Posts filed under ‘OM’

Cadbury Crunchie

I found the British Cadbury Crunchie (BUY!) at Coco Moka in Houston’s airport.

The wrapper promised “milk chocolate with a golden honeycomb centre,” so I expected that it would be something similar to the Violet Crumble, and I was right. However, I liked the Cadbury Crunchie more. The honeycomb center (or centre) of the Cadbury Crunchie was darker and had a more complex burnt sugar flavor. It was also less styrofoamy than the Violet Crumble, so it was less dry on the tongue.

Despite being better than the Violet Crumble, the Cadbury Crunchie still falls far short of the chocolate/honeycomb perfection attained by the Dark Sponge of Economy Candy because its honeycomb center is that fake foamy thing. My first two bites made me want to give it an OMG, but a third bite put me in sweetness overload, so I demoted its ranking to an OM. Perhaps if I’d tasted the treat sized version (BUY!), I would’ve let it keep that higher rating. Even the nice touch of the decorated bottom couldn’t change the fact that the sweet milk chocolate plus the dense and sweet honeycomb adds up to an overly cloying bar.

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January 28, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

3400 Phinney Bread and Chocolate

Theo’s 3400 Phinney bars (BUY!) are named after the chocolate factory’s address (3400 Phinney Ave. in Seattle, Washington). Someday, I hope to make a Theo pilgrimage. Theo makes 6 varieties of 3400 Phinney bars; all are organic and fair trade certified. I managed to get 3 of them for my chocolate party. Welcome to 3400 Phinney Week!

First up is the Bread & Chocolate, a dark 65% cacao. The website description (there’s none on the wrapper) called this “an innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt.” The ingredients? Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, French bread (wheat flour, water, yeast, sea salt), butter, sea salt. Impressively simple.

This bar came in last out of 13 at my chocolate party with an average of 2.04/5. Many friends complained that it was too salty and too bitter. A few people, myself included, didn’t like the texture of the bar. The bread crumbs, which I mistook for rice crisps that wouldn’t dissolve properly, added an unpleasant grit and also made the bar quite dry. With a high 65% cacao content, this bar is on the bitter side and definitely not for everyone. I got a strong coffee finish. An OM from me. I liked it, but it’s too sophisticated to be a frequent indulgence.

January 21, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

XOX Truffles

I’m in a quandary. On the one hand, I’d like to take advantage of my remaining 10 days of winter break to get into shape after reading and exam period (three weeks of being stressed out, getting free food at study breaks, eating through late night study sessions, and skipping the gym) and being on vacation (eating out every meal). On the other hand, I have sooo much candy deliciousness in the house, and the truffles need to be eaten soonish, as they’ll only keep for a few weeks. What’s a candy blogger to do?

Put the quest to fit back into skinny jeans on hold, of course! And enlist friends to eat my tasting leftovers. Unfortunately, when I tasted my XOX truffles, there were no leftovers… In my defense, though, they’re really small truffles, about the size of a nickel or quarter.

The XOX Truffles store is about a half mile from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, definitely within walking distance. I expected a fancy looking boutique in the vein of Godiva. Instead, it turned out to be more of a funky coffee shop, as you can see from the picture. While I loved the chill feel, I wish the truffles had been more nicely laid out. They were arranged in mismatched bowls of different sizes, which was quirky and endearing, but the bowls were haphazardly placed, and some bowls obscured the views of others. You can see how there’s a little bowl hiding behind the big green one holding the noisette truffles. I had to crane my neck around the glass display case to see all the flavors, and I bet I still missed some.

The truffles are much cheaper if you visit the store in person than if you order online. They’re $0.75 each individually, $0.45 each if you buy 20 in a little takeout container, and continue to get cheaper the more you buy. I picked out four. Clockwise from the top left, they are liqueur de noisette (hazelnut), cinnamon, green matcha, and Earl Grey. And they were all pretty tasty.

