Fuyu Pocky, or “Winter Pocky” is the king of all Pocky flavors. Why do you ask? Well, in my opinion, it’s the best of the best. It’s package has changed slightly from year to year, but I’m happy to see it’s a annual release. I reviewed it back in 2007 for CandyAddict.com, and since I was given this as a free sample from JList.com, I figured it was time I gushed about it again.
The premise of Pocky, for those of you who don’t know, is a small stick of biscuit cookie that has a flavored coating covering about 3/4 of it. The flavors of the coating range from chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to more crazy flavors like red bean and green tea. I’ve tried so many varieties over the years that they all seem normal to me now. So what makes Fuyu Pocky different? It’s got thicker chocolate coating on it than the normal kinds, and it’s dusted with cocoa powder. Simple, yes?
So how does it taste? The flavor is awesome. It’s the most chocolatey Pocky I’ve ever had. The coating, due to it’s size, gets you double the flavor hit. The cocoa dusting doesn’t flake or fall off and it really adds to the taste, rather than just looking decorative. The texture of the chocolate is really creamy too, unlike the other Pocky flavors which are more oily and slick. The biscuit stick is still lightly vanilla flavored and has that nice crunch to it. Super nummy!
I haven’t been to an Asian Market in the past few weeks, but usually they are pretty good about stocking the newest Pocky flavors. Wherever you see these, I recommend you pick them up. I know I’ll be hoarding them until next winter.
Links Pocky Street (Japanese Website)
The idea of custom chocolate bars isn’t one that’s particularly new. Ever since I’ve learned that I could melt chocolate as a kid I’ve experimented with such things in the kitchen when my mom wasn’t looking. Nowadays, I see “custom chocolate bars” in candy stores that you find in cheesy tourist areas like boardwalks. Still, just because this concept has been around, that doesn’t mean that it’s been done well. Chocri, a chocolate company from Germany that specializes in custom bars, does exactly that.
I was given a free press release to try these chocolate bars that Chocri makes, or should I say, lets me make based on my flavor whims. They plan to launch an US page come January, so if this is the sort of thing that appeals to you, you don’t have very long to wait.
Now, first things first, let me mention the prices of these bars right away, because they aren’t exactly cheap. You pay for your creative license here as so to speak. Each bar I made here averaged at about $10, which isn’t really something to sniff at. Still, I feel you do get what you pay for, in quality and size of the product.
The bars are large and very well packaged. The front of the boxed has an cellophane window so you can clearly see your chocolate work of art. I also forgot to name the bars. I was so excited to try and make them, that I completely overlooked the fact that I could name my chocolate creations. Oops, I will try again next time.
The construction of the bars are really nice, they’re molded on one side so you can see the chocolate sections. The additions are topped on the back side, so it look like the method of the chocolate making is they pour a mold and drop you addition on top. Depending on what you add to the chocolate this could make breaking sections off difficult you ave. had items that are on the large side.
To test the chocolate, I wanted to try one of each base: white, milk and dark. I brought my boyfriend over t the computer where I was building each of these bars, and encouraged hi to help me. As he has really good idea on flavor infusions and I wanted his imput.
White Chocolate with licorice pieces and nougat: This bar was a totally brainchild of mine. I’ve always been curious on what licorice and white chocolate tastes like together. The nougat was a totally shot in the dark, because it was the one item I chose to add that didn’t have a photo depicting exactly what it was. I was expecting Torrone, but instead the nougat is more like the center of a 3 Musketeers bar. No complaining here, I was just expecting something else. I was super excited to try this one. It smells sweet, and my first bite of the white chocolate was just heavenly. This is really ,really excellent white chocolate, and I’m super picky about what I call a good one. It’s super buttery and flavorful of the cocoa butter, and isn’t too sweet. Te nougat melts really quickly, and add a chocolatey flavor to it. The licorice was a surprise, because it’s salted licorice. I was expecting sweet! The pieces of licorice aren’t too hard, as they soften as you chew the bar. Despite the fact that it’s salted, the licorice works really well with the white chocolate. I have to say, I’m a big fan of this.
Milk Chocolate with blueberries, cinnamon and rice crisps: The bar smells sweet and strongly of cinnamon. the break is extremely clean, and you can see they didn’t rush the cooling of the chocolate. The milk chocolate is really lovely on it’s own, it’s creamy, and sweet, with a nice chocolate flavor and hints of caramel. The cinnamon adds a nice warmth to the chocolate without being too overpowering, and the crisps are a wonderful texture addition. The blueberries add a nice fruitiness, they taste like raisins to me, and a dense chew. I am a big fan of this, and now I’m sad I can’t find a bar like this on the market. The boyfriend was really happy with how this one turned out, and I agree with him.
