Archive for February, 2010

26 Feb

Gimme a Break 0

You don’t need me to tell you about the Kit Kat bar. With major production facilities in more than 15 countries and world-wide distribution, Kit Kat is a truly international candy. If you’re reading this, you’ve eaten one. Heck, you’re probably eating one right now. Careful! It’s dangerous to chew and read at the same time, especially if you’re operating a motor-vehicle. Don’t think you can get away pretending you’re not, this blog is like a one-way mirror. Quit the forklift, pocket the Kit-Kat and finish up, I won’t be long.

Not an easy-chair.

First devised by British confectionery Rowntree in 1935, the Kit-Kat’s signature combination of crispy, snappable, segmentary crème-filled wafers, generously coated in milk chocolate has been wildly popular since its inception. Ranging in size from the petit “half-finger” marketed in Japan to the massive, “twelve-finger” family size bars of Australia and France, (and with occasional, limited-time forays into exotic alternate flavors such as strawberry and green tea) the Kit Kat has proven both versatile and enduring. While part of this could be due to expert marketing, (the classic “Gimme a break” U.S jingle was cited by University of Cincinnati researcher James A. Kellaris as one of the most infectious, can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head melodies of all time), and blind luck (it’s proven popular in Japan as a kind of good luck charm due in part to the similarity of the name to the phrase “kitto katsu,” meaning essentially, “You will surely win!”), it would be wrong to underestimate the appeal of the treat’s simple composition and satisfying crunch.

That jingle has been bouncing around in here for decades.

As in the case of “Oh Henry,” the Kit Kat is produced by HERSHEY in the U.S (due to a licensing agreement that predates Nestle’s 1988 acquisition of Rowntree) and Nestle everywhere else. Though there are slight differences in packaging and production, the confections are purportedly quite similar, with accounts indicating that Nestle’s milk chocolate may be slightly creamier. I’m perfectly satisfied with the cocoa butter content of the Hershey’s variety, but trust that the Nestle variety is no slouch, especially since the Nestle Kit Kat has long been the number one chocolate and “biscuit” (the British term for cookie or wafer) confection in the UK, where people seem to know their chocolate and biscuits.

Merry sporting yeomen are often fueled by biscuits.

Another neat thing about the Kit Kat bar is that everybody seems to have his own way of eating one. Personally I’m convinced that the best way to go about it is to snap each “finger” off one by one, first nibbling away the small, flared ridge of pure chocolate around each like some kind of chocolate-crazed rodent and only then crunching into the wafer. Prove me wrong.

“break me offa piece of that

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24 Feb

Good(tze)! 0

The pet project of Goetze’s Candy Company founder August Goetze, Caramel Creams (AKA Bullseyes) have been staving off hunger pangs since 1917. I had vague memories of these chewy, two-tone caramels, (for some reason mostly in school bus related settings) as a kind of lower echelon candy, before I caught up with them earlier today and found out how wrong I was.

While a hotbed of youthful intellectual zeal, many conclusions reached in this environment prove false

True, Caramel Creams aren’t overwhelmingly sweet, and while the sensibilities of my younger self may have taken umbrage with that aspect of the candy, now I can appreciate it. It’s also possible that many of the Caramel Creams I’ve sampled in the past were less than fresh—yes, even candy has an optimal shelf life. Luckily, this was not the case today.

Check that expiration date!

The outer layer of caramel (the retina) is probably what hung me up most as a child. While it’s got a wonderfully thick, chewy texture, it’s also only mildly sweetened, with malty overtones reminiscent of whole-wheat flour. Since I now love bread that isn’t immediately metabolized as sugar, I find this flavor fantastic and refreshingly unique in a confectionery setting. The cream (lens) meanwhile, is a wonderfully sweet fondant (and actually made with real cream), which is vaguely tangy and the perfect accompaniment to the earthier exterior.

Goetze's Scores a big one

Still manufactured in their home city of Baltimore Maryland, Goetze’s Caramel Creams are an All-American snack that are (for a change) actually low-fat, low-sodium and cholesterol free. Get ‘em fresh and I’ll bet you’ll be hooked*!

