Tag Archives: caramel

The Goo Goo Cluster, the Titanic and the Berlin Wall

IMG_4294Friends Alex and Abby Bar recently returned from a trip to Nashville, and since they love me and have somehow not grown sick of Drunk Uncle Carp coming over and playing with their dogfriend, brought me back a regional gift bar: the Goo Goo Cluster.

It seems the Goo Goo Cluster has some historical significance, with a 100-plus-year legacy and an accompanying infographic.

More on this momentarily.

More on this momentarily.

You see, according to its website, the Goo Goo Cluster was The First Combination Confection,

In 1912, in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, TN, the world’s first ever combination candy bar was invented. A roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate; its renegade shape was more difficult to wrap than the conventional rectangular or square shapes of the day. More importantly, this was the first time multiple elements were being mass-produced in a retail confection. Previous to the advent of the Goo Goo Cluster, candy bar manufacturing consisted of bars solely using chocolate, caramel or taffy. The Goo Goo Cluster represented the first time a bar consisted of more than just one principal ingredient.

which, if in fact true [Ed. note: This is quite a boast.], is really something, and laid the groundwork for the Snickers, the PayDay and the candy bar scene of today.

The bar itself was a lovely wad of flavors, with chocolate, caramel, peanuts and a most impressive layer of marshmallow nougat. It was a hearty wad, but not an unbalanced one: multiple textures, a hint of salt and an appropriate level of chewiness.

IMG_4298IMG_4299Now, this is all well and good, a solid old-style candy bar that you can pick up when you’re in the Nashville metropolitan area. But … hold up. Let’s take a look at that graphic. Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day

IMG_4181Dad’s the one who showed me how to conquer mountains.

Today he wanted a Milky Way.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, dads-to-be, dads departed (tu me manques, Grand Pere) and dads-facsimile.

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Caramell-oh boy!

IMG_4017Caramellos have always sort of been there.

Never really advertised nor lusted after, yet a mainstay enough in the Walgreens’ candy aisle that I knew they were always an option.

[Ed. note: Apparently they were advertised at one point. In a … terrifying … manner.]

In the past week, I’ve stumbled onto three.

I don’t know how they found me, but they did. I can’t say I’m mad.

Tasting Notes

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Caramello 1 (a Gift Bar from the wonderful Jules Bar): Euro style

– These buggers. With their wrappers. And their CDM-style, smooth-ass chocolate.

Such convenience.

Such convenience.

– Just top-notch. I’d prefer if the caramel were a little less stringy/runny, but this is a winner right here. Also it’s rich enough that you don’t necessarily want to eat the whole thing in one sitting, which is where that swell wrapper comes in handy.

Caramello 2: U.S. style (pictured at top)

– Given my preference for CDM chocolate over standard U.S. chocolate, I was prepared for an inferior candy bar.
– I misjudged.
– The chocolate tastes and feels almost the same as the Euro-style bar. It might be, only very slightly, a little less milky in the chocolate department, but not a difference worth making a big deal about, especially compared to traditional American chocolate bar.
– Didn’t these things use to have a brown, red and yellow wrapper? What happened, guys?

IMG_4016Caramello 3: At Trader Joe’s

– This is a good candy bar.
– It’s just not as good as the Cadbury kind.
– The chocolate was a little darker, a little waxier. Much more American-style, which highlights the contrast and slight saltiness of the caramel well.
– I am starting to think I’m becoming a CDM fanboy.

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WTF Are These? Starburst Minis, Hershey’s Caramels

IMG_4012True fact: It was seeing Starburst Minis at a CVS that got me to realize how out-of-touch I was in the realm of candy bars and talk about it with Alex Bar, a conversation from which came the genesis of Breaking Off A Piece.

For something of such historical significance, I sure do wish I liked them more.

