Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Visual Feast: Passion Chocolat, Brussels


Exquisite hand-crafted chocolates from Passion Chocolat in Brussels. Incredible textures and flavors. Thanks, Moenen!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Sugarfree Gum

There's a revolution going on in sugarfree gum flavors, and Extra Dessert Delights is at the forefront. I've previously written glowing reviews of their Peach Cobbler and Rainbow Sherbet varieties. They are truly outstanding and innovative flavors, uncannily standing in for the real dessert. The Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake is the most disappointing flavor I've tasted in the line. Unlike the other varieties that taste unnervingly like the real dessert, I don't sense cupcake or cake in this gum, and the raspberry tastes glaringly artificial. I certainly finished the pack and was ok chewing my way through the sticks. They're not bad. They're simply not outstanding like the other flavors. I really hope that Extra keeps innovating new dessert gums. In-keeping with the recent candy trends, perhaps a birthday cake or carrot cake flavored gum would constitute an exciting experiment....

Score: 2

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Icelandic Candy Bar: Góa Lakkrís Dùndur Bar

The Góa Lakkrís Dùndur chocolate bar does not look appealing. One bite of the bar reveals an outer layer of tiny corn crispies suspended in milk chocolate surrounding a double-wide piece of black licorice. Not pretty. However, the combination is delicious. I don't understand why Iceland is the only country where licorice and chocolate are frequently combined in sweets- the salty licorice taste and gummy consistency perfectly offset melty and sweet milk chocolate. The rice crispies lend just enough crunch so that each bite feels layered, revealing a crunch and then the chewy licorice to extend the bite. I really enjoyed the Góa Lakkrís Dùndur Bar and wish that they were easily attainable in the U.S. Thanks, Adam!

Score: 4

Lakerol Cactus Giants Sugarfree Pastilles

Lakerol Cactus Giants Sugarfree Pastilles are strong licorice gummies that freshen the breath instantly. They're delicious if you're fond of licorice. (I am). However, I cannot taste the essence of Cactus in these pastilles. If I knew what cactus tasted like, perhaps it would be easier to distinguish the flavor. I searched for any hint of non-licorice flavor and couldn't find any, cactus or otherwise. Licorice has a tendency to dominate every other flavor. I really like that these are sweetened with Stevia- a low-calorie treat that packs a punch! Thanks, Tara!

Score: 4

Friday, July 11, 2014

Peruvian Chocolate: Nestle Sublime Chocolate con Leche con Mani Extremo

Wow, this Nestle Sublime bar from Peru is fantastic! It's your basic Nestle chocolate bar chock-full of crushed peanuts. The Sublime tastes quite a bit like a Mr. Goodbar except that there are about double the number of peanuts in the Sublime and they are crushed instead of whole or halved. You get a lot of crunch in each mouthful. I also love the flashy foil packaging and the fact that the bar's shape echos its name. It makes a standard candy bar feel special. Another note: the bar traveled in a suitcase from Peru to California and then wended its way from California to New York via the United States Postal Service. Yet despite the chocolate's world travels, it arrived solid and unsullied by its adventures- no small feat for chocolate on the move! Thanks, Mom!

Score: 4

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Norway's Läkerol Yup Salty Licorice Sugarfree Pastilles

These Läkerol Yup Salty Licorice Sugarfree Pastilles are an acquired taste, for sure. Upon popping one of the firm gummies into one's mouth, the salt is the first taste to register. Then the licorice rounds out the salt flavor, creating a potent blend. The blend is not delicious, not a taste one would seek out. However, these do successfully banish any other flavor that was lingering on the palate. Let's say you've consumed a hearty lunch that was heavy on the garlic. These small candies can make you instantly forget the recent garlic intake. Tuna fish sandwich? Banished! These are very effective breath fresheners and although they aren't particularly pleasant to consume they do leave the mouth feeling fresh and clean in a way that most breath mints don't. Add to the fact that they are sweetened with Stevia, my favorite sugar substitute, and they're a really good option over other breath fresheners. Thanks, Zach!

Score: 3

Friday, June 20, 2014

Traditional Belgian Sweets: Violet Cuberdon

Until recently, I had never heard of the cuberdon, a traditional Belgian cone-shaped candy exploding with violet syrup. They're unique to any other candy I've experienced! The sugar creates a surprisingly rigid mold to contain the floral syrup inside. The interior liquid tastes of real flowers, fresh and bright and evocative of sunshine. It's impossible to eat the cuberdon politely, as to bite into one means an immediate burst of sticky syrup. This is part of the charm of the candy, though, equalizing children and adults in the inevitable mess that results. It's so worth the sticky fingers. I was lucky enough to try some of the sweets brought directly from a good sweet shop in Brussels, La Belgique Gourmand. However, as my photos fail to capture the real jewel-like quality of the candies, I am also including an image via belgiancuberdon.com to capture the full experience of the special Belgian treat. Many thanks, Stijn!

image courtesy of belgiancuberdon.com

To read more about the cuberdon, click here to read an article from Reuters about "Belgium's Secret Sweet."