Monday, January 31, 2011

Cake in Candy Form, Candy in Cake Form: Jujyfruits

the real thing

photo courtesy, theweddingchannel
(apparently this is a grooms cake- not exactly sure what that is but think i'm a fan!)


photo courtesy, sweetcakesdc

I stumbled across images of these exquisite cake-based homages to Jujyfruits, and just had to share them. I always appreciates odes to a specific candy brand created from sugar! Inspiring crafting!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fujiya Peko Poko Chocolate Lollipops


These Fujiya brand Peko Poko chocolate lollipops are so cute! There's definitely something perverse about biting into a piece of chocolate shaped like a someone's face, but I guess we bite the heads off chocolate Easter bunnies without a second thought, so why not these? Unfortunately, they don't taste very good. In order to make the chocolate candy retain its complex form, the consistency of the chocolate mixture is super waxy and brittle and pretty much devoid of flavor. It was not in the least bit delicious. I guess I liked the idea of eating these little character-shaped lollipops more than I actually enjoyed tasting them. Thanks, Mom, for finding these!

Score (for taste): 1
Score (presentation): 4

16 Candles Yogurt Covered Cake Bites


I should have known better than to try these but how could I resist this packaging? It promises cake with icing in bite sized form. And I'm a sucker for cake. Especially cake that travels. But no, this was no good. Look at the photos above and you'll see why. The entire amalgam of yogurt over cake-like aerated substance was exceedingly crumbly. Each bite instantly disintegrated in my mouth and left, yes, the vague flavor of that really sweet sheet cake icing. That part-the flavor aftertaste- was pretty good, but the crumbly substance was not. I do not recommend.

Score: 2 (it gets an extra point for uniqueness)

La Maison du Chocolat


30 years of masterful chocolate craftsmanship pays off at La Maison du Chocolat. It's difficult to describe this level of perfection. Each bite carries so much more flavor than you could ever expect from a little square of chocolate. Try to get your hands on these truffles- it's worth some effort and some bucks to sample these addictive wares. Thank you thank you to Lexie!

Score: (a joyful) 5

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ulker Golden Daha Bol Findik (Hazelnut)


This Ulker Golden Daha Bol Findik (Hazelnut, or more specifically, "more abundant hazelnuts") is really simple and really substantive in its simplicity. The milk chocolate melts perfectly upon biting into it- quite milky like Cadbury but with a little more persistent real cocoa flavor. There are a ton of chopped hazelnuts suspended throughout and they blend perfectly with the chocolate. It's not a fancy candy bar but it feels much more carefully crafted than a Hershey bar or the mass-market equivalent. I highly recommend!

Score: 4

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweets Without the Calories: Candy Lip Balms









At times, an overwhelming obsession with all things candy can result in a hazardously high caloric intake. It's not like I'm starting a diet, but for those times when my pants begin to feel somewhat tight around the midriff, I break out my growing collection of candy flavored lip balms. Lip Smacker was so smart to pair with all the candy companies on this amazing variety of flavors. Thank you to Dan and Tara for finding a good number of these goodies. One thing I'll state: chocolate as a lip balm flavor is kind of gross; peanut butter is also a little unnerving to smell throughout the day wafting from one's lips up to the nose. Weird. That said, maple is the most ingenious lip balm flavoring ever and I hope that Lip Smacker branches into a bunch of maple-based varieties.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warning: Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars Are Actually Toxic!

photo courtesy, toxicwastecandy.com

Oh, the irony. The news hit today that Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars- motto: "hazardously sour candy"- are really and truly toxic to humans due to high lead content. Lead in my candy? Really? Read more from the New York Daily News.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

m&m's World over Times Squaare

m&m's World reigns over Times Square

Super-Sized Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: One Pound of Peanut Butter Bliss


Oh my, yes! What's better than a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? (As you can see in previous blog entries, nothing! But wait for it....) A jumbo mega super-sized one-pound pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! That's right, Dan discovered this sublime and indulgent size of the classic treat and I am beside myself with excitement because as much as I manage to consume, there is the promise of so much more of my favorite candy treat! Oh my! One 1/2-pound cup down, one to go!

Score: (an applause-filled) 5

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chase's Cherry Mash


In comparison with Christopher's Big Cherry, I loved Chases' Cherry Mash, an "American favorite since 1918." Ok, maybe I'm swayed by the independent candy company's pride in its product and dedication to longevity (click here to peruse the history of the Chase Candy Company and Cherry Mash). Maybe I'm also swayed by the classic wrapper design. All of this may be factored into my preference to the Cherry Mash over the Big Cherry. That said, the ingredients simply taste better. The cherry fondant tastes more of the actual (albeit candied) fruit than the sugar base. The peanuts taste fresher. The chocolate shell actually melted in one's mouth instead of remaining a cohesive waxy substance and the candy amalgam just tasted more pleasant. Thanks, Ben and Will, for finding these classic cherry treats!

