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Holiday

Mar
19



Brach's Spiced Beans Package

I want to be perfectly honest here. I love, love spice beans. I realize that they’re the jelly beans we’ve all encountered as kids, probably visiting the Grandparents over the Easter holiday. We’d see a candy dish on the table full of jelly beans and eagerly grab a handful. As we shoved the colorful, sugary orbs into our mouths, we realized they were full of odd flavors: cinnamon, peppermint, and heaven forbid, clove. Flavors that are not suited to our sugar-oriented taste buds, and they’re promptly get spit into the garbage when the adults weren’t looking.

So yes, I am strange in this love of mine. In my defense, I didn’t eat them as a kid. I wasn’t ever exposed to them to be honest. It wasn’t until college where I noticed them in the candy aisles and decided to try them to see what the fuss was about. The rest is history, as so they stay.

Brach’s has always been one of my favorite varieties. I liked the flavors and textures, especially more than the other cheaper pectin spice beans I’d enounter. I was tempted by them a few times from the cheaper price tag, but I soon realized that you got what you paid for.

So why do I feel Brach’s are so superior? Firstly, these beans are large, like three to four times the size of Jelly Belly Beans, and maybe two to three of the Starburst and Just Born’s beans. They just have an satisfying size, even if you’re just looking at them. 

 

Brach's Spiced Beans

Ginger (orange): I hard a hard time placing this flavor at first. Which I found frustrating for a bit. It didn’t taste gingery at first, but then halfway though that gingery burn shows up a little bit. I’d say it’s the spiciest of the bunch, but it’s still pretty mild, all things considered. This was the flavor I was looking forward to least, but I did liked it after all.

Clove (purple): It’s woodsy, sweet and not as strong as I was expecting. I enjoyed the nutty and herbal chew. Am I the only one?

Licorice (black): Oh yay! I love licorice jelly beans. This reminds me of the licorice flavor in Good & Plenty; good strong flavor with molasses’ sweetness to it. No hints of anise here. I really thought this was a stellar flavored licorice bean. Yum, my second favorite of the bunch.

Spearmint (green):A nicely fresh, bright flavor that reminds me of toothpaste. Has a little grassy note to it.

Cinnamon (red): Was there any doubt? This one is wonderful warm and grainy, I felt like I was chewing some Big Red gum, minus the extremely intense burn.

Peppermint (white): I was nervous about this one at first, as I’m not big on peppermint. Thankfully, it’s a very light and delicate flavor. I liked this too since it didn’t overpower my taste buds which I find peppermint usually does.

Wintergreen (pink): Lovely grainy, clean, fresh, a little sweet and peppery. Can’t you tell I just love wintergreen? The flavor is strong, and has good spicy notes similar to root beer.

I always buy a few bags to keep me going for a few months past Easter, and this year is no exception. If you haven’t tried spice beans before, I really suggest giving them a try. You may just find you love them as much as I do.

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard

Links Brach’s Website


Mar
18



Milka Ei Egg Package: Closed

I heard about these mysterious Milka “Scoop Easter Eggs” in places all over the internet. Usually I’d hear them mentioned, and praised, in areas where Cadbury Cream Eggs were being discussed. The idea of a cream filled chocolate eggs was extremely tempting, so I started to extensively search to find these nameless scoop eggs that fondly existed in people’s childhood Easter memories. My hard work eventually paid off as I located these Ei Eggs made by Milka (I know Ei is “egg” in Dutch) and I knew immediately that I had found what all the fuss was about. I put an order in and waited patiently for my treat to arrive on my doorstep.

First of all, I was impressed by the packaging. They really went all out. The eggs come in a pack of four, in a beautiful bright purple egg carton. How cool! You flip the top open to find the eggs and a set of two plastic spoons to eat them with. Are they suggesting that at share? I hope not!

 

Milka Ei Egg Package: Open

This one’s interactivity I found really interesting. It looks like a large Cadbury Cream Egg (CCE from now on) that you “crack” open and eat the white looking insides with a spoon. So cute! Once unwrapped from the foil, the egg’s surface is smooth, except for 1/4 way up the top where there’s a zig zag crack pattern showing were you are supposed to open the egg. The packages’ picture directions who you whacking it open with the dinky plastic spoon that is included, but I decided lightly squeezing the egg to get it to cleave was a better method.

Eating the broken off top shell gave me a chance to taste the chocolate: it’s sweet, has a really nice milkiness to it that has a slight tang to it. I’d say Cadbury chocolate is milkier and I do get notes of the chocolate and some caramel in there too. I was impressed with the chocolate’s taste, since I really was expecting it just to be creamy and sweet tasting like most mass produced milk chocolates are.

