I first encountered Amano Artisan Chocolate at The Chocolate Show back in 2007. At the time, they only produced two bars, a single origin dark from Ocumare and another from Madagascar. These two bars were one of my first real tastes of single origin chocolate, and I have been hooked ever since. I visited with Amano at the Fancy Food Show this year and was excited to find that they have not only produced many more dark chocolate bars, but not they’ve ventured into the milk chocolate world as well. I’m one excited candy blogger.
Amano is is special chocolate company since it is dedicated to small batch single origin (which means that the chocolate is produced in small quantities sources from one specific area) chocolate bars with strict attention to flavor and quality. When they started producing chocolate a few years ago, no one was really doing this sort of thing and it was a very bold and revolutionary way to create chocolate. Now, it’s become more accepted and mainstream, and Amano is still at the forefront of producing great chocolate bars.
Before I go into the flavors associated with these new bars, I want to mention that I love the format of them. Firstly, the packaging design is simply gorgeous. It is so simple, so sleek, and so elegant and it’s really eye-catching. I just love the red of the Ocumare bar and it makes the design nerd in my just swoon over it. Secondly, the chocolate bar itself is the ideal size and shape for me. Each bar is 2oz and comes sectioned off into fifteen easily broken-off squares. The chocolate is thick, around 1/3 of an inch or so (I don’t have a ruler on me, sadly) and this allows for a wonderful melting in the mouth. It lasts a long time and is extremely satisfying.
Montanya (limited edition): 70% Venezuelan Dark Chocolate: It has a crisp snap and gorgeous deep brown color. The chocolate smells extremely fruity with notes of cherries and raspberries ad coffee. I love the texture, as it’s beautifully thick and buttery on the tongue. The flavor is more delicate as it starts of gently with notes of cream and berries, then it gradually blooms into a full flavor of red berries, and green coffee with bright notes of grapefruit and lemon. It has a wonderfully fruity tartness and it leaves a light finish of cherries and citrus. Simply gorgeous.
Jembrana Milk Chocolate: 30% Southwestern Coast of Bali : The chocolate is very dark in color for a milk bar. It’s a nice medium brown with reddish tones. Oh goodness, the flavor is awesome! It’s very mild, mysterious, dark and quiet. The chocolate has notes of wine, raisins and currants with a splash of cream, strawberries and vanilla. There’s a small crescendo of caramel towards the finish. Wow, this is a stellar bar.
Ocumare Milk Chocolate: 30% Ocumare Venezuela: Also darker in color for a milk bar with a nice gloss, and it has a nice snap to it too. The chocolate smells deep and rich of cocoa and cream. The flavor is so creamy, it’s full of intense flavors of vanilla, cream, caramel and raisins. It’s very mellow and the creaminess reminds me of ice cream. There’s a light finish kissed with berries, but cream and vanilla really pull through in the delicate flavors in the chocolate. It’s hard to choose, but I enjoyed this one more than the Jembrana as the flavor profile is more fitting to my personal tastes.
All I can say is I love, love, LOVE what Amano is doing with their chocolate and having tried these bars has only further increased my love and appreciation for them. It’s the kind of quality that makes your eyes roll back into your head since it’s so good and lovely to savor, and it only leaves your taste buds needing more.
Links Amano Website
I first heard of Melville Candy Company’s spoons back when Cybele reviewed their two honey spoons some time ago. I really liked the idea of a hard candy spoon that could be eaten as is or stirred into a hot drink. Especially since I love drinking hot coffee and tea, even in hot weather, so a item like this to change the flavors up a little really piqued my interest.
I found these Maple Sugar spoons on sale in Marshall’s. They were pretty cheap so I decided on trying this flavor first out of the large selection that Melville offers with their flavoring spoons. I saw an opportunity and I took it.
I have to say that these look beautiful, especially in their packaging. The colors all work beautifully together. Taken out of the package the spoons are a nice toasty brown color and are so elegant sitting on their wooden handles.
This is where is all goes downhill.
I took a peek at the ingredients list to see maple listed at the very end, with “maple flavoring” more towards the top. I was extremely confused by this, especially since the website totes “made with real maple sugar”. Ah, semantics.
Tasting one lollipop, I immediately get the flavors of sugar and fake Sunday morning pancake syrup, a la Aunt Jemima. I couldn’t finish it since I am not a fan of the fake stuff and was so looking forward to real maple syrup.
I also tried stirring one into a cup of hot tea, but the very fake flavor overrode the delicate flavor of my tea and I couldn’t bring myself to drink a mug of watery tasting pancake syrup.
