Tag Archives: nutella

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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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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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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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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