Sunday, April 24, 2011

LOOK Chocolat 18

LOOK Chocolat 18

I've been going a little LOOK crazy as of late. Since I've been enjoying their various flavorful fillings, I thought I'd give their plain old chocolate a shot. LOOK Chocolat 18 has 18 small pieces of chocolate rather than the usual 16.

Three varieties were included: Chocolate Mousse, Truffle Creme, and Ganache Creme. Right away, I was skeptical about LOOK's ability to distinguish between such similar textures, especially in such a tiny package. However, I was definitely in love with the cute little modern designs on each piece!

LOOK Chocolat 18

Chocolate Mousse smelled like average milk chocolate. It had a creamy, sweet flavor, but it was very flat. The center was slightly fluffier, but it didn't have that whipped texture of mousse.

Truffle Creme smelled a bit richer (but I could have been imagining it) and the cocoa flavor seemed a bit stronger, but it was still quite mild. The center had a firmer texture than the mousse, but it was lacking in the rich, smooth texture of a truffle.

Ganache Creme had the stickiest texture of the three, and the most cocoa flavor (I think). It didn't have the smooth, luscious texture of a ganache filling at all, not even a cheap ganache, but it did have the best cocoa flavor of the three.

This just was not LOOK's best offering. The small shapes and simple, classy designs were fun, but the fillings weren't even close to mousse, truffle, or ganache. The chocolate certainly wasn't bad, but I'd pass on this one in favor of LOOK's more flavorful offerings.


Check out another review at Sweets Blog.

Fujiya LOOK website

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mars Starburst GummiBursts Flavor Duos

Starburst GummiBursts Flavor Duos

Yet another Mars review! It takes time for new candy to work its way into my local grocery stores, and it looks like all the Mars products hit at once. Again, it's a familiar product with new fusion flavors.

Starburst GummiBursts haven't been around as long as some other classic Mars fruit candies like Starburst fruit chews and Skittles, but they seem to be doing well. Flavor Duos is the third variety of GummiBursts (after regular and sour) I've seen, and there are probably more. There were four flavor combinations: Green Apple Strawberry, Cherry Fruit Punch, Strawberry Watermelon, and Lemon Cherry.

Starburst GummiBursts Flavor Duos

Green Apple Strawberry was dominated by the crisp, tart green apple flavor. It was good, but I could hardly taste the strawberry! The firm texture of the gummy part made for an enjoyable chew.

Cherry Fruit Punch had a yummy classic red fruit snack taste. It was both tart and sweet with a hint of a vitamin flavor. Also, the colors of this piece reminded me of a red blood cell.

Strawberry Watermelon was the star of the bunch. The watermelon center was sour and fantastic, and it went well with the fairly authentic flavor of the strawberry gummy.

Lemon Cherry had the same zesty lemon flavor as a regular lemon Starburst, but the cherry center tasted a bit medicinal to me. Still, this one was enjoyable, it just wasn't my favorite (and lemon flavors are usually a sure bet for me).

All in all, these GummiBursts were sweet but not cloying, tart but not sour, and the slightly firm, bouncy texture of the gummies was just right. The flavor combinations weren't all that new or exciting, but the Strawberry Melon and Cherry Fruit punch were particularly well done.


Starburst website

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lake Champlain Five Star Chocolate Bar Granola

Lake Champlain Five Star Granola Chocolate Bar

I was raised on breakfast cereal, and there's none more delicious than granola. It's so filling (and usually packs a caloric punch), and that crunch just gets me. Even though it's not as hearty as full on granola, I think I could eat Honey Bunches of Oats every day for the rest of my life.

For this reason, the Lake Champlain Five Star Chocolate Bar in Granola called out to me. I bought it at the same time as their mammoth caramel bar. As you can see in the next picture, this one had a creamy chocolate filling with granola bits, nuts, and cranberries throughout.

Lake Champlain Five Star Granola Chocolate Bar

The bar smelled salty when I opened it. The chocolate filling was very creamy and smooth, making for less of a mouthful than the caramel bar. However, the bits and pieces in the middle made the bar incredibly salty.

