March 25, 2008

Review: Chocolove Ginger Crystalized in Dark Chocolate

bar_ginger_575.jpgOh how love Chocolove's Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate, let me count the ways...

chocolove ginger.jpg1. The crystalized ginger is in small, almost granular pieces. In many ginger/chocolate pieces I've had, the pieces are larger and sometimes a little chewy, which throws off the whole texture. I'm more of a "melt in your mouth" rather than a "bite and chew" chocolate eater. But with this bar, I'm compelled to chew, I think its the way to go to release the full textural and flavor experience.

2. Those same large pieces sometimes make the ginger flavor too much, it makes it unbalanced. Not so with the Chocolove bar, its pieces, because they are smaller and are crumbly, give you the nice bite on the sides of your tongue, without detracting from the chocolate.

3. Ingredients that span the globe - Australian ginger and Belgian chocolate.

4. 65% cocoa content, just the right amount to mix with another strong flavor.

5. The love poem (this comes with every Chocolove bar, but we like it anyway).

6. Two simple ingredients - dark chocolate, crystalized ginger.

7. A big bar, so you don't run out easily - it measures 6" x 3"

Check out Chocolove's Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 22, 2008

New Candy Bar, Carlos V by Nestle...well...sort of...

carlos v.jpgSo we were buying some office supplies at our neighborhood big box retailer, and at the checkout I saw a "Nuevo" candy bar called "Carlos V" by Nestle. "El Rey de los Chocolates" it claims (that means The King of Chocolates if you didn't figure it out). Reading the label closer, it says "Milk Chocolate Style Bar" which gave me pause, but also sealed the deal for me trying it out. I just have to know what a chocolate "style" bar is!

What's interesting is that this must just be a new bar in my market (Arizona), no doubt tapping into the Hispanic community, because the Carlos V bar is not new. In fact, it looks like its been around a long time. The one change I see is in the packaging. The wrapper I got has the weird King drawing on the opposite side of the wrapper, and it looks to be a lighter shade of red. Candy Blog reviewed this bar back in 2005, and correctly assessed the bar - sticky sweet with a hint of powdered milk (I couldn't put my finger on the taste, but that's it). Where we don't see completely eye to eye is in the graininess and true to the American Nestle bar. To me, it was quite grainy. Plus, the sweetness took over and almost made it sour - if I had blind tasted this I would have said it was a Hershey product, not Nestle.

Anyway, I don't quite get what's special about it, I'm a little freaked out about why its "chocolate style" not just "chocolate," and I can tell you it is NOT authentic Mexican chocolate.

Check out more about Carlos V.

Check out Carlos V at the Nestle website

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 18, 2008

Review: Chocolove Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate Bar

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This would have been a great Valentine's post (they actually have a love poem inside the wrapper), but we should feel "Chocolove" all year round. We love the Chocolove line in general, but this bar is exceptional. When something is really good, my dad likes to say "That'll make you want to throw your hat in the lake." Truer words were never said about this bar.

The dried Michigan cherries aren't overly sweet, and they are unquestionably natural tasting - no cherry flavoring here. And the chunks are nice and chewy. The California almond nibs are dry-roasted and add a little crunch and a subtle saltiness. And of course the smooth, complex 55% dark chocolate. The chewy, crunchy combination of cherries and almonds provides a delicious flavor contrast initially, then gradually blends with the rich, complex flavor of dark chocolate. The bar measures 6" x 3".

Get some Chocolove for yourself.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 17, 2008

Review: Snickers Marathon Energy - When candy brands go healthy

snickers energy.jpgLast week we looked at the PayDay Pro energy bar, and concluded that while it starts out like the PayDay's we know and love, it ends up tasting like a typical energy bar, which is to say it has a chemical/artificial taste. This week we looked at another energy bar from one of our favorite brands, this time it was the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar. Specifically, we tried the Peanut Butter version. The bar's made up of chewy peanut butter on the outside and peanuts, caramel, and chocolate flavored crisps inside. And it has the obligatory protein (14g of soy, peanut, casein and whey) and undisclosed carbohydrates for energy, and 16 vitamins and minerals.

