I'm in one of my favorite stores, World Market, and they have quite an extensive selection of international candies and confections - so I pick up a couple I haven't seen before to review for CandySnob.com. The first one I picked up was Fry's Turkish Delight. Fry's was launched in 1914, and is now owned by Cadbury. The bar also seems to be popular in the UK, Ireland and Australia. So when the wrapper states "As Good as Ever" - they mean it.
Turkish Delight is a small bar (1.8 oz.) in a purple foil wrapper. The wrapper says boldly, "Full of Eastern Promise" - which apparently has been the slogan since the 1950s, even on TV ads. "Turkish Delight," I have learned, is more than the candy bar's name, it is actually another name for lokum (or loukoum), which is a confection made from starch and sugar, often flavored with rosewater and/or lemon.
I thought I was buying a chocolate bar, maybe with truffle. That's what it was shaped like and felt like. While I was paying attention to the taglines, I did not see the "Milk Chocolate with Jelly Center" on the side of the package. Had I seen that, my buying decision might have been different. Maybe not though, the Candy Snob is nothing if not adventurous.
The milk chocolate was fine, good even, typical Cadbury milk chocolate. The jelly filling was Turkish Delight of the rose-flavored variety, which gives it a pale pink color. The jelly is soft but firm, and a little bit sticky. First off, because I wasn't expecting it, the texture/flavor combo of the jelly and chocolate really threw me off. After the first bite, what was surprise turned to revulsion. The texture is just wrong, the jelly has the consistency and firmness of dried out aspic. But even dried out aspic would seem more natural than this plastic-like jelly. And granted, rose flavoring isn't my favorite in general. But its downright unpalatable with milk chocolate.
In my three decades of eating candy, and over 6-months writing a candy blog, I have never thrown out an unfinished piece of candy...until now.
I think that instead of "Turkish Delight," they should call the bar "Turkish Disgust."
The good news? It is widely marketed as being 92% fat-free. Its especially good for your waistline if you only eat two bites...
If my review hasn't scared you off, you can get Fry's Turkish Delight, and other types of Turkish Delight, here.
Background info and photo via wikipedia, because I threw this away before I had a chance to take pictures.
Review: Hebert's Fully Loaded Dark Turtle Dark Chocolate Bar
Last month we reviewed Hebert's Fully Loaded Rocky Road Chocolate Bar, today we're looking at another in Hebert's Fully Loaded line, the Dark Turtle. It is a 2.75 ounce bar of dark chocolate, covered in pecan pralines and chunks of toffee.
The problem we had with the Rocky Road was in the toppings, they weren't flavorful enough and had texture issues. We have to say with disappointment that we have the same beef with the Dark Turtle. Again, the chocolate was quite enjoyable, it had a nice dark chocolate flavor (it doesn't mention the cacao content) which also had both a nice bite and melting factor. The pecan pralines were pretty good too actually, and their flavor took the lead overall.
The problem lies primarily in the toffee. It is way too sticky, so sticky that the pieces were hard to chew because they glued my teeth together. If the toffee had been a good deal crunchier, it would have been a much better experience. You'll also notice from the photo that the coverage of the toppings is pretty uneven - so you end up getting a praline bomb in one bite and a toffee-flavored "dry tree sap" experience on another.
If you're whole line is based on an idea of being "Fully Loaded" - meaning the toppings are key to the whole proposition - then those toppings need to knock your socks off. Sadly, neither of the Hebert's Fully Loaded bars we've tried have done that. Said another way, Hebert's has lost a big opportunity to distinguish themselves in the market. I had never heard of Hebert's until their packaging jumped off the shelf at a local drug store. So they've accomplished part of the battle - they've gotten me to buy it. But when a product then doesn't deliver, its a one time sale.
Amazon's having a June Clearance Event. Through July 11, you can save $10 after an instant rebate when you spend $25 or more. Just use the code GROCJUNE during checkout. Here are some of the candy items you can snatch up:
Candy Provides an Inexpensive Treat During Tough Economic Times
Before he passed a several years ago, my uncle, Bob Boyer, told me he thought that the candy business would surge. At the time we were in an economic downturn, right after the Internet bubble burst. The thought is that candy is a relatively inexpensive treat during tough times. You don't have the money to do many of the other things you like to do, but you do have spare change to buy a candy bar. Why did he believe this? Because his brother and he started Boyer Brothers during the Great Depression. A nickel candy bar was a treat in a time when treats were in short supply. In other words, candy is a way to get people through tough times.
Granted, the economy then is not as bad as it is today, but his thinking holds true.
