Monthly Archives: September 2015

“Oh, you want weird?”

[Ed. note: In honor of Max Bar‘s birthday, I missed a flight this morning and, as a result, am on a layover in Cincinnati. There is a candy store near the food court.]

“Sorry if all you smell is perfume. I was just trying on a bunch of it before over there and now it smells like perfume everywhere.”

“Don’t worry about it. I can’t smell a thing.”

[Ed. note: I could smell a thing.]

“That’s a lot of candy. Someone’s got a sweet tooth!”

“Heh. Yup. I eat a lot of candy.”

“Looking for anything in particular?”

“Not really … well … Do you have any weird candy? Like stuff you can’t find at most places you’d buy candy?”

“Oh, you want weird?”

Without any hesitation, the clerk walks over to a display, picks up and hands me this:

 

[Ed. note: I … I … suppose we have to get married?]

***

Tasting notes

Tabasco Spicy Chocolate (pictured above)

– Remarkable. Try this if you see it anywhere.

– Up front, it was just dark chocolate, but after a little while, the back of my throat started to burn. Tasted nothing like Tabasco.

Big Hunk (pictured above)

– A peanut-flavored taffy, which would have been weird even if it hadn’t been used to hit on me.

– It did provide a good cure for the Snack Attack, tho.

 
[Ed. note: If you’re wondering, I did indeed Bust It, Smack It and Break It To Pieces. The people in this food court are giving me the best looks. One guy has a cowboy hat on!]

  
Ice Cubes

– Not actually ice cubes. Just weirdly soft chocolate.

  
Zotz

– Whoever named this candy must really like Zs.

– Fizz bombs akin to the fizzy Warheads.

  
Giant Chewy Sweet Tarts

– I did not enjoy chewing on that trivet. 

  
Round Up candy cigarettes

– Pretty dull, but man did I ever feel cool eating them.  

 

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A bit of Sunday Candy and an accompanying ditty

IMG_4618I stumbled into this bar and this song on the same day. That day also just happened to be a Sunday.

[Ed. note: I recognize I might be a healthy number of months late on this one. I don’t really care.]

Tasting Notes

– What the hell is this nomenclature? Cute, guys.
– The chocolate in this bar was just grand for a premium-level chocolate. The hazelnut and the hint of sea salt really lent well to the entire flavor profile.
– But damn if I didn’t find the chunkiness of the nuts obtrusive.

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A Taste of Eataly

IMG_4601Over the course of Labor Day weekend, I was fortunate enough to have old friend Brian Bar and new friend Sonia Bar pay me a visit from their current home of Indianapolis. Before we grabbed dinner, caught up and reminisced of college hijinks, Brian and Sonia perused the vast aisles and departments of Eataly, an Italian ubermarket (or would it be supremomarket?) that peddles all sorts of wonderful treats.

Big fans of BOaP, they were kind enough to pass along some fancy-ass Italian candy bars for me to check out.

The first, pictured above, translates roughly to Baratti & Milano White Chocolate with Champagne and Black Currants. I translated that by reading the back of the package after opening the bar, failing to notice the picture on the front and puzzled as to why this candy was not brown-colored.

Oh hey der white chocolate.

Oh hey der white chocolate.

Once I forgave myself for making generalizations about candy bar packages, I broke off a piece and dove in. The white chocolate itself was wonderfully creamy and complemented the strong but pleasant berry/grapey flavor of the black currants. It’s hard to nail down how big of an effect the champagne had; I can’t say I explicitly tasted it in there, but at the same time, I had very little to compare it to, so it might have made a big difference when compared against a bar featuring only white chocolate and black currants.

At the end of the day, it was a very wealthy man’s purple-flavored chocolate bar, and I mean that wholly as the complement that it is and not how it reads.

IMG_4606The second bar they brought was a Rossella dark chocolate and blood orange bar.

I have never understood the fascination that candy companies have with orange and chocolate. The combination to me seems to go together like peanut butter and mint: Sure, they are both tasty things, and if you tell me they are good together I will go about having an adventurous palate and say that I can taste the complexity while really I’m not getting this at all.

But this was blood orange, dammit, and that ups the stakes. I’d give it a shot with an open mind.

And you know what? It was pretty good!

IMG_4609The extra bitterness of the dark chocolate served to squelch a little of the sweetness of the orange zest, and I think the addition of blood really helped the overall flavor combinations. As a nice extra bonus, the bar had a bit of a granular texture from residual sugar crystals, which provided a crunch that really brought things around. While it definitely wasn’t a bar I could eat in one sitting, it was a fun thing to explore.

Much appreciation to Sonia and Brian for their generosity, and apologies to Brian for telling Sonia about that time he dressed up as Princess Zelda for the midnight release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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It’s not often that a candy bar describes itself with its name …

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… but here we are. I am nutraged.

Tasting Notes

– There wasn’t much balance to the bar; the fun of the caramel was completely overshadowed by the nutpouring of peanuts.
– That being said, if you’re down with peanuts even remotely, it’s fun to go all-nut sometimes. I’d eat another.

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WTF is This? Milky Way Marshmallow

IMG_4581Ran into this one at the Walgreens the other day; the “limited edition” caught my eye.

