September 2009
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Cafe Tasse Noir Cafe Bar Wrapper

Cafe Tasse is a Belgium chocolate company whose work I see around a lot. You see it mingling around the higher end chocolate like Valrhona, El Rey, Dolfin, Michel Cluizel, etc. Hanging around a crowd like that gives me high expectations. I finally caved one day and picked up this Noir Cafe bar since I was craving something with a good coffee flavor.

I’ve seen Cafe Tasse chocolate sold in many different formats. I’ve seen small 5g tasting squares, larger “mini” bars, 45g finger bars, then the large sized bar pictures above. I like how they offer lots of different sizes to cater to how gluttonous you feel.

The design is lovely. A brown paper wrapper with vintage styled black lettering adorns the outside. The different flavors of the chocolates are color coded, so it’s easy to pick out your favorite amongst a vast selection on a high shelf.


Cafe Tasse Noir Cafe Bar Pieces

The bar is beautiful to look at with a gorgeous, deep coloring that’s very inviting. The snap was promising too: crisp and robust.

It’s sadly in the flavor where this chocolate goes south. The chocolate is indeed dark, with a flat flavor that’s extremely dry. The coffee is overpowering, adding more unnecessary tannic flavor to an already sour chocolate. Also, the coffee flavor is not just a flavor really. There’s coffee grounds in here. Lots of them. So yes, I do taste coffee, but I feel like I’m eating sand there’s so much grit in here. Isn’t the point of chocolate is to taste it and feel it’s wonderful smooth texture? It is for me at least.

This bar is a great example of how a chocolate bar can be misleading. Everything about it suggests it’s an excellent treat except for the flavor. Where, sadly, where the mark of a good chocolate bar really lies.

Rating: Not Worth It


Not Worth It

Links Cafe Tasse Website


Jelly Belly Mint Cremes Package

These were a lucky find that I stumbled across another day. Sometimes the other confections that Jelly Belly makes, aside from their trademark jelly beans, are hard to come by. These looked very similar to those Smooth ‘n Melty confections that I’m such a fan of. The rarity of this find and the possibility of finding a new treat that’s a twist of a favorite sold me on the purchase, as so to speak.

These are round, flat little tablets, about the size of a quarter and are really smooth to the touch. They’re attractive to look at with shiny hard shells and pretty colors in pink, yellow, white and light green. 


Jelly Belly Mint Cremes

The textue is firm, like a thick hardened frosting. The outside is hard, but gives into teeth easily when bitten into. The flavor is sweet and strongly of peppermint, extremely so. The texture is kinda grainy, sort of like candy corn but no where as nice. I tried one of each color, and they taste all the same.

I see these working as a more intense after-dinner mint, but not something I’d enjoy as a candy treat or a quick breath-freshener.

Rating: Not Worth It


Not Worth It

Links Jelly Belly Mint Cremes Webpage


Bassetts Allsorts: Fabulously Fruity: Package

Bassetts Allsorts are an iconic candy in my life. They’re the one consistent sweet I’d see my Mom buy for my Dad, as he’s just crazy for them. He learned to enjoy them from his dad, so I guess it’s fitting for tradition that I learned to love them too. I’d always seen and enjoyed the black licorice variety, so when I saw these red licorice ones in an Irish market in Queens I could resist them. I never knew such a thing existed, and since I am a fan of red licorice too, I was eager to see how it compared to the traditional black kind.

Out of the box these are just stunning to look at. They’re so beautiful. For some reason, the red adds just that extra spark of color to them, so instead of feeling old fashioned and classic like the black licorice Allsorts, these has this funky, psychedelic vibe to them. It was such a pleasure to photograph them. 


Bassetts Allsorts: Fabulously Fruity III

As far as flavor goes, they’re pretty similar to regular Allsorts. The sweet coating on the bits of licorice are lightly flavored of fruits: orange (orange), lemon (yellow), strawberry (red), blueberry (white) and currant (purple). The original Allsorts has coconut too, but alas that is omitted here. The texture of the coating is grainy, a little crumbly and greasy. It’s similar to shredded hard-packed coconut.  The flavors were all pleasant and juicy and were very satisfying. But combined with the red licorice, they just stood out on their own. Or should I say, they were so flavorful that the red licorice, which tends to be mind in flavor to begin with, was just lost in the fray. I did take a piece apart to eat some of the red licorice on it’s own, and it’s very nice. Fragrant, bright, and juicy of berries and “red” flavor.

