Review: Choxie Dark Chocolate Ceylon Spice Bar

choxie ceylonTo be honest, whenever I've been in Target">Target and pass the Choxie display I have never really given it much of a chance. I look at the packaging, think its very creative and cool, and that Target">Target does that kind of thing pretty well. But I had never tried any.

Until now.

I picked up a 3 oz. dark chocolate Ceylon spice bar. There are six pieces of solid (and I mean solid), dark (and I mean really dark) chocolate that is infused with Ceylon cinnamon and just enough piquant pepper to get you on the back of your tongue.

From a texture standpoint, its rock-solid dark chocolate - hard and slightly crumbly - and they throw in toasted cacao bean nibs which really throw the piece over the top and give it great added texture. Like a lot of infused chocolate, which I'm coming to enjoy more and more...the flavors are subtle. But make no mistake, this chocolate has a ton of unique and multi-dimensional flavor - it took me a minute to warm to it, but then I found myself craving more.

It is unlikely I will leave Target without some Choxie ever again.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 16, 2008

Review: Violet Crumble - Chocolate Covered Honeycomb from Nestle

Ok, I think this one should be renamed the Violent Shudder . . . I was intrigued by the prospect of chocolate dipped honeycomb--gooey, sweet honey trickling lazily from delicate crispy caverns. But what I experienced was much more like nails on a chalkboard, but inside my mouth. That's right, BIG shudder. Since I've never actually eaten chalk, I can only surmise this is what chocolate covered chalk tastes like.

Check out Violet Crumble Chocolate Covered Honeycombat Amazon.

Noël Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 15, 2008

Review: Lake Champlain Organic Sea Salt & Almonds Milk Chocolate Bar

We're pretty excited about this bar - it is truly excellent. It has relatively high cocoa-content for milk chocolate (38%), plus roasted organic almonds and gray sea salt. Yes, we said sea salt. So imagine a killer piece of milk chocolate, stimulating your palate with its creaminess and chocolate flavor, melting nicely in your mouth giving you plenty of time to enjoy it.

Now...imagine during that melting time, you get intermittently surprises by a salty flavor. Not salty like table salt, but subtle saltiness that makes your taste buds feel like they're at a killer party where you have the perfect mix of friends, music, food and drink. Then...when the party is dying down, you get a little extra bonus in the crunchy almond bits. That's about how you feel eating this piece of chocolate.

The milk chocolate, like its plain sibling, has just the right amount of cocoa butter, so its still a strong chocolate taste. We were split in the chocolate category, I loved the chocolate but my lovely wife didn't like it as much as the plain milk chocolate bar - which is interesting because this bar has more cocoa content and she is a dark chocolate person. But we wholeheartedly agreed on the savory notes from the sea salt and the slight crunch from the almonds. The salt stimulates your taste buds and amplifies all the other flavors in the bar.

I could eat this chocolate until I got sick. And like all Lake Champlain Organic Chocolates, these are all-natural, Kosher, gluten free, and 100% Organic Chocolate certified by QAI.

Check out Lake Champlain's Organic Chocolates here.

Free Lake Champlain Chocolates with Purchase

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 13, 2008

Review: Vertigo Chocolate/Cookies & Cream Pop

vertigo_bag.jpgI was at my local gas station, buying a bottle of water to help wash down the excessively bitter taste of high gas prices, when I happened across an interesting find - a Vertigo Candy & Chocolate Pop made by Topps. This one happened to be Cookies & Cream.

So how can a lollipop deserve the name "Vertigo"? Well, by launching an immediate taste explosion - marked by conflicting textures coupled with well-matched flavors. It is a bit disorienting I must say, but certainly a delicious combo.

The chocolate, naturally, melts faster that the hard candy side. It is very nice, smooth milk chocolate that melts very nicely. The hard candy side of the pop was again a pleasant surprise. Cookies & cream wouldn't be my first choice for a lollipop, but darn if it wasn't really tasty.

At only 80 calories a pop (as if you were counting), this is a treat you should really check out. They also have chocolate/strawberry and chocolate/caramel pops, both of which we're looking forward to trying.

