Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Red Velvet KitKat Spells Valentine's Day Romance

In a blind taste-test I would never identify the flavor of these incredible KitKats as Red Velvet. I just don't taste the cocoa at all. After consuming an entire bag, I'd likely guess at Buttercream Frosting flavor. Whatever titled, these KitKats are outstanding, absolutely top of the pack. And I don't even like white chocolate all that much! Somehow, though, there is more flavor to them than a mere white chocolate. Check these out--they're a highlight of this Valentine's Day candy season.

Score (flavor): 4
Score (properly identifying flavor): 2

Monday, January 28, 2019

Molten Chocolate: Hershey's Lava Cake Kisses

Who can resist a chocolate lava cake, with molten chocolate spilling from the center? Not I. These Hershey's Lava Cake Kisses are a great idea, especially for the Valentine's Day candy season. Each kiss consists of a dark chocolate shell with a liquid chocolate center. I forced these upon a number of colleagues and was met with quite a bit of enthusiasm. Were they being polite? Am I too critical? I like the dark chocolate outer shell. The liquid center, though, tastes so strongly of corn syrup. If this was filled with classic Hershey's Chocolate Syrup it could equal perfection. There's something just a little off with the current recipe. Try again, Hershey's! You're close!

Score (concept): 5
Score (final recipe): 3

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Giant Gummy Bears Emerge: Source Remains a Mystery, Brooklyn

Over the course of many strolls I took with the Pup this past week a billboard emblazoned with increasingly realistic gummy bears emerged on our rounds (see photos of its evolution here). As of this morning, the billboard by Colossal Media is complete. The hand-painted giant gummy bears are so incredibly realistic they appear to jiggle and vibrate and levitate from their black background. I get so hungry each time we pass. 

Only question: what is being marketed to me via which brand? This spot was previously occupied by an Omega Watch ad so this is not inexpensive space. I am totally now looking for a snack--but who wants to know and who just sparked this consumer urge? Will there be a follow-up billboard? Is this the first part of a muli-part campaign? I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, enjoy these beauties. As a fan of the gummy, I find them mesmerizing.....

Friday, January 25, 2019

News Flash: Mystery Billboard Makes Locals Hungry

I make all kinds of crazy neighborhood rounds, day and night, due to my trusty dog and his need to roam. For the past few days I've been watching this mystery billboard take shape. No idea what it will eventually advertise -- most likely not gummy bears -- but in the meantime, my mouth starts to water every time we pass. They look so juicy and realistic!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Moment of Silence for Necco Sweethearts: 1901-2018

Ok, it's not as bad as the title bodes. Spangler has purchased the rights to Sweethearts and will relaunch the conversation hearts for Valentine's Day 2020. But during this Valentine's Day when the traditional sweet is absent for the candy aisles, we should honor Necco, the wonderful candy company whose century-old innovations we still enjoy today. On a personal note, I was lucky enough to live on the same street in Cambridge, Massachusetts as the Necco factory. Some mornings the air was thick with the smell of chocolate. I was living Willy Wonka's world and I always tipped my hat to Necco for making those days start in such a fantastic manner.

For more info: via Jezebel Love is Dead because Sweetheart Candy Hearts are Gone 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Caplico No Atama / White and Milk Chocolate Aerated Stars

Caplico is a Japanese Brand of whimsical aerated chocolate. The concept is much like the British Aero bar---chocolate filled with tiny bubbles to create a light quickly melting bite. Caplico chocolate tends to have more bubbles that are tinier than the Aero, making them a more dense bite overall. I like both brands. Here, Caplico has gone above and beyond and created the sweetest tray of aerated milk and chocolate stars. The presentation gripped my consumer's heart instantly. Each bonbon constitutes less than a bite, but melts in the nicest way in your mouth. You don't feel compelled to consume the whole tray at once, and it's a really nice candy for sharing. Try to find some of these if possible--they're an exceptional treat!

Score (aerated chocolate): 4
Score (packaging): 5

Monday, January 21, 2019

xoxo SweeTarts Hearts

Same classic delicious puckery recipe, now in the shape of a heart and inscribed with Valentine messages of love and affirmation. Perfect for gifting your love or drowning your sorrows this Valentine's Day.

Long live SweeTarts in any / many forms!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Wawel Galaretka Pomaranczowa w Czekoladzie / Orange Jelly in Chocolate

One doesn't tend to have high expectations in a fruit jelly. They can be tasty, but rarely something super special or compelling. But behold, Wawel's Galaretka Pomaranczowa w czekoladzie (Orange Jelly with Chocolate) is one of those rare fruit jellies that soars above the rest. What I love is that the natural bitter of orange / orange peel is allowed into the jelly along with the sweet orange juice. It tastes like a real orange, trapped in jelly form. The chocolate coating didn't do much to enhance the orange in my opinion, but I guess something has to contain the sticky jelly. I also like that one can purchase these individually. You get a really great sweet but don't feel compelled to continue consumption to an unhealthy degree. If you can find these Polish sweets in your neighborhood, they're certainly worth a taste!