If you'd like more proof of this, check out this article - very timely and underlines the point. Plus, I can't help but noticing the subject of the article calls himself a "candy snob." I'm flattered... :)
We've been steadily making our way through all the flavors we can find of Glee Gum, today we're looking at the cinnamon flavor. We love the natural aspect of Glee. That dedication to natural ingredients shows in the flavor big time, and the cinnamon flavor is no different. It is not a biting cinnamon, it is not hot if that's what you're looking for. But it is very tasty. The crackle of the chicklet (which we love), gives way to a nice cool cinnamon flavor that is mild but full of flavor.
However...just like the tangerine and the bubblegum before it, the cinnamon's flavor rockets away. Sorry Glee, we want this to be one of our favorites, we don't have to have the flavor hang out forever. But we do want to enjoy our chewing experience, which right now isn't easy to do.
To put this in better perspective:
If you were driving a Porshe 911, and floored it from a dead stop, you'd be nearly out of flavor by the time you hit 60.
If you you were in the middle of asking Barack Obama a specific question about his policy positions, you'd be nearly out of flavor by the time he works "change" and/or "hope" into his response.
Or, if you're writing a blog post about Glee Gum, you'd have to down the whole 18-piece box in order to have enough access to the flavor to write about it.
Fat Pig Chocolate - Calling it like they see it...
Had enough of the 100 calorie packs, low carb, lite, blah blah blah...malarkey that candy companies use to try and get you to feel better about stuffing your face with delicious candy? If the answer's yes, then you'll appreciate Fat Pig. A chocolate company that makes no bones about calling it like they see it when it comes to true chocolate lovers.
It looks pretty good, it is "oinkganic" afterall. They have great packaging, and an irreverent style that I'm sure is going to garner them equal parts accolade and criticism - but my guess is that's exactly how they'd like it. In case you can't read what the back of the chocolate piece says in the photo, it will give you a basic idea of their approach:
Get your snout in this. Shove every single square in your face right now. And do it quick, or some other fat pig might ask you for a piece. Oink, oink!
Hello people at Fat Pig...if you're out there and can hear me...we at Candy Snob need to review this chocolate...throw us a bone and send us some. Pretty please!
Wow...big news week for Hershey. At least this news is specifically around two of our favorite Hershey bars - PayDay Barsand Skor Bars- and can help us out at the gas pump.
Hershey just kicked off the promotion, called "Cash 4 Gas" - where specially marked packaging for PayDays and Skors will offer consumers chances to win a variety of gas-related prizes. There are 50 grand prizes of cash for gas, including one year of gas valued at $2,340 and the less exciting but still appreciated $45 cash toward a tank of gas. All in all the promo will give away more than $360,000.
Dark Chocolate "Hiballs" Filled with Scotch and Vodka
K HIBALLS from K Chocolatier and Diane Krön are filled with Blue Label Scotch and Ketel One Vodka. OK...let's face it...those are good combos. And from the looks of the picture, they didn't skimp on the booze.
K Chocolatier is a family run business based in Malibu, CA. They've been around for a long time and still make daily batches of their chocolates themselves in their own factory. The recipe is a variation of those of chocolate once exclusive to Emperor Franz Josef of Austro-Hungary. In order to have the shopping experience first hand, you'll have to go to Cali. But they are also now selling online.
A little more background:
"In 1973, Diane and Tom Krön established Krön Chocolatier in New York City based on recipes from Tom's great grandfather, chocolate-maker to Emperor Franz Josef of Austro-Hungary. They soon became very famous for the quality and novelty of their chocolates (Tom invented the chocolate-covered strawberry) and opened many Krön stores across the U.S. Diane and Tom Krön sold Krön Chocolatier in 1983 and retired from the chocolate business to travel and raise their family. New management took over and the company went in other directions. Now Diane Krön is back ! Lured by the excitement of Beverly Hills, Diane decided to develop a new company, and in 2000, created a new brand of luxury chocolates with new combinations and more sophisticated recipes. K CHOCOLATIER is based on those secret Krön family formulations of cocoa powder ratio and viscosity, but with a difference: using as little sugar as possible."
Hershey goes on the offensive to combat Mars / Wrigley merger
Hershey says its planning to spend more to promote its brands to better compete for candy buyers' when Mars buys Wrigley. More specifically, they'll up advertising spending by 20% in 2008 and 2009. In addition, they're also making changes to their supply chain and marketing to combat rising costs for cocoa, energy and milk, and losses of sales to Mars.
What do you get when you take an already delicious square of densely packed coconut dipped in chocolate and add a hint fo key lime? A couple bites of tropical, Floridian heaven, that's what.
You may have had Anastasia's Confections' Coconut Patties in the past, they're available in candy stores that carry some of the lesser known candies, and also Cracker Barrel (which is where we got ours most recently).
