I’ve heard of these Cream Nut Clusters long before I ever found them to try. Like yesterday’s Tronky bar, they were something I discovered in the DiBruno Bros. store and as soon as I saw them, I snatched them us as if there were the last bit of food on earth. Yes, I was that excited to try them.
The Cream Nut Peanut Butter Clusters are made by Koeze Company, who specializes in making the infamous Cream Nut Peanut Butter. I’ve heard it’s the best peanut butter out there, but I haven’t tried it myself. As if my opinions on peanut butter on a candy blog would matter, anyways. These clusters use that peanut butter, blend it with white chocolate to make a creamy center, then layer it on fresh pecans before covering it all in dark chocolate. I’m drooling already.
They look similar to caramel turtles: a ploop with edges that curl under into a little mound. It’s large too, about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 in tall. It smells chocolatey with a hint of coconut to it.
The first bite is terribly creamy. The chocolate is a good thickness and cleanly snaps when you bite into it. The peanut butter white chocolate center is terribly smooth and very sweet. The peanut butter flavor is not very strong as it’s been diluted by the white chocolate, but it still is the start of the whole candy. The pecan bits are a perfect size; not too big or small. They deliver a wonderful light nutty flavor with an incredibly fresh, meaty texture that’s crunchy at first then buttery smooth for the rest of the time.
The entire symphony of flavors works beautifully: the chocolate provides a deep, characteristic flavor which balances out the sweet creamy center and ends with the crunchy pecans. Think of this as a extreme quality Russell Stover creme bonbon or maybe what the Reeses’ Select Clusters should be like.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Ferrero is an Italian confectioner know for their excellent line of candies that feature chocolate and hazelnuts. One of the most popular is Ferrero Rocher line that you can pretty much find everywhere. Ferrero is also the masterminds behind Nutella, which is something I cannot keep safely in my apartment. Tronky is one of their rarer bars, at least here in the United States. I first encountered it in the DiBruno Bros. store in Philadelphia, and I haven’t seen it since.
Tronky is a long, log shaped wafer with hazelnut chocolate creme and chopped hazelnut bits on the inside. It’s very light since the wafer makes up such a large majority of the bar . The wafer’s design its so cute too: it has a wood grain pattern molded in it so it’s stick-like and it’s really lovely (even though sticks aren’t that tasty…).
The wafter is light and bland, like most wafers are. It’s crunchy and soft and is a great texture. The chocolate creme on the inside is very smooth, dense, and is very similar to Nutella. The exception is you get these tiny hazelnut pieces in there, but more noticeably I don’t find the chocolate and hazelnut flavors to be very bold here.
These delicate flavors all work together very nicely and make Tronky quite delicious. The texture contrast between the light and crunchy and the dense creamy center is my favorite part. In fact, it reminds me very much of Manner biscuits, which are a longtime favorite of mine.
Rating:Will Eat Again
I first heard of Ezca Chocolate on The Chocolate Life a little while ago. They’re a brand new company interested in chocolate making that were looking for some tasting opinions. Since I am working to train my palette so I can “read” chocolate with its many flavor nuances, I offered my taste buds to see what this new chocolate could say to me.
Now a little about Ezca Chocolate. It’s handcrafted, small batch chocolate from made from bean to bar. The bar I got was a 65% cacao from Ocumare in Venezuela, batch #001. The 2 oz bar is beautifully wrapped in an elegant, yet slightly exotic wrapper made from recycled paper. The ingredients read simply as: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole organic vanilla bean. No artificial flavors or preservatives.
Under the paper wrapper, the chocolate is nicely packaged in medium weight gold foil. I love the way the foil is folded too, with triangular edges which are very easy to unwrap and then re-wrap if you want to save more for later. The mold of the bar is interesting as it’s sectioned into squares with a smaller square that’s raised in the middle. The interesting part is that there’s also raised “piping” that connects the squares and it reminds me of machinery. A fascinating choice of design for a bar of chocolate. The chocolate has a nice deep red-brown color with a subtle gloss. The backside of the bar has a few air bubbles but is otherwise smooth and pristine.
The aroma is very robust. It’s nice to have a chocolate with such a strong aroma. It’s a very roasted smell: notes of coffee and cocoa hit me first, then underneath I sense vanilla, honey, and caramel. This is complimented with subtle notes of woods, mushrooms, and olives. I’m excited already because these nuances are favorites of mine.
The flavor starts off like green coffee with notes of caramel and a little cinnamon. These flavors linger a moment before bursting in with a small crescendo of flavor that is very chocolatey: strong notes of cocoa, vanilla, and cream with slight accents of mushrooms and moss. The finish is slow and sweet with the middle flavors gradually becoming more and more faint. The aftertaste is clean with a finishing note of coffee.