Check out the Vertigo website, besides more product information there are some funny ads on their homepage.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 12, 2008

Review: Roasted Cashews from German Roasted Nuts

booth2.jpgWhile wandering through a local home & garden show this weekend, I caught a whiff of a venerable favorite of events such as these - roasted nuts. I followed my nose to the stand and found what one usually finds - piles of roasted almonds, pecans and cashews. Usually there is a mix between sweet and salty nuts, but this particular vendor, German Roasted Nuts, was all sweet.

The company is based in Texas, and is family owned and operated, and in addition to online orders, they sell exclusively at home and garden shows. Their roasting technique uses water, not oil, and there are no added fats or preservatives. The recipe is simple (which is what the best recipes tend to be): cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and water.

I was close to buying a mixed cone of all three nuts, but when I sampled the cashews I opted for just those. We've all had great, hot roasted nuts, whether at a fair, on a city sidewalk, or at a show like this one. These were just about the best I've ever tasted. The taste was out of this world - simple, cleanly sweet with just a hint of saltiness from the nut. But what made these extra addicting was the texture. I think this was partially due to the tenderness of cashews in general, but also their water roasting technique. They just crumbled in your mouth. Once I started I just couldn't stop. We highly recommend all of the nuts, but certainly the cashews.

Check out German Roasted Nuts.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 10, 2008

Snickers Charged - The Aftermath of a Caffeine Candy Bar

Car_crash_1.jpgYesterday we reviewed the limited edition Snickers Charged bar with 60 milligrams of caffeine, taurine and other B vitamins. The net opinion of the review was that it did give you a kick, but at the expense of a funky aftertaste.

But there is now more to report...the crash...

Indeed, all that caffeine et al give you the get up and go you may need, but you crash hard. A sugar low of epic proportions hit me out of the blue about 1 1/2 or 2 hours after eating the Snickers Charged bar. Dizziness, the shakes, and overall fuzziness hit me like a ton of bricks. I was driving my car at the time, so this is not how you want to feel. The crash passed, but only after downing a Coke and eating a blueberry muffin. I don't drink Red Bull or other energy drinks, but I'd assume the crash is similar.

My advice for both readers and Mars - stick to the original Snickers bar.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 9, 2008

Review: Snickers Charged - Caffeine-infused Bar Wakes Me Up

The prospect of eating a Snickers bar often gives me heart palpitations, just because I love them so much. But with their latest line extension, the limited edition Snickers Charged, the palpitations come from the 60 milligrams of caffeine, taurine and other B vitamins (~10% of your RDA).

Bringing 60 milligrams of caffeine into perspective:

  • 1 - 8-ounce soft drink contains 20-40 milligrams (about 150-170 calories)

  • 1 - 8-ounce regular coffee contains 65-120 milligrams (5-100)

  • 1 - 8-ounce energy drink contains 72-80 milligrams (110-140 calories)

I must first say that this it is fully unnecessary to add chemicals to candy. If you're tired, have a cup of coffee. I also don't get how this jives with the Snickers Marathon Bar. I know they're different, but with so many choices, the consumer's going to get confused, which isn't good for the brand. But I digress...back to the Charged bar.

I ate this bar early in the morning, figuring it could be my wake-up/breakfast. It ate just like a normal Snickers bar, which was good. The flavor was nearly unmistakable to the original as well. It seemed just a hint more syrupy to me, but it was nearly indistinguishable. So I was pleased that the added chemicals didn't ruin the flavor. If you had a blindfold on you'd say it was a regular Snickers bar.

Until the aftertaste kicks in...that's when the chemical taste rears its ugly head. It gets you on the back of the tongue and in the throat. Nobody likes a chemical aftertaste, especially if its associated with a venerable favorite candy bar like Snickers.

To sum it all up, the Snickers Charged has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth...literally...not to mention I can barely keep my hands still due to the chemicals coursing through my veins.

Not a raving review, but if you're still interested in checking them out, click here.Personally, I'd just buy the original. It still has plenty of good stuff to fill you up and it gives you a little energy - not to mention they taste better. You can buy regular Snickers here.