For those who have not had the patties, they are squares about 1.5" x 1.5", with half dipped in milk chocolate. The one thing that always strikes me about the patties (Key Lime or regular), is the great contrast of textures. You have creamy milk chocolate, giving way to the soft crunch of the densely packed coconut...ending with the the merging of two as you chew. The company refers to the coconut patties as "creamy." I'm not sure I agree with that, but they certainly are good.
As for the Key Lime flavor, we went into it expecting to be overwhelmed by the lime. But Anastasia did the flavoring just right. It is very mild and subtle, and you can tell its natural flavoring (although the green coloring is a little jarring). Most importantly, the coconut is still the star of the show, and rightfully so - this is a really yummy treat.
"Hershey cut its long-term earnings growth target on Tuesday and laid out a strategic plan to boost its biggest brands in the United States with more advertising and tighten development of new products."
Said another way, this means Hershey is going to focus on what they're best at...chocolate bars...instead of all the other cookies and various line extensions. Smart move if you ask us.
"David West, who was promoted to chief executive from chief financial officer last year, acknowledged that attempts to move into areas like cookies and snack bars hurt its mainstay products like Hershey bars and Reese's peanut butter cups."
Who doesn't like Pez? That's what I thought, no one. Who doesn't like Star Wars? Ok, don't answer that. But if you are one of the people who like them both, like me, then you'll love these giant Star Wars pez dispensers. Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Death Star, C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2 pez dispensers - all 12-inches tall and can hold 12 Pez at a time.
And...wait for it...wait for it...they light up and play the Star Wars theme music.
This top 10 list came from the Ultimate Chocolate Shoppe Blog, and seems to be just about right in terms of perennial best-sellers. But their post didn't have any sources, so I'm not sure where these came from. Why am I posting them then? Because I'd like to think how this list jives with what you all think, so let us know.
M&M's Goes Tongue-In-Cheek For Ice Cream Treats Introduction
Wow...more M&Ms news this week.
"A slightly mischievous sense of fun has always been one of the appeals of the colorful, iconic M&M's characters. Now, Mars Snackfood U.S. is displaying a penchant for self-tweaking, and even a touch of the risqué, in its campaign for its new M&M's Ice Cream Treats."
M&Ms and NASCAR Launch "The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar" Contest
M&M/Mars and NASCAR are launching "The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar" contest, where candy and/or racing fans can upload photos to Nascar.com for a chance to be one of five finalists. Those finalists get a trip to the Ford 400 in Homestead, Fla., on Nov. 16, where the winners will be determined. The winner (i.e. The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar) will win a Tissot wrist watch and a VIP trip for two to the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Click here to enter the contest, or to get yourself some M&Ms click here.
M&Ms Offering Employee Discount on Custom Photo M&Ms
Custom M&Ms have been around for awhile, but now you can actually put a photo on them - talk about customization! To help kick things off, they are offering the 20% employee discount to people who purchase before 6/30/08.
We love candy, we love soft candy, we love ice cream, and we love Baskin Robbins. Unfortunately, we do not love Baskin Robbins soft candy.
Let's start with the packaging. It takes a lot of work to eat these chews. You open the box, then you open the foil bag, then you take out one the chews (which look like bullion cubes), then you struggle to get the foil wrapper off the chew since they're so small. Then you get to the candy.
We started with the Strawberry flavor. When she saw them, the fetching Mrs. Candy Snob simply stated that, "They look like plastic, I won't eat that." I didn't think that, but I saw her point. The pieces are quite obviously unnatural, made more apparent by the sheen on the candy itself. For example, Starburst are in the same general genre as these candies, but they have no sheen. So we know both have a bunch of chemicals in them, but Starburst makes it less noticeable, versus the Baskin Robbins Soft Candy.
But like I said, the artificiality (is that a word) of the candy didn't stop me from nearly finishing the box. They have a great strawberry flavor, albeit very sweet. I'm not sure I get the creaminess of strawberry ice cream, but its not a bad chew.
Texture-wise, they are nice and soft, I would say this is the best feature of these candies. They are not nearly as hard to chew as a Starburst, and not sticky at all - your fillings will certainly survive. My biggest issue with the Strawberry is that they are small, tasty and quick eating because they're so soft...so you want more...which leads us back to my point about them being a pain to unwrap above.
But that's the Strawberry, let's talk about the Mint Chocolate Chip flavor.
Where Strawberry was acceptable in a sugary, fake strawberry kind of way, the Mint Chocolate Chip fell very short. In the words of my mother, a true sugar and candy addict, "they are pretty awful...they're both kind of greasy."
