June 3, 2008

Review: Hebert's Fully Loaded Rocky Road Bar

IMG_3580.jpgHebert'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.

IMG_3581.jpgToday 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.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

June 2, 2008

Review: Sour Punch Straws

straws_img.jpgWe 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.

Check out the Sour Punch website

All sorts or Sour Punch products can also be found here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 28, 2008

Review: Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Kisses - "Don't bother"

kissestruffle_thumb.jpgIn a word..."ehhh."

That's the best we can come up with for these very...well...forgettable chocolates.

I got these with the highest of hopes. I like Hershey's Kisses and I love truffles - these should be awesome. But when I unsheathed these chocolates from their foil wrapper, what I saw were what looked like small, brown baby bottle nipples. The tip of the Kiss is much thicker that the normal Hershey's Kiss - totally screws with an iconic brand shape (think Coke's hourglass bottle, Heinz Ketchup bottles, and the Hershey Kiss). Add to that a smell that is reminiscent of canned chocolate icing and you have a pretty unappealing situation.

The taste was VERY milky - which in the case of Hershey's chocolate is to say "sour milky." And there is no taste differential between the coating and the truffle filling. But at least that lack of distinction is consistent, there is virtually no difference in texture either. When you have a great truffle, there is a distinct difference between the harder coating that gives way to a softer, creamier filling. Not so in this case. The outside melts quickly, there is no break between the coating and filling, and the texture of both is nearly identical.

Overall, don't bother. If you want a really good, quality, mass-market truffle, try Lindt instead.

Photo courtesy of Candy Blog

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 27, 2008

Review: Twix Java

coffeemug300.jpgCandy Snob has been a long-time fan of the Twix bar - crunchy, a little chewy and of so delicious. So we had to pick up a Twix Java when we saw it at the checkout counter recently. The press release says it is a limited edition for March, which I only heard once I ate it - I didn't notice any staleness or lack of freshness though.

Twix Java does more than simply infuse the chocolate with coffee flavor, which would have been the easy thing to do. Instead they changed both the caramel and the cookie, and we'e glad they did because it makes for one delicious treat. Let's start with the caramel. Twix Java uses a much darker caramel that its traditional cousin. It is nearly as dark as the milk chocolate. And the cookie is now a chocolate cookie. So visually, this makes the inside of the Twix Java lack the distinct colors of the regular Twix bar, they are all nearly the same color. However, where it may not have the visual interest, it more than makes up in taste and flavor depth.

There is good bitterness in the coffee flavor, we found it to be quite "real" in taste - rather than just adding in coffee flavoring you sometimes get in other coffee-flavored chocolates and in coffee ice cream.

The chocolate cookie, however, is what makes this bar really stand out. It adds a level of depth that would have otherwise been lost had they used the normal vanilla cookie. Coupled with the coffee-infused caramel, its a multi-layered taste experience with nice balance and bite.

One thing Twix did not change with the Twix Java is the milk chocolate coating. This made for another interesting layer of flavor. Given the darker caramel and cookie, dark chocolate would have naturally been the natural pick to us, but we were both intrigued and pleased with what the milk chocolate brought to the table - which was a creaminess and sweetness that worked nicely with the other flavors.

Want to hear an audio press release of the Twix Java release?

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 24, 2008

Glee Gum Bubblegum Flavor - "A gum MacGyver could use..."

Thumbnail image for gum_bubblegum_face.jpgHonestly, I wasn't crazy about this flavor from Glee. I'm a purist at heart...so when I taste bubblegummy flavor (of which Glee's is very very tasty), I sort of want it to be attached to bubblegum, not chewing gum. I prefer my chewing gum to be minty or fruity. Personal thing...so I would simply sum it up by saying good flavor that I again wish lasted longer, and stickier than other Glee Gum I've sampled.

My wife, the fetching Mrs. Candy Snob, also shared in the gum chewing expedition today. Here's what she had to say:

In regards to how quickly the flavor dissipates, "Not as bad as Fruit Stripe, but not great."

Commenting on the stickiness of the gum, "This is a piece of gum that MacGyver could use."

"I like the little snap I get when I'm chewing this."

Glee Gum's website

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 16, 2008

Review: Rabitos Royale - Fig Bonbons

IMG_3566.jpgTruffle stuffed figs...the very thought give me hear palpitations (the good kind). Which is why we were so excited to try out the Rabitos Royale Fig Bonbons from Valeros.

Each of the 16 pieces is sealed in gold foil. Inside is a small fig that's been infused with dark chocolate truffle, and then covered in dark chocolate. When you break open one of the wrappers, you actually catch a waft of the strong dark chocolate and also the brandy. Again, simple ingredients making the best candy - dried fig, liquid cream, glucose syrup, brandy liquor, chocolate.

rabitos2.jpgWe tried to take a picture of the cross-section of one of these candies, but opted to show you the illustration on the back of the box instead. The photo didn't do these beautiful candies justice, and chocolate and fig butchered by yours truly doesn't make for a great close-up photo.

A little background, these candies originate from Southwestern Spain, where the makers pick local, young figs and fill them with a dark chocolate brandy mousse. These candies have also won acclaim at the Chocolate festival in Williamsburg VA.

What struck me the most with these candies is the contrasts. Contrasts in flavor and contrasts in texture - all packed into one little bite. The smooth dark chocolate, quickly giving way to the chewy, grainy (from the seeds) texture of the fig. But by the time you've taken note of that, you're hit by the pure decadence of the brandy-infused truffle mousse. We found the brandy to be a little strong. Not overwhelming, but strongly present in the candy.

