Tag Archives: CDM

Friends and friends and candy bars

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Happy new year, everybody! An entire month and change late!

Apologies for the hiatus; life’s been a bit of a whirlwind lately: I left a job, went on a Christmas vacation to the California coast and a New Year’s vacation to the California mountains, found a Lady Bar, worked at a fashion convention and lost a 1-on-1 basketball game for $100.

As I’ve navigated the highs and lows of the past few months, one of the great constants has been the support of my friends, who, in addition to being overall swell people, have also supplied me with more than my fair share of candy bars to sample.

A very genuine thank you to all of those who sent bars my way, including:

The friend who goes to visit a candy factory and knows you like silly hats

Many thanks to Jacki Bar, who not only sent along some delicious treats from her tour of the Hammond Candies factory in Colorado, but also sent this sweet-ass hat, which I immediately put on, because attention:

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Great hat. Why don’t you see more of these nowadays?

Of course, she also sent some sweets:

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Hammonds Whoopie Pie bar was, well, not exactly a whoopie pie facsimile, but, instead a dark chocolate bar with vanilla creme. It was definitely a tasty chocolate bar, but given the whoopie pie billing, I can’t say it completely lived up to my expectation (me and the whoopies go way back).

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Gimme more of dat creme, yo.

More than anything, the bitterness of the dark chocolate overpowered the gentle vanilla in the creme, and anyone who’s had a whoopie pie knows that the creme is paramount. If Hammonds had adjusted the ratio ever so slightly, this would have been a knockout. Continue reading

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Greenland is covered in ice, and Iceland is very nice

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Sometimes, there a distraction. Other times, a fire-in-a-barrel.

Sometimes, there’s a distraction, in a fire-in-a-barrel.

Any questions?

Okay, you probably have lots. But when Tyler Bar, a member of my Game of Thrones crew, mentioned that his girlfriend Leena Bar had just returned from a trip to Iceland and had some candy bars to try, I couldn’t pass up the chance to shoehorn in as many D2: The Mighty Ducks references as I could — lest I get accused of eating ice cream with the enemy.

Leena was kind enough to snag some Pypp bars — a med myntufylling bar, according to its packaging — and some Lakkris bars, which were explicitly recommended to her by a few different Icelanders, an anecdote I am going to use as the basis for my assumption that the Lakkris is Iceland’s favorite treat.

We decided to dive into the Lakkris first. From the packaging (pictured above), we put together that it was either a caramel or light-milk chocolate bar interspersed with some sort of dark matter [Ed. note: Which seemed to be falling from the sky for some reason] made up of coffee beans, rabbit pellets or small cylinders of poison. Leena confirmed it was the last of those. Continue reading

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Tops, Twirl and the United Arab Emirates

IMG_4437Full forewarning: This is going to be one of my longer posts. It’s going to end with me hunched over a public granite sittin’ place, grateful for my life, blowing on a toy and realizing there is a very attractive woman in a pantsuit observing me as though I was a science project.

If that is not your cup of ginger ale, you might as well stop reading here.

The story begins, well shoot, probably back in college, where I met two women who would end up having a profound impact on the person I’ve become today. One of those, Marin Bar, had as much to do with me sticking on the Missouri club rowing team as anyone short of my coach and my doofus partner-in-crime; that team grew me right up and taught me the meaning of dedication, camaraderie and responsibility … all things I learned through osmosis trying to follow Marin’s lead. The other, McBarsney? She only stuck her neck out and taught me the basic job functions and knowledge base to successfully attain an open position at her newspaper — a position for which I was woefully underqualified and a position upon which I was able to build a middling career.

Because the universe has a fun way of connecting talented and wonderful people, both Marin and McBarsney ended up half a world away in Abu Dhabi, UAE, dropping their brand of bop all upside the Middle Eastern media scene. True Breakers Off of Pieces [Ed. note: There has to be a better name for BOaP fans. It might just be “readers”.], the two of them were kind enough to send a first-care-package-from-Mom-freshman-year-of-college-sized parcel of regional Gift Bars my way featuring a number of the fun sweets they come across on a daily basis in the UAE.