Score: 3


Christopher's Big Cherry



Christopher's Big Cherry, made by Adams & Brooks in Los Angeles, have apparently been around since the 1940s. I've seen these sweet old-timey pink wrappers around for years and, as a big fan of chocolate covered cherries, thought this might be right up my alley. Recently, intrepid candy detectives Ben and Will discovered the recently-elusive Big Cherry right here in Brooklyn and brought me a sample. I was super pleased. However, the dense and glutinous bonbon was not what I expected. Yes, there's a whole candied cherry in the center, but its flavor is dominated by this extremely waxy chocolate-like substance that even the wholesome chopped peanuts can't save. Sugar, rather than cherry, defines the dominant flavor of the cherry creme filling and the whole thing became this insurmountable lump of too-sweet, vaguely fruity, very sticky denseness. This Big Cherry screamed "Sugar!!!" instead of introducing any nuanced flavor to its golf-ball sized form. I liked trying it but had hoped for something more.

Score: 2

Jelly- Filled Marshmallow Candies



Visiting the Aji Ichiban store in Chinatown is always so exciting and I leave with a bag filled with colorful individually wrapped candy treats that are impossible to identify due to the language barrier. It's a two-fold guessing-game diving into the bag, unsure of the intended flavor or texture or thematic candy enticement. There are a number of such candy treats that will soon be up on the blog that I simply can't identify, all from Aji Ichiban. If any readers can help translate, I'd be thrilled. These two tiny marshmallow treats from an unknown Japanese candy maker are respectively filled with Blueberry and Orange Jelly. Not a big hit with my tastebuds: I liked the vaguely tart, vaguely liquidy jelly fillings but the marshmallow shells were so flavorless and so spongy so as to detract from more pleasing center flavors. There are too many evocative varieties of candy to try at Aji Ichiban- I'm skipping these next time.

Score: 2

Dylan's Candy Bar, New York


(due to my proclivity for all things candy, i should love dylan's candy bar, but somehow it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. i really enjoy the candy stairway, though, and always find something i want to check out.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mystery Solved: Red October's Candies Alyonka

Photo courtesy, RussianTable.com

A couple days ago, I posted a review of a mysterious little Russian bonbon. I was really intrigued by the wrapper design and unique (although not exactly "tasty") construction and asked any readers adept in the Russian language to fill me in on what the writing on the wrapper means. And it worked! Illustrious reader, Laurafizzpop, answered my query with not only the name but the intended flavors of the candy as well as a nice contextual explanation of the candy company (see Comments section in the previous post for her response in full). So these little treats are called Candies Alyonka from the Red October chocolate company. What a name! They indeed consist of a hazlenut nougat and cookie base with a milk chocolate shell.

With this all-important information I dove into the land of the internet to learn more, and as suspected, this classic brand of Russian Candy, as well as the baby painted on the wrapper, carry an esteemed past. CNNmoney.com published
an article on Red October explaining that the company was established in 1867 "near the Kremlin by two German partners, the confectionary was nationalized after the October Revolution and renamed Red October in 1922. It produced chocolate, cocoa powder, toffee, tea cookies, and hard and soft candies." Although production floundered in recent years, last year Red October modernized their packaging and distribution techniques and have hit the market running to great results.

I've gotta say, the packaging is absolutely beautiful, some of the loveliest I've encountered.
RussianTable.com, a distributor of Russian food and beverages to the United States offers a wide variety of the company's products over the internet- looking at the packaging of the various candies feels like visiting a gallery exhibit, absolutely lovely. Also, I was able to discover the roots of the baby on the wrapper. An article on RT.com explains that the "factory even held a competition searching for a child to be the face of the famous bar. In the end the choice fell on the daughter of one of the factory’s own employees."

One final question solved: I was surprised by the waxy flavorless nature of the chocolate and was wondering if this is specific to that type of candy or whether Russian chocolate leans toward a different flavor and texture profile than American chocolate. James H. Johnson, director of international marketing at the Chocolate Manufacturers Association talks about the difference in Russian chocolate in the
CNNmoney.com article: "Another reason for the rise of Russian chocolate is that Russian tastes are different. 'Russian chocolate has a different taste and feel,' says Johnson. 'It's grittier because they use more cocoa. It's not as sweet.'"