Tasting Notes

– They are of a slightly different consistency than a typical Starburst. A little less chewy, a little more taffy-y. I suspect this has something to do with trying to prevent them from sticking together … but it’s off-putting.
– As one coworker described, “It tastes like medicine. And that’s why I like it.”
– The standard four Starburst flavors are included, but each one tastes … only mostly like the real thing. Starburst Minis are like Dr. Thunder.

IMG_4013– Nothing fancy about Hershey’s Caramels [Ed. note: Aside from the cursive script on the wrapper]; it’s straight caramel and chocolate.
– Similar to what you’d find in a box of chocolates [Ed. note: If you were to select a caramel one, of course.]; the caramel is solid and chewy, but not so much that you have to strain to bite only a portion.
– Thumbs-up here. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy one, but it’s a nice little treat.

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It’s Bunny Season: “Look Out, It’s the Cadbury Brothers”

IMG_3873Don’t ask me how or where this thought originated, but for some time now, I’ve considered the major Cadbury eggs as something of the bullies of the Easter candy aisle. Like, if the candies all came to life in the same vein as they do in Toy Story, only went to high school, the Cadburys would both be wearing letterman jackets, shoving the Peeps into a locker and making fun of their little brother, Mini, for being a mathlete.

Everyone knows who they are, so they’re not going anywhere, but everybody else secretly doesn’t much care for them.

At one point in my life, the Cadbury Creme was my favorite candy, period. I’d eat scores of them every Easter and relish them in the month after, before they’d return in February. But then my tastebuds developed, or something, and holy wow, they are so dadgum sweet. The creme/frosting filling is just so overwhelmingly saccharine, I usually only eat one a year.

That’s right. The candy and frosting inside is too sweet for the candy bar blogger. Who also likes frosting so much he could probably run a frosting blog [Ed. note: if he had the time or lack of shame], too.

IMG_3879The Cadbury Caramel, too man. It’s a great thing to eat if you ever also have eaten an entire carton of apple dip in one sitting. Otherwise, nope. Not gonna do that.

But they’re ubiquitous this time of year and are one of the most iconic Easter candies out there.

And I bet the Rain-blo Eggs and the Jellybeans resent the hell out of that.

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Red Redundancy

IMG_3696My Sister Bar is allergic to red food dye. Gives her all sorts of yuck yucks on her arms and face.

It’s definitely a bummer, but in terms of food allergies, it’s relatively harmless (though I’m sure she’d have words to say about that); she doesn’t have to carry an Epi-pen around or tell servers at restaurants that she can’t have red dye.

She just can’t drink Mountain Dew: Code Red or eat red sno-cones. Kool-aid is off the table, as are other things of that nature.

Something else of that nature: red velvet cake. Continue reading

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Brit Week is Over. Where Next? SPACE.

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U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

[Ed. Note: Yeah, I know it’s a whole galaxy. But I am feeling patriotic. And, besides, more celestial bodies within said galaxy have American flags on them than celestial bodies with any other country’s flag. What a horrible sentence.]

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Valentine’s Week: When a Twix Heart Isn’t a Heart and Is Only Barely a Twix

IMG_3612Seasonal varieties of candy bars are nothing new: Take the same shit you were planning to throw in there anyway, pour it into a differently shaped mold, package it with a fun color … voila! Profits. (?)

Seems pretty simple, but the different shapes of these candy bars has a penchant to upset the tested, fine-tuned and perfected balance of a tried-and-true candy bar. Sometimes it works for the better (e.g. the universally beloved Reese’s Egg and/or Tree), and sometimes it’s a Twix Heart. Continue reading

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I tried some weird caramel candy I found at the grocery store for less than $.50

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I came across these two candy bars in a “buy me!” bin near a Jewel-Osco checkout lane in late 2014. Fully aware, at that point, that I was about to eat 365 different candy bars in the forthcoming year, I grabbed these two a) for fodder and b) because I’d never seen them before.

I don’t know if I’ll see them again. What I do know is that after Sunday and Monday, I’ll probably never eat them again.

Slo Poke Tasting Notes

– Why did they spell it like that. Continue reading

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