Dark Chocolate with sour cherries, cinnamon cornflakes (cinnamon toast crunch for us Americans) and mini banana sprinkles: A word of note here, I got the sprinkles to see how a “decorative” element in the chocolate worked. I have to say, pretty darn cute. Again, the break with this is clean, so you know they didn’t rush the molding process. The dark chocolate is smooth and fruity, with nice notes of red berries and a good undertone of coffee and chocolate. I was surprised to find that the banana sprinkles have a subtle banana flavor, and a very crunchy. The cinnamon cornflakes add a softer crunch and a subtle cinnamon flavor, but the dark chocolate still shines as the main event. This one was tasty, but I didn’t feel my choice of additions didn’t enhance the flavor, but were fun texture additions.
To sum things up, we both loved the bars, but if we ad t optic favorites, I’d go with the white chocolate and the boyfriends loves the milk. I was really pleased with how great the chocolate base of these bars tasted, and even if I had to order plain chocolate bars form them, I’d gladly do so.
Also check out what Candy Yum Yum, The Chocolate Review, and Candy Addict had to say.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Chocri Website (German for now)
When I first picked up this HiChew, I thought it was grapefruit. Despite the fact that I can read Japanese, I just looked at the image and thought: “Oooo, ruby red grapefruit!” and snatched it up. It wasn’t until later once I was photographing the packaging did I notice that the flavor is blood orange. No complaints here! As much as I love grapefruit, I am not a hater of an citrus fruits, so it was still something I would have picked up regardless.
This HiChew smells lightly of citrus and grapefruit. Which, is a bit misleading! Well, maybe. It’s been a bit since I’ve had a real blood orange. The chews are light orange in color with a pink center.
The flavor is flat at first, more floral and bitter like the rind than of the juicy interior. As i chew, the flavor does release a little and become stronger, but it never reaches that flavor explosion and intense juicy chew that I normally expect with HiChew. The flavor is very true to blood orange, sweet and tart, good notes of zest. It never becomes too much of one of the components, and it very balanced and authentic. I just with it was stronger in flavor and got that saliva-going chew I love.
I’d recommend giving this one a try if you see it. I’m a bit late on the pickup as I think this flavor was a summer release (so much candy, so little time!) but since it’s imported I’m sure you can find it in Asian supermarkets still. Another yummy flavor from HiChew!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links HiChew Morinaga Website
I wanted to let you all know that I am in the December 14th edition of Woman’s World magazine (the one with Paula Deen on the cover)! Exciting, yes? Well, it is for me at least.
I was interviewed by them a few months ago about a favorite budget chocolate truffle/bonbon that I particularly enjoy for a inexpensive indulgence. Which is a hard thing for me to choose, since I love so many! I eventually narrowed down my choice, but I’ll let you go peek in the magazine on page 43 to find out what it is. You can find the mention Here’s a hint though: it rhymes with “bees”.
Like the King Leo Hand Dipped Peppermint Sticks I reviewed earlier, these too were free samples I received from King Leo/Quality Candy. Similar to the peppermint sticks, peppermint bark isn’t something I’m terribly familiar with. I’ve tended to shy away from it, because the stuff always reads to me as “oh, something that’ll taste of toothpaste”. When I do talk myself out of that aspect of it, I turn the package of whatever bark I’m looking at to see the ingredients only to find it made out of mockolate. So I end up passing on it. I felt more comfortable giving the King Leoo version a try as I enjoyed the peppermint sticks and they also use real Belgium chocolate. I have run out of excuses.
The peppermint bark is flawlessly packaged in two large slabs and tightly sealed in plastic, so they’re very fresh. The box protected them beautifully. The slabs of bark and very generous, in size and ingredients. They have a good solid chocolate bottom that’s about 1/4 inch thick, then a layer of white chocolate then an ample sprinkling of crushed peppermint on top. They smell awesome and are beautiful to look at.
The flavor is sweet at first, then the peppermint and chocolate kicks in. The peppermint is fresh, cooling and sweet and the chocolate compliments it with it’s deeper, richer flavors. I don’t taste the white chocolate at all sadly, just get a very slick feeling on my tongue from it. Overall it blends together beautifully and really tastes like a nice holiday treat. I can totally see myself snuggling up to my family’s fireplace with a slice of this with a cup of hot cocoa.
I highly recommend this f or any peppermint bark lovers out there. As I expressed before, I haven’t really tasted around with the other varieties out there, but I can speak for the ingredients and flavors of this one, and I have to say I’m impressed.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Quality Candy Website