Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Candy as Art via The New York Times: Sweet Saba, NYC

Photo courtesy of Sweet  Saba 

Photo courtesy of Sweet Saba

I am absolutely mesmerized by the sugar creations of Maayan Zilberman, the artist behind New York City pop-up confectionary, Sweet Saba. I can't wait to visit and get a close-up look at these innovative sweets!

To read the full The New York Times profile, click here: "A Maker of Avant-Garde Candy," by Joshua David Stein (23 Dec 2015).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Crunchy Christmas: Russell Stover Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter Santa

I'm obsessed with any Peanut Butter/Chocolate combo and was piqued to discover this new Russell Stover Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter Santa. I like the Russell Stover line and think they come up with some unique, fun flavors. This peanut butter patty, though, was disappointing. The extra crunchy consistency was great, peanut bits of various sizes suspended through each bite. The peanut butter flavor felt muted. Each bite of a peanut butter cup by Reese's or Palmer screams "Peanut Butter!" This was a more mellow taste, perhaps more like peanut butter cookie dough.

Score: 2

Check out the rest of the line (click on link to read review):

Russell Stover Apple Pie in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Birthday Cake in Milk Chocolate 
Russell Stover Caramel Apple in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Carrot Cake in White Chocolate

Russell Stover Chocolate Wedding Cake in White Chocolate
Russell Stover Cookie Dough 
Russell Stover Lemon Cake in Dark Chocolate 

Russell Stover Maple Cream in Dark Chocolate 
Russell Stover Orange Marshmallow in Milke Chocolate
Russell Stover Orange Cream in Dark Chocolate
Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Red Velvet Cake in Dark Chocolate

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Peeps: Revisiting the Vast Array

Obsessivesweets blog has covered a wide number of Christmas themed Peeps over the years. The photography, sadly, has been spotty. The warm yellow exterior of the Sugar Cookie Chick, with its glittering golden and silver sparkles, deserves a re-shoot. I hope that Just Born keeps the new holiday flavors coming!

Click links to read reviews of Peeps of Christmas Past
Candy Cane Chicks
Chocolate Mousse Reindeer
Gingerbread Men
Hot Cocoa and Cream Chicks 
Mint Christmas Trees
Sugar Cookie Chicks
Vanilla Christmas Trees
Vanilla Snowmen

Sunday, December 20, 2015

In the News: Questioning Mast Brothers Artisanal Claims

photo courtesy of shop composition via lovelypackage.com

In recent days there have been a flurry of articles questioning the quality and claims of Mast Brothers Chocolate. I've always wondered if the quality of the chocolate actually matches the incredible loveliness of the packaging. I visited their local Williamsburg shop/factory store a number of times and always walked away empty handed, cowed by the high prices and vaguely unimpressed by the flavor samples.

Now a true scandal is unfolding around the hipster chocolatiers, with news that Mast Brothers simply purchased and remelted commercial Valrona chocolate for their bar base rather than actually creating their own touted "bean to bar" chocolate. (Raised eyebrows).

To read more on this fast-unfolding fiasco:

Vanity Fair, "Celebrity Hipster Chocolatiers Reportedly Sold Remelted Commercial Chocolate" 
Slate.com, "Why Chocolate Experts Think the Mast Brothers Are Frauds"
Dallasfood.org, "Mast Brothers: What Lies Behind the Beard" (Four-part blog expose)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Maple Cream Santas from Russell Stover

Astute obsessivesweets readers are aware that maple is my passion and that objectivity has no place when it comes to that sublime flavor (read past maple rhapsodies here). I was excited to sample Russell Stover's Maple Cream Santa because it's an excuse to eat maple and because Russell Stover produces some terrific and surprising flavors (see full list below). Sadly, the maple cream was a bit of a disappointment. A nice light Cool Whip consistency, the maple flavoring in the cream was plenty sweet but not all that flavorful. The meat of the maple was missing. It could have been so much more.

Score: 2

Russell Stover Flavors Reviewed:

Russell Stover Apple Pie in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Birthday Cake in Milk Chocolate 
Russell Stover Caramel Apple in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Carrot Cake in White Chocolate

Russell Stover Chocolate Wedding Cake in White Chocolate
Russell Stover Cookie Dough 
Russell Stover Lemon Cake in Dark Chocolate 

Russell Stover Orange Marshmallow in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Orange Cream in Dark Chocolate
Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie in Milk Chocolate
Russell Stover Red Velvet Cake in Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Snacking: Palmer Candy Cane Cups

These Palmer Christmas Candy Cane Cups constitute a surprising delight! A thin layer of milk chocolate cradles peppermint crunch filling-- reminiscent of a York Peppermint Pattie but with the additional boost of candy cane bits for crunch. The cup melts instantly in your mouth with a powerful punch of peppermint and a sweet mint crunch to finish off the bite. I ran through this bag faster than I'd like to admit.

