Monday, January 31, 2011

Vitamingum Fresh Spearmint

Vitamingum Spearmint
Press Sample

I am a chronic gum chewer, so I was quite excited to receive samples of Vitamingum Fresh from Vitaball, Inc. I must admit that I don't take a regular multivitamin (even though I'm pretty sure I have a bottle in the medicine cabinet) because I try to take in my vitamins through my diet, but the idea of vitamin gum is certainly appealing.

Vitaball sent 3 flavors of Vitamingum Fresh: Spearmint, Peppermint, and Cinnamon. I'm starting with Spearmint, because it was my favorite. Each 2 piece serving provides 10% daily value of 12 different vitamins, and something I noticed while sampling the gum was that I didn't compulsively pop piece after piece of gum, knowing that I could overload on vitamins. That's good - just ask my dentist.

Vitamingum Spearmint

At first, the tablets were firm, but after a little chewing, the gum softened to a pleasant, bouncy texture. The gum was intensely minty, cool, and refreshing - great for morning coffee breath - and had a nice spearmint flavor. Unlike Trident Vitality Vigorate, I didn't feel like I was chewing medicine or cough drops.

Since I'm not a nutritionist or doctor, I can't comment much on the vitamin aspect, but as a gum, Vitamingum Fresh is pretty good. The fresh flavor lasted a long time (weakening after 5-10 minutes, with a milder mint hanging around much longer), and the texture was right on.


Check out another review at Gum Alert!

Vitamingum website

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ichimi KitKat

Ichimi Togarashi KitKat

Shichimi Togarashi (seven flavor chili pepper) is a staple in my kitchen. It's a spicy seasoning that is typically made from seven ingredients, one of them being red pepper flakes. It's delicious on udon and ramen, and I sometimes use it on curry or donburi.

Ichimi Togarashi (one flavor chili pepper) is also available, but it's just red pepper. Shichimi has more of a distinctly Japanese flavor with the added nori and sesame seeds, but those flavors might muddle up a KitKat, so Ichimi was probably a better choice for a flavoring.

Ichimi Togarashi KitKat

I could smell the pepper right away. The chocolate was a bit bloomed from its journey (since it was shipped at a time when it was still fairly warm in that part of Japan but cold where I live), and it looked like dark chocolate.

The red pepper had a nice, slow-building heat that was noticeable but not too strong. Dark chocolate was definitely a good choice for this flavor; the slight bitterness went well with the pepper flavor. I wish I had ordered more than just one mini bar!


KitKat website

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sarah's Pastries & Candies

Sarah's Candies

While on vacation in Chicago, my sister and her husband stopped at Sarah's Pastries & Candies while downtown. My sister knows I love a good local sweets shop, so she kindly included some treats (Royaltines and Chocolate Delights) from Sarah's Candies in my Christmas present. After the small sampling I had, I will definitely stop in next time I'm in Chicago!

Sarah's Candies

The Royaltines looked delicious, and they sounded tasty, too: Dark or milk chocolate mixed with crispy Feuilletine wafer pieces and caramelized almonds.

From the first bite, I was immediately reminded of the crunchiness of cereal, only a delicate, more gourmet version. The bitter dark chocolate was just a bit fruity, and the wafer pieces had a light vanilla taste. I couldn't get a sense of the almonds, but the crispy, light, flaky texture was so pleasant.

The milk was a bit softer, and I could taste the nuts better flavor. The smooth, creamy milk chocolate warmed the flavor up considerably as compared to the dark. The wafers reminded me of Rice Krispies here, but the flavor seemed more decadent because of the milk chocolate.


Sarah's Chocolate Delights

Chocolate Delights were described as a delicious blend of dark, milk, or white chocolate, caramelized almonds, roasted pistachios, and crispy rice, and they were very attractive.

Milk chocolate was first up, and it was very crispy and nutty, with the almond flavor holding most of my attention. The crisp rice added a fun crackle, but the crunch of the caramelized almonds dominated the texture. The milk chocolate was smooth and melted quickly on the tongue, making for a very decadent treat.

The flavor of the dark chocolate stood out more against the almonds, and it also brought out the caramelization. Here, I was struck by the heartiness of the Delights. I almost wished they had a tad more rice cereal in them, because with all those almonds, they were very filling. It's probably a good thing that I couldn't eat too many in one sitting, since it forced me to pace myself.

Of the three flavors, the white chocolate Delight went best with the pistachios. The white chocolate itself was mild with hints of vanilla and, most importantly, wasn't too sweet. It was also delicious with the almonds, but again, I feel like these make a better snack than a dessert, due to the intensely filling nuts.


