Tag Archives: nougat

Your mom sends me candy bars

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[Ed. note: Sorry about the hiatus, loyal readers. Calendar year-end is like tax season in the fundraising game; I’ve been getting decimated. I hope to up the posting regularity now that things have slowed at least a little bit.]

I’ve spoken at length about how awesome moms are.

Really though, that sentiment doesn’t extend only to nuclear mothers. Grandmas, aunts, sisters, dads, coaches, neighbors … there are any number of people who take time to care about you and offer a guiding, stabilizing presence. And sometimes bake you cookies.

I’ve been fortunate to have no fewer than 7 women who have been mothers to me in one way or another. Jacki Bar, otherwise known as “Mrs. Max” [Ed. note: But not actually Mrs. Max, just his mom], is one of them. In the past decade, she’s come to my regattas, attended my college graduation [Ed. note: granted, Max was there too] and made time to see me whenever she’s been in town.

This summer, she went on some worldly travels and picked up a few bars for me to try. Once the weather cooled down to provide for risk-free shipping [Ed. note: Those moms … always thinkin’], she sent them my way to give a try. Big thanks to Jacki, and a big thanks to all the moms out there.

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Nutella B-Ready (Italy)

Once I got past how to enunciate the name of the bar — Be Ready? … Bready? … Be Ready. — there wasn’t much difficult about eating this bar. The outside of the bar was entirely wafer, reminiscent of a compartmentalized, more brittle ladyfinger (the compartments, assumedly, are for breaking off pieces). Each bite was light but not so much so that it was unsatisfying: The Nutella filling brought a needed gravity to the wafer exterior, which had a texture something like the lovechild of a one-night stand between the phyllo in baklava and the inside of a Kit Kat. Thumbs up.

Another bonus: A relatively healthy bar! Only 399 kilojoules!

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Cote d’Or (France)

Some straight-up delicious-ass chocolate with hazelnuts. The chocolate was dark, but not so much that it couldn’t be described as milk chocolate, and the tasty hazelnuts gave a welcome crunch. This wouldn’t be my first choice in the French candy aisle, but I would not be mad if it were the only choice. [Ed. note: Which would call into question why the hell that was how that store decided to stock that candy aisle.]

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Nougat Stick (France) (There’s probably actually a name for it but I don’t speak French and this was tough for me)

This was a revelation: In the States, it’s very rare you see a nougat not a) encased in chocolate or b) with a jelly center in the bulk candy aisle. This was a whole stick! With indiscriminate nuts (which, upon later inspection, were pistachios and almonds)!

The Nougat Stick was very light, much lighter than most US nougats aside from Three Musketeers, but was slightly chewier than you would expect. It almost had the consistency of a packing peanut, but I mean that as a compliment? I’m as bewildered by that sentence as you probably are, but let me just say, I liked this a lot.

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Charles Chocolates Toffee Coffee Bar (California)

I’m a fool for a good toffee bar.

I’m also a fool for a good coffee.

Mix the two together with some dark (but not too dark) chocolate? Dang. This was a good-ass candy bar.

Because of the bitterness of the coffee and dark chocolate, however, it’s not a bar to be eaten in one sitting, more like a break a piece here and there sort of thing. You know, just in case you were thinking otherwise.

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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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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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Big On Chocolate, Not On Fat

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I’m a little upset at how easily advertising campaigns find a way to burrow into my consciousness. If we were in one of those word association games that supporting characters on TV shows always use to help the protagonists understand what they really want, my immediate response to “3 Musketeers” would be “Big on chocolate, not on fat.”

(I know you expected me to say “Framing device used in Danny Boyle’s 2008 Oscar-winning film, ‘Slumdog Millionaire.'” Frankly, I’m surprised, too.)

That response comes before “classic literature”, “candy bar” and “Dartagnan.” Surely, I immediately associate the campaign with the candy bar, but that’s secondary; the ad is what I remember. Continue reading

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