I’m sure that the other flavored spoons that Melville makes are as stellar as my candy peers make them out to be. But these Maple Sugar variety just were so disappointing to me. I’ll be sure to start off simple and try the honey ones next time.
Rating: Not Worth It
Links Melville Candy Company Website
When I saw this bar, I immediately assumed it was the UK version of the Twix. It comes in a package with two fingers, starts with the letter “T”....you see where I’m headed, right? Having made such quick assumptions about the bar led to much surprise once I opened the Twirl bar to finally taste it. I was totally unfounded with my guess, as Twirl is a totally different kind of bar.
What I did surmise correctly was the style of the Twirl, as it is like a Twix: two separate slender “fingers” make up this bar. The only description on the wrapper reads: “the Intense chocolate hit”.
I picked up a finger to smell it, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was sniffing a cigar. It smells very milky and tangy and it reminds me of cheese. The tops of the fingers have texture on them that’s bumpy and uneven. I can’t help but wonder: “What’s under there”? There’s no cookie in the ingredients list…..
I eagerly took my first bite and I almost immediately had to stop. The texture is very light and crumbly and crumbs fell all over into my lap. I used more delicate force the second try so I didn’t make a mess.
The inside is just like a Flake bar: little ribbons of chocolate packed together in a tube. The difference is that the Twirl takes things a step further and enrobes the bar in chocolate so you get double the amount of chocolate. The flavor is so intensely of the dry milk powder. It’s really creamy, tangy and has an almost “stinky” taste to it, again, like a blue cheese. Then there a sweetness that envelopes the flavors and washes it all away. I don’t really taste “chocolate” at all, just sugar and cream.
Interesting, but not chocolatey enough for me.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Links Cadbury Website
These newest Kiss on the block are the new Hershey’s Meltaway Kisses. I spotted them a few weeks ago for the first time in Target, and resisted them. It seemed like just another variety gimmick to me, like the Hot Cocoa and Truffle Kisses, which are really just chocolate flavored kisses. Despite my best efforts, I still eyed them upon every trip to the store until I finally broke down and decided that the purchase was “for the blog”. Excuses, excuses.
I went into trying these not expecting much. I knew they’d be a type of chocolate flavor. “Meltaway” to me means they’ve added some tropical oils in there to make the center smoother and greasier, none of which excites me very much. I don’t understand why I feel so intent on trying them.
The wrapper is a light gold with bolder darker gold stripes. Unwrapping one I see it’s a molded shaped Kiss, like most are these days. It smells very sweet and milky with a kiss of caramel.
These Kisses are very soft, as many of them were a tad squishy when I picked them up even though they weren’t anywhere near something warm. And no, not even my hands as I’m always cold. The bite is soft too, and I get no hint of a shell or a definitive center. It’s just all smooth. Looking at my bitten Kiss there’s no separation at all, just a smoother center. My surmise is Hershey’s must have just molded a more milky, soft chocolate for these.
The flavor is extremely sweet, mainly of sugar, cream and a tad of caramel. It is very chocolately. I’m reminded of chocolate ice cream, as the chocolate flavor is there, just surrounded and complimented by the milk and cream.
It’s a nice kiss, nothing remarkable, but I’d eat there again over the “normal” ones.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Hershey’s Kisses Website
Isn’t this just adorable? It’s a confection based on….another confection. It’s a mock Tai Yaki, a fish shaped waffle that usually has a cream and red bean filling in it. It’s a popular street food in Japan and if you’re lucky enough to have one fresh, the flavor is so good it’s enough to make you roll your eyes back into your head. This version of tai yaki is actually more like another Japanese confection called “monaka”, which is a wafer cookie encasing the very same red bean filling. This is a fish-shaped wafer cookie with an aerated chocolate filling, a blending of two different sweets to make it something completely different. Confusing, isn’t it?
I’m not sure of these is exactly a “candy”, as a good chunk of it is the wafer outside. Still, the chocolate filling is giving me enough reason to bend my definitions a little.
So this is a very simple treat. The wafer exteriors are light and crispy. The flavor is bland with a little hint of vanilla, but otherwise nothing terribly noteworthy. The interior chocolate is soft, and the aerated chocolate reminds me of a Cadbury Wispa. The flavor is sweet and lightly of chocolate. It has a creaminess to it and it’s very smooth in he mouth, contrasts nicely with the wafer exterior.
I really liked this.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Meito Sangyo Website
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