Stats from Candy Blog

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

February 4, 2008

Review: RJ's Natural Rasperry Licorice Logs

RJ's is a New Zealand-based, family owned and operated candy company that focuses solely on licorice (we like candy companies with focus, btw, it means they take the little things seriously). Their licorice is all-natural, and vegan-friendly, BTW.

We picked up one of RJ's "soft-eating" licorice log at a local cafe/food shop - frankly thinking it was traditional black licorice (note to RJ's, you should print the flavor a little more prominently on the wrapper). We also took note of the "soft-eating" mention on the wrapper, and very much looked forward to a great licorice-y chew.

What we found was something that frankly looked more like a Vienna sausage than a traditional piece of licorice. Aesthetics aside, the biggest issue with this licorice was the texture. It was very chewy, and not soft. Actually, it was a little dry inside, which perhaps is the culprit. It absolutely was not "soft-eating."

However, the licorice had great flavor. The natural raspberry flavor was subtle, not overstated, and very tasty. Sometimes raspberry flavor can be overwhelming, but this was not the case at all with this. We both liked the flavor very much.

We would definitely give RJ's another try, we'd especially like to try the black licorice. But given options, we're not sure this would be our top choice.

You can try RJ's Licorice here.

Learn more about RJ's Licorice at their website.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

January 28, 2008

Review: Hershey's Cacao Reserve vs. Hershey's Special Dark

While wandering down the candy aisle in the drug store, doing what a Candy Snob does which is getting a lay of the land from the mass market candy makers, I saw two Hershey's products which got me thinking. The first was the Cacao Reserve by Hershey's and the second was the Hershey's Special Dark bar. With these two bars in such close proximity, I got to wondering whether there was a difference between the two, or whether this was simply a marketing and packaging ploy. So I decided to find out.

Hershey's Special Dark - Its shaped exactly like a traditional Hershey bar - a rectangular bar that can be broken into many smaller rectangles.

The description on the Hershey's website is that its flavorful dark chocolate "that offers a mildly sweet taste that milk chocolate lovers are sure to cherish." This says to me that they're trying to be all things to all people - which in most cases means you're not satisfying either. This bar melts like milk chocolate, not dark. And it actually broke apart very easily, not from being brittle but from being too soft - and it wasn't warm. From a flavor standpoint, there was absolutely nothing special about it. In fact, it was nearly flavorless, and didn't linger at all. This is certainly not what you would want if you're looking for dark chocolate. And, of course, it has the slight taste of spoiled milk that is the signature of Hershey's chocolate. This bar cost $.59 for a 1.45 oz. bar.

Cacao Reserve by Hershey's- The square, 4-piece Cacao Reserve bar was also a little softer than normal dark chocolate, and melted nicely. But it shared lack of punch and lack of finish with the Special Dark. The only discernible difference I tasted is that it had only a hint of the spoiled milk taste, which is a plus. The Cacao Reserve sells for $.99 for 1.3 oz. Quite a bit more expensive for a little less chocolate.

There may be faint differences in these bars, but I don't think enough to buy the Cacao Reserve over the Special Dark. But truthfully, given the choice I wouldn't buy either if I wanted dark chocolate.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

January 23, 2008

Review: Limited Edition Green M&Ms for Valentine's Day

About a week ago, CandySnob alerted you to the limited edition, Green M&Ms that were launched for Valentine's Day. As we mentioned, we bought a bag and have checked them out.

No big surprise, but they taste exactly the same as other M&Ms, despite our hopes that there would be some unique flavor associated with the green candy coating. As a side note...about 20 years ago, I met a guy who could tell the color of an M&M by taste. I'm sure you just said, "Yeah, right!" because that's what I initially said. But I saw it, I ran the test myself, and this guy got every color correct. Crazy, huh?

But I digress...back to the Green M&Ms. They tasted great, as every other M&M, but they do not taste any different. But, for Valentine's Day we're all for these emerald little chocolate candies.

Read Even M&Ms are going the name of love at CandySnob.

If you want to wear your Green M&M pride on your sleeve (so to speak), check out this Green M&M Face T-Shirtor any of the cool M&M apparel here.

If you can't get to a grocery or convenience store, or just want a stash on hand, get M&Ms here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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