I prefer the black licorice Allsorts of these. The black licorice is strong enough to compete and balance out the flavors of the sweet coating, whereas with the red, it’s just lost. Then again, I eat Allsorts for the licorice, so if you eat them because you enjoy the coating, or aren’t a fan of black licorice, these are worth checking out.

Rating: Might Eat Again


Might Eat Again

Links Bassetts Webpage on Cadbury’s Website



King Leo Choco-Crisps

King Leo is a candy company with a large history. They’ve been manufacturing sweets since 1901, and I can always easily pick out their products in stores. One reason is that prior to these samples I was graciously given, I thought King Leo only made Old Fashioned Peppermint Sticks. They have a very eye-catching style to their packaging; a very vintage circus theme with bold stripes and a handsome lion mascot wearing a crown. I had a friend who was just crazy for their soft peppermint sticks, and I’d always send them along with a birthday present every year.

I’m delighted to know that even after all these years, King Leo is still trying to create original favorites. That’s where these Choco-Crisps come in. This is their newest confection, so new in fact that they haven’t even designed the packaging for the yet. These are a “perfect bit sized treat” that have a chocolate center and a crunchy candy outside.

CORRECTION: I was informed after this post that the center is not real chocolate but a “high quality chocolate compound” because it was a “a question of melting point and consistency” in the final product. Mockolate is mockolate, yes, but I wasn’t able to taste the difference in these.

The square shape fits nicely in the mouth and the crunch of these is so pristine and crisp. I was pleased to find that the shape of these, even those that were cracked or broken, never were sharp enough to cut my mouth as I ate them. It’s a very clever format.

Raspberry: pink with red stripes: The flavor is very tart and fruity with a hint of sweetness. Once you hit the chocolate center it mixes well with the tart outside. The chocolate is tastes bittersweet and really rounds out the flavor.

Orange: white with orange stripes: Very intense orange flavor, like an orange Tootsie Pop. Since this is a real chocolate center the inside tastes even more heavenly mixed with the orange outside. This one is awesome.

Peppermint: white with red stripes: Tastes like any hard peppermint candy; minty, but not too strong. Like all good peppermint it blends beautifully with the chocolate.

I really loved these. I can’t find a single reason to complain or critique them. I can’t wait to see what the packaging for them will look like, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them to appear on store shelves.

Rating: Will Buy Again


Will Buy Again

Links Quality Candy Website


Zeno's Taffy Box

Taffy is a candy that is pretty popular and relative common, yet I don’t have much experience with it. I recall seeing it a lot in my childhood, mainly on vacation down to the Jersey Shore and Rhode Island. Despite that, I’ve never really eaten the stuff very much. I blame the lack if it in my childhood on my parents. I don’t think they were fans of the stuff and therefore didn’t buy it for me or my sisters. Nowadays, I am lured in by the bright colors and dozens of flavors, but then I see a chocolate bar and am quickly pulled away.

Zeno’s World’s Most Famous Taffy comes is a box that’s decorated of scenic photos of the area where this Taffy is local to. So in this instance, it’s Florida. It really plays into the reason you buy taffy, it’s something you get when you go someplace, so overall it feels like a souvenir.

Inside was a mix of the three flavors of taffy I requested: Lemon Meringue, Licorice and Root Beer. They were nicely wrapped, some used wax paper and others plastic.

The taffy’s texture is just right. it’s chewy and not too sticky, has a nice staying power in the mouth and doesn’t dissolve too quickly. My jaw doesn’t get tried chewing it.


Zeno's Taffy

Root Beer: Half white half brown: A spicy root beer flavor with strong herbal notes of wintergreen. It’s more like a version of Barqe’s root beer than mellower A&W. I enjoyed it very much.

Lemon Meringue: All yellow with white center: This one is stellar. It’s tart and tastes just like a lemon custard. Strong, zesty notes of lemon with this wonderful smooth sweetness to it.

Licorice: White with black stripes: Immediate notes of anise and cinnamon, then the sweetness of the licorice kicks in. It’s very complex flavor for a taffy, and I really like how earthy it is.

Considering my iffy past with taffy, I really enjoyed my small sampling of what Zeno’s has to offer. I have to make an effort to try more varieties of it now, but this is certainly a noteworthy and tasty find.

Rating: Will Eat Again


Will Eat Again

Links Zeno’s World’s Most Famous Taffy Website

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