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November 2009
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Nov
18



Teenee Beanee: Country Retreats Package

The second bag of Teenee Beanee beans I nabbed on that especially lucky was was the Country Retreats mix. The package, with it’s warm color splashes and bountiful harvest images, is very attractive. It does emit a sort of “laziness of days gone by” sort of feeling to it. I could see someone imagining themselves in that lawn chair depicted on the top, relaxing and snacking on these jelly beans. The description on the front hints at this idea with “The new old-fashioned escape. Travel far from the crowded streets and discover a country hideaway that still makes classic desserts in their special homemade style. Enjoy a small slice of fruit-filled heaven.

What excited me most about this mix was the unusual flavors: Strawberry Cheesecake, Peaches & Cream, Blueberry Cobbler, Apple Dumpling a la Mode and Banana Cream Pie. With most jelly bean mixes, you get the approximately the same flavors over and over again. I’ve yet to see the likes of Apple Dumpling a la Mode and Blueberry Cobbler in another mix (do correct me if I’m wrong!).

Upon opening the bag I was greeted with a very odd smell, that of different fruit and spices. It didn’t seem like jelly beans to me, but hey, who am I to judge? I poured a few out to try, and I have to admit, the colors of these are dreadful. Alone, each bean is fine, but together it’ not attractive at all. Pinks, blues and beiges. How drab.

 

Teenee Beanee: Country Retreats

Strawberry Cheesecake (pink ): This one was hard to peg. The only real hint I got was the color is pink. It has a light berry sweetness that could have read as blueberry. What I taste more of are the flavors of the graham cracker and cinnamon crust.

Peaches & Cream (light pink/orange ): Very peachy and fruity tasting. It’s light and refreshing.

Blueberry Cobbler (blue): This, like the Strawberry Cheesecake, just tastes lightly of berries and very sweet. I don’t get any flavor nuances other than that.
Apple Dumpling a la Mode (beige): A very light, creamy apple flavor with the dominant flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. The first of the beans that actually reminds me of the dessert it’s based on. 
Banana Cream Pie (light yellow): I think this is the only one out of the mix that can be this flavor, right? It’s odd. It’s very artificial and strange tasting. It has a brown sugar like sweetness to it. It’s not banana-like at all, but the color….

This flavor mix didn’t exactly help my lukewarm first impression with the Americana Medley mix I reviewed yesterday. If anything, I found these confusing despite the fact I liked the out of the box flavors. They were too similar with no real distinction other than the colors. Jelly Beans shouldn’t be like that.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It

Links Teenee Beanee Website


Nov
16



Teenee Beanee: Americana Package

When I first heard of the Teenee Beanee line of jelly beans made by Just Born, I knew I had to get my hands on them. This proved to be no easy task, as I soon discovered. I checked all my usual haunts, and then some of my unusual ones, in search of these elusive beans. I even heard that CVS carries them, only to check 6 of them in my surrounding area before giving up on my search. Emails to Just Born PR proved fruitless, as they were just as confused as I was about not being able to locate any. They became my candy “White Whale” for a long time. It wasn’t until I was visiting my parents in Upstate New York did I finally discover some. It was in one of the cheesy, baseball souvenir/dollar stores on the main street. I squealed with glee, enough so that it frightened my poor Dad, as I snatched up all the kinds they had.

This is the first of the three bags I found that day. The Teenee Beanee(R) Americana Medley(R) Jelly Beans. They’re described as “Classics from coast to coast. Sit back and enjoy a cross-country tour to six luscious locales”. I find myself both interested and confused. What are the flavors exactly? Locations in America do little to draw flavors to mind…other than Mississippi Mud. I doubt that was something they would include in the flavor mix, though. Pouring out a sample, the colors are nice with the whole rainbow represented, save a trade of blue for a pink.

 

Teenee Beanee: Americana

La Jolla Lemon (yellow): I have no clue of La Jolla, but no matter. The lemon flavor is sweet with a tiny sour edge. It’s very pleasant.

Napa Grape (purple): This flavor was well done, as reminds me of a grape tootsie pop, but juicier.

Chesapeake Cherry (red): Ick. It tastes of cough syrup and cherry lifesaver. Juicy, bitter, cherry redness.
Savannah Strawberry (pink): Peaches come to mind for Savannah more than strawberries do, but who am I to judge? I’m impressed with the flavor as it’s sweet with bright berry notes and a good strong finish.

Indian River Orange (orange): Extremely juicy and sweet, no tang at all. It’s not creamy, as most mild orange flavors are. Just smooth and sugary.
Laredo Lime (light green): The lime flavor is extremely strong. It starts off a little like floor cleaner, but then turns more authentic and sweet as the flavor develops and finishes.