Well, now my curiosity is absolutely piqued. I must get my hands on more of the Red October sweets as I love the variety of packaging and the story behind the brand. Have any other readers tasted Red October chocolate or other Russian brands of candy? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Links to articles mentioned above:

Maria Atanasov, "In Moscow, 'Red October' Means Chocolate Comeback of a Venerable Russian Candymaker," (9 June 1997): cnnmoney.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Roskilly's Organic Clotted Cream Fudge


My Mom went to England and brought back a sweetly-decorated box of Roskilly's Organic Clotted Cream Fudge. Basically, it's just good fudge served up in bite-sized cubes. Because of its clotted cream (rather than chocolate and condensed milk) base, it's more milky and a bit sweeter than your average chocolate fudge, as the light color indicates. It's pretty dry in consistency, more like frosting that's condensed and hardened than the mushier melty variety I'm used to. It's delicious, though, a bit more delicate than most fudges I've encountered. Thanks, Momma!

Score: 4

Good & Fiery: Taste the Heat!


These Good & Fiery candies burned my tongue! They are Spicy! I really liked the flavor combo of lemon, orange, cinnamon, and apple, but I was too weak to get through more than a handful of the little gummy treats. For anyone who likes truly spicy candy- the kind of person who adds tabasco sauce to everything- you're definitely going to enjoy these. And I'm not talking about that lovely atomic fireball kind of spicy- this is an entirely new level that feels like it's actually burning your mouth! I am sadly not up to the task. My poor tongue still hurts!

Score: 2

Anonymous Russian Candy: Translation?


My friends Ben and Will were out exploring Brooklyn's Brighten Beach and brought me a handful of these intriguing individually wrapped Russian candies. There's a whole lot of mystery in the visage of this child wearing the babushka on the candy wrapper. Without the ability to read Russian, however, I have no idea what the brand name of the candy is or how the candy company might describe the flavors and textures contained within. I assumed from the size and shape of the packaging that we were dealing with hard candy- the entire thing is approximately the size of an elongated Jolly Rancher. Instead, one discovers a miniature sugar parfait- vaguely crumbly nougat of a vaguely hazlenut or nutty flavor topped by a layer of equally crumbly cookie all enrobed in a regrettably waxy and flavorless layer of chocolate. I can't say I enjoyed the overall combination but it's definitely the most unique and evocative little candy treat I've encountered in quite a while. And if anyone reading this happens to read Russian, can you please drop me a line in the comments section with a translation? I'm so curious! Thanks for finding this, Ben and Will!

Score: 2

Barratt Spogz Gumbugs


These Barratt Spogz Gumbugs resemble tiny glowing jewels and grotesque little buggies all at once- and that's appealing. They're also tasty! The tiny snails and worms and bees are infused with a lot more real fruit juice taste than your average gummy treat. Actually, they almost taste too healthy, but I'll take it. Thanks for finding these, Tara!

Score: 3

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mint Chocolate m&m's: Holiday Roundup


Aha! During last year's holiday season I gave these limited edition mint-chocolate m&m's a loathesome score of 1 and guessed (ok, perhaps snidely) that I had purchased a bad batch. I was right! I really enjoyed them in this newest taste test and they weren't even a little bit sour, like before. Instead, the chocolate is infused with a mellow mint flavor throughout, not at all overwhelming as one might expect. Instead, it was like eating a slightly larger m&m with a pleasant minty aftertaste! I think the cherry cordial variety are a bit more daring and thus striking in their tastiness, but I'd totally give these another whirl! Thanks for finding these, Dan!

Score: 3

Winter Edition Jujyfruits: Holiday Roundup


Same classic Jujyfruits in festive new shapes for the Christmas season! Actually, they're more of a Winter Edition series with trees, snowmen, and strangely, teddy bears. I'll take'em! Except the black licorice ones, that is. Gross. I continue to love the spearmint green flavor and it's even better in miniature tree form! Of course, as the ultimate movie candy, one doesn't really notice the shape of what one is eating in the dark. But somehow I felt more festive for the holidays, anyway! Glad Jujyfruits are branching out- maybe next we'll get some exciting new flavors?

Score: 3

Reese's Peanut Butter Jingle Bells: Holiday Roundup


Same amazing peanut butter and chocolate perfection that induces me into a frenzy of gluttony; new and festive holiday bell shape! No complaints here! Reese's Peanut Butter cups in any form are sublime. And the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate in these is nice- a little more chocolate than your everyday minis and I like it! Reese's ringing in the New Year right!

Score: 5

Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolates: Holiday Roundup

Cadbury Mini Eggs solidly remain one of my two favorite go-to candies of all time (the other is Reese's Peanut Butter cups. Duh.). The simplicity is the secret- perfect milky chocolate, fantastic ratio of that sublime Cadbury chocolate to its crisp delicate sugar shell. I've waxed poetic on the chocolate morsels in a previous review, so I'll keep the proclamations short here. The one hitch? They're only on the market once a year for the Easter holiday. But look! At last there's a second chance to stock up on the mini bites of chocolate bliss! Cadbury released a Christmas themed red, green, and white version for the holiday season and I'm getting as many bags as possible! Thanks, Dan, for locating this first bag for me!

Score: (a very enthusiastic) 5