I liked the flavor of the almonds and cranberries, and the oats and granola bits added an subtle, slightly earthy vanilla flavor. The crunchy texture was fun, and the granola held up well in the filling. Unfortunately, it was just too salty for my tastes, so I had to detract some points from this otherwise delicious and unique chocolate bar.


Lake Champlain website

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mars Starburst Sweet Fiesta

Starburst Sweet Fiesta

The thought makes me cringe now, but I used to play with my Starbursts like modeling clay to create hybrid flavors. I would mold two or more flavors together, make little shapes, and eat them. The idea of handling candy so thoroughly grosses me out these days, but maybe it was part of the reason I rarely get sick as an adult.

The newest (to my knowledge) offering from Starbust is called Sweet Fiesta, and it offers a more sanitary set of hybrid flavors. The fiesta includes Strawberry Pineapple, Peach Guava, Cherry Mango, and Melon Berry. Though the flavors are different, I was certainly reminded of the recent Skittles Blenders.

Starburst Sweet Fiesta Starburst Cherry Mango

I could smell the pineapple in Strawberry Pineapple, which got me excited. It had a sour, juicy, slightly woodsy flavor, and I could taste the pineapple much better than the strawberry (fine by me). It was a great combination of sour and sweet.

Peach Guava had a tropical, papaya juice-esque flavor. I could only catch a slight hint of peach, and this one was quite sweet and juicy.

Cherry Mango had a fantastic cherry flavor that seemed better than the regular cherry Starburst, but I couldn't figure out why. I didn't taste the mango, just a modified cherry. It reminded me of fruit punch.

Melon Berry had a very fake melon flavor with a richer berry background flavor. It was my least favorite flavor of the bunch, but it wasn't bad.

Overall, the combinations felt fresh, and although some of them missed the mark, it was hard for me to save any for my husband (though I managed to leave him one of each flavor and a spare Melon Berry).

Check out some other reviews at Sugar Hi and Sugar Pressure.


Starburst website

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tirol Kagami Mochi


This review is about four months late, but this was such a cute promotion that I had to post it. New Year is a very important holiday in Japan, and one of the traditional decorations is called Kagami Mochi. Though they are often very elaborately decorated, the simplest form is just two stacked mochi balls, the top one smaller than the bottom, with a bitter orange on top.

The Tirol version consisted of several small Milk Mochi flavored chocolates with a large Mikan flavored chocolate on top, all encased in plastic shaped like Kagami Mochi. For some reason, Tirol felt the need to include instructions on how to pop out the Mikan piece. Before I even tasted anything, I was extremely amused by the variety of New Year-themed images on the Milk Mochi pieces. I especially liked the cute little Daruma.

IMG_3626 IMG_3627

Milk Mochi tasted like coconut, according to my husband. The mochi center was chewy, gummy, and slightly sweet, so it was similar to the real thing. The surrounding white chocolate, however, was a bit stiff and chalky. It wasn't too sweet, and did taste like milk or cream. My favorite part was the packaging. B-

IMG_3646 IMG_3644

The Mikan piece boasted real mikan flavor, and the chocolate smelled very much like oranges. I was thrilled to discover that it had a gel center. The gel was tender and chewy with a tart orange flavor, while the orange chocolate coating reminded me of sherbet. This Tirol reminded me of a punch my mom used to make for church parties (ginger ale, pineapple juice, and orange sherbet - yum). The gel had an odd sort of skin to it, but it did remind me of real fruit. This flavor was tastier than Milk Mochi, but unfortunately, there was only one Mikan in the set. A-

Tirol website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fujiya LOOK Dessert aux fraises a la Francaise

LOOK Dessert aux fraises a la Francaise

After thoroughly enjoying LOOK's Italian-themed chocolate assortment, I was compelled to buy this collection of French desserts with strawberries. The box is adorable and inspires me to work hard for my French class (at least that's what I tell myself).

The flavors, all strawberry based, are a bit ambitious. We have strawberry mille-feuille (a dessert made of layers of puff pastry, custard, cream, and strawberries), strawberry mousse, strawberry fromage (which might be fromage blanc, which is sort of like cream cheese), and strawberry champagne dessert.