From the get-go, this is an entirely different experience than the PayDay. First, it is a wide, flat bar, the shape you expect from a typical energy bar. Second, it tastes pretty darn good for an energy bar. It does NOT remind you of a Snickers bar, which is the key point. It is an energy bar that happens to be branded Snickers, not a candy bar that has been made healthy, like the PayDay Pro. It makes all the difference. If it looks like a PayDay, initially tastes like a PayDay, but ends up tasting like an energy bar, that's bad for the PayDay brand. But if you have an energy bar that tastes good and happens to be branded Snickers and shares some of the ingredients, its an entirely better eating experience, one that doesn't hurt the Snickers brand. We'd definitely eat this bar again for a pick-me-up. Although we'd just as soon chomp on a real Snickers...

Check out Snickers Marathon products.

Snickers Marathon site

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 14, 2008

Review: Munch Bar from Snickers

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I have a feeling I'm incredibly late to this game, but I just came across a Munch bar today at the convenience store, so I picked one up. Besides the bold name on the label, the first thing you notice is that it touts only having 6 simple ingredients. Hey, any candy with only 6 ingredients, made by Snickers, has got to have something going for it no? The ingredients, for those interested, are: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and soy lecithin. And with its all natural contents, it qualifies as a low glycemic index snack.

So on to the eating. I read the ingredients to my wife before opening the package, and she said, "Hmmm...its peanut brittle." And guess what, she was absolutely right, it is peanut brittle. It is pretty decent peanut brittle though, especially considering its mass produced - I tend to like my peanut brittle made in small batches. The color is lighter than most brittles, not the richer brown you would expect. It bites pretty well, its a little crumbly and "dusty" for lack of a better term. But not bad at all. Although all brittles are full of butter, the Munch bar had more of a distinct butter flavor, almost popcorn buttery.

Overall, it wasn't bad at all. I don't know why but I was a little taken back by the non-brittle branding and packaging of such a classic candy - maybe its the traditionalist in me. I wouldn't get it if you're a brittle snob, but it'll do the trick if you're looking for a sweet peanut fix.

Check out Munch bars here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 10, 2008

Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Chewy Caramel with Dark Chocolate

chewy dark.gifTo quote my dad, these chocolate covered caramels are so good that "they make me want to throw my hat in the lake." That about sums it up I think, but these members of Ethel's Nut & Caramel collection are truly superb. We picked these up in Ethel's Las Vegas lounge, but you can also order them online.

Basically, they're about 1 square inch of soft, milky goodness. The dark chocolate is top notch, it melts nicely and bites even better. And the caramel tastes more like dolce de leche than regular 'ole caramel really.

"Holy mackerel" and "mmmmm" were what we were saying most while trying this piece, which I hope gives you all the details you need. :)

We bought a whole sampler pack fro Ethel's, so be on the lookout for a lot more from Ethel's on Candy Snob.

Check out Ethel's Chocolate Lounge website.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 8, 2008

Review: Nestle Treasures Renew Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar

prodDarkTruffle.jpgThis is a really nice eating bar. It is only 50% cocoa, so you're not going to get the depth of flavor of darker chocolate. However, what is may lack to some in terms of complexity, it more than makes up for in texture. The chocolate itself melts more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate, and that creaminess is amplified by the truffle-esque filling. I say "truffle-esque" because it is in bar form...truffles are supposed to be roundish usually. Running in contrast to the creaminess are the tiny cocoa bits, which add the perfect amount of crunch.

Nestle calls this bar "Renew" - making reference to the health benefits of eating dark chocolate (such as being a good source of anti-oxidants). To us, it has also renewed our faith that the big chocolate makers can put together luxurious, high-quality chocolate that's available at your local check-out.

