Tag Archives: chocolate

Trick Season, Treat Season: Pun candy gonna pun

IMG_5197This is a Cadbury Creme Egg with a green “yolk” instead of a … well … yolk-colored one. They taste exactly the same [Ed. note: A boon for those of you who like Cadbury Creme Eggs more than I do].

IMG_5200But this one is better.

Because “Screme”.

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Trick Season, Treat Season: They’re selling food for zombies now, apparently

IMG_5193Really, though, Sky Bar stands to make a LOT of money: Their customer base is always growing.

When I passed this at Walgreens, I made a joke to myself. I said, “What, is it chocolate-covered BRAINS?”

I chuckled, very satisfied with my little joke.

Then I read the description that it was actually chocolate-covered brains and felt simultaneously validated and bummed out that a company would actually make a candy bar out of a dad joke.

IMG_5195The good news is that it wasn’t actually brains that were covered in chocolate.

The bad news is that it was just corn syrup with a metric ton of red dye.

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Gah-ross.

It was a bad candy bar. Happy Halloween, diabetic zombies.

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So, Pumpkin Spice M&M’s Are A Thing Now

IMG_4674Man, people have a lot of opinions about pumpkin spice stuff.

I … don’t. Somehow. I align with exactly no side in the Great Pumpkin Spice take debate; on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is “Boo, Pumpkin Spice” and 10 is “Hooray, Pumpkin Spice”, I’d put myself at Lasagna.

But, then sometimes you walk past a bag of PSL M&M’s and you have to give it a shot.

The thing is, pumpkin spice and chocolate really aren’t complementary flavors. So what you get is a candy-coated chocolate-cinnamon-nutmeg ball. Which is weird.

I had a couple and didn’t spit them out, so I guess there’s that, but I am going to put the Did Not Like stamp on this bag. The flavors just don’t jibe.

But sometimes they do, pumpkin spice, so don’t let this negative review get you down, nor the mass backlash at your autumnal ubiquity: You keep doing you.

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Au Naturale

IMG_4610I was kinda under the impression that with candy, everyone was in on the understanding that it wasn’t particularly natural.

Yes, there are certainly plants and stuff that produce the sugar cane and the peanuts and the cocoa beans, but, like, you don’t see Snickers trees or Skittles bushes (though their marketing sometimes would suggest otherwise).

Candy is very much processed, the final byproduct of thousands of years of discovery, innovation and throwing lord-knows-what into sugarstuffs to peddle to the masses. A crowning achievement of our species.

Well, as it turns out, there are a few folks out there who have a different impression.

I ran into some all-natural candy bars from Cleo’s and Amy’s [Ed. note: The latter of which, I will note, is a brand that makes the nicest frozen burritos in the game.] in the quinoa section of the grocery store. Intrepid candy bar writer that I am, I scooped them right up and gave them a shot.

IMG_4611Amy’s Creamy (pictured at top)

Full disclosure: I ate this one first because I was intrigued by the word “whipped”.

It was … well, it was ok. Something about the nougat was off, or perhaps it had to do with the caramel. It tasted almost figgish? Perhaps that was where they pulled the sweetness from, in lieu of the chemicals/high fructose corn syrup. It gets a ringing “I didn’t spit it out” endorsement.

I did not notice the level of whip, but I did enjoy the story about Amy’s dad. He seems like a good guy. Probably not as good as my dad, but I bet they would have a good laugh over a malted milk ball.

IMG_4615Amy’s Crunchy

This is more like it. Boom. Some top-notch toffee. Thick, but easy to bite, with an appropriate amount of nuttiness. Just the right consistency, and a swell bit of butteriness. This was my favorite of the bunch.

IMG_4625Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups

The only bar of these five with the distinction of also being vegan, the Cleo’s cups had me a little nervous. The thing about chocolate is that there’s dairy in there, so I was dubious over whether they could pull it off. Especially because they used the words “milk chocolatey”, insinuating that there would be some sort of milk chocolate facsimile happening around the peanut butter.

My caution was not unfounded — there was definitely some notes of soy going on — but, on the whole, this bar was pretty tasty. What the chocolate lacked, the peanut butter more than made up for. It was thick, creamy and rich: a significant upgrade from the chalky peanut butter of a Reese’s. I think I still preferred the entire package of the latter, but Cleo’s did a nice job with this one.