Score (orange flavor): 4
Score (chocolate coating): 3

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jelly Belly Incredibles 2 Baby Super Freak Mix

The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 count as some of my very favorite Pixar movies--scratch that, my very favorite animated films--of all time. Needless to say I had to procure the Jelly Belly Incredibles 2 cross-branded Baby Super Freak mix. I love that kid. Throughout Incredibles 2 he had me giggling like crazy. The mix is a perfect color compliment to the movie, starring Berry Blue, shimmering Jewel Wild Blackberry (delicious and so pretty), Lemon, Sour Orange, and Very Cherry. Cheerful primary colors with a dash of shimmering magic. I love it! Now I just need to find the edition with Violet Parr on the packaging!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chocolove xoxox Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cup

Chocolove xoxo milk chocolate counts as some of my very favorite chocolate in the world. I really like their dark chocolate, too, but their milk chocolate is transcendent. So I always have high expectations for a new Chocolove xoxox product. As one of those people who is wild for caramel, this new Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cup sounded entrancing. It was, for the most part. The caramel is a really good consistency, as soft as possible before it loses structure and becomes a syrup. My only complaint--and this comes as a surprise--too much salt. Usually I can't get enough and tend to prefer foods that others complain are too salty. Here, though, the salt was a distraction. I wanted those perfect flavors of dark chocolate and caramel and then just a few granules of salt on top to offset the sweet. The salted caramel simply felt oversalted. That said, I would happily each a bunch more of these. Everyone should try at least one.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Valentine's Candy Storms the Aisles: Reese's Peanut Butter Pink Hearts

Here we are mere days (minutes!) into 2019 and already the candy aisles are flooded with Valentine's Day Candy. It's overwhelming. And I'm still full from the holidays. That said, I'll never say no to a Reese's anything. Especially if that anything is Pink. The Reese's Pink Heart is a good new addition to the holiday line. The white creme (isn't as tasty as milk chocolate but its taste is inoffensive and the Reese's peanut butter always sings. The pink creme that enrobes the peanut butter is a pretty shade. Even while feeling antipathy about the too-early holiday spirit, I could not resist these peanut butter pretties.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Roadtrip: Bearin Wheel Pies, Chinatown, New York City

Wheel pies are a delicious Taiwanese sweet street food. Imagine a hot baked (not fried) donut cooked around a center of oreo cookies or peanut butter cream or red bean or the like. The dough is not very sweet --a nice balance to the sweet center-- and the just-baked-enough dough turns each bite into a molten delicacy. Taste-tester Ben and I tried the Oreo and Peanut Butter fillings at New York City's Bearin Wheel Pies. The customer in front of us asked for more traditional Matcha and Red Bean wheel pies. The key is to eat them hot, when the dessert has barely constituted itself into cooked form. Worth the trip to NYC (or Taiwan), take a stroll to Walker Street in Chinatown and check out Bearin Wheel Pies. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Classic Razzles and New Razzles Fizzles: First it's Candy...then it's Gum

Remember Razzles, the classic candy that turns into gum? More specifically it reconstitutes from crunchy fruit-flavored to chalk to super sweet flavorful gum and then just as suddenly into a flavorless mass of hardened gum. The trick is to not linger on the individual Razzles. I loved them growing up--a totally unique novelty candy.

Now Razzles are back! Distributed by Concord Confections, a division of Tootsie Roll, Razzles are also being created with Fizz! So it's candy, it's gum, and then there's some foam. Razzles Fizzles are not like pop rocks--more of a pleasing foaming ooze. The flavors are good, too. There's a whole lot going on at once--foaming, chewing, crunches--but these are great as a new novelty candy that refers to another always-classic retro novelty candy.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Roadtrip: Jelly Belly Jellybean Factory, Fairfield, California

There are well-produced videos that explain the entire history and production process of Jelly Belly jellybeans throughout the Fairfield, California factory tour. (In case Fairfield doesn't ring a bell, it's about an hour North of the Bay Area).

The 6-generation family company has created a welcoming, whimsical, not to mention Free tour constructed around the production facilities. It's a pleasure to move along the walkway above the factory floor, watching highly trained employees working in tandem with high-tech machines (check out Robot 4 in the photo below).

The factory is filled with an ever-changing mix of aromas from various batches in production--there's a constant but low-level din of machinery along the assembly line. What arrested me--stopped me in my tracks--is the sea of jellybean colors, sorted and stacked by flavor. Like a spice market in Marrakesh, a warehouse of 100 pleasing shades were stacked and ordered across the floor. This sight filled me with absolute delight. The archivist in me loved the sorting and stacking by color, the order inherent to this complicated candy production line. The photographer in me was soothed by these technicolor trays, first neatly ordered and then combined into the sorting machine to create so many variations of the rainbow. The candy lover in me was so hyped up on free samples. This is not to be missed for any candy lover, adult or child, visiting the Bay Area or Sacramento.

Enjoy the vistas.

(obsessive sweets, overstimulated)