 

Milka Ei Egg: Inside

Now, for those white cream insides. Taking my first scoop, I realized the insides were more light and fluffy as opposed to the CCE’s dense and gooey center. This is more whipped and airy. The flavor is that of white chocolate: it’s creamy, a little chocolatey, very sweet and I even get notes of malt and vanilla. Overall, a stellar white chocolate flavor. It has that very slick mouth feel from all the cocoa butter and vegetable oils. This was cute to eat too as it was oddly satisfying to eat with the little spoon. That also slowed down my eating process so it took me a bit to finish and I could go slowly and really enjoy it.

I love these, since the interactivity of eating it is not only fun, but unique was well. Not to mention they’re really delicious! The only thing I would warn against is you may find this overly sweet if you are sensitive to that sort of thing and if CCE’s are not too your liking for the same reason. If you see them, I highly recommend you picking some up.

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard

Links Milka Website


Mar
17



Reeses's Eggs Package

I think most everyone can agree with me that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (RPBC) and all the Reese’s family home a special place in our hearts and tummies. There’s just something about them that just screams taste, comfort and nostalgia to me. That’s why partly I love the holidays too, as you can find a Reese’s to match the occasion. There’s pumpkin-shaped Reese’s in the fall, heart ones in February, and egg-shaped ones near Easter. There’s seems to always be a different shape in which to enjoy them, in case you get bored with the traditional cup.

Now, there’s one thing that’s very interesting about RPBC, is that depending on the size and shape, the peanut butter to chocolate ratio changes. Many swear by the minis because there’s more peanut butter, others like the regular cups because the chocolate and peanut butter are a little more equal. That’s why I was very interested to try these Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs (the name is a mouth full by itself!) because I was curious if it followed the mini’s ratio or if it had one that was entirely new.

 

Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

Once unwrapped, you see they’re egg shaped with a big seam running along the sides. You can tell right away that each side was individually piped though of PB and then smooshes together to make the eggs. The flavor is the same we all know and love with the RPBC, smooth milk chocolate with the salty, roasted, creamy flavor of the peanut butter. I’d say the ratio is pretty darned similar to the real RPBC minis, so aside from the shape and the easier breakage in the mouth, these are pretty much the same thing. I have to say, that the round eggs shape does feel very wonderful to roll around in the mouth.

Any RPBC lover would be thrilled to find these beauties in their Easter basket or shopping cart. The wrappers are so attractive and festive I can’t help but love them. I’m going after more of these once the sales start.

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again

Links Reese’s Website


Mar
16



Joseph Schmidt Box

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.

 

Joseph Schmidt Truffles I

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

 

Will Buy Again

Links Joseph Schmidt Website

 


Mar
13



Jelly Belly Speckled Eggs Package

Many know Jelly Belly for their jelly beans, especially around this time of year. What many don’t know is that Jelly Belly makes other candies besides their signature beans, especially around Easter. They can be hard to find, but I have come across these other confections in Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshalls, Ross, TJ Maxx and some specialty stores (thankfully the website has an item locator to help with this). I found this bag of their Speckled Chocolate Malted Eggs in Marshalls when I was there shopping for a new skillet.

I’m no stranger to these eggs. I reviewed them when I was writing for CandyAddict, and enjoyed them very much. Now that some time has passed, I wanted to give them another go and see if they still held up to my more seasoned candy tasting palette. Plus the colors are so pretty, how could I resist?

The eggs are really stunning with a light, sweet smell. The shells are smooth and matte in color. They each have a unique speckled pattern on them with green, magenta, blue and yellow.

 

Jelly Belly Speckled Malted Eggs

The first bite reveals that the shells are wonderfully crisp and crunchy. One egg can be two bites or a single bite if you like to get a mouthful of malt like I do.

I’m happy to report that the whole egg, not just the shells, is very crunchy. The malt center is a key player in that. The center is wonderfully strong and malty. The chocolate between the shell and malt center adds sweetness and not much flavor. Depending on the color the shell adds subtle flavor too, white is more vanilla, purple grape, pink strawberry, yellow lemon and green lime. It’s not enough that it takes of the whole egg, but instead adds an extra level to the malt interior, just enough to keep things interesting.

I like these, but as much of a fan of malt balls that I am, I find that after my initial tasting, I didn’t feel compelled to go back and finish my bag. I don’t think there’s a big enough chocolate hit to these as I prefer. Yet, if I found these in my Easter basket, I’d certainly scarf them down with no hesitation.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links Jelly Belly Website


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