Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hammond's Caramel Mocha

Hammond's Caramel Mocha

One of the best things about having this candy blog is that people in my life are sweet enough to bring me candy when they travel! This Hammond's Caramel Mocha bar came from my boss after her trip to Denver. It had a friend, called Pigs n' Taters (bacon and potato chips) but my husband finished that one before I could blog it. For the record, it was good.

Hammond's is a Denver company that has been around for quite a while. There are some other fun-sounding flavors on the Hammond's website: Whoopie Pie, Cookie Dough, Malted Milkshake - I was impressed! As flavors go, Caramel Mocha isn't too out there, but I appreciate a well-executed classic as much as funky innovation.

Hammond's Caramel Mocha

The chocolate had a rich, glossy look to it, and it smelled like coffee and very dark chocolate. Surprisingly, the coffee flavor wasn't that strong - good news for me. The chocolate had a big, crisp snap, but it didn't break along the perforations at all. This is a pet peeve of mine, especially in a caramel bar, because it makes a big sticky mess.

The caramel was extremely sticky and creamy (not at all runny). The caramel also didn't have much of a burnt sugar flavor, maybe because it seemed to carry the mocha aspect of this bar. The flavor conveyed the richness of a mocha, but the actual coffee flavor reminded me more of coffee grounds than liquid. Still, it went well with the bitter flavor of the cocoa. The bar was good, but not my favorite, and it was sticky as all get out.

B

Hammond's website

Monday, September 1, 2014

Universal Studios Minion Taffy

Minion Taffy

Who doesn't love the Minions from Despicable Me? I'm a huge fan, so when I was browsing around a candy store at Universal Studios Florida, I couldn't resist these bags of adorable Minion Taffy. The Banana flavor came highly recommended by the cashier, but Sour Grape is more my style, so both bags came home with me.

A bag of Minion Taffy ran about $8 or $9, but that's an amusement park for you. Besides, I'm willing to pay a premium for cute. Look at their goggles, and check out the little teeth on the Purple Minion! I loved how the variations in the taffy meant that each Minion was a little different, just like in the movies. I was ready to give these an A+ without even tasting them!

Minion Taffy

Banana is a tricky flavor for me, but luckily, these were some of the best banana-flavored candies I've had. The banana flavor was mild and authentic: a little tart and a little sweet, like a banana at that perfect stage of ripeness. The taffy was firm but softened quickly, and as the taffy got stickier, the tart flavors gave way to just a slightly sweet banana, with almost no aftertaste. My husband (who loves banana candy and salt water taffy) said this was some of the best taffy he'd ever had. A+

Sour Grape wasn't super sour. The grape flavor was tart and slightly floral, and it did remind me of muscat grapes. It was sweeter than the banana, and was quicker to become soft and sticky. Normally, sour flavors are my thing, but this one was just a little too sweet to really hit the spot. The banana was superior, though I can see kids liking the Sour Grape flavor better. That's not to say it was bad - it was still quite good and quite adorable! B+

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum

Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum

Blowing bubbles with gum is just as fun for me now as it was when I was a kid - maybe even more fun now that I know to take my glasses off first. These days, I stick to small, safe bubble blowing using boring regular gum, but every now and then it's fun to tackle the real stuff.

This Juicy Fruit bubble gum called to me in the gas station. The size and shape of the package made me think that this was a Bubble Yum or Bubblicious product, but it's actually from Wrigley, who also makes the regular Juicy Fruit gum. That does make more sense.

Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum

Man, this was a large piece of gum. It was soft and very chewy, but I felt like a chipmunk. How is it that I chewed this stuff all the time when I was a kid and had a smaller mouth? But the real issue was that the gum tasted nothing like Juicy Fruit. Juicy Fruit may not have any distinguishing fruit flavors, but it does have its own unique flavor, and this was not it.

The gum was vaguely fruity and a bit floral, but mostly it just tasted like sugar. I suppose "vaguely fruity" also describes regular Juicy Fruit, but they just didn't taste the same. I kept waiting for the Juicy Fruit flavor to kick in and move me, but it never did. At least I got some good bubbles in during the wait.

C-

Wrigley website

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TCHO Mokaccino

TCHO Mokaccino Bar

Even though I'm not by any means a picky eater anymore, there are some foods I'm not crazy about. Olives, banana-flavored candy, and coffee-flavored candy fall into that category. As a child, I used to hate fish, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms, but age has changed my palate and I love them now. Project Olive (in which I try to make myself like olives) has been an abysmal failure thus far, but I'll never give up. My husband thinks that if your first experience with a food is really bad, then it can sour you for life, but if your first experience is amazing, then even poor imitations will remind you of the best version.

By that theory, TCHO's Mokaccino bar is definitely the coffee chocolate bar to try if you're on the fence! It was one of our tasting samples at the World of Chocolate Museum and Cafe, and I was surprised to find that I loved it! My husband was also a fan, so we bought the full bar in the shop. Now if only I could find some really good olives...

TCHO Mokaccino Bar

The bar had a strong coffee aroma, and strong coffee was the first thing I tasted, too. Although it was almost too bitter at first bite, the rich flavor of the milk chocolate cut away most of the bitterness and acidity, leaving behind a mellow mocha. The combination was great, especially since I'm not usually a huge fan of coffee and chocolate together.

The chocolate itself was incredible, and I just could not get over how smoothly it melted. It wasn't sticky or waxy, and it seemed like there was nothing standing between me and the cocoa butter. For that alone, this bar is worth a little splurge. The hints of caramelized milk were subtle, but with the coffee flavor it really was like drinking a good mocha. Basically it was another stunner from TCHO.

A-

TCHO website

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Furuta Matcha Chocolate

Matcha Chocolate

Furuta isn't one of my favorite Japanese candy and snack brands (though they do make a lot of fun themed candies), but I have a hard time resisting matcha chocolates. Long story short, these came home with me on my spring trip to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I was in the area for a graduation ceremony (mine!) and that put me in a celebratory, buy-all-the-things mood.

It's hard to go wrong with matcha-filled chocolates, and adding black sesame paste makes me even happier. The green and gold wrappers were very pretty, and reminded me of Lindt with a Japanese twist. They looked nice in my candy dish, especially since my guests ended up enjoying them more than I did.

Furuta Matcha Chocolate

After unwrapping, I could smell the milk chocolate, and I didn't get a sense of the green tea filling. The thickness of the outer shellwas about right, and the chocolate itself was fairly standard: sticky, but not too sweet. The gooey, oozy matcha center had the consistency of liquid caramel, and the tea flavor was very mild and not too bitter. I didn't taste the black sesame at all.

While the filling was ere a little too sweet for me, these chocolates were still quite pleasant, if a little messy. I think these would please people unfamiliar with matcha. A few of my pro-matcha family members tried and liked them, but I didn't really test them on unsuspecting subjects. The composition reminded me of American chocolates I've had, so I wouldn't anticipate the recoil I sometimes get when I green chocolate to someone who hasn't seen it before.

B

Furuta website