Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shop Visit: Pierre's Chocolates of New Hope, Pennsylvania

Two thoughts hit me at once upon walking into Pierre's Chocolates of New Hope, Pennsylvania. First, I'm going to swoon from the overwhelming aroma of chocolate- the best kind of sensory overload. Second, this is everything that a family-owned chocolate shop should be- warm service, overloaded trays of candies, fresh ingredients, exciting experiments with flavor, a sense of pride in the product. Not to mention surprisingly affordable prices. 

There are wild flavors. The plaid chocolates above are named The Highlander, a blend of milk and dark chocolate combined with smoky scotch. The golden crowns are called Force Noir, an intense 70% dark chocolate meltaway.

Above and below, Christmas and Chanukah offerings.

Above you see my group's selection. At less than a dollar a chocolate, it's an unbelievable deal.

A few more flavors to note:
The chocolate pictured above and below decorated with golden musical notes is called the Vienna- a dark chocolate shell protects a center consisting of a layer of milk chocolate and a layer of marzipan. I loved this one especially. The chocolate decorated with a golden blocky floral design is called the Desert Rose Truffle, a milk chocolate center infused with rose water and honey. Delicious. Another flavor worth pointing out is the Bangkok Truffle, the chocolate with a sprinkle of silver dusted across the top. The Bangkok is a milk chocolate base infused with Thai tea with notes of coconut, vanilla, lemongrass and ginger. Wild! 

Each one of these chocolates constitutes a flavor adventure. Thanks, Abe, for the introduction!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meiji Poifull Little Twin Stars Jellybeans

Ooh, I love a Hello Kitty tie-in! Sanrio has cross-branded with Meiji to bring us Meiji Poifull Little Twin Stars Jellybeans. Such cheerful packaging with Kiki (blue hair) and Lala (pink hair) emblazoned on the box! The colorful jellybeans come in raspberry, apple, lemon, and grape flavors and taste surprisingly fruit juicy rather than the expected artificial base. And fresh, too! These Little Twin Stars traveled from Japan via China and were then hand-carried to the U.S.-thanks to Ben and Will for delivering these sweet beans!

Monday, November 17, 2014

French Chocolate: Ivoria Lait Cornflakes

Cornflakes and milk chocolate go perfectly together, so much better than the usual rice krispies in chocolate combination. The cornflakes create a more substantial crunch and add a tiny bit more non-sweet flavor to the mix. I've tasted the Ritter Milk Chocolate Cornflakes bar and it's amazing, too. The Ivoria brand chocolate elevates the combination, enrobing the crunchy flakes with melty and milky smooth chocolate. I wonder why an American chocolate company hasn't brought this perfect combination to the mass market audience yet. I stand at the ready to purchase! Thanks, Conor and Ronan!

Score: 5

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Autumnal Treats: Limited Edition Trident Layers Pumpkin Spice Sugar Free Gum

I'm all for gum flavor innovation, but feel that some companies are forgetting the original goal of gum- to freshen and cleanse one's breath. Flavors like Pumpkin Spice are fun- some nutmeg and cinnamon flavor a vaguely butterscotch-y base. However, I felt a little like I needed to brush my teeth after chewing the gum, since it didn't feel the least bit fresh but instead like I had just consumed some pie. If you love pumpkin spice you might love this sugar free treat, but I found the flavor unnerving in gum form.

Score: 2

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jelly Belly Draft Beer Jellybeans

I'm absolutely the wrong person to taste-test Jelly Belly Draft Beef Jellybeans as I simply do not enjoy the taste of beer in any form. So I made a bunch of other people test them out in order to maintain a semblance of fairness. Everyone involved, including me, was wowed by the accuracy of the aroma of beer, and even a sense of effervescence, upon opening the package. Additionally, these are some really pretty jellybeans, all gold and shiny. The taste, though, doesn't really mimic beer. The aroma mixes with the flavor to create a vague beer essence but the flavoring resembles a butterscotch-vanilla more than anything. Overall, a bit bland. They'd probably make a great decoration on a cake or sundae...gleaming golden gems...

Score (flavor): 2
Score (concept and aroma): 4

Post-Halloween Snapshot: Maynards Sour Patch Kids Heads and Bodies

Score (taste): 4 (unless you loathe cassis flavor, then 2)
Score (concept): 5

Post-Halloween Snapshot: Gummy Boogers

Score (taste): 3 (surprisingly not bad)
Score (gross-out factor): 5

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A New Way of Branding Candy: The Brooklyn Sour Patch Kids Apartment for Wayward Indie Rockers

photo courtesy of ad age

Ew, marketing has evolved in some uncomfortable directions, and this one is charting new ground- Sour Patch Kids (the brand) now owns a cool apartment in Clinton Hill. If a rock band is willing to crash at the Sour Patch Kids apartment and create some Sour Patch Kids media content, then the stay is free. It's a creative way of spawning content and brand awareness but also feels so obviously calculated and forced. I'll be curious to see what comes of it, especially whether I become more aware of Sour Patch Kids in popular culture. 

Honestly, who needs a better anthem than this?? (Click here to watch Method Man's Ode to Sour Patch Kids)