Candy Reviews

February 13, 2009

Review: Cadbury Picnic Bar from India

picnicbar.JPGThis is another Cadbury bar I picked up in Bangalore, India, so its a bar you can find in specialty shops in the US, but likely not too many places. The Cadbury Picnic Baris a chocolate bar with milk chocolate and peanuts, covering nougat, caramel, biscuit and puffed rice.

A popular slogan for the Cadbury Picnicis "Deliciously ugly". They got that right (see photo). I know I'm not the best photographer around, but man, this bar is ugly. We can get over the looks. But the problem, of course, is that it isn't delicious either.

The Cadbury Picnic Bar
reminds me of a Baby Ruth with a wafer middle. First, this is a hodgepodge of textures. Second, the wafer tasted like cardboard. I also caught a faint, almost smokey flavor, which was off-putting.


Hodgepodge, or mish-mosh, are good ways to think about the Picnic bar. There simply is way too much going on - the bar doesn't know what it wants to be. Which, for the consumer, means the whole experience doesn't make sense. There are too many textures and too too many flavors, none of which make a coherent experience.

Some info via Wikipedia

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 11, 2009

Review: Judy's Candy Peanut Butter Cup

judysPBcup.JPGJudy's Candy Company may not be a household name, but they've been around for many year, blending tradition with new ideas - striving to make candy that's true and classic but forward-thinking. We love the vision. Unfortunately, we didn't love the peanut butter cup we tried.

The Good:

  • The chocolate was nice, creamy, and flavorful. By far the strongest part of the piece.

  • The idea of one big cup, in this case 2.5 oz., is also really nice. We're always fans of larger, single cup candy.

The Bad:

  • While we liked the chocolate, it was really thick, which hurt the bite and overpowered the peanut butter.

  • In fact, the peanut butter flavor was completely non-existent.

  • The peanut butter and the chocolate were completely separated.

  • The peanut butter had serious problems. First, it was grayish in color - which makes me think this was an old piece. Second, it was really dry. Put the two together and you have something that reminds me of smokey ash. Put smokey ash together with the hard, thick chocolate and you have a very off-putting texture.

We're not off Judy's, we're still holding out hope that we caught a bad piece. But they now have some work to do to win us over.

Visit Judy's Candy

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 9, 2009

Review: Cadbury 5-Star from India

8.jpgYou can get this fudgy Cadbury confection in the US, but I got mine where it is actively marketed, Bangalore, India.

The 5 Star chocolate bar has been around for 25 years. It was launched in 1969 as a bar of chocolate that was hard outside with soft caramel nougat inside. Over time the bar has reinvented itself, which is clear because this is not the bar I consumed.

Cadbury calls it "A leading knight in the Cadbury portfolio," with the second largest market share after Cadbury Dairy Milk.

We don't get it.

It has a nice bite - the Cadbury chocolate mixed with the the caramel and dark nougat make for a nice eating piece of candy. However, there are flavor issues. On the plus side, it is very "caramely" which we like. But overall the flavor do we put it accurately...funky. And not the good kind funky. It tastes more like a health bar, like a Balance Bar or Power Bar. Not a candy bar. Pass.

[Some info from Cadbury website}

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

October 6, 2008

Review: Green & Black's Organic, Bite-sized Milk Chocolate

We picked up a bag of Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolates the other day and were very pleased by the experience. The bag is filled with individually wrapped, bite-sized pieces of milk chocolate that Green & Black's calls "Intense," which is a very accurate description. All the ingredients are organic: raw cane sugar, whole milk powder, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and vanilla extract.

Each piece is a little bigger than a quarter, with a nice G&B imprint on top. It is the perfect size - a little bite that packs a big punch to quash your milk chocolate craving. The flavor is more complex than most milk chocolates. You definitely get a caramel flavor which is delightful. But you also get an occasional hint of sour, which isn't off putting, but instead adds depth. It has amazing mouthfeel - its so creamy that it is almost sticky, the kind of stickiness you'd get with a thinner peanut butter. But of course much smoother and creamier.

CandySnob loves these little morsels of goodness. The perfect little treat during the day.