Score: 5

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Peeps Part 1: Red Velvet Peeps

Red Velvet Peeps dipped in White Chocolate are some of the most beautiful examples from Peeps' Christmas Holiday Line. The deep red sugar exterior is infused with a lovely golden red glitter, anchored by a pristine white base. The white chocolate dominates the each bite and doesn't allow much cocoa flavor to emerge. It's tasty, but I wouldn't have identified that flavor as Red Velvet.

Score (flavor): 3
Score (glittering beauty): 4

Friday, December 11, 2015

Suggestion to Chefs: Add Peanut Brittle (Xavier X20, Yonkers)

Recently I experienced something that changed my entire perspective on the traditional after-dinner mint. It all went down at a great restaurant in Yonkers, New York, called Xavier X20. The meal was terrific but the real surprise delight of the evening was the endless supply of fresh buttery peanut brittle served at the maître d' station. The guests are even offered bags in which to scoop some extra brittle to bring home. Or as the case might be, consume on the ride home. I'm just saying, free fresh peanut brittle ends a meal on such a wonderful sweet note. All restaurants should take notice!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Sixlets

There's nothing new except the color scheme in these festive Christmas Sixlets. Because they're made of chocolate candy rather than real milk chocolate, Sixlets are certainly less delicious than m&m's. There's something still quite compelling about consuming a handful of Sixlets, though. Perhaps it's the vaguely fruity flavor of the candy shell or perhaps it's just perfect packaging containing the ideal handful of sweet chocolatey pellets. In these festive Christmas colors, they're a nice addition to a holiday candy bowl.

Score: 3

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas is Coming: Star Wars Holiday Candy Jewelry

Candy jewelry- wear it, show it off, consume it. It's an adornment and snack all in one. I've always loved the stuff. And yes, there's an awful lot of Star Wars themed everything hitting the market this holiday season, but I don't really mind. Because Star Wars is pretty fantastic in any form. I love the look of these bracelets with Darth Vader sugar medallions and know a number of people of various ages who would freak out with excitement to receive one of these. My one question: how is this Christmas holiday themed jewelry, as claimed on the packaging? The color theme is black, red, white and blue. Darth Vader is unrelated to Santa Claus. Where's the tie-in?

Score (aesthetics): 5 (Darth Vader edible jewelry!)
Score (taste): 2 (but what do you expect from jewelry made of sugar pellets?)
Score (holiday-themed): 1 (not even the color scheme?)

Friday, December 4, 2015

M&M's Store, Times Square, New York

It always makes my heart swell a bit to see massive m&m's figures projected on the massive billboard on the M&M's World store in Times Square. Swirling below is a sea of slow tourists and hurried New Yorkers, but above the m&m's dance, sing, and get into all kinds of fun and frenetic antics. A perfect Times Square Spectacle and always a fun sighting for an m&m's fan!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nestle Butterfinger Bites: Lumps of Coal for Christmas

Same delicious Butterfinger Bites, but marketed for Christmas as lumps of coal from Santa with a frowny-faced snowman emblazoned on the wrapper! Funny, season specific, and perfect for the Christmas stocking!

Score: 4

Monday, November 30, 2015

Candy Adornments: Gummy Bear Hair Elastics!

I love my cheerful new candy-inspired hair elastics by Sweetz-A-Riffic. It's hard to believe that an entire line of candy theme accessories exists! (Thanks, Mom!)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Jed's Maple Cotton Candy

I've tried maple cotton candy once before (read ecstatic review here) and walked away transformed. Maple sugar is such a natural pairing with the traditional cotton candy form. Instead of that extra syrupy sweet flavor, though, the natural aroma and flavor of maple elevates the entire dessert. It's incredible. This Jed's Maple Cotton Candy is fantastic and lasted approximately five minutes in the pantry before getting inhaled. Thanks, Ben!

Score: 5

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snicker's Hunger Bar Collection Continued

I cannot help but share a new addition to my growing collection of Snickers wrappers from the Hunger Bar ad campaign. Click here to see more....

Monday, November 23, 2015

Limited Edition Matthew Williamson Designed Nestle Mint Aero

I'm not up on British fashion designers so have no context for this new limited edition package design for Nestle's Aero Bar. The Nestle press release about the cross-branding project relays that the package bears his distinctive butterfly design. Whatever the source material, I like it! It's an enticing package for a good bar with pleasing colors that stand out in the candy aisle. On another note, the Mint Aero bar is a lot tastier than the original Milk Chocolate flavor. The mint lightens up the flavor to match each aerated mouthful.