The mouthfeel is smooth and rich with a teensy bit of grain to it. I liked that though, as it gives is a fuzzy like texture and really rounds out the chocolate for me. At some points I get a larger sugar crystal and it feels more like a welcome surprise than an unwelcome intruder. The chew is excellent too since the chocolate isn’t as dark as other varieties and is has a a nice give to it that feels thick when you work in in your teeth. It’s very satisfying.
I was pleased with this bar as the flavors come across as a little sweeter than most 65% I’ve had because of the wonderful flavor notes of the chocolate. Also there’s no hint of acidity or bitterness in this. Just wonderful deep roasted flavors that translate as very “chocolatey’ to me. This Ezca bar is delicate and sweet with a complexity that’s been coaxed and cultured.
A marvelous first attempt at a chocolate bar. I don’t know what else to say other than I’m enthusiastically waiting to taste what other chocolate Ezca produces.
Rating: Will Buy Again
I’ve always admired the Les Anis de Flavigny line of candies on the store shelves. For the longest time I didn’t even know what they were exactly, but their beautiful tins kept me eying them regardless. It was only a matter of time before I gave them a try.
Anis de Flavigny has been producing these candy pastilles for hundreds of years. Each are made using a traditional panning technique, where a single fennel seed is combined with a sugar syrup and dried in a rotating drum. This process is repeated for 15 days until one pastille is completed, so a lot of work went into each of these little treats! The tins are just as classic as the candies they hold; with scenes of two young people finding love.
There’s a whole slew of flavors that you can find in the line: Mint, Orange Blossom, Violet, Licorice, Anise, and Rose. All of which strike me as very classic, refined, and romantic flavors. The one I was given is the Mint flavor, showing the two lovers idling by a freshwater stream.
Now, there’s something to be said about mints and candy. Some mints, in my opinion, aren’t very candy-like. Take Tic Tacs for example. Other mints, like Junior Mints, are more like candy to me. These fall more into the candy category to me, as they’re very sweet and long lasting, and I certainly eat them for the flavor and not how fresh they make my breath.
The outside of these pastilles are very smooth and cool feeling. The first couple of pastilles I just sucked on and got a wonderful sweet minty flavor that lasted such a long time because these take forever to dissolve. I was surprised by how incredibly hard they are and was frightened for my teeth if I decided to try and chew one. As I gained more experience I got to a point where I knew it was safe to munch on them and my eating time was shortened considerably. I know, shame on me, but I’m a chewer all the way.
I’d pick these up over most other mints any day for many reasons. I’m also really drawn to the history, the flavor, and the design. Having a cute tin to keep afterward in a plus too. I’m happy to have finally tasted these and I looking forward to trying out the other flavors soon.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Anise de Flavigny website
Nougat is a confection that has an interesting place in the candy world. It has many forms and varieties: the fluffy center in a Snickers bar, the dense chewy almost taffy like slab in Big Hunk or as a light block studded with nuts from one of many European countries. Nougat is typically composed of of sugar, honey, egg whites, and roasted nuts with the end result dangerously delicious. It is one of my favorite types of candy out there.
Sally Williams Fine Honey Nougat was an extremely lucky discovery at the Fancy Food Show and I immediately liked them. They’re based in South Africa were their recipe was perfected and is now shipped all over they world. Over at Sally Williams they’re very picky about what ingredients they use to make their nougat; they use no gelatin or preservatives and claim it contains no cholesterol. Not only that, but the nougat has also won several awards which is always impressive and reassuring.
Almond: These are beautiful to look at: white and pristine with bits of full sized almond halves peeking out. It smells light and sweet with that nice “starchy marshmallow” essence that nougat has. The texture is lovely: light and soft with a little chew. The almonds deliver a great crunch and their flavor is sweet, nutty, and mellow. The nougat is delicate with detectable notes of honey, vanilla, and sugar. It’s beautifully balanced and when you get an almond in your bite…..wow, it’s great.
Milk Chocolate Covered: The chocolate is a little lackluster, but I bet that’s more due to the heat damage during shipping since the pieces of the ones I tried at the show were beautifully pristine. The chocolate adds a richness to the nougat and it feels much more substantial. I lose the delicate light notes of the honey because of the chocolate, but the taste is just as delicious in its own way with the sweeter, chocolatey flavors.
It’s amazing to me how such a simple looking confection like nougat can deliver such a powerful and pleasurable eating experience. I really wish I knew where to find these in stores around where I am. I already finished all of it and I know I am going to be craving them again soon.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Sally Williams Fine Foods Website