Check out Green & Black's Organic Chocolate goodies here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

September 28, 2008

Review: Green & Black's Organic Chocolate - Toffee Chocolate Bar


We've been sampling the Green and Blacks Organic Toffee Chocolate bar, and we have to say it's pretty good. Here's what Green and Black's has to say:

Our delectable, organic toffee is made by heating sugar along with butter and molasses to create the perfect flavorful blend. This full, concentrated flavor allows the crunchy toffee pieces to punch their way through our intense 34% cocoa-rich milk chocolate. Available in 3.5oz bars.

We agree with the crunchy toffee idea, but overall the pieces were very small and fine. We like our toffee pieces to be a little larger, but the smaller pieces did provide a big toffee and chocolate flavor. We liked the milk chocolate, but would also like to see a dark chocolate and toffee bar. Overall we'll give this a thumbs up, and think you'll enjoy it. We finished ours in about 15 minutes, while we sipped on a nice cabernet.

At Green & Black's Organic Chocolate | Toffee Chocolate Bar

Jay Brewer at Permalink | social bookmarking

August 8, 2008

Review: Baskin Robbins Cookies & Cream Hard Candy

IMG_3777.jpgI went into this with very low hopes. In fact, I expected to hate these, likely not finishing them like the last Baskin Robbins candy we tried.

But we were pleasantly surprised. The rounded rectangle piece of hard candy is split into a black side and a white side, and they actually work relatively well. The cream flavor takes the lead on this candy, giving way, as it melts, to the odd chocolate/oreo flavor.

Our advice: don't chew these up, let it melt. I have trouble doing this too, I'm a biter, but trust me, the experience is much nicer when the two flavors are melding together. Chewing them up actually changes the whole dynamic for me, it stopped being a cookies and cream taste and turned more chocolate and sugary. And it left a sharp aftertaste that got me in the back of the throat.

The verdict? Better than the soft candies, but still not as awesome as Baskin Robbin's ice cream, so they should think these candies through more.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

August 7, 2008

Review: 1880 Crunchy Alicante Almond Turron Candy

IMG_3773.jpgWe thought we had hit the Spanish Turron Holy Grail when we had the 1880 Soft Almond and Honey Jijona Turron, but we were premature in our evaluation. Although very different, the 1880 Crunchy Alicante Almond Turrón is actually our new favorite.

This is classic Turrón "Duro" (i.e. hard or crunchy) - because it is made up primarily (65%) of tasty Marcona almonds. Apparently, that's the most almonds they can put in without it falling apart. Then, they are doused in orange blossom honey to bind the bar together. They are bound together with 100% orange blossom honey.

The package comes with two foil-wrapped packages of bars, which are pre-cut so you can separate more manageable pieces. When I first opened these, it looked like there was a thin layer of Styrofoam on the bar - I figured shipment in the heat had melded it on to the candy, and I was not happy. However, under further investigation, it was not packing material. Rather, it is an ultra-thin wafer on top - so it is an added layer of texture for the whole eating experience.

This Turrón lives up to its "Duro" classification - it is very crunchy - you really have to give it a good bite. That initial crunchiness does give way to a little more chewiness, once you get into the dense almond clusters and honey. And while an odd combo, the wafer on top seems to make sense.

The flavor, if you like Marcona almonds and honey (if you don't, maybe this blog isn't for you...), is out of this world. Marcona almonds are NOT like those you find in the grocery store or in your Hershey's bar, these have a special nutty, slightly more oily, and certainly more intense flavor. With so many packed into this bar, coupled with the honey, you have an explosion of sweet, nutty, crunchy goodness.

We may have been eating the soft Turrón for breakfast, but we could make ourselves sick on the 1880 Crunchy Alicante Almond Turrón

Like the soft Turrón, this is made following an artisanal process in Jijona, Alicante, Spain.

Check out Alicante Turrón.

Some info from Wikipedia

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

August 6, 2008

Review: Botan Rice Candy

IMG_3781.jpgWe picked these up at World Market, a great place for all sorts of candy. What caught our eye was the chubby little baby drawing on the box - odd yet intriguing.

The candies themselves are only about 1/2" x 1/4" rectangles, each individually wrapped. They're an opaque, light orange color. The candies themselves are quite normal, almost pedestrian. There's nothing at all wrong with them, they are chewy (sticky actually), and have a great, sugary orange flavor. But that's it. Perhaps I set my hopes too high for a more adventurous candy experience.