Liqueur de noisette was rolled in sugared hazelnuts. While I liked the candied nuts, their sweetness, along with that of the liqueur, obscured the hazelnut flavor, which didn’t come through at all.

Cinnamon was dusted with ground cinnamon and tasted lightly of cinnamon sugar. A nice blend with the chocolate.

Green matcha was coated in some sort of green tea powder, rendering it slightly bitter. A light green tea bitterness in the ganache that was mostly covered by the chocolate’s sweetness.

Earl Grey was dusted with bittersweet cocoa powder. I didn’t get anything but dark chocolate flavor in the ganache, though it was still delicious.

XOX Truffles know their way around ganache. All the truffle fillings were smooth, creamy, and rich, and the surface of all the truffles had dried a bit, producing a nice, thin hard shell around the ganache. I wish that the various flavors had been stronger, however, so that the truffles would stand out more. Only the liqueur de noisette and the cinnamon obviously tasted of something other than chocolate.

I’ve made this type of truffle before, and I know how hard it is to get the ganache to take the additional flavorings. Perhaps the stronger flavors, like French roast, peanut butter, and the liqueurs would have stood out more. An OM, as the truffles are good, but no extra letters because I found the flavors to be too weak.

January 2, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Hebert’s Fully Loaded – Rocky Road

Bar number 2 from the Hebert’s Fully Loaded lineup. The Rocky Road boasts “Rich Milk CHOCOLATE with Walnuts, Dark Chocolate & Marshmallow Pieces.” Thank goodness the wrapper for this one is less frenetic than that of the Dark Turtle.

Walnuts were a much better choice for a Fully Loaded bar than the pecan pralines of the Dark Turtle. While the sugary pralines overpowered the chocolate, the walnuts nicely complemented the sweet milk chocolate with their bland nuttiness and added a good textural mix.

The dark chocolate bits didn’t distinguish themselves in any way, and I didn’t make any note of marshmallow pieces in my blind tasting notes. Alicia tasted this bar and said that the marshmallow pieces were actually white chocolate. The milk chocolate base was pretty good quality, though nothing standout or exceptional. It actually came out of the wrapper looking pretty greasy but didn’t taste that way (thank goodness).

Like the other Hebert’s bar, I can see why this would be appealing, but again, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I just find it too busy, like it’s trying too hard. Another OM from me, another high rating from my friends: second place with a 3.86/5. I have two Hebert’s bars (Dark Apple Cider and Dark Margarita Lime) that I picked up after my chocolate party. I think they may be truffle bars, and I’m excited to taste them.

December 19, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Hebert’s Fully Loaded – Dark Turtle

After Dagoba Week comes Hebert week, a lower cost chocolate bar week where everything can be purchased at your local Walgreen’s.

I think Hebert’s Fully Loaded bars are a fairly new retail product from an old candy company. The wrappers are colorful and pretty in your face, just like the bars.

The Dark Turtle claims to be “rich DARK chocolate with PECAN pralines & TOFFEE.” I’d just like to pause here and mention how much I hate the disjointed way the words are spaced out on the wrapper. Someone’s trying too hard…

Wrapper design aside, I found this bar to be quite enjoyable. I noted the toffee bits and sugared nuts in my blind tasting, and all those random bits and pieces make for a nice blend of textures. Most of my friends loved this one because of all of the toppings. One wrote, “I feel like there is a party in my mouth!”

Here’s what the back of the bar looks like. See what I mean about in your face? It’s definitely Fully Loaded, and impressively so.

My friends who didn’t like it complained that all the nuts and toffee pieces overpowered the chocolate and made the bar too sweet. I completely agree. While all the Fully Loaded parts are nice, it’s just too much for the chocolate to compete against. Tasty, yes. Subtle, sophisticated, no. An OM from me, though I should note that I agonized about that last G because it’s so appealing. It came in 3rd amongst my friends with an average score of 3.79/5. Little kids would adore this, but if you give it to them, watch out for sugar rush consequences.