Its not that it doesn't taste like mint chocolate chip, it does. The problem in our view is that the choice of flavor is all wrong for the type of candy. Think about it, there are no minty or chocolaty Starburst for a reason - fruit flavors lend themselves to this type of chew. In most cases, anything that's flavored like chocolate that isn't actually chocolate can be weird at best and gross at worst. Chocolate flavors need to be delivered in a creamier, more natural medium - which is why chocolate bars and ice cream are the big chocolate vehicles. Even chocolate Necco Wafers,while having a cult following, are a little weird.
Add to that the emotional baggage one enters into the experience when they try a Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip candy. Speaking for myself, mint chocolate chip is in my top 5 all-time favorites, especially at Baskin Robbins. This sets the bar higher than normal, which makes the fall that much further when the candy falls short.
Check out Baskin Robbins New Soft Candy for yourself here.
Twix and their ad agency (Nitro) have launched a website to go with their "Get the Girl" ad (below). The new website - www.twix.com - goes hand in hand with the commercial, where we meet out flirty yet stumbling hero. The site lets you pick the next moves, so you can see how the story turns out and whether he gets the girl. Sort of like a candy-rific Choose Your Own Adventure game.
Where to begin? There is just no kind way to say this. Eating this bar is like ingesting a mouthful of chocolate flavored body butter. It is almost like they melted the chocolate and added it to a melted tin of Crisco and stirred it up. Too soft and creamy for dark chocolate yet not milky or caramel-ly enough to be milk chocolate. Too soft. Too sweet. Not enough dark chocolate love. Very disappointing.
Added Note (11:44 AM PST, 6/5/08) - The review above was posted by the fetching Mrs Candy Snob - I'm not sure I know what body butter is, nor do I have any idea what it might taste like. However, I concur with her general assessment of the Starbucks Signature Dark Chocolate Bar.
Hebert's Confections launched this line of "Fully Loaded" candies back on April 1, after 18 months of development. According to their website, Hebert's "challenges the boundaries of explosive flavors." The Fully Loaded line includes bars, bites and fudge.
Today we're looking at one of the bars, the Rocky Road. The bars are 2.75 ounces of chocolate with toppings on the bar to add a visual element to the experience. The bar takes milk chocolate and tops it with walnuts, dark chocolate and marshmallow pieces.
The chocolate itself is quite good - rich and creamy - considerably higher quality that a typical candy bar from Hershey's or Mars. I might put the chocolate on par with about a Cadbury bar.
The toppings, however, is where the bar falls a bit short. Frankly, I didn't even know there was dark chocolate from eating it. I only head about it on the wrapper. I noticed the walnuts, but there aren't enough of them to make a flavor impact, just a little crunch. As for the marshmallow pieces, they are quite dry and crumbly, and they don't have a ton of flavor. Overall, the toppings add a bit to the texture of the bar which is nice, but you really don't taste much except the milk chocolate. If you were blindfolded, you certainly would not know this is Rocky Road.
Note: The toppings also tend to fall off the bar, making this a little messy.
The bars retail for $1.99. More can be learned about them here.
We grabbed these at a promotional table at the Phoenix Zoo yesterday - when the Candy Snob see free candy, he checks it out. I had actually never heard of Sour Punch Straws, or Sour Punch candy for that matter - I'm actually not a huge fan of the sour candies like Sour Patch Kids. I find that they are sometimes so sour they aren't enjoyable. This is a personal opinion of course, many people love the very sour candies.
We actually tried all five Sour Punch Straw flavors: Strikin' Strawberry, Zappin' Apple, Blue Razamatazz, Chargin' Cherry, and Zip Zappin' Watermelon. The claim is that these can be enjoyed on their own, or used as a straw in your favorite beverage to add some zing. We tried the straw idea, and found that the hole was too small, focing you to really have to work to get any of your drink. Not to mention, depending on the beverage, the flavor combination is not necessarily optimal (although we're sure kids don't care because its fun). So we opted to eat them
As we mentioned, we're not huge fans of Sour Patch Kids, which is basically what we expected in the straws. We were pleasantly surprised when that wasn't the case. First, the straws are more like licorice than gummies - they don't stick to your teeth nearly as much, nor do you have to work to chew them. They are quite tender and easy to eat. They are sticky due to the sugar coating, but who expects candy to be completely mess-free?
What we enjoyed more, however, was the balance of sour and sweet. They sourness was not overwhelming, it didn't make you pucker up and force one of your eyes to close. Instead it was sour that gave way to sweetness pretty quickly, which also allowed the flavor of the straw to come through. You can really tell the difference between the flavors, and they're all pretty darn good. I think our favorite was either the Blue Razamatazz or the Chargin' Cherry.
These would make great movie candy - I hope the theaters are starting to carry them.