Score (packaging): 5
Score (flavor): 4

Friday, November 20, 2015

Disappointing Holiday Treats: 8 Chocolate Maccabees for Hanukkah

There's not a whole lot of Hanukkah-themed candy out there, and I do wish that there more solid choices out there. I was excited to find a package of 8 Chocolate Maccabees distributed by Rite Lite Wholesale Judaica (available at Bed Bath & Beyond).

The foil-wrapped Maccabees are festive, a fun presentation for some Hanukkah sweets. I opened the wrapper and was shocked to find that the company used a Santa Claus mold for the chocolates. No little shield and robe, but instead the traditional fur-lined suit clasped with a square buckle. Listen, they look somewhat similar but this is a case where the choice to fashion a chocolate Maccabee out of a Santa mold is a little bit tone-deaf on the part of the manufacturers. The chocolate wasn't very good, either--waxy with low cocoa content. Allover a disappointment.

Score: 1

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pez Hedz Hello Kitty Soft Candy Chews

These Pez Hedz Hello Kitty Soft Candy Chews constitute a surprisingly light and refreshing chew. Flavors are raspberry gummy face with blueberry bow and strawberry gummy face with a strawberry bow. The candies aren't as super sweet or artificial tasting as one might expect looking at them, either. It's all about the aesthetics here but the nice flavors are a good bonus. On a side note, besides the branded name, I don't see any relationship to Pez Candy here. Perhaps it's a good sign, though, that the brand is branching out. I do love Pez.

Score: 3

Friday, November 13, 2015

Christmas Candy Avalanche: Nestle Crunch Snoopy Medallion

One day after Halloween, the seasonal candy with ghoulish themes disappears from candy aisles to be replaced by Christmas holiday candy. It seems a little early to get in the Christmas spirit, but I do have a weakness for these Christmas treats. To start the oncoming avalanche of Christmas goods, let's start with the lovely Nestle Crunch Snoopy Medallion. It's the traditional Nestle Crunch candy bar, rice krispies suspended in Nestle milk chocolate. However, the bar has been molded into a pleasing medallion depicting Snoopy and Charlie Brown sharing a scarf in a snow-filled landscape. I can't imagine a more festive stocking stuffer!

Score (flavor): 3
Score (aesthetics): 5

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gummy Snapshot: Greek Fruit Jellies

These jellyrolls taste like Sour Patch Kids created from real fruit juice in fresh flavors of lemon, peach, orange, lime, and cherry. Thanks for bringing these beautiful treats all the way from Greece, Mrs. Lykidis!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Spanish El Almendro Turron Selection

Traditional Turron candy goes back over 500 years to Spain's Moorish roots. It's a hard nut-based nougat or brittle, almonds or other nuts roasted with plentiful honey and egg white sometimes added in to cohere the mixture. All three varieties of my selection by El Almendro (since 1883!) are delicious and now I desire to try more, especially a homemade version. Thanks for bringing this back in your suitcase, Mom!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sweet Delights: Sicilia Lemon Resort Pocky

Pocky chocolate dipped biscuit sticks constitute such a classic sweet treat. The variety of flavor variations on the original are vast and overwhelming. One of my favorite go-to Pocky flavors of all time is the Sicilia Lemon Resort Pocky, a cookie stick dipped in a sparkling lemon icing- not too sweet, relying on a natural tart lemon base. So flavorful, so light and crunchy, so ideal for a sunny afternoon treat.

Score: 4

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

M&M's Announces Three New Seasonal Flavors!

photo courtesy of mars via people.com

I'm so excited to try these new seasonal m&m's flavors! Included are Hot Chocolate (with dark chocolate!), White Peppermint, and Cafe Mocha. All three have the potential to be delicious but I'm especially excited to try the Hot Chocolate. All three varieties were released on the market on November 1 and I'm on the hunt!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Cocoaland Lot 100 Black Current Gummy

This Cocoaland Lot 100 black current gummy from Malaysia presents itself as a dense chew, rich with juicy black current flavor. This is definitely one of the nicest of the whole Lot 100 line.

Score: 4

Click here to read past Cocoaland Lot100 Gummy reviews.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Via The New York Times: Smarties Maintains a Sweet Family Business

Smarties constitute a classic American candy, and this New York Times piece articulates what's so special about a traditional family-run candy company. Well worth a read. Thanks to astute obsessivesweets reader Mark for the alert!

Trick-or-Treat: Hello Halloween Pumpkin Flavor Marshmallow

Hello Halloween pumpkin flavored marshmallows hail from Japanese confectioner Eiwa. They're delicate marshmallows, a petite bite, and although I like the mellow flavor I can find no pumpkin flavoring in evidence. That might be a bonus, though. I'd prefer a subtle vanilla marshmallow bite, the consistency of a tiny fluffy cloud, over some pumpkin spice disaster any day. A unique treat for trick-or-treaters that will stand out from the rest of the night's haul.

Score: 3