I just discovered a British food import store near me that I guess has been there forever. I popped in to look around and saw an old treat that my friend in highschool would bring back from her annual travels to visit family in Ireland, flake. I don’t know if Ripple came around after flake or not….oh wait – the internet – now I know Ripple came out 30 years after flake started being sold in 1930.
Did Ripple somehow perfect the flake model of crumbly chocolate?
We found flake to have a very pleasant texture, the density of something light like the Aero bar but with different distribution of space. The chocolate itself is very creamy and not too sweet. Because of it’s creaminess, pockets of air in the chocolate help distribute the richness of the chocolate. Personally, I always find Cadbury milk chocolate to be too heavy for me, so this is the perfect presentation for Cadbury. One thing about flake that isn’t perfect is that no matter how careful I try to eat this, I look like cookie monster. There’s just no way around it’s flaking off into particles all over the place. I wonder if “crumble” might have been a more appropriate name.
Visually, Ripple’s interior is similar to flake with it’s folded ribbons of chocolate. We were interested to see how the chocolate coating would hold up and if it would help with the crumblefest that is unavoidable with flake. The outershell does help, but to our dismay the chocolate wasn’t very enjoyable. Tastewise it lacked chocolate flavor and tasted artificial – and it stuck to my teeth so that took away from any enjoyment.
If we had to choose looking like a civilized human being or eating something worth the calories, we’d stick with flake. It might be messy but at least it tastes good and you don’t have to deal with chocolate adhering to your teeth and it actually tastes like chocolate.
We both couldn’t even finish the Ripple, it just tasted so gross.
Even though I’m a fan, I always have a little trouble pronouncing the “Ferrero” in “Ferrero Rocher”. I don’t know why, it’s not the most complicated name, but I guess growing in the 80’s I think of Geraldine Ferraro and even then, it’s pretty much the same pronunciation but will refer to them as “Ferrer” – I don’t know what my problem is but I mostly just call them”Rocher”. Everyone does, right?
Rochers were their own little novelty until I noticed the Hershey’s version creeping around a little too close on the shelves at CVS and since they’re a standard offering at the dollar stores , Ethan and I figured it’s worth a comparison. Let’s take a look behind the gold wrapper…
The cross section looks just okay visually. You’ve got your crunchy element, the ganache-esque smidge of a layer and of course the hazelnut in the middle but upon tasting we could tell the Kiss was lacking. While I thought the crunchies were okay, Ethan didn’t even find the detectable. The “ganache” to me was sub-par at best and not much of it. We both found the chocolate to be kind of fake tasting and overly sweet. Ethan’s last note on this was “the nut was okay”.
What’s so nice about Rochers is the clearly defined layers that work separately, yet together for a full multi-texture experience. Chopped hazelnut pieces coat a wafer layer which surrounds ganache and in the center is a whole toasted hazelnut. One of the major advantages Rocher has over the Kiss is that wafer later- I don’t know how they do it, and I guess hershey’s doesn’t know either, but it makes such a difference. Biting through the top crisp later, into the light airiness of the wafer and the smooooth creaminess of ample ganache before crunching into the hazelnut really makes eating a Rocher a real treat.
Not a big surprise Ferrero Rocher was a clear winner with us. The Kiss “Deluxe” is clearly trying to pull a fast one on Rocher fans with the similar gold foil wrapper but the lack of defined layers, missing wafter and poor quality of chocolate just make for a disappointing experience. If you want a treat, just go for the real thing.
There’s a new store that opened not too far away that is a second rate wonderland and inspired me to hop back on the blogging horse. I can’t tell you how awesome this place is, aisle after aisle has shelves full of beautiful knock-off products. I had to put stuff back as my arms filled up with products (I didn’t get a cart thinking I wouldn’t find much to buy) and have plenty of excuses to visit again.
We found snack-size candies called Jive that use the same format at Twix so we dusted off the white backdrop, set up the tripod and got to work!
Upon unwrapping this treat, the smell of chocolate was extremely tempting. There’s no turning back once unwrapped. Twix is such a perfect candy bar, the smoothness of the chocolate, richness of the caramel and crisp crunch of the cookie work so well together. Ethan especially liked the flavor of the cookie but like with the textures, the flavors of all three elements compliment each other perfectly. We both agreed the little snack size left us wanting more.
The first thing I noticed was the absence of any chocolatey smell. The textures were okay but the caramel didn’t taste like anything and the cookie seemed to be lacking some flavor. In all, it was just okay but definitely didn’t leave us wanting more.