It could be best described as the outcome of a torrid love affair between a Milky Way and a Peep.

From what I could tell, the Milky Way Marshmallow features the same caramel:nougat ratio as a regular Milky way, only the nougat is vanilla/marshmallow-flavored instead of faint-chocolate-flavored. The effect: a stronger contrast between nougat and chocolate shell, with the layer of caramel carrying more of the brunt of the taste burden — when the nougat and shell are similarly flavored (the Milky Way), it’s primarily a chocolate bar with a caramel accent, whereas when there are two contrasting flavors (Milky Way Marshmallow), the caramel becomes the dominant flavor while the chocolate and marshmallow become the two accents.

I like the standard Milky Way more.

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Frozen (long) Week(end): An Ode to the Ice Cream Sandwich

IMG_4572[Ed. note: It’s a baren’t. We are all on the same page on this.]

It is the last day of summer and I would like to take a moment to celebrate the goddamn ice cream sandwich.

It … it is a perfect dessert.

On the surface, it seems kinda dumb, right? The cookie is a poor excuse for a wafer, much less a cookie, and the ice cream is best for describing a watered-down way of playing defense.

But holy hell if the combination of the two isn’t the damn definition of “better than the sum of their parts”.

And you notice more when there’s less to notice.

The silent thp from the first bite when the cookies are fresh and crisp. The almost-fuzzy remnants on your thumbs when you’re done and it isn’t. The wax-paper wrapper and that everyone knows exactly what that is when you hand them one. The way on a July day that the ice cream squishes out the side and drips on your towel. The understanding that no, this isn’t traditionally a breakfast food, but fk it that is exactly what is about to happen.

The ice cream sammie is a portable piece of summer. Until next year, friend-o.

[Ed. note: /until next Tuesday, because who are we kidding here.]

[Ed. note 2: And get out of here, neapolitan. You can come on back in when you can commit to something.]

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Frozen Week: Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cup

IMG_4570All I was expecting out of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cup was some peanut butter ice cream surrounded by a cup-shaped chocolate shell.

Which would have been outstanding.

But upon first bite [Ed. note: /or upon first reading of the box, had that been something I’d done], I discovered that there was also a thin ribbon of actual peanut butter dispersed throughout the ice cream bar.

Game done changed.

IMG_4575

Peanut butter ribbon visible on the right side of the cup.

Nah, game the same; it just got more fierce.

This is a simple, subtle and altogether wonderful ice cream novelty for anybody who’s a fan of peanut butter ribbons.

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Frozen Week: Buncha (Ice Cream) Crunch

IMG_4557Buncha Crunch is my favorite movie candy. Eminently shareable, couples well with popcorn, easy to gobble.

I have fond memories of my mom shooting me dirty looks in the middle of Remember the Titans for how loudly I was eating them [Ed. note: They come in a loud-ass box.] and falala not caring at all.

The Nestle Dibs is essentially the ice cream bar version of the Buncha Crunch. They come in a little tin, they’re eminently shareable, easy to gobble and may or may not couple well with popcorn. I’ve never had them at a movie, but I did buy them once at a One Direction concert while receiving looks for an entirely different reason and falala didn’t care at all.

IMG_4558The extra surface area allows for more chocolate in the ice-cream-to-puffed-rice-to-chocolate balance (as opposed to a full-length bar, and man, is it a refreshing treat. Big fan.

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Frozen Week: You trippin, Starburst

IMG_4561Yo, Starburst.

You can call it a sorbet bar. You can slap your brand on there, too. You can even not put a joke on the stick.

But at the end of the day, you’re pretty much just a square popsicle.

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Frozen Week: Good job, good effort, Twix Ice Cream Bar

IMG_4554Not a bold statement: The defining trait of a Twix bar is the cookie.

There’s chocolate, caramel and/or peanut butter going on there, for sure, but that’s not why you buy a Twix.

You buy a Twix because of the crunch from that sweet-ass cookie.

[Ed. note: Alternatively, you very well buy a Twix because there are two of them because you love to eat things in prime numbers or you are a mother/father of two young children who do NOT need to eat a whole candy bar right now.]

With that basic Twix principle understood, one would think that when developing a Twix ice cream bar, the ice cream bar developers would make sure they nailed the cookie part.

#nope.

The Twix Ice Cream Bar is very similar to the Snickers Ice Cream Bar [Ed. note: ICB will be the preferred term here on out, in the proper sense], with a few key differences:

  • The ice cream filling is straight-up vanilla. Not some tan/caramel/gently chocolate facsimile (as featured in Snickers ICB). Polar-bear/first-communion/most-useless-crayon-in-the-box white vanilla.
  • In lieu of the peanut, the Twix ICB features small bites of the aforementioned sweet-ass cookie interspersed atop its caramel-sauce layer.
  • The Twix ICB is slightly narrower.

Otherwise, though, the bars are the same: thin outer chocolate layer, caramel sauce, made of ice cream.

Those differences, ahem, make all the difference.

Focusing first on the cookie bites, because, duh: Man, do they ever leave you wanting more. Continue reading

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