These bonbons pack a wallop, give them a try if you're looking for something off the beaten path. Available at La Tienda

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 15, 2008

Review: Glee Gum - Tangerine

gum_tangerine_face.jpgToday we dive into our stash of Glee Gum, starting with the Tangerine flavor.

The box is brightly colored orange (tangerine I suppose), nicely designed, and sports a retro-looking cartoon guy who doesn't seem to have a torso.

What's cool about Glee in general? Among other things, they're organic and vegetarian. And they use rainforest chickle for their gum base. If you check out the ingredients, you'll notice a short list of flavors. And if you know much about Candy Snob, you know we believe the less ingredient, ultimately the better candy.

gum_tangerine_back.jpgThe gum pieces themselves are little squares, a little bigger than a Chicklet, and these are also orange in color. When you bite into a piece, the first thing you notice is the crunch of the shell, which appears to be thicker than most gum or this sort. From there, you get a bite across the sides of your tongue - when the real citrus flavor hits. And immediately following, a very brief coolness which is very, well, cool. The tangerine flavor is both genuine and natural tasting, but also distinct from its orange cousins. Often, its hard to tell the difference between orange and tangerine flavor. Not so with Glee.

In fairness, the one negative I would point out is that the flavor doesn't last very long at all - I popped 3 in my mouth at once, and the flavor was pretty much wiped out in 1-2 minutes. The upside to this, of course, is that you get to chew some more Glee Gum!

Check out Glee Gum.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 11, 2008

Review: Lucky Country Aussie Style Gourmet Licorice - Strawberry

IMG_3567.jpgIt is official - we're on a licorice kick. After we reviewed Lucky Country's Black Licorice, we wanted to try the brand's strawberry option.

The strawberry licorice comes again in the ~1 inch piece with deep grooves that run the length of the piece. It is much softer than its black licorice counterpart. I think this typically has to do with the flavoring - black licorice to me is less sugary than strawberry - which I believe makes black more firm. The strawberry is a little less dense, again something I attribute to strawberry vs. black licorice in general.

The flavor's good, but not great. I don't know if "gourmet" is appropriate to be honest. I would liken the flavor to Red Vines. Not nearly as sugary, and a much deeper flavor, but it lives in that general vicinity of strawberry flavor. But it doesn't have nearly the depth of flavor we've seen in other "gourmet" licorices.

Overall thought? Solid strawberry licorice, but not for licorice connoisseurs.

One note, this licorice doesn't appear to be the all natural version that the black licorice was, but if that's not a huge deal to you, this is well worth trying.

Check out Lucky Country Licorice

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 8, 2008

Review: Lucky Country Gourmet Soft Licorice (Black Licorice)

lucky country black.jpgWe're slowly (or not so slowly) becoming addicted to "Aussie style" licorice. Why? Simply because its flavorful, typically in nice, bite sized pieces, and most of all because its soft.

We recently checked out Lucky Country's black licorice flavored offering. According to the packaging, they came across this particular recipe by accident, when a hard licorice batch went awry and turned soft. Here's to happy accidents! It is also all natural to boot - which we always appreciate.

These pieces are about one inch long, which make for convenient (and plentiful) eating.

They aren't as soft as other Aussie licorice we've had - which isn't a bad thing, but the softer the better in our book. The insides are a bit dry as well.

The flavor is strong for sure, big and bold anise taste abounds. Its not for the faint of heart, but also not for the hard core licorice traditionalists either. The flavor stays with you for awhile, I actually feel like my tongue is coated with something, which is slightly offputting.

Overall, I'd put it in the mid-top tier of the licorice I've had. If I HAD to give it a rating, I'd give it a 6 or 7.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 5, 2008

Review: Modjeskas from Cracker Barrel

IMG_3579.jpg
If you haven't been to a Cracker Barrel, more specifically if you haven't perused the candy section of the Cracker Barrel store, you're missing out on a treasure-trove of retro candy and confections.

We're going to be covering several of the treats we've recently picked up there, starting today with a candy that's actually looks to be made by Cracker Barrel, or some regional candy-maker - the hard to pronounce Modjeska. It is a candy that originated in Kentucky, and has several variations. The one we're discussing today is a caramel-covered marshmallow.

The candy was wrapped in plain wax paper, giving it a very homemade feel, which added to our anticipation. They happened to be selling these at the checkout, not the normal candy section. When unwrapped it, what we saw looked like a large caramel - which made us very happy of course.

When we bit into it, the first thing you notice is the texture - which was a little tough. The issue is that the marshmallow is very dense, not light and fluffy. So it ends up being very chewy. In fact, you can see from the picture that the marshmallow was tight enough that it started pulling away from the caramel. This isn't a terrible thing, but if it had a lighter texture, it would make the piece much more enjoyable.

From a flavor standpoint, the caramel is terrific. Creamy, rich and delicious. The marshmallow, however, gets lost in the shuffle. I love the idea of marshmallow paired with caramel, but this particular combo wasn't evenly balanced. By the time you're past the rich caramel, you're on to the chewiness of the marshmallow filling, so its contribution to the overall flavor is lost.

Overall - your ~$.50 is better spent on the other treats in the Cracker Barrel store.

If you're interested in learning more about this unique candy, its history, and a recipe click here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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