Check out Nestles Treasures Renew Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar hereor here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 7, 2008

Review: sweetriot flavor 50 - cocoa nibs dunked in dark chocolate

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We picked up a 1 ounce tin of sweetriot's "flavor 50" product at Whole Foods, which are lightly roasted cacao nibs covered with 50% dark chocolate. As the package clearly says, this tin is filled with "'peaces" of intense yum." And the whole tin only has 140 calories!

At first glance, they look like mini-chocolate covered raisins, and even smelled a little raisin-y. But while there are definitely fruity notes to the taste, that look & scent doesn't carry through. What you get is more on the raspberry side of things. But less like real raspberry flavor and more like raspberry liqueur, such as Chambourd.

Since they are roasted cacao nibs, they were a wee bit dry, but definitely tasty. I found that you need to eat several at once to get the full flavor. Because they're pretty small, eating just one or two doesn't do the flavor justice.

And if there was ever a socially conscious candy company, sweetriot is it. They use all-natural ingredients, believe in fair trade with developing countries, celebrate culture and diversity , create a solid environment for their customers, partners and employees, and the candy is kosher. I think that about covers it. They call their nibs 'peaces' for goodness sake!

Even better, they have a lot of fun. First, the provide a cacao country fun fact inside each tin - which is on a little slip of paper just like the fortune in a fortune cookie. Ours said the following:

Front side: Cacao Country Indonesia is home to the giant Komodo dragon, which would be cool if it didn't occasionally snack on a villager.

Back side: Your get lucky numbers: 1,5,10,12,22,30

Second, like Jones Soda before them, they solicit artwork for their tins on their website. So if you're an aspiring artist and want to get your work seen by chocolate lovers the world over, click here.

Check out the sweetriot website.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 5, 2008

Review: Lake Champlain Organic Dark Spicy Aztec Chocolate Bar

We love the Dark Spicy Aztec bar from Lake Champlain. Its 55% cocoa content is flanked by strong cinnamon and cayenne flavors. This is not a bar for the faint-hearted or the weak-paletted.

Unexpected is a good word to describe this spicy and sweet treat. It contains classic Mexican ingredients that hit you right off the bat. The minute you put it in your mouth, the cinnamon kicks in. But hold on to your hats, the cayenne is soon to follow, getting you in the back of the throat. This dark, rich bar has a very nice texture - smooth and velvety - which segue into the last surprise in this bar, the pumpkin seeds, which leave you with a crunchy treat to finish off your bite.

Lake Champlain's Organic Dark Spicy Aztec Bar is an enjoyable ride we recommend everyone lines up to take.

Check out Lake Champlain's Organic Chocolates here.

Free Lake Champlain Chocolates with Purchase

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 3, 2008

Review: Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate Bar

panther.jpg Endangered Species Chocolate has a terrific, simple idea - sell high quality chocolate to people and donate 10% of the net profits to help support endangered species of animals. All of Endangered Species Chocolate bars have compelling photos of the animal they help on the wrapper. For the Extreme Dark bar, its a black panther. On the inside of the wrappers, you can learn about the plight of the animal that's threatened.

We love the idea, so we tried out their Extreme Dark Chocolate bar - 3 oz. of DARK chocolate - 88% cacao content. It is made with all-natural, shade-grown, ethically traded, single-origin extreme dark chocolate. And the chocolate is ethically or fairly traded, and its Kosher. So we have all the right bases covered.

The company touts that this bar is "one of the highest cocoa content chocolate bars available with a smooth, not overly bitter flavor." As much as we wanted to, we just can't agree with that last part. We actually felt that the bitterness totally overwhelmed the chocolate flavor. And what little flavor there was had no finish, by the time the piece melted in your mouth you were left with nothing more than the fine grit that exemplifies the overall texture of the bar.

Although this wasn't our favorite, we will definitely be sampling the other variations. When we do, you'll be the first to know.

To borrow from their tagline, if you would like to "savor chocolate and save the planet" check out their website.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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