LOOK Dessert aux fraises a la Francaise
I apologize for the lack of a cross-section photo

Strawberry Mille-feuille had an odd texture. There were tiny chunks of wafer that gave a crunchy texture to the creamy filling (to give the feeling of puff pastry). The filling didn't really taste like cream or custard, but was dominated by a bland cheese-like flavor. There was a layer of strawberry jam on top of the cream filling, which, while nice, was too mild to make a difference.

Strawberry Mousse had a stronger strawberry flavor than the mille-feuille, but the chocolate and cream had a very sticky mouthfeel. I'm not a big mousse fan, so it was a pretty good imitation of strawberry mousse in that it was rather dull.

Strawberry Fromage had the nice, tart pop of strawberry I was looking for, as well as a good, creamy cheese flavor. Everything went nicely with the chocolate, and it was pleasant. It was almost like it was a stronger version of the previous two flavors, though.

Compared to the rest of these wimpy flavors, Strawberry Champagne Dessert was a big surprise! The initial kick was quite boozy, but the underlying dry champagne and tart strawberry flavors were excellently matched with the mild chocolate. It was my favorite of the bunch!

I wish there had been more variety in the flavors, but I suppose the strawberry theme was a bit limiting. Though this assortment probably wouldn't disgust anyone, with the exception of the champagne flavor, it was underwhelming.

Check out a different take at Japanese Snack Reviews.


Fujiya LOOK website

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mars Skittles Blenders


Did anyone else use M&Ms or Smarties in their elementary school math classes? I think it was third grade when my teacher presented every student in the class with their own bag of M&Ms to illustrate simple lessons in percentages and probability. I'm not sure if it was effective, but it was a lot of fun. I still remember that most of the M&Ms in my bag were light brown (I'm dating myself here - this was before the blue M&M).

There are five new flavors in this mix: Melon Berry Burst, Strawberry Lime Blast, Watermelon Green Apple Freeze, Cherry Tropicolada, and Mango Lemonade Freeze. I'm sure it's no accident that those names sound like they came straight off a Sonic Drive-in menu. Now, I mention M&M math because I applied some of the same principles when I sampled this bag of Skittles Blenders. It was immediately apparent that my bag did not contain an even flavor distribution (Mango Lemonade Freeze in particular was underrepresented). Here's a chart to illustrate my point.

Strawberry Lime Blast was similar to a normal red Skittle with a hint of sour lime. It was fruity, tart, and tasty, but it wasn't terribly exciting or special.

Cherry Tropicolada reminded me of cough syrup. The pineapple and coconut flavors were present along with the strong cherry, but it really rubbed me the wrong way.

Skittles Blenders
witness the distinct lack of mango

Watermelon Green Apple Freeze worked well. The initial flavor was an artificial but tasty watermelon, followed by a green apple tartness. I'm not usually a fan of these flavors, but I liked them both here.

Melon Berry Burst reminded me of grape Nerds, but with more of a blueberry flavor. I didn't get much of a sense of melon flavor from this one, and it seemed to just be a rehash of a flavor from Wild Berry Skittles.

Mango Lemonade Freeze reminded me of my favorite smoothie (I've mentioned it before), so it was a bit nostalgic (especially since I just found out that shop is closed). The lemon flavor was sour and almost hit some floor cleaner notes, but it was saved by a good, distinct mango taste. Of all the flavors, this was the most unexpected.

Overall, Skittles Blenders is a decent mix, but it didn't really offer anything new or exciting. Still, it's worth a taste for fans of Skittles and fruity candy in general. Also, it seems like every time I review Skittles, their website just gets more and more cumbersome to navigate. I guess I'm not the target demographic.


Skittles Website

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mars Twix Coconut

Twix Coconut
Press Sample

Even though I eat a lot of candy and chocolate just for this blog, I try not to let myself lose my love for the stuff. Sometimes, I eat candy just to eat it, and it feels good. One of my favorite "just for fun" candy bars is Twix, so I couldn't pass up a chance to try Twix Coconut. The sample in this review was kindly provided by a PR representative, but please rest assured that I did not let that influence my opinion (and I definitely would have bought it myself eventually anyhow).

Twix Coconut is a new, summery variation on the classic Twix, available starting this spring. The coconut flavor is in the caramel, which should be good news for those wary of coconut texture. Coconut is one of those great polarizing flavors, or at least, when people don't like it, they really seem to hate it. I don't know if it's the flavor or the texture, but I used to be a coconut-hater myself. Thankfully, my husband turned me around.