*Candy.com, like Goetze’s, encourages you to get hooked responsibly.

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in Candy, Nostalgic/Retro, Soft

19 Feb

More than Three Feet of Fruit Flavor! 0

I typically enjoy a lot of freedom when I do these reviews, but by-the-by I’ll notice a cryptic message in my marshmallow alphabits, some hastily scrawled insinuation on the steamed surface of my bathroom mirror or car window, a familiar sign traced in the fresh snow by deer-leavings, and I’ll know what my next blog must be about. Yesterday, for example– while enjoying my morning stroll– a gloved hand offered me a sealed envelope from underneath the tin-lid of a trash can at the corner of Elm St. and Union. It contained three Strawberry Rip Rolls. I do not know if these “suggestions” are the work of Candy.com, some benevolent allied organization, or greater and more terrible forces, nor do I wish to provoke whatever malevolence they could conceivably harbor by scorning their largesse. Since I have so far honored their address, I have suffered no injury. Thus, here we are.

Some people read horoscopes. Not me.

I had never heard of Strawberry Rip Rolls before the occasion of their gracious gifting, and for that I am ashamed. If you read my Fruit by the Foot review, you’ll remember I was pretty complementary. Well, everything positive I wrote about Fruit by the Foot applies here, but more so. Not only are Rip Rolls longer than Fruit by the Foot (40 inches instead of 36) they’re chewier, more nuanced, and better tasting.

This good.

Aptly named, you’ve got to pull hard on a Rip Roll unless you want to enjoy the whole ball of wax in one sitting. They’re not tough, but definitely as chewy as it gets outside of gum, which means even small bites can last a good long time. The flavor tastes surprisingly authentic (a small amount of natural flavoring is used) though markedly tarter than most strawberry candies due to a liberal dusting of sour sugar and the noticeable presence (though at first difficult to place unless you check out the packaging) of pineapple juice. Though potently sweet, the sour elements help balance the flavor of this confection and despite its size and consistency, (and if my sampling was any indication) it tends to disappear quickly, but certainly leaves you satisfied. Highly recommended!

Try ‘em You’ll Like.

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in Candy, Reviews

17 Feb

Cherry Bites 0

While not technically licorice, chewy, red, fruit flavored candy ropes such as Twizzlers and Red Vines are certainly more popular than the genuine article in the U.S. Most of these reds approximate a strawberry flavor, but HERSHEY’S Twizzlers have also been available in a bite-size cherry variation since 1990.

When this was cool

Let me preface the forthcoming statements with an assurance that I’m not against fruit snacks. In the fourth grade, for example, “gushers” were worth more than their weight in gold and even the mere suggestion of ones future willingness to facilitate their entrance into the classroom often liberated the potential trafficker from social mores whose neglect would have been considered inadmissible under normal circumstances, such as using the computer during a peer’s allotment, cutting in line WHENEVER he wanted, and not having to participate in read-aloud time. To be sure, I’ve eaten my fair share of glutinous fruit polymer and ken a good gummi when I spy one. I’ve tangoed with Twizzler during many a movie and recall the pairings with fondness.

Nearly this good.

It’s as a friend and neighbor that I implore this product to explain why, in an age of space-travel, quadruple-protein processing ribosomes and 170 mpg vehicles, it tastes like Robitussin. I understand that natural flavors may be more expensive to mass-produce but there must be a better alternative to the blend they’re using now. An open question: medicinal / spiritual incentives aside, does anyone actually enjoy the flavor of Robitussin? Don’t be shy, if you’re out there I want to hear from you and a team of scientists wants to study your brain.

What is it you like about this stuff?

I like the idea of bite-size red icorice snacks. These cherry bites look cool (almost like a little bow, or pile of logs), are stimulating on the tongue due to their smooth, ridged consistency, and are really very juicy, springy and chewy (especially so when fresh). All of these are excellent attributes according my sensibilities, but the taste is just too factory-fire-burn-and-cauldron-bubble for me to consider seeking them out again.

“But you don’t have to take my word for it!”

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Kosher, Reviews