Monday, January 30, 2017

Valentine's Day Sweets: Cherry m&m's

Back in 2012 I reviewed Cherry m&m's and didn't like them at all, believing them to taste really artificial and a little bit like cough syrup (read original review here). Now I'm super excited about them and feel that they perfectly combine a classic m&m with a juicy cherry cordial. How to explain the difference? I'm not sure if m&m's fine-tuned their recipe or my palate has changed, but I like them. I also love the color scheme or two tones of red. I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong.

Score (beauty): 4
Score (flavor): 4
Score (regrets over an old review): 5

Friday, January 27, 2017

Valentine's Day Sweets: Hammond's Raspberry Jam Dark Chocolate Bar

The raspberry jam filling is the real star of Hammond's heart-bedecked Raspberry Jam Dark Chocolate Bar. It's thin and flavorful, really tart and juicy with realistic raspberry flavor. The dark chocolate of the bar offsets it well, too. The only drawback is that in order to safely contain this sweet liquid filling, the dark chocolate shell has to remain quite solid and thick, creating perhaps not the best ratio of chocolate to filling. I want a thin layer of dark chocolate to be bursting with filling. In order to accomplish this, though, Hammond's might have to package the bar differently, within a sturdier housing. It would be worth it!

Score (concept and recipe): 5
Score (ratio of chocolate to jam): 3
Score (overall): 4

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Passionate Gems: Valentine Dots

There is almost no mass-marketed sweet in the candy aisle as Valentine Dots. They are red and pink jewels resting on snowy bases. They're good, too--such a nice flavor mix in Cherry, Passion Fruit, and Vanilla. I love them! The fact that they come on the market only once a year makes them feel all the more special!

Score (beauty): 5
Score (flavor): 4

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Squares

It's hard to beat the perfect union of dark chocolate and caramel squares by Ghirardelli. The additional pinch of sea salt, however, elevates the entire square. It perfectly offsets the bittersweet dark chocolate and the sweet caramel to produce an ideal and delicate balance of bitter, sweet, and salty flavors. If you haven't tried these beauties yet, run to find some in your local candy aisle. Individually wrapped, they're great for sharing, too. Thanks for introducing me to these, Ben!

Score: 4

Friday, January 20, 2017

Coming Soon: DO, Cookie Dough Confections, NYC

Image courtesy of

Oh my, a store in my very own city (NYC) that purveys nothing but variations of raw cookie dough? This could be a dream come true. Or it could be a tourist trap overflowing with nightmare lines of people (like, for example, Dominique Ansel's infamous Cronut). I'm willing to take an optimistic stance. It all looks super exciting. 

To read more about DO, Cookie Dough Confections, to open in NYC next week, go to:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hershey's Mint Cookie Layer Crunch

These new Hershey's Mint Cookie Layer Crunch Bars are terrific! Picture a softened Andes Mint sandwiched between a Hershey Bar and an Oreo Cookie. What's not to love? There's plenty of mint, a satisfying crunch with each bite, and lots of milk chocolate to bring it all together. I will definitely purchase more of these and look forward to taste-testing the rest of the new Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch line!

Score: 4

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Brightside Skittles

Last year, Skittles released Darkside Skittles (read review here), and now we get to enjoy a more upbeat mixture of Brightside Skittles. It's a really nice mix, one of the best Skittles has come up with. Paradise Punch and Pink Lemonade are the big winners. I wish Skittles would issue an all-Paradise Punch edition as I would stockpile those beauties. I didn't enjoy the Kiwi-Banana or Watermelon varieties but that's because I never seem to enjoy artificial watermelon and banana candies, so don't trust my bias on those. The tangerine flavor is juicy but a bit too subtle. Overall, though, it's a beautiful visual array of solid new flavors--well worth a taste-test.

Score: 3

Monday, January 16, 2017

Buttered Popcorn Mike and Ike

In the name of scientific exploration, a panel of four young and enthusiastic taste-testers were presented with samples of Mike and Ike Buttered Popcorn flavored candies. Unfortunately, the vote was unanimous: spit it out. Ronan chewed one bite and rejected the offending flavor with zeal. I hope this experiment didn't put him off of buttered popcorn forever. Elsa was impressed with the ability to infuse a candy with such a weird flavor, but did not enjoy the taste. Zachary politely noted that he would probably not enjoy any more of the candies and subtly deposited his allotment in the trash. Conor proclaimed that the candy not only tastes bad but really artificial. These are all astute taste-testers and we are united in our disappointment with this limited edition flavor of Mike and Ikes. I'm pleased the company is trying new flavors, but this one should be discontinued.

Score: (unanimous) 1

Friday, January 13, 2017

Norwegian Nidar Smør Bukk Caramel Bar

Norway's Nidar Smør Bukk bar gives Cadbury's decadent Caramello bar a run for its money. The milk chocolate shell barely contains the rich and buttery caramel filling. Each bite is messy and delightful. I wish these could be found more commonly in American markets- they're a hit!

Score: 4

Monday, January 9, 2017

Project 7 Birthday Cake Sugar Free Gum celebrates the infusion of birthday cake flavor into myriad sweets, but in the case of gum it just isn't a great combo. Gum is meant to refresh or clear the palate, whereas this sugar free Project 7 Birthday Cake gum infuses so many new flavors that are not in the least bit cleansing. In fact, I needed a piece of gum to refresh from the birthday cake gum. Project 7 does a good job approximating wild flavors and a lot of them are fantastic (see Project 7 Rainbow Ice review). But in this case, skip the birthday cake chicle and reach for the Trident.

Score: 2

Friday, January 6, 2017

Nobel Super Shoga Ginger Candy

These Nobel Super Shoga Ginger hard candies are really unique candies. Layers of ginger constitute the sweet hard candy, which is then dusted with fiery pure ginger powder that scalds one's mouth. These bonbons are not for the faint of heart. That said, they're strangely enticing, even addictive. There's a depth of ginger flavor that keeps you coming back for more. Not to mention the incredible packaging. I was sold on that alone.

Score: 4

Monday, January 2, 2017

Pocky Men's Chocolate Dipped Cookie Sticks

I've noticed a number of gendered candies from the Japanese market. I'm so confused about what supposedly makes Pocky Men's "masculine". There are two elements that make Pocky Men's different from classic Pocky: 1) the packaging is about an inch shorter; and 2) the chocolate is dark rather than milk. They're delicious. I even think so and I'm a woman! But I joke. Despite the troubling undertones of the packaging, dark chocolate Pocky are exceedingly tasty. 

To view past Pocky and Pocky-related product reviews, click here.

Score: 3