It also gets points for the Egypt theme, though I don’t really get why they decided to go with it.

IMG_4620Amy’s Crispy

Indistinguishable from a good post-workout protein recovery bar. Which is only a good thing if you’re a post-workout protein recovery bar.

IMG_4624Amy’s Chewy

It’s pretty easy to screw up caramel. Make it too runny, too salty, too chewy, too hard and it’s useless. This caramel is the spot-on perfect consistency, and couples well with the added pecans. Highly recommended.

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“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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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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I refuse to title this post ‘It’s all Greek to me!’

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The word “turmoil” gets thrown around a lot these days when people talk about Greece.

Which is too bad, because it’s got a lot of other, non-turmoily stuff going on that’s pretty cool: Hercules, the Parthenon, lamb roasted on a spit, sweet characters unpronouncable to the lay American speaker, a plus-level flag, Giannis Antetokounmpo, that one typeface that doesn’t have any curves, culture, beautiful islands.

Due on large account to those last couple items, I’ve had a few friends venture thataway, and because they are wonderful, they sent me some Gift Bars. Much love to Katie Bar and Rebecca Bar for the always appreciated gifts! Here’s what I tried:

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Homemade Almond Sweets from Hydra (my best attempt at pronunciation: Yapeka Topeka)

I was scared about the Yapeka sweets, on account of the Lokumi sweets that I’d tried earlier and you’ll read about later. [Ed. note: Yes, this is chronologically out of order. If you are upset then you can go ahead and start your own candy bar blog that is chronologically taut.] My cousin Rebecca Bar went to great lengths to ensure that these bad boys made the voyage from little Greek sweets shop to my tummy, and I’d hate it if I hated them.

My fears were misguided; these were damn tasty. Somewhat-gelatinous almond pastry cubes covered in powdered sugar, the Yapeka itself reminded me of the inside of an almond danish, only if the almond weren’t so finely pressed and instead had a more earthy taste. They were lightly sweet and a very welcome treat on the palate.

That’s a tough description to get through, but it’s a tough treat to describe: I’ve never had an American treat remotely like it. Continue reading

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A salve for your Girl Scout Cookie withdrawal

IMG_4269Girl Scout Cookies are a thing that everybody forgets about loving until the day they go on sale again. [Ed. note: Think I’m kidding? Tell me what day they go on sale. You can’t, can you? It’s the most ambiguous time of year.] After that? Look out. Frenzy time.

People buy boxes and boxes; they freeze them, they share them, they talk about them and they write about them. When the supplies dwindle, there’s a little bit of lament, then we go back to jammin’ on Oreos, E.L. Fudges and Girl Scout Cookie facsimiles, until the next season comes around again. Rinse, repeat.

I typically avoid them.

*ducks*

I know enough about my levels of self-control to know what will happen when I bring them into the house: a sleeve becomes a serving size.

A single bar, though? Not a bad way to get your fix, be it on account of withdrawal or abstinence. Nestle offers Girl Scout Cookie-themed Crunch Bars typically in the May-August months, though they’re less like Crunch Bars and closer to a Reese Stick or a Kit Kat in their wafer-based nature.

They have three offerings based on three cookies. My thoughts:

Peanut Butter Creme (based on Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties, depending on your regional nomenclature) (pictured above)

This bar tastes like if there were a romantic comedy where a Little Debbie Nutty Bar stars as a clumsy-but-lovable man boy who accidentally conceives a child with the uptight Reese’s Sticks after a boozy post-kickball happy hour — even though they couldn’t be more different — then end up falling in love and raising the child candy bar, only if that bar was played by the same kid who played Anakin Skywalker in Episode I: The Phantom Menace and only did a serviceable job, so you really were left wishing that you had just reached for one of his parents.

A Reese’s Sticks or a Nutty Bar would both have been better, but I have to say that if that pod racing part is on, I watch it every time.

IMG_4318Caramel & Coconut (Samoas or Caramel DeLites)

Caramel DeLites were always my favorite growing up, and I think that the Caramel & Coconut is my favorite of the Girl Scout Cookie Crunches.

Continue reading

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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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