top of mugs of hot cocoa or to decorate cupcakes. These Peeps taste great and look super cute and festive at the same time!

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Links Marshmallow Peeps Website


Dec
03



Hedonist Sea Salt Caramels

The holiday season is now in full swing! This is an exciting time for any candy lover as the sweets that come out for the Holidays are always interesting and delicious. Which is why I was super excited to hear from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates about reviewing some complimentary samples their Salted Caramels. It has been a few years since I tried and reviewed the Hedonist Chocolates’s Holiday Truffle Collection. It was super delicious and awesome so I was most eager to give their Salted Caramels a try.

I first need to comment on the beautiful packaging that these Salted Caramels come in. It’s simple yet so very stylish with the dark brown box and the simple golden rod yellow ribbon. It speaks of elegance with the subtle styling. Once the box is opened, the caramels are beautifully arranged in a tray that keeps them separated and safe. The milk and dark varieties are easy to distinguish, one is noticeable lighter in color. Each has salt sprinkled on top. They smell rich of chocolate, but I detect no notes of caramel in there.

 

Hedonist Sea Salt Caramels

 

Dark Chocolate Caramel: You immediately taste the salt on your first bite, which elevates the caramel into a whole new level of intensity. The sweetness of the chocolate and the butteryness of the caramel are elevated and the flavor is more grand. The richness of the dark chocolate delivers sweetness that isn’t overpowering and mingles nicely with the salt. The buttery caramel it out of this world! It’s smooth and not too sticky in texture. The flavor is complex, with the flavor rooted in butter accented with nice toasted notes. Again, mixed with the salt, just makes the flavor simply “pop”. It’s incredibly deliciousness.

Milk Chocolate Caramel: The salt really makes these chocolate incredible. The milk chocolate is sweet and creamy, and adds a lovely sweetness but not much chocolate flavor. The caramel is so delicious. It’s buttery and sweet, with nice deep toasted notes that contrast beautifully with the salt. Because the milk chocolate isn’t as flavorful as the dark chocolate, you can taste the caramel much better. I found that I got even more flavors out of the caramel when tasting the milk chocolate pieces. Along with the buttery ans toasted notes, I get a tad of smoke which reminds me of how toasted marshmallows smell. It’s so a delightful play of flavor and texture as you eat it. These are meant to be slowly savored as the flavors are so wonderful.


This package also came with a surprise: Candy Cane Bark!

Hedonist Peppermint Bark

Gorgeous isn’t it?

The slabs of bark are thick, as least a 1/4 of an inch. They’re mainly bittersweet chocolate (55%), with white chocolate swirls on top and a generous coating of candy cane crumbles. They are very attractive!

Despite all the candy cane crumbles, this bar still smells of chocolate. It’s a sweet smell too, full of cream, caramel and coffee. The flavor is a wonderful balance of peppermint and chocolate. This is an Andes Mint on super steroids. You first get the flavor from the candy canes, with their sweet and intense peppermint flavor. It’s cool and refreshing and leaves a wonderful fresh flavor in your mouth. The chocolate is just luscious, it’s creamy, sweet and incredibly chocolatey. It compliments the candy cane bits so well. I couldn’t stop reaching for this bark one I opened the package, a sign that it is indeed irresistible. 

I simply loved these samples from Hedonist Chocolates. They were really delicious and you could tell that they really used fresh, quality ingredients in making these chocolates. Both the Salted Caramels and the Candy Cane bark didn’t last very long between my husband and myself eating them once I had my tasting notes for the review. I know several of my family members who are going to love these, and I plan to buy them some for the holiday season (some of them are caramel people). I’ll buy myself another box of course too. Hedonist have really kept up the quality since I last sampled their chocolates, and I greatly look forward to when I can have some again!

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard


Links Hedonist Artisan Chocolates Website


Sep
05



Dove Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel

It’ll probably come as no surprise, but I found these Dove Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels along side the Cookies and Creme flavor on the shelf at Target. I admit that the unusual colors of these packages alerted me that they were new. It’s amazing how just a splash of color can carry so much meaning! Since I was already there looking for new candy, I figured one more for the blog wouldn’t hurt. Plus, dark chocolate and sea salt caramel? Too tasty sounding to resist. 

The chocolate’s wrappers are a shiny light blue foil with the Dove logo and black writing on it. The chocolate has a lovely aroma, it smells rich and sweet, with notes of coffee and cream and burnt sugar. Again, these Promises (which I believe these pieces are actually branded) have inspiration messages on the inside. I ate these too fast that I forgot what they said. Oops.

The chocolate is extremely creamy. It has an intense chocolate flavor with a slight note of coffee. The chocolate forms a nice hard shell around the creamy caramel interior. It’s not too sturdy and not too frail, a perfect thickness to keep the caramel protected but easy to bite into. The caramel is buttery and sweet, and you can certainly taste the hint of sea salt. The sea salt is only enough to notice, so it’s not overly salty. The caramel is flowing and smooth, and thankfully not too liquid so that it would be easy to spill. Overall the mix of flavors is really nice; mix of chocolate and buttery caramel that’s kissed with salt. It’s a really lovely combination.