Sarah's Candies website

Camille Bloch Mousse Caramel

Camille Bloch Mousse Caramel

This is one of the more interesting chocolate bar configurations I've come across since I started reviewing candy in 2008. I purchased it from a Jewel Osco grocery store while visiting family in the Chicago suburbs.

The "bar" looked a bit like bubble wrap, and consisted of little chocolate pods full of caramel flavored mousse. According to the package, the chocolate was imported from Switzerland.

Camille Bloch Mousse Caramel

Now, I can't give this bar a real rating, since it's been almost a year since I tried it. I misplaced my tasting notes, but it seems a shame to waste the pictures, and to not talk about the few things I do remember about it.

The chocolate pod was milky and rich, and the caramel-flavored filling was sweet but very smooth and melted like a decadent ganache. I can definitely say I would love to try other products by Camille Bloch, but I haven't been able to find anything since.

If you're interested, check out better reviews of Camille Bloch products at Chocablog, Candy Addict, and Candy Gurus.

Camille Bloch website

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan

Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan

Ah, the cost of research. My sister accurately called me out on using this blog as an excuse to buy expensive candy bars, but since I actually do review them, I think it’s a valid excuse. Here, we have the latest example: $8 marzipan.

I bought this at a local, family-owned fancy grocery store chain (they have 6 locations) right around Christmas time. It’s quite a hefty brick of marzipan! I’ve had Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan Classic before, so this review might be a little redundant, but I think there is a difference between the bars. Plus, I had to cut this one with a steak knife!

Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan

Under the thin dark chocolate shell, the marzipan was moist and delicious, with a tender, chewy texture. The almond flavor and was delicate and enticing, with lots of amaretto notes. The cool, bittersweet chocolate had hints of vanilla, and it was a lovely accent for the almond paste (particularly, making it slightly reminiscent of liquor).

I happened to have a Ritter Sport Marzipan square on hand, and in a head to head comparison, the Niederegger marzipan blows Ritter Sport out of the water. I don’t think I’ll be dropping $8 on marzipan again any time soon, but it was definitely worth the expense, if only once.


Niederegger website

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trident Vitality Vigorate

Trident Vitality

It's not often that my regular grocery store gets new candy products (which makes me think I should find a new regular store), but recently, they started carrying Trident Vitality gum. When I brought Vigorate home, my husband thought it was a pack of cough drops.

Trident Vitality seems a bit like the Vitamin Water of the gum world. Was anyone really crying out for vitamin C in their gum? Still, even if I'm not using it as a health supplement, I did buy the gum, so the marketing strategy must be working.

Trident Vitality

The liquid center reminded me of the gel in Gushers fruit snacks. Right away, the citrus (mainly orange) flavor was very strong. Although the box also lists strawberry as a flavor, it was only hinted at. There was also a bold cooling effect, so strong that my throat burned a bit every time I had a piece. In fact, they were very much like orange cough drops.

The gum chewed very soft, and the flavor tapered off after about 5 minutes to a mild, sweet, and slightly tart fruit. The cooling rush hung around for much longer, and it reminded me a little too much of medicine to make me want to buy this flavor of Trident Vitality again.


Trident Website

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meiji Crunchy Biscuit Chocolate

Meiji Crunchy Biscuit Chocolate

I've always liked cookie bits in chocolate, so Meiji Crunchy Biscuit Chocolate was an easy pick during my most recent napaJapan order. There's something about the texture combination that really appeals to me; for example, I don't normally like Oreos, but coat them in chocolate and I'm there.

Since I really can't think of anything to say here, bear with me as I throw in another quick promotion for the Trident Layers Giveaway, which ends tomorrow! Now, on with the review.

Meiji Crunchy Biscuit Chocolate

The bar was stamped with a lovely texture (I'm glad my camera captured it) and it had a rich, warm cocoa scent. From the first bite, I enjoyed the crunchy texture and slightly bitter chocolate flavor of the cookie bits, which added depth to the sweeter, milky chocolate of the bar.

The crunchy and creamy combination was delicious, similar to a Hershey's Cookies & Cream, only with milk chocolate (and better flavor). The only thing that kept it out of "A" territory was the finish, which I found to be too salty. It didn't ruin the bar by any means, but it was definitely noticable.


Meiji website

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trident Layers Contest Reminder

Press Sample

This is just a quick reminder that my Trident Layers Cool Mint & Melon Fresco gum giveaway ends Wendesday, January 12 at 9:00 PM. Thanks to everyone who has entered so far!

Click here to enter!

For those who have already entered, if you have your Blogger profile set to private or don't have a profile set up, I can't get to your email address. Please send it to me ( if you haven't. I think this only applies to 1 person, actually.