Thank you, gals, for everything. Here are my thoughts on the sweets you encounter on a daily basis:

IMG_4362Twirl

Sometimes you just gotta twirl. A Cadbury product, the Twirl is very similar to a Flake, only instead of having its thin, rippled chocolate exposed to the dangers of the world, it’s encased in another layer of chocolate, which lends to a less-messy eating experience. Thumbs up on that one.

Also, somehow, the entire bar tasted very similar to a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll. Obviously without the cake and the creme and the little white cardboard tray underneath, but a Swiss Cake Roll nonetheless. Top marks. Continue reading

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How Swede It Is

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The international tour continues! [Ed. note: Really sorry about these country puns, guys.]

Nate Bar, my esteemed and cardiovascularly optimized colleague, recently dropped a little bop all over Sweden, romping around at the World Triathlon Championships and spreading positivity and goodwill to all whom he encountered.

He brought that positivity and goodwill back to the office in the form of a monster variety pack of miniatures of Swedish candy bars, pictured above.

I got a crash course in the bars of Sweden. Here are my thoughts:

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Kinder Mini

A delicious, small, Kit Katty-type bar with breakable pieces, a crème filling and puffed rice/oat to add crunch. The puffed whatever-it-was was different than that of a Crunch bar, with a wheatiness to it reminiscent of Smacks. Which was great, because man, I haven’t thought about Smacks in at least a decade.

[Ed. note: What do you think the Smacks Frog is up to these days? He’s definitely not getting into the same clubs as the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee and Tony the Tiger are getting into. I bet you he’s one of Snap, Crackle and Pop’s toadies lackeys.]

Twist Caramel

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Essentially a single cell of a Caramello-type bar, with the runny caramel that tasted like it had juuuuust a tad bit of rum in there. A little bit darker of a chocolate than your typical Euro CDM-style.

Not a bad bar at all.

Twist Golden Toffee

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While the name and wrapper might imply that you’re going to be receiving something similar to a Werther’s Original here, it’s in fact a chocolate-covered caramel nougat bar. Good, if not slightly deceptive.

Twist Chocolate Toffee

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See above, only chocolate caramel nougat. Not mad about it, bro. This reminded me a lot of a Riesen.

Daim

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More like, “Daim, that’s some good-ass toffee!” This one’s a Heath Bar as thin as a Skor. I’m a fool for toffee, so I liked this one a lot, but I’ve also had significantly better toffee. Continue reading

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A Candy Bar Superstructed, Deconstructed

IMG_4193It’s been a pretty good week. I mean, look at that fking thing.

That’s a Milka Oreo, i.e. an Oreo turned inside-out and stuffed the fk into a delicious European chocolate bar.

I have been basking in its glory for the past week and a half, ever since my friend Katie Bar brought it back from her jaunt through the Mediterranean.

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Really though just look at it you can’t turn away can you nope.

The Milka Oreo (though likely a baren’t, according to the established definition) is a dessert with a higher percentage of dessert than most [Ed. note: 127% dessert, to be exact]. And that extra dessert pays off: The embedded cookie takes the bar to spectacular heights … so much so that it’s vaguely off-putting? It’s so good that it’s almost unnatural, like if Frankenstein’s monster were to enter an arm-wrestling contest — of course it’s going Over The Top, it’s been specifically engineered to.

Tasting note-wise, its white creme layers — tuxedoed stripes of friendship and delight — consist of less the type of creme found in an Oreo cookie and more the vanilla-ey ganache found in this Lindt from a month or so ago. This is important to note, as they keep the bar texture uniform so the crispiness of the bitter chocolate cookie can illuminate the candy bar experience like everyone wants it to.

In this case, an augmentation of an already-damn-good dessert takes the candy bar experience to a different level. So too, though, can a reduction.

I was #blessed to encounter the latter on a recent dinner visit to The Dawson [Ed. note: Go. Get an Irish coffee regardless of your company, mood and the temperature outside, and thank me.] with the aforementioned Katie Bar and the previously ne’ermentioned Andi Bar.