This first introduction to the line didn’t impress or gross me out, so it’s very middle of the road. Some flavors stood out more than the others, but as of not nothing would make me choose these over any of the other jelly beans I can get my hands on. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the other tag line on the bag that read: “Open up and discover a delightfully delicious land with liberty and flavor for all”. Liberty? In my jelly beans? Now there’s a thought! I am left eager to see what the other flavors have in store for me.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again

Links Teenee Beanee Website


Nov
13



Ichigo Hard Candies Bag

This is a good example of a random candy find in a foreign market that turn out to be a total gem. I stumbled across this packaged of strawberry hard candies in a recent trip to Mitsuwa Japanese market up in Edgewater, New Jersey. Sadly, since my kanji comprehension is very poor, I can only read “strawberry” in the Japanese on the package and nothing else. Sadly the poorly translated sticker on the back doesn’t give me any help either. I suppose it will have to remain a delicious candy mystery.

The candies are flat and thick, about an inch long and 1/3 inch wide. The mold is so cute with raised bumps for seeds and a leaf design on the top. The candy strawberries sound like dominoes when I drop them on a surface and roll them around in my mouth. It’s such a nice sound.

I excitedly pop one in my mouth to find that the flavor is awesome. It’s sweet, juicy and very fruity without being overly aggressive. It’s really nice how subtle and sweet the strawberry flavor is, with lice accents of bubble gum and roses. The shape feels great in my mouth too and takes a good amount of time to dissolve. Oddly, I have no urge to chew these. For once it’s too much fun to just roll around in my mouth.

I don’t make it up to Mitsuwa very often, but you bet on my next trip I am going to purchase more of these.

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again


Nov
11



Dancku Kanpuz Box

This is another one of the mystery candies I got from a candy trade with a friend in Bavaria. Again, I had no way of knowing or reading what the names says or means. I just have to go by the picture on the box.

The packaging on this is awesome though. The long box is well put together and had gorgeous flame-red background with golden lettering on it. Inside the box sits a plastic tray holding the six chocolates in a well protected little well.

I bit one in half to see the construction of these candies. It’s a dome of dark chocolate, then a thin crispy wafer layer. A sweet white filling sits in this dome and is topped with an almond.

All I can say is though, it makes one beautiful photograph:

 

Dancku Kanpuz

The texture is wonderful. You get the smoothness of the chocolate, the creaminess of the white chocolate center, the crunch of the almond, and the crisp of the wafer shell. The flavor is lacking though. I get sweetness, but it was overall pretty bland. I didn’t taste much chocolate and the center was just buttery and didn’t add much to the mix. The almonds were already fresh and flavorful, but with just one the flavor dissipated quickly.

It was a delightful piece of candy and has a interesting texture. It just didn’t wow me and didn’t make me crave more after eating a piece. Good, but not something I feel I need to have again.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again


Nov
09



Winter Cabernet Chocolate Bar

This bar came from one of my best friends who recently went on a trip to Napa Valley in California. This bar is made by Anette’s Chocolate Factory, and takes chocolate and wine and marries them in this bar. I’ve only recently begun to take my tasting skills into the realm of wine, so this bar was a nice way to dip my toe into the hot bathwater.

The bar is a nice size, and is well protected in this box with a heavy foil wrapper underneath. The chocolate was flawless, despite how far it had traveled to get to me. It had a nice gloss, and a rich red-brown color.

The chocolate has a good snap to it, and the bar is light segmented. It has a rich, ganache center where the Cabernet is mixed in with the chocolate. The texture is wonderful, as the mold is a good thickness and it meshes well, texture wise, with the smooth ganache center. It rolls beautifully over the tongue, and neither part feels greasy, just smooth and luxurious.

The flavor is out of this world. Normally, I am a bit wary of when alcohol is added to confections because it has such a powerful flavor to begin with, I worry that it’ll overpower the flavor. Thankfully this is not the case here. The chocolate is a nice dark, I’d say anywhere from the 65-75% range, and it is given this extra richness from the Cabernet. It’s hard for me to explain really, as the Cabernet isn’t easily distinguished from the dark chocolate, but you can get that richness from it if you really focus on the flavor notes. The overall effect is extremely rich and chocolately. I’m quite smitten with this.

All I can say is that I want to get my hands on more of this bar. It was awesome. I definitely recommend it, even to those of you who aren’t fans of wine, as it enhances the chocolate experience. Love it.


Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard

Links Anette’s Chocolate By Brent Website


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