Jive is all jive. I had high hopes for it since the cashier was raving about how awesome they were but it to us, there is nothing like the reliable taste and texture of the real deal.
As I’ve posted before, I love Sky Bars. I recently saw this new Twilight version and was baffled why they did this. Sky Bar is made my NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) and I found that a lot of people outside (and actually a good amount inside) of New England are not familiar with these so how did an international phenomenon team up with such a regional candy?
Also just as confusing is why they cut down the awesomeness of SkyBar from four to three sections. Yeah, there’s three main characters in the movie they’re promoting, but that’s not what SkyBar is all about! Twilight should have picked another candy that could accommodate them and keep it’s format.
My previous post about SkyBar’s images fell victim to geocities but you can read about it here. There are 4 compartments: Fudge, peanut, vanilla and caramel. Fudge is like…fudge, peanut is more like a peanut goo, vanilla is marshmallow and caramel is what it sounds like. I’ll save some time and report that Sky Bar keeps it’s reliability – unless of course it’s old which is the risk you run when buying these because they’re not the most popular candy at the store but when they’re fresh, they’re awesome.
Twilight version :
The skyBar-gone-Hollywood, only features the vanilla, caramel and peanut. The peanut is a peanut butter filling instead of the goo which is okay, the vanilla seemed pretty much the same as well as the caramel.
In general, the big disappointment was the missing fudge, which is my favorite part of the SkyBar.
I can’t get over the amputation of the fourth flavor, it’s just so wrong and I’m also sick of seeing these kids from the movie all over the place who are too cool to crack a smile. The wolf guy seems like you might be able to have a half-normal conversation with him, but the other two just look like they have nothing going through their heads – all the time. I know that doesn’t effect the taste of candy but it doesn’t help. I’ll take a traditional SkyBar any day.
I always liked Tic Tacs when I was a little kid because I felt like I was taking “my pills” just like grandma. It sounds ridiculous but I guess it was better than actually going through my grandmother’s bag and actually taking her pills.
Aaaaanyway, I saw these Great Bite mints and while they came in a few flavors, i picked orange because that’s the only flavor of Tic Tac I’d ever get. I always thought it was very considerate of Tic Tac to offer a non-mint option for those of us who weren’t up for that type of flavor.
These are perfect little ovals that used to boast being “One and a half calories” but they’re not 1.9 calories, not that it realy matter but I wondered what happened there. Ethan and I noticed that it takes a little bit of rolling these around in the mouth to get to the orange flavor. At first I thought I got a dud but then the orange flavor revealed itself and it had a pleasantly strong flavor. Ethan liked how when he got to the point of biting down it was a little soft and broke up nicely. I agreed.
These guys have a cute little bite taken out of each piece. They are similar to Tic Tacs in the way that we didn’t taste the flavor immediately. Ethan thought the flavor was like orange sherbet. It tasted pretty much the same as Tic Tac but the center was harder when bitten down on and tasted like a sweet tart.
Ethan liked the Tic Tacs better and I felt like they were too similar to really care. I did notice Great Bite tasting like a sweet tart but I didn’t mind it and I didn’t miss it either if I was eating the Tic Tac. So really I think both of these server their purpose well but Ethan will stand by the Tic Tacs.
I had only seen the Palmer version of peanut butter cups so when I found these Boyer (who I’ve only experienced their Mallow Cups) I thought this would, at the very least, be an excuse to eat a Reese’s even if Boyer was a let down.
The usual awesomeness. Perfectly balanced chocolate with smooth creamy (and not too sweet) peanut butter. There is just something that is so reliably good about these.
As soon we bit into these we could tell they’re weren’t up to speed.
Ethan was disgusted by the chocolate. I didn’t mind the chocolate as much as the peanut butter which seemed to be mostly “filler” of some sort, I have no idea but it was a very weak PB flavor and felt like I was eating crisco or something.
Sometimes smaller brands are better but not in this case. We both couldn’t get over our issues with the Boyer cups. I wish I could support the little guy in this one but there’s really nothing like a Reese’s.
It’s October and small bowls of candy corn can be found on office desks all over America. Candy corn was always one of the few exceptions of trick or treat harvesting that had some value even though it wasn’t chocolate. And it’s very shelf stable too- I’m not even sure if it has an expiration date, I’m sure it must but I think water is a bigger enemy of candy corn that time. For some reason it was hard to find a competitor to Brach’s for this but we finally found one called Zachary’s.
