I love trying new chocolate, which I’m sure comes as no surprise at all. It’s really interesting for me to taste what each individual chocolate maker and chocolatier does with it. No two chocolates can taste the same, even if crafted by the same hand. It’s like a visit to an art museum, but for you taste buds.
Chocolove is one of the my favorite recent chocolate discoveries. I got my first taste of them at The New York Chocolate Show last November. I got to sample most of their line of chocolate bars and immediately fell in love with their Toffee & Almonds in 33% Milk Chocolate bar. Once you taste something utterly addictive, it’s only a matter of time until you go back for more. So the next trip to the store I found myself perusing the Chocolove selection and decided on trying the 65% Rich Dark chocolate, since I find bittersweet a good base for judging.
I love the red wrapper as it’s such an appealing color (not to mention my favorite). According to the front, you also get a love note along with the bar of chocolate, so I immediately think this would be a really cute gift for a special someone. The overall design is really cute, meant to look like a piece of mail sent especially to you.
Once the chocolate is free from the paper, you immediately notice the rich dark brown color and a gloss. The bar had a good hard snap to it and the break clean aside from a few pink prick sized air bubble holes. The molded domes of the chocolate have a little embossed curly heart on them and it’s really, really cute. The flavor is very mild and sweet with no notes of frutiness or acidity, which is common in darker chocolates. Instead I get a lot of roasted notes of coffee and cocoa, and accents of earthiness with coconut and some lingering vanilla. The mouthfeel is very rich, the chocolate is smooth and creamy and almost has a “thick” feeling on your tongue. It was especially nice a to savor this and let melt slowly in my mouth.
The Chocolove 65% Rich Dark is a really beautiful tasting bar and it’s been added to my list of chocolates I must have on hand at all times. The flavor and rich mouthfeel makes it feel really indulgent for times when I feel I need to treat myself. You know, so I can show myself some Chocolove!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Tootsie Pops are one of the many overlooked classic candies in my opinion. They’re something that’s always available in my candy stash for many reasons: tasty, portable, long-lasting, satisfying, interactive…..oh, I could go on. For me, Toostie Pops are delicious the Swiss army knife of the candy world.
Imagine my delight when I was in my local Wawa convenience store pawing through the box of loose Tootsie Pop to satisfy a 4pm sugar craving, to find a Tootsie Pop in a wrapper that looked new. Puzzled, I picked out one and examined it to find “Pomegranate” written on the outside. I proceeded to grin like the Cheshire Cat as I grabbed a few and ran to the checkout. A tasty new treasure, I could hardly wait.
I admit, I am a little puzzled by this new flavor choice for a Tootsie Pop. Pomegranate has been getting lots of attention in the past few years because of its health benefits, and some candies tried to cash in on that craze. I don’t really understand the appeal of the actual flavor of a Pomegranate. Don’t get me wrong because they taste great, but I’m more often interested in the fun way to eat them by plucking them seed by seed, than for the actual taste. Considering that the past new flavors to the Tootsie line were strawberry, watermelon, blue raspberry and lime; I figured Pomegranate would be more of a trendy name to drop into the assortment.
The wrapper is the same design as the other traditional Tootsie Pop’s, expect the color scheme is a bit different. The white has been replaced with a dark maroon, so even though this newbie looks different in essence it’s the same as the classics.
The pop itself is bright red and looks like the Cherry flavor, but you can tell the difference one you pop it into your mouth. The flavor is different and much, much better. It’s fruity with berry flavors, notes of grape and a “tartness” that reminds me of pineapple. Overall it’s very “red” tasting, but it’s lacking that fake medicinal flavor that makes the cherry one so unappealing to some. Think of this as Cherry’s more awesome twin brother. As for the Tootsie center? Yeah, the flavors meshed well with that.
My skepticism aside, I really, really like this flavor. It covered all the flavors sensations I require in a good hard candy and resulted in some fun, saliva-inducing consumption for my mid afternoon break. Tomorrow I’m going back for more and buying every last one in that loose Tootise Pop box.
Like most every American kid, I grew up on Hershey’s chocolate. It was the chocolate bar to have with its iconic wrapper and powerful sweetness. It was the only chocolate acceptable to make S’mores with. Despite how my tastes have changed since the days of my youth, Hershey’s chocolate is still ingrained deeply into my sweets psyche. It plays an important role as a basis for all the chocolate I’ll experience for the rest of my life, whether I like it or not.
Chocolate is a thriving business and there’s always a demand to somehow re-invent it to increase sales. That is essentially what Hershey’s is doing here with their new line of Bliss chocolates. Not only are they trying to grab attention with a new brand and re-packaged look but they’re also trying to compete with the Dove Chocolate line. This move of Hershey’s to try and make a “premium” chocolate line is interesting to me, especially after their stance on changing the definition of chocolate.
The new Bliss chocolate come in large bags with the little individually foil-wrapped squares inside, very similar to how the Kisses are packaged. Depending on where you shop, you can find other flavors in the line. I recall seeing a Raspberry flavor in Target last week. I was lucky and stumbled across these mini packets in my grocery store so I could sample just a few without much risk.
Milk Chocolate: Immediately very soft and sweet. It’s creamy, light milky and caramel notes to it. Thankfully it doesn’t come across as waxy to me at all.
Milk Chocolate Meltaway: The texture is noticeable “fudgier” than the other milk chocolate; it feels thicker and more slippery in the mouth. There isn’t a “center” per se, like in a Lindt Lindor. I got no shell/creamy center separation as the chocolate just overall seemed softer. There’s more caramel notes here and a salty touch, but other than that there’s not much else that appears different to me from the regular milk chocolate.