When our charming bartender/server placed her employer’s dessert menu on the barrel that served as our table, I was full and fixin’ for an express ride to pajamatown, content to take a pass on sweets. I can’t say what got me to scan the menu [Ed. note: Current power rankings: 1. Dessert; 2. An excuse to continue talking with charming bartender/server; 3. The prospect of having to move], but it didn’t take long to sell me.

IMG_4189Did you see it?

IMG_4195Sweet Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters, would you look at that. We ordered the hell out of it.

[Ed. note: Yeah, this one doesn’t get past the register either. Whoops. It has “candy bar” in its name, at least.]

IMG_4190As wonderful as the Milka Oreo was on account of its superstruction, so too was the Salted Candy Bar on account of its deconstruction: By choosing what parts to eat when, I became more engaged with the taste and appreciate its different elements. The nougat, presented as interspersed crumbles instead of the uniform layer found in traditional bars, danced differently with the ganache than it did the cake, and it was a great time exploring to see where it was most effective. [Ed. note: The conclusion to that exploration: Everywhere, actually. Outside of that pretentious-ass sentence.] The mousse/panna cotta section at its center was a lot of fun. There were pretzelstuffs.

It was so good. Surely more than the sum of its parts (At least, I think, so long as my understanding of what a “croquant” is is accurate). Both this and the Milka Oreo come with my highest recommendation.

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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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A Passage From a Novel Without Any Context: Vol. 4

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“I’m not a suspect, am I?”

Diana was puzzled. She wasn’t a thief. She hadn’t stolen anything since high school, when she would take quarters from the little charity display next to the register at Baskin-Robbins, salty when customers would neglect to acknowledge the effort it took to make their milkshake but instead award 25 cents to picture of the allegedly afflicted girl who had been there for years. Her name was Alison, come to think of it; she had leukemia.

But there he was. This policeman at her door. Asking her about her roommate from 3 years ago.

“If you were, I probably wouldn’t tell you. But no, you’re not a suspect. We’re just trying to gather as much information about Miss Havisham as we can. You never know what clues and leads present themselves when people start talking about common acquaintances and other kinds of everyday context. Continue reading

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Look at my kitchen table

IMG_4004Happy weekend, friends. I’ve got a mega Passage From A Novel Without Context planned for tomorrow that will cover all the candy I’ve been eating for the past two weeks.

Before that publishes, though, I would like to formally appreciate all of who have been sending Gift Bars my way from all of the corners of the world. I’ve received packages from no fewer than six of you, from places as far as Abu Dhabi, Thailand, South Dakota, England and Hershey, Pa.

Thank you, very genuinely. I can’t wait to dive into all of this sweet, weird candy.

And also clear some of this off of my kitchen table because goodness if I people didn’t already think I was crazy …

IMG_4010Tasting Notes

– The Nestle Coffee Crisp was just splendid. Very wafery, with a hint of coffee and just the right amount of CDM-style chocolate.
– It was a very light bar. I felt like a skinny cow.

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It’s Bunny Season: Lesser-Known Siblings

IMG_3859The Cadbury Creme Egg and the Peep are iconographic Easter candies. They are front and center around this time of year and easy to find. They are the Peyton Mannings of their respective candy families.

But both have Coopers among their brood. (Don’t even get me started on that villain Eli.)

It’s important to remember that the Cadbury Mini Egg and the chocolate-covered mega-Peep, while oft-overlooked, are still probably better at football than most candies.

Tasting Notes

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– The mini-eggs are very reminiscent of an egg-like M&M, only with CDM chocolate inside and a matte finish instead of a glossy.
– They’re less melty than an M&M but smoother in composition.
– They taste nothing like a Cadbury Creme Egg.

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– Straight up, this is better than a Peep.
– Does that make the regular Peep the Eli of the family? This one is definitely Peyton. Or Archie. Perhaps Party Peep is Eli.
– Can’t wait to call him Party Peep. Forever.

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Awkward Candy Moments

“That is $17 of Easter candy. Great variation, too. You are about to have a good afternoon, aren’t you?”

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