Each candy has an edible inner wrapper that melts in your mouth. If you're not paying attention, you'll miss this little nugget of information, its located on one of the inner flaps of the box. In fact, I missed it and spent several tedious minutes trying to get all the wrapper off.

They also come with a temporary tattoo for the youngsters. Ours was the Chinese character for "Friends."

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

July 11, 2008

Review: 1880 Soft Almond & Honey Jijona Gourmet Turron Candy

1880 honey almond.pngWe recently had a chance to try out some Spanish candy - the Soft Honey and Almond Turron Bar by 1880. The candy is made by hand in Jijona, Alicante, Spain.

The folks at La Tienda who were nice enough to send us some, warned us that it "was addicting" and that they "eat it for breakfast." So I was anxious to try it out, although I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting into...

In case you're ignorant of what Turrón is, like I was, it is a nougat confection that's typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. In this case, the Turrón is of the Jijona variety, which means its softer because the almonds are reduced to a paste and they add oil. Marcona almonds make up over 65% of the bar, and the almonds are ground together with 100% orange blossom honey.

Generally speaking, Turrón comes in a sealed rectangular package not unlike tofu packaging. We cut the package open to find, coincidentally, something that looked a little like light brown tofu, actually. The smell is amazing, and you can both see and feel the oiliness. Its not completely greasy by any means, but you definitely notice the oil.

When I cut our a small square and popped it in my mouth, the first thing that struck me was the highly unique texture. It feels dry, but it really isn't. In fact, it ends up being quite moist, while at the same time being a bit crumbly. As you chew and the Turrón begins to melt and soften even more, you notice the ever-so-slight crunch that comes from Marcona almond pieces that are so small you don't even see them.

If you've ever had almond butter, imagine that flavor times ten and you'll have the flavor of this Turrón. Mesh that with the honey flavor and you have one tasty treat.

This is a very interesting, very unique, and very delicious candy that everyone should try at least once.

Full disclosure...I've had this a couple times now for breakfast myself...

Check out more Turron

Some info from Wikipedia

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

July 1, 2008

Review: Colts Bolts Chocolate - Peanut Butter & Almonds

IMG_3705.JPGWe had never heard of Colt's Chocolates before we happened across them at one of our favorite candy pick-up joints, Cracker Barrel. It looked interesting enough, a gold foil-covered disk just a little smaller than a hockey puck. It felt dense (it weighs 2 ounces), and the label had a picture of a woman with big hair and a equestrian jacket on. We had to check it out.

The first thing we noticed when we unwrapped the "Bolt" were the gray streaks in the top layer of chocolate. That's always a bad sign, we know graying happens and doesn't hurt the flavor, but its an indication of quality control in our opinion.
The "Bolt" disk is made up of three layers - in this case two milk chocolate layers with a peanut butter and almond middle layer. It is a fairly dense piece, so you need to cut out pieces, I'm not sure you'd want to bite right into it.

Overall, the flavor is in the vicinity of a Snickers bar, only much more dry. We did not get the three distinct flavors we were hoping for (milk chocolate, peanut butter and almonds).
IMG_3711.JPGThis may have been because the peanut butter wasn't plain peanut butter as far as we could tell - it was much lighter in color and tasted like it may have had milk added to it. I also think its a difficult task to distinguish two nut flavors in a single bite - the peanut and almond flavors end up merging together.

The other take-way was the texture - it was dry and crumbly. The three layers split apart as we bit into the piece, and the almond pieces, while nice and crunchy, were very dry.

Visit the Colt's website

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

June 27, 2008

Review: Fry's Turkish Delight

TurkishD.jpgI'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 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.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

June 23, 2008

Review: Cinnamon Glee Gum

gum_cinnamon_face.jpgWe'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.

Check out Glee Gum at their website or at Amazon.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

June 18, 2008

Review: Anastasia Confections' Key Lime Coconut Patties

key lime coco.jpgWhat 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).

IMG_3692.JPGFor 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.

Check out Anastasia Confections

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

June 9, 2008

Review: New Baskin Robbins Soft Candy

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.

IMG_3713.JPGWe 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 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.

IMG_3701.JPGWhere 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.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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