Here's a modern conversation heart to get everyone in the mood for Valentine's Day candy.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tirol Wine

Wine Tirol

Even though I know next to nothing about wine, I do know that Wine is not a very descriptive name for a flavor. From the package, it can be assumed that this is a red wine flavored Tirol, but even that doesn't add much.

My favorite red wine is Shiraz, which can have a strong bite, but there is a whole spectrum of red wines ranging from sweet to dry and beyond. The mystery Wine Tirol was purchased from napaJapan (4 for $3.29 US) just before Christmas, and limited quantities are still available.

Tirol Wine

The dark chocolate was of decent quality and had a bit of a chocolate liquor flavor to it. In terms of texture, it had a good snap and a slow melt on the tongue. The jelly in the center was thick and sticky like a fruit gem, but didn't taste like wine. This Tirol was more like grape jelly in dark chocolate, and while it was very good, there was no hint of that "luxurious aftertaste" the packaging mentioned.

Maybe they were aiming for dessert wine, but even that has more bite than this mild Tirol. There was a slight sourness at the finish, but it lacked the rich, complex end note that distinguishes sweet wine from grape juice. Even though this Tirol was tasty, it was misleading, so I have to account for that in my rating. This could be a good thing for those who don't like wine, but I wish Tirol had taken the concept just a bit further.


Tirol Website

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dagoba Lavender Blueberry

Dagoba Lavender Blueberry

Sometimes, a bar sounds too interesting to resist, as was the case with this Lavender Blueberry dark chocolate bar. This is my second Dagoba bar review, but the brand name still reminds me of Star Wars, and lavender reminds me more of Ron Weasley's clingy first girlfriend than the flower.

Lavender is not one of my favorite fragrances, and I have limited experience eating it, so please keep that in mind. This bar also reminded me of hawking pillow mist at my old job, so I had no shortage of useless points of reference for this review.

Dagoba Lavender and Blueberry

The dark chocolate (59%) bar had a good snap, but again, the Dagoba "perforations" didn't work for me. I could smell and sense the lavender, but the taste was mainly dominated by blueberry. I should mention that my dad said he could taste the lavender, so that might just be me.

There were bits of dried blueberry in the bar, and the tart flavor enhanced the slight fruitiness of the dark chocolate, but the chocolate itself was just a bit chalky. The finish was clean and the bar wasn't bad by any means, but I don't think I would buy this bar again.


Read more reviews of this bar at Chocablog and Doug's Republic.

Dagoba website

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tirol Coffee Jelly

Coffee Jelly Tirol

First, this is just a gentle reminder that there is one week left to enter my Trident Layers giveaway! Thanks to everyone who has entered so far.

Normally, Tirol chocolates have adorable packaging designs, but it seems like Coffee Jelly slipped through the cracks. The font isn't eye-catching (not to mention the yellow stroke on brown text), and combined with the grainy picture, it just looks cheap.

Of course, as chocolates go, Tirol is cheap, but it doesn't usually look it. Still, I wasn't too deterred from adding a set of 4 Coffee Jelly chocolates ($2.79, though they are now sold out) to my napaJapan order, and I'm very glad that I did.

Tirol Coffee Jelly

Under the wrapper, the chocolate was quite attractive with its contrasting white top and dark bottom, all with a slightly glossy finish. It had a mild coffee scent, and the chocolate had a great snap to it. Inside the chocolate was a sticky gel center with a pleasant, slightly firm gummy texture.

The chocolate had the stronger espresso-like flavor, and the combination of milky white and bitter dark reminded me of a mocha. The gel center had a milder, more delicate coffee flavor. It was like a much more subdued Ferrero Pocket Coffee, and it was delicious. Don't let the unassuming package fool you - there's quality chocolate in there!


Tirol website

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Orkney Fudge

Orkney Vanilla Fudge

Fudge seems to be a bit of a polarizing sweet, although that might be putting it too strongly. I don't dislike fudge, but it's not something I ever choose to eat. Every now and then, a little taste is great, but it's just so overwhelmingly sweet and rich that a little sample chunk at the fudge shop is good enough for me.

But this fudge is famous - it's Orkney Fudge. I had never heard of it in the US, but after a trip to visit her family in the UK, my boss kindly brought some back for us to try at work. She explained that this fudge experienced a surge in popularity when someone on the reality show Big Brother brought it to the house as their luxury item.

Orkney Vanilla Fudge

This fudge smelled amazing. It had a rich, buttery scent and an almost sparkly sheen. The fudge was slightly crumbly like very finely ground sugar, but the texture was melt-in-your-mouth delightful. It had an intense, enjoyable caramel flavor, with hints of vanilla.

Of course, the fudge was sweet, but it wasn't overwhelmingly so - the deep, rich buttery flavor was more noticeable to me than the sweetness. As fudges go, this is one of the best I've tried, and for once, I wanted more than one piece.