Twix Coconut

When I opened the package, the mild chocolate and strong coconut scent of the bars reminded me of German chocolate cake. The coconut flavor in the caramel was good, not too strong and not too sweet, and it went well with the milky flavors that were already there.

Twix is all about the chocolate/cookie/caramel texture combination, so no changes were made to that formula. I liked the addition of coconut flavor; it seemed to temper the sweetness of the bars, which made me happy. As long as you like coconut, this limited edition bar is certainly worth a taste.


Twix website

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lindt Black Currant


Growing up in America, I have very limited experience with black currant. Writing a snack blog has certainly given me opportunities to try it, but it's still not a flavor I can immediately draw up in my memory.

Lindt's Black Currant bar was one of the first black currant sweets I've seen at my local grocery store, so perhaps this flavor is slowly working its way into American mainstream candy. Maybe one of these days, we'll join the rest of the world in having black currant Skittles instead of grape (not likely, and I hope not, because grape is my fave).


The dark chocolate bar smelled fruity and bittersweet, and the flavor was immediately intensely fruity, with strong, slightly bitter and liquor-esque cassis flavor. The almonds added a toasty flavor and a gritty crunch to the chewy texture of the dried fruit, which went well with the smooth, clean feel of the dark chocolate.

The dark chocolate was fairly standard; it had a good snap and a mildly bitter flavor that was a bit overpowered by the black currant. I don't see myself buying this bar often, but I would certainly go for it over a basic raisin and nut milk chocolate bar.


Lindt website

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Damian Allsop CH2OCOLATES Cinnamon & Lemon (Cola) Compact Bar

Compact Bar

When my sister-in-law visited London, she said she took great care in finding me a special treat as a souvenir. She's such a sweetheart, and she found the perfect thing: chocolate made without cream and butter! She picked up this bar with the help of a gracious employee at Liberty, and it was made by Damian Allsop Chocolates.

The idea that such a thing exists had never even occurred to me, but this chocolate is made with water. In addition, the flavor combination of lemon, cinnamon, and cola felt fresh and unique. The chocolate was a lovely taupe color, freckled with cinnamon and popping candy.

Compact Bar

The chocolate itself was firm with a light, soft melt. The first flavor I tasted was a mildly sour lemon. As the white chocolate melted, its flavor emerged, along with a hint of cinnamon, reminding me of a cinnamon roll. The white chocolate was unlike any other white chocolate I've had. It wasn't too sweet, and had a rich vanilla flavor that went well with the cinnamon.

Finally, the cola flavor was present in crunchy popping candy. It had a fruity, cola flavor with a hint of molasses, and the gentle popping candy made for a fun finish. The chocolate wasn't sticky and had a clean finish. The CD-style shape and packaging were cute, but with a product this tasty and unique, it felt like a bit much; the chocolate spoke for itself.


Damian Allsop Chocolates website

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meiji Marshmallow Chocolate Bar

Meiji Marshmallow Chocolate

Here's a neat little bar from Meiji with some nostalgic connections. I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this: Swiss Miss instant cocoa with mini-marshmallows, a.k.a. the best thing about playing outside in the snow. OK, so it's nowhere near as good as fancy drinking chocolate, but it sure hit the spot after an intense snowball fight or an 8 hour shift of building snow forts. These days, the last thing I want to do when it snows is go outside, but I still hit the cocoa every now and then.

The mini-marshmallows in this bar added a new texture for me. I'm sure other companies have done it, but most marshmallow confections I have tried are chocolate-coated marshmallow (or sugar coated marshmallow, like Peeps, but I'd rather not discuss Peeps), which is usually too much marshmallow for my tastes.


The bar smelled like basic milk chocolate, and really, the chocolate was nothing special. It was milky and sweet with a slightly sticky melt, but it didn't need to be anything more. The marshmallows were what made this bar interesting.

Though I was expecting them to be freeze-dried, the marshmallows were spongy, soft, and light. They added an interesting texture to the chocolate, though not much in the way of taste. Since I've never had anything like it, this bar felt fresh and unique, and both my husband and I enjoyed it.