I enjoyed these far more than I expected. These are super tasty and I shared my bag with my coworkers, who also all loved them. I really enjoyed them with morning coffee, as the chocolate and caramel are perfect compliments. Regardless of how you prefer to eat them, if you’re looking for something new to try, if you’d like to give a salted chocolate a go, or if you enjoy chocolate with caramel, do check these out. They just might be your new favorite. 

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Links Dove Chocolate Website


Aug
01



Scorpion Caramels

~~Today I’m trying something new. My fiance, who is a big chili head, ordered some chili candies that are made with extremely hot peppers. Now, I can take a pretty good dose of hotness in my foods, but even these were a little out of my league. I asked he he wouldn’t mind doing a guest review of these candies for me, as I didn’t think I could do a full review myself with the small nibbles I took (it was a hotness that I could handle). So please, enjoy!~~~

I first heard about these Scorpion Sting Caramels from aTed Barrus review. I’m a fan of spicy things, specifically the natural heat of peppers, so I decided to try these as they use powder from the Moruga Scorpion which currently one of the hottest peppers in the world. They’re made as a collaboration between Volcanic Peppers and The Madison Chocolatiers and can be purchased from either site. They came in a clear package with six caramels: two white chocolate, two milk chocolate, and two dark chocolate. They were wrapped in orange, maroon, and gold foil (with no indication of which was which) and were about an inch square and 1/3 of an inch thick. The important thing to note about these chocolates is that they are getting their heat from a very hot chilli pepper. This makes it different than most hot candies in that the heat here is coming from the capcasin in the peppers, not from anything artificially added.

I’ll start with the orange wrapper:

Turns out this one is the dark chocolate. It definitely smells rich, like chips used for cookies. You can smell the butteryness of the caramel immediately and as it was fairly solid, it allowed me to break it in half cleanly exposing a rich molasses color. The initial bite is sweet and creamy, though with a fudge like consistency. The chocolate melts nicely and in about 15 seconds you begin to feel the heat from the peppers. Honestly, to me it isnt very hot, however I enjoy fiery foods. In terms of the burn, I can feel it mostly on my tongue and down the back of my throat, almost like drinking some good brandy. Actually it feels really good in my humble opinion. It is a nice, warm, tingly burn that never peaks to a huge degree. It just settles into a nice warm burn and lasts for a few minutes.

Moving to the gold wrapper:

This one was the milk chocolate. It had the same sweet smell as the first, however not as powerful. It melted fairly quickly on my fingers. The chocolate and caramel seem sweeter than the first and actually seem to hold off the burn of the peppers a bit longer than the dark variety. Again, the chocolate melts very well and the caramel is rich and has that fudge-like quality. One of my biggest gripes about caramel is that it often sticks to my teeth and this fortunately avoids that entirely. Again I get the same burn sensation as the dark due to the dusting of Scorpion powder with similar localization of the burn.

Finally, the dark maroon wrapper:

This one was the white chocolate and as soon as its wrapper is removed you get this great white chocolate aroma which reminds me of a Zero bar. You don’t smell as much of the caramel because the lovely aroma of white chocolate is so strong. The flavor of white chocolate seems an even better coating for these caramels in my opinion. The white doesn’t seem to melt as fast and provides a bit of a chew to it, not much, but enough to give you a choice: either let it melt slowly and definitely get more heat, or chew and swallow and not feel it as much. Thats a recurring theme here, the longer you hold them in your mouth the more heat you’ll get. The pepper flavor and heat are quite strong here and build to a nice burn like the previous. At this point I’ve eaten three of them and their heat definitely starts to stack. I can feel the burn on my tongue, down the back of my throat and now I’m feeling a nice warm sensation in my belly. I’m the kind of guy that enjoys a nice after dinner cordial and honestly, it feels a bit like that right now. My stomach feels a nice warm tingle. The difference is that my mouth and throat get a bit of that capsacin burn.

These are lovely caramels and I applaud the use of such a rare and distinct chilli in their creation. It tames the scorpion heat VERY well. I’ve had some other things that were made with the pepper and let me tell you, they’re mind BENDINGLY hot. Just check out some internet videos of people eating the pepper whole and you’ll see what I mean. But these caramels used just right amount of the powder and blended it with the right ingredients to make it a quite enjoyable flavor. I wont say its for the chili novice and you’d certainly have to have a palate for, and enjoy spicy foods, but if you like your curries or chicken wings pretty spicy, these would be a great candy to try out.

As for the long term, Its been about 15-20 minutes since I’ve started the review and the ‘pain’ or ‘burning’ of the peppers has gone away, but I’m left with a really nice warm feeling in my throat and belly. Great job!

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Links The Madison Chocloatiers


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