Archive for the ‘Milk Chocolate’ Category

If you want to know what cool, new candy will be hitting your store shelves next, a good indicator is the top 10 candies scanned by major retail buyers at the National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

The annual expo is the grande dame of North American candy shows and a big launching pad for manufacturers.

Take a peek at what’s in (or about to be in) store …

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis by The Hershey Company
9. Jelly Pop by Decoria Company, Ltd.
8. Jumbo Push Pop by Bazooka Candy Brands
7. Pop Rocks Chocolate by Pop Rocks Inc.
6. Dark Chocolate Acai Blueberry and Goji by Brookside Food Ltd.
5. Snow White Gift set from Pez Candy, Inc.
4. Disney licensed items by Imaginings 3, Inc.
3. M&M’s Pretzel by MARS Chocolate North America
2. ICEE Fizzing Lollipops by Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty
1. Cocktail Classics jelly beans by Jelly Belly Candy Company

If you’ve tried any of these newbies, spill your thoughts, please.

Photo by Jose Ole

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5 Mar

Shmooth as Silk 0

Cadbury’s always done wonders with milk chocolate and I hold Caramello up as proof—at any given time, probably the creamiest thing in the room unless you bunk with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (in which case I’m sorry for waking you).

Caramello got quiet after a series of T.V. ads in the 80s and 90s, which at the time seemed incredibly seductive, and are now officially kitschy. I say it’s high-time the silence was broken. Summon the band from their millennial slumber!

Caramello is delicious, from its light-brown, segmented milk-chocolate exoskeleton to its gooey subcutaneous reserves of liquid caramel. The bar literally and swiftly melts in your mouth, so please don’t drown as you enjoy it, as that would not jive with the glad spirit of the bar. One thing that may help you avoid a smooth, untimely demise would be to break off squares of the Caramello and then further separate the confection into its components by squeezing gently on the top and bottom of each segment, allowing the caramel to drain completely into your mouth (or other waiting reservoir). Tackled separately, the chocolate shell and caramel goo probably won’t suffocate you. Small bites, kids.

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Overall Impression:

in Candy, Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Reviews

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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8 Feb

A Little Talk About Henrys 0

Tom Henry, O. Henry, Henry the flirt, Henry “Hank” Aaron, Henry “H-Rod” Rodriguez. Many a fine Henry has been implicated in the forging of this historic bar, and though Juan Sánchez “Henry” Villa-Lobos Ramírez may claim in Highlander that, “There can be only one,” it’s my personal belief that a candy bar, like a litter of kittens, may have a whole lotta poppas.

Holding this to be true, Tom Henry of Arkansas City, Kansas (AKA “con sarn it!”) is certainly one, having sold the rights to his brilliantly titled signature bar “Tom Henry,” which he had launched in 1919, to Williamson Candy Company of Chicago in 1920. By all accounts, Williamson didn’t alter the bar’s formula but seemed to feel that the name “Tom” wasn’t swinging enough to spin the dough. Nestle (the bar’s current U.S. distributor) claims that the name “Oh Henry!” was inspired by a refrain often uttered in the Williamson factory in the early 20’s, by female employees enjoying the attentions of a local flirt named “Henry,” who used to hang around performing small favors. Others speculate that the name was chosen because of its similarity to the pen name of popular early 20th century American writer Sydney Porter, better known as “O. Henry.” It was precisely this sense of mystery that Williamson employee John Glossinger was able to cultivate and capitalize on when, of his own volition and despite the skepticism of Williamson, he waged an advertising campaign in support of “Oh Henry!,” which consisted of him placing bumper stickers on cars featuring the confection’s name and nothing else. As they’re wont when puzzled, Americans bought on and bought hard, “Oh Henry!” flourished and John Glossinger got a cookie and a pat on the head. The elaborate mythology of the bar only increased when it became associated, first with the great Hank Aaron and later with the pretty-good Henry Rodriguez. The practice of throwing “Oh Henry!” bars onto the field following one of “H-Rod’s” homeruns was famously adopted at his home stadiums, until an incident at Wrigley field in 2000– which resulted in left field being somewhat flooded by the bars– led to the arrest of four “Oh Henry!” wielding super-fans, largely discouraging the tradition.

History; so far I’ve written a long-winded and inept digest of the main points of interest for this unusually storied candy, and if you’re still reading you probably want to know how the thing tastes already. In an unusual bit of prescience and reflexivity, here goes. Firstly, if you’re purchasing the bar in the U.S., you’re actually getting two little bars. These are comprised of vanilla fudge, caramel and finely chopped peanuts coated in milk chocolate. Dense and compact, your jaw is going to get a workout chewing it into digestibility; better to savor the flavors. While the vanilla fudge falls victim to the plague of “I don’t taste vanilla in that vanilla-itis” affecting so many otherwise healthy candies, this can be forgiven due to the strength of the caramel and peanuts. Smooth and crunchy in all the right places and vibrantly flavored with a blend of sweet and smokey, I was (not unhappily) convinced that the fudge was peanut-flavored before my research again shamed my amateur palette. The milk chocolate coating then, doesn’t have to do much except look appetizing and melt in the mouth, and that’s exactly what it does, but I can’t help feeling the bar would be enriched immeasurably if it had ambitions to go above and beyond serving as window dressing. Some nice bars, overall. True to their heritage, the story of the “Oh Henry!” also has an optimistic twist ending. See, “Oh Henry” is manufactured by HERSHEY in Canada and boasts a different recipe, look, style and taste. Two bars, separated by the great Williamson buyout of ‘84 and living parallel lives across national lines. Surely someday the chance of their glad reformation will be retrieved from the realm of the great “what if.”

In the meantime…

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