December 17, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Dagoba Organic Chocolate – Chai and Roseberry

Today marks the finale of Dagoba Chocolate (BUY!) Week, and I’ve saved the most interesting for last!

The Dagoba Chai is 37% milk chocolate, crystallized ginger, and spices. That last “spices” bit is annoyingly generic, and the ingredients list isn’t much help. There “spices” is replaced with “essential oils.”

When I ate this bar, I couldn’t figure out what the spices were because the ginger taste was incredibly strong. It overpowered everything. I like the essence of ginger in cooking, but I can’t stand ginger itself, probably because as a kid I accidentally ate too many slices of ginger out of our family stir fries (always an unexpected and unpleasant taste sensation).

Still, there was something about this bar that was intriguing, and it kept me reaching for more pieces. I never actually enjoyed it, however, so it only gets an O. At the chocolate party, this came in 12th (out of 13) with a score of 2.57/5. It was interestingly polarizing. Lots of 1s and 2s, but also a raving 5 and a few 4s. Comments ranged from “wtf funny flavor,” to “niceish – strange” to “can’t really describe it.” A few called it medicinal, which is understandable (anyone else forced to drink ginger root tea as a kid?).

The roseberry was the one I was most excited to taste. A dark bar (59% cacao) with raspberries and rosehips – sounds delicious! And it was pretty good. I loved how pretty the bar was. The pink bits of raspberry looked gorgeous against the dark, glossy bar.

I didn’t taste any rose notes when I sampled this bar, but the floral scent is definitely there. The raspberries add a gentle fruitiness that I wish was a little more noticeable. They also added a slight grit to the bar that I could have done without. An OM from me, and a tie for 5th with 3.533/5 from my friends.

Overall, I really enjoyed these Dagoba bars, even if none got a review above an OM. I think their ratings may have been skewed a little low because I tasted them with a bunch of other bars, some of which were less subtle and more interesting. The dark 59%, the hazelnut, and the roseberry were all on the brink of earning that extra G, but I pulled back because Dagoba bars are so pricey. The ones I bought cost $3.29 at the overpriced campus convenience store, but even online they’re $3.00 a bar.

I liked the Dagoba chocolate bars enough to want to eat my way through all the different varieties, though that would quickly get expensive. Dagoba will definitely make another appearance at my next chocolate party.

December 14, 2007 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Dagoba Organic Chocolate – Milk and Hazelnut

Dagoba Chocolate (BUY!) Week continues with the milk and hazelnut bars!

The milk bar is pretty straightforward. Milk chocolate, 37% cacao solids. According to Wikipedia, anything over 35% cacao can be called dark chocolate, so I appreciate that Dagoba still called this milk.

It’s a European/Cadbury-style milk chocolate with a yogurty finish (as opposed to the sour finish Hershey’s milk chocolate has). “Feels British,” wrote one of my friends. Others felt that the milkiness was too overpowering.

Like all Dagoba bars, the texture is smooth and creamy and wonderful. It’s good but unremarkable and a little too sweet (I’m a dark chocolate lover). An O for the Dagoba milk. A wonderful milk chocolate bar that suffered from my dark-bias. If you like milk chocolate, European-style, you’ll love this. It took 8th place with a 3.33/5.

The hazelnut bar was made from 37% cacao milk chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, and rice crisps.

Really, it’s hard to go wrong with hazelnut and chocolate, This bar was well studded with pieces of hazelnut, and it was wonderfully – you guessed it – hazelnutty. I found it a little too sweet, but most chocolate/hazelnut candies skew towards the sweet side, so it’s understandable.

I didn’t notice any rice crisps, and because it was a blind tasting, I didn’t know to taste carefully and seek the crisps out. Cybele’s review complained of too few crisps, so I’m going to agree with her. I give this bar an OM. Good, but uninspiring. This came in first at my chocolate party with a score of 3.96/5. I think it was so well liked because of the near universal appeal of chocolate and hazelnut.

December 12, 2007 at 8:00 am 2 comments

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