These were firm and had a nice yield to the bite. The flavor is sweet but nicely balanced with a vanilla overtone. At least we think it’s vanilla. Ethan said he kind of felt like it was maple but knew it wasn’t. We noticed the package said these contain real honey so I’m sure that helped give these their pleasant taste.
These were a little paler in color and it turned out in taste too. There was a lack of flavor other than just sugar/corn syrup. The texture was pretty good though since it was very similar to Brach’s.
We both agreed that Brach’s was more enjoyable than Zachary’s. While Zac’s wasn’t terrible, the absence of any flavor just didn’t make the calories seem worthwhile. I never thought much about Brach’s candy corn but I have a newfound appreciation for it and feel that they really give other candy makers big kernels to fill to re-create the flavor I used to take for granted.
I was in Walgreen today and saw a series of chocolate bars called 3 for $1. They come in 4 or 5 varieties but I picked “Double Crisp” and bought a Nestle Crunch to compare it to. Of course my dream match would be Crunch vs Krackle but Hershey’s no longer makes a full size Krackle. Although I will some day get a bag on Hershey’s Miniatures and test them against mini Crunches. I know it’s silly but I like the bars to be the same size.
I like Crunch’s thinness, I kind of compare it with getting deli meat sliced extra thin. Ethan and I agreed that there was plenty of rice crisps generously distributed throughout the bar. The only let down is the chocolate, which is lacking good chocolate flavor. Ethan said it was tasteless and I took another bite and agreed even though the wrapper claims “Now Even Richer Milk Chocolate”, it just seemed like a bland vehicle for the rice crisps.
3 for $1:
This bar was thicker and much sturdier than Crunch. The rice crisps dwelled at the bottom of the bar and seemed disproportionate to the amount of chocolate. I liked the taste of the chocolate better but Ethan said it was “gross” and “powdery”.
Split. I liked the characteristics of Crunch more in every way except the bland chocolate and liked only the chocolate of the 3 for $1 however I’d pick 3 for $1 because the disappointment of Crunch mockolate was just too much. Ethan preferred Crunch despite the lack of flavor, he was really turned off 3 for $1’s powdery grossness and minimal crunch.
I have always steered cleared of gummi (or gummy) bears for the fact that they’d stick to my teeth. Ethan and I were debating if they were called “gummi” or “gummy” bears and then we found there are versions with both spellings. I know I’ve heard of Haribo but never heard of the Black Forest brand, there are probably many more brands but these are the two that were available.
I was really surprised that these didn’t stick to my teeth at all and I could chew freely without worry. While these aren’t pretty to look at Ethan agreed with me that these had a nice bounce to them. We liked the flavors, (apple, cherry, orange, lemon) but the best to us was the clear bear which was pineapple.
Black Forest “Gummy”:
While they had a decent bounce when chewed and they didn’t stick to my teeth, they seemed to have the potential to if bitten on too hard. The flavors were kind of muted, none of them really tasted like anything to me but Ethan said the red has a strong cherry flavor. I think visually they look better and resembled bears more than the gummis.
Gummis won with both of us. We found the texture, non-stickiness and satisfying flavor to give it the winning edge. I would give Gummys a few point for presentation and use them for decoration on a gingerbread house.
I like m&m’s, never was a huge fan of the peanut variety but these did give me a little extra staying power getting through the third hour (what we called the power hour) of Hebrew school so for that I found them useful.
I think there are a few different similar candies but I found the Family Pantry version on this particular day roaming Family Dollar.
Ethan is a big fan of Peanut m&m’s so I’d rely on his expertise in this evaluation.
These had a nice shine and vibrant color. They also feature the pleasant trademark lowercase “m” on each piece. The chocolate is pretty good for milk chocolate, it’s a very reliable chocolate that seems to be consistent with every other bag of m&m’s I’ve ever had. Ethan felt the peanut flavor takes over a little but because they’re so good.
Peanut Chocolate Candies:
These had similar colors but had a duller sheen. The shell was harder and seemed to crumble which revealed a weird “mocolate” that lacked a real chocolate flavor. The peanuts were okay as far as flavor but seemed harder than the m&m peanuts.
We have to go with m&m’s for the better tasting chocolate and softer peanuts. The Family Pantry version was just okay but I think if you’re going to buy one of these you might enjoy the better quality chocolate because I question how the Family Pantry makes their chocolate to not really taste like chocolate.