Dark Chocolate: Pretty flavorless and waxy. There’s light chocolately notes, but they have an odd muskiness about them that’s very off-putting. That problem was all fixed when I paired it with a cup of coffee.
Considering what is trying to be accomplished, it’s a decent attempt on Hershey’s behalf. It’s still far from good enough to get me to buy it over something much better, such as Droste, Chocolove or Michel Cluizel (just to name a few!). The funny thing with chocolate is it’s really such an individual thing, so even though it’s not my chocolate Bliss, it might be yours.
Rating: Not Worth It
Runts were always a candy I loved to look at and handle, but never actually eat. I’m not quite sure why I decided they were more fitting as pretty objects than something edible to me, perhaps because they were always in that nickel bin by the capsule toys at the grocery store. The banana one in particular fascinated me with it’s strangely accurate oblong shape and its smooth sugar shell.
To be honest, I don’t ever remember really eating Runts before doing this review. I find it humorous that even one of the most common and beloved candies in our culture passed underneath my radar for so many years. It probably would have stayed that way too if I wasn’t so intent on trying, well, everything. I was partly pleased and disappointed to see that my timing for trying Runts was on the verge of a big change. These are not the Runts I remember from my childhood, which were made of up of Cherry, Banana, Strawberry, Lime and Orange. Somewhere this mix got changed and the Lime was dropped and Blue Raspberry and Watermelon were added (which are flavors that’re so 1990s).
Now the Runts are new and improved (even bilingual) with a whole new set of flavors. I can’t compare them to the old ones, so I won’t attempt to get all nostalgic about them.
Orange: Very watery tasting with a light fake orange-like essence to it. There’s floral, perfume-y and lightly sweet aftertastes. Odd.
Mango: (large red oval) I hate mangoes, but surprisingly I actually liked this. The flavor does read as mango to me though, but without that odd carrot like aftertaste I associate with the fresh stuff. I think here they’ve kept the best qualities: it’s sweet, lightly peachy with notes of apple and very tropical. It has a bit of tang to it in the beginning before the sugar inside washes out all the flavor.
Strawberry: (red heart) Very sweet, and light on flavor. It taste more like “berry” than “strawberry”, but it’s still tasty and easy to place out of the bunch.
Banana: Firsty of all I love the shape of these and always have. It’s just so cute! The flavor is so floral, fruity and just that standard fake banana flavor. I also notice this one is the hardest to chew of the assortment, due to it’s oblong shape. The extra second or two it takes for me to cleave it open with my molars makes it that much more enjoyable.
Pineapple: I had high hopes for this one. It startes off tasting strange, but then it develops into a more real pineapple flavor once the sugar insides dissolve a little. It’s nice, juicy, and zesty. Even though it’s not quite what I was hoping for, it was still pretty good.
This was a fun little adventure into new candy territory. Flavors aside, texture-wise Runts are so easy to crunch so I’m usually done with them in 2 seconds in my mouth. I get bored with them too easily. There’s the cracking of the shell, the rush of the sugar insides and then the all too quick dissolve. Which really sums up the whole Runts experience for me: instant gratification with no satisfaction.
Rating: Not Worth It
I love fruit jelly candies. They go by many different names and forms depending on where they originate and you may easily recognize them in the forms of pâtes de fruit, jelly belly beans and gummi bears to name just a few. These jellied sweets (made either with gelatin, pectin, or sometimes agar agar) deliver bold fruity flavors and satisfying textures, both of which make my knees feel as if they were made of jelly too.
Imagine my delight as I saw these on the shelf during one of my first visits to a Cost Plus World Market with Cybele. There were many different foreign candy options to choose from, but these German “fruit gelees” caught my eye immediately. The package beautifully illustrates the candies as variation of the traditional pâtes de fruit in a variety of colorful shapes. It was really too much for me to resist.
Taking the candies out of the package, I couldn’t help but feel I was handling little edible jewels. The are strikingly beautiful, with bright colors and a nice glittering effect from their granulated sugar coating. Taking a bite I find that the texture is just lovely: a little on the firm side, which is not as tough as a gum drop but still enough to hold it all together. You teeth sink into them like you would a tender steak; slowly and savoring each moment.
Kirsche (cherry): Round red one: The flavor is the oddest and most authentic cherry I’ve had I think. It’s tart, slightly sweet, and has a spicy fruity flavor that’s a little bitter.
Ananas (pineapple): Tear dropped white one: The flavor is sweet and starchy with notes of sweet juicy pineapple. Toward the end of the flavor there’s a nice burst of tartness to it. Milder than the real thing and the less “authentic” flavor of the bunch, but still really tasty.
Orange (orange): Moon shaped orange one: Very flavorful. Nice juicy, orange flavor that is both sweet and tart. Reminds me of a slightly watered down orange juice.
Apfel (apple): Round green one: the flavor is authentic, light and zesty. Just like a tart apple cider.
Zitrone (lemon): Moon shaped yellow one: Whoa, this is tart! It tastes exactly like the inside of a lemon meringue pie: sharp, zesty and terribly fresh.
Johannisbeere (currant): Oblong dark red: Bright, juicy, fruity flavor with notes of pine.
These are wonderful and make me realize that I need to eat more of this type of candy more often. I wish they’d be more mainstream and therefore easier to find, as I always feel like it’s a bit of a hunt to come across treats like these. The flip side is they feel like treasure when I do, and perhaps seeing them more often would kill the magic (and my waistline). I can count on these to deliver flavor and sweetness when I need it most and it’s a special craving that only jellied candy can satisfy. I strongly urge you to give these a try if you see them, as it’ll introduce your taste buds to something amazing.
The only thing keeping me from giving these a “Hoard” rating is that there’s so many jellied candies out there, I gotta make room to try them all before I decide on a favorite.
Rating: Will Buy Again